syncategorematic: (durer - irascible curly-head)
( Jul. 6th, 2010 09:53 am)
"But I should very much like to know if you have a plan for how to face these difficulties. That is, a specific plan."
"I do not," said Zerika at once. "I have no plan. I do, however, have resources that I believe will be adequate to the task, and I will, in the first place, marshal these resources. Then I will determine what sort of problems confront the Empire, and I will attack each of those in their proper place."

--- Steven Brust, The Paths of the Dead

I want to remember this.
syncategorematic: (erythraean sibyl)
( Dec. 7th, 2009 10:13 pm)
Working on continuing the saga of the last few days; for now, rejoicing in the regaining of my wallet, last night I picked up a copy of The Atlantic on a whim, and quite enjoyed this article.

Orchid Children - the theory that the same genes that cause depression and antisocial behaviour can, in the right environment, lead to unusual creativity and success.
Went walking today and picked up the Globe and Mail. There were a couple of interesting articles:

Melting pot or mosaic? Neither, thanks

Among the British ethnic left, multiculturalism isn't celebrated but scorned

Doug Saunders
Last updated on Saturday, Oct. 03, 2009 03:32AM EDT

Because link may die at a later point, article under cut )

And I would be interested in hearing Ms_danson's and Dracodraconis' thoughts on this article:
PEI's Big Immigration Boom --- Sorry, Anne of Green Gables, but there's a new reason people are coming to PEI
syncategorematic: (Default)
( Aug. 22nd, 2009 12:26 am)
From Goth_hobbit, because Ms_danson should not be the exclusive disseminator of eventually-NSFW links in my Universe's Denizens. If you are familiar with Twilight in some fashion, you may need to wash brain after clicking this.

And I've had it on my bookmarks for a week, meaning to share it: Letter from the Elders of Sodom. I don't want to know the entirety of what John C. Wright originally wrote, but I know that Hal Duncan's response is totally awesome.

syncategorematic: (mystical)
( Apr. 12th, 2009 07:50 pm)
As from the power of sacred lays
The spheres began to move,
And sung the great Creator's praise
To all the Blest above;
So when the last and dreadful hour
This crumbling pageant shall devour,
The trumpet shall be heard on high,
The dead shall live, the living die,
And Music shall untune the sky!

Happy Easter, all those who celebrate! Happy Ostara! Somewhat belated happy Passover! Advance wishes of joy for Orthodox Easter!
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I'm still disinclined to write a complete post, but for now, I will share a song that haunted me for days once I heard it --- and it's in English, to boot.

I was motivated to check out the Scorpions after reading an opinion on a guitar forum that their vocalist, Klaus Meine, has one of the best voices in hard rock. I cannot speak for all of hard rock, but I have to agree that he is an uncommonly good singer. (Check out the official video by Universal Music Studios; I just can't embed it.)

Auf wiedersehen
It's time to say goodbye
The party's over
As the laughter dies
An angel cries

It's au revoir to your insanity
You sold your soul to feed your vanity
Your fantasies and lies

You're a drop in the rain
Just a number not a name
And you don't see it
You don't believe it
At the end of the day
You're a needle in the hay
You signed and sealed it
And now you gotta deal with it

Be on your way
Adios amigo there's a price to pay
For all the egotistic games you played
The world you made
Is gone

You're a drop in the rain
Just a number not a name
And you don't see it
You don't believe it
At the end of the day
You're a needle in the hay
You signed and sealed it
And now you gotta deal with it

Run and hide there's fire in the sky
Stay inside
The water's gonna rise and pull you under
In your eyes I'm staring at the end of time
Nothing can change us
No one can save us from ourselves

You're a drop in the rain
Just a number not a name
And you don't see it
You don't believe it
At the end of the day
You're a needle in the hay
You signed and sealed it
Now you gotta deal with it

syncategorematic: (Default)
( Oct. 21st, 2008 09:27 pm)
I generally try not to talk politics here, especially the politics of a country I do not live in, but [ profile] kebechet (Beth of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab)  wrote a post of powerful beauty and an even more powerful message that made me think that if these people get elected, anyone who wants to live up here, I'll volunteer to marry. And I won't discriminate with respect to gender. There's a certain set of values of mine that this hits a very tender point with.
Via [ profile] a_d_medievalist :

If Jane Austen wrote Batman

Excerpt that made me particularly chuckle:

"Oh! you are a great deal too apt, you know, to expect people to think as you do. You always see a fault in anybody who enjoys mayhem. All the world should be good and orderly in your eyes. I never heard you showing tolerance to actual human nature in your life."

