I guess this has been around for some time, but I'd never run across it before: an animation of (the second half of) the Bayeux Tapestry.

I like how closely the animation seems to have followed the original work (to my non-expert eyes), while still giving it a new life.

Ask LJ

Jul. 7th, 2010 02:28 pm
Is there an expression that describes trying to take one thing and inadvertently dragging along many things attached to or entangled with that thing? I feel like there ought to be some common word or phrase for it, but nothing springs to mind.
... why wedding rings are so often made of a nice, non-reactive metal. A rarely noted one is that, should you take your ring off briefly, you don't have to worry that the dog who's trying to eat it could do much real damage.

(I was relatively sanguine about socks, pens, soda cans, and even a $2 bill, but this is ridiculous. Actually, I was pretty wroth about the bill, too, because I think a money-eating habit would be really, really bad.)


Mar. 30th, 2010 07:04 pm
There are many things I like about living in our neighborhood. Transit is convenient, within a couple of blocks we have pubs, pizza joints, groceries, barbers, a tailor... they even make pork bao right across the street.

One of the less tangible things that I enjoy about Dorchester as a whole is the oddly old fashioned quality it sometimes possesses. Many shops seem virtually unchanged by the past 50 years; Blue Hill Ave appears primarily to exist in the early 1970s, down to tire shops with large signs advertising their COMPUTERIZED alignment; restaurants like De Hot Spot and the Eire Pub Gentleman's Prestige Bar loom out of the 40s at you - and sometimes, very very old traditions of etiquette are preserved.

The other day as [livejournal.com profile] cat9 and I were walking to the T, a man in perhaps his late 30s called out across the street "Hey, the lady's s'posed to be on the inside, to show Respect!". We both smiled politely and kept walking, as it's really best not to ask the question of whether bellowing at strangers is more or less of a social breach than walking on the wrong side. I couldn't help but think, though, that this is a point of custom preserved solely in re-enactment organizations... and in Dorchester.
learnedax: (wywh)
Cleaning up my friend list always opens the door to some measure of regret - I've fallen out of touch with this person, or I don't really have anything to talk about with that one anymore. This is the first time, though, that one of them has been dead.

... I didn't take him off. Maybe another time. He'll always be on my friend-of list anyway; his password is lost, and I don't think anyone wants to fight to get LJ to remove his account.

And, you know, what if he did start posting again, and I missed it...
Well, I guess all the crucial parties have been informed, so I bring you The Public Service Announcement: [livejournal.com profile] cat9 and I are getting married. Both being veterans, we're taking a pretty laid back approach this time, and have forgone the long engagement for the "what're you doing Tuesday?" approach. Although in this case the role of Tuesday will be played by a Saturday in April.

So there you are.
A while back, when [livejournal.com profile] cat9, [livejournal.com profile] new_man, [livejournal.com profile] mermaidlady, and I went to Mexico, we saw a variety of interesting wildlife, including at one point the coral snake and the milk snake, which have very similar coloration. Our local guide explained, however, that the former was deadly poison and the latter was merely a mimic, and that their patterns of red, black, and yellow bands could be easily distinguished using a mnemonic like "red next to yellow, kill a fellow; red next to black, friend of Jack". Only, just a short while later we had found that our memories were just as liable to substitute other, equally plausible rhymes, like "black next to red, kill you dead; black next to yellow, he's your fellow". Back home, we discovered that there were actually several different variations in coloring, and several different kinds of mimics, that could make things even more confusing. I pictured us debating what the rhyme was and whether that orangey color really counted in a tense moment, and largely wrote it off.

So, drifting off to sleep last night, I realized that surely one group follows the rule of tincture and the other doesn't. And, indeed, true coral snakes (well, in this hemisphere) have color and metal touching, and at least the preponderance of false ones (milk snakes, king snakes, and scarlet snakes) have black and red against each other. And, perversely, I think that will be a lot easier for me to remember.

Of course, I mentioned my revelation to [livejournal.com profile] cat9, and she said "red and black - but isn't sable a fur?" and I said that I thought it was really only the Germans who treated it as a fur, and Western Europe treated it as a color, so that was alright. But certainly I can now imagine us faced with a potentially deadly snake, and arguing over whether its tincture should be considered correct by the prevailing standards of blazonry. No memory aid is perfect.

