asakiyume: (miroku)
Wakanomori is providing me with all kinds of interesting items these days. For today, have some cat kanji. It looks made up, doesn't it? But it's a bone fide form of seal script--that is, stylized kanji used for signature seals. The source is 篆楷字典 (Tenkai Jiten), a dictionary of seal script (tensho) and kaisho, a very clear, blocky style used in inscriptions.

asakiyume: (turnip lantern)
I always want to do something fun for Halloween, and then I leave it too late and don't do anything at all. This year, though, I'm hopeful I'll manage a thing: I've created good-luck cards, ten cards each in five categories of luck: lucky number, lucky creature, lucky sport, lucky ride, and lucky color. I've printed out enough to accommodate the vast numbers of children who come through our neighborhood, and now I'm cutting them.

Here are just a few:

I tell you, it was great fun picking these items! Geogemma barossii eats rust and poops magnets at 239 F, which means it's right at home in your autoclave. Or would be, if you had an autoclave.

PS: I do intend to do a few more inktobers, but stuff got away from me.
asakiyume: (autumn source)
You can see examples of kintsugi--repairing ceramics with gold, so the crack itself becomes a thing of beauty, and the object-with-cracks is celebrated and appreciated--various places online (here's one). This morning I saw pine needles doing kintsugi with cracks in the road, laying down in the crevices and repairing the road very beautifully:

pine-needle kintsugi (1)

pine-needle kintsugi (2)

pine-needle kintsugi (3)
asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
The ending of this show was intensely satisfying and mainly (maybe not entirely) realistic. Thinking back over the entire story arc and all the characters, I do have a few criticisms, but mainly so much love and so much admiration for the storycraft and the character development. It would be an excellent show to use with kids to get them thinking about how characters grow and change (and why this is important) and what motivations are--but beyond all that, it's so engaging!

My main criticism was that the main conflict for Belky, the protagonist, gets sorted out three-fourths of the way through the show, and then, rather than simply focusing on remaining conflicts/difficulties, which are not as high-color but very important (things about how she relates with her boyfriend and her family--that sort of thing), a whole new existential threat is introduced, one that's kind of cheap and tired compared with everything else in the show. Furthermore, it involves Belky, who's generally wary and mistrustful, trusting a simply odious character, and while the show's at pains to show how that character wins her trust, it still just doesn't seem likely. And, it's very hard to focus on the very interesting stories of the side characters when there's this existential threat hanging over Belky. I would have been happier without that storyline, honestly.

BUT STILL. The remaining storylines develop the main supporting characters wonderfully. People make bad decisions for good reasons and then have to extricate themselves. People have to take emotional risks, and it isn't easy. There are lots of excellent heart-to-heart conversations.

And the show is really progressive, too: there's a young lawyer who's wheelchair bound who gets to be heroic and who gets a happily ever after: he's just the right person for the woman he ends up with. There's a gay guy who's portrayed as an accomplished, brave, smart person, who's always wanted to be a father and is able to co-parent with a single mother, while maintaining his romantic life separately. Belky has a moving conversation with the older of her two younger sisters about becoming sexually active and making it be about her choice and not something she's pressured into. Public, pressureful marriage proposals and apologies are shown to be NOT A GOOD IDEA.

And more and more--but this is enough for now. Gotta get back to the day's tasks.
asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
Hmmm, I fell behind again.

Yesterday (October 11) was "run"


And today's prompt is "shattered." I was thinking about the mirror in The Snow Queen, which, when it broke, caused such problems for human eyes and hearts

asakiyume: (man on wire)
I've been doing writing sessions with adult learners in Holyoke. Last week's theme was "stories they tell," about stories told in your family. The group had great stories to share. There's a website, and gradually, as people give permission, some of their writing will go up there. I was reassuring them that nothing would go up without their permission, and one woman said, "It's okay; I like taking up space in people's mind."

It was such a startling, brilliant remark. I asked her if she'd write it down, and she did, and it's now one of the first things up on the website.

Taking up space

In life, some people get encouraged to take up space, and other people get told to keep out of the way, to make themselves small. I was really glad this woman had decided to assert her right to occupy people's thoughts and attention.
asakiyume: (squirrel eye star)
Yesterday's prompt was "screech" and today's is "gigantic"

I think another fun way to do "screech" would be to do a reaction to someone who's hearing a screech. (Also, something like this critter might do more of a peep than a screech, but...)

