yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))
[personal profile] yhlee
Raph Koster's A Theory of Fun for Game Design (2nd ed.) has been on my wishlist for something like the past five years. I picked it up recently by ordering it through my local game store (which is technically also a bookstore and is in the process of signing on with distributors or however that goes). It is an absolute delight.

I'm glad I sprung for the hardcopy of this for two reasons: one, I like to mark up my nonfiction, and two, its formatting! The left-hand page in every two-page spread is text; the right-hand page has an illustration related to the material on the left-hand page. While the illustrations are not technically the most accomplished, they are generally extremely effective communicative cartoons or diagrams.

This book comes with a ton of blurbs, and Cory Doctorow's--"Does for games what Understanding Comics [by Scott McCloud] did for sequential art"--pretty much sums up how I feel. I've read other game design books that were insightful, or thorough, but the Koster is accessible and very interesting in its approach to what makes games games, and how to make them fun (in the instances where that's a thing--cf. Brenda Romero's Train).

One of Koster's arguments is that "with games, learning is the drug" (40)--a game that interests us is one that strikes the necessary balance of not too easy (Tic-Tac-Toe, for most adults) and not too hard (multiple failure modes possible, depending on the individual--witness me and chess or go [1]). He suggests that games (and play, which is common in a lot of young animals!) are an artifact of how we try to learn survival skills, and moves forward into making suggestions as to how to move the form forward into values/skills more suitable for the modern era than "kill things" or "jump over things" or "search for all the things."

[1] Joe gave up on teaching me go when I told him I have severe difficulty with visual patterns. In fact, I am starting to wonder if aphantasia just screws me over for this kind of game in general. :p

There's also a particularly interesting chapter on ethics and entertainment where he discusses the difference between the game system and the flavor/dressing:

The bare mechanics of a game may indeed carry semantic freighting, but odds are that it will be fairly abstract. A game about aiming is a game about aiming, and there's no getting around that. It's hard to conceive of a game about aiming that isn't about shooting, but it has been done--there are several gmaes where instead of shooting bullets with a gun, you are instead shooting pictures with a camera. (170)

The bare mechanics of the game do not determine its meaning. Let's try a thought experiment. Let's picture a mass murder game wherein there is a gas chamber shaped like a well. You the player are dropping innocent victims down into the gas chamber, and they come in all shapes and sizes. There are old ones and young ones, fat ones and tall ones. As they fall to the bottom, they grab onto each other and try to form human pyramids to get to the top of the well. Should they manage to get out, the game is over and you die. But if you pack them in tightly enough, the ones on the bottom succumb to the gas and die.

I do not want to play this game. Do you? Yet it is Tetris. (172)


In general, Koster has a background in game design AND writing AND music, and he draws on all three in his analysis of games, as well as other disciplines (e.g. psychology). It makes the book a scintillating read. I can't believe I waited so long to read this--but it was exactly what I wanted to read last week, so hey. Highly recommended.

Feet-folks

2017-08-22 10:24
strange_complex: (Dracula Risen hearse smile)
[personal profile] strange_complex
I am communing with the ur-text at the moment (i.e. reading Dracula), and was tickled to notice last night that it contains a reference to Leeds - though not a very complimentary one! It's no great surprise, of course, given that a substantial chunk of the novel is set in Whitby, and indeed it is in the mouth of old Whitby fisherman Mr Swales that the reference comes. He is complaining about people being altogether too credulous about legends of bells ringing out at sea and White Ladies and such like:
Them feet-folks from York and Leeds that be always eatin' cured herrin's and drinkin' tea an' lookin' out to buy cheap jet would creed aught. I wonder masel' who'd be bothered tellin' lies to them, even the newspapers, which is full of fool-talk.
I'm not terribly sure what 'feet' means in this context, and Google isn't helping, even when I put the phrase in quotation marks to rule out ordinary references to feet. Maybe it just means foot-passengers who have come to Whitby on the train? Or might it be Bram's attempt at spelling a local pronunciation of 'fit', and perhaps means something more like 'fine folk' (in a sort of 'fit to be Queen' kind of sense)? If any genuine Yorkshire-born chums have a clue, let me know. If it's a proper dialect word, it will have been something Bram got out of a book on Whitby dialect which we know he used in his research.

