iridium: (skull)
a footnote to the vertebrate limb development chapter, in the NCBI online edition of S. Gilbert's Developmental Biology text:

*When referring to the hand, one has an orderly set of names to specify each digit (digitus pollicis, d. indicis, d. medius, d. annularis, and d. minimus, respectively, from thumb to little finger). No such nomenclature exists for the pedal digits, but the plan proposed by Phillips (1991) has much merit. The pedal digits, from hallux to small toe, would be named porcellus fori, p. domi, p. carnivorus, p. non voratus, and p. plorans domi, respectively.

roadtrip!

Dec. 11th, 2006 01:15 pm
iridium: (matilda_sunset)
it's a very small roadtrip, but... roadtrip!

hopefully the rain will hold off, and the twisty coast-highway will be beautiful, and at the end of it there will be good food and a warm place to sleep by the ocean.

back tomorrow evening, in time for class.
iridium: (books)
85. - 87. The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire, and The Darkest Road, the Fionavar trilogy by Guy Gavriel Kay. yet more good fluff courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] vyrin, this time in the form of densely-packed fantasy motifs...of DOOOOOM! also, naming your characters "Aileron" and "Tandem" does not help me to take things seriously. but that's ok, i don't have to.

88. Tigana, Guy Gavriel Kay. same author, still fantasy kinda-fluff, but more nicely crafted and an interesting thought-experiment about memory and identity. [livejournal.com profile] ravenslost says i should read some of his other books, too.

today, the only book i have read is Developmental Biology. the Barthes is still waiting, in part because i've put my brain on the shelf for awhile. also i think i'm about due to get some books back to their respective libraries.
iridium: (jack-a-roe)
today was a sweet day; a perfect day, like the song says.

there was long lazy sleep, with no nightmares, and then i met [livejournal.com profile] jencallisto and we wandered through the tail end of the farmer's market. we ate satsumas in the afternoon sunshine, and the band played 'Midnight Train to Georgia.' we had a lunch of thanksgiving leftovers, much very good conversation through the afternoon and evening, and a rare kind of peace and simple comfort. and as the daylight slipped away, we went out for another bit of wandering, up to the hill at the top of the cemetery. there were brilliant fall trees, and we made the top of the hill just after the sun went below the city to the west, and in the cold clear air we watched the clouds and the changing light.

...and she sang me a gift, one that made me grin and laugh: '1952 Vincent Black Lighting,' one of my favorites, but genderswapped to young Jane Adie, on her fine motorbike, and Red Bobby, from the corners and cafés.

Says Jane, "In my opinion, there's no greater joy
than a '52 Vincent and a red-headed boy
Now Nortons and Indians and Greeveses won't do
They don't have a soul like a Vincent '52."
She reached for his hand and she slipped him the keys
She said "I've got no further use for these
I see angels on Ariels in leather and chrome
Swooping down from heaven to carry me home"
And she gave him one last kiss and died
And she gave him her Vincent to ride.


and it still makes me grin and laugh now; a lovely song, a sweet twist to it, and a voice that fits the last dance of colors in the sunset.

thank you, jencallisto.
iridium: (books)
76. 1602, Neil Gaiman, Andy Kubert, Richard Isanove. Beautiful, and a good story indeed. I picked up [livejournal.com profile] dragonvpm's copy in El Paso and read half of it there, but didn't manage to finish it until borrowing [livejournal.com profile] asarwate's the other week. I might have to read it again before I give it back.

77. - 81. Dragon, Five Hundred Years After, The Paths of the Dead, The Lord of Castle Black, and Sethra Lavode, all by Steven Brust. Like I said, opiate candy for my brain. So far as I can tell, there are maybe four books of his that I haven't read yet, but I'm tempted to just pick up the Taltos series and start over again. Dangerous.

and from a few weeks ago:
82. - 84. Mort, The Colour of Magic, and The Light Fantastic, Terry Pratchett. All re-reads, but I needed something light and fluffy.

I've also read half of Collapse and half of Fragile Things, but those don't count yet, and I have The Baron in the Trees and Barthes' A Lover's Discourse to look forward to. (Thank you, again, Rax.)
iridium: (books)
just a roll-call for my own records, this time, going short on the commentary.

65. Phantoms in the Brain, V.S. Ramachandran. a re-read, still good.

66. The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, Patricia McKillip. fairy tales, fluff.

67. The Book of Jhereg (containing Jhereg, Yendi, and Teckla),
68. The Book of Taltos (containing Taltos and Phoenix),
69. The Book of Athyra (containing Athyra and Orca),
70. Issola, and
71. Dzur
all by Stephen Brust. it is like opiate candy for the weasels, and fun to read, too. i'm missing one book out of this series (Dragon), and then i'll have to go hunting down the few others of his that i haven't read yet. and then i'll start all over again.

