Apr. 7th, 2019 05:48 pm
asakiyume: (turnip lantern)
This helium balloon came into our life on March 10. It hung around, puffed out and full of helium, in the living room, its head brushing the ceiling, for a long time. If you pulled on the string, it would come down and then bounce back up.

We could tie things to the end of the string and entertain the cat by bouncing the balloon down and up--the balloon positively swooped and danced. And the balloon watched attentively from the corner while the TV was on.

As it began to deflate, it began to wander. One evening I went upstairs to ask the healing angel something; when I left her room, the balloon was lingering on the staircase. Its head no longer bumped up against the ceiling.

Later I found it in my bedroom. Nonplussed, I led it back to the living room.

The last few days, it's been hanging out with the loquats. For a while it was up by the shock of leaves at the top of this particular loquat; now it's down at root level, but that means it can also get the warmth of the southern sun in the window. It seems to be a good place to spend your final days.
asakiyume: (man on wire)
In the supermarket the other day, a mom scolded her baby, who was sitting in the little seat at the front of the shopping cart, when the baby leaned down and started chewing on the cart handle. "Don't do that! You don't know where that's been!" the mom exclaimed.

AND HOW RIGHT SHE IS! Just **think** of the adventures shopping carts get up to!

The cart you are sitting in right now, baby, may recently have been sunning itself on the beach...


Or it may have been tangling with rival gangs in shadowed alleys... (though your shopping cart seemed more hale and hearty than this one)


It may have been for a refreshing swim...

(source, an old LJ friend's journal)

Or perhaps spent time communing with the mountains...

Abandoned Shopping Cart At The Banff Railway Station

(click through for source, Flickr user "Malcolm").

Baby, if we were to give you a blessing, it might be to travel as widely as a shopping cart.
asakiyume: (more than two)
I was listening to a talk the other day, and the speaker was talking about how she preferred "yes, and" phrases to "no, but" phrases when talking about someone's ideas.

In general I favor this approach too. Conversation that builds up rather than breaking down is energizing and encouraging. But you can't only use "yes, and." Sometimes you want to disagree or criticize. The speaker seemed to think that even in those situation you could/should cast what you're saying as a "yes, and." The example that came up was the speaker's criticism of the Black Panther movie. She was saying that she loves it, that it's great, but that it has problems--among them, it holds up a model of a single important person, a king, who makes all decisions. But unlike me in the previous sentence, she didn't phrase this using "but." She used "and." ("It's a great movie...and it has this problem")

You can do that, but changing the conjunction doesn't really change the valence of what you're saying. Why not just acknowledge the criticism by starting what you say next with a "but"? Sometimes it's fine to criticize! Furthermore, criticism doesn't have to be destructive--as the speaker herself was showing. She clearly did like the movie.

Maybe what would satisfy both her desire to stay positive and my desire to own the criticism is "yes, but." Yes, I agree/like this, but I have a refinement or criticism to add.

Hey, and then there's also "No, and," which is even more negative than "No, but," right? Like with "No, but," you're saying no, but you're also saying "but," which means there's some point of commonality, whereas with "No, and," you're going to town with your criticisms--you've got more than one!

Wohoo, I think we can do a business-article-style four-quadrant graph:

OMG my dayjob is invading my journaling...
asakiyume: (miroku)
Sometimes in yoga class, we balance on one foot. If we're all balancing with no problem, the instructor suggests we try it with our eyes closed. "It's much, much harder," she says. Have tried, can confirm.

This came up in the movie Roma, which I watched the other day. The protagonist--young housekeeper Cleo--is trying to get in touch with the asshole father of her baby, who's doing some kendo-style training out in the back of beyond. They're all chanting Japanese numbers in unison and taking stances, and then a guest sensei-type says he's going to show them something impressive, and he asks for a blindfold. Blindfolded, he balances on one foot with his arms forming a diamond over his head.

