Reading Wednesday

Aug. 23rd, 2017 12:26 pm
yuuago: (Small Trolls - Veeti - Skygazing)
[personal profile] yuuago
Last Finished: My Brother's Husband by Gengoroh Tagame. Absolutely lovely manga. The library only has the first volume right now, but hopefully they'll get the rest as it becomes available - I really want to read more of it.

Currently Reading: Forge by Jan Zwicky. Poetry collection, Canadian author. Lots of inspiration taken from classical music here. Also little sprinklings of winter imagery here and there, which is nice. Definitely one that I'll keep and read again.

Also currently reading: Still picking my way through With Fire and Sword by Henryk Sienkiewicz. I wish this came divided into two books; I'd probably be finished it by now if it were more portable.

Reading Next: I took Trans/Portraits by Jackson Wright Shultz out from the library, but... it seems a bit heavy for bus-reading. Might pick up something else first, depending on when I'm done with the poetry.

Nice and tidy~ ☆

Aug. 22nd, 2017 08:03 pm
yuuago: (DDADDS - Damien - Glam)
[personal profile] yuuago
I spent a good portion of Sunday cleaning out my cosmetic drawers. I feel like I have SO MUCH ROOM now.

Cosmetics blathering )
gramarye1971: white teacup of green tea with wooden chopsticks (Tea and Chopsticks)
[personal profile] gramarye1971
...considering that I've got tickets to head back to Japan in three months, I should probably finish my trip report from last October. -_-;; Forth, into the North.

Previously:
Day 0/0.5 - Planes and trains
Day 1 - Akita and Aomori
Day 2 - Osorezan

I'd moved my trip to Osorezan to Sunday because the northern Japan weather forecast for Monday was not promising: constant drizzly rain with some heavier showers possible. At dinner on Sunday, Friend J and I discussed our plans to cross the Tsugaru Strait via the underground train tunnel and get to Hakodate, the northern terminus of the Hokkaido Shinkansen line, and see if we could go elsewhere in Hokkaido if weather permitted.

(Note: Hakodate is pronounced as its individual syllables indicate -- Ha-ko-da-te -- and not "Hako-date" as in "month and date.")

Since we had only one day to work with and didn't want to stay in Hokkaido much past 6 PM, we looked over our options and decided that a trip to Sapporo as well would be out of the question -- too far to go without an overnight stay. On the off-chance that the weather was nicer than expected and we really wanted to go off the beaten path, we stopped by the train station and got the friendly (albeit somewhat perplexed) JR employees to issue us with tickets for the shinkansen from Aomori to Hakodate, and then for the Hokuto Limited Express to the city of Muroran further down the coast. Muroran is a old steel-and-shipping town, the kind of decaying industrial city that I'm familiar with from my Rust Belt childhood, and J and I selected it as a possible excursion point because we literally knew nothing about it and wanted to become less ignorant about a part of Japan that most people almost certainly would not think to visit. The JR employees were very helpful in getting our tickets in order and did not show any confusion as to what on earth might have prompted these two giant foreigners to want to visit the Japanese equivalent of Steel City or Wigan Pier.

The following day, however, the weather forecast looked wet and dismal enough that we decided not to go to Muroran after all, and instead chose to stay in Hakodate until our return train. (I was still struggling with a head cold, which at this point had progressed to a constantly dripping nose and a near-complete loss of taste and smell.) However, the rain and the head cold were instrumental in leading us on an interesting, uh, adventure.

Hakodate in the rain, and an unexpected museum visit. )

So that was the adventure of Hakodate. The next day, we'd be heading south for the second leg of the trip. Onward to the onsen town!

Eclipse!

Aug. 21st, 2017 09:55 pm
allekha: (Tibet~)
[personal profile] allekha
Here in Greenville, the weather held. We claimed a nice spot by the river, a little while before the eclipse began, and I enjoyed playing with some new lenses for my phone camera and splashing in the water to cool off, reading more Genji. It was hot, but we'd brought umbrellas (unfortunately, I left my real parasols at home) and water in a cooler and plenty of sunscreen and even a couple of folding fans, so we were fine.