"I would not wish to be hasty in censuring anyone; but I always confront those I judge criminal."

"I know you do; and it is THAT which makes the wonder. With YOUR keen intelligence, to be so honestly blind to the follies and nonsense of law and order! Affectation of honesty is common enough--one meets with it everywhere. But to be a crusader full of ostentation and design--to take the bad of everybody's character and make it cause for action, and monotone muttering--belongs to you alone.


Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Balanced, Secure, and Realistic.

8 Impressionist, 1 Islamic, 7 Ukiyo-e, -22 Cubist, -14 Abstract and 4 Renaissance!

Impressionism is a movement in French painting, sometimes called optical realism because of its almost scientific interest in the actual visual experience and effect of light and movement on appearance of objects. Impressionist paintings are balanced, use colored shadows, use pure color, broken brushstrokes, thick paint, and scenes from everyday life or nature.

People that like Impressionist paintings may not alway be what is deemed socially acceptable. They tend to move on their own path without always worrying that it may be offensive to others. They value friendships but because they also value honesty tend to have a few really good friends. They do not, however, like people that are rude and do not appreciate the ideas of others. They are secure enough in themselves that they can listen to the ideas of other people without it affecting their own final decisions. The world for them is not black and white but more in shades of grey and muted colors. They like things to be aestically pleasing, not stark and sharp. There are many ways to view things, and the impresssionist personality views the world from many different aspects. They enjoy life and try to keep a realistic viewpoint of things, but are not very open to new experiences. If they are content in their live they will be more than likely pleased to keep things just the way they are.

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test at HelloQuizzy

syncategorematic: (Default)
( Sep. 22nd, 2008 08:00 pm)
This is mainly in response to a question that Ms_danson asked, but Kinchan and other people may find it interesting too.

Material mainly drawn from Ivan and Marya: Tales about Russian names, patronyms, last names, nicknames, pseudonyms: M. Gorbanevskiy, 1987.

In Pre-Christian Russia, almost any word could function as a person's name, and names could be acquired both in infancy and adulthood. Some could reflect a present or desired characteristic: Kind, Brave, Silent, Proud, Clever, Restless, Unsmile. Others told of physical apperance: Pale, Cross-eye, Pockmark, Curly. Others told of circumstances of the person's birth: First, Second, Third (Tretiak: both the famous hockey goalie and the founder of Moscow's Tretiakovsky Art Gallery may be descendants of such third-borns), Elder, Awaited, Unawaited. Some can reflect the person's profession: Smith ( :) ), Leatherman, Warrior, Villager. Parents may also have given names reflective of their feelings for the child: the woman's name Dove or the man's name Beloved, for example. Some names were intended to guard the child from evil powers, such as the well-known ancient Russian names Cross-eye and Pockmark: our ancestors believed that the evil spirits "won't be interested" in children with such names and won't harm them.

In 988, Russia adopted Orthodox Christianity as the state religion, and one of its most important rites - baptism - included the compulsory assignment of the name of some Orthodox saint. So Old Russian names began to be crowded out by church names, which were originally Greek, Roman, Hebrew, Egyptian, etc. However, historical writings note that up to the 17th century, Russian people would have, parallel to their church names, Old Russian so-called "worldly" (mirskie) names, which would later become nicknames. "The boyar Feodor [Theodore], called Road"; "baptized Iosif [Joseph], and to the world Ostromir [Sharp-World]"; Prince Mikhailo [Michael], called Sviatopolk [Holy-Regiment]" and many other examples.

Such nicknames or worldly names would later be applied to the children (or serfs) of the person, with the addition of a possessive, and would grow into last names that way (I am reminded of the anecdote cited by Robert Asprin for the origin of "hooker" as referring to the prostitutes Civil War General Hooker took along in camp: "Who are these ladies? - They're Hooker's.") Which is why the vast majority of Russian last names end in either -in, -ov, or sky (-ina, -ova, skaya for women), which are the three suffixes of grammatical possessives. There are many Russian last names based on Christian names that way, including two of the most typical: Ivanov and Petrov (from Pëtr, or Peter.) Originally, last names were a prerogative of the upper classes and would reflect the name of the estate. Up to the Russo-Japanese War and the First World War, the majority of the lower classes had no last names, but mass conscription into the army led to numerous assignments of last name, most commonly Smirnov (or in the French manner Smirnoff, as in the famous vodka) after the command "Smirno!", the equivalent of "Atten-hut!"

