tsubame: (rifle)
Thursday, November 3rd, 2011 05:41 pm
Lisa: Well aren't you just a precious little snowflake....

Me: I am not A precious little snowflake, I am THE precious little snowflake. I resent all insinuations that there might be other snowflakes out there that are also precious! I even resent the idea that there might be other snowflakes!

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When one does not know what it is, then it is something; but when one knows what it is, then it is nothing. What is it? )

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I Imagine The Gods, by Jack Gilbert )
tsubame: (sleepy)
Sunday, October 2nd, 2011 12:57 am
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Fresco map of Italy, from the map rooms in the Vatican

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8月21日 )

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bir var mis, bir yok mis )

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9月2日 )
tsubame: (wings)
Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 02:30 am
A fascinating link regarding a great editor.

Crowd-sourced publishing. An interesting idea, though we’ll have to wait and see how it goes.

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Edinburgh bears the unfortunate label of “not Japan” in my head, and so I tend to give the place short shrift, and easily forget just how lucky I am to be here. Since the culture and language are much closer to that of my native place, I don’t experience the same degree of foreign-ness, and so I don’t appreciate the city as much as I should.

So it’s good for me to go by North Bridge every once and a while, because out of all the places in the city somehow the view from their reminds me of just how lucky I am. And it reminds me that Edinburgh is an incredible place, a vision in buff stone, a place of history and wonders and mysteries if only I dig beneath the everyday to find them.

And it figures that I don’t have any particularly great photos of the view from there. It’s rather difficult to capture such a grand view on a 2D camera-- half the magnificence is the wonders receding further back into space. Carlton Hill with its whimsical structures falling away to the sky and the far-off waters of the ocean, seagulls wheeling in the wind, the impressive sweep of the bridge over the great ravine that holds the train station, the height of the hills on either side, the ornate stone buildings decorated with mythic beasts and reclining gods . . .

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Here’s the one shot I do have of Carlton Hill. They hold the Samhain and Beltain celebrations up there-- both of which I missed, alas. But if I were going to pick a likely spot for magic in Edinburgh this’d be it, with the eclectic buildings, the observatory dome, the obelisk, the tower. It would be a great location for a school of wizardry, a part of the town and yet separate, a lofty place between land and sea, sky and rock, looking over both the cultured city and the barren wildness of Arthur’s Seat.

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I wanted to put up more writing for [livejournal.com profile] saiun_challenge’s birthday celebration, but alas it seems this is all I’m going to manage. And I still have one more bit to write before it’s really complete! ::sobs:: Oh, and I haven’t edited it yet, so it’s probably so terrible as to be embarrassing. But I’m too tired to look it over now, and the deadline will be past if I wait to do so until I’ve had some sleep.

This AU makes me nostalgic for high school. How weird.

Dark Jewels Saiunkoku

Roseford's Queen: Part 1
Roseford's Queen: Part 2
Roseford’s Queen: Part 3

Roseford’s Queen: Part 4 )
tsubame: (reading)
Monday, May 9th, 2011 11:17 pm
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One of the views from St. Michael’s Bridge in Ghent. You just kinda stand in the middle of the bridge and turn in a circle, and it’s amazing no matter which way you look. You can see all the major sites from right there-- castle, cathedrals, churches, bell tower, canals . . .

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30 April 2011 (continued) )

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A picture from Sensei’s concert: Kurahashi Yodo and Ronald Brautigam, 28 April 2011, De Bijloke Muziekcentrum, Ghent

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1 May 2011 )

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A cup of chocolate in a Brugges cafe.
tsubame: (foot-mouth)
Tuesday, September 21st, 2010 12:01 pm
For reference, I thought I'd put up the glossary I've created to go along with my Cyberpunk fic. This was created for my own convenience, so I could keep track of the terms I was using. I generally prefer to leave the exact definitions up to the reader's imagination, but some prefer a more concrete example.

Cyberpunk AU: Glossary )

This glossary will be updated as more terms are created and require definition.

Previously posted Cyberpunk installments:

Main Storyline

Chapter 1: Welcome Home
Chapter 2: First Day on the New Job
Chapter 3: Search Parameters
Chapter 4 Part 1: Memory Parity Failure
Chapter 4 Part 2: Is it Tuesday?
tsubame: (combini)
Thursday, August 26th, 2010 11:51 pm
[livejournal.com profile] subsiding_leaf linked me to this review of Yakuza 3 (龍が如く3). A game about Yakuza, reviewed by Yakuza! And lots of spot-on observations about the seedier side of Japan, enough that I was in stitches. I particularly liked this line: "Don't say gaijin. Say gaikokujin. It's more polite. Jake's a gaijin."

