silverflight8: Different shades of blue flowing on a white background like waves (Fractal)
Vacation means time to do stuff I want, like starting Minecraft!

omg this game

If you haven't heard of it, it's a sandbox game that can be played alone or with others. You spawn in a world by yourself and you basically do what you want--some people build huge castles, some people go out hunting and dungeoning, some play PvP, and because there's a strong modding community, there are also adventure maps, which are set-ups where you follow storylines. The rules of physics are altered rather drastically (most blocks, once placed, will not fall if you knock the support away), and everything has a stylized blocky appearance. You can mine and farm and plunder, whatever you really want.

I'm slowly getting a hang of FP games. I've always played third person, especially the kind where you click with the mouse to make the character go somewhere, and every time I tried playing first person games I'd scramble myself. I fell off the catwalk where you spawn in Portal 2 about four times in a row....and the game hadn't even started. (At least it was funny. I enjoyed GLaDOS' commentary.)

I made a cobblestone house by the sea:
minecraft figure standing in front of a blocky stone house with a triangle roof, wearing silver and gold armour

I put some 'bushes' (actually they are leaves from trees) next to my windows so they'd look like windowsill plants. The block of bushes off to the left is where I have a wheat field; it's just a hedge. The reason the entryway protrudes so much is I've set up an airlock--on one of the first nights when I didn't have a bed to sleep in, I had three zombies try to break down my door. I swear they spawn in mobs now--if you see one, there are more coming.

more talk and pictures under the cut )


I have already died in these following ways: killed by zombies, trying to swim in lava (I fell into running lava D:). So I think I am doing all right! I mean, I haven't killed myself via creeper, spider, cactus, suffocation, drowning, falling from heights, being shot by anybody...

The reason I'm in gold armour is because I'm low on iron and I haven't got anything to do with gold anyhow. And I finally got an enchanting table and in my excitement also enchanted my iron stuff--I have Power I on the bow (hmph), but Efficiency II on my pickaxe, so it goes through stone blocks beautifully, like butter.

I'm still figuring out what to do re: modding, but I do want to put in some--a minimap for sure (I got so lost in the mines, so many times), maybe Mo' Creatures (more animals!), Optifine for better fps and zooming, and definitely a better texture pack. Gold and iron look very similar, wheat doesn't look ripened, etc in the default pack. And I need to figure out how to change my appearance--Steve? has a blue shirt untucked on the left side and what looks like a frown.
silverflight8: Barcode with silverflight8 on top and userid underneath (Barcode)
I came home this afternoon and saw the flowers coming up. They've been coming up for about a week now, but then we had snow and then horrid rain for three or four days (and cloudy skies when it wasn't raining). Suddenly I felt that time was fleeing and that I had to get outside and take pictures. Immediately. Spring is the quickest, briefest season--what was it that Robert Frost said?

Nature's first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.

There's this house on the corner, and the owners have a big hedge grown up along the sidewalk. In the wintertime it's pretty see-through because the leaves fall off, and sparrows perch in it year-round, so I like to look for birds when I go by. But today I saw that it had started budding leaves. And what leaves! They were just like flowers.

While I was doing my first pass (mostly to toss the blurry or under/overexposed photos) and flicking through pictures, waiting for them to load, zooming in and out to look at clarity etc, I found myself practically salivating over the photos. The really nice, really sharp pictures--I kept thinking that they were absolutely delicious.

Then I got up and ate dinner, just in case.

That said, there's just something in a clean, sharp macro photo that's...delicious. Some brain wiring has gotten fused, perhaps, but--well, the flowers look like they're cupping sunshine! Ahhhh, there's nothing like flowers.

Pictures! )

I think I need to change my lj style. (After four years!) It's just not as wide as the dw one, and it's a pain with photographs; if you visit my journal you'll probably have to scroll; I don't think that the space is even 800px wide.
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Bee)
I forgot to talk about choir!

We have two (2) pieces this season!

They're two full masses, that's why there's only two: one by Haydn, one by Beethoven. (At this point, why not just go for a mass by Mozart, sez I, to round out the collection? But I don't make these choices and I suppose that'd make our one-hour concert too long.)

