Global Warming

Sep. 21st, 2017 03:47 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
 ... is not new, is more solid than ever, but people still aren't listening.
annathepiper: (Ein Minuten Bitte)
[personal profile] annathepiper

And now, part 2 of my review of Write!, the text editor. In part 1, I talked about my initial impressions of its pricing and subscription model, its treatment of saving to a cloud vs. saving locally, and functionality I was able to learn about on the first couple of menus.

In this post, I’ll talk about the functionality on the Edit and Format menus, as well as the overall look of the thing and the experience of writing in it.

Yep, that sure is an Edit menu

I see pretty standard functionality available on the Edit menu: Undo, Redo, Cut, Copy, Copy As (with a few different options as to how you can copy into the window you’re working on), and Find.

(Additionally, since I’m looking at the Mac build, there are also the Start Dictation and Emoji & Symbols options that I see at the bottom of Edit menus on other programs on my Mac. But as those as not specific to this program, I won’t talk about them here.)

The Format menu

Show Context Menu

This brings up a bunch of things that I’d expect to find on toolbars in other programs, and is essentially a glorified toolbar here, even if it’s in multi-tabbed menu format.

I’d be a little annoyed by this, as having to go to the menu seems like a redundant way to get at this functionality, except that I also just discovered I can get to the same stuff by right-clicking anywhere within my edit window. In which case I kinda wonder why there’s a whole menu command to get to this, which, again, feels redundant. But I guess not so much if you’re not used to right-clicking to get to stuff.

Bold, Light, Italic, Underline, Strikethrough, Upper Case, Lower Case

All of these menu options do what I’d expect them to, though I’m a little surprised by “Light”, as this is an option I haven’t seen in word processors or text editors before. It basically appears to be functioning as an opposite of Bold. Except that if you want to un-bold text you can toggle it in every single program I’ve ever dealt with, so I’m not exactly sure why a separate format needed to be here. If I try to bold an entire phrase and then choose “Light” on a word within that phrase, it does the exact same thing as just de-bolding that word.

I do like being able to automatically upper-case or lower-case text, though.

I’m not entirely pleased with all these formatting options being their very own menu items, though, particularly given that they’re all duplicated on the aforementioned Context menu. So there’s another layer of redundancy here, all of which I think would have been entirely fine to eliminate completely with a simple toolbar.

On the other hand, if you have the formatting options on the menu, you can also show the keyboard shortcuts, which is useful, so there’s that. Things like command-B and command-I might be second nature to me (or any other writer who’s been working for a while on a Mac), but I’m not everybody, and it’s important for me to keep that in mind.

Though okay, I just figured out why this menu/context bar bugs me. I’d like to be able to have that context menu floating over on the side so I wouldn’t have to keep bringing it up and dismissing it if I want to reformat text. Or, I’d like these options on a toolbar. This editor is billing itself as a “distraction-free” text editor, but it’s distracting to me to have to keep bringing the context menu up and dismissing it again. I’d be bugged by this less if it were on a mobile device where screen real estate is more important, but I’m on my laptop screen and not lacking for visual space.

Headers and Paragraphs

This is another formatting option that is duplicated on the context menu, and basically covers a small assortment of styles you can apply to text: headings, code, quote, etc. Not too huge a style set, but on the other hand, this is calling itself a text editor, not a word processor. I wouldn’t expect a text editor to get nearly as complicated with its styles as an outright word processor would, so that’s fine.

Alignment

Left, Right, Center, Justify, and Reset, some basic alignment options for whatever paragraph you’re currently in/selected, and it does appear to work on a paragraph basis. Which is about what I’d expect.

I am, however, a bit surprised that these options are not duplicated on the context menu. This is a bit of inconsistency of behavior, which I almost find a bit more irritating than the aforementioned redundancy.

Lists

Bullet, Numeric, and Alphabetic lists styles, including a “Switch” option that apparently just cycles through the three. Not something I feel I’d particularly need when using a text editor for writing.