[ETA: apparently I wasn't Googling very effectively before. I've found the answer now and my first guess was right: feet-folks are foot-passengers.]

Anyway, I will be going to Whitby myself in just over a fortnight, along with lovely [personal profile] lady_lugosi1313, to join a long weekend event marking the 40th anniversary of the Dracula Society's first official trip to that location. I don't have any particular plans to eat cured herring or drink tea (which I hate), but I won't turn down any nice cheap jet, and I will make a particular point of believing any and all legends of the macabre and supernatural which anyone tells me for the entire weekend - just to annoy Mr Swales.
umadoshi: (W13 - Claudia crying (vampire_sessah))
[personal profile] umadoshi
When I posted about A Girl and Her Fed last week, I mentioned that [dreamwidth.org profile] davidgillon had warned me that the very beginning of Act 2 of the comic had a major spoiler for the as-yet-unwritten/unpublished Rachel Peng novels.

I did indeed press on, bracing myself for a spoiler. (And now I'm completely up to date on the comic; yesterday was the first new installment I read as a Caught-Up Reader. I think the only material I have left to read now is the handful of mixed comics/prose shorts on Spangler's store site, and I've made it as far as buying them all.) And many things happened, because there'd been a five-year timeskip since the first act of the comic, and I thought, "Okay, I don't know which of these things is the spoiler [dreamwidth.org profile] davidgillon mentioned, but many things happen very early in Act 2 that leave things in a very different place than they are as of the published Rachel books, so presumably it was one of those..."

Except then I read all the way back through the posts at [tumblr.com profile] agirlandherfed, and due to a couple of Asks there, the nature of the early-Act 2 spoiler was spelled out.

It was an offhand reference--a panel's worth of mention, at most--and so far the comic hasn't mentioned it again, and I completely failed to process it for what it was. But now, belatedly, I know.

And my heart broke a little.

Face Off through 3.1

2017-08-21 22:21
yhlee: rose in a hexagon (hxx emblem Andan)
[personal profile] yhlee
Read more... )

Also, now I have an incredible desire to watch the Clone Wars cartoon so I will have to save up for the DVDs. Maybe Christmas? XD

(no subject)

2017-08-21 21:57
skygiants: storybook page of a duck wearing a pendant, from Princess Tutu; text 'mukashi mukashi' (mukashi mukashi)
[personal profile] skygiants
A couple months ago I was talking with my roommate about the new Anne of Green Gables TV series (I have not seen it, she had opinions about it) which led to us reminiscing about Other L.M. Montgomery Books We Had Known, which led to me last weekend rereading The Story Girl and The Golden Road.

I was actually much more attached to these books than I ever was to Anne -- they're about an extended group of cousins who have very wholesome adventures together. The cousins include:

Beverly, Our Narrator, most notable for his mildly purple narration and deeply sentimental soul
Felix, his little brother, who is Fat and Sensitive About It
Felicity, who is Very Beautiful and Very Prosaic and also Extremely Bossy, like Lucy from Peanuts if she also looked like Elizabeth Taylor
Cecily, who is Very Good and Very Serious and probably also Doomed to Die Young Like Good Children Do
Dan, Felicity and Cecily's brother, who is an Annoying Brother
Sara Ray, who lives down the road and cries all the time
Peter, who is But a Hired Boy but Clever and Talented and also In Love With Felicity
and, of course, Sara Stanley the Story Girl, who is not pretty but interesting, and has a spellbindingly beautiful voice, and is prone to stopping in the middle of any given conversation to announce that she knows a story that has some vague relation to the topic at hand and will then proceed to relate that story come hell or high water, which: oh god, of course I imprinted on these books as a kid, because I of course do the exact same thing, except without any vestige of a spellbindingly beautiful voice, and also instead of 'I know a tragic story about our uncle's great-aunt's wedding' my version is usually 'I read a book once in which somebody banged a griffin.' But, much like the Story Girl, once I get started on an anecdote of this kind there is very little chance of stopping me. I apologize to anybody who has suffered from this.