"Gigantic" was a lot of fun.

screech and gigantic
asakiyume: (turnip lantern)
I was away over the weekend with very limited Internet, so I'm giving you my weekend's Inktober drawings now--along with critique, because why not?

The theme for October 7 was "shy," and I liked my concept for it, but was disappointed by my execution. I think I either should have worked on it longer (and paid more attention to, like, anatomy) or else gone for something more cartoonish--simpler lines, etc.

The theme for October 8 was "crooked," and I decided on lightning, but my first attempt used Too Many Different Sorts of Crosshatching, plus the lightning itself had a too-solid, not-glowing-enough look to it, like it was made out of plywood and painted white. So I tried again, this time aiming for a more pure-energy lightning... but the result looks... hmm. Not dazzling enough. If it were pencil-tober, I'd do it in pencil; I think I could get what I want with pencil. Maybe.

But you know? I'm having fun in spite of these dissatisfactions. Today's theme is "shriek"--maybe I'll post something before the day goes by.


asakiyume: (man on wire)
I can't think of swords without thinking of the evocative Rider-Waite tarot swords--this one, for example:

Or this:

Or this:

This picture is more reminiscent of Rider-Waite 5 or Rider Waite 7, in that the figure's carrying a bunch of swords, but I was also thinking about sword-bearing angels and... so on.

asakiyume: (miroku)
Heian court ladies had famously long hair--rivers of ink

asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
Rampisham Down is where, from 1939 until 2011, the transmitters for the BBC World Service in Europe were located--"twenty-six iron giants stand ... with a grey cat's cradle in their hands," in the words of Talis Kimberley in her song "Rampisham Down." They were so well known that when my mother came to visit us when we were living in Dorset--where Rampisham Down is located--she was excited to drive by them.

A friend gave me Talis Kimberley's wonderful song about them, which starts with a message on a picture postcard of them and then goes on to describe them and their stalwart duty:

Eight miles northwest of Dorchester
On the high chalk land where the Romans were
Upon Rampisham Down
Oh twenty-six iron giants stand
With a grey cat's cradle in their hands
Upon Rampisham Down
Upon Rampisham Down

Here the news comes in and the news goes out
And the world will hear what it's all about
Upon Rampisham Down
And when the world looks dark, as it sometimes will
Then look to the giants on the high chalk hill
Upon Rampisham Down...

*This is the grid reference in Great Britain's Ordinance Survey maps that Rampisham Down is located on
Rampisham Down

The song--and the concept of those twenty-six faithful iron giants--really touched me, so I was sorry to learn from Wakanomori that they'd come down, victims of changes in how broadcast technology works. Here's a short (2.07 minutes) video about it:

That video is from August 2017. Let's have a moment of silence and respect for these hard workers.

... I'll post my picture for inktober next.
asakiyume: (the source)
Another possibility I considered was a world of huge inverted mountains--icebergs, as seen from underwater, a world of floating mountains. But it was too cold; I didn't want to draw a cold thing. (I haven't checked ahead to see if there's a prompt "cold" or not.)


When we imagine the world above water, we focus (usually) on the floor of the world--the ground underneath our feet and the things that spring from it and, like us, walk on it, but when we think of the world underwater, we focus (usually) not on the ground level, but on the air (except it's underwater, so it's not air; it's water) above. Imagine if it were that way above water and most of our landscapes were airscapes. But we're bottom dwellers in the world above water, so that's what we depict.
asakiyume: (Hades)
Today's prompt is "Poison." I was going to draw, maybe, a destroying angel mushroom or some water hemlock, or maybe some water hemlock growing by a destroying angel mushroom, with a coral snake sliding by.... but in the end I decided to go with ...


What can I say; I really loved Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet.
asakiyume: (birds to watch over you)
I've never done Inktober before, but I always enjoy looking at other people's offerings. My oldest daughter got one list of possible themes, and that's what I'm working from. Here are Day 1, "swift," and Day 2 "divided"


asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
When the curtain parts, when the doors open, when unknown beings from there come here, they always arrive in an empty parking lot, at twilight, when the sky is glowing but the earth is dim, and the electric lights of humankind seem as weak as a last breath.

portentous sky
asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
I'm doing a little bit of writing with some adult learners (there may be some high school students in this class as well)--just ten minutes or so. I don't have any pedagogical reason to believe this is beneficial, except for believing that when people have pleasant experiences doing something, then that thing becomes less daunting. In other words, maybe, if the students enjoy this time writing, they'll feel more able to tackle the sort of writing you need to do to clear the hurdles in front of them. But even if that's not the case, I think people deserve a chance and a place to try out writing, just for its own sake and their own sake. So.