At any rate, the alto section has become the Fake Soprano section. Palestrina was quite low last term - we sang G below middle C frequently - but here the altos are frequently singing around the C above middle C, up to E, and so on. Personally, this is my "sounds escape with little (volume) control" range, which is uncomfortable and also why I'm an alto in the first place. The sopranos, meanwhile, are practically stuck on the high F and G these days. (We were singing and the music made a dip to B-flat below middle C and I thought: "oh man that's low grk" since we'd been stuck in the higher registers for so long - normally B-flat is dead easy.) Also, whomever arranged this score did not do a very good job, because occasionally I'll turn the page and there is this massive jump that was totally unexpected next.

But it's great! There's so much variety contained in the masses, and I am deeply amused that there are parts in 6/8 - part of the Benedictus, even, I think. (The often-repetitive nature - by design - of Classical pieces means that the same motifs show up in multiple movements, so I can never...quite keep track.) I mean, you don't expect swingy 6/8 in masses! But there it is, in full "hosanna in excelsis deo".


We are doing both masses in Germanic Latin. The Germanic bit is because of our conductor, and I don't know why. In the second week of this, he said: "I've had attempted mutinies from choirs before [over the pronounciation]" which is kind of amusing, but I get why. So far, we are just replacing things like "coeli" with /tsø.li/, /ts/ with everything I thought was supposed to be /tʃ/ (dona nobis pacem became /pɑ.tsem/ which was confusing because everyone tried to sing it the conventional, Italian-style way), and also vowel replacements. Like "kyrie" with /ø/ instead of /i/ which makes me grumpy because it's harder to sing (farther back in the mouth plus lip rounding!) and also kyrie is not Latin anyway. And "qui" became /kv/ instead of /kw/ or just /k/. Also, all the esses are being turned into z (/s/ -> /z/) which makes us all sound like we're putting on awful German accents.

*appeals to [ profile] schwa* Does German voice /s/ word intially? Or intervocalically, at least? Also, do you actually use /kv/? That's always pinged me as "terribad accent", but IDEK anymore. Technically there is a German bass, but he is tall and physics-y instead of linguistic-y and I can't ask.

Mostly I'm pleased, though. I had to learn about masses-set-to-music in music history when I was studying piano, and had to memorize things like the order of movements (Kyrie-Gloria-Credo-Sanctus-Benedictus-Agnus Dei) and it's fun to actually get to sing through them all. Plus one is a missa brevis, so we are often singing different texts over top of each other, and it's fun to puzzle out the Latin. When the conductor is working with another section I try to figure out what the words mean and whether I've seen any of the daughter words that have budded off from them.
silverflight8: Different shades of blue flowing on a white background like waves (Fractal)
And on the plane I watched as the whole sky dimmed and everything became hazy, striated in blue, as though you could see the edge of the world dropping straight off and the only remnants were blue, blue, blue, just shades and shades of it, and then the beautiful white gleam of the moon over all. I'm sure some of it was the glass of the airplane window, but it was like living in a watercolour painting, except for the moon: the moon could have been cut out with lasers, it was so sharp and white. Like a wash of colour with a new silver coin placed on top. I was sitting behind the wing, so that even while the blue layers darkened and smeared all together into black and the moon rose too high to see out the tiny porthole, I could still see the reflection of the moon on the wings of the plane. Truly, very beautiful.

And I guess I saw the sprawl of open water and fields and then later, in the dark, the lights of major cities - I did fly over the East Coast - and they too were lovely, but in the face of that blue they can't hold a candle, can they?
silverflight8: Different shades of blue flowing on a white background like waves (Fractal)
Doesn't seem to be an easy way to shift pictures around galleries (I had to sort a number of SW gifs out of my unsorted gallery) so this is all under the "Unsorted" album.

[Note: if you're viewing this on my journal on LJ, you will need to use the scrollbar...900px is too wide, so Expressive side-scrolls instead. You can also "View Image" to see the original sizing.]

Large images warning! *wail* And they're sized down! )
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Bee)
My brain is frazzled by economics. I have spent seven or so hours today studying, plus some five hours yesterday, and more in the last preceding weeks. INSTEAD LET'S TALK ABOUT BOOKS.

I am experiencing intense withdrawal from the Naamah trilogy.