ANYWAY. Fortunately, the other kids (with the occasional exception of Felicity) never get fed up with the Story Girl and are always glad to hear an entertaining anecdote about the minister's cousin's grandmother or whatever the topic of discussion is that day.

The kids also get into normal turn-of-the-century-Canadian kid stuff, like pretending to be ministers, or freaking out because the local old-lady-who-might-be-a-witch sat in their pew at church, or panicking that it might be the Day of Judgment. Normal turn-of-the-century-Canadian kid stuff centers very prominently on appropriate church behavior, as it turns out. L.M. Montgomery's world is composed of Methodists and Lutherans and that's about it. I don't remember this being weird for me as an emphatically-not-Christian youth but it is slightly retroactively weird for me now.

Other notable things that happen in The Story Girl and The Golden Road:
- Dan eats poison berries because Felicity tells him he would be an idiot to eat the poison berries, nearly dies, then goes back and eats more poison berries because Felicity made the mistake of saying she told him so
- Cecily the Very Sweet and Very Good is mean to exactly one person in both books, a boy in her class who conceives a terrible crush on her and will not leave her alone despite multiple stated requests until she publicly humiliates him in class, which she ruthlessly does; a good lesson
- The Story Girl gives a great and instantly recognizable description of synesthesia without ever actually using the word
- The Story Girl befriends a desperately shy neighbor who is known as the Awkward Man, "because he is so awkward," our narrator Bev helpfully explains
- the Awkward Man is later revealed to have a secret room in his house containing women's clothing, which, the Story Girl explains, is because he's spent years buying things for an imaginary girlfriend - and, I mean, far be it from me to question the Story Girl! but some grad student could probably get a real good paper on gender and sexuality in turn-of-the-century children's lit out of this is all I'm saying
yhlee: Sandman raven with eyeball (Sandman raven (credit: rilina))
[personal profile] yhlee
For S.B.
Prompt: hexarchate, "calendrical sword."

Ajewen Cheris and her girlfriend Linnis Orua paused outside the shop. A banner of ink painted onto silk fluttered in the flirtatious artificial breeze. Orua had grown up on a station with less naturalistic ideas of aesthetics, and found this dome-city with its aleatory weather nerve-wracking. She still spooked whenever there was a wind, which entertained Cheris because Orua also had long, luxurious waves of hair that rippled beautifully. "We were always told to be aware of strange air currents as a possible sign of carapace breach!" Orua had protested when Cheris teased her about it.

"Blades for All Occasions," Cheris read. She had been saving for this moment throughout the first two years of academy, and practicing for it besides. Orua didn't understand her fondness for the sport of dueling, but she had agreed to come along for moral support.

"Well, no sense in lingering outside," Orua said. She grinned at Cheris and walked forward. The door swooshed open for her.

Cheris followed her in. A tame (?) falcon on a perch twisted its head sideways to peer at her as she entered. The falcon was either genetically engineered or dyed or even painted, although she wasn't sure how she felt about any of those alternatives: its primary feathers shaded from black to blood red, with striking metallic gold bands toward the tips. It looked gaudy as hell and quintessentially Kel.

Orua was busy suppressing a giggle at the falcon's aesthetics. Cheris poked her in the side to get her to stop and looked around the displays, wide-eyed. Her eyes stung suspiciously at the sight of all those weapons, everything from tactical knives to ornamented daggers with rough-hewn gems in their pommels and pragmatic machetes.

But best of all were the calendrical swords. Deactivated, they looked deceptively harmless, bladeless hilts of metal in varying colors and finishes. Cheris's gaze was drawn inexorably to one made of voidmetal chased in gold, with an unusual basket hilt. It was showy, extremely Kel, and an invitation to trouble. Only a cadet who had an exemplary record and was an excellent duelist would dare carry such a calendrical sword. And besides, the lack of a price tag told her there was no way she could afford it even if she could, in honor, lay claim to such a thing.

