asakiyume: (november birch)
I was looking at some of my earliest journal entries, trying to see what had me hopping with inspiration back almost thirteen years ago, and I discovered this:
Little Springtime, the Peaceful One, had to list things that happen with regularity in nature--just a few examples. She said, "I've already got things like 'Bears eat skunk cabbage in the spring...'--as if THAT'S the first regular seasonal thing you'd think of! I only just learned that about bears last week. It made me think, it would be fun to have a list of things that happen very regularly that people rarely think of (like the bears and skunk cabbages, frankly).

I thought, that idea dovetails nicely with Japanese microseasons, which Wakanomori introduced me to a few years ago. There are 72 of them. Right now, for instance, we're in 雉始雊 Kiji hajimete naku--pheasants start to call. (More broadly, we're in the period called 小寒 Shōkan, "small cold," which will be followed, from January 20 through February 3, by "greater cold." Just warning you.)

But it might be fun to get as particularistic about place as for time. If you can divide the year into 72 microseasons, how about microclimates? Of course years can vary so wildly in terms of what happens... it would take lots of observations to have microseasons that would really apply fairly regularly year after year.

These last few days, here, we've been in the microseason of thin wind--the kind that slips between all your layers and curls up right against your skin, trying to warm itself, a hungry ghost of a wind. I haven't heard any pheasants calling.
asakiyume: (turnip lantern)
Little Springtime (who lives in Japan--I had better add that detail,or the story may be confusing) told me about an interesting experience she had in a bar. She's sporting a new haircut and looking pretty boss; she used to look a teensy bit like Taylor Swift, but now she looks a teensy bit like Scarlett Johansson with short hair.

...Okay, she's blond; that's it. She actually doesn't look anything like Scarlett Johansson--just, she's blond, and now has short hair and is looking slightly tough, but not mean-tough.

So she's in the bathroom, and there are two young Japanese women her age in there eyeing her, and one of them says something to the other, but LS can't tell whether it's critical or complimentary. She hurries out. Then one of the two come up to her at the bar and says, "You look really cute!" which pleases LS, and they get to talking, and LS ends up asking her what she does for work, and the woman says, "I'm a sex worker." Whereupon LS quickly marshals all her feminist thinking and says something along the lines of "Oh, okay; cool," and--since she has complicated feelings about sex work--soon turns the conversation elsewhere.

At some point, the young woman passes a thousand-yen note (very roughly equivalent to ten dollars) to LS, saying, "because you're so cute," and LS is thinking, generally money is supposed to flow the other way? , so she says, "How about we *share* a drink?" And so they do.

Also. . .
I know this is going to seem like a very bad pun and nothing more, but the truth is I've been wanting to share this cool picture of all these different heads of screws for some time--so why not now?? Aren't they cool? I never knew that screws could be so fancy and so various.

asakiyume: (turnip lantern)
Some time ago I posted about creating a matching game with quotes from Warriors of the Wind, a mangled dubbing of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind which we have an affection for in my family. I didn't have it quite done for New Year's, and then it became hard to find a time when the whole family was gathered, but tonight, on the occasion of a family birthday, we all gathered and played. True, the healing angel was ill (he's been sick with a virus now for more than 10 days...), and the ninja girl had to play with us via Facetime from Japan, but we did it! All six of us played, and everyone laughed and had fun. Even the cat got in on the game, temporarily sprawling himself on the pile of matches and then watching with big eyes as we grabbed the cards and shouted out the lines.

asakiyume: (autumn source)
A friend's son has recently mastered the art of whistling with an acorn cap. When she told me this, I remembered how my daughters used to make acorn whistles with the nut part of the acorn. They gouged the nutmeat out, leaving the shell, with a neat, round, opening up top, and they decorated the outside with patterns in nail polish. They were beautiful, and they made a clear, shrill whistle.

I thought I'd make one for my friend's son--whom I met recently, in Colorado, where I went for the Sirens conference. More on that in another entry.

