SHREW

Jul. 22nd, 2017 12:36 pm
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
[personal profile] rydra_wong posting in [community profile] common_nature
Yesterday I got to see a tiny shrew very close-up and it was very exciting.

So I was sitting on a muddy path in a wooded area because of reasons (ok, exhausted after climbing) when I saw movement and a tiny thing scurrying past me. I figured that glimpse was all I'd see, but I turned round to see where it'd gone and it was on the path on the other side of me, and with great caution so as not to startle it I managed to dig my phone out of my coat pocket:

longshot in which a tiny shrew may be visible among rocks and moss

THEN --

Cut for blurry close-ups and blurry worm death )

[ SECRET POST #3852 ]

Jul. 21st, 2017 06:25 pm
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[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets

⌈ Secret Post #3852 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.

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copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
I still have to review Extra Virginity as well, but I actually liked that one, so it will take longer to compose….

One of the things I did get done yesterday between work, the ball game, and the Epic Sunburn, was finish a slim book of short stories called A City Equal to My Desire by James Sallis. This wasn’t a book that was recommended to me, which means I don’t have to feel bad about truly disliking it. I found it in a keyword search on the library website for books about ukuleles, and it has a short story called Ukulele And The World’s Pain, which admittedly was one of the better stories in the book despite still not being very good.

From what I can tell, he did pick the best story out of the book to develop into a novel, “Drive”, but it is very obviously unfinished in short-story form. Sallis has a couple of ongoing problems in the short story collection, one of which is that he tends to skip the vital information you need in order to know what the fuck is going on. And not in a “the blanks slowly get filled in” way, or in a “your imagination is more terrible” way (though there is a little of that) but just in a way where like…he says something that you understand to be vital to the story but which is missing context, then spends like a page describing the fucking diner someone’s sitting in, and by then any context forthcoming doesn’t get linked back. It’s like being in the middle of a paragraph when you hit the photo plates in an older book – yes the photos are very interesting thank you but I need to finish the thought you were sharing with me before I go back and look at them. I think maybe he thinks this is challenging the reader but it’s not, it’s just annoying and makes what are otherwise interesting premises totally opaque. I shouldn’t need to work this hard for a story about a hit man who decides not to kill a politician. 

If the book had a more cohesive theme in terms of the stories, it might be more readable – he clearly enjoys building worlds and then doesn’t quite know what to do with them once he’s built them, so if this was an entire book of “weird and different worlds” ala Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, I would buy in more fully and I think he would have put a little more elbow in. But it’s not. It’s mostly “here’s a really interesting world and a person living in squalor in it does something while being in it”. Also he appears to be fascinated by describing things that are shaped like pi. And a lot of times it feels like he read a wikipedia article on something and wanted to share some knowledge, so he just kind of built a half-assed story around his wikiwander. 

And all of this I would probably let go if say, it was something I was noticing in a fanfic writer, or someone who was just starting out, or someone I felt was genuinely trying to get a point across. But there’s this inexplicable sense of arrogance to the collection, a sort of smugness to it that in professional writers drives me up the goddamn wall. Stephen King sometimes falls into the same trap, where it feels like the author believes they don’t have to respect their readers because they are The Writer. 

The thing about volumes of short stories is that you keep reading it because sometimes there is a real gem. And there are one or two good stories in the volume, but I don’t know if they’re worth the rest of it. 

So my review I guess is mostly me being annoyed, but it boils down to “If you like short stories in the SFF Noir genre, give it a whirl, but if you’re bored with a story none of them get better, so feel free to skip to the next one.” 

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[ SECRET POST #3851 ]

Jul. 20th, 2017 07:01 pm
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[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets

⌈ Secret Post #3851 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.

01.


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Notes:

Secrets Left to Post: 01 pages, 08 secrets from Secret Submission Post #551.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.

