Simon Bisson: Friends' Entries
28th August 2016
rfmcdpei @ : [ISL] "Last mammoths on Alaska island likely died of thirst"
CBC reported on the grim findings of the researchers who determined why the mammoths of Alaska's Saint Paul Island, last of their kind, died out.
St. Paul Island's mammoths were a vulnerable population that probably never numbered more than 30, [one researcher] estimates. Pinpointing the cause of their extinction "just sort of underscores the precariousness of small island populations to what seems like fairly subtle environmental change."
rfmcdpei @ : [URBAN NOTE] "Radical Flâneuserie"
3 Quarks Daily linked to Lauren Elkin's article in The Paris Review looking at the experience of women wanderers in cities, the flâneuses, and the ways in which their experiences are guided and limited.
There’s something so attractive about wandering aimlessly through the city, taking it all in (especially if we’re wearing Hermès while we do it). We all, deep down, want to detach from our lives. The flâneur, since everyone wants to be one, has a long history of being many different things to different people, to such an extent that the concept has become one of these things we point to without really knowing what we mean—a kind of shorthand for urban, intellectual, curious, cosmopolitan. This is what Hermès is counting on: that we will associate Hermès products with those values and come to believe that buying them will reinforce those aspects of ourselves.
rfmcdpei @ : [URBAN NOTE] "Walking the grid of freedom"
I love Kalypso Nicolaïdis' autobiographical essay at Open Democracy about his experience of Manhattan's liberating grid of streets. Beautiful writing, lovely photos.
Freedom is the original promise. Once upon a time, we were born to a thousand paths…
rfmcdpei @ : [URBAN NOTE] "Sarnia mayor invites 1,500 American ‘invaders’ to return to city as tourists"
MacLean's carries this Canadian Press article reporting on one official response from the southwestern Ontario city of Sarnia, across the border from Michigan, to an event that saw more than a thousand Americans swept across to Canada.
The mayor of an Ontario border city that was unwittingly visited by 1,500 wayward Americans over the weekend said he’d like them to come back someday — but this time with money, clothes and passports.
rfmcdpei @ : [URBAN NOTE] "Tunnel Visions: The KC Streetcar"
Returning to his blog, Toronto writer Andrew Barton writes about his experience of Kansas City's new streetcar route. He approves of it. Can it be made to heal a wounded downtown? One has hope, after reading his account.
Every once in a while I hop out of Toronto, land in some other city with some other light- or heavy-rail transit system, and look around at different ways of getting around by rail, whether it's on the ground, under it, or above it all.
rfmcdpei @ : [URBAN NOTE] "TTC operator slashed with 'edged weapon' at Eglinton station"
CBC reports on a sad crime committed at Eglinton station. I only hope the person responsible will be apprehended soon.
A Toronto Transit Commission bus driver was slashed with an "edged weapon" at Eglinton station after leaving a washroom early Saturday.
rfmcdpei @ : [BLOG] Some Sunday links
mdlbear @ : Done last week (20160821Su - 27Sa)
Moderately productive. Two "publishing events".
Apart from that, and a bunch of Quora answers, not a whole lot going on. One my Quora answers led to a good discussion on the comment thread. Fairly prodctive at work, though as usual not quite as much as I wanted to be.
One particularly interesting article for the programmers in the audience, Developer Differences: Makers vs Menders, which seems to describe me fairly well.
Also of note, the first episode of the Lesbian Historic Motif Project Podcast: Ordinary Women by Heather Rose Jones (hrj on LJ) is up.( Notes & links, as usualCollapse )
[Crossposted from mdlbear.dreamwidth.org, where it has comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments are allowed on DW only]
Current Mood: ok
ffutures @ : Today's boot sale bargains...
A very dead Pentax SP1000 with a no-name 28mm lens for a fiver
A working Praktica MTL3 body with 50mm f1.8 lens for a tenner
A set of canon-fit manual extension tubes for a quid.
And a Psion Organiser CM with 16k memory module for a quid.
If I can't make some profit from that lot I'm really not trying...
nwhyte @ : Dido Queen of Carthage, by Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Nashe
While on holiday, I read the complete plays of Christopher Marlowe, my first encounter directly with his work. It was very interesting; I know Shakespeare to a certain extent (I read/listened to the entire canon a few years ago, starting here), and was struck by both the similarities and the differences between them. Marlowe died, of course, just as Shakespeare was getting started; experts trace several direct references to Marlowe's works in Shakespeare's plays.
