Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thursday morning random

* First up, a couple photos of the experimental site, courtesy of my research student (she used her phone-camera):



(Yipes. Edited to give smaller size. sorry for the huge if you saw it earlier)

* I'm not as sore this morning as I feared I might be. I'm *slightly* sore, but no worse than after a day of unusually hard yardwork. I do have a fair number of hives, though.

* I started the mane/hair on the new Pony last night. The tail is done, but wow, I forgot how long each corkscrew curl takes to make... I still have one or two small ones to do for each side of the "mane-do" and then I have to decide whether I go with my original plan of "rooting" and then styling the mane (like I have done on most of the others of this I've made) or the possibility of stitching down long lengths of yarn to make a very flat manestyle, and then making a separate bun (and maybe a separate braid for across the top; some Regency hair was sort of elaborate in an understated way) and attaching those over the stitched-down hair. That idea pleases me because it feels like it should be faster than the "root then style" and also may be less likely to get messy over time.

I also now have to consider eye color. I don't think I want to do blue, given that the mane and tail are a turquoise color. Green was my first thought but I might see if I have some light brown felt (or some in almost a hazel color) and try those. (I don't think violet would work).

* I'm looking forward to getting out tomorrow to do some shopping - it's been a little while. For one thing, there are a few things I need from the Ulta and the like. (I doubt they will ever get these. I wish they would: what a fun idea, a bath fizzy with a toy inside of it. Probably intended for kids who won't take baths( but honestly I think there are a lot of kid-aimed things that old tired adults need, too.)

(*I wonder how common that is, or if it is still common any more. I don't remember ever having to be nagged to take a bath (or shower, once I was older), but then again: I'm a girl, and also, I was also the kind of kid who never needed to be nagged about bedtime)

I also need to go to the natural-foods store for some stuff. One problem I have in the summer is I kind of burn out on knowing what to fix as food, so I wind up eating a lot of quick-fix stuff, or weird combinations, or things that are suboptimal nutritionally.

* I finished "The Z Murders" the other night. Once again, I say: J. Jefferson Farjeon is an unfairly neglected Golden Era mystery writer. This book wound up being more suspenseful/more a thriller and less of a true mystery (about 2/3 of the way through we know "whodunnit" but the real question is, "are the Good Guy and the Damsel in Distress going to survive this?" and "Will the police track the bad guy down in time?"

Also, it's kind of creepy and uncanny, given how the murderer is described. And the person who wrote the introduction (for the British Library Crime Classics edition I read) noted how "serial killers" aren't strictly a modern phenomenon - he also referenced Christie's "ABC Murders" as an example of this. (Interestingly, the "ABC" - a railway time table in alphabetical order - plays a minor role in advancing the plot in this novel as well). But it's still creepy and I suspect we - I mean, those of us who are more or less psychologically normal - tend to be a bit interested in reading about people like this (though I'd rather read about fictional serial killers than actual ones) because we literally cannot understand the motivation behind them. There's sort of an "as the twig is bent" thing going on: maybe you were bullied as a child. Or maybe one of your parents told you you were a "mistake." Or maybe your first love spectacularly humiliated and abandoned you. Or maybe you failed terribly at your first job. But 99% of the human population kind of grows a shell over that hurt and moves on....and then there are a very few people who, probably because of some existing predisposition, maybe even a genetic one, cannot get past that, and decide that others must pay for the way they were treated. Or they decide those people are obstacles to something they want, and so rather than recalibrating "what I want," they decide to remove the "obstacles" ("Kind Hearts and Coronets" plays on this idea).

I think this is also why I was so horrified by, and yet found myself reading stories about, the Amy Bishop case. (Biology professor who shot and killed several colleagues after she was denied tenure). For one reason: among "serial killers" (though in her case she's not quite that), she's in some ways closest to me - woman, biologist, professor. But yet, so very different - had I been denied tenure here? Unless there was a clear reason for an appeal (which I would then have attempted), my answer would have been to "go home and cry a lot, and then try to find a new job somewhere else."

(I was also a bullied kid in school, which is why I find the "bullied kid" explanation for school shooters unsatisfying and difficult. Because that seems to imply, "Let's round up all the loners and geeks and do something with them before they turn bad" and it's not that.....there's something already going on in the person, and maybe it's that thing that leads to them being bullied, but there's something there that maybe makes compassion difficult? I don't know).

I will say in this novel it seems to imply an event in the murderer's life - a pretty big and horrific one - was the trigger factor that led him to start doing it. But again, I'm not sure I buy the concept of someone "being driven to murder" if they don't already have something in their personal make-up that would allow that.

* I decided to (temporarily, at least) abandon "Tom Jones" (it is very slow to get started, and something about Fielding's tone is currently annoying to me) and decided instead to go back and re-start "Moby-Dick." I got up to about page 700 (I can't remember how many pages the edition I have is, I think it's the Everyman's Library paperback one? Anyway, it reproduces some of the Rockwell Kent engravings from an earlier edition...) and then for some reason put it aside.

There is a webstie called Genius that gives even more detailed annotations than the edition I have, and I've been using that a bit to follow along and catch things I don't catch. (Though I will note, some of the Genius annotations link to pop-cultural things I don't get either - I mean, modern stuff - and some are things that just make me roll my eyes in a "Yeah, I'm 12 years old inside and I still don't find that that funny" way. And I do suppose it's one of those Sparknotes/Cliff's Notes thing perhaps for people who don't want to actually READ the book, but I don't think it matters once you're an adult and are reading on your own. (And anyway: I read the chapters first and then go back and look at the annotations.)

I still maintain that in a modern "reboot" of this story, Ishmael would be a disaffected hipster - maybe a former Barista instead of a former schoolteacher. Not sure what dangerous job he'd sign on for - a little while back I opined "oil exploration" but the oil bust has taken the wind out of that a little bit.

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