TOO FUNNY.

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For my own reference, the lyrics to an excellent Porno Graffiti Song, again courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] subsiding_leaf.

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On my way back from the supermarket I passed a bunch of kids employed in that standby of American childhood-- the roadside lemonade stand. I pulled over the car and walked back to do my part.

"I take it you guys are selling lemonade?" Because what other reason could there be for a group of kids to be out on the curb with a pitcher and two stacks of cups?

"Yeah! Do you want some?"

"I would like some, indeed."

"Big or small?"

"Well, I'm pretty thirsty. Better give me a big one."

"Okay! That's 75 cents."

"All I've got is a dollar. Is that okay?"

"Sure! Would you like change?"

"No, that's okay. Consider it my donation to the education fund."

"Thank you! Oh, wait, wait!"

"Hm? What is it?"

"We give all our nicest customers flowers. Here's yours!"

I got back in the car, poorer one dollar, richer one cup of lemonade, one bright yellow daisy, and the feeling that this day, at least, was one worth living.
Saturday, August 7th, 2010 07:45 am
Megaupload link to Within Temptation's "a Final Dream," as quoted in the previous post.

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Even Through the Summer Storm, by Carol Clark Williams

wild geese imagine the moon and
row toward it, writing
lines of poetry.

Against the gothic clouds they sketch
sestinas, every stanza
beginning with the letter "v".

They search the lightning-punctuated sky
for words that rhyme with
"flight" and "night".

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. . . yeah, I wrote more Kingdom Hearts fic. Even more plotless and pointless this time! I blame [livejournal.com profile] majochan, because I think the initial prom-shenanagins idea was hers. She's the one with the truly brilliant ideas about it, too. Had me in stitches.

FIC.

Title: Dance Lessons
Fandom: Kingdom Hearts

What are we gonna do at prom? )

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I wanna be a member of the Grown-Up Party! With maybe a little humor thrown in, since I don't want to be a part of an organization that lacks a sense of humor.

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The problem with many computers has its roots in a problem with humans-- we don't like to think. We're lazy, and if we can help it we'll take the easy way out. This is why Apple and Windows are more successful then, say, Linux-- they make things easier for people. If something seems to hard, we give up on it fairly easily.

So computers do things for us so that we won't hit that threshold. Which works . . . up to a point. Problems arise when the computer assumes it knows what you're trying to do and starts doing it for you-- but gets it wrong. The subtleties of human purpose in using programs are often lost on the programs themselves, which in trying to help too much end up hindering or even preventing. Ironically, for most of these programs there's no easy way to tell them to stop doing it. No easy way to reassure them that you know what you're doing, however strange that might seem, and you don't need the computer's help to do it.

Which of course leads to the comical situation of me shaking my fist at the computer screen and yelling, "stop assuming you're smarter than me!" I bought my camera for the express reason that, while I can definitely use the help in setting up my shots most of the time, not to mention the convenience of having the balance adjusted for me, I want to be able to tell it to stop and leave me alone, that I can take shots that its tiny computer brain can't conceive the purpose or propriety of.

I just wish I could do that with Word 2007. Maybe if the damn thing was in English rather than Japanese I might have a chance of figuring it out . . .

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There was a full glass coffee pot mostly submerged in a sink-full of water at work today. A moment's thought gave me the answer to why it was there. Still, I spent a minute smiling at the serene ridiculousness of the image, and thought to myself happily, "the world is stranger and more wonderful than I was previously aware."

I love those moments, I really do.

Recently my father sent me a postcard from where he was attending a seminar on radio telescopes in North Carolina. The card read, "I thought you would find this particular postcard funny."

The postcard is a before-and-after sort. The top shows the radio telescope standing proud and lovely, a lacework flower-cup of whitewashed girders. The second picture is from the next day, and shows a pile of white wreckage where once the telescope stood.

It did, indeed, make me laugh. One day-- beautiful functioning high-tech scientific instrument! The next day-- pile of twisted rubble! Aaaah, I can't believe it just collapsed like that-- like a fflan in a cupboard, to quote Eddie Izzard. Just imagine, some poor dude left work, locked the door behind him, everything was fine. He drives up the next morning, and wham! I bet he totally BSODed. Or maybe just sighed and drove off to find the nearest bar.

I'm still laughing about it, yeah. Apparently my father knows me quite well, including my odd sense of humor.

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I don't know what it says about me, but pictures like this one, of the First Family visiting a National Park, make me really really happy. That strange feeling of pride and hope-- I don't know where it comes from, but it's all the more welcome given my generally somewhat depressing news-reading hobby.