My first prompt for them was this quote from Fred Rogers: "You can grow ideas in the garden of your mind," which I recalled from this autotuned song made from that and other remarks of his.

I showed them some gardens.

A garden in Holyoke, created by "self-proclaimed plant geeks":


Randyland, the garden created by Randy Gilson, a waiter and son of a single mom, in Pittsburgh, PA:


The magic gardens of Isaiah Zagar in Philadelphia:


The blooming Cadillacs at the Cadillac ranch in Amarillo, Texas:

(Source is this Google image, whose original location is given as this video.)

The famous Zen garden at Ryōanji, in Kyoto, Japan:


And I said, even when you think a place is barren, nothing growing, life pushes through, like in this parking lot in Boston:


And then I asked them--what's growing in the garden of your mind? Several people wrote that they felt like the parking lot and talked about worries, but one wrote about a painting she's planning, and another compared his mind to a potato (and gave me a diagram to show it growing). It was wonderful.

What's growing in the garden of *your* mind, these days?
asakiyume: (Timor-Leste nia bandiera)
If you're going to meet an actual hero, a freedom fighter and former political prisoner who helped birth a new nation--that's YOU, Mr. Xanana Gusmão--you would do well not to be 45 minutes late. Alas, Google maps misled me about how long it would take me to drive from my house to the Pell Center, in Newport, Rhode Island, where Mr. Gusmão and a panel of distinguished experts were going to be talking about the future of Timor-Leste. And then I made a wrong turn at the very end and got lost. By the time I was driving down Bellevue Avenue, past RIDONCULOUS mansions, I was more than a half-hour late. But damn it! I did not drive all that way just to ... go home again.

Finally I found the place. A guy waiting in a bus kitted out like a trolley told me yes, this was it.

The talk was happening in a room with gilded Baroque-style accents.


between entering and **the kiss** )

I hung back in the hallway, hoping to somehow say something, anything, to Xanana. I knew I wouldn't really ask him if he could shapeshift, or if he'd like to collaborate with me in writing a story based on this experience, and I didn't want to just gush that I was a fan, but I wanted to say **something**.

And I got my chance. He walked by and saw my expectant face and stopped and smiled at me. And I started blurting out that one small thing he'd done that made me admire him was get out and direct traffic one day in Dili, when there was a traffic jam. I think I said more presidents should do things like that. But before I got two words out, he had lifted my hand to his lips and kissed it, all the while looking at me with an expression of friendly affection.

I can see why people would die for him--or better yet, live and struggle for him. He was EVERY BIT as charismatic as I thought he would be, and then some.

asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
I was driving to the post office, and I noticed that the car in front of me had a sticker of Garnet, from Steven Universe, on the back of the car. Also, the car was from out of state.


I haven't watched much Steven Universe, but I've really enjoyed the few episodes I've seen. I felt warmly toward that car. Then, coincidence of coincidences, it turned into the post office parking lot too. "Wow, someone from New York is going to the post office here in B'town," I thought, and also, "I can tell them how much I like their Garnet sticker." I followed the driver into the post office. They got in line; I had to fill out a customs form, so I was standing nearby.

"Excuse me," I said.

"Oh!" they said, startled, and made to get out of my way.

"No, no--you're fine! I just wanted to say, I really like your Garnet sticker, on your car."

"Oh!" they said again, but a pleased and happy one this time. "Thanks!"

Then it was their turn at the counter. On their way out they smiled at me and said goodbye.

I had no clue what gender, if any, they were, but they inhabited their skin and their space with a pleasant, easy charm. They looked more or less like this:

slow gin

Sep. 8th, 2017 12:29 pm
asakiyume: (nevermore)
Actually it's sloe gin, after the dark berries ("her eyes were sloe black") that flavor it, but I've always liked thinking of it as slow gin, moving so leisurely, like this phantasmagoric swan metamorphosing slowly, genie-from-a-bottle style, from? I guess? the still in which the gin was made?

Wakanomori brought this bottle back--full--from England, and I did drink it slowly, in tiny sake cups, but somehow now it's gone! Maybe that means the swan is now free, but I missed its triumphant departure.

pretty label

Image from Edward Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies, this version at

But was it sloe gin, Zillah? And did you see the swan's broad wings and bandit mask? Swans are bastards, I'm told, but if you fling your arms around their long necks, they may still carry you places--especially you so tiny and they so big.

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