Friday, November 30, 2012

Tooth and Claw, chapter seven

Prologue, Chapter Six

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

                Della opens the doorway to the trophy room, nodding to the two bloodkin standing guard.  They regard her disinterestedly; along with the stables and the dojo, the trophy room has become part of her nightly routine.
                She walks through the windowless tangle of climate-controlled halls, housing all manner of trinkets that look like they belong in a museum.  Here is a painting, here a sword; there a book, there a pendant; a scroll under glass, made delicate by age; a device of unknown purpose, corroded almost to dust.  Unlike a museum, there are no explanatory placards declaring the name and origin of each item to all passersby – Della can only guess at what was acquired when, to say nothing of the how of the matter.  That would have to wait for another conversation with Thomas, some other night.
                Her first time in the trophy room, just a few nights ago, Thomas had walked her through to the central chamber without a word.  Her senses had sharpened – yes, sharpened was the word, as though ground against a whetstone until keen and raw.  Her reflexes had quickened, not smoothly and all at once, but in fits and starts, a macabre echo of puberty.  One night in the dojo, it came to a head:  Della was restless, anxious, itching for some action as she had been just a few nights earlier, but not even an “advanced” lesson from Jamie could calm her down.  Jamie saw it, then, in Della’s eyes – Della had been feeling it all night, but Jamie already had a name for it:
                “Ahh,” she’d said, “You need to hunt.”

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gah, grad school applications.

Working on that.  Next chapter, full chapter, I promise, will be on Friday the 30th.

I mean, I've been working on another grad school application.  I've been literally agonizing over every single data point.  Well, I mean, not the ones that are obviously unambiguous.  But every word on the stuff I have to write?  Yeah.  It's crazy.  So yeah.  Friday, I'll have another chapter up.  Between then and now, I have to close tomorrow, then open the next day, then open the next, and then I'm off Friday.  So I'll have a chapter on Friday.

Fuck slipping and all that shit.  I have a career move to negotiate.  The blog takes a back seat.  But then I'm off Friday, so fine:  chapter then.  Until then?  ...hoooollld muuusiiiiic...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Holiday Happiness!

Usually, when I write about personal and family stuff, it's... well, I'm either doing it because I'm momentarily unable to write about anything else, or because I'm trying to make some kind of point.

This is just for fun and totally pointless.  But true!

I was unable to make it up to the Frigid Northlands for National Gluttony Day, but I made a call and got passed around the whole famn damily, so at least I got to catch up.  Brother JD told me a story about something I missed, so I thought I'd share.

Our uncle does advertising work.  Not the fun kind, usually the "corporation to corporation" kind of marketing where you're trying to tout the objective virtues of your product while subtly indicating how conservative-yet-current and energetic-yet-responsible you are.  So it came as quite a surprise when we found out that his latest job is at Hollister.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tooth and Claw: Chapter Six, part two

Note:  This has been moved to the start of chapter seven.

                Della opens the doorway to the trophy room, nodding to the two bloodkin standing guard.  They regard her disinterestedly; along with the stables and the dojo, the trophy room has become part of her nightly routine.
                She walks through the windowless tangle of climate-controlled halls, housing all manner of trinkets that look like they belong in a museum.  Here is a painting, here a sword; there a book, there a pendant; a scroll under glass, made delicate by age; a device of unknown purpose, corroded almost to dust.  Unlike a museum, there are no explanatory placards declaring the name and origin of each item to all passersby – Della can only guess at what was acquired when, to say nothing of the how of the matter.  That would have to wait for another conversation with Thomas, some other night.
                Her first time in the trophy room, just a few nights ago, Thomas had walked her through to the central chamber without a word.  Her senses had sharpened – yes, sharpened was the word, as though ground against a whetstone until keen and raw.  Her reflexes had quickened, not smoothly and all at once, but in fits and starts, a macabre echo of puberty.  One night in the dojo, it came to a head:  Della was restless, anxious, itching for some action as she had been just a few nights earlier, but not even an “advanced” lesson from Jamie could calm her down.  Jamie saw it, then, in Della’s eyes – Della had been feeling it all night, but Jamie already had a name for it:
                “Ahh,” she’d said, “You need to hunt.”

Thursday, November 15, 2012

101 Interesting Things, part fifty-two: Klein bottles

Uh-oh.  Two days between posts?  Par.  Three days?  Acceptable.  Four days?  Sliiiippiiiing...