But, if you’re using this thing as a client to write a post for Medium or some other blogging platform, basic lists could be useful. I use lists in my posts all the time.

Highlight

Behaves mostly like I’d expect, highlighting a word if I’ve already selected it, or turning on highlighting for whatever I’m about to type next if something isn’t already selected.

However, highlighting apparently does not toggle like Bold or Italic. If I have a word highlighted, and then select the Highlight command off the menu again, or use the keyboard shortcut, it doesn’t remove that highlight.

If I want to remove the highlight, I actually have to go onto the context menu and get at the “Clear Formatting” command on the first tab, or the “Clear Highlight” command on the Highlight tab. Easy enough to find but slightly irritating that I had to go looking for it.

Edit Hyperlink

Okay, I get the intention here: add a hyperlink to text. However, I take issue with the implementation, on the following grounds:

One, “Edit Hyperlink” implies there’s already a hyperlink there to edit, which is not the case if what you want to do is actually add a new one.

Two, if you select some text and then select “Edit Hyperlink”, what actually happens is that the context menu pops up, and the “Hyperlink” command on it is replaced by a text box where you’re supposed to enter the hyperlink you want.

And I’m sorry, but the entire notion of splicing a text entry box into a context menu just makes me go NO. Even if it does appear to work and (presumably) saves the effort of coding a separate dialog box to keep track of that setting. I don’t care. It’s still annoying.

So if editing and formatting annoy me, is it at least nice to write in?

Here’s something good I can say about this program: with sidebars and things turned off, whittling it down to just the basic program window itself, I do actually like the aesthetic look of it. It’s clean. It’s simple. It certainly is nicer to look at than TextEdit.

I am not really a fan of its default sans serif font, and there appears to be no way to change it. Nowhere in the program do I see any sign of ability to change what fonts it uses.

But at least visually, that’s the only nitpick I’ve got with it.

Typing-wise, I’m finding it distracting that it doesn’t auto-indent paragraphs for me like Scrivener does. But I can’t hold that against it, because again, text editor, not word processor. TextEdit doesn’t auto-indent so I wouldn’t expect Write! to do so either.

And here’s a thing I do kind of like. Here’s a screenshot of what the window looks like to me:

The Write! Window

The Write! Window

That little gray square over on the right is a navigation bar, which you can use to get a thumbnail view of where you are in the document, and do a fast scroll up and down. I can confirm, now that I’ve typed enough into the test window to get enough text to scroll, that that does work. I also note that if you don’t happen to like that feature, you can turn it off. (More on this in the next post.)

And OH HEY SURPRISE: down in the left bottom corner, that “1 174” down there? Turns out that’s a word count feature that has no access on the menu whatsoever, so I stumbled across that entirely by accident. More on this in another post, too; I like some of what I see there, but some of it seems buggy as well. The lack of an obvious word count was one of the things I was going to say I didn’t like about the program, but since there is in fact word count functionality here, that’s a distinct advantage over, say, TextEdit.

For now, though, that’s enough for this post. More to come in part 3!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Scientists have discovered a geometric shape at the center of reality, whose form defines the behavior of particles.  It's a lot simpler than trying to calculate by hand the way those things move.  It goes from hundreds of pages of math to one. 

Meanwhile I'm laughing my ass off because, well, om mani padme hum.  Not the sound of the chant, but it's literal meaning: the jewel in the heart of the lotus.  Mystical people have been staring at this thing forever, because A) it's inspiring, B) it's really pretty, and C) when you're out of your body on a lot of other dimensions it tends to be right in front of your face and kind of hard to ignore.  Which is okay because A and B.  :D  Anyhow, quantum mechanics might like to take a look at the prismatic branch of sacred art.  Perhaps it will prove inspiring.  Because quantum physics is where magic and science meet, which is why it's cool.  I may not be able to hack the math, but quantum physics still makes my existential intelligence sit up and go squee.

