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28th September 2015
Panarama of lunar eclipse
Here's a series of pictures I took of the lunar eclipse last night. These were taken using a basic digital camera, nothing extravagant. Click on picture for full size @ Flickr. : Crossposted from http://tagryn.dreamwidth.org/232739.html where there are comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments are allowed on DW only
10th August 2015
Mid-august garden update
Our vegetable garden (in southern Maryland) is doing its usual August thing of putting out cherry and Roma tomatoes on an almost production-line level, plus one or two peppers every week. We have a couple of raised beds, which is good enough for our 2-person family size. I've lost a lot of the Roma and most of the full-sized tomatoes so far to cracking, which I suspect is because we had a long stretch where it rained or thunderstormed every day, then the last few weeks has had barely any rain at all, and AFAIK that combo is a big contributor to cracking even with the timed irrigation watering system we use.
The lettuce was coming up gangbusters when we were getting a lot of rain, but then just started to tail off and bolt when a groundhog visited and decimated it; we have a couple of old apple trees which are having good years, so we think it was attracted by fallen apples and decided to diversify its diet while it was at it. My squash was also heavily chewed sometime in the past week, I'm suspecting the same fellow. But, on the plus side the leeks are doing very well, and there's a rogue watermelon that sprang up from my experiment last year at growing a small globe variety (but too seedy for my tastes), so we may get an unintentional watermelon or two this year as well.
I'm also trying South African gem squash
in three different places, so far so good (they're still too small to make good. I'm hoping I'll get something off of those before the first freeze.
Finally, this is a Cosmos bipinnatus, its the first flower to come up in a new butterfly garden that I seeded in the spring. I'd worried that the whole bed had been taken over by weeds without any flowers coming up, but this is a hopeful sign.Crossposted from http://tagryn.dreamwidth.org/232523.html where there are comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments are allowed on DW only
5th August 2015
The need to write
From : an interview with playwright Michel Tremblay
, circa 1982.
This resonated with me, in both good and bad ways:
"The need to write? You can say what you want, you write to be loved.
It's very silly, and it's very basic. But for myself, I know that I write to be loved.
When you do something creative, even when you are insulting everyone, it
comes from a need in you to be loved. Even with the most insulting poetry,
the lowest form of theatre or the craziest novels! Just trying to attract
attention shows a need to be loved. Especially when you live in a sterile
society like ours. Writers can't deny that they have that somewhere in them.
Unless you are Fernande from L'Improptu d'Outremont and you never publish
your work. There are certainly geniuses who have written for themselves
without ever publishing. But that is something else. And if you publish, it
is for people to read you, to be read, to be loved."
I've had an internal belief for a while that the primary purpose of art is to communicate; that may be with oneself, but if it stops there, is it really art, is it really self-expression in any meaningful way? I think that's been contributing to my reluctance to write, though, as well. It can be a problem, because whether one's expression ever finds an audience is to a large part out of your hands. That's not to say one shouldn't do one's best, I think one always should for its own sake because one is able to, but expecting to reap what is sown in any measure is a sure way to a broken heart. In a way, I suppose its like love, in that how well you love is no guarantee that you will be loved back; that's the tragedy of unrequited love (and the Wizard of Oz has it completely wrong, in my opinion, when he says "A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others"
). But laying aside the expectations is hard, since a lot of motivation tends to be tied up with those expectations, at least for me.Crossposted from http://tagryn.dreamwidth.org/232267.html where there are comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments are allowed on DW only
23rd January 2015
* It may be my Philly-area roots coming out, but nothing quite hits the spot when you're driving home and hungry than a soft pretzel, still soft and salty but not too salty, preferably warm but still OK if not. Yum. Mustard optional. I also reflect on the parallelism of going to a WaWa for random sundries growing up, and now living in an area where I do the same thing going home from work. :
* I need to be a more aware re: monitoring how my joints react to bad weather coming in. My body was noticeably achy and uncomfortable all day, perhaps in anticipation of the storm system we're supposed to get smacked around by later tonight. Would be helpful to know if there's actually a correlation, rather than it just being "one of those days" at random.
* I think adding an electric blanket at night has been a big quality-of-life boost for me. Granted, it makes getting *out* of bed more grumpily difficult in the morning, but I don't miss waking up in the middle of the night with cold joints in pain, not one bit. (the cats like the auto-warmed blanket perhaps even more than I do, to be fair).
* A thing I take its absence for granted now, but also don't miss one bit? Cockroaches. My family lived in an apartment that had them until I was about 6, then I experienced them again in the summer apartment I had in Bowling Green while finishing my MA, and *all* the apartments I had while at Ohio State had them, also (to various degrees of crawlingness). You do learn to stop thinking about things creeping around at all times while living with it, in my experience, but really, its too easy to take a pest-less house for granted. Sidebar: also don't miss sleeping in places where one wakes up to a series of spider bites inflicted overnight, either.Crossposted from http://tagryn.dreamwidth.org/230680.html where there are comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments are allowed on DW only
14th December 2014
Tap, tap. Is this thing on? : I live?
