who hunted and battled from horseback, ate their meat, drank their milk (and sometimes their blood) for thousands of years, from China and Siberia to the Black Sea and beyond?
|Scythian horse and trainer.|
Guess what -- they had breeding programs for their herds! Who would ever have guessed that people who lived for thousands of years by, for and around the horse would ever think of that.
Do we all think it, well, just happened, that these rode, hunted, fought, ate, herded, conquered, with the horse, and created war chariots to be pulled by horses, and invented stirrups? Because we know people who weren't able to spend their lives playing computer games and taking selfies of themselves eating cookie dough to post on FB, where also people post real time murders, rapes and tortures, and have all their personal information sold to anyone who wants to pay -- the ancient people couldn't possibly be so self-aware, intelligent, creative and inventive as to constantly, consciously improve the ways the horse could serve them, century-after-century.
Read about it here in the NY Times Science section (pay wall!).
Actually it is nice that this history of the nomadic herding horse peoples can be confirmed by DNA investigative tools.
It must have been the tone of the article that set me off? That breathless, hoo boy!, hey nobody ever thought about this before and look what these guys found!
This older NY Times article is also interesting if one is interested in horses (which I am). Then there were the Vikings and horses. We tend not to associate the Vikings much with horses, but they knew their way around equines just fine, breeding and raising horses that suited their needs. Hey -- these are my people (along with the Poles, who know a whole lot about breeding and training horses too).
This NY Times article suggests that it was a mutation in Icelandic horses during the Viking age that ultimately allowed for the 'amble' gait in horses. Not all horses can do this. What particularly interests me is that the Vikings traded these horses all over Europe -- and, into the Middle East. I keep thinking of horses with coats that allow for survival in a nordic, Icelandic climate, who can amble, finding homes in Damascus and Jerusalem.
|Icelander horse performing the tolt - Tolt is "Even 4-beat rhythm with long strides in front and behind, elegant lift and action of the front legs, movements extremely flexible and supple, excellent speed."|
Then there's this even older NY Times article. As well as a mutation gene allows for horses that can amble, there is a mutation gene for pacing. As with the amble gait gene, not all horses have the pacing gene. Both qualities have become embedded in certain varieties of horses by deliberate breeding. What particularly interests me is that many horses in possession this gene that allows for an amble or for pacing, find it difficult to transition from that to a trot or gallop, or at least to do so smoothly. Smooth transition of gaits is a big part on what horses and their riders on show are scored on. That this information has been discovered now allows breeders, owners and trainers to do testing on potential candidates for various events and racing. If that gene is missing there is no point in spending time and money training this horse, so it can be sent off for another career.*
A video of Icelandic horse round-up:
* Hopefully another career, and not to the dog and catfood factory . . . .
Wordcount: A lot. Currently at 29/46 chapters.
Characters: Auron, Kinoc, Braska, Jecht, Paine, Baralai, most of the main cast of FFX, lots of OCs. Main pairing is Auron/OC, with a side of Paine/Baralai, and others (particularly Tidus/Yuna) in the background
Spoilers: Yes, lots, for FFX and FFX-2.
Notes: As I mentioned in my monthly writing goals post, I decided to take on a different kind of project this month: cleaning up and reposting an older story that hadn't yet made it onto AO3. Although the posting is only about two-thirds done (I plan to put up two or so more chapters every day until it's done), I finished the big editing pass today, so I thought it would be a good time to share my progress so far.
Summary: The story of Auron -- warrior monk, guardian, legend -- and the family he left behind.
Posted on AO3
Grad school is very difficult. I keep staring wistfully at fanfic I'd like to update, and then getting back to my Greek prose comp homework or what not. I'm lucky enough to not have much pagecount due at the end of this semester; I won't be so lucky next semester, and on top of that, next semester I'll be teaching Latin. So much to do! So little time!