On the downside, this means people are getting reeeeeaaaalllly close to figuring out graviton technology.  This is about as relaxing as realizing that the toddler has just about figured out how to turn on the blowtorch.  O_O  

Birdfeeding

Sep. 20th, 2017 06:22 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
A few days ago, I filled the birdfeeders.  Today I saw a mourning dove on the fly-through feeder, so at least one bird has discovered the seed.  \o/ 

[ObMeme]

Sep. 20th, 2017 05:27 pm
yhlee: I am a cilantro writer (cilantro photo) (cilantro writer)
[personal profile] yhlee
By way of [personal profile] thistleingrey, because I need a break. On the bright side, I finished a short story today. :D

Read more... )

art accountability

Sep. 20th, 2017 04:19 pm
yhlee: wax seal (Default)
[personal profile] yhlee
Sunday's sketch of the Dragon while we were getting food:


(Dammit, I like life drawing, even if I'm too n00b to be good at it. Joe says I have been getting better since I started a few years back though.)

Pen: Pelikan M205 Aqumarine (F nib)
Ink: Diamine Eclipse

Moving on from heads to eyes and lips? )

I haven't gotten back to Ctrl+Paint because life has been busy, but yesterday my art accountability was working on a Thing in Photoshop, mainly blocking in values.

Food! Glorious Food!

Sep. 20th, 2017 10:11 am
lsanderson: (Default)
[personal profile] lsanderson
Celene da Silva and her daughter Sabrina delivering Nestlé products in Fortaleza, Brazil.
How Big Business Got Brazil Hooked on Junk Food
As growth slows in wealthy countries, Western food companies are aggressively expanding in developing nations, contributing to obesity and health problems.
By ANDREW JACOBS and MATT RICHTEL

Nestlé Targets High-End Coffee by Taking Majority Stake in Blue Bottle
By MICHAEL J. de la MERCED and OLIVER STRAND
The deal highlights the continued hot streak of artisanal coffee, whose rapid growth and fanatical customer base have continued to draw big business.

Nadine Malouf making kibbe in “Oh My Sweet Land,” written and directed by Amir Nizar Zuabi.
Review: In ‘Oh My Sweet Land,’ Dinner Is Served. Don’t Come Hungry.
Set in a real home, an unnamed woman cooks while she relates piercing tales about the horrors in Syria.
By ALEXIS SOLOSKI

SQUARE FEET
The Food Court Matures Into the Food Hall
Food halls — typically a mix of local artisan restaurants, butcher shops and other food-oriented boutiques — are becoming popular as consumers demand more options.
By JOE GOSE

After a day spent hauling flood-soaked belongings from their home in the Nottingham Forest of Houston, Linda and Jon Fabian sit on their lawn with a few glasses of wine.
Harvey and Irma Wiped Out Our Kitchens. Still, We Cook.
America has never lost so many stoves and pantries at once, but home cooks are intent on finding a way — any way — to make meals.
By KIM SEVERSON

Yotam Ottolenghi on Creating Recipes and His Cookbook ‘Sweet’
For the British chef, author and self-described baking nerd, there is no limit to the number of times you can make a cake in order to get it right.


The world’s best chocolate cake? Maybe so.


Pistachio and Rose Water Semolina Cake
By YOTAM OTTOLENGHI
Recipes: Pistachio and Rose Water Semolina Cake | World’s Best Chocolate Cake

At her home in Tanana, Alaska, Cynthia Erickson and some young volunteers decorate a lemon-blueberry cake from a mix that she jazzes up.
In Alaska’s Far-Flung Villages, Happiness Is a Cake Mix


The store-bought box, one of the few dependable food items in a place of scarcity, is tricked out for dinners and fund-raisers by many a “cake lady.”
By JULIA O'MALLEY
Recipe: Mom’s Famous Rum Cake

These zucchini and tomato tartlets with a Cheddar crust, which call for turning up the oven to roast the vegetables, are perfectly timed for autumn’s arrival.
Roasted Summer Vegetables Tucked Into Tartlets