And then it started, and I kept going into the river to look at it through some sun binoculars, taking breaks to read more. Here and there the sun was covered by clouds for a few minutes, but for the most part it was beautifully clear. After a while, it was noticeably dimmer. My dad and I went across the river to go get ice cream (which turned into getting frozen yogurt for the three of us) and got back with about ten or twelve minutes to spare before totality. There were no clouds threatening the view, and the leaves were making pretty crescent shadows. Everyone was buzzing with excitement. (Everyone was also using proper eye protection \o/)

I didn't manage to finish eating before the moon really started coming to cover the last sliver. It was so strange to watch the light dim - of course it got darker, but it wasn't darker like at sunset, where the world goes paler and blue; it was like someone had just turned a dimmer switch down on the sun, with the colors intact. I kept thinking about how these eclipses probably freaked out a lot of pre-modern societies. Honestly, even I, who would be able to give a good explanation of the mechanics behind eclipses, complete with diagrams, without having to look anything up, was freaked out. The light was just unnatural.

Someone put up a cheer for science. Someone cheered, "Go, moon, go, moon--". I watched through the binoculars as the moon inched in that last little bit, and then it was gone and I couldn't see anything until I dropped them.

It really was not an experience that can be properly put into words, or seen in a video, or in those pretty photos of the corona shining around the moon. The air was dim and cool and the sky was pale and yellow at the edges, and I absolutely could not tear my eyes from the sun and moon. It was so awe-inspiring that I started to sob looking at it, this spectacular coincidence of our moon being just the right size to make the sun go away. It was so beautiful. It was one of the most magical, lovely things I've ever seen.

People shouted warnings. We went back to safe viewing. People cheered again as the sun started to peek out once more. It was still dim enough that my mom and I, who have sensitive eyes, could sit and look around in the sunshine without our sunglasses. In true Millenial fashion, I took a selfie with her to commemorate the occasion.

I understand how people become eclipse chasers, now. I'm hoping to make the 2024 one. My mom has thrown out the possibility of us trying to see the Antarctica one in 2021, if all works out. It was 100% worth three days of travel to come see (though as my dad pointed out, at least I didn't have to drive).

(no subject)

Aug. 21st, 2017 11:30 am
dustbunny105: (Default)
[personal profile] dustbunny105
I am so freaking excited for the eclipse, you guys! By sheer chance, I'm off today and so I won't have to miss it. I don't think we're going to have a view of the total coverage here, which is too bad, but I've got a pair of those glasses handy and I'm gonna keep an eye out for any photographs. In the meantime, I've got the countdown timer open in a tab and I'm watching it like a mother hen watches her chicks. I'm thinking of doing something crafty for the occasion too...

Anyone else watching?

ETA: Made myself a cute little eclipse hairclip! Just in time to start~

Spawn of the ETA: Here's a picture:

IMG_20170821_131836

(no subject)

Aug. 19th, 2017 10:44 pm
allekha: (Japan and China learnings)
[personal profile] allekha
After a long day of driving, we finally made it to Greenville, South Carolina, very much ready for the eclipse. On the way, we drove through some pretty country backroads, discussed how none of us are ever moving to Virginia*, and stopped at an actual working antique waterwheel mill (I love waterwheels) and a tiny town museum with an exhibit about the change of agriculture in Virginia. (*mostly because we do not really get or like the Thing Virginia has for slaveholding traitorous Confederate generals)

From the little bit of walking around we did near our hotel, Greenville seems like a nice place. At least, it's pretty when you're right on the river. We scoped out potential places to sit and watch the eclipse, if we get there early enough to claim them.

The one thing that keeps surprising me on this trip is the southern accent. I moved several hours north, and I don't hear any difference between how people in my hometown speak and how people up north speak, and only barely any difference when I've gone to California, which is on the other coast. But maybe a couple of hours south of my hometown, there are the southern accents. And it somehow sounds more different to me than, say, British accents; I guess I'm more used to hearing those from TV and British YouTubers.

I have not yet admitted defeat on the awful Tibetan culture book, but the thought of having only that to read on this trip gave me a feeling akin to dread, so I brought my copy of The Tale of Genji instead. After two chapters, so far I like it, but I think I need to start drawing relationship charts because I'm already starting to get lost with regard to how everyone's related. I think afterward I might see if I can grab a copy of the Seidensticker translation from the library just to see how he translated the poems; I've already seen examples of his prose translations and it's so blunt and bleh. But poetry is a different matter.

