July Challenge - Day 22

Jul. 22nd, 2017 10:54 am
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From Country Scene

A bell is tolling, fading, fading
Just like love. Only poetry lasts.

SHREW

Jul. 22nd, 2017 12:36 pm
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Yesterday I got to see a tiny shrew very close-up and it was very exciting.

So I was sitting on a muddy path in a wooded area because of reasons (ok, exhausted after climbing) when I saw movement and a tiny thing scurrying past me. I figured that glimpse was all I'd see, but I turned round to see where it'd gone and it was on the path on the other side of me, and with great caution so as not to startle it I managed to dig my phone out of my coat pocket:

longshot in which a tiny shrew may be visible among rocks and moss

(There's nothing to give a sense of scale, but the shrew is a few centimetres long. It makes mice look big.)

THEN --

Cut for blurry close-ups and blurry worm death )

July Challenge - Day 21

Jul. 21st, 2017 07:16 am
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From Spring-Watching Pavilion

Where is nirvana?
Nirvana is here, nine times out of ten.

July Challenge - Day 20

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:57 am
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From Viewing Cac-Co Cavern

Here sweet water spatters down
And the path into the cleft is dark.

Wood Pidgeon, York

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:43 am
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I get the impression these are perfectly normal birds in the UK, but they're quite a novelty to me. Those fancy collars! There were three in the yard of the pub we stayed in, but they wouldn't sit still to be photographed. Here's one from the walk into town:

Tawny owl

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:50 am
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Short-eared owl
[Grainy photo of a short-eared tawny owl sitting on a lawn]

I know this isn't the greatest photo of all time. In my defense, I did take it from behind a dusty windowpane in an upstairs bedroom where I was crouched breathlessly lest I frighten it off.

There've long been barn owls living at my partner's parents' home in rural Norfolk, but I'd never seen any other type of owl there. I was surprised, therefore, to see this tawny owl (h/t to [personal profile] shapinglight for corrected identification) sitting on their lawn at dusk a couple of weeks ago. I worked out that it was watching a group of four partridges who were pecking through the pebbles in the drive, closer to the house. They seemed a rather optimistic target, given that the owl wasn't much bigger than they were.

The owl flew off and returned to the lawn several times whilst I watched, but never made a move on the partridges, who eventually moved onto the roof of the house and over to the other side.

July Challenge - Day 19

Jul. 19th, 2017 11:07 am
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From Old Pagoda

Crowds gather at this door of compassion,
Placing incense sticks on smoking altars.

Pigeon!

Jul. 18th, 2017 08:16 pm
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I had to check the comm profile to try to decide if this was legit, as this was clearly not a wild pigeon; it was obviously someone's sleek, well-fed and well-cared-for homing/racing pigeon.

However, it was definitely "unsupervised", as it was hanging out at a gritstone crag eating bilberries and watching the climbers.

It wouldn't quite let people touch it, but was otherwise very comfortable with humans and happy to let you get very close.

I took a lot of photos of it trying to get a shot of the tags on its legs, as I was worried it was someone's beloved pet and lost. But when I got home, I found out that the "report a found pigeon" websites (they exist, naturally) say in rather weary tones not to even bother unless the pigeon's been around for at least 48 hours; apparently they like to take pit stops.

Pigeon with beautiful iridescent neck

Cut for more pigeon )

July Challenge - Day 18

Jul. 18th, 2017 07:54 am
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From The Lustful Monk

A life in religion weighs heavier than stone.
Everything can rest on just one little thing.

July Challenge - Day 17

Jul. 17th, 2017 03:33 pm
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From Quan Su Pagoda

The monks no longer beat the temple drum.
The nuns just say their beads and then are gone.

Insect Season

Jul. 17th, 2017 10:43 am
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Cattails and water skippers in a local ditch.

skippers and cattails

A very vivid ladybug on a maple tree.

ladybug on maple

Great crested grebe

Jul. 17th, 2017 04:18 pm
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Urban great crested grebe nest
[Macro image of a great crested grebe sitting on its nest.]

I spotted this great crested grebe brooding on its nest in the canal at Westerdok in Amsterdam. I thought its nest was a remarkable construction: the usual twigs, but also bits of plastic rubbish, and finishing touches of hollyhock. I was also impressed by the two female mallard duck bodyguards who immediately rushed over when I started taking photos. They didn't quack, but eyed me up silently as they circled the nest at a careful distance.