I have some general thoughts about Marlowe, but I am going to save them to the end. First, I'm going to write up the six (or seven) surviving plays here, one by one, giving you my conclusions at the end.
I'm starting therefore with:
Dido, Queen of Carthage
Second speech of third scene (Act 2 Scene 1):
ACHATES: Why stands my sweet Æneas thus amaz'd?This is the first play printed in the Complete Works although it's not clear if it was the first historically performed or written, published only the year after the authors death. Mostly it's a dramatisation of the Dido story from the Æneid, which would have been been well known to the audience (quite a different situation from the other plays where the stories are more original).
But Marlowe (with input from Nashe) bulks up two elements in particular. First, he gives Dido herself lots more to do and say than Virgil did. She is his only strong female protagonist, and although she is hopelessly and irrationally in love with Æneas (who is not such an attractive character here) this is not because she is a weak woman, it is because she is being toyed with by the gods; having been set up in a difficult situation by divine caprice, she otherwise retains agency to the end.
To the core love story, Marlowe adds a number of other romances (again, unlike his other plays and unlike the original story). Most obviously, the play opens by showing us the man/boy relationship between Jupiter and Ganymede. But there are other non-standard relationships too, and I'm struck that Marlowe was not playing them for laughs but as real situations in the terms of the story.
I wasn't able to find any audio or video of Dido online. That seems a shame to me; it's not too complex and I think would be particularly good on audio. It was apparently first written (or at least first performed) by child (=teenage) actors. The Marlowe Society has a good overiew of it here.
greygirlbeast @ : Howard Hughes, More Shit
Yesterday, I emailed the editor for whom I was trying to write "Beyond the Laughing Sky," and I bowed out of the book. The deadline was fast approaching, and I explained that, realistically, given this dry spell, this bout of writer's block, this What-The-Fuck-Ever, it was unrealistic of me to think I could actually complete that story now. I think I felt relief for about two minutes, and then I just felt like shit. There is no relief in admitting defeat. I hope to try and come back to the story, someday.
Cooler weather today. I think we're going to RISD.
On average, I spend a good fourteen hours a day in this room, which is about eleven feet by eleven feet. And, for the most part, that's the way things have been for the last eight years. Eight years and three months. Nine summers. I would imagine it's a bit like prison, only I do at least, in theory, have the freedom to leave this room whenever I wish. Still, I would imagine most prisoners get quite a bit more exercise than I do, and that most of them have more robust social lives.
We watched a bit of the Dresden Dolls show streaming from Coney island last night and reminisced about a Dolls show at the long-defunct Echo Lounge in Atlanta, twelve years ago, 16 October, 2004.
We finally finished Series 8 of Doctor Who last night. It's taken us two years to get through it. But, to my surprise, I actually enjoyed the final two-parter, "Dark Water" and "Death in Heaven." It helps that the former begins with Pink getting hit by a car. I took that as a step in the right direction. I desperately hope Series 9 is better, and I hope that the show recovers when it is finally free of Moffat. It has survived worse. Oh, and now it is canon that Time Lords can switch sex from one regeneration to the next, so there's that.
Current Mood: angry and tired and scared
realthog @ : My tweets
ann_leckie @ : Cards Against Significant Species
Y’all may remember, the other day I mentioned playing a customized Cards Against Humanity in Lieutenant Awn Elming Memorial Park. The person who brought it was kind enough to let me take the deck home, and now if you find yourself wanting to play CASS, either online or in person, well, click this link and you’ll find several ways to do that. Scroll down for links to various ways to play online, or download a pdf of the cards you can print on regular paper and cut out, or even (if you’re feeling extravagant) pay someone to make them into nice cards and mail them to you.
When I expressed my ignorance as to how the “play online” part worked, I got this back from badgerterritory:
It looks like there’s also an app you can add to Chrome or to your phone, too. I haven’t tried any of it and don’t know how the various methods work, but it looks like fun, and not just for this particular customized deck.
Meantime, have some screenshots of a game from a couple weeks ago:
Incidentally, some of the response cards are in-jokes. #not for AL is the tag Tumblr users put on posts about the books they would prefer I not read (I’ve got that tag blacklisted), and “Cousiiiin” is a reference to this lovely bit of fan art. No doubt there are others I don’t recognize because I’m not in on the joke myself. At any rate, it was great fun to play.
Also incidentally, at first there were just a couple of us playing so we pulled one card off the “response” pile every turn and threw it in with the couple of others. We decided that was Station’s card. We kept it up even after the number of folks playing grew, because of course Station was playing, but also because actually, Station was winning.