A week after the baby's birth, the parents needed to take it to the church for baptism, in which case the child would receive the name of the saint whose feast day was that day, or a few days prior, between birth and baptism. Of course, the wealthy could get around this rule, while the poor may get the child assigned an un-euphonious or awkward name.

(I could have been named Fekla (Thecla) or Fedosia (Theodosia), whose feast days, my mother tells me, are close to my birth day. Thecla is a cool name in Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun but Fekla has plebeian associations, as does Fedosia.)

Names were thus socially stratified; we may compare the prevalency of names among peasant women of villages near Moscow and students of the Smolny Institute for Noble Young Ladies. Per one thousand peasant women, only one had the name Elizaveta, while per one thousand noblewomen at Smolny, there were eighty-eight. However, not one Smolny student had the name Vasilissa, while per one thousand peasant women there would be twenty-three.

Pushkin chose the name Tatiana for the heroine of Eugene Onegin particularly to reflect her family's old-fashioned ways: during that period, Tatiana was a name found more and more rarely in the families of the aristocracy, and indeed it was the huge popularity of Pushkin's novel that gave the name a second chance at life in (upper-class) Russian (interestingly, the prototype for Tolstoy's heroine Natasha Rostova was Tolstoy's sister-in-law Tatiana Bers, but Tolstoy did not keep the name Tatiana for his heroine because of that factor that at the time, and Tatiana Larina and Natasha Rostova are contemporaries, Tatiana would been too common a name for a countess). The name of Onegin himself is considered to derive from the name of the Onega River, which flows into the White Sea, and would thus emphasize Onegin's cold, unemotional nature.

Social stratification may also be reflected in toponyms: particularly interesting is the distinction among the name Saint-Petersburg, its abbreviation Peterburg, and its common nickname Peter (pronounced exactly as the English man's name). This is illustrated by a famous quote by L. Borisov: "It was late on a chilly evening...Peterans were having supper at this hour, Peterburgians were sitting in theatres, denizens of Saint-Petersburg were heading to balls and parties..."

Pseudonyms are commonly used especially in the artistic professions, either to conceal the artist's identity because identifying with an artistic field may be shameful, or the real identity of a satirical writer it would be prudent to conceal, or because there was already someone with the same last name in the field. Such are the famed pseudonyms Maxim Gorky (Alexei Maximovich Peshkov) or Konstantin Stanislavsky (of Method fame) whose real last name was Alexeev. A popular clown of the first half of the twentieth century, whose real name was Mikhail Rumyantsev, had the stage name Karandash (the common word for a pencil - originating with the French firm Caran d'Ache, still extant) and would get angry when addressed otherwise even in private: "Call me Karandash! Remember, Karandash! Rumyantsev is for the building superintendent's records."
Sue sent this to me, from the September Harper's, which I have NOT read.

"Pity the Elderly Gray Translator"

By Vladimir Nabokov. Dated March 17, 1952, this poem appeared in Verses and Versions, a collection of Nabokov's translations of Russian poetry and writings on translation, to be published next month by Houghton MIfflin Harcourt.

Pity the elderly gray translator
Who lends to beauty his hollow voice
And -- choosing sometimes a second-rater --
Mimes the song-fellow of his choice.
To sacred sense for the sake of meter
His is seldom traitor as traitors go,
But pity him when the quakes with Peter
And waits for the terza rima to crow.

It is not the head of the verse line that'll
Cause him trouble, nor is it the spine:
What he really minds is the cursed rattle
That must be found for the tail of the line.
Some words by nature are sort of singlish,
Others have harems of rimes. The word
"Elephant," for example, walks alone in English

But its Slavic equivalent goes about in a herd.
"Woman" is another famous poser
For none can seriously contemplate
An American president or a German composer
In a viable context with that word for mate
Since rime is a national repercussion
(And a local holiday), how bizarre
That "skies-eyes" should twin in French and Russian:
"Cieux-yeux," "nebesa-glaza."

Such boons are irrelevant. Sooner or later
The gentle person, the mime sublime,
The incorruptible translator
Is betrayed by lady rime.
And the poem from the Persian
And the sonnet spun in Spain
Perish in the person's version,
And the person dies insane.

* * *

I has song stuck in head, yet another Kino song. Tourmaline has song stuck in head, Tourmaline translates song, yeah. Unconditional reflex. And the cursed rattle that must be found for the tail of the line is upon us again.