72. Nextwave: agents of H.A.T.E., vol. 1, Warren Ellis & Stuart Immonen. full of violence and superheroes and Ellis-style ridiculousness. good stuff. (thank you, [livejournal.com profile] violin!)

73. The Five Fists of Science, Matt Fraction. yet more silliness, but this time with Nicola Tesla and Mark Twain! made me giggle. "So what do you do, just sit in your special science chair?" "...Well, yes."
*grin* (thank you again, [livejournal.com profile] violin!)

74. The Best American Comics 2006, ed Harvey Pekar and Anne Elizabeth Moore. an excellent collection, and i want to go back and re-read each little bit again sometime soon. and because [livejournal.com profile] pumapreysize rocks, it's signed by both the editors and has little drawings from three of the artists; my favorite signature-sketch is a grumpy-looking little bird by a fellow named Hob, pointing a wing at one of the other artists' sketches, saying "Don't listen to that boy."

75. To the Hilt, Dick Francis. standard suspense-and-whodunnit with a dash of racehorses and antique bejeweled things, but good enough to make it an effective distraction.

and still in the pile are Calvino, Frank O'Hara, Asimov, a few others. and more Brust if i can get my hands on it. any suggestions, since i have a library card now and all?

from Ellis, on Nextwave: "It’s an absolute distillation of the superhero genre. No plot lines, characters, emotions, nothing whatsoever. It’s people posing in the street for no good reason. It is people getting kicked, and then exploding. It is a pure comic book, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. And afterwards, they will explode."
iridium: (Default)
a small thing, for now: Halloween thoughts and some bits of lovely ghost stories, from Neil Gaiman, in the New York Times today.
iridium: (new year sunrise)
a few links, first.
from [livejournal.com profile] nacht_musik, who knows how to make me smile:
Kermit the Frog and Sandra Bullock, with another Mahna song...Phenomena! (even better, the phrase "Ik zie allemaal rare beestjes...")

from Zoz:
a series of video clips on/by Tats Cru, with some good footage of the creation of their Big Jimmy memorial mural, and other bits from their time at MIT. (it took me a little while to realize that much of the everybody-sitting-down interview footage was recorded in the housemasters' apartment at Senior Haus. awww, nostalgia.)

and a small note, a bit of thinking, memory and family and stubbornness. my grandfather's been in the hospital for the past few weeks with congestive heart failure. this is a hard thing for me, for all of my family; i don't really have a handle on how to deal with it. but today's news made me smile. )

family is a strange and powerful thing, and i've been very, very lucky.
iridium: (books)
I know I've lost track of some of the books lately, but here's a few from the stack of recently-read.

59. & 60. Brokedown Palace & The Phoenix Guards, Stephen Brust. Mmmtasty fluff. I could use some more of this...

61. Bloodchild and Other Stories, Octavia E. Butler. I've read one other of her books, and liked it despite the tendency to preachiness. This collection had more good writing and less preaching.

62. & 63. Cavedweller & Trash, Dorothy Allison. Both of these are re-reads, and still very, very good. She's one of the best storytellers I've run across so far.

64. Maus, Book 1, Art Spiegelman. Somehow I hadn't gotten around to reading this, but now I've at least started, and it's good so far. ([livejournal.com profile] asarwate, this is one I borrowed from your bookshelf.)
iridium: (penguins!)
I went a-wandering this afternoon, down to the Mt. Auburn Cemetery on Piedmont Avenue, down the street from my house. The stones aren't old by east-coast standards, or by Spanish-mission ones either, but there are names from all over the world. It's a lovely place to go, winding roads and sidewalks spiraling up little hills, strange names and stranger monuments, and big old redwoods and magnolias.

The other day, [livejournal.com profile] pumapreysize and I found an old grandmother-willow tree there, leaning over a little pond they made, with rocks to sit on by the tiny waterfall running down the slope. This time I went aimless, walking upwards, up one steep little hill and around, over and up again, looking for the highest point, looking up at the brown hills behind the watered grass. I found a narrow tilting stairway of weathered concrete, all the way up, and at the top turned and looked out: there are the fall-trees, and Oakland stretching down to the port, the shipping-cranes like huge graceful grazing-animals at the edge of the bay. And beyond that, the city, the hills, the fog just beginning to curl around the base of San Francisco's alien radio tower. The Bay Bridge on one side, and behind it, turning molten in the sunset, the Golden Gate.

