June 28th, 2011

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Link Soup

my_partner_doug showed me some cool stuff this morning.

Watch a trailer for the Pixar movie "Brave."

See an amusing rendition of an old joke about the Venus of Willendorf.  (This makes me wonder what people would think of unearthing crucifixes, thousands of years down the line.  Possibly that the ancestors were into really hardcore kink.)

And it's nice to know that some conservatives do pay attention to facts, and can change their minds on important issues.  David Frum talks about shifting his stance on gay marriage.  I'm pleased to see someone looking for the real cause of family disintegration, and discarding false causes.  It is a concern I share; larger, long-term families have more fault-tolerance and do a better job of buffering people against hard knocks, so I want to revive that style.
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Poetry Fishbowl on Tuesday, July 5

 This is an advance announcement for the Tuesday, July 5 2011 Poetry Fishbowl. This time the theme will be "low fantasy." I'll be soliciting ideas for characters of minor heroes, antiheroes, sidekicks and second fiddles, ordinary villagers, henchmen, characters in that grey area between hero and villain, broken or mismade magical artifacts, unusual adventuring gear, ordinary items used to save the day, small-scale conflicts, side scenes from epic events, ways in which epics affect ordinary people, scenes that show off the gritty tone of low fantasy, solutions that don't involve magic, places where something important happened long ago, classic low-fantasy settings such as sleepy villages or deep forests, and poetic forms in particular. 

What is "low fantasy" anyway?  It's usually contrasted with high fantasy, and can mean: small-scale rather than large-scale events, minor rather than major heroes, less rather than more magic, also sometimes stories set in a close analog of our world rather than an obviously different fantasy world, ambiguous rather than polarized morality, and/or a tone more gritty than glowing.  Low fantasy is about saving a village rather than a country or a world, about getting one or two people's lives to work halfway decently, about solving problems with the gear on your back rather than an army's worth, and dealing with problems that don't really have good solutions.  In the rain.  So for instance, the Fiorenza series mainly concerns life in a quiet little village, with occasional preternatural problems that get solved more by wit than magic.

If you're interested, mark the date on your calendar, and please hold actual prompts until the "Poetry Fishbowl Open" post next week. Meanwhile, if you want to help with promotion, please feel free to link back here or repost this on your blog.

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Wildflower Photos

Today we went to the Douglas-Hart Nature Center, because the wildflowers are in bloom. Here are some photos that I took in the gardens around the parking lot.
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Sponsor More Photos
In addition to what I've posted here, I have dozens of other photos, including:

* Close and medium views of wildflowers in other colors and shapes
* A butterfly and some bees on various flowers
* A couple different types of fungi
* Medium and long views of a small pond and a larger pond
* The nose of an enormous snapping turtle emerging to breathe

Several artists have posted samples of their sketch pages, with more sketches being available if people want to sponsor some. I'm trying something similar with photography. So if you want to see more, $1 will get you two extra photos. (You can use the PayPal button on my profile page, or contact me for other options such as postal mail.) Your choice of small size like these, or full-size; I'll try to remember to put them behind a cut. Larger versions of the sample photos are in a gallery on my LiveJournal Scrapbook.