September’s cooler weather means it’s the perfect time to bake with late summer zucchini and tomatoes.
By MELISSA CLARK
Recipe: Zucchini and Tomato Tartlets With a Cheddar Crust

CITY KITCHEN
Fresh sardines, are delightful, and well worth knowing. For an extra flourish, it’s fun to cook sardines on large fig leaves.
Canned Are Grand, but Fresh Sardines Are Deliciously Simple


These small fish are healthy, sustainable and easy to grill at home, whether over hot coals or under the broiler.
By DAVID TANIS
Recipe: Simple Grilled Sardines

INSIDE THE LIST
Alice Waters
Alice Waters’s Grilled Cheese Is Not Like Yours and Mine
In her best-selling new memoir, “Coming to My Senses,” the chef recommends a French mountain cheese and homemade sauerkraut for a childhood staple.
By GREGORY COWLES

Jellyfish Seek Italy’s Warming Seas. Can’t Beat ’Em? Eat ’Em.


With climate change, jellyfish are booming in the Mediterranean, to the point that researchers say there may be little to do but to live with them.
By JASON HOROWITZ

Nathaly Nicolas-Ianniello, a former journalist covering ecological issues, opened NA/NA in the 11th Arrondissement of Paris in 2015.
A Life’s Many Acts Culminate in the Kitchen at NA/NA in Paris
The chef Nathaly Nicolas-Ianniello, a former ecological journalist, serves dishes like ganache with black sesame miso to adventurous Parisians.
By MELISSA CLARK

EAT
The Secret to Amazing Mango Kulfi Comes in a Can


Quick mango kulfi.
The idea that fresh is always better is both simple and false.
By TEJAL RAO
Recipe: Quick Mango Kulfi

ON DESSERT
The salt in the chocolate bits is the surprise, and it’s also the great reconciler.
An Ideal Sundae


Like many of life’s great things, ice cream concoctions are best when governed by rules.
By DORIE GREENSPAN
Recipe: Hot Fudge and Salted Chocolate Bits Sundae

Pinot noir grapes ripen in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.
The Oregon Trail
The latest winemakers to settle in the region are bringing new perspectives, fresh energy and heartfelt enthusiasm to the country’s most exciting wine area.
By ERIC ASIMOV

Hard Things

Sep. 20th, 2017 03:50 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Life is full of things which are hard or tedious or otherwise unpleasant that need doing anyhow. They help make the world go 'round, they improve skills, and they boost your sense of self-respect. But doing them still kinda sucks. It's all the more difficult to do those things when nobody appreciates it. Happily, blogging allows us to share our accomplishments and pat each other on the back.

What are some of the hard things you've done recently? What are some hard things you haven't gotten to yet, but need to do?

Using only the Brat Pack

Sep. 20th, 2017 01:07 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Cast a 1980s New Teen Titans film....
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
It occurs to me I haven't looked at the Heavy Gear rules in a long time....

Pears in Progress

Sep. 19th, 2017 10:38 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
I got back out to pick up pears, so we cleaned half a bucket of them, and I put the bits in a crockpot to cook into pie filling.  :D
pameladean: (Default)
[personal profile] pameladean

This is very long and detailed, so I’m going to try to put in a cut tag.

All right, I can't get that to work, not if it was ever so. I'm sorry.

 

On Tuesday Raphael and I went to Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. The forecast was for a sunny, almost windless day with a high of 87. The air quality was moderate. I complained about this the day before and Raphael asked if I'd prefer not to go. But Sherburne is actually a good place to go on a less than perfect day, because there's a seven-mile wildlife drive with stopping points for viewing whoever happens to be around; also a tiny oak savanna (1/10-mile loop) trail and a prairie trail with an oak grove in the middle with a bench (1/2-mile loop). And it's September; hiking season will be over at some point.

