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Petrarch and Laura

Jul. 26th, 2017 04:11 pm
[syndicated profile] jo_walton_blog_feed

Posted by Jo Walton

I see I have become a legend, my life, my love,

And her life and death, a legend.

In time it will all be remembered

In time it will all be forgotten

And remembered again, the wrack and refuse

Of all I did and meant and cared for

From fragments painfully regained

That is the nature of legends

And time and life and love.

 

So imagine my embarrassment

That what is known of me, that all I am remembered for

Out of everything I was and did,

Is my worldly love for an earthly girl

Not the symbol of Heaven’s love,

Nor the breeze dancing over the battlemenrs

To shake the laurel leaves,

The golden hills rolling away

From the waters of Bablyon where I sat down,

But the breath that moved in her real breast

And her small, individual, irreproducible smile.

 

Cardiff, 25th July 2017

larryhammer: animation of the kanji for four seasonal birds fading into each other in endless cycle (seasons)
[personal profile] larryhammer
Reading Wednesday is nigh. In fact, it's here. And I done been readin'!

Finished:

I Shall Seal the Heavens. Finally. I have to say, this is epic: The author knows how to plot on an enormous scale, and how to build up the stakes in order to tear down everything you think you know is safe, before pulling back more of the curtain to show a wider stage. (The first timeskip is startling enough, and successive ones have stronger impacts until the climactic one that's as baffling as it is shocking.) There's a couple narrative patterns that get a little tiresome and in the final arc, the author resorts to using an unreliable POV, apparently to up the tension but the effect is to make some reveals feel like ass-pulls, but those are quibbles. I won't say that the treatment of women is unproblematic, but it's better than typical for Chinese popular lit and some female characters are given complete respect by the narration. I do recommend this to anyone in search of a timesink* and interested in current trends in Chinese fantasy.

An Interpretation of Friends Worship by N. Jean Toomer, a Friends General Conference chapbook found randomly on Project Gutenberg. I've no idea how much sense it make to anyone unfamiliar with Quaker practice, but I found it spoke to my condition, to use the Friendly phrase.

The complete flower fairies of Cicely Mary Barker. I've one book of hers and read at least one or two more over the years, but having them all together as on that official website is nice. Archive binge! This is a good example of a mixed-medium art form: each {poem + picture} is a unit -- they require each other, and are significantly weaker when separated. (The sentiments are not very Chinese, but the genre certainly is.)

In progress:

The Four Seasons ed. by J.D. McClatchy, another Everyman's Library pocket hardcover poetry anthology. Needless to say, I'm All Over this one. Lots of good stuff, too. Am halfway through Summer (following Western tradition, it starts with Spring).

In Good King Charles's Golden Days by Bernard Shaw, which is a quite Shavian if somewhat rambly imagining of a 1680 meeting between Isaac Newton, George Fox, and Charles Stuart, with interruptions by three royal mistresses. And others.


* At 1600+ chapters, it's freakin' HUGE. The translation is somewhat over 3 million words long, or roughly the size as all the Jordan-only volumes of The Wheel of Time.


---L.

Subject quote from a recent episode of Saga Thing.
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

Coke announced today that it’s rebranding Coke Zero to “Coke Zero Sugar”:

Coca-Cola Zero Sugar is the new and improved Coke Zero. We’ve made the great taste of Coke Zero even better by optimizing the unique blend of flavors that gave Coke Zero its real Coca-Cola taste. Coca-Cola Zero Sugar is our best-tasting zero-sugar Coca-Cola yet, and it will be available across America in August.

Basically, it’s the same new formula it’s been introducing in foreign markets as “Coke No Sugar” but Coke is keeping the “Zero” branding here because it’s been successful and they don’t want to confuse us poor Americans any more than we already are in these trying times. Or something.