I've been wanting to power my way through this article, where humanity and humousity interact with each other "on their own terms," but it keeps slipping away from me.  So fuggit, I will read it on my own time when I am bored (one magical, starry night, when there is nowhere to be and nothing to do, perhaps in another world or another life).  So, to get marginally back on track, I will riff on something with which I am very familiar:  four-dimensional single-surfaced super-edgeless objects.


Today we talk about Klein bottles!  I've even included an artsy-craftsy step-by-step, for the four-dimensionally impaired.  But seriously, if you don't know how this works, or have trouble visualizing four-dimensional surfaces (or even uncommon two- and three-dimensional ones), you can follow along with a piece of paper and a pair of scissors to achieve geometrical enlightenment.  You will also need either of:  A)  scotch tape and two different-colored crayons, B)  masking tape and two different-colored pencils, or C)  a stapler and two different-colored crayons or pencils.  A felt-tipped marker will help in any case.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

101 Interesting Things, part fifty-one: Blood rain and fire rainbows!

Today we have a twofer, since these are both kinda short, and it's part fifty-one, which officially puts this project over the halfway mark (fifty behind, fifty ahead, and a double-dipper in the middle).  Hooray!  Today also marks the first time I've had occasion to use a "meteorology" tag.  Double-hooray!

Our theme today is weird weather, and we open with blood rain.  No, not the Slayer song that single-handedly stopped me from beating Guitar Hero 3 on Hard Mode.

It's not even a good song.  At least your reward for The
Number of the Beast was rocking your own face off.

In ancient times, people wrote of blood falling from the sky as a bad omen, and while the whole "omen" part was hokum, the red rain itself was real.  It wasn't blood, of course, but - well, look at this:


Thursday, November 8, 2012

101 Interesting Things, part fifty: Time travel, for real!

OK, so you've heard of vacuum fluctuation, right?  A particle and antiparticle are spontaneously generated, and most of the time, they come back together and annihilate.  When that happens, they haven't interacted with anything else, and so they're called "virtual" particles.  But because both the particle and its antiparticle appear, nothing "actually" happens; it's just an interesting nothing.

Now that I put it like that, I suppose it seems really weird if you're uninitiated.  But hold on to your butts - it's about to get a whole lot weirder.  First, though, we need to talk about symmetry.  I promise, though:  by the time we get to the end of this, minds will be blown.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pile o' Links!

Not sausage links, though.  Or... golf links.  Or even chain links.  But hyperlinks.

Didn't realize a full week had gone by.  I mean, I traveled to the Frigid Northlands for Halloween, so I have kind of an excuse, but not really.  So here are many cool things on the internet (and one icky, terrible, horrifying thing that is neither work-safe nor mind-safe, behind the cut), which will be followed by a few 101 Interesting Things entries that have been bubbling away on my back-burner.

First, the good folks at Mr. Deity have made a nice little PSA.  Here it is for your enjoyment, just in case you both A) read this blog, and B) were going to vote Republican today:
They also made a great Chik-fil-A promo parody, which rocks socks.

I was also linked an interesting article that puts Obama's last four years in a new light (that of his childhood), and while I can't say whether the author is right or wrong (I mean, I don't know the President personally), it was certainly an interesting and new perspective.  And on the other side of the ballot, an interesting perspective on Romney's candidacy, which is pretty much exactly as opposite as you could get.

And just in case you haven't heard, a retired NSA analyst showed beyond any reasonable doubt that the Republicans have been manipulating elections since at least 2006.  And in case statistically impossible regularities don't convince you, here's the guy who wrote the software.

It looks like things are gonna be OK, though, because the weird things that predict US Presidential elections with absurd accuracy are lining up for Obama.  Say it with me, kids:  "correlation is not causation."

Finally, for something entirely non-political:  Singularity Chess!  This guys has actually made a bunch of interesting variants on Chess and Checkers, as well as a bunch of other cool stuff.  Go check it out!  Sometimes it's in French, though, so you can either struggle through Google's translation, or just look at the pictures.

OK.  Last, but not least.  This is neither work-safe nor mind-safe, so it's behind a cut.  But holy carp, this is one of those things that's so horrifying, you just have to tell other people about it.  Well, I do.  I don't know about you.