We got a late start but arrived with about five hours of daylight ahead of us. Sherburne is near Sand Dunes National Forest, and its soil is also sandy. It's a lightly rolling landscape full of marshes, pools, and prairie, broken by lines and clumps of trees. You drive through a short stretch of mature restored prairie to reach the actual wildlife drive. It was awash in blooming goldenrod and blue and white asters and rich brown grasses.

 We stopped at the Oak Savanna Trail and had a sandwich, read the list of plants presently blooming (six kinds of goldenrod, four kinds of white aster, two kinds of blue aster, rough blazing star, and boneset) and then walked out on the tiny boardwalk. We examined what looked like an abandoned bald eagle's nest through one of the spotting scopes provided, and then started looking at spreadwings (yet another kind of damselfly) in the tall grass that the boardwalk runs through.

 Here is an image of a spreadwing that one might see in Minnesota, though I don’t know if that’s what we did see.

 http://museum.unl.edu/research/entomology/Odonata/lere.html

 A flicker of motion in the distance caught my attention, and I looked up to see three sandhill cranes landing across the prairie near the road we'd come on. "A family," said Raphael, looking through the binoculars. "See the juvenile?" I did see the juvenile, which did not have all its red in yet but was almost as large as its parents. The cranes started walking through the grass, not unlike herons stalking through shallow water; occasionally they would bend their long necks down and poke around in the grass roots, and occasionally one of them would make a sharp dart and come up with food and swallow it.

It was hard to decide whether the cranes were more awesome through binoculars or just as tall shapes against the pale road and prairie, bending and straightening, wandering apart and together again. If you didn't look through binoculars you could also see meadowhawks darting around, the spreadwings rising to catch tiny insects and settling again to eat them, the unexpected wind shaking the oak leaves and the grass and the asters. From time to time a darner moved across the larger prairie, veering after prey or just powering along.

At last a truck came fairly fast along the road, raising a cloud of dust, and the cranes paused, considered, opened their huge wings and rose up, gawky but graceful, and flew away low over the grasses. We went back to looking at smaller wildlife

I was trying to spot a spreadwing through the binoculars when I saw what looked like an animated tangle of brown grass. I said to Raphael, “There’s some kind of mantis there!” and when Raphael expressed astonishment, I added, “It’s very stick-y,” which allowed Raphael to come up with the actual name: It was a stick insect. It took a few moments for me to describe its location and for Raphael to see it, and then I had trouble finding it again through the binoculars, but it was busy clambering around against the wind, so we did both get a good look at it. It was only the second stick insect I’d seen in Minnesota. The other was at Wild River State Park. That one was much larger and was rummaging around in a pile of leaves at the edge of the parking lot. This one was fascinating because its camouflage was so great, and yet it did have to move around, so you could differentiate it from the grass if you worked at it.

We’d arrived in the deep of the afternoon when smaller birds are quiet. We heard a few goldfinches murmuring, and a phoebe carrying on, and a chickadee. We left the boardwalk, admiring the asters waving in the non-foreseen but welcome breeze, and walked around the oak savanna loop. The little oak saplings tangled among the other shrubbery were already starting to turn red. White asters poked their flowerheads through leaves belonging to other plants, to startling effect. Autumn meadowhawks floated and hovered and darted, snatching up gnats from the clouds around them. We had seen a monarch butterfly in the asters while we were eating our lunch, and also a dark-phase swallowtail wandering over the grass; now we saw a painted lady butterfly.

We made an attempt to leave, but a darner landed on a drooping dead branch of an oak tree right in front of the car. The sun was behind it and we couldn’t get a good look without tramping heedlessly into the prairie, so we didn’t, but its silhouette was lovely against the brilliant sky.

