Daily Happiness

Aug. 21st, 2017 01:17 am
torachan: close-up of a sleepy kitten face (sleepy molly)
[personal profile] torachan
1. I already finished most of that paid translation job, so I don't have to worry about spending a lot of my day off on it.

2. Tonight's Rick and Morty was pretty good. I liked the Rick and Jerry plotline a lot. (I love Jerry, so I'm glad that him and Beth being separated hasn't meant he's totally out of the picture.)

3. This Molly!

Wooden Churches of Maramures

Aug. 21st, 2017 12:13 pm
[syndicated profile] amusingplanet_feed

Posted by Kaushik

In the Maramureș region of northern Romania are a group of almost one hundred Orthodox churches built between the 17th and the 19th centuries. These churches are considered outstanding examples of “vernacular religious wooden architecture resulting from the interchange of Orthodox religious traditions with Gothic influences”. The churches are of high timber constructions with characteristic tall, slim bell towers above the entrance and massive shingles-covered roof that dwarfs the main body of the church. The churches have a variety of designs showing a high level of artistic maturity and craftsmanship.


Left: The Sârbi Susani church. Photo credit: Alexandru Babos/Wikimedia. Right: The Wooden Church of Şurdeşti. Photo credit: Idobi/Wikimedia

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Castel del Monte, Andria

Aug. 21st, 2017 12:10 pm
[syndicated profile] amusingplanet_feed

Posted by Kaushik

On top of a small hill overlooking the comune of Andria, in the Italian region Apulia, stands one of the strangest looking castle. This 13th century citadel is octagonal in shape, with each of the eight corners sporting an octagonal tower. Its geometric design was very unique at that time.

The castle was built in 1240 by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, but nobody knows why. It was not built to defend anything, as it has neither a moat nor a drawbridge, although archaeological work suggest there might have been originally a curtain wall. Some believe that Castel del Monte was nothing more than a hunting lodge.


Photo credit: Batmagazine

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sovay: (Lord Peter Wimsey: passion)
[personal profile] sovay
On the one hand, I feel that the most appropriate response to David Rudkin's Penda's Fen (1974) would have been a day in the Malverns and some cloud-watching à la Thomas Colpeper, JP. On the other, I was in Providence when I saw it, and I wasn't sure of the ancestral relationship of Edward Elgar to College Hill. I spent a lot of the last four days walking. That will have to suffice.

Penda's Fen is a 90-minute television play originally commissioned and broadcast as part of the BBC's Play for Today (1970–84); it was directed by Alan Clarke and I have wanted to see it ever since I discovered it somehow in the archives of the BFI in grad school. I finally got my chance Thursday afternoon in the auditorium of the Providence Public Library. It was screened on one of those small classroom projectors; there were about a dozen people in the audience besides me and some of them left or arrived partway through. What I could hear of the introduction seemed to be trying to champion it as a Lovecraftian film—I don't want to misrepresent someone who was mostly less audible than the air conditioning, but while I grant that it is a gloriously weird piece of cinema, if anything I think it's anti-Lovecraftian. Lovecraft's universe is fragile and deceptive, contaminable and contagious. The world that can be perceived is a shell over the world that is, one crack away from collapse into barbarism or madness or the abyss of time itself. Knowledge is a virus and you may well die of it. Your bloodline was compromised before you were born. The Other is always looking for a way in, and it finds one, and down into the dark we all go, unless we turn out to be the Other, in which case the dark is where we should have been all along. I don't have to alter the premise of Penda's Fen to make it resemble this template: a sheltered young man discovers that his ideas of both himself and his nation, from race and sexuality to family and religion, are soul-shakingly wrong. He is "mixed, mixed . . . nothing special, nothing pure." But where that revelation might have sent one of Lovecraft's protagonists careening into the void, Rudkin and Clarke offer an alternate path. Openly political, unashamedly Romantic, their vision affirms queerness, hybridity, and ambiguity as the true heart of England, the small, stubborn fire that the clear-cut forces of oppression—patriarchy, white supremacy, Christian supremacy—are always trying to snuff out. Salvation lies in the liminal spaces, the mixed and marginalized. This is a really cheering thesis to see so forcefully and hauntingly stated, especially since the film itself is less a pamphlet than a dark-and-bright dream of nuclear anxiety, sexual confusion, and folk almost-horror. Its language is Christian and pre-Christian, angels and demons and the echo of William Blake, but it is actually a lot like watching a version of the Bacchae where Pentheus, instead of breaking and being torn apart, shifts shape as suddenly as his cousin into the strange thing he was always meant to be. There is also psychogeography. And sympathetic magic. And Elgar. Anglophile Lovecraft may have longingly written "God Save the King!" but I don't know that he would have endorsed or even recognized the Englishness of Penda's Fen.

Stephen be secret, child be strange. )

The trouble with describing a film that treats its otherworld so matter-of-factly and its daily life with such an eye for the surreal is that the effort alone makes both of them sound more normal: I have to stress that while Penda's Fen is not in any plot sense difficult to follow, its constant shifting and eventual merging of registers is a lot like having someone else's hallucinations for an hour and a half. I suspect this was part of the reason for the walkouts, although I kind of feel that if you show up to the film track at a weird fiction convention, you should be prepared for something out of the ordinary to get into your head; I certainly expect what I saw in that library to stay in mine. It was messy, liberating, ambitious, and very beautiful. It left me hungry for sunsets on hills I've never climbed. It made me contemplate the sacred fires of my own country and who guards them now against the dark. Who is secret, strange, holy, and ungovernable. This dream brought to you by my mixed backers at Patreon.

midnight science

Aug. 20th, 2017 11:08 pm
runpunkrun: jamie hyneman holding a radio transmitter, adam savage standing behind him with his arms in the air, triumphant (science: it works)
[personal profile] runpunkrun
Okay, so I was sitting here, exhausted, thinking, "Fuck, I have to force myself to care about the fucking eclipse tomorrow."

Except I do care. So I found an old shoebox and made a pinhole viewer with these instructions (pdf) my pal kormantic sent me. And I even wrote ECLIPSEPOCALYPSE 2017 on the side, so it's super official. And I REALLY banged my knee on the table when I sat down to make it, so that'll be a nice memory.

I guess I'll go stand out in the yard around ten o'clock with my shoebox and see what happens.
[syndicated profile] daily_illuminator_feed
Jump on the broom your roommate never touches. Skip down the road in your pajamas during rush hour. Hitch a flight from the Winged Monkey asleep on your compost heap. Do whatever it takes . . . just get over to your local game store right away! Munchkin Oz Guest Artist Edition is coming to your game store! 

With the Tin Woodsman and that floppy fella made of hay on your side, you're ready to double-cross your friends, and put 'em up for a fight with King Krewl. And mix Munchkin Oz Guest Artist Edition with other Munchkin sets to create a mash-up so fun even a Wicked Witch will join in, after her part-time dog-walking gig. Combining the game with Munchkin Grimm Tidings and Munchkin Legends Guest Artist Edition will create a literary tornado of fun! 
If you can't curtail your desire for more Emerald City magic, it's time you purchased Munchkin Oz 2 – Yellow Brick Raid, featuring books of Baum's Oz series without "wizard" in the title. (Oh, my, there are ever so many books!) Remember to treat your taste buds to Lemonade Rain and Popcorn Snow
Speaking of wizards, if you're looking for more of Katie Cook's exquisite artwork featuring a rainbow of vibrant shades and tones, put Munchkin Spell Skool on your list!
There's no place like your local game shop to add this enchanting game to your collection!

-- Andrew McMillian

Warehouse 23 News: Smash Up And Munchkin . . . A Match Not Made In Heaven!

Your goal is to smash two weird factions together and destroy your opponents. This set includes the Munchkin Races and Classes: Orcs, Warriors, and Halflings, among others, all with different powers. Fully playable alone or with any existing Smash Up sets! So for a smashing good time, order Munchkin Smash Up today at Warehouse 23!
[syndicated profile] bbc_tech_news_feed
A letter to the UN warns the world is getting closer to a dangerous "third revolution in warfare".

The Defenders - 1x07-1x08

Aug. 21st, 2017 12:17 am
alchemise: Stargate: season 1 Daniel (Default)
[personal profile] alchemise
This felt like an 8 hour movie. For once, I wouldn't have minded if they'd stretched things longer, but everyone got great character development and it was a rollicking good time.

spoilerific! )

August 2017



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