Finished reading the Naamah Trilogy (Naamah's Kiss, Naamah's Curse, Naamah's Blessing: Jacqueline Carey) a few days ago and in the grips of fevered want for more. That is, I don't want a sequel, per se, or a prequel (though how she should be able to put Moirin, the protagonist, into a prequel, would be a definite problem: Kiss begins in Moirin's childhood; the Kushiel series, as I understand, take place about a century prior anyway). I don't actually want fic either, because I don't really want to explore anything else in the universe. I suppose what I'm after is instead a fresh re-reading of the entire series, like it were new - to be able to wallow in the story again. I've already re-read them all an embarrassing number of times.

thoughts on the whole thing. This is spoilery for all three books. )

If you like alternate history/alternate universe historical-fantasy, this is your book! Though if you're a prude I would recommend the skill of flipping pages quickly. There's lots of travelling and plenty of adventure and fighting, and some politicking on the side. AHHHH who am I kidding? I'd love it if everyone could read it and we could all talk and make meta and discuss and even make fic and have art. Go on, read it!
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Bee)
I was browsing through The Modern Vocalist forum; this part is basically where people post clips of their singing and ask for critique. Most of them are okay, and some of them are good, but this one blew my socks off. It's a cover of I will always love you:
silverflight8: Barcode with silverflight8 on top and userid underneath (_support)
I did promise something on Indigo Springs.

Book cover is generic fantasy, by which I mean it's a dun-coloured construction, with a woman (half her face showing) cupping a dish of something.
Here's the cover )
Here's the blurb:

When small-time criminal Albert Lethewood is murdered, he leaves his daughter Astrid a house in the town of Indigo Springs. Suspecting a scam, she nevertheless moves into the house with two friends. There they discover several mystical objects, including a penknife capable of terrible–perhaps limitless–destruction.

Soon it is obvious the old house is a cover for a wellspring of magical energy, and that Albert Lethewood had a secret life as the wellspring’s keeper. It falls to Astrid and her friends: dependable, heroic Jacks Glade and volatile Sahara Knax, to puzzle out the nature and purpose of the magical well.

But Albert’s killer is still out there. Worse, the mystical power is deeply seductive. . . and Sahara might be willing to risk everything, even Astrid herself, for control of the well.

Astrid inherit her deadbeat father's house when he dies. She discovers, however, that he's left behind a sac of belongings, ragtag and old, but seem to be magical. The kalediscope can see through walls. A pencil sharpener makes gold flakes. A rough penknife crumbles anything into dust.

It's all tangled up in the past and present; in the present, the thread follows a man named Will, living in a post-apocalyptic world, trying to reason with Astrid. The world is seized up with the overflow of magic: the U.S. is frantically trying to control contamination of it. Astrid's former best friend, Sahara, is leading a cult called the Alchemists, who are apparently controlling the supernatural acts - huge forests sprouting out of control, people turning into half-human, half-animals. Sahara herself seems to be able to do miraculous things like curing the sick.

Back to the past, Astrid is discovering that her father, whom the entire town had thought a wastrel, was actually creating magical artifacts - called chantments - and sending them away. Astrid discovers this knowledge in fits and starts. When they pull up the fireplace to find a dripping leak, they're hit by a blast of blue fluid - vitagua, from which magic issues. Slowly, she's discovering memories of her and her father: that he's a guardian of the blue spring. The book flips between past and present - Astrid herself is often confused about what time it is and what's happened (she refers to the day Will arrives as "Will day"; the significance of this isn't revealed til the end) - and also between the world of the ordinary, and the unreal which contains magic.

the informal babbling )
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Happy, happy New Year! May this year be better than the last.
silverflight8: Barcode with silverflight8 on top and userid underneath (Barcode)

I went to see hear the Messiah yesterday a few weeks ago!
complaints about own sillypantsness )