Wood Pidgeon, York

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:43 am
highlyeccentric: A seagull lifting into flight, skimming the cascade (Castle Hill, Nice) (Seagull)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric posting in [community profile] common_nature
I get the impression these are perfectly normal birds in the UK, but they're quite a novelty to me. Those fancy collars! There were three in the yard of the pub we stayed in, but they wouldn't sit still to be photographed. Here's one from the walk into town:

Tawny owl

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:50 am
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] common_nature
Short-eared owl
[Grainy photo of a short-eared tawny owl sitting on a lawn]

I know this isn't the greatest photo of all time. In my defense, I did take it from behind a dusty windowpane in an upstairs bedroom where I was crouched breathlessly lest I frighten it off.

There've long been barn owls living at my partner's parents' home in rural Norfolk, but I'd never seen any other type of owl there. I was surprised, therefore, to see this tawny owl (h/t to [personal profile] shapinglight for corrected identification) sitting on their lawn at dusk a couple of weeks ago. I worked out that it was watching a group of four partridges who were pecking through the pebbles in the drive, closer to the house. They seemed a rather optimistic target, given that the owl wasn't much bigger than they were.

The owl flew off and returned to the lawn several times whilst I watched, but never made a move on the partridges, who eventually moved onto the roof of the house and over to the other side.
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
I am like….90% sure I’m going camping this Friday. 

It depends a bit on the weather, but I’m mostly packed, I’ve cooked food that’s currently waiting in the freezer, and I have acquired the third Diane Mott Davidson book to read. 

The plan is to leave work early, catch the train to the campground, camp overnight, and in the morning hike out to a different train station further down the line, about a seven-mile trek, to do a longer endurance test than last weekend’s. Then I’ll catch the train home around noon on Saturday.

If something goes wrong, I can catch an evening train home on Friday until eight o’clock, or starting in the morning at 5:30, with little to no exertion. It’s pretty low-risk and I’m well stocked. I don’t have a sleeping pad, but my backpack has a partial one built-in, and I have one arriving tomorrow (though it might be too bulky, we’ll see). And honestly in this heat, I might just sleep on top of my sleeping bag in any case. 

Worst case scenario, the campground has heated, lockable shower cubicles with nice big floors. I’ve slept on worse. 

Caaaaaaamping! *jazz hands*

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[ SECRET POST #3850 ]

Jul. 19th, 2017 07:09 pm
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[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets

⌈ Secret Post #3850 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.

01.


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Notes:

Secrets Left to Post: 01 pages, 16 secrets from Secret Submission Post #551.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
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Midweek Antiprocrastination Post

Jul. 19th, 2017 07:23 am
peaceful_sands: butterfly (Default)
[personal profile] peaceful_sands posting in [community profile] bitesizedcleaning
Welcome to Wednesday and time to tackle the thing that has been lurking and needs to be done. What will it be? What is that PITA of a thing? Care to share, we're here for you and will be virtually behind you with all the encouragement you need.

In need of a little challenge to get you to start something? My challenge to you today is to check on the fridge. Depending on your energy levels and time allowance, select what's most appropriate for you. Remember if you do want to break it up or end up having more energy/time that you initially expected, you can always come back and do another step later today (or tomorrow).

Step 1 - Open the fridge and do a quick check for anything out of date and needing to go.
Step 2 - Spend a bit more time and do a thorough check to the back of shelves/bottom of drawers etc and make sure that you've checked everything in there - take mental note of anything that needs using quickly.
Step 3 - Starting with the top shelf, take everything out, lift out the shelf and clean it, dry it, replace it and put back in a more organised fashion - you may at this point realise that some things would ideally be in a different fridge location, whether it can be moved may depend upon there being space in its ideal location.
Step 4 - If you've still got energy/time, repeat with next shelf
Repeat Step 3 if you wish, until all shelves/drawers and the little door shelves have been checked and cleaned. If you can, as you go, wipe down the inside top and walls of the fridge as well with a cloth and some sort of light cleaner to get rid of any lurking invisible unwanted life forms. If you are tackling just a shelf at a time, don't get the top/walls too wet so that no cleaner runs down onto food stored lower in the fridge.

Remember that there is no obligation to do this challenge and also even if you do start it, it doesn't have to be done all in one go - a shelf a day for the week would be just as wonderful if you wanted to tackle it that way.

So with that I shall say goodbye (I'm not back until fairly late tonight, so please do cheer each other along), good luck with whatever you decide to tackle and a reminder that the optional challenge is OPTIONAL and also does not have to be completed as the WHOLE task - step 1 is a success, as is any other step. Look after yourselves, remember to think of your rewards for completing any personal pain in the tuckus tasks and let us know how you get along.

[ SECRET POST #3849 ]

Jul. 18th, 2017 06:58 pm
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[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets

⌈ Secret Post #3849 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.

01.


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Notes:

Secrets Left to Post: 01 pages, 24 secrets from Secret Submission Post #551.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
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Pigeon!

Jul. 18th, 2017 08:16 pm
rydra_wong: a woman wearing a bird mask balances on her arms in bakasana (yoga -- crow pose)
[personal profile] rydra_wong posting in [community profile] common_nature
I had to check the comm profile to try to decide if this was legit, as this was clearly not a wild pigeon; it was obviously someone's sleek, well-fed and well-cared-for homing/racing pigeon.

However, it was definitely "unsupervised", as it was hanging out at a gritstone crag eating bilberries and watching the climbers.

It wouldn't quite let people touch it, but was otherwise very comfortable with humans and happy to let you get very close.

I took a lot of photos of it trying to get a shot of the tags on its legs, as I was worried it was someone's beloved pet and lost. But when I got home, I found out that the "report a found pigeon" websites (they exist, naturally) say in rather weary tones not to even bother unless the pigeon's been around for at least 48 hours; apparently they like to take pit stops.

Pigeon with beautiful iridescent neck

Cut for more pigeon )

[ SECRET POST #3848 ]

Jul. 17th, 2017 06:38 pm
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[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets

⌈ Secret Post #3848 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.

01.


More! )


Notes:

Secrets Left to Post: 02 pages, 32 secrets from Secret Submission Post #551.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.

Insect Season

Jul. 17th, 2017 10:43 am
redsixwing: Two water lily leaves with smaller plants between (stems)
[personal profile] redsixwing posting in [community profile] common_nature
Cattails and water skippers in a local ditch.

skippers and cattails

A very vivid ladybug on a maple tree.

ladybug on maple

Great crested grebe

Jul. 17th, 2017 04:18 pm
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] common_nature
Urban great crested grebe nest
[Macro image of a great crested grebe sitting on its nest.]

I spotted this great crested grebe brooding on its nest in the canal at Westerdok in Amsterdam. I thought its nest was a remarkable construction: the usual twigs, but also bits of plastic rubbish, and finishing touches of hollyhock. I was also impressed by the two female mallard duck bodyguards who immediately rushed over when I started taking photos. They didn't quack, but eyed me up silently as they circled the nest at a careful distance.

We were staying on a barge nearby for three nights and I checked on the grebe morning and evening. I don't believe it stirred from the nest in that time, so hopefully soon there will be some freshly hatched urban grebes learning to navigate the Dutch canal system!

(no subject)

Jul. 17th, 2017 08:48 am
copperbadge: (radiofreemondaaay)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways to Give:

[tumblr.com profile] readera's partner, J, has been in the ER multiple times in the past three months, and their finances are very strained because of it. They're raising $300-$500 for transportation costs and medicine; you can read more and reblog here or give directly here.

[tumblr.com profile] sleepyheathen needs to make next month's rent and is selling items, offering commissions, accepting donations, and has an Amazon wishlist up. You can read more, purchase, or reblog here, or donate via paypal here.

[tumblr.com profile] tony-in-distress is trying to escape an abusive situation and hoping to take her siblings with her. She needs to raise enough money for a deposit on a safe house for her and her siblings to live in. You can read more and help out here.

Anon is raising funds to help a friend cover debt and pay for legal bills after her abusive husband took custody of their youngest son. You can read more and give here; unfortunately due to Australian law apparently they can't provide much information.

Sarah Sadat had to leave her job recently due to stress and is facing mounting medical bills for a failing kidney and previous hospitalization; she has surgery scheduled for next month, and is fundraising to help cover medical and other bills. You can read more and give to the fundraiser here.

[tumblr.com profile] ohstephyy was let go from a job three months ago and hasn't been able to get another one; there are also other costs coming up to cover. You can read more and reblog here; a paypal address is available at the post.

[personal profile] laurashapiro linked to a fundraiser for [personal profile] kuwdora, a talented vidder who is trying to become a professional editor. She has an opportunity for professional coaching from the editor of Burn Notice and Empire, but can't afford the expenses on her own. You can read more and help out here.

Anon linked to [tumblr.com profile] tiarasnteakettles who is looking for work as a harpist, including attempting to purchase a harp that would be a massive upgrade from her current instrument and allow her more freedom in performance. You can read more about her situation and reblog here, including links to her Patreon and online store and Paypal donation address.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and has a fundraiser running to cover living expenses, previous medical bills, and a recent rent increase. You can read more and help out here.

News To Know:

Anon linked to [tumblr.com profile] wanderlust-anthology, an upcoming anthology of reimagined myths, legends, and folklore based on the theme Quests and Journeys. They are looking for creators for this anthology, which will be a full-color printed book with stories, comics, and artwork. You can read more at their tumblr or at the FAQ here; sign-ups close July 30th.

Housing:

Riel is looking for a roommate in Austin, TX to share a townhouse; she and the other roommate (male) are both grad students, and they do have a cat. Riel is very fandom-friendly. Lease starts in August. You can check out the townhouse here and get in touch at ariellayendler at gmail.com.

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.

[ SECRET POST #3847 ]

Jul. 16th, 2017 04:09 pm
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[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets

⌈ Secret Post #3847 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.

01.


More! )


Notes:

Secrets Left to Post: 02 pages, 40 secrets from Secret Submission Post #551.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.

Lemon Rosemary Grilled Cheese

Jul. 16th, 2017 12:32 pm
foxfirefey: Fox stealing an egg. (Default)
[personal profile] foxfirefey posting in [community profile] omnomnom
This is inspired by a place by my work that does something similar, but with pear compote.

Ingredients:

* Sharp white cheddar (mine came from CostCo, the Coastal stuff)
* Rosemary bread (mine came from Trader Joe's)
* Lemon curd (another thing from Trader Joe's)
* Butter (I did unsalted, the cheddar is plenty salty enough)

Tools:

* Toaster Oven
* Frying pan and oven

Steps:

* Lightly toast one side of the rosemary bread in the oven
* One one slice of rosemary bread, put a pile of chopped up white cheddar chunks on the toasted side. Put it back into the toaster oven until the cheese gets pretty melty.
* While that's going on, spread lemon curd on the other piece of bread, on the toasted side.
* Put a pat of butter in your frying pan and melt it
* Take your melted cheesy bread out of the toaster oven, put both pieces together so the cheese of one side is against the lemon curd of the other
* Put your sandwich into the pan, swish it around, flip it to the other side--this will make sure that both sides have butter as you pan toast.
* Toast both sides of your sandwich in the pan with the butter, flipping as necessary. When it's toasted to your liking, put it on a plate.
* Tada! Fancy grilled cheese.

(no subject)

Jul. 16th, 2017 02:20 pm
norfolkian: (Moana)
[personal profile] norfolkian posting in [community profile] gardening
Following on from my last garden update, here's a picture of my small front garden with more flowers:



I also have a small back garden with two raised beds which I use to grow vegetables. I'd had some terrible problems with slugs and birds eating stuff, early in the season, but I bought some netting which seems to have helped. To be honest, though, I feel like I've neglected my back garden a bit as I've been concentrating more on the front garden and have not had much time lately. So, it was a bit of a surprise when I thought I'd better go out there and start harvesting some stuff, and this was my haul!




[ SECRET POST #3846 ]

Jul. 15th, 2017 03:52 pm
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[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets

⌈ Secret Post #3846 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.

01.


More! )


Notes:

Secrets Left to Post: 02 pages, 48 secrets from Secret Submission Post #551.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.