Cheris sighed, then looked up into her girlfriend's eyes. "I wish," she said, her voice soft.

"Let me help you pick," Orua said, ignoring the sales assistant who was watching them imperturbably with his arms folded behind his back.

Cheris blinked. "I thought you didn't know anything about dueling?" she teased. Orua paid more attention to the special effects and makeup on dueling shows than the actual dueling.

"I don't know anything about dueling," Orua said, as the sales assistant radiated disapproval. "But I know a lot about you." Her eyes turned sly, and Cheris hoped that Orua wouldn't get too specific here of all places. She grabbed Cheris's hand and tugged her along to a completely different display. "Look!"

At first Cheris wasn't impressed by the calligraphy-stroke plainness of the calendrical swords on display. Then she saw that that the metal evinced a faint iridescence, like that of a raven's feather. She particularly liked the one whose textured design incorporated the first digits of the base of the natural logarithm.

Orua stooped to whisper right in Cheris's ear, "Tonight I'm going to see how many digits of that number you can recite before I get you to--"

"I'll buy this one," Cheris interrupted, very loudly, and pointed.

Unseen, the sales assistant and Orua exchanged winks.

Eclipsnic!

2017-08-21 20:36
osprey_archer: (cheers)
[personal profile] osprey_archer
I am returned from my eclipsnic! Which is a portmanteau of eclipse + picnic, and involved eclipse cookies (chocolate cookies with white chips really, but "eclipse cookies" sounds better. I may change the name permanently in my brain), and pop rocks Oreos, and little individually sized bottles of champagne that Becky brought. We had a lovely time!

We did not have eclipse glasses, but Julie made us eclipse boxes which worked quite well enough, and also a woman stopped by the park halfway through the eclipse and called out, "Want to look through this welding helmet?"

So of course we did and it was splendid and none of us have gone blind, so that seems to have gone well enough.

The park came equipped with a Little Free Library (I would like to say this was serendipity, but in fact I looked into it before), which I raided - with great success! for I found Mary Downing Hahn’s Stepping on the Cracks. I liked Hahn's ghost stories when I was a kid. This one doesn’t look like it has any ghosts, but it’s about two best friends on the American homefront during World War II, which seems Relevant to My Interests.

And in return, I left The Railway Children, which I found in a Little Free Library in Ann Arbor. So it will continue to wend its way through the libraries of the world, like a ship upon the waves.
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
I wanted to be there right when the museum opened - missed that by about an hour.

DID get the glasses. Boy, those were something. They seemed completely opaque until you looked up at the tiny, orange, dim sun. (The kids sold theirs to people even later than we were!)

Missed the lecture due to some miscommunication. Didn't see other exhibits, same reason.

But we did enjoy looking at the sun through the (shared) glasses, and the kids really loved making pinhole projectors on index cards. I'd expected they would - they wrote their names and all!

One thing that was not explained to me in the documentation, but in retrospect should've been obvious: The dimmer the light got, the closer the index cards had to be to make a clear image. At the beginning, having one on the ground and one in your hand was good enough. By the midpoint, when it was 70% covered and dark (and when we were done) they had to be right next to each other.

Several people, hearing me launch into another spiel on how "our eyes work the same way" and "the image is backwards and upside down - look, compare it! - but when it happens in our eyes our brains automatically flip it" asked if I was a teacher or a scientist! LOL. Only the former in a very *literal* sense, but this is something I've known since I was six or so. I had a book on the structure of the eye. (I didn't say that. I just said I homeschool and I made the kids listen to me talk to them about it.)

And then on the way back we talked about the Statue of Liberty and all. I heard a tour guide the other day say that the original model for the face was the sculptor's girlfriend, not his mother as in the finished version, but I don't know if that's correct. Still, "she looked too sexy" is obviously a story that's hard to give up!