As I noted previously (see the second link, there), I am perfectly fine with Coke attempting this revamp — by all reviews I’ve seen the “Zero Sugar” version tastes more like standard Coke than Coke Zero, and since “actually tasting like regular Coke” is why I drink Coke Zero in the first place (Diet Coke shares its flavor profile with the late, unlamented New Coke), I’ll willing to give this new version a shot. If it turns out I hate it, well. I guess then that August 2017 will be a fine time for me to drastically cut down my soda drinking. I suspect I’ll probably continue calling the new stuff “Coke Zero” rather than “Coke Zero Sugar,” because it’s two fewer syllables and I’m all about efficiency.

So in effect, I think that this is less like Coke Zero dying than it is Coke Zero regenerating, timelord-like, into its next iteration. And I suspect I will remain its constant companion.


I hate photography failures

Jul. 26th, 2017 09:49 am
thewayne: (Default)
[personal profile] thewayne
So I'm at the observatory last night, it's the third night of my wife's four night shift, and for once, the weather looks really good: we've had a storm cell parked on top of the mountain for a couple of weeks. I set up my camera on the floor in front of the telescope, check all the settings, all looks well. Empty memory card, I'd topped-off the battery before I left home, camera settings were where I wanted them. My wife told me that the observer was watching just a single target, so I wouldn't get much in the way of star streaks, but that was OK - it was more of an experiment to see what it would look like. I started the external timer firing once a second, she turned off the lights, opened the dome, and we went downstairs to the control room for a few hours.

I knew the camera battery was good for about 4.5 hours in colder conditions, and I started it shooting at about 20:00, just before sundown, so I kind of expected it to still be firing when I went back up about three hours later. No visible red LED on the camera. Maybe it was between exposures. Get down to the floor of the telescope: nope, it was dead. So take it off the tripod, sling it over my shoulder, grab my tripod and head back downstairs.

I figured the battery was dead and I had a card full of images to look at. I did stop to look out the telescope slit: absolutely gorgeous night, couldn't have asked for a nicer sky. So down in the control room, just for kicks and giggles, I try to turn the camera on. And it turns on. And shows a battery just under completely full.

Hit the button to playback images. It took 240 images before stopping. A whopping five minutes of exposures. Didn't even get past sundown, which would have been nice to have the sky transition. Complete waste of time.

I don't know what happened. Camera battery was fine. Remote timer battery was fine: I replaced it with a new battery after I got it (I bought a used unit). 32 gig memory card was empty and freshly formatted when I started the night. The camera was set to turn itself off after two minutes, but the timer was tripping it once a second, so the auto power-off should never have triggered.

*sigh*

We did have a good time, chatting with people in the control room. Another astronomer from the other telescope had just returned from eight days in Japan, visiting her aunt and cousins. Had wonderful stories, especially about toilets, TV, and scarily-expensive coffee. Talking to their computer guy about a switch that had confused itself about its IP address and he couldn't find it on the network. I suggested trying to find its MAC address, but that didn't work. We talked about the summer shutdown when they do heavy maintenance on the telescopes: the 2.5 meter mirror is about to get crated up and trucked to Tucson for its annual re-aluminaization, and it's possible the 3.5 will get redone this year even though it was done only two years ago.

And, of course, playing with the poodles, talking about Gay of Thrones (Funny or Die recap of the HBO series) and Orphan Black.

Happy Birthday, sholio!

Jul. 26th, 2017 05:02 pm
leesa_perrie: icon of a happy looking Baby Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (Baby Groot Happy)
[personal profile] leesa_perrie
Happy Birthday, Sholio!!! I have some Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 greetings for you under the cut!! Enjoy!!

Birthday greetings )
[syndicated profile] the_mary_sue_feed

Posted by Charline Jao

Jessica Williams went on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to promote The Incredible Jessica James and share a story that shows us no matter who you are, a direct message from Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling will obliterate any sense of chill you might have had.

According to Williams, she was surprised one day when Rowling not only followed her on Twitter, she sent her a kind message referencing their shared birthday (which is also Harry Potter’s birthday). The former Daily Show correspondent recalls it went something like this:

“I was going to wish you a happy ‘our’ birthday, but I bloody forgot. Which is typical me. Anyway, I think that you are funny, brave and courageous and I always know it’s going to be a great Daily Show when you’re on.”