"You think this is nothing much?" he says to the trainees and those watching. "You all try." So everyone starts trying, and everyone's losing their balance and hopping around and falling over. Except Cleo. In a long-distance shot of her up on the ridge, with other onlookers, you see her balancing perfectly. It's just for a moment.

... Annnnd it doesn't really have any significance? The movie just keeps going along.

I was telling the story of this to the healing angel, and she immediately tried doing the thing--of course, who wouldn't! But she really, really wanted to be able to do it, and this was making me think how driven people are to have external markers of specialness, regardless of any meaning or context. If she could do it, or if she gets to be able to do with with practice, what will that mean... other than that she can balance in a manner that very few people can do? Is that in itself an accomplishment? I mean, if it makes you happy and doesn't harm others, I don't have a problem with it, but.

... Which is also making me think of an assignment the students had at the program I help out at (not the jail, the other one)--they had to talk about the use of the word "special" as an insult. One of the other volunteers went so far as to say that no one ever wants to be special in any way; everyone just wants to blend in. I don't think this is how most people feel; I think a lot of people would like to be special if it's a good kind of special and not a bad kind, especially in societies that set a high value on individualism. But maybe I'm conflating good-specialness with excellence.

... Just random thoughts. I haven't posted in a while and wanted to share something, and that's what came out.
asakiyume: (shaft of light)
Daylight plays hide-and-seek with the world. It hides in the southern hemisphere at the year's end/beginning and in the northern hemisphere in the middle months. It wears itself out running, but it has a safety zone--a save point, a "base"--in the equatorial region. It always rests there.
asakiyume: (miroku)
[personal profile] sartorias's really moving entry on places she's lived and what became of them reminded me of a conversation I had yesterday when I went out looking for an iron. I'd been ironing, and mine had given up the ghost, just one sleeve short of a finished shirt. (You know what that means! I finished ironing that sleeve by heating up my cast-iron skillet on the stove. We need full use of all our limbs in this household.)

There were no irons at the supermarket and no irons at the CVS, but at the Dollar Store I hit the jackpot. The cashier, a woman maybe in her forties, was chatty, so I told her the story of ironing the remaining sleeve, and she expressed delight at meeting someone else who used a cast iron skillet and said it was good thinking. I said, "Well, it's what the old irons were made of, after all. My grandmother had a couple of them--she used them as doorstops."

"My great grandmother had some of those, and she used them as doorstops too! She used them to keep us out of her bedroom," the cashier exclaimed. "But I can't picture using one as an actual iron."

"You know those old cast-iron stoves? They used to put the iron right on that, and then when it was hot, you could use it."

"My great-grandmother had one of those stoves!" the cashier said, eyes shining.

"So she could have used the irons as actual irons," I said. "Where did she live?"

"Oh, over in Bondsville. You know where 'the grog shop' is? Across the street from that. It's totally different now though. After she died no one wanted the house--except me; I wanted it, but I couldn't afford it--so they sold it. The new owners totally changed it. I look at it, and it's not--it's just not the same house."

--All that's left are memories and shared stories. But sometimes those can be so vivid, like [personal profile] sartorias's, or the cashier's, and when you share them, they live in someone else's mind, too.

Here's a tailor's stove with an iron on it, courtesy of --Kuerschner 17:20, 1 March 2008 (UTC) - own work, own possession, Public Domain, Link

asakiyume: (man on wire)
Sometimes things happen like this:
I and a couple of others were waiting for a bus of Japanese high-school students at the Basketball Hall of Fame. We were part of the group that was hosting them/showing them around. While we waited, a local kid (high school senior), hurried into the museum, followed a few minutes later by his mother, with money for lunch. She'd driven him there, but he'd rushed in without money, and she wanted him to be able to get food.

Her mission accomplished, the mom didn't leave, but struck up a conversation, talking about her kids' (the son and his younger siblings and older sister) experience of school, kids getting labeled as troublemakers, racism (she was Black), the difference between being African American and being Afro Caribbean (her husband's from Jamaica) and so on.