I decorated the outside with patterns carved with a box cutter. I liked the subtle look:

acorn whistle

decorated acorn

decorated acorn

acorn whistle

asakiyume: (Dunhuang Buddha)

Some people have the gift of telling dreams so that, instead of a confusing mish-mash of incomprehensible (often even to them) signifiers, you instead get a well-turned, strange tale. [ profile] sovay, for instance, can do this.

And so can Little Springtime--at least, she just did:

I dreamed we drove to Russia, and there were bears everywhere. We got to a train station, and there were bears there, too, and I said, "I'm sure glad we didn't bike." And then the customs people stopped us and one of them held up a potato and said, "Who tried to bring this in here?" And I said, "Are potatoes not indigenous to Russia?" And there were these magnificent fur coats, and I wanted to buy one, but I wasn't sure of the price conversion from rubles to dollars--like is a ruble half a dollar? Or twice a dollar? And so I tried to Google the conversion rate, but the results I got were totally unhelpful--like how many dollars to the pound, and how many pounds in a stone.

Don't try to smuggle potatoes into Russia
(image source)

asakiyume: (Em reading)
Some years ago I read Ship Breaker, by Paolo Bacigalupi. I really loved it. When I talked enthusiastically about it to people, though, I found that many had been burned by their experience with The Windup Girl.

Well *now* I'm reading The Windup Girl, as a mother-daughter reading club experience (this is with Little Springtime; next I'll read Ancillary Sword, which I'm going to read with the ninja girl), and I can see where all the hackles and suspicion came from.

The Windup Girl certainly is giving us stuff to talk over, that's for sure. Some stuff has been so glaring that it almost has CRITICIZE ME pasted on its back--rape scenes, for instance. Other stuff is annoying to the two of us but maybe not so much to other readers, like the way in which non-English words are deployed, and which ones (actually, that leads into a more substantive criticism, but I'll save that for when I finish the book).

Even as we're criticizing elements, we can be enjoying or admiring other things, though. We've been greeting each other with things like "Careful not to run into any Japanese gene-hack weevil today" and "Seen any cibiscosis or blister rust this morning?" because Japanese gene-hack weevil, cibiscosis, and blister rust--three types of plague--get mentioned like every page in Windup Girl. And yet, truth is, I'm super impressed by Bacigalupi's imagining of future plagues and his feel for agribusiness names for crop strains and disease strains. It's very immersive worldbuilding.

More when I've finished.

asakiyume: (turnip lantern)
The healing angel and I were eating a late dinner, very late. (How late? Like 10 pm) There came, from outside, a loud, hollow rumbling, like a kid peddling a Big Wheel. It seemed really close, like the kid was maybe pedaling up our driveway.

I realized it was someone rolling their trash bin to the end of their driveway. Probably my neighbor across the street. But it sounded like maybe she'd rolled it right up to my porch.

Since the healing angel had looked as nonplussed as I felt at the sound, I told him what I thought it was.

"No," he said. "That's not it. It's a carriage. A carriage that rolled out of the past into the present--just as it was going past our house--and then rolled back into the past again."

Later Little Springtime came home, and I told her the story. "Big Wheel? Trash bin? Can't you even tell," she said, "that it was an elephant dragging himself home after a hard day? Those were his footsteps you heard. And what about his tears? His sorrowful tears, made of mercury, not saltwater--did you hear those, as they hit the pavement?"

The healing angel and Little Springtime are awesome

. . . but now I need to go to bed. *sleepy*

asakiyume: (glowing grass)

Behind this grand old mill building is the Mill River, which [ profile] teenybuffalo took me to several years ago.

Little Springtime, the healing angel, and I went down to the very spot she had shown me (and, actually, the healing angel was along on that trip too), but really what we wanted to get to was a sandy island a bit upstream. The problem was that there was a waterfall between us and upriver at this point.

The healing angel hopped quite nimbly across the river and signaled to us, after a time, that we would find a place to scramble down on our side if we walked back along the highway a bit.

We walked back up the highway, and sure enough, did find a place to scramble down to the water.

