I had to wait a while for my husband to pick me up, so I used just about every filter on every graphics program I had on my phone!
One of the things I did get done yesterday between work, the ball game, and the Epic Sunburn, was finish a slim book of short stories called A City Equal to My Desire by James Sallis. This wasn’t a book that was recommended to me, which means I don’t have to feel bad about truly disliking it. I found it in a keyword search on the library website for books about ukuleles, and it has a short story called Ukulele And The World’s Pain, which admittedly was one of the better stories in the book despite still not being very good.
From what I can tell, he did pick the best story out of the book to develop into a novel, “Drive”, but it is very obviously unfinished in short-story form. Sallis has a couple of ongoing problems in the short story collection, one of which is that he tends to skip the vital information you need in order to know what the fuck is going on. And not in a “the blanks slowly get filled in” way, or in a “your imagination is more terrible” way (though there is a little of that) but just in a way where like…he says something that you understand to be vital to the story but which is missing context, then spends like a page describing the fucking diner someone’s sitting in, and by then any context forthcoming doesn’t get linked back. It’s like being in the middle of a paragraph when you hit the photo plates in an older book – yes the photos are very interesting thank you but I need to finish the thought you were sharing with me before I go back and look at them. I think maybe he thinks this is challenging the reader but it’s not, it’s just annoying and makes what are otherwise interesting premises totally opaque. I shouldn’t need to work this hard for a story about a hit man who decides not to kill a politician.
If the book had a more cohesive theme in terms of the stories, it might be more readable – he clearly enjoys building worlds and then doesn’t quite know what to do with them once he’s built them, so if this was an entire book of “weird and different worlds” ala Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, I would buy in more fully and I think he would have put a little more elbow in. But it’s not. It’s mostly “here’s a really interesting world and a person living in squalor in it does something while being in it”. Also he appears to be fascinated by describing things that are shaped like pi. And a lot of times it feels like he read a wikipedia article on something and wanted to share some knowledge, so he just kind of built a half-assed story around his wikiwander.
And all of this I would probably let go if say, it was something I was noticing in a fanfic writer, or someone who was just starting out, or someone I felt was genuinely trying to get a point across. But there’s this inexplicable sense of arrogance to the collection, a sort of smugness to it that in professional writers drives me up the goddamn wall. Stephen King sometimes falls into the same trap, where it feels like the author believes they don’t have to respect their readers because they are The Writer.
The thing about volumes of short stories is that you keep reading it because sometimes there is a real gem. And there are one or two good stories in the volume, but I don’t know if they’re worth the rest of it.
So my review I guess is mostly me being annoyed, but it boils down to “If you like short stories in the SFF Noir genre, give it a whirl, but if you’re bored with a story none of them get better, so feel free to skip to the next one.”
from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2gQid4Q
so you may notice a lot of dead image links at some point in the future here.
(Right now they're still being hosted because I have a paid account).
I've switched over to SmugMug, so everything should be hosted from here on in.
So we should be good for a little while longer anyway.
Now let's see if this works.
Orange-Bellied Parrot as Totem
Date: July 21, 2017
On this day, Belgium commemorates the inauguration of King Leopold I, the first King of the Belgians. Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a German prince, embraced his royal role on June 26th, 1831, and pledged his allegiance to the fledgling country just a few weeks later, on July 21.
Previously known as Southern Netherlands, Belgium had been governed by various foreign countries over the centuries, including Spain and France. It also withstood the Dutch Period (1815 – 1830) under King William I, a vigorous advocate of industrialization, before finally attaining its longed-for freedom from the United Kingdom of Netherlands.
Belgian National Day is a festive public holiday celebrated with military parades, air force aerial demonstrations, and free concerts, finished with fireworks. Some Belgians also show their national pride by dressing in red, yellow and black, the colors of the country’s flag.
Our Doodle, illustrated by KHUAN+KTRON, takes us on a joyful tour of Belgium’s iconic Flemish and Wallonian landmarks and sights, from the Royal Palace in Brussels, where Leopold I was sworn in, to the Sint-Truiden, known for its blossoming fruit trees, to Antwerp Cathedral and the Pairi Daiza zoo, home of the giant panda, with stops along the way for such Belgian treats as frieten (fries), cheese and chocolate.
Happy birthday, Belgium!
Date: July 21, 2017
Long before we started looking to our screens for all the answers, Marshall McLuhan saw the internet coming — and predicted just how much impact it would have. A Canadian philosopher and professor who specialized in media theory, McLuhan came to prominence in the 1960s, just as TV was becoming part of everyday life. At the center of his thinking was the idea that society is shaped by technology and the way information is shared.
