05/20/17

Multiocular O

From the bureau of indispensable knowledge:

Wikipedia: “Multiocular O (ꙮ) is a rare glyph variant of the Cyrillic letter O. This glyph variant can be found in certain manuscripts in the phrase «серафими многоꙮчитїи» (“many-eyed seraphim”). It was documented by Yefim Karsky from a copy of Psalms from around 1429, now found in the collection of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, and subsequently incorporated into Unicode as character U+A66E.”

ETA: This is the manuscript.

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04/7/12

Virtual hash cake and dreams

Last night I had either very minor food poisoning or a bad reaction to a creamy sauce and took about 3 hours to get to sleep. When I did get there, I dreamt I was at a restaurant where they served hash cake. I ate the hash cake and a ganja candy and felt a little woozy. When I got home, there was a mysterious copy of The Etched City on my bookshelves. Without my permission, someone had made a comic-book version of the story in which the characters were furry animals. As well as the usual word balloons, there was English text mixed with Japanese and Chinese at the bottom of the pages. I didn’t take a good look at the pictures, as for some reason I was more interested in reading the front matter. There was a pile of forewords and introductions by various people, none of which seemed to have anything to do with the book. Different artists had worked on the project, which seemed to be from the UK. The furry animal theme disappeared at some point.

Then this nerdy-looking kid with dark hair and glasses came into my room and asked if I wouldn’t mind him giving me some advice. He told me that Gunpowder Tea obviously wasn’t going to work, and I should concentrate instead on the story where I had a lot of countries on a coloured map. (I don’t have any such story, though it gave me an idea when I thought about it on waking.) Then he went outside my house to catch a train. The train went to Pest — as in, the Pest half of Budapest — which surprised me, as I thought we were in Bangkok. He laughed and said something to the effect that the train just went in that direction. (Maybe I thought he was a pest?)

While I was reading the introductions, the dream did a detour into what I think was a kind of visual representation of the feeling the introductions gave me. It was a scene that felt like a model, with odd plastic figures in a little booth or kiosk. One of them was larger than the others and looked a bit like a tall, thinnish, zombie version of the Michelin Man. It had a very nasty mouth. There was a sign saying something like “We make the kind of kind and wiry body we like to make” — referring to the white figure.

02/14/12

The inspiring Prince Dado Ruspoli

Yesterday I happened to turn on the TV and there was actually something interesting on, a documentary about the jetset of the 60s. I looked up one or two names, and happened across Prince Dado Ruspoli (obituary here), one of the few playboys of that era who didn’t die young. Quite a guy…

On opium and heroin (“the difference between ritual and suicide”)

Moments with Papa Dado 1 & 2

08/10/11

Goldilocks on the Enterprise

Last night I dreamed I was on the Enterprise and had to choose which crew member’s bedroom to sleep in. Kirk’s was too messy. McCoy’s and Scotty’s didn’t appeal either; one was too neat, I can’t remember what was wrong with the other. Spock’s was, surprisingly, nearly as messy as Kirk’s, but had a Chesterfield-like padding in red brocade on the floor, like some strange bordello, which I went for. Whatever the meaning of this dream might be, I’m not sure I want to know.

03/28/11

The shrine

It’s confirmed, I asked a neighbour and the shrine at the end of the street is for the god of the local land, who brings happiness and good luck to the households on her turf. The neighbour referred to the god as “she”, so maybe Chinese land deities are female? I’ll try to find out. This woman’s English was pretty good, so unless I learn otherwise I’ll assume the god is a lady.

The weather’s been weird. The forecast for today until Wednesday is unbelievable for summer: 16-22, 17-21, 18-24. Those would be cold days even in winter. On Thursday it’s meant to get back to 33. I’ve had flu. I thought I’d beaten it, but it has ideas about coming back as a chest infection. I’m trying to make that not happen, but I’ve already hoicked up some fine celadon-green gunge this morning and my ribs hurt. On the other hand, I feel a lot more at home here when the weather’s cold and dry. It’s surprising what a difference it makes!

Last night I dreamed I was eating chips made of magic mushrooms that would cause, among other effects, hallucinations of cane furniture. And sure enough, they did. I hallucinated a white cane chair in my dream.

I was listening to so much music yesterday that when I lay down in bed all the songs I’d been listening to seemed to spawn new songs in my head, which was fun. On the subject of songs, the other night Stu heard Metallica lyrics at 4 a.m. No music, just the lyrics, apparently sung well, as if someone was playing the album but somehow only the voice was audible. Strange, as is the fact that I’m about to slouch out in a coat and scarf to buy cough medicine. I don’t even know why I have a scarf in my wardrobe here. I must have bought it as a souvenir somewhere.

Some time later: well, the medicine did nothing, but an asthma spray produced results. And not green, either, which is encouraging. My mystery plant has a mystery fruit, and I’m craving pizza. Horse guy has gone to the foundry to be turned into hard wax that I can fiddle with a bit before casting in metal, and I’ve got five or six other figures sitting around in various states of incompletion. They’re all smaller than horse guy, as I want to try to sell my work, and smaller and thus cheaper seems the intelligent way to go.

It’s cold out there. It’s almost cold in here. I keep sneezing. The frangipani looks sulky. I wish I wasn’t sick, so that I could go out again and frisk around in the unwontedly fresh air, which is the colour of the aspic my cat’s sardines used to be in.

ETA: Well, I think I avoided the chest infection. But I’ve got a disgusting cold and it’s too late in the day to take the magic sinus blaster. To quote the ever-quotable Withnail, I feel like a pig shat in my head. I should stop pretending that by sitting here I’m going to eventually, by some natural progression of events, start doing some work. I shall stop complaining and slink off to curl up with Kindle and cuppa, with a spare cup for spitting in, and hopefully I can manage not to confuse them. Either that or sit here like a scallop watching highlights from 80s movies.

12/29/10

More white keyboards, please

I can’t touch-type. Yes, I should learn for the sake of posture if nothing else. But I never seem to get around to it. And since not getting around to things is a common human trait, I’m guessing there are quite a lot of poeple like me who have to keep glancing at the keyboard, and who consistently type ‘poeple’ for ‘people’ when they don’t.

A keyboard on an ergonomic desk with a tray is actually quite a long way from your eyes (even for a short person like me!) and moreover tends to be shaded by the desk. Most keyboards are black. Black keyboards are harder to see. Black is cool, I know — but, come on, so is white. And a white keyboard doesn’t need a desk lamp shining on it to make it visible to the naked eye. (Actually, I find even the contrast between the bright screen and a dark keyboard on a laptop can be a strain on the eyes after a while.)

I’ve seen a few laptops with white keyboards, but not many, and even fewer separate white keyboards. And while I’m on the topic, what’s with all the damn loud clicky keys? If I want to feel like a one-woman typing pool while I’m working, I’ll tell you. And if I want to hear the person in the next room typing, I’ll be sure to tell you that, too.

What I do like are the short keyboards. Narrow shoulders here! I need my keyboard and mousepad to fit in a small space, or my arms get pretty sore pretty quickly. So: compact, quiet, white. Or eggshell blue or eau-de-nil or cream stirred with a whisper of peach, if you insist. But comfort, darlings, comfort.