Here is the healing angel, already on the island we want to get to.

a few more photos )
asakiyume: (snow bunting)
I was a vagrant yesterday, and in my wanderings, I came to the media lab where Little Springtime works, and where the hedgehog from last entry was printed. Verily I say unto you, we live in the future.

Here is a ukelele, made with a 3D printer

3D printed ukelele

And here is a lampshade:

3D printed lampshade

Here are the banks of printers. Their brand is "makerbot replicator." Alas, if I say "Earl Grey, hot!" they are not yet able to produce an aromatic drink.

Makerbot 3D printers

For a drink, you have to go here:

Blue Wall

Very futuristic, right? The scene reminds me of a big airport, like Dallas Fort Worth, or Sydney.

If you are craving something organic at this point... here are friends with a pulse, and wings

geese UMass

asakiyume: (the source)
Little Springtime works at the media lab at her university. They have a 3D printer, which, from next semester (... I think?) will be available to students to use. She tested it out and made a hedgehog.

Yesterday and today have been cold, with magnificent if somewhat ominous high winds, but the day before yesterday was warm and melty. Melted snow was coursing down the road. Or rather, it was lapping down the road.

Why does it go down the road in ripples like this? (See the smiles, one after the other? Those are the ripples I'm talking about.) Why not one smooth sheet of water?

asakiyume: (Em)
Little Springtime was cleaning out her room and decided she probably didn't need her collection of bottle caps anymore.

I, however, still need her collection of bottle caps. Bottle caps are so wonderful. I want to make something with them. One day. For now, I just want to admire them.

Using the Em icon because Em's little sister Tammy collects bottle caps.

asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
Little Springtime has a fun free app on her phone: Backwords (there are other versions that aren't free; this is a free version). You record a word or phrase, and it will play it back to you backward. You then play the backward version for other people, and they try as best they can to duplicate the sounds they hear. You record their attempts and play those backwards, and then see if, from that, you can tell what the original word or phrase was. If they copied the backward sounds fairly accurately, then when their attempts are played backward, you'll hear something pretty close to the original word or phrase, but often slurred and strange.

In the course of doing this, we discovered an aural palindrome: the word "fabulous," played backward, sounds like "silly Beth." If you record yourself saying "fabulous silly Beth" and play that backward, what you get is "fabulous silly Beth." Technically, that can't be--since the last sound in the original is a th- sound, not an f- sound, but it's close enough so you hear it as an aural palindrome.

Finn's Fabulous Hair by The Jozz on DeviantART

asakiyume: (Em)
I just learned from Little Springtime about the existence of bibioburros--like bookmobiles, only with burros instead of vans to carry books to isolated households on Colombia's Caribbean shore.

The program's founder, Luis Soriano, is a primary school teacher. His portable library started with just 70 books, but grew to several thousand volumes, thanks to donations. Soriano has two burros, Alfa and Beto, who carry the books. This Wikipedia article on bibiloburros tells of much excitement (for example, bandits tied up Soriano and stole the novel Brida, by Paulo Coelho, when they discovered Soriano had no money on him) and many ups and downs (Soriano had to have a leg amputated after an accident), but the program continues.

Luis Soriano and his biblioburros (Photo: Scott Dalton; Source: New York Times, article here)

(Also from the New York Times)

asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
I know the people at the post office; I'm there a lot. Back when Little Springtime first was in Japan (she's back there again--let's have no earthquake-tsunami-nuclear disasters this time, please, Seafather and Lady) I found out that one of the women who works there has a daughter who lives in Japan. That woman--Tasi--is Samoan.

The other day when I was there, I had Timor-Leste on the mind, and seeing Tasi reminded me that in Tetun, tasi means sea--so I told her so. She smiled, and said, "and in my language it means 'noble.' Aliitasi, 'noble one.'"

So Tasi is just a nickname. Aliitasi is the complete name. It sounded so beautiful when she said it--here, I found it online: Aliitasi.

"'Noble one.' So every time someone says your name, they're respecting you," I said.

"Suuure they are," she said, skeptically.