There is also a special rule for this deck, if you wish to play it this way: If you draw more than two “Anaander Mianaai” cards (there are quite a few in the deck, as is only appropriate) you may discard and redraw all but one card. You are now stuck with that card the entire game. This situation never came up, so I don’t know how that plays, but there you go, in case you want it.
Mirrored from Ann Leckie.
rfmcdpei @ : [PHOTO] Around the Long River Church, Avonlea Village, Cavendish
The Long River Presbyterian Church, built in 1874 on the western end of the Island's North Shore for a Scottish Presbyterian community, would have decayed into ruin if not for the chance of L.M. Montgomery having attended service there on numerous occasions, when she was with her family in the area. The church was moved to Avonlea Village, where it was eventually rebuilt.
In 2008, Teresa Wright wrote in The Guardian of Charlottetown about how this Church was going to be made into a theatre, for local drama and music. This new incarnation succeeded--there is currently a nightly music show scheduled--but I wonder what the church's founders would have thought of their sacred building's second life. Apparently, as one history placard I photographed recounts, the introduction of music to services was controversial.
These history placards introduce the church to visitors.
The wooden beams stand exposed, over the stage and above the pews.
rfmcdpei @ : [PHOTO] Eight photos from the Bloorcourt Arts & Crafts Fair (#bloorcourtfestival)
I was off work yesterday evening early enough to catch the last hours of the Bloorcourt Arts & Crafts Fair, on Bloor Street West east from Dufferin. Even at 6 o'clock, there was still a healthy crowd on the streets, looking at the vendors' displays or eating and drinking on the patios or just hanging out. They only began putting away the inevitable bouncy castle by 7.
irregular_comic @ : Irregular Webcomic! #3521
"Whence" is a cool word.
Basically, it simply means "from where". You can just do a search and replace, replacing every instance of "whence" with "from where", and things should read correctly.
In particular, the correct usage is, "I shall return you whence you came," since this translates to, "I shall return you from where you came." You don't need an extra "to" or "from" anywhere.
"Whence" is one of a class of so-called pro-forms in English - a set of inflected pronouns which includes such words as "whither", "yonder", "thither", "thence", and "whomsoever". Many of these have dropped from common modern English usage, but they're still hanging around if you want to make use of them.
feorag @ : My tweets
marypcb @ : My tweets
nwhyte @ : Death and disability
One of B's housemates died last week. He was 40, and just didn't wake up one morning. Like her, he would have been unable to tell anyone that his tummy felt sore, or his chest felt tight, or his head felt funny, and of course it might not have made a difference anyway. (I assume that the necessary investigations into cause of death have been made, and I don't expect to hear the outcome; we're not his family.)
I went to see B yesterday for the first time since our holiday (and obviously the first time since her housemate died). She was, simply, sad, and wept tears of grief beside me as we walked in the gardens. I'm sure that she knows that a sad thing has happened and that the chap who used to sleep over there isn't there any more; I'm certain that she will have picked up on the mood among the carers, who of course are devastated. The cliche is that autistic people lack empathy; this simply isn't true.
B doesn't do cuddles, but I was glad to be able to take her out for a small change of scene. I drove her to a couple of favourite walking spots but, while she enjoyed the drive, she wasn't interested in leaving the car (this is normal enough if she is feeling under the weather) and then required a lot of persuasion to go back to her house at the end of the trip. Again, I'm not terribly surprised that she wasn't rushing back to the awareness of a new absence.
B's own lifespan should in principle be the same as anyone else's, meaning that she may well outlive us by a couple of decades. On the other hand, she too may miss out on diagnosis of some life-threatening condition because she cannot tell anyone where the sore bit is. Neither of those thoughts really helps me sleep at nights.
nwhyte @ : Interesting Links for 28-08-2016
27th August 2016
kevin_standlee @ : 2016 Worldcon Road Trip Day 12: Green River UT to Wendover NV (with Lots of Rocks)
Once we decided to go home via the faster route via Wendover rather than via Ely, the more direct route would have been via US-6, roughly paralleling the D&RGW (now Union Pacific) Railroad. However, we've driven that way before, and things we read yesterday about Interstate 70 in its final run to its western terminus in Utah led Lisa to suggest that we follow I-70 west to explore the San Rafael Swell, so we did. As Lisa did all of the driving, I had time to take lots of pictures.