I am fail

2017-08-21 18:01
yhlee: Drop Ships from Race for the Galaxy (RTFG)
[personal profile] yhlee
I'm not going to do it but I crave to someday write a training cruise/school/dance academy/conservatory/??? mashup disaster story.

Alas, I have this novel to work on. :p 2,000 words on Dragon Pearl today! (I'm doing revisions, but I had to rip out a few chapters that weren't working and replace them with all-new ones, always thrilling.)

And I Can Move The World

2017-08-21 22:13
kiya: (shtars!)
[personal profile] kiya

Mirrored from Suns In Her Branches | Kiya Nicoll.

At the moment when the light returns, flaring bright and blinding, the breath comes back, too, all in a rush. It is not that the breathing stopped through the peculiar gloom of it, but somehow it was not enough, there was not enough air, something subliminal and only noticeable in the moment that it disappears.

The light comes back. Perhaps there is a deep and instinctual part of the spirit that holds its breath, not sure whether that would be the case.

But the light comes back. The light comes back and everything seems different, now.

Slowly, slowly the sense of normality reasserts itself. The quality of the light goes… natural… so quickly, by comparison, returning to some sense of the expected, the everyday.

But there is still the knowing. Knowing that one has gone down into the dark, through the dread of it, down into the dark and seen the wonders there, and has come back.

With the light.

rachelmanija: (Books: old)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
I am a dancer in the New York City Ballet. I wrote the pages that follow during one ballet season. I began on November 21, 1980, and finished on February 15, 1981. I was lonely; I was sad. I had decided to be alone, but I had never decided to be lonely. I started writing on a yellow pad. I wrote, and I smoked. Every page was covered with a film of smoke.

If you like that, you will like this book. It's one of those slim but pithy volumes that precisely captures a time, a place, and a state of mind.

I've always had a fascination with ballet, ever since my second-grade teacher offered a trip to see the Nutcracker Suite (it was at least ten years before I realized that the second word was not "sweet") to her top three students. I had no idea what that was, other than that it was clearly desirable, so I went all-out to make sure that I'd get the prize. I was sufficiently enchanted with The Nutcracker and the general air of specialness surrounding the entire experience that I begged my parents for ballet lessons, at which I lasted something like three sessions. I don't recall the exact problem, but based on my age I'm guessing that there was too much standing around.

After that I confined myself to reading ballet books, which was more fun that actually doing it. Had I tried when I was older, I might have stuck with it for longer. Based on Bentley book and everything else I've read about ballet dancing, it has an austere, stoic, boot camp, push your limits atmosphere that would have really appealed to me if I'd been three to five years older. And then I would have gotten my heart broken, because I am not built to be a ballerina.

Winter Season beautifully depicts the illusion shown to the audience and the reality experienced by the dancers, and how the dancers live the illusion as well. It's got all the fascinating details of any good backstage memoir, without bitterness or cynicism. Even as it ground down her body, Bentley never stopped loving ballet; she seems to feel that she was lucky to have the chance to live the dream, just for the opportunity to spend a few minutes every day being the perfect expression of her body and the choreographer's art.

Winter Season: A Dancer's Journal, with a new preface

And I will place the next bit under a cut in case you just want to read about Winter Season. As opposed to ass. Read more... )
calliopes_pen: (lost_spook dark corners frankenstein)
[personal profile] calliopes_pen
1, Brian Aldiss passed away in his sleep, after celebrating his 92nd birthday. May he rest in peace. He wrote “more than 80 books and was editor of 40 anthologies.”

Unfortunately, I have never read anything of his. I have always meant to read Frankenstein Unbound, since I enjoyed the 1990 adaptation. So I’ll have to try to do that sometime soon. He also wrote Dracula Unbound, which I was never certain about reading, having not heard the best reviews--but it’s on my list, too, now.

2. Today is Fanfic Writers’ Appreciation Day.

3. [personal profile] wyld_dandelyon is doing a tarot card reading, and the first card is free.

4. Whedonesque is shutting down after 15 years. I think I’ve followed that site via feed (first on LJ, and then here on Dreamwidth via [syndicated profile] whedonesque_feed; I’ll unsubscribe to it shortly) for at least a decade, if not longer.