(And, just as a disclaimer, you really shouldn't use this as the basis to go poking snakes. I have read about coral snakes from other parts of the world that are pink and blue, or other odd things a herald would never go for. On the upside, all of these snakes tend toward the retiring personality, so bites are very rare.)
Last Thursday [livejournal.com profile] cat9 and I went (with a group of people, though that turns out not to matter too much) to see Sleep No More. It was creepy, and vivid, and grim, and I'm glad that I had the experience. But, after lengthy reflection, I don't think that I would want to go again, even ignoring the fact that the full run is sold out.

Much more in-depth discussion )
As a cautionary note to any of you who engages in any kind of piping of video from one device to another while in your home, I have found that it works extremely well until such time as, say, your dog tries to eat your VGA cable. So, now you know.

(It's alright, I managed to bend the pins back to acceptable positions, and now I'm once again using LJ at 60", as is just and proper.)
Things a Tim Powers Protagonist Wouldn't Say:

  • "Actually, I have quite a bit of experience with magic."

  • "Old scars? Nope, none of those."

  • "Please continue. This is all very interesting."

  • "The Fisher King? You've been reading too many fantasy novels."

  • "I've got a wife back home."

  • "I'll do it, for the good of mankind."

  • "I won't be much help to you in a fight."

  • "No thanks; I don't drink."
Well, I'm far behind on updating about anything, but as it's the astronomical new year... now, I guess it's a good time to write at least a little.

I kept meaning to mention that I got a new job, but not actually getting around to it, so here you are: I am just starting my fourth week at Sonicbids, a web-based company to get bands booked with gigs. So far so good - and since my time here's already been 1/14th the duration of each of the last two places, in my book we're doing well.

I didn't wake up for the sunrise this morning, as I have done some years, because I'm apparently no longer willing to put sleep as my lowest priority, even if it's well removed from the highest. The sun seems to have come up, anyway, so I guess we're safe for another year.


Oct. 19th, 2009 03:36 pm
[livejournal.com profile] cat9 gave me a sip of her Starbucks-Caramel-Apple-Cider a few minutes ago, and I thought "man, that's surprisingly tasty. Whipped cream, you say? I should be able to make that..."

Well, I had cider and cream, and it seems they use a little bit of cinnamon so I put that in, but I didn't have any caramel syrup, so I had to make a little, and it's actually pretty hard to make a very small amount of caramel, but I persevered and produced... actually, a thing that isn't quite like their product, but instead tastes like apple pie with whipped cream, in a cup.

My sources now tell me that Starbucks probably makes their "cider" with plain apple juice, leading to a somewhat clearer flavor than what I made. Knowing that I could probably come pretty close to theirs... but hey, apple pie in a cup!
So [livejournal.com profile] cat9 and I were out at Prospect Hill Forge tonight (she actually smithing, me just hanging out this time). We left here at probably 5 PM. When we got home, our entire block, including down both side streets, was marked with signs saying that the area had become a tow zone for tomorrow, and only authorized film vehicles were allowed. Everyplace where there weren't still cars parked had been marked with cones as well, and they had run some serious theatrical power cables for the film crew's convenience.

Now, I know that we're supposed to feel special that someone's using our quiet little neighborhood for a film location, but this is actually stunningly inconvenient. Few people in our neighborhood have driveways, which meant that where most of the time we can just park in front of the house, today we had to hunt quite a ways away, because nearly everyone else from the whole area had already moved their cars everyplace closer. I would merely be irked by this inconvenience, were it not for the fact that they gave less than seven hours' notice that they would, at least in theory, begin towing cars. There are still a number of people parked out there who probably got home from work before the signs went up, and haven't been out since. I can only hope they're not rudely surprised tomorrow. I was under the impression you were supposed to give at a minimum a couple of days of notice of this kind of thing, and it seems tacky not to provide some kind of advance warning even further ahead. But nothing at all? I'm surprised that this is even legal.

As it turns out, I'll be around the house tomorrow. I'm very tempted to provide authentic local color to the film...
a score o'moons ago, dread newman an' me were jawin', an' by turn betook th' topic o'cap'n Powers, bein' as i'd jus then read a couple o' his most good novels. an newman said ta me that i should tak a look at ol' Tim's book on dirty, rowdy, spooky pirates, On Stranger Tides. only i jus got ta readin' it a fortnight ago, which were a pity, for it were indeed a most mighty swashbuckling ghost story. i do recommen' it most heartily. vodun an' seabattles mak for action what never stops.
Idea by [livejournal.com profile] dkapell, embellished by me.