This is a beautiful place.


a few other photos from the cemetery )

and, entirely unrelated to photojournalling, i've aquired a couple of new icons.
*summons crack team of stealth penguins!*
iridium: (Default)
i'm working through a lot of difficult bits, in five or six directions at once. i'm trying, in my same piecemeal, day-by-day way, to make sense of the world, of people and trust and honesty, of family and memory, of health and body, of future and action and learning and place-in-the-world. sometime soon i'll get around to writing these things out in a way that i'd be good with sharing.

in the meantime, [livejournal.com profile] perigee and [livejournal.com profile] tamnonlinear have written some sharp, clean, clear pieces that make a lot of sense to me, that speak to some of what i'm dealing with right now. so i'll start with that.
[livejournal.com profile] perigee's "On Being Good"
and
[livejournal.com profile] tamnonlinear's "Process and Product"
iridium: (Default)
...and one of them is just this:

If you refuse honesty with yourself, there is no way for you to be honest with anyone else. And if you cannot speak truth even with those you love most deeply, with those who depend on your honesty, there is little chance that you will not lie to anyone else.

----

Been thinking a lot lately about trust and honesty, disclosure and privacy, respect and relationships and sex; been thinking a lot lately about what I value in myself and others, how to articulate and cherish it. I haven't been writing nearly as much as I should be, and that'll change soon.

Current music, since the lineup makes me smile:
"The Truth" -- Handsome Boy Modeling School
"Straight, No Chaser" -- Thelonius Monk
iridium: (Default)
The rest of the spoken-word piece (from welcome to oblivion) didn't grab me nearly so much, but this quote struck me clear and deep:

"Nothing will prevent me, neither close attention nor the desire to be exact, from writing and speaking words that sing."

That's an important thing, for me -- that openness and truth, being as honest and clear as possible, paying close attention, are all vital and important, and that with all of that the words still sing, still have such tremendous power and beauty. That there is not a necessary tradeoff between poetry and truth, stories and honesty.
iridium: (Default)
i keep coming back around to this little piece of writing, a quote from bell hooks, and so here i am again:

"There are some folks for whom openness is not about the luxury of "will I choose to share this or that," but rather "will I survive -- will I stay alive?" and openness is about how to be well and telling the truth is about how to put the broken bits & pieces of the heart back together again. It is about being whole, being wholehearted."

that's not everything, but it's some of the important bits. sometime soon i want to sit down and write a good bit more on how i approach honesty and openness, but right now it's time for breakfast and hopefully getting a little bit of work done.
iridium: (matilda_sunset)
from [livejournal.com profile] tamnonlinear, a sad sweet poem that makes me want to drop everything, pack Matilda up with the two or three bags that i need, pick up a tent and a sleeping bag, and go.

"When We Sold the Tent" by Rhina P. Espaillat

When we sold the tent
we threw in the Grand Canyon
with its shawl of pines,
lap full of cones and chipmunks
and crooked seams of river.

We let them have the
parched white moonscapes of Utah,
and Colorado's
magnificat of flowers
sunbursting hill after hill.

Long gentle stretches
of Wyoming, rain outside
some sad Idaho
town where the children, giddy
with strange places, clowned all night.

Eyes like small veiled moons
circling our single light, sleek
shadows with pawprints,
all went with the outfit; and
youth, a river of campfires.
iridium: (Default)
i don't have much in the way of concrete plans for this weekend, and i know i'm likely to be a bit stressed and unhappy about not being at Burning Man. i'd prefer to keep busy with good bits of being-social and taking care of myself. so:

what interesting things are going on this weekend? d'you want to come out wandering with me, dancing, picnicking, making-things, or just being chill?

rough plans so far include
- my usual farmer's market on Saturday -- i'd love company for that
- working on the quilt -- anyone want to come over and craft/study/read/etc while i'm pressing, cutting, and arranging?
- party at a friend's on Saturday night
- possibly a much-needed good long massage on Sunday morning
- possibly a picnic with [livejournal.com profile] fyfer, [livejournal.com profile] cerevisiae, and whoever else wants to come, down at the landfill or maybe out in Tilden Park, or elsewhere
- work

there's also Art and Soul Oakland going on.

what else?

Lunacy

Sep. 1st, 2006 01:42 am
iridium: (Default)
i spent the latter half of the day thinking that today was Friday, rather than Thursday, and now it's nearly two in the morning and time to sleep soon, especially if i'm back to needing so much more sleep than normal. more science tomorrow, and maybe my data and my chip will behave properly.

but, since i want to give my brain some brief respite before sleeping so i can finish my cocoa and perhaps not have nightmares about animated meat, a brief movie review: Lunacy, Jan Svankmajer's new film.