Were it not for the Buffyverse, I never would have ventured into writing, in both fanfic and RPG's (I think Willow was the first character I wrote for in any RPG).

dappled half-moon suns

2017-08-21 14:18
asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
[personal profile] asakiyume
We let the leaves be our pinhole camera and saw these suns at the half-moon stage.

half-moon suns

ETA... there are many, many beautiful photos out there of scything crescent suns dappling the ground--go take a look. Love this eclipse so much. Good job, sun. Good job, moon. Good job, eclipse enthusiasts ♥

Eclipse

2017-08-21 11:01
sartorias: (Default)
[personal profile] sartorias
The spouse and I watched the eclipse on tv (showing a town on the Oregon coast). Once they had totality, which was very cool, we went outside with our pinhole and paper; here it was seventy-something percent, and of course it happened a few minutes after the Oregon coast one because of the way California coast curves in.

We watched the crescent, came back in, and people on TV in Oregon were watching the sun shadow retreat. I came up to get back to work, reflecting that it was so very nice to pass through the kitchen and tv area and not be hearing the words "terrorists" "Nazis" "Republicans" or "Trump." So very nice.

That Whedon Thing

2017-08-21 09:24
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
I gave up on Joss Whedon, Male Feminist Icon, after the first episode of DOLLHOUSE.   I was creeped out by FIREFLY's Madonna/whore thing, but somehow I reasoned around it.   The revelation that he's been using that reputation to predate on women is horrible, but not a shock.

When I read Kai Cole's statement -- do read if you have somehow missed it -- I kept flashing on the pivotal conversation in Gaudy Night, in which Harriet and Peter talk about spouses who have eaten each other, and whether there is such a thing as a marriage in which nobody is eaten.  Kai Cole was and is an architect.  Starting, by her telling, with Buffy, she dedicated hersef to  emotional labor for Joss Whedon, including producing projects that he worked on.  Harriet Vane would tell you that Whedon ate Cole.  And, going only by the direct quotations Cole gives, when Whedon confessed to her, he praised himself -- told her what a powerful stud he was, and that it wasn't his fault he was surrounded by "aggressive" actresses.

Whedon's public response to Cole's statement:

“While this account includes inaccuracies and misrepresentations which can be harmful to their family, Joss is not commenting, out of concern for his children and out of respect for his ex-wife.”

Let's unpack this.  

1.  Whedon cheated for over a decade, but Cole is the one who's hurting their children.
2.  Whedon used feminism as a tool to get laid, but now he's showing Cole respect.
3.  Cole has direct quotes from Whedon's letter, showing exactly who he is, but the account "includes inaccuracies and misrepresentations"

So.  "You're a bad mother, and I could explain how much you're lying, but I won't because unlike you I'm a good father and respect the children and you."

Whedonesque, bless them, have gone read-only and shut down.
larryhammer: stylized figures of a man and a woman on either side of a shopping cart carrying a heart (shopping cart of love)
[personal profile] larryhammer
A Poetry Monday without comment:


Meeting Point, Louis MacNeice

Time was away and somewhere else,
There were two glasses and two chairs
And two people with the one pulse
(Somebody stopped the moving stairs):
Time was away and somewhere else.

And they were neither up nor down;
The stream’s music did not stop
Flowing through heather, limpid brown,
Although they sat in a coffee shop
And they were neither up nor down.

The bell was silent in the air
Holding its inverted poise—
Between the clang and clang a flower,
A brazen calyx of no noise:
The bell was silent in the air.

The camels crossed the miles of sand
That stretched around the cups and plates;
The desert was their own, they planned
To portion out the stars and dates:
The camels crossed the miles of sand.

Time was away and somewhere else.
The waiter did not come, the clock
Forgot them and the radio waltz
Came out like water from a rock:
Time was away and somewhere else.

Her fingers flicked away the ash
That bloomed again in tropic trees:
Not caring if the markets crash
When they had forests such as these,
Her fingers flicked away the ash.