I really enjoyed talking with her. We talked for a long time--basically until the bus with the Japanese students arrived--and afterward I was pondering why people confide in strangers. Here are some thoughts:

  1. We talk to family and friends about problems, but if the problems are intractable or complicated or long term, then our family and friends can eventually know them intimately. They can be fatigued hearing the same litany of stuff from us--but the problem still weighs on us and we can want relief, and for some of us, talking provides relief.

  2. A stranger doesn't have years of experience with us that might undercut the story we're telling (at least in their eyes); they don't remember the times we failed to keep a promise or the time we were too terrified to get on the roller coaster or the time we hollered at our kids in a supermarket. If the stranger's willing to give us a sympathetic listen, they're likely to be totally in our corner.

  3. A stranger probably won't make irksome suggestions, but if they do make suggestions, they won't come with a whole lot of historical baggage attached--not like when our parents tell us for the seventy-millionth time that maybe we should try using the envelope method of budgeting or our smugly relationship-ensconced friend gives us dating advice. It's much easier to consider a stranger's suggestion on its merits **or** to just dismiss it.

I haven't ever really talked at length about personal problems to a stranger in person, but I've done it online--for some of these reasons ... I don't do it anymore, in part because nowadays, in the places I'm active online, I'm not in the company of strangers anymore, and also I guess because the airing of problems doesn't give me relief or clarity in the way it once did.

What about you all, though? Thoughts on why people confide in strangers?
asakiyume: (miroku)
A friend sent me a PDF of 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature winner Herta Müller's Nobel lecture, "Every Word Knows Something of a Vicious Circle," and it is stunning--wise on love, words, steadfastness, solitude, totalitarianism. It starts like this:
DO YOU HAVE A HANDKERCHIEF was the question my mother asked me every morning, standing by the gate to our house, before I went out onto the street. I didn’t have a handkerchief. And because I didn’t, I would go back inside and get one. I never had a handkerchief because I would always wait for her question. The handkerchief was proof that my mother was looking after me in the morning. For the rest of the day I was on my own. The question DO YOU HAVE A HANDKERCHIEF was an indirect display of affection. Anything more direct would have been embarrassing and not something the farmers practiced. Love disguised itself as a question. That was the only way it could be spoken: matter-of-factly, in the tone of a command, or the deft maneuvers used for work. The brusqueness of the voice even emphasized the tenderness. Every morning I went to the gate once without a handkerchief and a second time with a handkerchief.

And it goes on from there--a visit from the secret police (Müller grew up in Ceauşescu's Romania), a conversation with a former internee of a Soviet labor camp, thoughts on an uncle who became a Nazi--and through it all, the handkerchief:
Oskar Pastior had knocked on her door, a half-starved beggar wanting to trade a lump of coal for a little bit of food. She let him in and gave him some hot soup. And when she saw his nose dripping into the bowl, she gave him the white batiste handkerchief that no one had ever used before ... For the woman, Oskar Pastior was also a combination: an unworldly beggar in her house and a lost child in the world. Both of these personae were delighted and overwhelmed by the gesture of a woman who was two persons for him as well: an unknown Russian woman and the worried mother with the question: DO YOU HAVE A HANDKERCHIEF.

Ever since I heard this story I have had a question of my own: is DO YOU HAVE A HANDKERCHIEF valid everywhere? Does it stretch halfway across the world in the snowy sheen between freezing and thawing? Does it pass between mountains and steppes to cross every border; can it reach all the way into a gigantic empire strewn with penal and labor camps?

This vignette spoke to me especially:
When I was a staircase wit, I was as lonely as I had been as a child tending the cows in the river valley. I ate leaves and flowers so I would belong to them, because they knew how to live life and I didn’t. I spoke to them by name: milk thistle was supposed to mean the prickly plant with milk in its stalk. But the plant didn’t listen to the name milk thistle. So I tried inventing names with neither milk nor thistle: THORNRIB, NEEDLENECK. These made-up names uncovered a gap between the plant and me, and the gap opened up into an abyss: the disgrace of talking to myself and not to the plant. But the disgrace was good for me. I looked after the cows and the sound of the words looked after me.