Death by Letters Patent
Fess Up

Someone's been tampering with the records. The whole College of Heralds could have sworn that 'Quarterly, argent and sable' was a long-held device, but no one can find it on the rolls... And when Gerold Blanders, gules a couped stein or, the loudest antagonist of this new submission, turns up ashen in a pool sanguine, palewise a dirk proper, it uncovers a heraldic stain that counterchanges every expectation!

I doubt we would actually run such a thing, but a lot of you would play it, wouldn't you?
  1. [livejournal.com profile] cat9

  2. The Pretty Pup and the Dapper Dog

  3. My invisible hat

  4. Our demure Lady of Iran and Not Iran

  5. Workers Control the Means of Production Day Weekend*

*Why doesn't the GOP protest that? It's socialist, and Canadian to boot...


Aug. 8th, 2009 09:27 pm
You know, whatever happens, Pennsic is basically always a transcendent experience. Even coming home and using electric light is totally different upon returning from its marvelously alien territory. So, taking as read that it is awesome - in the classical sense - a few specifics follow.

I only went for the second week, and the weather was great. It wasn't ever ungodly hot, and I don't think it ever rained on me. (There was a little at night, or for a couple of minutes while I was in a tent, but nothing major. I understand it poured the first week.)

My fighting was far from in practice, and hardly a piece of my armor kit didn't need to be patched with duct tape at one time or another, right down to my boots. The war setup was pretty goofy, but did allow me the pleasure of fighting alongside [livejournal.com profile] jamey1138 a couple of times. All of the battles ran later than perhaps ever before (though [livejournal.com profile] herooftheage may know of some worse occasion), and seemed poorly coordinated to the point of changing rules on the last battle down to 15 minutes before it started. I had fun with my part in the fighting, but the organization was all terrible.

I spent a lot more time hanging out with people in our camp, and wandering down by the lake. Actually made it to (nearly) all the Tagmata daily readings, which this year was The Tain, a far more engaging work than I had expected. It may even have started some mischief for next year.

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to the delights of a hot shower and a soft bed. Though the ones we have at war are pretty good these days, the comforts of home are always greater than the comforts of campaign.

Plus, tomorrow we get two adorable dogs back.
Alright, the dogs are safely away at their little hotel, the car is loaded up, and we are off to Pennsic. Viva la guerre!
I've been musing on a recent post of [livejournal.com profile] jducoeur's, regarding a Swedish political party's attempts to limit copyright to five years (and more specifically Richard Stallman's not terribly convincing complaints about it). Now, I think the copyright situation we are in is bad: large, bullying companies hold on to the agglutinations of purchased copyrights for remarkably long time periods, and use their legal strength to make a mockery of fair use whenever they feel like it. It seems like this does not serve the original creators well, nor the consumers, nor later creators that have to watch their steps with exceeding care to avoid these intellectual property behemoths. And there is something tempting about the five year notion, yet I don't really like the idea of someone who makes a thing losing their ownership of it while they are still alive to care.*

The corporate acquisition of those rights is tricky, too, because it is often very beneficial for musicians to have labels, authors to have publishers, and directors to have studios. It's possible to do without them, but at least in principle they are a good thing. And in order for them to make large-scale reproduction of creators' creations an effective business, they need to secure some rights on, well, copying. But we often see the case where, say, a comic book author does not have any rights at all to the work he did twenty years ago, because the copyright is held by the publisher.

With these problems in mind, I wonder whether the following might work better for everyone. Or at least, everyone who isn't DC Comics: while you are alive, you retain copyright on your work. Your ownership of it would be non-transferable. You can license the work as you like, but we enforce a short maximum term on any such license. This is where I think five years becomes an appealing period again. If I record an album for Apple Records, and it's a big hit, or even a quite prolonged sleeper success, they do quite a good bit of business in the first five years exclusively selling it. And when five years is up, we can renegotiate. The big juicy upfront profit window is still theirthere for middleman organizations, but they don't get to sell your property to someone who sells it to someone who sues people who put it up on YouTube decades after you die. You can sell someone an option on the film rights (for five years), but you can never be made to sell the right to decide who gets the film rights.

And, of course, if you do die right after producing a work, the longest it stays out of the public domain is five years.
Yesterday I watched a film in which coarse, mercurial King Harry appoints his old friend Tom to be his high chancellor, relying on his complete loyalty in the divisive battle to bring the church under the crown's control, not reckoning on the strength of Tom's conscience, which brings him to resist his liege's grasp for power when all around him have given in, even in the face of trumped up charges against him, so that ultimately his king, still wishing for his friend's approval, has him killed.

The trick, here, is that last week I watched another film by this same description, that was made a mere two years later.



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