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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn

magic window

28nov2014

Hideho, another post cuzza I gotta bunch a links I want to close in the browser window...an interesting looking documentary on 2nd wave feminism (which got good reviews from some folks who'd actually seen it; via strobist, (which I'm perusing for the 2nd or 3rd time—mebbe this time the lessons on using flash will stick) another documentary about recreating the Mona Lisa photographically (which frankly was more interesting to me as a form of the photographer's obsession); also via strobist, some fabulous photography of mushrooms (which have fascinated me with their form and color for a long time).

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24nov2014

This is another one of those tedious me, me, me posts I've made as a reminder to myself next time I have to photograph stuff for my friend, Kristin. If you are an amateur photographer getting into using a manual flash, you may find it slightly useful. Otherwise, yawn.

However, I've accumulated a buncha other links—how a Deutsch town ju-jitsued (I prefer this to the ‘prank’ characterization boingboing used) a neo-nazi group; how music engages the brain (though I wonder what would happen if they MRI'ed someone doing a difficult arty task like, say, making a bead, which also has something of a real time performance aspect to it...?

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19nov2014

Sorry about the no-posting—first, I caught something at our guild show in the beginning of November; not to mention I had all these bulbs. I managed by Monday to finish planting them, however haphazardly, racing snow and cold before the ground froze hard. On the plus side, perhaps this means the various little rodents won't be able to dig them up and eat them!

Today's piece is a blast from the past.

And seeing as it's wood, a material I'm more likely to compost or burn than string, this rather cool link about flame shape seems apropos...I do wonder what it would be like to try making beads in space—for one thing you wouldn't have to constantly spin the mandrel to keep the glass from drooping!

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6nov2014

Today is Japan Day:)

First up, via boingboing, a couple of interesting links—one of a short video of a traditional wooden dollmaker; the other about one of those organizer/tidy-types. I have battled clutter all my life, and have slowly gotten better at it (though frankly I think having more resources has helped a good deal—i.e., I either can spend more money for storage solutions, or am more willing to get rid of crap because I know I have the wherewithal to replace it).

Thus far, the most useful (recent) decluttering advice I got was fly lady's shine your sink. I didn't really think it would help that much, but it did. (Again, I was helped by the fact that we recently [almost finished the ] redo of our kitchen, so it's a lot more functional—and pleasant—than it was.) The Japanese woman Marie Kondo's advice is interesting: focus not on what you discard, but what you wish to keep, and keep only those things you love.

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5nov2014

Just finished Ann Leckie's Ancillary Sword, which, I'm guessing from internal details as well as some other evidence (the fact that the classes of ships in the Radch empire are divided into Justices, Swords and Mercies) is the second book in what I presume will be a trilogy. Her first swept the awards, garnering hugo, nebula, locus’ best new writer, etc.

The worldbuilding is so delicious I hesitate to say much about it, lest I spoil the surprise; but if you'd like the smallest of tastes, one of her short stories, set in the same universe (though from quite a different point of view) is available online. It's a very good story, though I like the novels better.

Also highly recommended, from another beginner, is the film Dear White People. Looking over the rotten tomatoes’ reviews, most people focused on various aspects of the film; only one of the reviewers was made seriously uncomfortable by its racial themes, a tribute, in my opinion, of its creator's sincere effort to make, primarily, an entertaining film more about people's assorted coping mechanisms for dealing with structural racism.

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4nov2014

So one of the reasons—though hardly the only one—I've not been posting much is that the wizard set me up with a dual monitor system, and the new monitor is quite a bit brighter than the old one. Which makes all my image settings, that I've been using for my camera(s) and the website, for years, look terribly overexposed. I actually ordered a monitor colorimeter (not that I've figured out how to use it to actually calibrate said monitors, mind you) in the hopes that I could somehow deal with this dilemma.

Eventually, I suppose I will figure this stuff out. (Not helped by the fact that I sit at a bright window, because, um, I like looking out the window...?) In the meantime, some non image related updates:)

Lessee, I finished the Piketty (Capital in the XXI Century). I gather the author did a TED talk, but his frenetic delivery drove me absolutely batty, so I much preferred the book. Yes, I read the entire 700 pages (though only some of the endnotes—personally, I detest them, and with modern typesetting, it's not really that big a deal to park them at the bottom of the page as proper footnotes, so those of us who like footnotes can, and everyone else can ignore them—and btw, the design of this book was quite handsome, with proper ffl ligatures and everything). You don't have to read the entire thing to get the idea, because like a lot of truly passionate academics, Piketty lays out his arguments in a clear way. The thrust of the book can basically be summed as follows:

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