 We drove on, past tall browning and reddening grasses, clumps of goldenrod, clouds of asters. Darners flew up from the sides of the road and zoomed away. We found at the turning that the refuge had reversed the direction of the wildlife drive since we were there last, which was momentarily confusing; but we found our way, and stopped at the Prairie Trail. I pointed out some thoroughly spent plants of spotted horsemint. We’d seen it in bloom, if you can call it that, at William O’Brien. It’s a very weird-looking plant. Here’s a photo:

 https://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/flower/spotted-horsemint

 This observation continued my inability to accurately provide the names of things; I’d just called it horsemint and Raphael reminded me that that particular weird plant was spotted horsemint. There are other horsemints, but they don’t look so strange. As we stood looking over the rise and fall of the little prairie, with folds of alder and sumac, and lines and whorls of different grasses and goldenrod, all truly starred with the blue and white asters, I said that I loved how big the sky was at Sherburne. Raphael noted that it was a slate-blue just now; we assumed that was the haze of the wildfire smoke all the way from the west coast, a somber reminder of far too many things.

 We took the grassy path, startling small grasshoppers out of our way and stirring up meadowhawks from the tall plants and shrubs. We saw a monarch; we saw a painted lady. Passing through a little grove of young alders, on almost every tip of the dead trees intermingled with the living there was a meadowhawk perched. They swept upwards, snatched a gnat or fly, landed to eat again. Raphael showed me how to identify a female autumn meadowhawk: they have a definite bulge just below the thorax, which was easy to see against the sky. Darners zipped past from time to time. If it was a green darner we could usually tell even from just a glance. The others were mosaic darners, but harder to identify in passing.

 I think it was as we approached the oak grove that we started seriously trying to identify the grasses. We’d known big bluestem, aka turkey-tail, for years. After seeing it labelled repeatedly here and there, I could pick out the charming clumps of little bluestem, just knee-high, with their pale fluffy flowers lined up and catching the light. We’d looked at an informational sign at the trailhead, but its drawings of Indian grass and switch grass didn’t look right. Raphael pulled up the photo of the sign about grasses at the visitor center at Wild River, which had struck both of us at the time as much more informative than other attempts to depict native grasses; and we could suddenly identify Indian grass after all. It has a long, narrow rich brown seed head with varying degrees of spikiness; some are quite streamlined and others are tufty and look as if they need combing. And we felt more confident about the switch grass with its airy spreading seed heads.

 Raphael pointed out a beetle on the path, maybe a Virginia leatherwing, and then realized that it looked like a moth. A little research when we reached the oak grove and sat down showed that it was a net-winged beetle, and the entry even mentioned that it looked quite a bit like a leatherwing.

 The bench we were sitting on was made from boards of recycled plastic. At some point Raphael had had enough sitting and went ahead a little way just to see what was there. I’d noticed when I sat down that there were verses from the Bible printed on the back of the bench in some kind of marker. On the left was the passage from Matthew that begins, “Come unto me you who are weary and heavy-laden,” and on the right the passage from John that begins, “For God so loved the world.” These might have been written in different hands. But the passage in the middle was definitely in a different hand, and began, “We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine.” The ending of the passage was a bit smeared and I couldn’t read all of it, but at the bottom the name “hunter s. thompson” was clear enough. I followed Raphael and relayed the beginning of the passage. “Hunter s. thompson!” said Raphael, going back to the bench with me. “It’s from <i>Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas</i>.” Raphael looked this up too, and showed me the unsmeared passage on the cellphone.

 Giggling a bit, we went on our way. We were now well around the loop and into the straight stretch back to the car. From the other side I’d pointed out a lovely layering of grasses, goldenrod, a narrow cleft of willow scrub, and a candy-red line of sumac. Now we came to the sumac from the other side. On the path in front of us was a butterfly. “What is that?” said Raphael. “It’s a Red Admiral,” I said confidently, but it wasn’t. It was another Painted Lady. Raphael consolingly told me that they were both Vanessa, very closely related, but the Red Admiral is very common in Minnesota and I was chagrined that I’d misidentified something else as that.