I am still in love with the choir, because it was fantastic. It is the choir that makes my heart leap - like a sudden rush of sound, all together. They had fantastic control over volume, so it could sink low and - this being in a concert hall - in dead silence, then boom out. And of course Handel gives them the opportunity: Messiah is chock full of glorious outpourings of happiness and - grandeur. (All we like sheep unexpectedly joyous, and he shall purify resonant, and of course Hallelujah magnificent. "Wonderful counsellor" stuck through my head on the half-hour of wet evening, walking home). I liked the bass and the soprano - the tenor was okay - but I am a firm believer that Handel, though he was also awesome, should never burden anyone (virtuoso or no) with passages that Messiah contains. As in fifty-note strings of trills, basically - in the bass (pardon me, baritone), they sounded like nothing more than rocks being shaken about. (This might have been "For behold darkness" or "The people that walked" but I don't quite remember.) Having analyzed the bit in the second part for music history, beginning with "There were shepherds", it was fantastic to hear another rendition - and the soprano didn't overload too much; her voice simply rang.

All in all, amazing. But I'd still rather have gone to the sing-along - alas!
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Bee)
Being the history geek I am, I read Kings, Queens, Bones and Bastards, a rather light-hearted history book that enumerated all the regents from Egbert.

And then I found this video. I can't stop laughing at the chorus. )

(Starts from 1066 and William, but it's amazing. Just amazing.)
silverflight8: 2010 Nanowrimo: text "sentences do not require verbs" (Nanowrimo 2010)
Nanowrimo stuff, you're all likely inundated with it already )

But, lest you think my life is a horrid frenzy of speedwalking - which sometimes it is, I have improved both my speedwalking and jaywalking skills - I actually live a lovely life. (This is not reflected on my journal.) And I have pictures which I took on Saturday. I found the most delightful, quaint garden on this ramble.

Click for images! Click on images for enlarged images! )

and now I'm for sleep o/
silverflight8: lion rampant on shield. See <user name=houses> (house of bit)
There are little music rooms here that you can sign out to use. One has drums, one has a good upright, and two have deconstructed and badly-out-of-tune pianos. And so although each room has a window and is bordered by its neighbouring rooms, it's like locking oneself into a room and practicing. I like it. The closed door and the location - in the basement by the laundry - makes me feel like I can make mistakes and practice that one part a million times without worrying.

All this piano practice has made me aware of a Thing I first dreamed up of in grade eight when my Humanities teacher asked us for inventions. (She was a very cool teacher.)

PREMISE: A music score display.

PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES: Like an iPad! A tablet! The pianist for our choir used an iPad once, so that he could just tap the screen and have it shift to the next page. Anyone who's ever had to play long pieces or take music from a book knows what a pain it is. (I used to use those big clips to hold pages open. And bend spines without even a flinch, because it was so frustrating.) It should be about the same height and width as a sheet or two of paper, perhaps foldable in half, to save space. Light, so that it doesn't mess with the piano. As well, there should be some kind of flap or physical button to hit, when turning pages.

When I tried the idiocy of playing Erlkonig (link goes to Youtube, of a fantastic Fischer-Dieskau (baritone) and equally amazing pianist - watch the speed of the octave triplets), it was something like twelve pages. I taped six together - that was the length across that would fit - and ripped the sheets down to get to the next part. Dramatic, but cumbersome.

SPECIAL EFFECTS: A system of automation - set the pages to flip every, say, 21 seconds automatically. You could time your piece and then enter timings for each page - just play consistently. Even for pieces heavy with rubato you could set timings individually. Or documents in certain file types could have meta associated with it, so that it could calculate tempo (given by composer) and number of bars and estimate.

Even better, we could have another pedal, off to the left, which would turn pages! Like a sewing machine's pedal - stomp on it (the only important pedal's on the right anyway) and the page turns.

BENEFICIARIES: Pianists. Any musician that needs both hands to play. People who prefer not to pay freaking thirty dollars for ten pages of music (oh Debussy) and can get scores online. People who want to take music scores around with them but don't want to cart loose sheet music. Musicians who are too trivial to have page-turners assigned to them :P

DISADVANTAGES: The tech would be expensive, of course. And we might wind up with the same problems as ebooks do now, but by God, I'd love to have something like this.

(Of course, all of this is why you memorize pieces as fast as possible. But still!)
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Bee)
I hate applications.