Summer plans: working through the Greek reading list (the Iliad! some lyric poetry! Plato!), working on a research paper about Catullus's long poems (61-64, which is three wedding poems and a weird one), Persona 5, Fourth Street, my little sister's wedding.
There are a fair number of people on DW who I don't follow, and should, because I disliked having overlap between LJ and DW when I checked pages. So ping me if I followed you there and don't seem to be here, if you'd like. I'm too distracted with grad school right now to try to compile that list myself.
The journaling website is dead! Long live the journaling website!
(* Oh, and I changed the names on my Tumblr and AO3 accounts because it feels like I should make it that little bit harder for my future Latin students to accidentally run into my fanfic while trying to figure out how to email me on the weekend or something. But if you follow me over there, that shouldn't change anything. Send me a message if you need the names for those accounts.)
So the murder zombies are in your town again, ripping limbs from torsos. Everyone knows the best way to survive the murder zombie onslaught is to hide in a closet.
But humans react to murder zombies in funny ways, even when they’re not being personally devoured by the zombies’ hoof-hard teeth.
See, because “hiding in a closet” is the best way of riding it out when the murder zombie herd comes ravaging through town, you’ll have people who get really good at hiding in closets.
With each Culling they survive, these people will become increasingly cocky about their closet-hiding techniques.
Eventually, they’ll start making fun of people who don’t know how to hide in a closet properly. Complaints about the way the murder-zombies ate your child will be met with a sneering, “I guess somebody didn’t have their closet ready.”
And the end result will be, unbelievably, people who have more scorn for zombie victims than they do a hatred for the murder-zombies who want to tear them to shreds.
Yet that’s not the weirdest thing. The *weirdest* thing is that these expert closet-hiders genuinely come to think they’re fighting the murder-zombies by teaching these hiding techniques. “See, if you starve them, maybe they won’t murder so much,” the closet-hiders say.
But that’s not actually fighting the murder-zombies. That’s just surviving the murder-zombies. At best, the murder-zombies might slaughter the people in the next town over – but the expert closet-hiders think that’s just great, because at this point anyone who gets eaten by the murder-zombies is so stupid they deserve to die.
They think they’re fighting the murder-zombies, but in a way they’re actually very much aligned with the murder-zombies.
Whereas the truth is this: hiding in a closet is a useful skill to learn, and you probably need to learn it. But reducing the murder-zombie hordes to mere nuisances will take more than one person. You need an entire town to rise up, grab guns from the burning houses of those who have fallen, the mobilization of thousands of people so their response is not “Shit, murder-zombies, better prep my hiding-from-murder-zombie camouflage techniques” but “Sound the alarms, get the pitchforks, let’s make sure these murder-zombies don’t hurt another person!”
You need an organization to fight the horde, man. One man (or woman) can’t stop the undead stampede. One man (or woman) might as well just hide in the closet.
But the problem is this: that expert closet-hider is mocking the people who want to go out and fight (“What, don’t you have a closet?”), and telling everyone that the people who died deserved their deaths. And yes, maybe some of the people who died were unwise in some of their decisions. We might need a couple of staunch closets until we can recoup enough resources to take the fight to the murder-zombie larvae in their terrifying butchernest, and if you want to lead a respectful class on “Closet Hiding 101” then okay, sure, it can help.
Yet when you spend more energy denigrating the victims than you do saying, “*Of course* the murder-zombies are an evil necrotic horde who deserve no sympathy,” then you’re sapping the town’s efforts to rise up, man. We need to get out and shine sunlight on the necromancer’s cursed butchernest jewel and dissolve this murder-zombie horde after all – and your reliance on “BUILD A STURDIER CLOSET” just makes us all live in increasingly smaller closets.
So, you know, survive the zombies. Nothing wrong with that.
Just don’t forget that survival is very different from changing the landscape so zombie-survival is no longer necessary.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.