We were staying on a barge nearby for three nights and I checked on the grebe morning and evening. I don't believe it stirred from the nest in that time, so hopefully soon there will be some freshly hatched urban grebes learning to navigate the Dutch canal system!

July Challenge - Day 16

Jul. 16th, 2017 10:09 am
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From Young Scholars

Jostling about by the temple door,
They'd like to be scholars but they can't even talk.

July Challenge - Day 15

Jul. 15th, 2017 12:57 pm
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From The Retired Doctor

Finding great peace again and again
He claps out rhythms, shouts out joy.

July Challenge - Day 14

Jul. 14th, 2017 06:11 am
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From The Condition of Women

Yet, everything must be put in order.
Rushing around all helter-skelter.

A Guide to Spotting CMV at Readercon

Jul. 13th, 2017 03:16 pm
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Readercon starts tomorrow, and Catherynne M. Valente will be in attendance! Use our handy cheat sheet below to find her on panels and at one game session that promises to be hilarious:

FRIDAY, JULY 14

2:00 PM / BH / In the Heartland.
Chris Gerwel, Marissa Lingen, Natalie Luhrs, Peter Straub, Catherynne M. Valente.
What about the middle of the U.S. makes heartland stories such as Stephen King’s The Stand and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven so powerful? Recognizing that the U.S. is far from perfect, does the baked-in concept of American exceptionalism negatively affect these stories? What do they teach readers who aren’t American about Americans and their values?

5:00 PM / 5 / The Truth of Fiction, the Fiction of Truth.
John Clute, John Crowley, Heath Miller (leader), Miriam Newman, Catherynne M. Valente.
This panel will explore works of fiction in which the author claims not to be the author. In Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell series, the conceit is that King was given the diaries of Mary Russell; more tongue-in-cheek is The Princess Bride, which William Goldman claims is “the good parts version” of a much longer and more boring 4 pm 5 pm Friday 53 work by the fictional S. Morgenstern. How do we construct these agreements between audience and author about what is real, and what reality means in the context of a fictional work? How does an author get the reader to buy in to the idea that the story they are about to read is truth?

7:00 PM / 6 / Race and Historical Accuracy in Cod-Medieval Fantasy Fiction. Shannon Chakraborty, Phenderson Clark, N.S. Dolkart, Tom Greene, Catherynne M. Valente.
Too often, we’ve heard the excuse of “historical accuracy” used to explain the lack of PoC in historical fiction. Yet their presence is profoundly felt throughout European history, including in the medieval era so often used or modified as a fantasy setting: Arabic numbers have been used in Western societies for centuries, philosopher Ibn Rushd preserved and notated the works of Aristotle, the Silk Road brought traders and diplomats from all over Asia, and Moors in Spain were credited with promoting astronomy, medicine, and literacy. This panel will discuss how to populate cod-medieval fantasy novels with characters of color who have dimension, depth, and humanity, while avoiding stereotypes of swarthy villains and uncouth sidekicks.

SATURDAY, JULY 15

2:00 PM / BH / Sidereal Symphonies: Writing Extraterrestrial Art and Performance.
John Clute, Max Gladstone, Alex Shvartsman, Catherynne M. Valente, Caroline M. Yoachim.
Descriptions of art, music, and other creative work are a wonderful way to flesh out an invented world, but when worldbuilding encompasses cultures from places other than Earth, things get can get tricky. This panel of writers, performers, and creative artists will discuss how culture and technology give rise to art, with an eye toward developing alien art from alien worldbuilding, and will also explore ways of creating convincing descriptions of alien art forms that don’t and maybe even can’t exist.

8:00 PM / 5 / A Most Readerconnish Miscellany Presents: Sorry, I Haven’t a Clue.
Chairperson Heath Miller presents an evening of SFnal hilarity featuring contestants Max Gladstone, Mark Oshiro, Sam Schreiber, and Catherynne M. Valente. Come for the funsies, donate your money for the great causes! We promise to leave you laughing. Promise void where prohibited.

Here’s the full Readercon schedule in PDF format if you needed that. Cat will see you there!

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

July Challenge - Day 13

Jul. 13th, 2017 09:39 am
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From Consoling a Young Widow

Your funeral cries just hurt our ears.
Stop wailing or you'll shame the rivers and hills.

July Challenge - Day 12

Jul. 12th, 2017 07:09 am
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From Cats

Proud as stags, they lunge and joust.
Royal tigers, they rear back and roar.
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