 We came to a little stretch of boardwalk over a marshy area. On a shrub was a shimmery amber-tinged odonate. I pointed it out to Raphael. It turned out to be another autumn meadowhawk, though it looked as if it ought to be an Eastern Amberwing, or at least a Band-Winged Meadowhawk. It had perched on a bit of red-stemmed dogwood, just to be extra-cooperative. We went on through the cattails and willow, past a minute patch of open water and up onto the grassy path again. Raphael pointed out that where the path climbed back out of the tiny marsh there was a nice view over the rest of the open water and the winding marsh with more willow, and cattails, and a shrub we should have known but didn’t. (I briefly misidentified it as more red-stemmed dogwood, because it was my day to misidentify everything; but it had deep purple stems and leaves just starting to turn reddish.)

 On our right for the end of our walk was the brilliant sumac and the cleft of alder saplings, all their leaves fluttering and twinkling in the wind and sunlight; on the left a long slope of prairie grasses interrupted by goldenrod and asters. More darners sailed by. The sky had lost its smoky cast and was a fine late-summer deep blue. We came back to the car and Raphael began to drive away, but I exclaimed at the sight of a big clump of stiff goldenrod covered with pollinators. We didn’t get out, but looked our fill from the car. Big bumblebees, a Ctenucha moth, beetles, ambush bugs. Once Raphael started reading it, I had to edit this entry to correct the Ctenucha moth's name and type, so have another link, since they are very handsome:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ctenucha_virginica
 
There’s one more trail you can actually walk along, near the end of the wildlife drive, but there was a sign at the beginning saying that it was flooded. Before that we drove past long stretches of marsh, open water, and rolling prairie, all patched with clumps of trees. From time to time there would be a wider spot in the road, sometimes a formal space big enough for three or four cars, with a bench or two, or a platform over a low spot with spotting scopes and some informational signs about the wildlife; others just a metal platform with railings, where you could stand and look over the water. We tentatively identified the spot where we’d once common moorhens, which are not so common that we weren’t deeply excited. We’ve also seen muskrats and various ducks in these locations, and once there was a gigantic cloud of mosaic darners all brown and yellow – I seem to recall that some of them were lance-tipped darners, but I may be wrong. This time we heard water birds making a ruckus, but couldn’t see them. Darners came by in about the density that they had been all the while. Over one platform we saw what turned out to be a northern harrier; these guys have an amazing acrobatic flight, and they’re reddish on the underside and bluish on the back. I excitedly called this one a kestrel, which would be smaller and have the colors reversed: bluish on the underside and red on the back. We also very clearly saw a nighthawk with its white wing bars, though the sun was still up.

 We also saw some cedar waxwings fly-catching from a tree with a dead top, and heard a yellow warbler.

 At last we came to a stretch of water, islands, and snags so large that it had two separate viewing-spots. From the first we saw several groups of large white birds. I thought the first were swans, but they were white pelicans. There were also some swans, however. We came finally around a curve of the gravel road to an observation station in a little oak grove, overlooking the far side of this large sheet of water. This is where most of the dead trees are, and here, to our delight, we saw as we’ve seen before several times a very large number of cormorants. The sun was setting by then, off to our right. The sky was pink and the water reflected it. Many cormorants were roosting already, but some were still coming out of the water; they would land on a branch, sometimes settling and sometimes glancing off several different trees before finding one that suited them, or one in which the other cormorants accepted them. It was hard to be sure. Then they would spread their wings out to dry, looking as if they were practicing to be bats for Halloween.

 We found the swans and pelicans we’d seen from the other viewing station, though it was getting pretty dark by then. Cormorants still flew up into the trees and spread their wings. Through binoculars you could see the ones that had folded their wings now preening their breast feathers. Some of them had pale necks and brown fronts rather than being entirely black. I mentioned this to Raphael, who looked it up in Sibley and confirmed that those were juvenile cormorants.