( Leaving Green RiverCollapse )
Devoid of services west of Green River I-70 may be, but not devoid of scenery, especially if you like impressive mesas.
( Silly Hobbits to Climb Into Those MountainsCollapse )
I took a whole lot of photos of the passage through the Swell, which I have posted to their own album on Flickr.
At Salina, we left I-70, which runs a few miles farther to the southwest where it terminates at I-15 near Richfield.
( Through Utah, Bound for Northern NevadaCollapse )
The Red Garter is a bit of a disappointment after all of the Holiday Inn Express properties, even somewhat lackluster ones like the one in Green River UT. There is no fridge, the rooms are small, and there is no elevator, so we had to lump our bags up to the second floor. But there is a bed and a bathroom, and we don't need a whole lot more tonight.
Tomorrow, we go home. I think it's about time, too.
Current Mood: tired
28th August 2016
27th August 2016
james_nicoll @ : Today I learned (2)
There is an ebook of this influential work, which I have never read. It was published by Pickle Partners Publishing earlier this month.
Who are Pickle Partners Publishing? I cannot seem to find a website.
Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment(s); comment here or there.
nwhyte @ : Saturday reading
Watership Down, by Richard Adams (finishing up at a chapter a day)
Cuckoo Song, by Frances Hardinge
The Apex Book of World SF: Volume 4, ed. Usman T. Malik
Brother and Sister, by Joanna Trollope
Last books finished
The Sea and Summer, by George Turner
Planet of Judgement, by Joe Haldeman
Les Lumières de l'Amalou, by Christophe Gibelin and Claire Wendling
The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny, Vol 3: This Mortal Mountain
Last week's audios
You Are the Doctor, by John Dorney
Come Die With Me, by Jamie Anderson
The Grand Betelgeuse Hotel, by Christopher Cooper
Dead to the World, by Matthew Elliott
Even Dogs in the Wild, by Ian Rankin
Paper Girls, by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang
Short Trips: A Day In The Life, ed. Ian Farrington
rfmcdpei @ : [BRIEF NOTE] On tonight's conjunction of Venus and Jupiter
From Space.com's Calla Cofield:
Just above the horizon, Venus and Jupiter will appear so close to each other that, from some locations, the two planets will almost seem to touch. The next time Venus and Jupiter will get this close will be in November 2065.
From Bad Astronomy's Phil Plait:
Closest approach (what astronomers call the appulse, but is more colloquially and commonly called a conjunction) will be on Saturday at 22:00 UTC (18:00 Eastern U.S. time), and at that time they’ll be an incredible four arcminutes apart. That’s only one-seventh the width of the full Moon on the sky!* In fact Jupiter appears half an arc minute across, so Venus will only be about eight times Jupiter’s diameter away!
My only question is whether, by 8:30 tonight, I should be down by the waterfront, or up Dufferin towards the escarpment.
26th August 2016
27th August 2016
feorag @ : My tweets
rfmcdpei @ : [URBAN NOTE] Two links on the questionable prospects of the Arctic port of Churchill, Manitoba
Scott Gilmore of MacLean's wrote in the atmospheric Abandoned Churchill" about the distress of people in the northern Manitoba port of Churchill, a perpetually promising port on Hudson's Bay, that their port is being shut down.
I flew up to Churchill in a small private plane, with a map in my lap so I could trace our progress north.
In the National Post, Brian Hutchinson's "Port in a storm" also looks at length at the dire situation for the town. Without the port--something that might well be useful in time of global warning--what point is there to keep Churchill, isolated in the far north, functioning as a community?
Bobby deMeulles sits at his usual perch, next to a window at the Reef coffee shop, keeping an eye on Churchill’s main drag, and beyond that, the town’s old train station and the tracks.
rfmcdpei @ : [URBAN NOTE] "Why Toronto loves nostalgia events right now"
I'm not sure that I agree with the argument in Amy Grief's blogTO article. Or is it that I don't want to agree? What does it say about us now that we seek to revisit our childhoods in adulthood?
It might be 2016, but it feels an awful like the 1990s in Toronto as local venues keep hosting throwback dance parties, themed nights and other retro events that aim to appeal to a millennial audience eager to relive their childhood.
rfmcdpei @ : [URBAN NOTE] On the struggle of North Preston to rebrand
Douglas Quan's National Post article "North Preston, N.S., is synonymous with a notorious pimping gang. Now residents want to reclaim its name" looks at how the largely African-Canadian Nova Scotia community of North Preston is trying to recover from the terrible PR associated with a violent human-trafficking gang.