I'm still in love with this poem. (I keep forgetting the name, so I'm putting it here.) Dover Beach: Matthew Arnold
Under the cut )
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Bee)
Oddly formatted requests sound like poetry
especially the garbled ones
composed in a cranky email editor
fed through an internet translator and back
the meaning struggling through the words--

It's been snowing gloriously for the last few days. I think there was freezing-rain on Thursday, so everything - tree branches, grass blades poking through the snow, the fence - acquired the most exquisite spikes of ice. Then it snowed, and is snowing, and the street looks picturesque. The wind has made one side of the trees white and green, and blown the snow off the other side :P

*political noises* Non-confidence vote re national budget is forcing an election. Maybe this time we can get a majority government; it's been three minority governments in a row and it would be nice to get things done quicker. *crosses fingers*

I've been listening to the soundtrack from Tangled and I am in love with Donna Murphy's voice. Warning: it is by an emotionally manipulative mother trying to control Rapunzel - but so dramatic, powerful and perfect for the scene.

By sheer force of repetition (a lot of requests are filed from Russian-speakers), I recognize "Thank you" by sight - Спасибо. вопросы - problem. Attempts to learn the alphabet have been vaguely in the not-success-and-not-failure range - I never realized quite how much easier it was to learn something like French, for example; the (almost) shared alphabet is an enormous help.

And note to anyone on LiveJournal using attempting to use Internet Explorer 9 and the Rich Text Editor - it's currently quite broken (anything requiring the grey pop-up window - poll creator, adding links, etc), it's been reported to developers, and in the meantime try the HTML editor.
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Just spent the last hour or so reading about Madeleine L'Engle's books on Wikipedia, specifically the Time Quartet (the fifth one...not so much a part, I thought) and the Austin Family series.

I am floored.

Like Narnia, these are the books I read in childhood. I recognized only the most blatant references (I mean, naming someone Noah and then having a flood and having nephilim/seraphim - quite obvious, even to an atheist, yes?) but it never really occurred to me about the names: why the island Gaea, why the name Adam, the planet named after Uriel (from whence the angels Mrs. Whatsit, et al, are "from"). How Zachary Gray's last name is so perfect for his character I have no words. [also it surprised me that he's played by Padelecki in the TV series. I do not associate that actor with anything outside of SPN.] Even the Biblical lines quoted: the fall of the sparrow, for instance (how that confused me when I read it >.<) And of course the references to the apocalypse by nuclear warfare: the books were published in 1960-1970s era. Of course.

Awash in realizations and the need to read/write fic/canon. *dazed*
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
From The Dark is Rising Sequence. The first one moves at a clip, and the only thing that bothered me was (in my accent) the slant rhyme thaw/before. I believe it's probably a full rhyme in other accents, and presumably Cooper's. I keep finding second, and third meanings; five will return might refer to Bran, Will, and the other three kids staying and Merriman going. Or not.

I always liked the last part the best: "All shall find the light at last, silver on the tree". Perhaps it's just my liking of the word silver. It just sounds so gorgeous (and in a book that is very much Light vs Dark) and imbued with a certainty - "All shall find the light at last".

When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back; )
It took me awhile to appreciate this poem. It's much less sing-songy than the other one, which is quick to memorize and easy to set to a rhythm; this poem immediately slows down. The very first line is my favorite. It always impressed me how Cooper manages to fit the prophecy and the story together, without mangling either.
On the day of the dead, when the year too dies )
silverflight8: Different shades of blue flowing on a white background like waves (Fractal)
Obligatory Yuletide squee post.


Aaaah! So many things to write! So exciting! *must hunt up book*
silverflight8: Barcode with silverflight8 on top and userid underneath (_support)
Dear Yulegoat:


NOTE: This post assumes you've read all the books, and may contain spoilers. Just PM me if you want a yulegoat letter that stops at the book you finished at.

general notes )


Cats of Grand Central: Diane Duane )


Georgina Kincaid series: Richelle Mead )


Gone With the Wind: Margaret Mitchell )


The Eight: Katherine Neville )
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)

Comment ficathons! Somebody go there and ask for super esoteric book prompts! Or fill them, which is even better! (I am sad that there are always five million TV show prompts [this person does not watch TV, at all] and so few book ones.) It's also just getting started, so you don't have to worry about being terribly late to the party like me. :D


silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)

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