Today’s Doodle, which celebrates the visionary’s 106th birthday, illustrates this theory by showing how McLuhan viewed human history. He saw it through the lens of 4 distinct eras: the acoustic age, the literary age, the print age, and the electronic age. His first major book, The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962), popularized the term “global village” — the idea that technology brings people together and allows everyone the same access to information.
In Understanding Media (1964), McLuhan further examined the transformative effects of technology and coined his famous phrase “The medium is the message.” He believed that the way in which someone receives information is more influential than the information itself. Throughout the '60s and '70s, McLuhan made frequent TV appearances to share his theories with both followers and skeptics.
Decades later, we honor the man whose prophetic vision of the “computer as a research and communication instrument” has undeniably become a reality.
Date: July 20, 2017
Each year on this date, Colombians close schools and offices, and come together to celebrate the anniversary of the country’s Declaration of Independence. Typical festivities include patriotic parades in the bigger towns and cities, as well as parties with folk music and dancing, and soccer matches. Whatever the celebration, you’ll always see the national flag and its colors, as illustrated in today’s Doodle.
Date: July 20, 2017
Today marks the 125th birthday of Gilberto Bosques Saldívar, the diplomat known as the “Mexican Schindler” who is said to have saved 40,000 lives during WWII while serving as Mexico’s Consul General in France.
Born in Chiautla de Tapia, Puebla, Saldívar made a career of looking after the good of the public from young adulthood: serving as a teacher, government newspaper director, and ultimately, a public servant. In 1939, he was sent to France to serve as Mexico’s Consul General.
After fleeing the Nazi occupation of Paris in 1940, Saldívar received support from the Mexican government to establish a consulate in southern France. He rented a castle and holiday camp in Marseilles at which he hid Jews and Spanish Civil War refugees, maintaining that they were protected under international law in what he considered a Mexican territory. He land his team issued Visas and chartered travel for tens of thousands of wishing to escape to Mexico until he was arrested by Nazi forces. After one year of imprisonment, he continued his career in public service for the remainder of his life.
Today we celebrate Saldívar’s remarkable courage and moral conviction with a Doodle that illustrates the peace his actions made possible for the lives of so many.
Click below to learn more about Gilberto and the families whose lives he touched:
Source: Jewel in the Sky by ElementalFX AKA Fluttershyhiker.
What time is it? Ponies Around the World time. Adventr!
It's easy. Take picture of pony toy/drawing/shirt/whatever near something recognizable in your neighbourhood. (♪ ♫ A landmark is something in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood, in your neigh-bor-hood. Would. You be. My neighbor? ♫ ♬ ♩) Upload to a working online gallery (not Photobucket, ha ha ha ha, ha. humph). Snag the URL to a copy of your picture that is less than 2,000 pixels wide or high. If that's complicated, just resize it to less than 2,000 pixels on the longest side on your computer before uploading it to a gallery. Now go here and fill in the fields.
Source: Lyra at Big Ben, London by Cabraloca.
First field: link to your image on the web, the URL has gotta end in .jpg, .png or .gif or it's no good.
Next field: link to the blog where you get all chatty about your picture. I just link to the gallery where my pictures are. I think you can leave this blank.
Next: Give your picture a name.
Next: "your name". Ha ha ha. Use an online name or make something up.
Email: Make something up but put an @ in it. I use Flickr.com as a domain. Works every time.
Next: Gallery. Right. I link to my Dreamwidth blog. Why not? I think you can leave this blank too.
Next: La description. Be descriptive. Tell us about the context or something. You gots a 1,000 character limit. It's better than Twitter.
And then, dance the Captcha-cha-cha, press submit, et voilà. Enfin terminé. Unless you want to do it again for four more pictures. You totally could. You have 24 hours left. Go go go!
Source: Draw me like one of your french girls by Adlynh
All the pictures end up here. I know this because I'm older than dirt and I've seen stuff. Go take a look!
( Look, I did it! What do I win? )
It depends a bit on the weather, but I’m mostly packed, I’ve cooked food that’s currently waiting in the freezer, and I have acquired the third Diane Mott Davidson book to read.
The plan is to leave work early, catch the train to the campground, camp overnight, and in the morning hike out to a different train station further down the line, about a seven-mile trek, to do a longer endurance test than last weekend’s. Then I’ll catch the train home around noon on Saturday.
If something goes wrong, I can catch an evening train home on Friday until eight o’clock, or starting in the morning at 5:30, with little to no exertion. It’s pretty low-risk and I’m well stocked. I don’t have a sleeping pad, but my backpack has a partial one built-in, and I have one arriving tomorrow (though it might be too bulky, we’ll see). And honestly in this heat, I might just sleep on top of my sleeping bag in any case.
Worst case scenario, the campground has heated, lockable shower cubicles with nice big floors. I’ve slept on worse.
Caaaaaaamping! *jazz hands*
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