And whoa to the whoa-th power, this:
After all, the more words we are allowed to take, the freer we become. If our mouth is banned, then we attempt to assert ourselves through gestures, even objects. They are more difficult to interpret, and take time before they arouse suspicion. They can help us turn humiliation into a type of dignity that takes time to arouse suspicion.

I recommend reading the whole lecture; all parts of it are beautiful and strong. The link I found for it on the Nobel website is very unpredictable--50 percent of the time it seems to be down. But persevere, and hopefully you'll get to it. (Link here.)

with fl--

Oct. 20th, 2018 11:34 pm
asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
I turned off the radio in the middle of an ad:

"The newly renovated Albany Marriott, with fl--"

--with fl-?

what could it be? What does this newly renovated Marriott have?

flocked wallpaper in every room?

flight simulators available for all guests to try?

flambéed eel, as a dinner speciality?

What do you think?
asakiyume: (aquaman is sad)
We've reached it: Yet Another Asakiyume Rant on the Trolley Problem. When I first committed to writing this, I was all fired up. I was sure I had a totally new and many-splendored rant that would *not* merely be a rehash of my past rants. Now that some time has passed, I ... think I was wrong.

Here's the slim thought that seemed new at the time: trying to find out which of two (or however many) awful options a person will take in a controlled simulation is asking the wrong questions. It's assuming a forgone conclusion (death) and so it asks, which deaths? who dies? But the future is never known, and it's much, much more meaningful to have people exert their energies toward other solutions. "What can be done in this situation?" That's the question to ask--open ended, not an either-or. Letting people imagine deploying secret brakes or giant trolley airbags or robot rescue dirigibles might appear to be an exercise in escapism, but it also might generate actual ideas for ways actual situations could be made safer.

I think the rest of what I'm tempted to say is all stuff I've said before. [personal profile] sovay asked me once whether I thought even just the act of engaging with the trolley scenario in imagination was harmful, and as I recall I equivocated, but coming back to it now, I guess I think yes, if it won't allow for alternative answers, it is. It's a way of compelling people to accede to death and rehearse manslaughter.
asakiyume: (squirrel eye star)
Part one is here. The question for part two is Will a Powerful Enough Computer Result in Unerring Predictions?

Annnnnd ... The answer is NO. No, it's not possible to amass enough information to make unerring predictions. It's like the problem of Glinda's record book in the Oz series. Glinda's record book was supposed to list everything that ever happened anywhere in the world, the problem being that to capture every single thing, you'd need a book the size of the universe (that's not even going into the recursive problems of describing the updating going on in the book). Data-based predictions have an added problem, because they assume you understand cause and effect. I'd argue that humanity's propensity for seeing relationships and patterns means that we're actually quite bad at correctly assigning cause and effect--if it's even possible. I sometimes wonder if beyond certain basic physical rules cause and effect might not be illusion. Meaning-creating illusion, but illusion all the same. BUT NOW I'VE SAID TOO MUCH.

Nevertheless, the notion that enough data will let you predict the future is a premise that has evergreen appeal for SF writers. You may remember it from such classics as the Foundation trilogy or The Minority Report. Tangentially, I think it's interesting that these days stories tend to support the premise that your fate is never fixed, whereas in lots of old stories, the opposite is true--like in ancient Greek stories, for example. If there's a prophecy, it will come true.
asakiyume: (miroku)
Since finishing Too Like the Lightning, my mind has been burning up thinking about it. There are elements of the story that made me wonder if I wanted to read further in the series, but after a few days, I can say yes, I do, in part because I want to see what the author’s going to do with those elements.

I thought I could talk here about three things the book brought up for me. Maybe parcel them out over a few entries. Those three things are (1) Flavors of Divinity; Or, What Makes a God? (2) Will a Powerful Enough Computer Result in Unerring Predictions? And (3) Asking the Wrong Questions: Yet Another Asakiyume Rant on the Trolley Problem.