 It was getting quite dark by then and the mosquitoes were starting to think about biting us in earnest. We drove past two more pools; beside one two groups of people we’d seen pass earlier, a third car I didn’t recognize from before, and a man using a wheelchair were standing and gesticulating. We pulled up and got out. The water and trees were lovely in the twilight, but we didn’t see any wildlife. The solitary man went away in his wheelchair, the unfamiliar car left, and we followed, watching the varied texture of the grass and flowers fade away into the dark.

 

Pamela

Tuesday Yardening

Sep. 19th, 2017 04:24 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Today is warm, partly cloudy, and muggy.  We went out to the orchard and removed many many field weeds from under the pear tree.  It is a bumper year for pears, they are all over the ground already, with plenty left overhead.  If I have the energy, I'll go back out later and pick up a bucket of them to make pie filling. 

Conflux 13 Schedule

Sep. 20th, 2017 08:00 am
calissa: (Calissa)
[personal profile] calissa

Conflux, Canberra’s annual convention for speculative fiction writers and fans, begins next week! This year it is taking place from Friday 29 September until Monday 2 October and the theme is Grimm Tales. Hugo-winning editor Ellen Datlow is the international Guest of Honour, and dark fantasy/horror author Angela Slatter is the Australian Guest of Honour. Kaaron Warren will be the MC. As usual, I will be attending and am very much looking forward to making some new friends as well as catching up with some old ones.

Where to find me

I will be sitting on four panels. Exact details are subject to change.

Con 101

When: Friday, 29 September 10:00 AM

Where: Program Room 3
Hotel Vibe
1 Rogan Street, Canberra

Panellists: Elizabeth Fitzgerald and Leife Shallcross

New to Conflux? Not been to a con before? Come and get your starter packs here. (Mostly just friendly chat–no actual starter packs will be issued, but there may be Tim Tams.)

 

Creating Story for Games

When: Friday, 29 September, 2:00 PM

Where: Program room 2

Panellists: Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Adam Hale (m), Rik Legarto, Alistair Ott, Maddy Piggott

Whether it’s roleplaying IRL or in a computer game.

 

Beyond the Hunger Games

When: Saturday, 30 September, 11: 00 AM

Where: Program room 1

Panellists: Felicity Banks, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Adam Hale, Aiki Johnston (m)

The best YA books in the last 12 months

 

The Hugos are a Joke

When: Monday, 2 October, 11:30 AM

Where: Program room 1

Panellists: Alan Baxter, Ellen Datlow, Elizabeth Fitzgerald (m), Tim Napper

Or have they redeemed themselves? And what about the Nebulas? And how could we get better Aussie representation on the shortlists?

 

If you have an interest in speculative fiction and can make it along, please stop by and say hi! I love getting to know new people. However, if Canberra is a little too far away for you or attending conventions is not your sort of thing, there’s no need for you to miss out entirely. I shall be posting a convention report once the excitement is over (and I’ve had the chance for a few restorative cups of tea).

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

non-binding poll

Sep. 19th, 2017 02:53 pm
yhlee: heptagon and flame (mirrorweb) (hxx emblem Liozh)
[personal profile] yhlee
Because I realized there's no point in my writing prequel-to-hexarchate (or even prequel-to-heptarchate [1]) stories about all-new characters if nobody wants to read about all-new characters in the story collection. :]

[1] I had this great idea about the heptarchate's founding but.

NOTE: I make no guarantees.

Poll #18837 hexarchate story collection
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 37


What *existing* characters would you like to see more stories about?

View Answers

Shuos Jedao
25 (67.6%)

Kel Cheris
30 (81.1%)

Shuos Mikodez
21 (56.8%)

Kel Brezan
18 (48.6%)

Kel Khiruev
18 (48.6%)

Andan Niath
6 (16.2%)

Nirai Kujen
12 (32.4%)

mystery POV #1 from Revenant Gun that Yoon evilly refuses to divulge
13 (35.1%)

servitor POV #2 from Revenant Gun
18 (48.6%)

someone else that I will mention in comments
3 (8.1%)

ticky the tookie tocky
11 (29.7%)

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