December 18th, 2009

hustle micket con is on

and in the morning when i wake up

20090406morning temperature: -1 (with wind chill), 8 without
tea today: bancha. I awoke headache-free this morning, and am declaring myself sufficiently detoxed, though I'm going to stay off the hard stuff for a while.
teacup today: a very pretty brown Chinese-style tea bowl my dad sent me from North Carolina.  It's slightly larger than a cannonical Chinese teacup, but smaller (though deeper) than a custard cup.

Still no fever, but the sore throat persists. I believe it to be the source of the cough rather than otherwise. No fever (99 degrees fresh out of a hot shower this morning) and no swollen tonsils. I did have a lymph node that was a bit poky-outy on Monday; suspect it was fighting a rearguard action against the virus. Poor noble lymph node. You will be recollected in the annals. (Mentioned In Dispatches. *g*)

Today, I still have no brain for storytelling, so I am going to work on my book review columns, which means trying to find something to read in this pile of somewhat scary books with naked backs and slave collar imagery that doesn't bounce off the nearest available wall inside of ten pages. Wish me luck.

In other news, a little link salad for a Friday morning:

Monster fireball dominates Geminid sky--a really spectacular APOD today. One of the few things I miss about Nevada is the stargazing. It's pretty much a wash out here. You can find places that are dark enough, but... actually getting a clear night in Winter?

via jaylake

Titan has lakes! eeeeeee!

One of my earliest memories is reading National Geographic with my maternal grandfather. He was a plumber and an immigrant, self-educated, and passionately interested in science and the natural world. I got my habit of reading encyclopedias from him. he never thought it was weird.

When I was just about knee-sitting sized, the Voyagers were passing the gas giants. And NG was full of amazing photos. I know this stuff is everyday, now. But back then... we'd never seen anything like it.

It still gives me a little tight feeling in my chest to see something like a lake on another goddamned planet.

We are tidal beings. In this case, that tide is galactic....

and via hominysnark:

...I'm kind of in love.

And this? This is hysterical. And so NSFW:

rengeek kit icarus

the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world

So here's the thing. One of the hardest things to deal with about being a science fiction writer is the scope of the material. Almost all of us cheat, because the universe is so... inconceivably vast that it's almost impossible to work with. So we work around it.

I keep hoping someday I'll write something that captures how that universe really looks and feels to me. I imagine if I ever swing it, it will be excoriated, but I still think it's a worthy goal. It's awfully neat out there, even if we don't, in the face of it, matter. (Am I unique in not finding that particularly bleak prospect? Sometimes, I think I am. The vast indifference of heaven feels rather inevitable, to me.)

Recently, I've been exposed to two pieces of art that capture that scale, in some regard.

One is here. It's called The Known Universe. 

It's a planetarium show from the American Museum of Natural History.

Another is a spoken-word piece by Peter Mulvey, entitled Vlad the Astrophysicist. You can listen to a live recording here. Right-click to download, and crank the volume: it's soft.

I wonder, sometimes, if that is why so many people cling to what they cling to, even when it's patently cruel or ridiculous. Because we are so small, and the universe is so very large, and we matter so little to it. And we are not adapted to deal with that. We are very, inherently, biologically, solipsistic.

But I kind of think all that emptiness is beautiful.
  • Current Music
    Peter Mulvey - Vlad the Astrophysicist
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