edenfalling: circular blue mosaic depicting stylized waves (ocean mosaic)
The thing about the island -- and this is both good and bad -- is that it's very easy to lose track of time because the rhythm of the days is very different from the normal workweek.

Anyway, on Sunday I don't think I did anything in particular, aside from finally finishing the edits and extensions to "Second Chances." No, wait -- Dad, Mom, and I collectively walked down to the east portage and then I peeled off to come home via the woods while they continued on to the south portage and walked home from there.

On Monday, we had pancakes and sausage for breakfast. Mom has also been feeding me clementines, which is nice; they are just about exactly the right size for the amount of fruit I want in the morning. I went down to the dock to get some reading done -- still working through Religion in the Japanese Experience: Sources and Interpretations -- after which I took a nap. Then I took the big hedge-clippers and did some trail maintenance along the east portage loop trail I'd walked the day before. It still needs a LOT of work, but it's slightly less dire so I feel I got something accomplished. And I got home in time for us to have steak (grilled out in the back yard) for dinner, so that was nice.

I also wrote and posted another installment of "Edmund and Ginny Go to Harfang," because why not.

Today we had soft-boiled eggs for breakfast, accompanied by the leftover apple-bran muffins from Friday. Then we walked all the way around Lake Windigo (the lake in the center of Star Island). That is a fairly decent walk, though we stopped several times to admire various views, and also to chat with two of our neighbors up at the north portage. (The portages are all from Cass Lake in to Lake Windigo, in case that was not obvious. The north portage is suitable for anything; it is very short, wide, and sandy. The east portage is suitable for canoes. And the south portage is not really a portage -- it is just a regular woodland trail -- though I suppose you could carry a canoe along it in a pinch.) The trail needs a bunch of clipping, though, and a few places really will need to be rerouted over the next few years because they are in danger of collapsing right into the lake.

When we got back, I took a nap (longer than I meant to, but I suppose that makes up for staying up later on Monday night than I meant to -- Dad and I were talking about this and that, got really into our conversation, and mutually lost track of time), and then went down to the dock to finish Religion in the Japanese Experience: Sources and Interpretations. So that's two reading projects knocked off, go me!

(I have signally failed to start reading Don Quixote, though. *sigh*)

I also picked a starship design for the Amber Lotus -- the Red Cross ship in "Intervention," aka my WIP Big Bang fic -- since my artist wanted a visual reference. That was a little annoying/embarrassing, since I had actually picked a starship type a year or two back... and then forgotten to write my choice down, so I had to recreate it from scratch today. *headdesk*

Hmm. Other things, other things...

I do most of the table-clearing and dish-washing at the cabin, since I find it meditative and also I don't help much with the cooking. I have obviously been doing a bunch of that.

Mom and I have also been working through a book of crossword puzzles I bought a few years ago for use on trips (sometimes crosswords are more my speed than a book; sometimes it's the other way around) and while most of them are pretty reasonable, there was one that had straight-up terrible clues -- hopelessly non-specific, and not even any clever jokes to resolve ambiguities. We had to cheat repeatedly to get anywhere, which is annoying since we have done harder-rated crosswords with much less difficulty.

And now I think I will go to bed, since I want to get through tomorrow without collapsing for a two-hour nap. *wry*

a thought

Jun. 25th, 2017 10:41 pm
edenfalling: golden flaming chalice in a double circle (gold chalice)
Here is the passage from C. S. Lewis's The Problem of Pain that I found most striking and thought particularly apropos for today's world:

Perhaps my harping on the word "kindness" has already aroused a protest in some readers' minds. Are we not really an increasingly cruel age? Perhaps we are: but I think we have become so in the attempt to reduce all virtues to kindness. For Plato rightly taught that virtue is one. You cannot be kind unless you have all the other virtues.

If, being cowardly, conceited and slothful, you have never yet done a fellow creature great mischief, that is only because your neighbour's welfare has not yet happened to conflict with your safety, self-approval, or ease. Every vice leads to cruelty. Even a good emotion, pity, if not controlled by charity and justice, leads through anger to cruelty.

Most atrocities are stimulated by accounts of the enemy's atrocities; and pity for the oppressed classes, when separated from the moral law as a whole, leads by a very natural process to the unremitting brutalities of a reign of terror.


[Chapter 4, 'Human Wickedness,' paragraphing mine]

...

I suspect my exposure to Tumblr's vicious callout witch-hunting culture affected my response to this passage, though it is of course applicable to many other walks of life.
edenfalling: circular blue mosaic depicting stylized waves (ocean mosaic)
I got up at 4:00am EST on Thursday, so as to shower, eat breakfast, finish packing, and set up my apartment before heading outside shortly before 5:00am to wait for my cab. In the event, the cab was about ten minutes late, but I still got to the airport and through security in plenty of time. The flight from Ithaca to Detroit went smoothly, and I made my transfer with several minutes to spare even though they were slow to unpack the plane-side checked bags. (These are bags that would be carry-on items in larger planes, but small jets have small overhead compartments so they basically wrap a tag around your suitcase handle, stash it in the cargo compartment with the actual checked bags, and then hand it back to you at the end of the flight.)

cut for length )

As for my reading: I got through the entirety of C. S. Lewis's The Problem of Pain, which was one of my "I am not entirely sure where I picked this book up, but I should probably read it before donating it" books, and another several sections of Religion in the Japanese Experience: Sources and Interpretations, a textbook composed of various themed excerpts from other works and brief explications thereof.