So this entry is for (1). In lots of stories, a god is basically a being who’s much more powerful than your ordinary human. Gods often also rule over and/or protect some collection of ordinary humans—and sometimes menace others. They’re like people, only with higher stats. As the witch says in The Silver Chair, “You have seen lamps, and so you imagined a bigger and better lamp and called it the sun. You’ve seen cats, and now you want a bigger and better cat, and it’s to be called a lion.”—same with gods.

Sometimes a deity’s motivations and thought processes are inscrutable, but usually, when we’re talking about these stat-enhanced creatures, they’re very, very easy to scrute.

But in some fiction, the gods are ineffable, mystical. The story may not specify how powerful they are, because that’s not where the interest is; the gods are there for wisdom and communion. This type of god may be intimate with humans or may be remote, but whatever the nature of the relationship, they’re definitely not simply more-better mortals.

I can enjoy stories with either type of god in it but what I don’t think I like very much is mixing the two; I guess I have an instinct I’m not going to like the two flavors together, so to speak? ETA--maybe because it represents two different kinds of worldbuilding? Or two different types of thinking on divinity?

But I’m also thinking maybe I’ve got too restrictive a taxonomy here. Maybe there are other, different ways of depicting gods in stories that are neither of these two and not just a mixing of them, either.

So… that’s one thing I’m curious about, going forward in the Terra Ignota series.


Aug. 13th, 2018 09:50 pm
asakiyume: (misty trees)
I saw a scarecrow today--I thought it was a person, standing very still. It was a very realistic scarecrow.

Today was also a rainy day, so there were no shadows, no direct light, confusion of air and water as rain misted down, confusion of earth and air too, as hills and trees melted away into clouds. A good day for summoning ghosts . . .

You can do that, when the rain brings ghosts up near the surface of the earth. Sorcerer farmers trap them in old clothes like helium in balloons, and make them wander the fields, scaring away anything that trespasses, until the bright light of an unclouded day frees them.

Yeah, ghost scarecrows only work when the summer is wet. In parched farmlands shriveling under an unrelenting sun, I'm guessing sorcerer farmers rely on phantasmal illusions of sparks and flames to terrify intruders away.
asakiyume: (glowing grass)
[personal profile] osprey_archer has talked about how we need to have more gradations in how we refer to people than just "acquaintance" and "friend" (and then piling on the adjectives to explain how close a friend the friend is, or how distant the acquaintance is). I'd like also a word for a person you don't even know at all, but who you see often and whose existence brings you joy--

--like this older woman I often see walking around the time I'm finishing up a morning run, or sometimes on weekends if I'm doing stuff in my front yard, she may walk by. Her face says her heritage is something East Asian, and there's some air about her that makes me think she's doesn't speak much English, if any. Maybe it's her clothes, which seem to come from elsewhere (I can't describe why I think this--I'd need to look more closely--but they're not what you see on American sixty- and seventy-year-old women) or maybe it's her hairstyle (and again, I'm not sure I can recall it precisely: maybe parted in the middle and pulled back in a bun?), or maybe it's that what we do when we see each other is smile and nod, or sometimes, if we're on opposite sides of the street, I'll wave, and she'll wave back. We've never spoken a word to each other. (For all I know, she thinks of *me* as a non-English speaker)

Today I have the care of my neighbor's dog, so just now I took him for a walk around a housing development that's going up across the way from my neighborhood. There's one paved loop, and then a dirt-and-gravel road leading to ongoing roadworks and other excavations, and on either side of that, piles of stone and discarded water pipes and wildflowers: right now, mainly queen anne's lace, St. John's wort, and black-eyed susans. I'd completed three quarters of the loop and had my back to the dirt-and-gravel road, and heard a sound, like a tune coming from a radio somewhere, like maybe some of the workmen had a radio on--but it's Sunday evening, and there are no workmen out.