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An article written by a hibakusha on her experience in Hiroshima. I am adamantly anti-nuclear weapons, under any and all circumstances. I further believe that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were absolutely wrong and should be a source of national shame to the U.S.A., instead of an oft-ignored, bare paragraph in history textbooks. Considering that WWII is America's last "just" war (or possibly our only one, though I'm reluctant to even go that far), my opinions on the matter are hardly what one would call widespread.
Friday, March 23rd, 2007 09:29 pm
The following have made me laugh in recent days:

This page from the webcomic Friendly Hostility. Specifically panels 2 and 3. "Sweet Neietzche, what the hell?!" I DIE.

Maura-san's livejournal. She regularly astounds me with her laconic and utterly original wit. Usually I'm left blinking in bemused, amused astonishment.

This page from the webcomic Gunnerkrigg Court. Specifically the last panel. One finds such interesting things by reading Neil Gaiman's livejournal, really.

Skippy's List. A thing of beauty is a joy forever.

Calvin & Hobbes. It doesn't matter that I've read every single strip at least ten times. They're still funny.

This page from the webcomic Questionable Content. Actually QC makes me laugh on a regular basis. The punchlines tend towards awesome. They're killer, really. It hits all the bases; it even has robots! With existential crisises! This strip, though, is my all time favorite. It is made of SOLID GOLD PLUTONIUM SLEDGEHAMMERS NAMED SVEN. That's how hard it kicks your ass.

Kanshou and Bakuya in the Demon Hunter AU, as per my icon. It's [livejournal.com profile] majochan's fault, really, since it was her idea to have the swords literally talk in the first place. Now they won't shut up. Why is it that when I write inanimate objects or pets they always end up having as much or more personality than their supposed owners do?

This is possibly the sweetest poem ever:

roses are #FF0000
violets are #0000FF
all my base
are belong to you

Where do I find these things, anyway?
Saturday, February 3rd, 2007 11:15 am
Stolen from [livejournal.com profile] vash_donutangel:


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huuungry. And no time to eat.
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Saturday, June 3rd, 2006 04:50 pm
From the Wikipedia entry on Toyotomi Hideyoshi:

Japanese grammar schools even today impart to children an intriguing story intended to offer an insight into the different characters of these three great historical contemporaries: Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu. First a brief background:

Nobunaga wanted to unify the many mini-kingdoms of Japan and become sole ruler. An aggressive and brilliant military tactician and commander, he was a very impetuous man and not surprisingly, rather callous and coarse even toward trusted subordinates. He came very close to attaining his goal of a unified nation, but in the end his recklessness and closely associated lack of any real understanding of the men serving him eventually led to his assassination. Hideyoshi, on the other hand, as well as being a fine military commander, had long held a reputation for being a brilliant manipulator as well - an excellent reader of people: the very skill in which his boss, Nobunaga, was most sorely lacking. Hideyoshi's subtle methods in the long run thus proved far more successful than Nobunaga's brash methods and he succeeded where Nobunaga had failed, unifying the many separate domains into one country and becoming the first military ruler of a unified land. Tokugawa meanwhile, had long coveted the same position, but did not have the power base or support equal to Nobunaga or Hideyoshi, and thus could not compete with either; he had to settle for demonstrating his skill in the art of being patient - but in his case, the "all good things come to him who waits" folk saying could not have been more true: in the end, Tokugawa came to power after Hideyoshi, and his clan proceeded to rule the country for the next 200 years. Under the Tokugawas, the Samurai caste was eventually put out of work since regulations were issued which greatly curbed the use and even carrying of swords (this as a means of reducing potential rebellion - which was not always successful).

The story told in Japanese grammar schools today regards these three famous men, and their individual approach to a problem, as being faced with a songbird (known as a "Hototogisu") which will not sing. When asked what he would do in this situation:

* Nobunaga replies: "Kill it."

* Hideyoshi replies: "Make it want to sing", while

* Tokugawa replies: "Wait."
Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006 10:03 pm
See, you can say that money doesn't matter all you want when you're not worrying about how you're going to afford tomorrow's trip to the supermarket. I'm actually doing fairly well for someone my age, but I definately want to start moving on some of the suggestions in this article. My knowledge of economics is disgustingly small, but fortunately I have wiser heads at my disposal. But one always has to take the first step onesself.

The number of things I have to do to prepare for the future is . . . severely daunting, so much so that I sit around and do nothing. This needs to change. I have a thousand plans, but that means nothing unless I work to make them reality. Starting today. Right now, in fact.

. . . if I can manage to tear myself away from this book I bought . . . the Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova. Unlike the last bestseller that I read (the Da Vinci Code), this one actually has awesome writing and excellent, fully-realized characterization to justify its status. Not to mention the complex plot and page-turning cliffhangers (I just finished chapter four and I'm already saying this).