Otakon!

Aug. 19th, 2017 12:33 am
allekha: (Young Victor waving)
[personal profile] allekha
Haven't been around the Internet much lately, between work, traveling, Otakon, and now more work and more traveling - my parents and I are headed to see the eclipse on Monday, so this post is brought to you from the beautiful mountainous state of Virgina. So far it's been nice - we saw a pretty little farm museum - with the one exception of the lady at the diner we stopped at for lunch trying to tell my dad that he could have the non-vegetarian soup because 'the chunks of ham are so little you hardly even notice them' (she was otherwise nice, but what??).

Anyway. Otakon! Z and I had a great time there this year.
Cut for lots of words in this con report )

✿✿✿

Aug. 18th, 2017 05:22 pm
yuuago: (YiH - Mika - Joy)
[personal profile] yuuago
Today was kind of stressful for a whole bunch of reasons. Plus, we had a ton of smoke blowing in from BC, so it was dark and smokey on top of that. Lovely. But! There are also lots of nice little things, so I'm going to concentrate on that instead.

✿ I found out that there is a lovely little walkway down by the Snye! Normally, I don't go to that area - when I was growing up, that part of the city was kind of sketchy. But it's really clean and nice now. Hopefully it won't be so smokey tomorrow; it would be so nice to go down there in the morning for a good, long walk.

✿ I asked directions from a stranger, and Did Not Die. (...I unfortunately didn't find the thing that I was looking for, either, but that's not the point.)

✿ To reward myself for Not Dying, I had cake. And it was delicious. Chocolate and raspberry with white chocolate shavings, mmm... It was quite a cake, though. I kind of wish I could have shared with someone (but only kind of). It was a lot of cake for one man to handle. (But I defeated it! So. ;V )

✿ Did a little bit of driving practice today! Result: I Did Not Die, I did not damage the vehicle, my mother did not have a heart attack, and I did not have to go out into the smokey air for a second time! Groceries were obtained! Practical left-turn practice happened! Driving during construction also happened! ... xD It was a short but fruitful session.

✿ There was a LGBT display at the library (yay!) and one of the books they had available was the manga My Brother's Husband by Gengoroh Tagame. Started reading it this afternoon; holy shit, is this manga ever adorable. And it isn't all that often that I get to read about a Canadian character in works by authors from outside Canada, so that is really nice. (Though I must admit that I find it funny that the first thing out of Mike's mouth is... profuse apologies. xD It makes sense with the situation but ffffff. Very Canadian.)

✿ It's always so nice to be able to watch artists streaming while they work. <3 Caught some of Elli's stream yesterday and today, and it's just very relaxing to watch. Plus, getting previews of what people are working on is always cool. I am SO happy to hear about the Tistow bookmark set (even though it will be a while before this comes out xD ) Prints are lovely, but kind of a pain because I have so little room in my living space. But bookmarks, now, THAT's something that I have room for, AND something I can use. Most excellent.

✿ I'm going to try a new brownie recipe tomorrow! This one, which is gluten-free and uses black beans in place of flour. I don't have GF requirements, but the idea of using beans as a flour replacement just seemed really interesting to me, so I'm looking forward to trying it. Plus, my pal Tesla recommended this one, soooo hopefully it'll turn out as nice for me as it did for her. Have any of you tried something similar?

So. Yes. Lots of nice little things. I feel pretty good. Have a nice weekend, everyone. <3

Re-experiencing Moby Dick

Aug. 17th, 2017 03:38 pm
zaelle: Kiwis are descended from T-Rex (Default)
[personal profile] zaelle
Moby Dick is my favorite American classic. I own two copies of it currently (one fancy pocket version and a big version for highlighting favorite quotes and writing in). I first read it for class in 11th grade and had the incredible privilege of being taught the book by a teacher who genuinely loved it.