Can you imagine? Williams, as many of us would, then carefully drafted her response over a week to respond with the perfect response. Their conversation eventually led to the two of them meeting, and to the envy of every Harry Potter fan, Rowling herself sorted Williams into a Hogwarts house. No surprise, they’re both Gryffindors—brave and daring.

Colbert also decided to see if Rowling followed him on Twitter (she does!), and the host DM-ed her asking for a Hogwarts sorting as well. We don’t yet know her response, but do you have any guesses?

(via The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on YouTube, image: screenshot)

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

[syndicated profile] bbc_science_news_feed
Complaints from the dairy industry are dismissed as vegan group's advert is given the green light.

Historical Romances on Sale!

Jul. 26th, 2017 03:30 pm
[syndicated profile] smartbitches_feed

Posted by Amanda

The Infamous Heir

The Infamous Heir by Elizabeth Michels is 99c! This is book one in the Spare Heirs series. It features a prize-fighting hero who suddenly takes over his brother’s title of nobility. Readers wanted more chemistry between the hero and heroine, but many really loved the hero. I mean, based on the book’s description, who wouldn’t?

The Spare Heirs Society Cordially Invites You to Meet Ethan Moore: The Scoundrel

Lady Roselyn Grey’s debut has finally arrived, and of course, she has every flounce and flutter planned. She’ll wear the perfect gowns and marry the perfect gentleman…that is, if the formerly disinherited brother of the man she intends to marry doesn’t ruin everything first.

Ethan Moore is a prize-fighting second son and proud founding member of the Spare Heirs Society-and that’s all he ever should have been. But, in an instant, his brother’s noble title is his, the eyes of the ton are upon him, and the lady he’s loved for years would rather meet him in the boxing ring than the ballroom.

He’s faced worse. With the help of his Spare Heirs brotherhood, Ethan’s certain he can get to the bottom of his brother’s unexpected demise and win the impossible lady who has haunted his dreams for as long as he can remember…

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Barnes & Noble Kobo Google Play iBooks

and

amazon

 

 

 

More Than a Stranger

More Than a Stranger by Erin Knightley is $2.99! This historical romance is the first book in the Sealed With a Kiss series. It features a friends to lovers, off limits romance. There is a mystery element to the romance. Some enjoyed it, while others felt it didn’t work as well.

When his family abandoned him at Eton, Benedict Hastings found an unexpected ally in his best friend’s sister. Her letters kept him going—until the day he had to leave everything behind. Years later, Benedict has seen his share of betrayal, but when treachery hits close to home, he turns to his old friend for safe haven….

After five torturous years on the marriage circuit, Lady Evelyn Moore is finally free to live her life as she wishes. So when her brother shows up with a dashing stranger, she finds herself torn between her dreams…and newfound desires. Despite his determination to keep Evie at a distance, Benedict cannot deny the attraction that began with a secret correspondence. Yet as they begin to discover one another, the dangers of Benedict’s world find them, threatening their lives, their love, and everything they thought they could never have…

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Barnes & Noble Kobo Google Play iBooks

and

amazon

 

 

 

Taming a Wild Scot

Taming a Wild Scot by Rowan Keats is $2.99! This is the first book in the Claimed by the Highlander series. Readers really liked the healer heroine, but other readers wanted more chemistry between the hero and heroine. Have you read this one?

In the Highlands of Scotland, plays for power are fought without rules, treachery and intrigue hold court, and, in one woman’s heart, danger stirs as relentlessly as passion…

Wrongfully accused of murder and left to die in a hellish Highland dungeon, Ana Bisset has lost all hope of freedom. But the beautiful healer’s luck takes an unexpected turn when a hooded stranger appears as her rescuer. After a harrowing escape, Ana settles alone in a quiet village where no one knows her past or her reputation. The last thing she ever expects is to meet her mysterious savior again…

Niall MacCurran is no hero, but a warrior on a dangerous mission to expose a threat to the realm. After his decision to free Ana, he now realizes that it is he who needs her help—willing or no—to advance his quest. But his growing feelings for the delicate yet resilient beauty soon jeopardize their safety—and not even Ana’s healing gifts may be enough to protect their love, or their lives.