Livejournal, stop adding more userpics and start adding more mood-adjectives! The current choices are inadequate!
Thursday, April 6th, 2006 09:58 pm
I just found out about these, and am linking to this person's lj links as a public service.

Here be Fullmetal Alchemist OVAs!

ph33r. For they are mighty.
Tuesday, April 4th, 2006 02:33 pm
Wikipedia article on ghost writing. Quite fascinating, actually. Not sure what I think of it.
Monday, April 3rd, 2006 03:35 pm
All right, I have an English grammar question for anyone who'd care to attempt it. Here are three versions of the same question:

a.) When will you be coming back?
b.) When will you come back?
c.) When are you coming back?

What's the grammatical difference between them? Obviously they're all interrogative. I figured out fairly quickly that (a) is in the future progressive tense, used for a continuous action occuring in the future. The other two have me confused, though. I thought perhaps that (c) was more definite, "you are definately coming back and I want to know when," whereas (b) wasn't definite, "you might come back and I want to know when." However, on pondering them further I'm not sure that's actually the case. The word "will" in this case simply expresses the future, "are" expresses being. So no good clues there. Breaking them down, "are you coming" would be something that happens now, or is a continuous action (as with question (a) ), whereas "will you come" is very firmly in the future. This would appear to support my earlier hypothesis, save that both questions are asking for the same information.

The answer to all three questions is of course the same; what I'm interested in here is figuring out the intent and implication behind the different ways of asking. I've been pondering this for a good hour or so, and so far the grammar manual I checked has not helped. But I have another one, and there's you people, and the lovely interweb to try still . . .

If it's something completely obvious and I'm missing it because I'm overthinking things, I'm going to be annoyed . . .
Monday, November 28th, 2005 07:55 pm
An extremely interesting article on CS Lewis. Up here for my own convenience more than anything else, but some of you might like to read it, as well. Even if you have no interest in CS Lewis, the critic has a great deal of interesting things to say about imagination, myth, fantasy, poetry, magic, and all of that good stuff.
Wednesday, November 9th, 2005 08:34 pm
Twenty things I want to do before I die, in no particular order:

1) See Jereusalem without dying (unless, of course, I'm resurrected from the dead three days later and let continue about my way. Though I can do without the Roman torture methods beforehand, thank you).
2) Become fluent in Japanese.
3) Move to England.
4) Become an editor at a major publishing house.
5) Write and publish a book.
6) Have a child named after me.
7) Become a good cook.
8) Tour Europe by motorcycle.
9) Adopt a child.
10) Visit Tibet.
11) Take the Trans-Siberian Railroad across Russia.
12) Buy a wonderful old house and fill it with curiosities gathered on my travels.
13) Learn how to play another instrument well.
14) Be owned by many, many cats.
15) Swim with dolphins.
16) Have an SO.
17) Learn how to sail a Real Boat.
18) Have grandchildren and spoil them mercilessly.
19) Make an angelfood cake as good as the one my roommate made that one time.
20) Buy one of those wonderful ghatto marrionettes in Venice.
Wednesday, September 14th, 2005 02:06 am
Sap, so I don't have to go looking for it again.

Gods, but I'm melodramatic. I blame [livejournal.com profile] yayoikh, not for the melodrama (which is almost exclusively my fault) but for making me think about things like this. Anyway, I'll clean up this person's translation later, when it's not so disgustingly late. Stolen from songlyrics.net. )
Friday, June 10th, 2005 12:34 pm
Currently attempting to fathom the arcane mystery that is the publishing industry. Technically I work in the publishing industry, but the company I work for is very small and I'm only just getting involved in the publishing aspect. This article, lifted from Neil Gaiman's blog/live journal, is an excellent glimpse into its strange interior workings. I even spoke to my sister about it:

Me: You know, I don't think anyone understands the publishing industry except the publishing industry. You work for the government, it's kinda like that. No one understands how the government works except the government.
Her: I've got news for you, the government has no idea how the hell the government works.

Undoubtably true, and more than a little frightening. Although for something as vast and spralling as a national government, not horribly surprising.

This article on US relations with North Korea is a fascinating one. I have a more-than-passing interest in the issue-- you might recall my ruminations on a documentary I watched on the subject of North Korea-- and I think that the US is exacerbating an already fragile situation. Between the various wars of the last five years, the Korean situation, and the row over Bush's nomination for U.N. ambassador, I can't say the current administration is particularly adept when it comes to diplomacy.

Wow, understatement.

And of course, Bush wants the Patriot Act renewed, too. He goes to such incredible lengths to convince me to reconsider my opinion on him, he really does.