<lj-cut text="More thoughts under the cut">

Most people I met who read the book hated it, or at best were indifferent to it. I had to survive reading a book draft where the author wrote about how Moby Dick is a huge waste of time because of false advertising - if you're naming the book after the whale, why do you only meet the whale in the last three chapters? I suppose the latter is a fair complaint if you picked up the book without having any expectations set for it. I was lucky to have Mr Vanderheiden tell us that Moby Dick is a book about everything - a discourse on philosophy, identity, history, religion and a person's place in the world, a description of the whaling industry at the time and the whaling towns that thrived off of it, action...basically everything. Melville wrote this book without fear, changing tone and structure or approach from one chapter to the next, before delivering a punch about...well everything really. We read through each chapter and were treated to a lively and enthusiastic discussion led by Mr Vanderheiden on the meaning of sentences, paragraphs and humankind - from beginning to end. He instilled in us a desire to at least properly read the book. Not everyone loved the book, but thanks to him, they at least were able to respect the book.

I don't reread Moby Dick as often as other books. My attempts usually fall off after the first few chapters before my time is taken up by something else (I'm pretty familiar now with Ishamael's wanderings around New Bedford and his friendship with Queequeg...and less with the voyage itself). Recently though, I discovered the Moby Dick Big Read Project, a podcast put together by Plymouth University in the UK. They call it America's great classic, which is also America's most unread classic, and the 'big read' is an attempt to reverse that. In some ways it's a shame that the book drew such an effort across the Atlantic rather than in its own home, but I'm glad that someone did it.

The Big Read is basically that - a different person reads each chapter of Moby Dick, famous and not. Chapter 1 is read by Tilda Swinton. It's fascinating to hear the book instead of read it, and to hear how different people interpret the words. It provides a hint of what the story means to more people than my lonely self. 

So far I haven't progressed past the chapters I am able to reread anyway hahaha. But it has been a long time since I've attempted a reread and I'm reminded why I like the book so much - Ishmael. Ishmael is so flighty and silly, yet real. Simultaneously a victim of his prejudices but also willing to overcome these with an open heart, he befriends Queequeg when, one can imagine, no one else in North America would. I remember thinking it was so odd that Queequeg became a dedicated friend so quickly, but now with a bit more life in me I suppose, Queequeg had no friends in these European and American whaling ports and Ishmael proved himself very special by putting in the effort to be his friend. Ishmael lives by his own rules, and determines the value of people and actions for himself, not simply by what religion or society dictates. We couldn't have Moby Dick without Ishmael and his wandering mind, freely hopping from thought to thought, from this fact or that. 

I think I love Moby Dick because I'm incredibly fond of Ishmael, and in his rambling and hopping thoughts, and thirst to see more of the world, I recognize a kindred spirit. I hope we have more Ishmaels in this world.

I hope to post more about it as I make progress with the 'big read' but since it's just the beginning, I had to simply express how much I love Ishmael (also I'm tired and I've run out of steam to type haha)

Reading Wednesday

Aug. 16th, 2017 09:53 pm
yuuago: (SSSS - Emil - Reading)
[personal profile] yuuago
Finished reading: Circling North by Charles Lillard. Some Canadian poetry has a certain... aesthetic, and I can't quite figure out exactly how to describe that aesthetic. But I figure, the Canadians on my flist probably know what I mean. Reading Lillard's stuff, there's definitely a sense of "Boy howdy, this sure is some Canadian poetry, all right". It's not just the sense of place; it's something else, too. ...But unlike some of the Painfully Canadian stuff I have read, it didn't put me to sleep.

Currently reading: Arctis, selected poems of William Heinesen, translated by Anne Born. This guy sure has a way with words, and I bet his stuff is even more beautiful in the original Heinesen was a Faeroese poet who wrote mainly in Danish. Lots of beautiful nature-based imagery here, and a definite sense of arctic-as-place, which I appreciate. "Winter Dream" is probably my favourite of what's in this collection so far.

Also Currently Reading: With Fire and Sword by Henryk Sienkiewicz. I haven't managed to get very far with this one because it's a huuuuge hardcover, and taking it on the bus to work with me would be ridiculously impractical. So. Anyway, it's an epic novel set in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth during the 17th century. Only one chapter in, but it's great so far! I just... wish this book weren't so huge.

Reading next:
I'm trying to read through all of the books I bought in Victoria last time I went there. Not sure what the next will be, but probably another volume of poetry.