I looked back, and I saw the woman sitting on something--maybe a concrete slab or a big rock--surrounded by wildflowers, some way down that dirt-and-gravel road, just sitting, enjoying the evening. And maybe singing? Maybe it was her. Or maybe it was someone else's radio, somewhere. Anyway, I waved; she waved.

It made me so happy. I'd like a word for a person like this. Special fellow-traveler in the non-Communist sense of the word.
asakiyume: (Em reading)
Look at this! I'm doing a Wednesday reading meme!

I'm reading Ada Palmer's Too Like the Lightning (Amusingly, for the first few days I kept thinking of as Nothing Like the Lightning. My brain was in opposite land, clearly). I started it because of Puddleshark's answer to my question about hopeful futures (and because I'd read interesting reviews of it, and Puddleshark's comment reminded me of that).

What an intriguing, absorbing book. I'm equal parts enjoying it and arguing with it (but I enjoy the arguing). I feel like a cat circling something new in its environment, fascinated, but also hissing.

There was a big reveal regarding awful crimes in the middle of the book, and it genuinely shocked and unnerved me. Maybe it was because I read it at night, but even as part of my brain was laughing nervously (because the awfulness was larded on so thick) another part of me was gasping like a fish.

And then it sort of became a problem for me, not because of delicate sensibilities but because--how can I put it without spoilers--the crimes (and other things hinted at) seem to indicate an upcoming focus that not only isn't to my tastes but that I think is a real will-o'-the-wisp that writers should avoid chasing. Except that (a) I think I'm manifestly wrong: many people are equally fascinated by this will-o'-the-wisp; in fact, I'm the odd person out for thinking of it as a phantasm, and (b), maybe possibly the plot will escape that black-hole pull. But I doubt it. Although I hadn't been spoiled for the big reveal, I do know about some upcoming plot elements that lead me to believe that I shouldn't hold out hope for (b).

All the same. Quite fascinating, with lots of memorable lines. Today's:

It was the kind of anger we create to mask our guilt.

I'm also reading an ARC of [personal profile] sovay's short-story collection. Wow. I'm two-thirds through it, and it is breathtaking. I suspect everyone who reads me also reads [personal profile] sovay and knows Sovay is a person of penetrating insights and breathtaking turns of phrase. The stories are intense and mesmerizing.

These two quotes, from a story that will be new to the world with this anthology:

Her long arms were tangled with tattoos

And this:

Perhaps he could ... leave, finally, the city that had always felt like home in the same way that his parents had felt like family, demanding, endurable, unchosen.
asakiyume: (miroku)
I don't usually edit whole books, but every now and then it happens, and this was one such case: Unlocked: Keys to Improve Your Thinking. I really enjoyed working on this book and have used some of the exercises in it with students I volunteer with, always with wonderful, thought-provoking results.

The intention of the book is to get people thinking about how they think, to understand how things like priming and cues work, to learn about the faultiness of memory and the selectivity of attention and so on, in the hopes that understanding how we think can help us think better. In the preface the author says,
People can react negatively to complexity and to rapid social and scientific change—for example, by retreating into rigid, deeply entrenched thinking, which leads to diminished curiosity and intolerance of those who think and act differently. Still more worrisome is an unconscious, invisible reluctance to challenge our own thoughts and feelings. Thinking, it seems, is far too often employed to justify an existing position rather than to explore, improve, and perhaps change it.

This book wants to change that.

I'm imagining that people reading here probably will, like me, be familiar with some of the thought experiments and information about thinking that the author presents, but probably/maybe (like me) not all of them. And they're entertainingly presented (though my nemesis, the trolley problem, makes an obligatory appearance).

One perk of doing the editing is that I have some books to give away! Both actual, physical books, which are better for some things (like writing down stuff when you're asked to write down stuff), and ebooks, which are better for other things (like hyperlinks and seeing stuff in color--the physical book is in black and white, but the ebook is in color).