I'm teaching my brother how to vid, and he wants to make a Stargate vid, and I figured one of the things I should do is introduce him to the extant fannish vidding culture and also it'd be fun just have a vid watching party.
P.S. We also did not realize it was an Urobutcher show when we completely randomly picked it to watch. HA HA HA HA HA the more fool us.
All of It happened as a result of a project of a politically oriented community organization -- need I add run by women? Almost whom are African American? This reminds me so much of how things are happening these days in Cuba too. Women deeply involved in their communities, making all the things happen, running them.
But, of course the Cuban event, with live music, while Himself moderated, asked questions and lectured about the history, the music and the culture was truly popular. How not, with musicians such as Pedrito Martínez involved?
This is how Himself describes the Cuban event:
Home again via the Acela by 3 PM. In between yesterday and today, here the peonies have popped! They are supposed to be late May - June flowers, but here they are, so soon. At least the tulips are still in play.
Basically -- yah, ebooks just aren't as good a reading experience and totally useless for anything that isn't just skimming. You sure can't do research with them.
That's what I've been sayin' from the beginning. For light, thoughtless distraction while riding the subway, OK. But nothing else.
[ " . . . figures published today by the Publishing Association show that sales of consumer ebooks have dropped by 17%, while sales of physical books are up 8%. Consumer spending on books was up £89m across the board last year, compared with 2015. So why is the physical book winning through? " ] Read the Guardian piece here.
I don't necessarily agree with their conclusion that it is the allure of the physical that is the draw for printed books again. I still put more value on my own reading needs, pleasures and necessities, that one simply cannot absorb or pay attention to the content on a screen, whether fiction or non. And then, with history and other important non-fiction forms, all the cites, biblios, indexing, etc. are not there -- and often not the illustrations, including graphs and tables are also not included. This makes the ebook useless for someone like me. And I read uncountable numbers of such books every year!
I do agree, however, that audio books are real rival to kindles, etc.
They are still the growth center for publishing (along with illustrated kids' books, which don't work on kindles, etc. either). People are listening to everything from pod casts of all kinds to enormous numbers of audio titles. I listen to dozens of audio book every year myself. All of them history. Again I'm missing cites, biblios and indices. But if this is a book that mattes to me personally for research I search out that title and obtain the print copy. The point here though being that I can absorb content and recall it from the audio version of a text. But I don't when it's on a screen.
The genre segment of the ebook market is about 50%. The ebook sales of genre forms increased overall even, about 6%, which makes for great sell-through for crime, thriller, mystery, romance, fantasy etc. Also for self-publishing. Almost all self-publishing is done now as ebook format.
So I’d hoped the Republicans would grow up after being trounced in their first attempt at repealing/replacing Obamacare. I’d legitimately love it if Republicans said, “People are being bankrupted by out-of-control health costs, and health care is complicated – why don’t we take some time to get the law right and come up with something America doesn’t hate?”
Instead, natch, they’re trying to ram through a hasty bill that’s even worse than the last one. They may vote as early tomorrow.
Which is why you have to call your Representatives now. And here’s how you stop do that:
CALL, DO NOT EMAIL.
Politicians can ignore emails the way you do. They can’t ignore calls. Their staffers have to take the calls, which means their staff doesn’t get anything done while they’re handling calls, which means the Senator is far more likely to hear about how the office is slowing to a crawl because the ACA issue is jamming the lines.
Last time, my super-conservative rep changed his mind on the repeal/replace from “YEAH LET’S DO IT” to “Uh, maybe?” because the calls were literally running 20 to 1 in favor of keeping Obamacare around.
SAY YOU’RE A VOTER FROM YOUR TOWN.
Let them know you’re local. Don’t bother calling if you’re not a potential voter. You do not have to give your name, though you can if you want; they may ask you for your zip code. You may wish to force them to take your name to ensure they got your message.
HAVE A SCRIPT READY, IF YOU’RE SOCIALLY AWKWARD LIKE ME.
A good script is something like:
1) I’m disappointed that there’s a rush to shove through even worse health care legislation;
2) Please do not repeal the ACA without a strong replacement;
3) If you have a preexisting condition or the ACA has helped your life in some way, talk about that and make it personal how your life (or the life of someone you love) depends on this;
4) I will not vote for any Representative who helps repeal the ACA without a strong replacement, either in the primary or the general election.
You’re free to go on, if you like, but be polite. They kind of have to listen. In my experience, they’ll generally say they’ll pass the message onto the Representative, and hang up. But if you want to be that person who the office groans when they have to handle them – that polite-but-firm person who will be heard – then hey! You can contribute to the office gossip that people are really concerned about this ACA issue, which is good in politics.
CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE, NOT YOUR SENATOR.
That means you have to make a maximum of one call, which will take ten minutes max. (Unless your Representative’s line is already clogged, in which case, keep calling.)
You can generally look up your senator by using Who Is My Representative, but if not you’ll find a phone number on their website. Calling the local number is generally viewed to be slightly better.
And here’s the trick: If you’re a conservative who’s opposed to mandating that insurers must be able to insure people with preexisting conditions (for some weird reason), flip the script and call as well. This is a republic, and you deserve to have your voice heard.
That said, there was a ridiculous idea last time that the ACA repeal only failed because it wasn’t conservative enough. That wasn’t true. The reason it failed was most because tacking to the right to appeal to the hard-core conservatives cost them more votes in the center, and trying to appeal to everyone made their base splinter.
So calling to register your complaint actually does work. We’re not guaranteed, of course; the Republicans are desperate, trying to shove through a law they wrote in less than a month that nobody’s even fully read (as opposed to the ACA, which was introduced in July 2009 and voted on in March 2010 after heavy debate). They may manage it.
But if they do manage to replace the ACA with something that literally punishes those with preexisting conditions (and that could easily be you, even if you’re healthy now!), let it not be because you didn’t try. Make the call today.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.
For anyone who's new here: I have bipolar I, which means that I spend significant periods of time depressed. I also cycle very quickly sometimes, so I can go from elated to suicidal within a single day or the course of hours. Needless to say, besides sucking in its own right, it makes writing, which I think of as a somewhat neurosis-inducing career , an additional challenge.
 I am pretty sure there are non-neurotic writers out there! But I am literally, professionally diagnosed crazy, and I have spent time in the psych ward for suicide attempts, so...
When writing gets hard, it comes down to routines. Writing is easy when it's a fire in the mind and the words blaze to be let down on paper (or typed into the computer, or whatever--I write both longhand and on a computer depending on my mood or the particular project). But inspiration is completely unreliable, especially when depression comes calling.
My routine goes something like this. Note that I don't claim that this works for everyone! Just this is what I do, and it more or less works for me. Sometimes better than others.
1. Get out of bed. Sometimes this is the hardest step.
2. Get food into myself. I have this rule that no writing happens until I have eaten something, even an oatmeal packet. Bodies are weird (or anyway, mine is! maybe yours is perfectly fine :p). If my blood sugar drops, I turn into a depressed suicidal wreck. I find this completely maddening considering that I'm overweight so you'd think that I could survive for a couple extra hours off fat reserves, but nope! Not so lucky. So I try to remember to eat at intervals. Even so, there's this period in the late afternoon/early evening where I usually have to take a break from writing no matter when I started because my blood sugar is too low for me to concentrate. (This is usually because I'm trying to time dinner to be convenient for my husband and daughter. If it were just me, I would eat smaller meals every four hours and that might work better.)
3. Get exercise. Sometimes I skip this, but I read somewhere that you should try to do the most important things first in your daily routine. I figure exercise is more essential than writing, or anyway, it should be higher priority. Also, I sort of cheat in that right now I'm mostly doing the world's wimpiest exercise biking, on a bike that has a built-in desk, and I use that time either to do reading (right now I'm beta reading for someone, for instance), or write fanfic. I could even use that time to do work-writing rather than fanfic-writing. It all depends.
4. Get shower. Because I am so wimpy, even wimpy exercise-biking leaves me drenched in sweat.
5. Make tea. I allow myself one cup of caffeinated tea a day. Right now that's a Republic of Tea black tea flavored with almond, which honestly I don't like all that much--I tried it out of curiosity and discovered the almond flavor didn't agree with me. So when the tin runs out I'll switch it for some other black tea. After that runs out, I start making herbal teas instead. Too much caffeine can trigger mania or hypomania, or just generally screw with my sleep (and screwing with sleep can mess with bipolar cycling--it's a whole Thing), so I try to not to overdo it.
6. Settle in to write. I turn on iTunes, set the whole thing to Shuffle, and attempt to write at least one sentence/song. Most songs are pop/rock songs of 3-4 minutes. This is not a recipe for blazing fast writing. What it is, is conditioning. My brain gets the idea that every time we switch to a new song, I should get back in gear and get writing. My philosophy is that slow and steady wins the race. I don't produce words particularly fast--I know there are fast writers out there, but I'm never going to be one of them. But I do believe that accumulating words a little at a time consistently will also work.
One of my problems is low morale, and a related problem is being intimidated by high goals. So I set low goals. One sentence during a song of that length is eminently doable. In fact, spurred by one thought, I usually end up writing more than one sentence. And that's good! Likewise, when I am at my most depressed--when I can barely string two thoughts together, or when I feel like everything I have ever written is completely worthless, I set my goals very low. As in 250 words/day low. These days I have novels to write so I can't do that forever, but even 250 words/day is better, in terms of sustaining momentum, than 0 words/day. It's simple mathematics. If you write 250 words/day, you can eventually write a novel, even if it takes you a while. Whereas with 0 words/day? You'll never get there.
This is not to say that you should never take a break! I have 0-word days. Weekends are usually dead time because I have family obligations. Sometimes the depression is just too much to deal with. But there is a difference between occasionally taking a break, and never writing. The latter is what I seek to avoid.
In the meantime: what helps you when you're dealing with doubt or depression? Tell me one thing you like about your own writing, if you like. :)
Characteristically for him, he generously contributed his time and prestige as an onstage reader to our October 28 performance of The American Slave Coast, Live at Symphony Space before going off to document the resistance at Standing Rock in the freezing cold.
From the hotel room in Boston . . . .
You have to be registered by the 22nd May to vote in the election on the 8th June.
A lot of people, especially young people, seem to be registering. This is a good thing.
What I Just Finished Reading
Penric’s Mission by Lois McMaster Bujold, narrated by Grover Gardner
Another enjoyable outing, though the plot of this one didn't grab me as much as the first two. I enjoyed the new PoV character and liked meeting her and her family, and watching their relationship with Penric and Des grow. Penric is frankly getting a little over powered at this point. There doesn't really seem to be much he can't do, as long as he can figure it out. Still, I love Des, and the stories continue to be light and funny.
Terror in the Starboard Seat by Dave McIntosh
(Memoirs of an RCAF Mosquito navigator in WWII, who very much wanted to survive the war and go home, while his Jewish-American pilot wanted to kill as many Nazis as he possibly could.)
Highly entertaining, which makes the tragic parts even more of a punch. Both the author and his pilot never seem to miss a chance to tell a joke at each other's (and their own) expense. For all that McIntosh played up the battle to stay out of the line of fire while his pilot put them in it, they seemed to work pretty well together. The accounts of base life and interactions with the other pilots and the English were probably the funniest parts.
Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William J. Mann, narrated by Christopher Lane
This ended up being something of a guilty pleasure. The style is way over the top and pulpy that I expected it to have been written in the early '50s, but that in itself circled back around to being charming despite itself. I don't know enough about the period to claim authorial bias one way or another, but all the characters were well introduced and easy to follow. Likewise I have no idea if the mystery solution is plausible, but the case was well made. I need to read more silent-era Hollywood books.