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Barnes & Noble Kobo Google Play iBooks

and

amazon

 

 

 

Earls Just Want to Have Fun

Earls Just Want to Have Fun by Shana Galen is 99c! This was a 2016 RITA nominee and the first book in the Convent Garden Cubs series. Some readers found the plot and characterization a little improbable, while other readers said the romance had a good balance of light moments and darker emotions. It has a 3.8-star rating on Goodreads.

His heart may be the last thing she ever steals…

Marlowe is a pickpocket, a housebreaker-and a better actress than any professional on the stage. She runs with the Covent Garden Cubs, a gang of thieves living in the slums of London’s Seven Dials. It’s a fierce life, and Marlowe has a hard outer shell. But when she’s alone, she allows herself to think of a time before-a dimly remembered life when she was called Elizabeth.

Maxwell, Lord Dane, is intrigued when his brother, a hired investigator, ropes him into his investigation of the fiercely beautiful hellion. He teaches her to navigate the social morass of the ton, but Marlowe will not escape so easily. Instead, Dane is drawn into her dangerous world, where the student becomes the teacher and love is the greatest risk of all.

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Barnes & Noble Kobo Google Play iBooks

and

amazon

 

 

 

[syndicated profile] lib_dem_voice_feed

Posted by Katharine Pindar

 

Members are sovereign in the Liberal Democrat party. Members will be consulted on the
overall party strategy at the next Federal Conference, prior to a motion being passed. Yet
the party leader is expected, both by the membership and by the country, somehow to
embody the image of the party. He or she is identified with its perceived success or failure by
the media, regardless of how much control they may actually have had.

So what do we members think the first duty of the Liberal Democrat leader should be?

Surely he must show in outlining his political priorities that he is true to the party’s principles
and values. This Tim Farron did, when elected in 2015. He said, for example,

We see people as individuals. The Liberal mission is to help us to be the best we can be. Standing
up for the individual is not what we do – it’s what we are.

However, we surely also expect each new leader to offer a strong new focus which will both
inspire the party activists and gain the attention of the public. Tim, coming in as leader after
the devastation the party suffered in the May 2015 general election, declared,

I am fed up to the back teeth of being right and losing elections.

He demanded that. step by step, we should build change from the bottom up.

Pick a ward – any ward… we want councillors first. It’s time for the Liberal Democrats to win again.

He spoke stirring words in effective speeches to the membership.

Vince Cable starts in 2017 in a better situation, since under Tim’s leadership the party
membership doubled and many council seats were won back. But at only 7% in the national
polls and just 12 MPs, the party is still far from becoming the main opposition party that Tim
had sought.

Vince appears to take the party’s principles and values for granted – wanting to make the
country ‘more liberal and more democratic’. With Tim as leader the party’s aim was
summarised as to make ‘a Britain that is open, tolerant and united’. For Vince the key impact
words are apparently to be ‘fair, free and open’. That suggests a continuation of values,
though perhaps acknowledging that the country may not be as tolerant or as united as Lib
Dems would wish.

What is Vince’s strong new focus? He declares himself ambitious for the country and for the
party.

We need to give people powers over the decisions that affect their lives, including
Brexit.

And,

I want the Liberal Democrats to be at the centre of political life – a credible
effective party of national and local government.

Recognising the size of the struggle ahead for every vote and every seat, he asserts ‘It can be done.’ There is ‘enormous energy’ in the thousands of new members, and:

I have the ability to give that energy a lead – to hit the headlines and put our party in the centre of political debate.

It’s a strong beginning, and with Vince’s gift for the memorable phrase and his caustic wit,
bound to catch the media’s attention.

The next vital question for us is: What do we expect of our leader during his time in office?