But I think, yes. Even though they don't know it, even if they're acting disrespectful. Noble One. Even here and now, names have power.

asakiyume: (turnip lantern)

A fine vintage of honey
The unspoilingness of honey. I can't get over it. I'm going to buy some honey this summer and put it away, a flavor time capsule, and break it out on some later date--the flower vintage of 2012. And there may be a story in that, maybe. Though, bee stories tend to fly away from me.

Cell phone novel
Little Springtime was hard at work, an air of severe concentration on her face, when the ninja girl and I went to get lunch just now.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"I'm writing a cell phone novel," she said. "Last year I started a novel in Japanese and English, and I thought, 'There's no possible market for this,' but then I found out about cell phone novels, in Japan. People upload them and share them. I've joined this site ... I don't know how to change the genre, though. Right now I'm down as その他 ["sono hoka" = "other"] but really it should be 恋愛:切ない ["ren-ai: setsunai" = "romantic love: sad"]. It's amazing how many different flavors of ren-ai there are ... There's ren-ai: highschool, and ren-ai: office, and ren-ai: sad ..."

"Wait, but what if your highschool ren-ai story is a sad one?" I asked.

"Well, you go by the most salient characteristic, I'm thinking," she said. Sensible answer.

ETA She's already had feedback on her first installment! The person who commented said (I'm translating) "At any rate, your English is excellent! I'm excited for the next installment." And they said it felt very authentic. Oh Japan. How do you be so awesome?

Jiji-the-kitten is very scrutible. You can see the wheels turning in his head. Looking at him and reading his thoughts in the twitches of his ears and the change in his posture, I wonder if this scrutibility of cats gave L. Frank Baum the idea for the Glass Cat, who was so proud of her pink and purple whirling brains, visible in her glass head.

The Glass Cat

asakiyume: (cloud snow)
On Christmas Eve, there were messages written in a loose, accomplished hand in the ice. I can't read them, but the Snow Queen's Kay could--he was studying that language, I hear.

ice calligraphy

ice calligraphy

Some days later, Little Springtime had a college interview with an alumna of the institution in question who happens to live locally. They met in a coffee shop. The ninja girl and I tagged along. I edited and she doodled, but then I finished my editing, so I doodled too. She doodled a Medusa and remarked that snakes for hair wouldn't necessarily be ugly--just rather alarming. I wondered how other things for hair might be. Birds, for instance, or knives. Later I thought, what about dogs' heads? (or wolves or foxes. canids.) Here are those alternative medusae (with one inexplicable fish head in among the canids in the third second):


Aug. 28th, 2010 08:40 am
asakiyume: (bluebird)
A bird flew right into the light of the sun, and when it did, its wings were like flames or lightning. Maybe you can imagine it: look at the blue below, where the house is kindly shielding your eyes from the sun. Now imagine moving a little to the left, so the sun is just visible--and a bird is flying up there, and its wings have all the sun's brightness caught in the feathers.

sun in a blue sky

And speaking of wings--safe travels and best adventures to Little Springtime, off to the land of her birth, the land of the rising sun, for a year in a Japanese high school.

asakiyume: (God)
Yesterday I took the ninja girl to the bus station, and noticed the people there. This evening I went to pick her up, accompanied by the tall one and the healing angel.

This evening at the bus station there was a crazy person--older man, tall and lanky, with one milky-white blind eye, standing in the center of all the seats, speaking at random. “Shall I invite you to the wedding?” he said to one person. The tall one and I assiduously ignored him, heads bent over books. The healing angel was ignoring him too, concentrating (he told me later) on some missing tiling on the floor that looked like the Norse letter D.

The crazy man passed by us on the way to the bathroom, looked at the healing angel, and said, “You’re twelve, aren’t you.” And since the healing angel is twelve, he said, “Yes, I am.” And then the man said, “You know the scripture passage--‘Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?’ Do you have the keys to the house yet? ....First the house keys, and then when you get to be a little older, the keys to the car!” And then he went into the bathroom.

It was a kind of stunning experience.

Little Springtime was disappointed she didn't get to come along... if I had known it would be such an adventure, I would surely have taken you, Little Springtime!


asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)

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