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the three things you need

On Twitter people were posting the three things they need to write. It was interesting because people were taking it in all sorts of different ways--very abstract or big-picture, or very particular and concrete. Some were external things and some were internal. So for instance, Virginia Molhere listed "A decent pen (non-traditional ink color helpful)" as one of her three, and Aliette de Bodard listed "A universe (basic idea of the thought system and where my MC is on the scale)."

Care to share your three? Not limited to writing--apply it to the creative endeavor of your choice.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/878295.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

A card for Mrs. Escobar

Valentine's day just happened, but this little valentine was apparently given to Mrs. Escobar not in February but in June--June 2011.

That year, Mrs. Escobar must have been reading A Cup of Friendship (my book group's next read)--it was the year the book came out. Alina gave one of those pictures that switch between one scene and another depending on how you tilt them (this one is either one elephant or several), pasted on a small piece of paper and with a pink heart colored around it.

Mrs. Escobar stuck it in the book and lost it when it got returned to the library. But that was six-and-a-half years ago. The book surely circulated after that. Everyone else who borrowed the book left it in?

Or did Mrs. Escobar maybe only read the book a few months ago, using an old card from Alina as a bookmark? And then the bookmark was returned with the book?

I think I'll leave it in the book too. It can be a treat for someone else to find. Mrs. Escobar, Alina, and all the future readers of this copy of A Cup of Friendship

found in a book

found in a book

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/877894.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

Kitchen guest

I wrote this just now. I think I'm calling it "kitchen guest"

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/877412.html. Comments are welcome at either location.


Sora News 24, an English-language aggregator of fun or interesting stories from Japan, featured this video under the headline "Experience the moment the local gods cross a frozen Lake Suwa." Krista Rogers writes,

When the lake’s surface freezes, pressure ridges form on the ice due to the presence of a natural hot spring beneath its waters. This awe-inspiring sight is known as omiwatari, which can be rendered into English along the lines of “gods’ crossing.” According to local lore, the ridges are actually the pathways of the gods as they travel between the four building complexes of the Suwa Grand Shrine located on opposite sides of the lake.

In the video, you can hear the ice creaking under the pressure, and then, suddenly, there's a loud crack, whiteness spreads like lightning, and the ice buckles and explodes upward. The gods have made their crossing. There are two views of the moment, at 1:10 and 2:16. The second view is looking at the guy who filmed the first view. Thanks to Wakanomori for sharing!

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/877154.html. Comments are welcome at either location.


physics question

Your poem reminded me about some thoughts I'd been having re: weight/mass and gravity, [personal profile] amaebi!

If you imagine something the size of a baseball, but that you are unable to pick up because it's so heavy, then that item is going to affect the ground it's on more/differently than a baseball would. If the ground is soft, the uncannily heavy ball is going to sink into it more, right? And if it were so heavy that an earthmover couldn't lift it up, it would--under normal physics--probably sink deep into the ground, right? Because an earth mover could scoop up **underneath** it otherwise--and the only way that wouldn't work would be if the thing were at the bottom--which it would be, if it were heavier/more massy than stuff around it... right?

So if you want to have an item that can't be lifted, but **doesn't** deform the land around it in this way, then normal physics aren't in operation.

... Is that correct?

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/876819.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

Provenance, by Ann Leckie

I loved it! Here's a non-spoilery review (duplicates what I've put up at Goodreads)

The book's called Provenance, and it's a perfect title, because where things--or people--come from and what (who) they really are is a central theme. The main character, Ingray, is the daughter of a powerful politician from the Hwae system--only actually she's a child from a public crèche, and that sense of her own insignificant roots weighs heavily on her and affects her actions. Hwae society is very wrapped up in what they call vestiges, a term that indicates everything from historical artifacts to personal mementos and souvenirs (one thing that Ann Leckie is excellent at is strange-ifying things--like museums or the importance of artifacts--to reveal stuff about human nature), but what if foundational vestiges are false? The two people Ingray first interacts with are also of mysterious provenance, and their claimed identities change.

In terms of story, there are multiple plots and schemes interacting, from the very personal (Ingray's competition with her brother) to the statewide (Ingray's family is in competition with another family for influence) to the regional planetary (a neighboring federacy wants to manipulate or pressure Hwae into granting it certain concessions that will work to its advantage in the region) to the galactic (the treaty with alien species, which *no* one wants broken, but which is at constant risk).

Ingray is a **very** different protagonist from Breq (from the Imperial Radch trilogy--Ancillary Justice etc.): she's not superhuman in the least, and that makes her bravery extra-impressive ... and very persuasive. When you see her doing things she's terrified of doing but that she feels she has to do to for the sake of people she cares about, it's inspiring! Makes you believe maybe you could too. Not that that's what the book's aiming for, but it's a great side benefit.