There is tension between the dynamism of our democratic party and its tacit acceptance that
a leader – even the leader of this collection of individuals – has to lead. The drive which we
all share to attain effective power means we need to win the country’s liking and trust
enough for us to win contests. The media-focused concentration on the party leader
suggests he must be given some leeway.

It is the sudden demand, the unexpected event, which forces an immediate response from
the leader on behalf of the party, Tim Farron rose successfully to the challenge of the
Referendum result, asserting our commitment to Europe and carrying the party with him.

His predecessor Nick Clegg accepted the challenge for the party to share power. The party’s
control over the leader then lessened, and the divisions in the broad church that we
inevitably are became apparent. As Vince Cable prepares us to take power in the future, our expectation sof him will have to be worked out.

* Katharine Pindar is a long-standing member of the Lib Dems and an activist in the West Cumbrian constituency of Copeland and Workington.

[syndicated profile] bbc_science_news_feed
The clean air strategy should include a scrappage scheme and clean air zones, campaigners say.

Bummer Bunnies

Jul. 26th, 2017 09:42 am
lydamorehouse: (??!!)
[personal profile] lydamorehouse
Yesterday, when I went to pick Shawn up at the History Center, I saw a baby bunny just sitting in the road, near the curb.  She seemed stunned, maybe?  So I went to try to shoo her back into cover, but it became evident that she was injured.  There was blood near her neck.  Worse, (because it's not a good sign when wild animals can be easily picked up), I was able to scoop her up and get her into a towel filled bucket that Shawn prepared.  We took her to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.  

It was the longest drive of my life. The Rehabilitation Center is actually not all that far away--just on the other side of Hwy36 on Dale.  But, not long ago, I picked up a bird that was stunned and it died while in transport, and... I just.  The world is full of awful things, and I just did NOT want a dead baby bunny in the back of my car.

She made it to the Center, at least. She perked up a bit, once inside, actually. Hopping about a little.  But, who knows what happened to her overnight, if she pulled through, or if I only managed to make her death that much more frightening and strange.  I'm going to hope that my attempt to rescue her will save her.  

Then the news hit about health care and that traitor John McCain.  You know, if this were Ireland, they'd have a song about that guy already, I swear to gods. 

All of this contributed, I think, to this sense I woke up with today. I feel like I'm behind on something or I've forgotten something important.  So I spent much of the morning so far reading something that I promised someone I would--a beta reading thing.  I got that done.  In a minute or two I will hop up and do the dishes. Normally today is a day for me to go to the coffee shop and hang out with the ladies, but I'm skipping that in favor of attempting to do enough stuff around the house to banish this feeling. I suspect what I'm feeling is actually 'political hopelessness' like I did right before the election, and what I need to do is garden or sweep or do something else physical. (I have a feeling that if I were still doing martial arts, this political season would have made me an uber-athlete, because my desire to punch stuff and scream is very high right now.)

It's drizzle raining outside which isn't helping my mood, alas.

Okay, off to banish this feeling by doing something.

What I'm Reading Wednesday

Jul. 26th, 2017 04:42 pm
angrboda: A pile of opened books (Books)
[personal profile] angrboda
It's been ages since I've done this. Again.

Still slowly but surely making my way through The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. I've taken to listening while ironing instead of watching Netflix, so I can get a chapter or two in that way. About 75% of the way through now.

Also still reading The Scarab Path, but I'm quite close to the end. After that, this series will no longer be re-read, because this is as far as I ever got. I do remember the stuff that's going on in the book right now, but I'm quite pleased to not being able to remember what the big mystery was or even if an answer was given yet. I've got a suspicion, but on the other hand rather doubt it can be that simple. Also, more than ever I want to firmly whack a specific character over the head with a shovel. I remember growing to disliking that character over the course of this book the first time around, and it has happened all over again. Very much hope they will get over it. Soon. Soon would be good.

Finally, I've found myself suddenly picking up the first book of the Belgariad series by David Eddings and proceeding to chew through three more and half of a fourth. So actually nearly finished with the series. Again x many. Intend to power straight through the Mallorean series as well afterwards. Familarity = good de-stressor.
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