Snow, eh?

Snowflakes against the trees

I know, I know, I live in Cana­da. But every spring I get fooled into think­ing that maybe the snow’s done now till next winter.

Still. At least it’s an oppor­tu­ni­ty to show­case one of my favourite graphs.

(284) I occasionally draw graphs

(The head­er image is actu­al­ly about 40 images, stacked using the same method I use for my star trails.)

So close

fountain pen on notepad

I received this in the ol’ email inbox this afternoon.

Thank you very much for your sto­ry, and for let­ting us hang on to it for as long as we did. The piece has received more than one read, as our first read­er enjoyed it a great deal. Due to our cur­rent (the­mat­ic) pub­li­ca­tion needs, how­ev­er, we are unable to place this story.

[…]

Although we can’t use your work at this time, we thank you for think­ing of us and encour­age you to sub­mit again in the future.

The fun­ny thing is, they did­n’t tell me which sto­ry they were reject­ing, and I could­n’t remem­ber what I’d sub­mit­ted to their mar­ket. (I also could­n’t find my ini­tial sub­mis­sion in my out­box, but that was less sur­pris­ing; a lot of mar­kets these days are using Sub­mit­table or Mok­sha or some oth­er online sub­mis­sion gateway.)

Thank heav­ens for The Sub­mis­sions Grinder. I did a quick search on the mar­ket name, and found that, yes, I had sub­mit­ted a piece to them, wa-a-a-ay back in June 2020. Their sub­mis­sions page said that they don’t gen­er­al­ly send out rejec­tions, so if you did­n’t hear in about three months, assume you were not one of the lucky ones. I had assumed that, since Sep­tem­ber came and went with no word, that I was not one of the lucky ones.

Turns out I was right, but it seems I came clos­er than I thought.

Oh well. Once more unto the breach and all that. At least they liked the sto­ry; with form rejec­tions it can be very hard to tell.

PS: If you’re a writer and you’re not using The Sub­mis­sions Grinder, I strong­ly rec­om­mend you at least look into it.

The Great Conjunction

Jupiter and Saturn at conjunction

Sat­urn met up with Jupiter tonight, in case you had­n’t heard about it on the news.

It was cloudy here, but only part­ly cloudy, so I decid­ed I’d take a quick run out of town with my cam­era equip­ment, to see if I could get any photos.

I stepped out­side and dis­cov­ered I did­n’t need to go anywhere—it was vis­i­ble from my dri­ve­way. So I set up there, and snapped some pho­tos of Jupiter + Sat­urn in between the clouds.

Jupiter and Saturn at conjunction
Jupiter and Sat­urn at conjunction

In the box­es, top-left to bot­tom-right, are Cal­lis­to, Io, and Europa. Ganymede is too close to Jupiter for my lens to sep­a­rate it.

The half-moon looked love­ly, too, so I got some of the sun­shine reflect­ed off it, too.

All the pho­tos were tak­en with my 55250mm lens, at 250mm, f/5.6, vary­ing times and ISOs.

Hollow Bean 2020

Blue Moon through the maples

On this windy Hal­loween evening in this pan­dem­ic year, I hand­ed out can­dy using tongs and wear­ing a mask. Our Halloweeners:

  • a lit­tle wee lion
  • a brown bear
  • an angel
  • what appeared to be an Ewok in a parka
  • a gang­ster
  • a goth
  • a Stormtroop­er
  • a croc­o­dile
  • a vam­pire
  • a nurse
  • a lit­tle wee dinosaur who told me “Hab­by Ween!” over and over
  • a zom­bie
  • and a princess in pyjamas

…for a total of 13.

Weird­ly, that’s four more than we had last year. I don’t know what that might mean.

Hap­py Hol­low Bean. B. good.

Clouds

Clouds in the afternoon

I made a time­lapse video of the clouds while we were at the farm last week­end. It’s about an hour, with pho­tos snapped every 10 seconds.

And since it turned out so well, I did anoth­er one yes­ter­day, out my upstairs win­dow. Longer this time—there are about 4½ hours of clouds in this one.

Slaughterhouse-Five: the graphic novel

As beau­ti­ful, haunt­ing, fun­ny, and bru­tal as the orig­i­nal nov­el. The art is amaz­ing, and com­ple­ments the sto­ry perfectly.

My review on Goodreads

I first encoun­tered Kurt Von­negut, Jr., when my room­mate in first-year uni­ver­si­ty was read­ing Galá­pa­gos in an Eng­lish course. I read the nov­el and decid­ed it was garbage¹. It just kind of… end­ed. I did­n’t see the point. Von­negut, I decid­ed, was overrated.

Years lat­er, I decid­ed to give Von­negut anoth­er try, and I read what is, in my mind, his most famous nov­el: Slaugh­ter­house-Five. Maybe it’s because I was old­er, maybe it’s because it was a straight-up anti­war SF nov­el, maybe it was because I knew bet­ter what to expect, but I loved it. I went on to read sev­er­al oth­er Von­negut nov­els (Cat’s Cra­dle, Break­fast of Cham­pi­ons, Time­quake), and I’ve loved each one. Von­negut’s nov­els are dif­fer­ent, I think, because they don’t gen­er­al­ly have a vil­lain. They’re just… the way things are.

So it goes.

And then I heard that Ryan North, of Dinosaur Comics, was involved in a graph­ic nov­el retelling of Slaugh­ter­house-Five, and I knew I had to have it. So I pre-ordered it from McNal­ly Robin­son, and it arrived last week.

It’s great. The two-page spreads of Dres­den are, respec­tive­ly, beau­ti­ful and hor­ri­fy­ing. The sto­ry flows like a Von­negut nov­el, and the art com­ple­ments the sto­ry so, so well.

High­ly rec­om­mend­ed for fans of Von­negut’s nov­els, graph­ic nov­els, or anti-war stories.


¹ When Kurt died and went to Heav­en², I re-read Galá­pa­gos, and this time I thought it was great.

² At a memo­r­i­al ser­vice for Isaac Asi­mov, an athe­ist, Vonnegut—also an atheist—said, “Isaac’s up in Heav­en now,” because it was the fun­ni­est thing he could think of to say. So it goes. So it goes.