God or whatever means the Good
Be praised that time can stop like this,
That what the heart has understood
Can verify in the body’s peace
God or whatever means the Good.

Time was away and she was here
And life no longer what it was,
The bell was silent in the air
And all the room one glow because
Time was away and she was here.


---L.

Subject quote from "Snow-Bound," William Greenleaf Whittier.

fiber monday

2017-08-21 08:35
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
* I wonder whether looking at patterns tagged "ballet neck" on Ravelry will yield results sufficiently different from patterns tagged "boat neck." The much-postponed Berenice meant for Reason is in there; so is this lovely cabled pullover, if I ever want to make something that'd be like wearing a warm blanket. Haven't looked comprehensively yet (hence the verb tense/mood).

* People talk about Ravelry for helping indie designers find audiences, encouraging beginner knitters/crocheters/weavers to tackle ambitious projects (community support), and so on. I've found it useful for being able to see how a certain garment fits a certain body without the social block of "Don't stare." That and looking around me while walking on university campuses and urban streets, for yeeeeears. But it's tricky, eh? because this cardigan model shares some of my proportions, and the cardigan doesn't look good on her. The thing is to figure out why, not to decide first off never to make a cardigan like that (though never-make is likely in this case). (And she can wear this well, but I couldn't because (a) her shoulders are straight, mine slope and (b) she has at least a handsbreadth more height in the torso than I. Heh.)

* This alteration tutorial made me chuckle. How do you know if you need to make a swayback alteration? Read more... )

Czech'rd past

2017-08-21 10:38
asakiyume: (black crow on a red ground)
[personal profile] asakiyume
I want to do a post about the power of calendars, in honor of [personal profile] yhlee's Ninefox Gambit, which I just finished, but first I want to share with you this great beer label from a small New York State brewery:



Red-lipped woman with a smoking gun! And this text:

From behind the iron curtain comes our Czech'rd Past. We're not ashamed, and have nothing to hide. No regrets with this classic Bohemian Pilsner. Served cold, like revenge, it cuts to the chase. It's the choice to make when you can't afford any more mistakes in life.


Here's a can with the label still on:



We have one can left, which we can maybe drink as we take pictures of the crescent shadows during the partial version of the eclipse that we'll get here--or maybe not. It is, after all, still a work day. The CALENDAR tells me that. More on Ninefox Gambit and calendars anon.
osprey_archer: (books)
[personal profile] osprey_archer
You may know David Macauley for his books Cathedral - Castle - Pyramid - or The Way Things Work. But the book he won the Caldecott Medal for, in 1991, was Black and White.

In between the title and David Macauley's other books, I would have expected Black and White to be illustrated with stylishly meticulous black and white drawings. But in fact it is not; almost all of it is in full color, and the few pictures that are not are in a completely different style than the sort of precise architectural detail in Cathedral. (It always impresses me to see illustrators with this kind of versatility. I'm still impressed by Robert McCloskey's two Caldecott wins, with two totally different illustration styles.) They concern cows that have gotten loose and turned into a festival of blotches as they move across the landscape.

Rather than tell the story straight through, Black and White starts with four separate stories: a boy on a train, a pair of kids at home, an empty train station, and a thief climbing into a cow pen. Eventually these stories become interlocked, all part of the same slightly surreal tale. Nothing that happens is actually impossible. Cows do escape and get onto railway tracks (although perhaps not choir practice...). Bored commuters waiting on a late train might decide to make themselves newspaper hats to pass the time. A boy traveling alone for the first time might mistake newspaper confetti for snow.

But altogether it does have this odd liminal feel, as if the characters have somehow stepped into a liminal space at the edge of reality. And this is heightened by the way that the illustrations carry the story. You couldn't make sense of it if you just heard the text read out in an audiobook; the illustrations hold all the connecting information. And perhaps that is what makes it feel slightly surreal: the fact that the story is not told in words, as if perhaps it could not be contained in words.
Page generated 2017-08-22 11:15
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios