starlady: The Keyblade in purple.  (light of kingdom hearts)
Yesterday morning I dreamed that a major earthquake struck Kyoto while I was there. In the dream I was in some teahouse-type place down around Gojô-zaka, which slid partway down the hillside secondary to all the shaking--the earthquake was a 6 or a 7--with us inside it. In the dream I had that resigned nervousness of knowing that you're either going to live or die and there's nothing you can do about it either way so you just have to wait to see what it will be. Afterward once we confirmed our identities and being alive with the authorities (note: this is not how earthquake protocols actually go, in Japan) my primary emotion was annoyance that I was going to have to walk all the way home from Gojô to Matsugasaki.

I did feel a few earthquakes while I was in Kyoto this time; they were all 1s or 2s. I've at least gotten over my clueless habit of thinking, when I lived closer to the fault that runs under Kyoto University, of thinking the jolt quakes it throws off fairly frequently--a 3 or 4, lasting a second or less--were cars driving into my building.


I went to Tokyo for the weekend three weeks ago. I was there for about sixty hours, all told, and there were three aftershocks that I and my friends H & H felt, one of them large enough to wake us up from a sound sleep at three or four on Sunday morning (so a 3 or a 4). Worryingly, that one didn't send an alert to my friend H's smartphone. My friend H, who moved to Tokyo the week after the earthquake, still has an ancient cell phone that she bought used when we arrived in Japan four years ago, and can't get the earthquake alerts, but she was telling me how, in the weeks afterward when subway service was initially restored, they couldn't keep the subway to a schedule (!) because of the aftershocks, and how she'd be riding around and the cell phone of everyone in the compartment would go off with the earthquake alert ringtone and the train would stop and she'd just have to clutch the bar and hope that it wasn't a big one.

I suppose I'm telling this story to make a point about how much fortitude going about your daily life can require at times, in a place like Tokyo, and I do hand it to the people there who've endured blackouts, energy saving, and aftershocks for months on end. But the Japanese government recently confirmed what, I think, everyone had long known, that the 12-mile exclusion zone around Fukushima Daiichi won't be habitable again for a long time, if ever, and people who lived there won't be allowed to go back, and I've seen the photos and heard the stories from people who've been volunteering in or visiting the tsunami zone (Google Maps/Earth of Minamisanriku-chô is currently using satellite photos from April), and…Tokyo is so far from being the worst off it almost doesn't merit mentioning in the same sentence.

When the big one hits Tokyo, though, it'll be a different story.
starlady: (moon dream)
Still having a fannish yard sale! Anime, manga, and sff movie fandom stuff of various kinds at the link.


So I saw this AMV on Saturday afternoon and really liked it: 

And then on Saturday night I had a dream inspired by it, and I actually made up a haiku about the dream: 

I dreamt of earthrise
In a gray desert, awake
In the lunar night.


銀の砂漠で、夜、地球の出を見た。

These are not real Japanese-language haiku, but I like this one all the same.

Over and out.
starlady: A typewriter.  (tool of the trade)
I dreamt this morning that my bird beat up another parrot in church. This was a basilica, mind you, because it was a Greek Orthodox church, because we were in Athens, because I had this dream in which my Greece trip group was on this island from which we could get spectacular (but whacky) views of Athens. And now that I'm awake I realize that Athens had spontaneously become the home of the Mausoleum of Hailkarnassos. And that said Mausoleum looked just like the Diet building in Tokyo. But yeah, there was this bigger parrot in the church, and it flew onto my prof's shoulder, and then my bird was there and he started nipping the other parrot despite being half the other bird's size, because my bird is a poicephalus parrot and they dominate other birds. And then obviously we had to separate them.

This is all because I am trying to decide how best to get back into Latin and ancient Greek, mind you. I am thinking of breaking out Sallust again for the Latin (though Sallust is what drove me out of Latin in high school), and maybe cracking this copy of Plato that I have. It's in the Oxford series, I'm not even sure which dialogues are in it. And yes I know how difficult Plato is and that maybe Homer would be an easier way to ease back in. Alternatively I could buy the green-and-yellow anthology of epistles, 500 BCE - 400 CE, in both languages, that I was ogling in Labyrinth Books yesterday. I might do that anyway.

And that's more than enough out of me for one day. If you see me on the interwebz this week poke me and tell me to write my Holmes Big Bang story, you lazy fangirl, you.

Still not a classics icon. 
starlady: (a sad tale's best)
Via [personal profile] coffeeandink and [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija:

[info]con_or_bust is back! It's running another fundraiser to assist people of color who want to attend WisCon. Bidding on the auction will run from Wednesday, February 22, 2010 (12:01 a.m. Eastern), through Saturday, March 13, 2010 (11:59 p.m. Eastern). You may post auction offers and make donations now. If you are interested in requesting assistance, there is more information here.

Additionally, [livejournal.com profile] helptheproject, to benefit The Virginia Avenue Project, is still ongoing.


This morning I dreamed that my bird learned to talk and that when we took him out of his cage in the morning he said he wanted to go back to sleep. I immediately chalked that up as my subconscious taking on the form of my parrot to tell me what I already knew: I wanted to go back to bed. For the record, my parrot had a hoarse, ashy voice.

The snow is four feet high in my backyard and when I drove to work the world looked magical: azure blue sky and all the trees and the ground absolutely covered with white snow. It won't last, of course, but it's beautiful while it does.

Also, in a truly bizarre turn of events, today I was given, without any volition on my part, a perfect copy of Avatar. I think this means I'm just supposed to cave and watch the damn thing. On a similar note, I saw the trailer for the other Avatar failfest movie on TV last night, and...ouch. That movie could have been amazing! And yet it will probably save M. Night Shyamalan's career anyway.
starlady: Abraham Lincoln, vampire hunter (alternate history)
This morning I dreamed of the zombie apocalypse.

I used to have a lot of long, involved dreams in college, when I usually went straight from doing homework to sleeping, for not very long. I've been getting back into a similar pattern since the end of last month, which is, I think, why I had this particular Technicolor epic playing in my brain today.

So the zombie apocalypse! We jumped straight into in medias res, when we joined my dreaming self along with some guy--an ally, clearly--in my garage, watching a zombie flail around. It being afternoon, and zombies being lethal only at night, we were perfectly safe. It transpires that zombies are merely slow and fuddled during the daylight, and that it's possible for someone to be infected--a future zombie--without realizing it. So after I woke up at 4:30 am and then went back to sleep, in the dream my friends and I decided that the thing to do was host a dinner party for everyone we knew and then lock the doors after the dessert course and kill all the zombies and infected people. In retrospect, this dream has clearly been influenced by Sherlock Holmes. The dinner party was wonderful, as befits the last occasion a group of friends will ever celebrate together. I remember clearly showing those friends and guests of ours who weren't either infected or in on the killing plan out the door, and then going back inside and locking it behind me. The confusion of those people who didn't know they were already infected was painful. I woke up to go to work before we got very far along into the "kill them all" portion of the evening/dream, which is fine by me, but I also think that we were winning, which is good.

So, in conclusion: Maybe I should give myself a mental breather of 15 minutes or so between stopping work on the Holmes WIP and going to bed tonight.

starlady: (akidzuki)
I slept the whole night through, which is a first since last week (yay!). Afraid cold remnants are transmuting into sinus infection (nay!). Though I didn't wake up I did have a long, involved dream featuring Darker Than BLACK characters (Hei and Yin), Kingdom Hearts characters (Sora and, um, Donald I think?), not a few of my own family members including my grandfather (one of them died? it might have been him), a wedding, I think, and a hurricane (warning--from which we were taking shelter in a cellar? I don't know). And floods, too, though I'm not quite sure how it all hung together. Moral of the story: Don't start watching anime and then go straight to bed.

I made banana bread and curry mee (chicken soup) yesterday. The soup is so good, and a very forgiving recipe, though definitely the ginger and the fried shallots shouldn't be left out like I did this time. I used half all purpose and half white whole wheat flour in the banana bread with no problems other than it being so tasty.

I read Matt Bai's New York Times magazine article on New Jersey, and the gubernatorial race (I just love the word "gubernatorial"), with a sort of painful recognition: Yup, that's us, unfortunately. The key sentence is probably "If California collapsed of its own weight and drifted off into the Pacific, New Jersey would instantly become the most dysfunctional state in the country." But that's not the full story by any means. What's wrong with New Jersey?
  1. Way too many municipalities and school districts (though, NB, Governor Corzine did this summer sign a law forcing school districts without schools to merge with nearby districts by next year). I think we have the most municipalities per capita of any state in the Union? This doesn't help corruption, either, though its main effect is to send local taxes (particularly property taxes) into an upwards death spiral.
  2. Voters want lower taxes, more services, and to keep their little towns and school districts as-is. Last Friday Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania characterized this attitude on Radio Times as "money for nothing and chicks for free," quoting Dire Straits--the stuff-without-pain attitude is a national problem, as Bai rightly points out in the article (he later quotes Rendell, too). Personally I'd quote The Arcade Fire: "If you want something, don't ask for nothing! If you want nothing, don't ask for something!" I have nothing but respect for people who want low taxes and no services, but we need a statewide, and a national, reality check: going into debt rather than raising taxes to provide services is ruinous in every time frame.
Choice quotation from later in the article: "New Jersey could raise up its own army and invade Pennsylvania, and all the state’s voters would want to talk about, still, would be their property taxes." Maybe we could annex the five-county metropolitan area from PA and get Harrisburg to throw Rendell in as a freebie? Well, a girl can dream.
starlady: (through the trapdoor)
I've been reading a lot, as usual. I even dreamed of a Redwall book that doesn't exist yesterday morning--it was about Queen Mariel, who had left her realm in the Northlands after the death of King Dankin and the death of their only child. I have a very clear image of the cover painting in my mind even now. I always did like Mariel and Dankin. But then the book turned metatextual and there were a couple of pages in the front that were flattened-out tissue packages. Not Brian Jacques' usual forte.

Seven for a Secret )
The Queen in Winter )

I also cherry-picked some stories out of the anthology The Starry Rift, edited by Jonathan Strahan.
Bullet points )
I finished Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente ([personal profile] catvalente) and loved it. The city on the skin )
I'm not yet completely finished Tamora Pierce ([livejournal.com profile] tammypierce)'s Bloodhound, but I'm far enough along that I'm going to venture my comments anyway: essentially, I think this may be Pierce's best book yet. In depth )
starlady: (the last enemy)
History tells us (principally in the person of Samuel Pepys) that before electric lighting people slept awhile, awoke in the middle of the night for two hours, and then slept some more. If their nightmares and dreams were anything like mine, that must have been absolute crap. Sunday morning around 5 am I dreamed I was on a shinkansen with some friends and fellow students, including KTP and [profile] hisui_ryoshi, as well as some members of the armed services in the next compartment--though the shinkansen was tricked out like a Kintetsu viewing car--and we all agreed that it was great that the train attendants were too busy to tell us to talk quietly. And then we stopped for passport control in some eastern European former Soviet bloc country in the middle of nowhere (yes, the shinkansen goes to Europe now) and because we had to get out and physically walk through a facility, and the person I was talking to only spoke French, and I only speak "un peu" (this, by the way, is directly out of [livejournal.com profile] matociquala's Hugo-nominated "Shoggoths in Bloom", which I read and enjoyed heartily on Saturday), I was going to miss my train, which had my belongings and my friends. And that seemed too much to deal with, so I woke myself up. Blech.

Opening arguments were heard today in the case of the death (because, innocent until proven guilty) of Katherine Anne Olson. I knew her only glancingly, in that smile-at-everyone-you-pass Midwestern way, but even at a great remove I could see that she was a great light, and in any case she deserved better than what she got, which was bleeding to death in her own car trunk after being shot in the back. The defense attorney is doing his job, but just as in drama, when a gun is introduced in real life it's generally with the intention, or at least the willingness, to use it. I hope for justice.

ETA: You know, in Katherine's honor, I'm going to take the time to post about several worthy causes that are percolating on LiveJournal. In no particular order:

  • [livejournal.com profile] accessiblehouse  is a community in which various goodies are being auctioned off in order to benefit [livejournal.com profile] jbru and his partner--the house is being foreclosed on, which is a severe problem because it has been extensively renovated in order to accomodate his partner's disabilities. I've been thinking about the lack of universal access in houses thanks to my mother's condition, and I can attest that having an accessible house can make a world of difference.
  • [livejournal.com profile] con_or_bust also is auctioning various items to bring fans of color/non-white fans to WisCon. (I want to go too! I'm hoping for 2011 at this point.)
  • Last but not least, [livejournal.com profile] saveours00j is selling a strictly limited edition book, Ravens in the Library, to help defray [livejournal.com profile] s00j's medical bills--like many artists, she doesn't have health insurance. Yeah, I can certainly sympathize. The book has stories by lots of cool people, and you can still save on combined s&h.
starlady: (moon dream)
Blue light special: haiku!

In the dead of night
Geese fly under the full moon
Will my soul fly too?

真夜中満月下鵞鳥が飛ぶ
我もか。

I think I'm flubbing by counting 満 as one syllable. Whatever. I'm just pleased I was able to think of a translation.

I've been having a lot of weird dreams lately--usually when I go back to sleep in the morning, for obvious reasons. Today I dreamed that I came home and the house had been vandalized. Yesterday I had another "speeding through steampunk town in Minnesota" dream, this time with the twist that I got pulled over for speeding. Bleh.

I thought yesterday, for the first time in forever. of the subplot in The Magician's Nephew--Diggory's desire to save his mother's life, which of course he eventually does with the apples from the tree in the garden. As I left this morning I thought that my mother resembled my grandmother in her last few weeks; not a comforting comparison.

I went to the Minute Clinic at a nearby CVS and my suspicions were confirmed--I do indeed have sinusitis. *headdesk* I thought that I might have finally broken the cycle of annual sinus infections, but no. Better luck next year? The visit was $59, but I got antibiotics for absolutely free at ShopRite. Score! Who says providence doesn't watch out for children and fools?

I also finished Roberto Bolaño's 2666 on Saturday night. It's a huge, sprawling book, Bolaño's masterpiece--not a coincidence, I think, that it's posthumous--and I can't recommend it highly enough. Bolaño was obsessed with fascism, so I wasn't surprised that the novel's mainly absent hero, Archimboldi, has an encounter with an imprisoned Nazi in a POW camp; I also thought that the real climax of the work, in a strange way, was when Archimboldi adopted his nom de plume; it was all downhill from there. I'm glad, too, that the author's heirs decided to go against his wishes and publish it all in one volume, since I think its unities obviously outweigh its fragmentations: it's a book about critics, writers, serial murder victims, Nazis, professors, journalists, unified throughout by strange, subtle deepwater currents, not least of which is the author's manifest sympathy for all the members of humanity (particularly the outcasts) who grace its pages, except of course for the national socialists.

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