(no subject)

Aug. 15th, 2017 12:28 am
dustbunny105: (Default)
[personal profile] dustbunny105
Man, I picked the wrong month to drop the Practice Knitting square from my bingo card. I did it because I've taken more to crochet and I felt like I was pushing myself unnecessarily into another craft which I have less immediate interest in. I figured, y'know, may as well stick to crochet projects and maybe dip into knitting for the Do a Craft square, if I found something that caught my interest.

That was before I decided I wanted to do a Gen 1 Pokémon throw pillow and blanket set. No, actually-- that was before I decided I wanted to do a reversible Gen 1 Pokémon throw pillow and blanket set. If not for the desire to do it as reversible-- that is, in this case, to portray the usual colors on one side and the shiny colors on the other-- I would still be going ahead with doing it in crochet. But while it's possible to do something like that in crochet, it is both a royal pain and doesn't create quite near enough to a flipped image. Double knitting, on the other hand, is tedious and time-consuming but turns out a much cleaner and more aligned final product.

While I'm not going to be beginning this specific project anytime terribly soon-- it's gonna take a bunch of different colors I haven't got, to begin with-- I have pulled out a pair of my needles to work on my skills. I was just about to cheerfully mark the square on my card when I remembered that the square in question wasn't there. Ah, well.
yuuago: (Åland - Smile!)
[personal profile] yuuago
Now that authors for [community profile] raremaleslashex are revealed, I can de-anon the SSSS fic that I wrote:

Reconciliation. [DW crosspost]. G/0+, 2.1k, Emil/Lalli. Emil tries to reach out, and Lalli decides that maybe he forgives him.

A few people guessed this one when it was still anon... I didn't think that my style is that distinguishable, but apparently my friends are good at picking it out. xD

I'm starting to think about what to nom/offer/request for [community profile] trickortreatex... Hmm!

More about that )

Hǎo de, shǒuxiàng!

Aug. 14th, 2017 07:39 pm
gramarye1971: Jim Hacker about to receive some illegal alcohol in "The Moral Dimension" (YM: Diplomacy)
[personal profile] gramarye1971
As a small bright spot in an otherwise dismal weekend, I received a AO3 message requesting permission to translate Resource Allocation, the extremely silly Harry Potter/Yes, Minister crossover drabble I wrote ages ago, into Chinese. So with thanks to [archiveofourown.org profile] liangdeyu, 【翻译】Resource Allocation资源分配, is now available. I'm very pleased to see it.

(This does remind me that at some point I need to pick up a copy of Yes, Prime Manipulator, a book about the Chinese translation of YPM -- Hǎo de, shǒuxiàng -- written by the translator.)

(no subject)

Aug. 13th, 2017 06:21 pm
yuuago: (SSSS - Niko)
[personal profile] yuuago
Oof. It was too hot to sleep last night, and I expect it'll be the same this evening. This happens every year, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

Anyway....

✿ I picked up Karo's art from the frame shop, and it looks great, and - more importantly - I was able to find a place to put it without having to remove anything else. *_* So, now Sakari and Veeti can keep me company while I waste time on the internet, yay! xD

✿ Signups for [community profile] femslashex are open now. I'm looking forward to poking through the requests, even if I'm not signing up myself. When I think about it, I don't know if I will sign up for [community profile] yuletide this year, either. The last two years have been great, but I'm not sure what I would even request. And if I want to write something, of course I can do treats. So, who knows. It's just nice to take a break from deadlines - aside from self-imposed ones.

✿ I finished three fics this weekend, and I'm really happy about it.
+ The Things We Lost - aRTD gen with Hannu and his mother, set during SSSS's year 0.
+ Complement. Self-indulgent Lalli/Emil/OC fic - Niko is the OC in this case. xD I want to do more with this relationship some time... ehhh maybe later.
+ Two Weeks in Victoria - Not fanfic. Stuff with characters from an original romance thing I've been throwing ideas around for. It's so nice to finally write something (somewhat) substantial with Jacques in it! I'm still having trouble with his voice. He's fun to write, though.

Aaahhh I have so many self-indulgent things that I want to write... Fffffu. Maybe it's a good thing that I'm taking such a break from exchanges. xD
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