devi: (Default)
Ahahaha. In 2012, as the Mayan Long Count comes to an end, the Prez leads America into The Singularity. Wearing bunny slippers. A little comic by Dan Goldman.

(Ancient, powerful witch Thessaly in the Sandman comic wore bunny slippers for a whole story arc as well, so for me they've come to symbolise being so damn competent that it becomes irrelevant whether or not you're wearing the right clothes to project an image of power. Which kind of works here as well.)

As is typical of me, I started a slightly more considered post about the inauguration but didn't finish it. Perhaps I'll get a chance later on.

Blue Monday hit us hard. It's been a bit grim around these parts. But here are some more things found on the web - mostly science-flavoured if not actually scientific - which have brightened things up:

Science Tattoos. Some of these are really beautiful - I love the carbon atom, and this diagram of the spread of an epidemic, and subatomic doodling. I wanted a tattoo for ages and never settled on a design, but these make me think I want one of a stylised, ambiguous image poised halfway between a diagram of an atom and a map of a solar system. Zoom in, zoom out.

An animated video on how to imagine ten dimensions. I saw this ages ago after [ profile] squiddity told me about it, one night after Planet Angel (that was an interesting night during which I also heard about surreal numbers, but sadly when I looked them up I understood them not at all. I'm glad surreal numbers exist, though). But it just popped up again on my twitter feed. I don't know how well-founded it is but it's certainly fun.

Via [ profile] undyingking, a graph showing which language people around the world refer to when they don't understand something, along the lines of "it's all Greek to me". Apparently lots of languages express incomprehension by saying "sounds like Chinese", but the Chinese say it sounds like "the Heavenly Script".

The discussion on the post is full of interesting comments too. Some Germans say "it's all Bohemian villages to me", which I can relate to - Czech is such a crazy pile-up of consonants. People wade in to wave the Esperanto flag and get told off. It's fun, in a quite geeky way.

And something not web-ephemera, though you can see pages from it at the author's website (I recommend you do. They are gorgeous): last night I got lost for hours in a graphic novel called The Arrival, by Shaun Tan, which Dan found in the library. It's a wordless story about an immigrant leaving his oppressive homeland to come to a strange new culture full of bizarre animals, peculiar mechanical devices and beautiful, incomprehensible script. It's full of fantastical invented things, and sometimes putting fantasy elements in a story about real-world issues can undermine it and make it seem like the author is making light of said issues, but in this story it really works because by creating an imaginary culture he makes us experience the immigrant's culture shock. I read it while listening to Ulrich Schnauss's dreamlike shoegaze electronica, which was just perfect. I wanted it to go on forever, and also to be able to draw better myself, and choked up a bit thinking about taking risks and new beginnings and such idealistic stuff. It is, in summary, Rather Good.

Hey, the sun's out and it's nearly the weekend. I'm coming down to London for Black Plastic tomorrow, rah! Rather looking forward to dancing to discrete songs with words, like I always used to. See you there?
devi: (bookish)
I was up marking coursework till nearly 3am last night and now my head is full of wool and my neck feels simultaneously stiff and too wobbly. Today was running up and down stairs chasing more coursework, sending the students out to buy plastic folders and find me the hole punch because surely you're not submitting THAT? It's all in but one now, finally, and for the rest of the evening I am off duty. I am eating bucket pasta and thinking about watching 24 Hour Party People, which always inspires me because it's about a shambolic disorganised mess of a person who through sheer enthusiasm manages to make great stuff happen, almost by accident.

But even despite my adrenalin-filled get-things-done state, I still found myself perched on the edge of the bed half-dressed for half an hour this morning, breathlessly devouring the end of Geoff Ryman's Air. Oh my. I'd only picked it up while packing my bag to see how far I was from the end. I went out to catch the bus still staggered by the brilliance.

More people ought to know about Geoff Ryman. Okay, lots of people seem to have read 253, his book of thumbnail portraits of people on a tube train, but who knows about The Child Garden, the love story of a girl and a polar bear opera-singer in a near-future sub-tropical London? It's full of amazing language and big ideas and is one of the best books I've ever read. Was, his remix of The Wizard of Oz, is also great and very, very dark. Lust is an awkward one, about a scientist who develops the power to manifest anyone he fancies, alive, dead or fictional, but it's still got more crunchy concepts and moments of insight and beauty than any three more processed and pasteurised books you care to mention, and towards the end goes careering off into a gorgeous crazed mystic tangent about what really happens when you die. He writes about time and memories and the random connections between people, the texture of cities and making art and throwing impromptu street parties in the face of death. With balloons.

Excuse my fangirling. I just think he's criminally ignored, though he did win a bunch of awards for Air, which is set in the last village in the world to get online. When I was in Trinity Netsoc we invited him over to give a talk about 253 and online fiction (yes, it was the late nineties, how can you tell?) and a bunch of us committee people got outrageously drunk with him in his B&B while he told the guy who was Secretary to stop wasting his life and go have babies. It sounded as if he felt he'd failed at his life. I think he ought to have people peeling grapes for him, if there was any justice.

Off to the Bristol Comic Expo tomorrow with a bundle of Wasted Epiphanies to thrust upon people. With polar bears in it, yes. I rip off Mr Ryman all the time without meaning to.
devi: (headshake)
I have a day off today. It's glorious. So:

This is what I've been up to the last couple of weeks. I've been wanting to paint something for ages, but could never settle on what. Then one night I sat down with one of a set of four canvases (cheap from The Works. If they'd been expensive canvases I'd never have picked up the brush) and told myself I was just experimenting with using paint and mixing colours. I deliberately didn't have a goal in mind, I just gave the brush its head and waited to see what happened, and the whole thing was such fun that I went on and did three more.

On the downside, my laptop now has tiny speckles of black paint on it due to overenthusiastic brush-flicking. I feel like Brian from Spaced. "I paint... fear! Aggression! Pain!"

Capital One spammed me today. "You could have this [spectacularly awful] credit card in your wallet! Look, we know you're an idiot - you must be if you're considering applying - so to choose which design you want, all you have to do is peel off one of these little credit-card-shaped stickers and stick it on the application form! You can have a piggy, a monkey, a puppy, a tigger or an England flag!" I threw the rest in the bin but kept the stickers. I might send them out with the next Wasted Epiphanies as an Ironic Comment on the Debt Culture, innit.

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