(mostly a post to check whether the mirror from Dreamwidth.org to LJ is working for my account...it appears I may need to post at DW first, then hopefully it gets echoed over at Livejournal. Still figuring how this works...)Crossposted from http://tagryn.dreamwidth.org/228753.html where there are comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments are allowed on DW only
25th October 2014
Flash essay: Style vs. Substance
a.k.a. "When is it OK - even necessary - to be an a-hole, and when are you just being an a-hole?" :
A friend of mine at Facebook linked to an essay written by Chris Kluwe
on the GamerGate
controversy. You can read it at that link - be warned, he has some rather NSFW language. Chris has a definite perspective, and I think it comes out very clearly in his writing. What's interesting to me isn't so much the debate itself - its been burning on Twitter already
for weeks if not months - but I did want to write a bit about my own reaction.( Read more...Collapse )
27th September 2014
I Am Not I
: I am not I.
I am this one
walking beside me whom I do not see,
whom at times I manage to visit,
and whom at other times I forget;
who remains calm and silent while I talk,
and forgives, gently, when I hate,
who walks where I am not,
who will remain standing when I die.
- Juan Ramón Jiménez( possible interpretation + graphicCollapse )
10th August 2014
Guardians of the Galaxy
We saw "Guardians of the Galaxy" today. Great fun - we both really enjoyed the humor as well as the music (mix tapes!). I didn't read much of the GoG comic as a kid - the only character I was acquainted with was : Drax the Destroyer
, and that from his appearances in "The Avengers." The Kree I remember from "Captain Marvel." I find it interesting that the Skrull haven't appeared in any Marvel movie yet (apparently for legal reasons) considering what a catalyst the ongoing Kree-Skrull war
was in so many Marvel storylines. Bonus: the trailer for the next Hobbit film is in the previews.
27th July 2014
Books I'm currently reading
: "The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity"
(Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan, 1992) - I'm only a little ways through Chapter 1 so far, but I can tell this could be a transformative book. I've been having troubles with doing the work in my writing, and these have been growing for a long time. "The Artist's Way" is about unblocking the creative process, and while the "spiritual" part in the title might be offputting for some people, the author explains why that part is there but in a way that most people can probably work with. For me, I can only go through at most a half-chapter at a time before setting it down for the day, which is usually a sign that I'm being challenged and am starting to fight it and gettting defensive. When I sense that, I just set it aside and let my subconscious process the ideas for a while, then come back to it again. Thanks to Liralen
for the suggestion to try this book. "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness"
(Peggy Noonan, 1994) - This is a reread for me, I think I first read it a few years after it came out. Noonan came to prominence as a speechwriter for the Reagan White House
; this book deals mainly with the period around the '92 election when G.H.W. Bush was running for reelection against Bill Clinton. Its interesting from a retrospective stance, in that the author makes a fair number of observations as to why Bush's campaign was headed towards failure, what kind of president Clinton would be, and so on, but it is told largely in stories and talks between other people and herself rather than as bare prose, which makes it much easier to read. To me, there's also a lot of wisdom in what Noonan writes here, and some of that may have to do with our sharing similar backgrounds of coming from traditionally Catholic households, going through the standard Catholic education system (albeit 20 years apart), and so on. While she was living in New York City at the time, she was also spending a lot of her time commuting down to DC, and her observations about the life here are also interesting to me after having lived in the general DC area for the past 8 years now. Noonan was also in the midst of a spiritual reconsideration during the period she writes about, which I also find easily relatable: doing the math, she was age 43 when the book came out, and I'm age 44 now, so its not surprising I'm finding myself nodding and drawing a number of parallels to many things she mentions that I wasn't doing to nearly the same extent when I read it in my 20s. I hope some of her later works have a similar personal/observational touch to them, but I haven't had a chance to explore them yet. "Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision"
(Roberta Wohlstetter, 1962) - I'm only just into Chapter 1 in this one as well, but I already have a sense of "the scales falling from my eyes."
This book is universally regarded as the definitive analysis of the intelligence failures that led to the attack on Pearl Harbor. In some ways its unbelievable, yet at the same time entirely believable, that the work of pulling together all the different sources of material to put together a coherent picture of 'who knew what, when did they know it, and how did it all fit together?' was done not by the Navy, but by an analyst at the RAND corporation. As a study of military history, its interesting; as a study of human nature, its deeply fascinating. There was an immensely complex lattice of 'this person knew this piece of information, but because they were in position A reporting from country B with perspective C, this other person in position X in country Y with perspective Z who could have acted on it wasn't disposed to think it that important.' And so catastrophes happen.
21st July 2014
Super Bowl XV - a retrospective
crossposted from : http://www.wingheads.com/index.php?showtopic=75340
For a slow week before camp opens, found this on YouTube, the highlights of Super Bowl XV:( Read more...Collapse )
In any case, the 1980 team will always be "my" team, probably to the end of my days. Coach Dick Vermeil remained a positive role model for me during the rest of my time growing up, both as an example of the value of hard work and preparation, and then as an example of how a lack of balance in one's life can lead to burnout.
15th November 2013
Ever encounter a piece of art or song that you found particularly moving or meaningful, only to read an interview with the artist later where they said effectively "That piece of junk? Yeah, big mistake, never going to do that again!" or "It was *meant* to be a joke (and the fans didn't get it)." Did knowing that its creator regards it as garbage affect how you viewed it going forward? :
6/14 - ...and there's actually a trope for this: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OldShame