Wait up, don't leave!
We awaited summer, 
but winter came.
We went into homes, but snow fell inside.
We waited for tomorrow's day.
Every day we waited for tomorrow's day.
Behind eyelids' blinds our eyes we hide. 

In our eyes are shouts of "Forward!"
In our eyes are cries of "Hold!"
In our eyes is a day's birth cry
And the time fires die.
In our eyes is a starry night,
In our eyes is a paradise lost,
In our eyes is a door shut fast ---
What do you need? Make your choice!

We wanted a drink; no water flowed by.
We wanted a light; no stars in the sky.
We would drink from puddles as we went out into the rain.
We wanted a song; but no words are there.
We wanted to sleep; but no dreams appear.
We wore mourning clothes, but the band played a march refrain...

In our eyes are shouts of "Forward!"
In our eyes are cries of "Hold!"
In our eyes is a day's birth cry
And the time fires die.
In our eyes is a starry night,
In our eyes is a paradise lost,
In our eyes is a door shut fast ---
What do you need? Make your choice!
I took unusual liberties with this one; maybe Nabokov inspired me. But hey, English needs more verbs than Russian can get away with. Seriously, if the poor winter-hating eyes of Tsoi appear to me tonight, and in those eyes is a cry of "Hold!" I'll go edit this. Otherwise --- it's singable.
Via Juniperus: THIS. IS. AWESOME.

How H.P. Lovecraft Wrote Chocolate Advertising!

I am SO going to print this out to amuse myself at work!
To allow myself to close those tabs:

Show Tunes 1, Fundamentalists 0 --- a tale after my own heart.

I found the explanation of morality in this video fascinating. Among other things, it shook away my nagging doubts --- I am very much a liberal in my moral views, with only two key conditions for morality: harm and fairness; with group-belonging, authority, and tradition meaning little to me*. (Group belonging is important, as long as I get to choose the group.)

*This is going to be very important to consolidate my attitudes towards Fi and Fe. I think I cut fairness some slack, too, with a group-belonging streak of significant influence, though.

I may or may not have mentioned the post about writing by [personal profile] nihilistic_kid to [personal profile] ms_danson, but it is definitely interesting; [profile] bettybaker was promoting it.

Wow, all about external links. Mon dieu y dio mio, sweet lords of ruin and their little fishes, is Tourmaline's diary becoming an actual blog?


"Do not worry, I haven't left, and don't hope either, I will not leave."
syncategorematic: (durer - irascible curly-head)
( Jun. 23rd, 2008 01:11 pm)
Am reading The Authoritarians.

Am finding it awesome.

Just finished The Yiddish Policemen's Union today (bought it the day I learned it won the Nebula, finished it the day after I learned it won the Locus). Am envious of Chabon's craftsmanship, indeed I am.
syncategorematic: (so what do you want?)
( Jun. 12th, 2008 02:27 pm)
I think some of you would find this interesting; thanks to [personal profile] ms_danson for the link.

Spoon Theory --- explaining to the healthy what it's like to live with a chronic illness.

The example here is Lupus, but I think it can be used to explain a great many conditions, physical and mental, to the healthy.

syncategorematic: (bookbird)
( Apr. 30th, 2008 12:32 pm)

The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~Anais Nin

QuizGalaxy.comWhat's your Insightful Quote?
"Find the person who will love you because of your differences and not in spite of them and you have found a lover for life."
– Leo Buscaglia, 1924-1998, American Author and Expert on Love and Human Relationships
syncategorematic: (so what do you want?)
( Mar. 3rd, 2008 09:16 pm)
From Harper's March issue, p. 27.

From a list compiled in 2006 by British police chiefs of more than 5,000 offenses warranting that the DNA of an arrested suspect be retained for life in a national database

violating king's wife
violating king's eldest daughter
violating wife of king's eldest son and heir
throwing offensive weapon or matter at sovereign with intent to alarm
levying war against the sovereign in his or her realm
buggery with woman
buggery with animal
buggery with man in private
buggery with man other than in private
procuring a woman who is defective
procuring a woman by false pretenses
abducting unmarried girl under eighteen
procuring poison to effect miscarriage
supplying poison to procure miscarriage
placing nonhuman embryo in a woman
counseling female to be circumcised
riding horse furiously in street
wantonly disturbing inhabitant by knocking on door or ringing doorbell
keeping a disorderly house
obstructing railways
removing buoys
theft of wild creatures
theft of wild flowers
using explosive to take fish
discharging stone or missile to kill or take fish
handling salmon in suspicious circumstances
cruelty to badgers
disturbing badger when it is occupying badger lair
possessing or controlling dead badger
offering prizes to forecast result of future events
opening an incorrectly delivered postal packet
fraudulently evading bingo duty
falsely pretending to be a deserter
abstracting electricity
failure to remove disguise when required by constable
wasting police time

I particularly like the part about the badgers.