Svankmajer introduces it himself with a blasé speech about how it's a horror movie and not art, because art doesn't exist anymore, except as a "sort of trailer for the reflection of Narcissus". and it is a horror movie, and as D. pointed out after the movie, it's got that classic horror-movie trepidation where you know what's going to happen, and that it's going to be bad, and you watch the characters blunder through it anyway. there's a good bit of speechifying that makes a summary of the extremes of philosophy from the past two centuries or so, roughly coming out to "absolute free will/indulgence" vs. "control and punishment" vs. a sort of naive and shallow religious moralism. with, ya know, the Marquis de Sade, Edgar Allen Poe, the French Revolution, a blasphemous orgy, a therapeutic funeral, and stop-motion animated meat. (yes, stop-motion animated meat. go watch the trailer. or don't, if that's not something you want to see, obviously.)

yeah. i think i'm glad i watched it, and i am glad that i saw it in the theater rather than telling myself that i'd rent it later, because i probably wouldn't, and i'd've had a hard time sitting through the whole thing if it was easier to get up and walk out. it was thoroughly disturbing in a number of ways, and there's some interesting bits for thinking-about, and Svankmajer is (as always) really, profoundly strange. i've often had a hard time watching his films, though with Conspirators of Pleasure and perhaps also Faust, it was more because i kept falling asleep. Alice is the only one of his full-length films i've watched all the way through. it's worth, at the very least, watching some of the trailers or movie-clips to see his stop-motion animation, because his talent and skill with that is impressive. (edit: a-ha! YouTube wins again. here's a copy of Svankmajer's short Darkness/Light/Darkness. probably not worksafe, and also involving small bits of animated meat, but mostly just clay, and generally just really neat.)

another and rather more thorough review here: "Lunacy: Svankmajer's political allegory".

mmm, 2am writing. so crunchy. time for sleep.
iridium: (books)
56. Sir Apropos of Nothing, Peter David. it'd be silly fantasy fluff, except for a bit of meta-storytelling on the genre and an interesting exploration of exactly how far you can go with the idea of an anti-hero. it's still mostly fluff, but that's ok.

57. Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation, Olivia Judson. a dense but entertaining reel through the sexual behavior of, well, everything. there were bits that made me twitch (the same sorts of bias that shaped conclusions drawn by scientists in the 1950s also applies here; only the exact angle and details of the biases are different) but the wealth of information is impressive, and i quite enjoyed the read.

58. My Invented Country, Isabel Allende. a memoir, mostly centered on Chile and how it shaped her, and where it fits in her heart. she's been an exile (during the time of Pinochet -- her uncle was Salvador Allende) and an emigrant and a traveller for most of her life, and as always she writes well. i've read another of her memoirs, Paula, about her daughter; that one was beautiful in ways of grief and mourning and memory, and this one is not as tightly-written, still lyrical and poignant but lighter and more full of laughter.

one excerpt from the last pages, where she writes about immigrating to the US and settling in San Francisco:

"The entire world passes through San Francisco, each person carrying his or her cargo of memories and hopes. This city is filled with foreigners; I am not an exception. In the streets you will hear a thousand tongues, temples are raised for all denominations, and the scent of food from the most remote points of the world fills the air. Few people are born here, most are strangers in paradise, as I am. It doesn't matter to anyone who I am or what I do; no one watches me or judges me, they leave me in peace. The negative side of that is that if I drop dead on the street, no one will notice but, in the end, that is a cheap price to pay for liberty."

quilt!

Aug. 28th, 2006 01:46 pm
iridium: (glass-head)
i picked up a ridiculous quantity of swatches of tie silk at the Depot last week. i bought two packs of one particular pattern -- a small-curlicue brocade with little dots -- with the idea of making a quilt. as it turns out, each of the ~150 swatches is a slightly different color, woven from a combination of 4 (or more) colors of thread. the shades range through golds, sage-greens, reds, blues, purples, and a little bit of black and silver.

thanks to [livejournal.com profile] snowninja7's enablement, i got started on the quilt this weekend, and just finished stitching the first set of pieces together. i thought about planning out some fancy pattern with piecework and/or colors...and then decided that while that would in theory produce an absolutely amazingly gorgeous quilt, the thing would never actually get sewn, and i'd have much less fun. so instead i went with my usual kamikaze approach, and i'll end up with a patchwork quilt made with gorgeous brocade silk.

each patch-square is ~5" x 5"; there will be 9 blocks, each 5 squares on a side. haven't decided yet if i'm going to just do a solid 15 x 15, put a border on the outside, or if i'll separate the 5 x 5 blocks with a border of some sort in between. also haven't decided what to use for the backing. but here's the first step: 23 sets of 5 swatches stitched together. 2 fabric photos behind the cut. )

the next step is to cut them into strips, then arrange the strips into blocks.
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