One of the first things you notice when you enter this community northeast of Halifax is a large billboard that tells you you’re in “Canada’s Largest Black Community.” It’s followed by a slogan: “We’ve Come This Far by Faith!”
rfmcdpei @ : [URBAN NOTE] "Would Germany Be Wealthier if Berlin Didn't Exist?"
Feargus O'Sullivan at CityLab noted a recent study observing that Berlin, unique among major European capitals, is poorer than the national average. This does highlight Berlin's particular problems, he suggests, but also notes the extent to which Germany outside of its capital is prosperous.
Germany would actually be better off without Berlin. That, at least, might be the skim-read conclusion to be drawn from a challenging new report from Cologne’s Institute of German Economy. The report, released Tuesday, notes that Germany’s per capita GDP would actually be higher if Berlin and its population were removed from national economic figures.
rfmcdpei @ : [URBAN NOTE] "Man lay low for five decades believing he was illegal"
The Toronto Star's Nicholas Keung tells the sad story of a man who hid from the Canadian government for five decades in the belief he lacked legal immigrant status, only to find out otherwise. I'm not sure if this story can be used to indicate anything, policy-wise; it sounds almost too extreme.
For more than half a century, Steven Dugalin believed he didn’t have legal status in Canada and could be deported at any moment.
rfmcdpei @ : [URBAN NOTE] "Gay Caribbean man granted refugee status after three year fight"
Daily Xtra's Arshy Mann notes the happy news that a GLBT refugee claimant from the Caribbean has secured refugee status.
It took Rolston Ryan, who now lives in Toronto, six legal proceedings, include two trips to the Federal Court, to finally be acknowledged as a refugee.
papersky @ : Reeds
The reeds beside the water whisper still
Old secrets long entrusted, Midas's ears
And Caesar's wife, the wind that hears
Bears sussurus away and always will.
Tall reeds that bend, that fall before a knife,
What secrets do you know and still keep well?
Your whispering heads are bent and will not tell
What you could say that still might touch on life.
Oh reeds, in green, and brown, and summer gold,
New secrets learn from me, new words to rhyme,
Whisper to winds the tales thus far untold
By reeds or people, rocketships that climb
And long-lived lives, and answers that unfold,
Among the hopes and dreams of future time.
(This one wasn't going to be a sonnet, and then it was. You know, some people are very interested in the difference between science fiction and fantasy. I am too.)
Brought to you by my excellent Patrons at Patreon, and so was yesterday's even if I forgot to say so.
cherylmmorgan @ : Whisky Tasting Redux
As Twitter followers will know, last night I attended a whisky tasting given by the fabulous folks at Independent Spirit in Bath. Chris Scullion is enormously knowledgeable about whisky and always worth listening to. Last night’s tasting focused on things that were new in stock, so it was a bit of a mixed bag.
There are a couple of things I want to mention from last night. The first is the question of non-proprietary bottlings. Normally whisky distilleries are incredibly protective of their brands. Nevertheless, casks of malt whisky do sometimes find their way onto the market. Mostly these are sold with made-up names, though the disguise is often tissue-thin. Once in a while, however, the independent bottler will do a really good job and the distillery will allow the use of their name. The final whisky in last night’s tasting was a 7-year-old Talisker from Douglas Laing which does bear the distillery name. Very nice it was too.
One of the malts in the tasting was a Tullibardine. That’s not a well-known distillery, but it is notable for two reasons. Firstly the bottles carry a date of 1488. That’s the year in which King James IV of Scotland stopped by to purchase beer for his coronation. Making whisky is a much more recent activity at the site, but the distillery still proudly trumpets its royal connection.
Tullibardine, however, is no longer Scottish owned. The current owners are a French family who are primarily in the wine business. Their name is Picard, and we all know what that will mean some time in the far future. For now, however, it just means that they have access to some very interesting barrels in which to mature the whisky. The malt that we had last night was the Tullibardine 225, which is matured in Sauternes casks. That gives it a very different, and very fruity, flavor. They also do the Tullibardine 228 which is matured in Burgundy casks. Personally I prefer the 225, but they are both very interesting.
My thanks again to Chris for a fabulous evening. If you do happen to be in Bath, do pop into the shop and say hello.
james_nicoll @ : The thing that caught my eye about this tor.com post
Is that the very first comment was nuked:
Comment removed; consult our Moderation Policy for guidelines.
I bet even without having seen it, I can make an educated guess why.
Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment(s); comment here or there.