Eddie Izzard shall have to change his famous speech to "It's an original sin. I poked a badger with a spoon. --- No, that's not an original sin anymore, it is covered under "cruelty to badgers" and, depending on where you did it (was it at Kew? Confess!) may also be covered under "disturbing badger when it is occupying badger lair." Go swab your cheeks for the police!"

By the way (no, not speaking of cheeks!), buggery = anal sex.
For my own reference, really:
"Complexity means to harbor tendencies that normally appear to be at opposite extremes...Very creative individuals can alternate between the two extremes almost at the drop of a hat. ....[Csikszentmihalyi] compiled a list of ten dimensions of complexity --- ten pairs of apparently antithetical characteristics that are often both present in creative minds. The list includes:

1. Bursts of impulsiveness that punctuate periods of quiet and rest.
2. Being smart yet extremely naïve.
3. Large amplitude swings between extreme responsibility and irresponsibility.
4. A rooted sense of reality together with a hefty dose of fantasy and imagination.
5. Alternating periods of introversion and extroversion.
6. Being simultaneously humble and proud.
7. Psychological androgyny --- no clear adherence to gender role stereotyping.
8. Being rebellious and iconoclastic yet respectful to the domain of expertise and its history.
9. Being on the one hand passionate and on the other hand objective about one's own work.
10. Experience suffering and pain mingled with exhilaration and enjoyment.

Interestingly, psychologist Ellen Winner finds that child prodigies usually exhibit only one extreme of the spectrum of characteristics --- they tend to be intense, driven and introverted. We should remember, however, that gifted children are still in the soaking-up knowledge mode, rather than in the creative mode. The reality that most prodigies do not become particularly creative in their adult life may reflect (among other things) the fact that only a small fraction of the wunderkinder actually possess the capacity for complexity.
...Genius has often been linked to mental disorder....On  a more solid basis, recent research supports the general association of creativity with psychopathology. For instance, psychologist Arnold Ludwig examined the lives of more than a thousand creative individuals and found that about 28 percent of the prominent scientists experienced at least some sort of mental disturbance. The fraction increased to a staggering 87 percent among outstanding poets. Psychologist Donald MacKinnon, then of the Institute for Personality Assessment and Research at the University of California, Berkeley, conducted an extensive psychometric evaluation of many creative mathematicians, architects, and writers. The findings showed that the creative individuals consistently scored higher on dimensions that are indicative of various affective disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, and paranoia. The conclusion from these and numerous similar studies is, as University of California, Davis psychologist Dean Keith Simonton put it, "The genius-madness link may be more than myth." I should note that, as in Galois's case, the levels of the disorder were rarely found to be so high as to debilitate the creative individual. Galois and many other creative geniuses possessed enough ego-strength and other mental resources to help contain their psychopathology. Yet the evidence for this Faustian bargain that creative minds often have to negotiate is quite compelling. The English essayist Sir Max Beerbohm (1872-1956) expressed his own experience with this phenomenon: "I have known no man of genius who had not to pay, in some affliction or defect either physical or spiritual, for what the gods had given him." "
~ Mario Livio, The Equation That Couldn't Be Solved. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005. pp.266, 270.

So I am not exactly introverted or extroverted --- I am complex, people. :-)
I had wanted to go back to Rosemary Edghill's "Phatic Novel" essay for a long time, only I had forgotten the key word (shame on you, linguist girl!) until Athaira mentioned it in an unrelated comment, and it was almost comical the way I was going, "That's it! That's the word I am looking for!"

I really cannot figure out whether the stuff I write is phatic or not. Probably phatic --- but I kind of want to throw a twist or two in there. Darned genes in common with Dostoyevsky and Sergei Eisenstein.

I saw that Jenny Holzer piece at the Tate Modern, and it resonated with me. Not the wrongness or the trouble, but the suspicion that forces are aligning quietly. Then I looked up what else she wrote, and found some interesting ones: