Longer to write than to live


[there's some references at the end of this journal post because school and I felt like practicing]

Lasering this morning. Daring to hope I might be done after this round, in half a year. That would not be too long a time. Little bit frustrating that I took up a desire and occasional accomplishment of morning walks right around when I am experienced a laser-induced need to avoid UV exposure, so I look forward to the banishing of one of those duelling tensions.

Took a while to find where the shopping centre bookshop had removed itself to, then visited a few times on my outing. I don't buy books so often and when I do it is seldom off-line (the state of book prices in Australia is perhaps best described as 'exorbitant') but it was lovely to reacquaint myself a bit with the state of paper books as art objects.

Saw a beautiful edition of Mockingjay in passing. Lots of lovely editions of The Hobbit. Someone has decided to give all Brandon Sanderson's books a consistent look across settings and series; that shelf was a sight to see, so unexpectedly uniform. Robin Hobb's books are still in those beautiful, shiny covers that make me long to give over my copies to charity or second-hand, just to replace and see something so pretty on my shelves (too expensive, too frivolous, maybe someday...). The cover of Alastair Reynolds' On the Steel Breeze clashed weirdly with Blue Remembered Earth, as if they didn't belong together, so strange. Different editions or publishers or sharp change of art direction I suppose.

There were some boxed sets of the Song of Ice and Fire books which looked nice, though it would be nice to be able to do without having a permanent reminder of the television series affixed to the covers. Makes me wonder what looks the books may have when that series is complete. The Warriors anthology in three parts highlighting to me the absence of the Vandermeers time travel anthology since the last time I visited. The new edition of The Ice Dragon is lovely, the illustrations and the cover and the texture. Pretty book, book as art in itself. Could not find The World of Ice and Fire at first, the particular book I wanted to take a look at. Found it elsewhere after a bit, with all the trendy books. But I ended up not daring to take more than a quick flip through it, maybe I was scared of being thought a serious customer.

Looked for, could not find any copy of Kameron Hurley's The Mirror Empire. Did smile to see that, between times I visited the books, someone seems to have bought a copy of Ancillary Justice. Colours a bit too bright and busy and non-representational feeling for me on that one, but that's okay. Hoping it found a good home.

When I got home, was pleasantly surprised to see the set of dice I had ordered had arrived. I've never had dice before apart from the ones you get in department store board games and these are a delightful dusty green with gold numbers, fun even just to look at. I enjoyed taking some time to feel them and start learning which ones are which. Handy because now I can use them for pen and paper RPGs instead of using online rollers, and I've learned this difference matters to some (many?) who play such games.

Yesterday, on part of the way home listened to an episode of Ockham's Razor on cohabiting with wildlife in Australia. Was prepared to be disappointed, envisioning a lack of suggestion that perhaps people and society change their ways in order to minimise conflict and adjust expectations of what is acceptable. Ended up being mostly pleasantly surprised for the most part although perhaps I had set my standards excessively low. NB: a remark about dingo purity is potentially outdated.

Listened to an episode of Escape Pod through lunch. The story, "Shadowboxer", was okay but my main point of interest was how this story's threads weave with Death Note. If Kira's power were inherent, if he were of the USA and held as their instrument. Well, but I thought it was okay. Not inclined to launch into a lengthy criticism at this time. Judging by the comments many others found it much more strongly resonant. This was also the second consecutive podcast to reference research into intercessory prayer, although "Shadowboxer" claimed a near opposite outcome to that reported by Are We Alone? Big Picture Science.

That episode was rather fascinating in itself, covering language and power and other related aspects of headology. The general thrust of the episode I'd seen before elsewhere but, for example, I didn't know that the Curse of the Bambino in baseball was actually technically a jinx! Also appreciated the line of continuity drawn with European-derived cultures and others, and the explicit disclaiming that curses are not a matter of supposed primitiveness. Potential listeners should be advised that experiments are described wherein harm was done to animals, including death in some cases.

Finally from earlier in the week, a two-part program from All In The Mind on mental health in Indigenous Australian communities and approaches featuring storytelling and community involvement. I've little to say on the content itself, mentioned mainly in case of interest from others.

Except, a remark near the beginning of the first episode by the presenter: "Addressing mental illness is a vital component of the healing process for Aboriginal Australians". I found that rather incensing. They need healing? THEY need healing!? We got sickness running so deep we think it's a healthy way of being, to believe it's right and just and good to do what we do to people, to genocide or force it on them and try to make them sick too. That is what we need healing of, that splinter of ice in our collective heart.

Of course the indigenous people of Australia do need healing of the hurt done to them, but not I think in the manner implied by that framing, of necessary reconciliation to the pre-eminence of white society upon their land. That is... not it.


Bentley, M. (Producer). (2006, June 14). Skeptical Sunday: Curses!. Big Picture Science Audio. Retrieved from http://podcast.seti.org/pages

Di Filippo, P. (Author). (2006, June 15). EP058: Shadowboxer. Escape Pod Audio. Retrieved from http://escapepod.org/

Malcolm, L. (Presenter). (2006, June 10). Aboriginal mental health part 1 - Tiwi Islands. All In The Mind Audio. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/allinthemind/

Malcolm, L. (Presenter). (2006, June 17). The Long Grassers' legacy - Aboriginal mental health part 2. All In The Mind. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/allinthemind/

Outred, J. (2014, April 15). Dingo declared a separate species.Australian Geographic. Retrieved from http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/

Temby, I. (Speaker). (2006, June 11). Wild neighbours. Ockham's Razor Audio. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/ockhamsrazor/