Tecumseh and Brock: The War of 1812 by James Laxer
It certainly a decent outline of the war, and I appreciated that it had more focus on the native American storyline than a lot of books do. However since both the title characters died very early in the war, it somewhat floundered for a theme in the latter third. (It eventually settled on minimizing American accomplishments, in a charmingly chippy way.)
The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass
Still 100% soapy nonsense, still pretty fun, still needs more lesbians. Got pretty melodramatic at the end there. I don't see why love triangles never seem to end in threesomes.
What I'm Reading Now
Library: A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder by Ma-Nee Chacaby with Mary Louisa Plummer. Um. Yeah. HOLY FUCK THIS WOMAN'S CHILDHOOD.
Audio: The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien. It's read by Chris Lee, which is pretty much all you need to know.
What I'm Reading Next
Probably a book about North Korea from the library. Not sure on audiobook.
Last night, I finished the first draft of my maintenancepunk novel – which is like cyberpunk, except you spend way more time troubleshooting device conflicts and field-stripping your cyberlimbs.
I’m looking for about seven to ten people to beta-read for me and give me feedback. (Why seven to ten? Because I’d like four to five people, and generally I find that you hit about 60% on getting beta readers to get back to you in time.)
I’m giving special preference this time to military folks and gun nuts, because this is a novel written by a pansy-ass civilian about a veteran in future combat, and I am positive I’ve gotten the details laughably wrong.
Now. If you’re saying “Let me do it, I’m really good at proofreading,” alas, I shall pass. Assuming I sell it to a publisher, we’ll have professional copyeditors and proofreaders sniffing this sucker like a hound dog. Flagging misspelled words and grammatical errors is a distraction from the overall point of “Did this book deliver an emotional cyberpunch?”
No, what I want are the sorts of people who can explain four separate things, each cogently:
• The things that confuse you (“Why would $character do that?” or “Wait, cyberlimbs shouldn’t be able to do that?”)
• The things that throw you out of the story (“Character wouldn’t do THAT!” or “Factually, that’s so wrong!”)
• The things that give you ass-creep (“I got bored here”)
• All the things that make you pump the fist (“This moment was truly awesome, and unless I tell you how awesome it is, you might cut this part out in edits”)
So if you think you can do all that in five weeks, do me a favor and email me at email@example.com with the header “FERRETT, I WOULD LIKE TO BETA-READ YOUR MAINTENANCEPUNK.” This service comes with the great reward of being name-checked in the acknowledgements, if this eventually sells. I may get filled up on people, but if I do, I’ll put you on the list for the next revision, if there is one – I’ll need to give this one two more drafts in the next four months.
(And if you have beta-read for me before and are asking, “Ferrett, why didn’t you ask me directly?”, kindly remember that I am shy and dislike bothering people. If you’ve got the time and want to volunteer for another go-round, pitch in!)
(Also note: I’ve not been blogging much on my main blog because, well, I’m still deciding what to do about LiveJournal’s recent TOS change, and moving away from LJ involves some technical preparation I hain’t had time for. If you’re on LJ, well, consider bookmarking my main site.)
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.
OOAK MORNING GLORY
She is GORGEOUS and I am so proud of my Bear for doing such a wonderful job!
Please bid if you are so inclined, but absolutely, PLEASE share this link around. We are trying to pay off about 2k in debt right now from medical stuff and unavoidable car expenses.
Here is a post on Tumblr if you want to boost us there!
More pics under the cut!
( Read more... )
I am so proud of Bear for doing such a beautiful job! That cutie mark is friggin' gorgeous and I love it so much!
I LOVED the Flutter Ponies as a kid, and to see Morning Glory updated so lovingly is magical to me.
Please help spread the word! <3