Lewis is, as always, infuriating because I disagree vehemently with a number of his assumptions, with most of his theology, and with a bunch of his implicit politics... and yet he keeps coming to conclusions about human experience and what a good life should look like that are unnervingly close to my own in some respects. So it's a constant swing between, "yes, exactly, that was beautifully put!" and "but HOW can a reasonably intelligent and well-meaning person be so WRONG?!?!" Some other day I should probably quote one of the passages I thought was most apt, and also take a stab at analyzing one point where I think he went most terribly awry.

(Also science has marched on and Lewis's chapter on animal pain and consciousness is consequently even more awful and wrong-headed than when he wrote it, though I think I would have considered it awful and wrong-headed even decades ago because he's arguing from a foundation of theological assumptions which I utterly fail to share. But that is something where I could point to actual science to prove that he is talking through his hat, whereas the other point is more of a philosophical/ethical thing, and thus less subject to hard proof... though one could probably cite various studies on criminal justice and prison reform which I believe tend more toward my side of the argument than toward his. Hmm. *makes note to look into that* But anyway, I'd want to do more research and marshal my arguments in logical order before venturing into that particular alligator swamp.)

And that is what I have been up to for the past three days. :)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Wow, I kind of forgot to make one of these posts for a while, didn't I? I knocked my sleep schedule out of whack midway through and got stuck in a rut where I am a little too brain-fried to be productive and instead spend hours surfing the internet and not getting to bed early enough to fix the sleep debt problem. But I think I may finally have started wrenching myself back into a more useful schedule as of last night. *crosses fingers*

Anyway, stuff!

1. Took my weekly vegetable photos and posted them. Also applied some MiracleGro.

2. Made my weekly Facebook update post.

3. Finished reading Marie Brennan's Within the Sanctuary of Wings (which I enjoyed a lot -- I really do think the Memoirs of Lady Trent series gets better as it goes on, and I'm sad to see it finished) and returned it to the library.

more items under the cut )

15. Finally pinned down a meeting time with the DRE to talk about Youth Group activities this summer and in the 2017-18 year. Unfortunately, because we kept getting distracted and I will be gone for a while, the meeting isn't until July 2, but hey, at least we now have a time and date.

16. Took my trash bin to the curb for pickup.

17. Took recycling bins to the curb for pickup.

And that is that.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Baked brownies for church coffee hour. Took them in to church.

2. Coffee hour clean-up. Over the past few years, I seem to have become the 'old hand' at this particular task -- probably because every time my hospitality team is up, I volunteer for it all four Sundays -- and I end up sort of haphazardly training a bunch of more sporadic volunteers how to run the sterilizer and where to roll up the vinyl tablecloths and stuff. I like feeling useful. :)

3. Washed two-thirds of my curtains, as well as my comforter and winter coat. I still have one load of curtains left, which I will hopefully get done tomorrow along with my regular biweekly laundry.

more items under the cut )

13. Attended my church's annual meeting, where we:

A) voted on the 2017-18 budget

B) elected people to the Board of Trustees and the Nominating Committee

C) voted on various proposed changes to our bylaws (which are, frankly, screwy -- they were written less as general guidelines and more as ultra-nitpicky sets of rules that weren't even internally consistent -- and which we have been rationalizing in bits and pieces for several years now)

D) voted on whether to adopt a covenant

E) voted on whether to issue a congregational statement of support for a New York state single-payer health care system proposal currently up for consideration in the state senate.

The budget passed (an attempted amendment to it did not), the bylaw changes passed (one attempted amendment was rejected as something that needs more study in the fall; another passed because it caught an error that had been overlooked in the editing process), the covenant was adopted (albeit with reservations on various parts), and despite a completely valid technical objection (namely, that we don't HAVE a procedure for issuing congregational statements about political issues and therefore shouldn't issue any such statements until we create one) the health care statement also passed.

I then stuck around to help clean up (there was a dinner attached to the meeting, you see) since nobody seemed to have organized an official clean-up crew and, well, that's something I know how to do! So I did it. *wry*

more items under the cut )

21. Snipped Hovera (a squash seedling) at its base so that Azer (its container-mate) could live and flourish.

...

I have also been kind of busy at work, since this is the time of year when students are leaving town (and thus vacating their apartments), and that generates a bunch of paperwork and ancillary organizational stuff -- particularly since it's also the due date for a whole bunch of quarterly rent payments for 2017-18 leases. We are also switching to a new key-logging system, which creates a minor extra layer of confusion when you have to figure out whether a summer subtenant should pick up their keys under the 2016-17 system (manual) or the 2017-18 system (digital).
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Attended church, which was a special service with sermon and music by Samite Mulondo, the founder of Musicians for World Harmony.