Below the cut is an excerpt from the first "Think Key," which features an ethical dilemma that's a little less high-stakes than the one in the trolley problem. It'll give you a sense for what the book is like. To enter the giveaway, just express interest in a comment. In two weeks' time, I'll put names in a hat and pull three and post the results in a new entry. I'll also try to contact winners privately. You'll get both the physical book and the ebook.

Think Key 1: To Disclose or Not )

If you want to take a further look at the book, you can visit Amazon or the author's website.
asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
Wakanomori got some pictures that capture the spirit of wanting better and trying hard that we could sense even standing just at the edge of Egipto.

Here is graffiti saying Egipto vive, right beside the church:

Waka photo: Egipto vive

(click through to see it bigger)

And here is a shot up the hill that he got before we were warned away--you can't maybe tell, but on the right is a bright and hopeful mural, and straight ahead is a painting of a bird in flight.

Waka photo: Egipto

... And those promised thoughts. This was a comment I left in the last entry. It was saying why it took me so long to post that last entry, how life can feel just generally. One of my friends suggest reposting it as an entry itself because, she said, it might resonate for people:

It's taken a long time to post this entry. I nearly didn't last night, either. I've been (like most people I know) oppressed by the news, had my mind in a vise that won't let me think about much else. There's a not insignificant amount of self-loathing that goes along with all that, as all the people saying "If you ever wondered what you'd do in Nazi Germany... now you know" have made me pretty aware that what I would have done is only slightly north of F-all. My stories from my trip feel stale in my head, are a product of privilege, and seem irrelevant and escapist.

But mental incapacity and self loathing, not to mention obsession, are pretty useless states, and some part of me believes it's not pointless to talk about people going out of their way to be thoughtful, even if (especially if? I don't know) it's people in a rough neighborhood being kind to clueless tourists.

... This is both an apology and an apologia for this post. I know you didn't ask for either; I just am latching onto your comment as an excuse to explain. Maybe this comment is what I should have posted, but then I wouldn't have had an excuse to put in photos.

--and look, I managed to slip some photos in all the same.

I guess if people in Egipto can paint "Egipto vive" and can protect the stranger, I can keep... doing my small, small thing.
asakiyume: (Em reading)
I'm going to be on just one panel at Readercon, but it's a fun one:

Our panelists will discuss the fictional futures they find most appealing and would be happy to live in (maybe with some caveats). Does the work that depicts these futures provide a path or hints as to how humans might get there? What makes these futures worth rooting for and aspiring to?

I have some thoughts on the topic, but what I also have is a question:

What books have you read that are set in appealing futures? What books have you read that are set in unappealing futures? That's the main question: even though I have have thoughts, I want to try to read a few more books so I have more to draw on than my limited stock. Send me titles!

I also have a follow-up question: Are there cases where you'd like to live/wouldn't mind living in an unappealing future? Why? And are there any cases where you wouldn't care to live in an appealing fictional future? Again, why?
asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
We interrupt posts about Bogotá for a post courtesy of a second year of defoliatory levels of gypsy moth caterpillars.

You can hear them eating and pooping in the trees overhead. The ground is covered in caterpillar poops and fragments of leaves. Munch munch munch. I found myself thinking of Gurgi in the Prydain chronicles, who is always eager for food--crunchings and munchings as he calls them. Or maybe he says munchings first. Munchings and crunchings.

This is how I imagined Gurgi when I was a kid.

Yes. I imagined Gurgi as Grover, from Sesame Street, complete with Frank Oz voice.

Those of you who read the Prydain Chronicles--how did you imagine Gurgi?

asakiyume: (glowing grass)
I read Semiosis because, like Children of Time, it promised to deal with alien intelligences—and it did: several, in fact. But where it really spoke to the other book, where I sense a zeitgeist thing maybe going on, was in how it raised and dealt with the questions of violence and free will. Lest that makes it sound too much like a philosophy or ethics treatise, let me quickly add that it’s also absorbing, imaginative, occasionally horrific, and occasionally hilarious. It kept me hooked even through moments where I had grave doubts, and I felt the end was well worth it.

Read more... )


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April 2019

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