And there's humor threaded through the book, whether it's the fact that "compassionate removal" is the Hwaen euphemism for prison or the fact that the Radchaai ambassador to the Presger just can't keep pronouns straight. There are also some uproarious examples of insufficient machine translation.

And some really marvelous aliens. Folks, you will love the Geck ambassador. She's just wonderful.

I'll mention a couple of things I was less enthusiastic about just to acknowledge that they were present: there was a budding romance for Ingray that felt unnecessary and a bit shoehorned in: the object of affection was an interesting person who did bring out the best in Ingray at some key moments, and I could see how *in time* affection/romance might bloom, but Ingray's attention--rightly--was completely elsewhere most of the time, so.

There's also a lot of explaining that goes on. I didn't mind this exactly--I think it's good to make stuff clear to your readers--But sometimes I felt that the level and wide-rangingness of the discussion wasn't credible for a situation. In the end, though, I decided to accept it as an artistic choice, like accepting in a detective story when the detective gathers all the suspects in a room at the end to go over what happened. It was a conscious decision, though.

But let me get back to my main point. This is an excellent, immersive, surprising, fun, thought-provoking, and moving book. Highly recommended.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/876781.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

A Spanish lesson with Lucio

Lucio Perez came to the United States from Guatemala in the 1990s, undocumented. He's worked here peacefully ever since and never been in any trouble, but he came to the attention of ICE in 2009 when he and his wife stepped into a Dunkin Donuts, leaving their kids in the car. Charges against him were dropped but--well, you can guess how the story goes. He ended up scheduled for deportation in October 2017. Instead, he took sanctuary in an Amherst church and has been there ever since.

Photo of Lucio and his daughter Lucy, taken by Sarah Crosby for the Hampshire Gazette

The community has rallied around him and his family, but life has been very tough for them--emotionally, because the family only can visit three times a week, but also financially, since he obviously isn't able to work at his previous job.

As one way to earn some money, he's been offering group and private Spanish conversation lessons. Although it's not something I could afford to make a regular habit, I took one of the private ones--it's money toward a good cause and beneficial for me, too.

more about the lessonCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/876524.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

parking lot treasure

The parking lot at the supermarket was thick with road salt, as if they're expecting a storm, but I don't think there's a storm coming.

It's not much to look at in this photo, but: all the white spots are salt crystals.

road salt in a parking lot

It was so beautiful up close, like gemstones:

up close with the road salt

You might gather them up and count yourself rich, only to have the dissolve if--well, if what? If you kept them in a velvet-lined box you'd probably never be the wiser. But if you tried to set them in silver or gold to wear at your neck or wrists, you'd be in for a sad surprise.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/876152.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

This cat is very strange...

Last week's prompt for the students in Holyoke was "This cat is very strange ..." I did a couple of illustrations to go with some students' descriptions:

This cat looks like a dog. The cat ears are hanging to the floor, has a long tail but the cat skin is red and blue.

Then there was this cat:

I was in the park and I seen a cat with three eyes looking at a bird.

What did you think when you saw this three-eyed cat?

He has a better chance of catching the bird! LOL

A few students were suspicious of black cats, though when I asked one if black cats were bad luck, she said,
No, cats are not bad luck, they just cats. They are good of seeing ghosts around, though.

When looking for an image to illustrate that woman's writing, I found this fun story about Sable, the crossing-guard cat, who comes out every day to watch the kids safely cross the street to school in the morning and leaving school in the afternoon.

Sable has been watching over the students from across the street for about a year. Tamara Morrison owns the cat. She says one day, Sable just walked outside to greet the students, and he's been doing it ever since ... [Tamara] has now bought a safety vest for Sable to make him an honorary member of the Enterprise Safety Patrol.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/875829.html. Comments are welcome at either location.


A guy I follow on Twitter is doing a couple of polls about greens (the things you eat, not the members of the political party... I mean if you're a cannibal that distinction might not be valid but I suspect for most of you it is, plus--no capitalization!)

Here is a link.

For those of you as click-averse as I am, there are two groups of greens:

First group:


Second group:

beet greens
mustard greens
turnip greens

You have to choose your favorite for cooking in each group. (You can go vote if you want--it will add a new dimension to his polling base.)

So .... do you all have favorites? Opinions? Beloved recipes? I cook spinach, kale, and beet greens; I have cooked mustard greens now and then, and sometimes chard. I did not know you could *eat* turnip greens--it's an exciting new piece of information.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/875694.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

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