2. Coffee hour cleanup.

3. Made my weekly Facebook update post.

4. Changed linens. Given the weather, I decided NOT to do the winter-to-summer swap. (I want spring back!)

more items under the cut )

18. I seem to have forgotten to mention this in my last few 'stuff done' posts, perhaps because it hasn't been on any of my to-do lists? Well, anyway, I have been reading (in bits and pieces, between other things) the Memoirs of Lady Trent series. I ended up starting with book two, The Tropic of Serpents, because I had to order book one via interlibrary loan and I am impatient. I then moved right on to book three, The Voyage of the Basilisk, which I just finished tonight.

They are fun books! I wouldn't call them deep literature, but they are a pleasure to read -- both in terms of the characters and plots, in terms of the worldbuilding (which is genuine world-building rather than region-building, and thought-out to a degree more writers should aspire to), and in terms of the actual writing, which manages to be smoothly invisible in service of the story despite having a distinctive first-person narrative voice. That is a neat trick, and I wish I could pinpoint how Brennan pulls it off.

Anyway, I have jumped back to start book one, A Natural History of Dragons, and I expect I'll make some reasonable progress on that during slow periods at work tomorrow. :)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Took kitchen compost to communal bin.

2. Called Susan and chatted for an hour and a half. It was good to catch up!

3. Started moving my vegetables outside in the afternoons, to get them used to direct sunlight (instead of sunlight filtered through my kitchen windows).

4. Planted new seeds in three of my squash containers, since only one of my transplants (Meeny) survived. I have put two seeds per container, and will thin as necessary in a few weeks.

more items under the cut )

16. Trimmed the back of the lilac bush, which has to be done every year to make room for my air conditioner. (It grows right up against my front room window, you see.) I will trim the rest of the bush in late May, after it has finished blooming -- it has only just started blooming now, and while the flowers aren't very abundant, they are making a much better showing than in various years past. I definitely think the plant does better when I prune it regularly.

17. Did a smidge of editing work on "Second Chances," which I hope to finish by Monday night. *crosses fingers*
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Photographed my peppers.

2. Changed the scented wax in my wax melter.

3. Bought, wrote, addressed, stamped, sealed, and mailed birthday cards for my sister and my cousin Ben.

more items under the cut )

14. Made a functional (albeit sketchy and a bit slapdash) outline for Vicky's super-belated gift story. Took a few stabs at making a similar outline for Susan's super-belated gift story, but stalled out since I am still not entirely sure what kind of weirdness I want to use in the worldbuilding. Maybe if I pin down some stuff about the main character and her life/friends, that will constrain the shape of the world around her. *ponders*

In any case, if anyone has suggestions for either story, I am all ears!

Bonus 15. This actually belongs on my previous 'stuff done' post, but since I forgot to write it down there, I will mention it here. I read The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis, which I bought for Dad as his Christmas present and then asked to borrow once he was finished because I wanted to read it too. It is about Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, two Israeli psychologists whose work is at the foundation of the study of humanity's systematic errors in judgment and decision-making; it is both about their theories and about their unlikely friendship. Michael Lewis writes readable and engaging prose, and doesn't get in the way of his own (fascinating) topic. I recommend this book a lot. :)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Cut my fingernails.

2. Asked rental office bosses about getting a week off in late June. They said that should be okay, so... I may actually get to Cass Lake this year!!! \o/

more items under the cut )

13. Got to work rewriting my Cotton Candy Bingo fic, as per my realization that the characters needed to be nicer in general. I have managed to salvage and reuse a bunch of existing dialogue, just tweaked a bit so everyone's friendly rather than annoyed, and I have also tweaked a bit of scene-setting so there is now an obvious physical way to conclude the fic when I get there, instead of having it vaguely peter off into awkward silence. :)
edenfalling: colored line-art drawing of a three-scoop ice cream sundae (ice cream sundae)
1. Finished reading Dar┼Ťan: Seeing the Divine Image in India by Diana L. Eck (third edition). This is a short book, only about 90 pages and heavy on photographs (for obvious reasons), but very informative! It's the kind of basic 'here is a concept, here are some things it means to the people who hold it/do it, here are some ways it plays out in practice' introduction to a foundational cultural practice/assumption that is really helpful in understanding anything higher level, but which very often seems to get overlooked and thus leaves people from other cultures floundering without a framework and misinterpreting that higher level stuff because they're using a mismatched set of cultural assumptions.

I am definitely keeping this one.

2. Shoveled the sidewalk when I got home from Not the IRS, because apparently NOBODY ELSE bothered to do that during the FOURTEEN HOURS I was commuting or working. *side-eyes neighbors, hard*

more items under the cut )

...

And now I should be heading to bed, because I have work on Saturday and I would like to finally shake my not-quite-cold rather than let it develop into a full illness. *wry*

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Elizabeth Culmer

June 2017

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