Oh, Yes, I Definitely Have a Cold

May. 25th, 2017 02:37 pm
malkingrey: (Rain)
[personal profile] malkingrey
It hit me like a hammer late Tuesday afternoon, putting me down for the count for about 12 hours, and leaving me achy and sniffly and bleary-eyed all day yesterday and again today.

And the weather is once again grey and clammy.

Bibliothèque Municipale d’Epinal

May. 25th, 2017 09:03 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

On my first day at Les Imaginales, a pair of librarians came up and invited me to visit the Epinal Library. What I didn’t realize — they may have mentioned it and I just missed it — was that they were giving us a private tour of the rare books room.

Epinal Library Rare Books Room

It was amazing. One of the true highlights of my trip to France. My interpreter Lionel, an author himself, was as awestruck as I was. Especially when they brought out the first book. If I’m remembering right, this was from the 8th century.

8th century religious text

The next one wasn’t quite as old…being from the 9th century. This Gospel of Saint Mark was a youthful 1200 years old.

Gospel of St. Mark: 9th Century

The cover is metal and ivory. I’m not sure what kind of jewels those are. The circular areas on the corners were for holding relics. Here’s a glimpse of the interior:

Gospel of St. Mark: Interior

You can see the full set of photos on Flickr. (Or you may have already seen them on Facebook.) It was such a wonderful experience. My thanks to everyone at Bibliothèque Municipale d’Epinal for their time and generosity.

I’ll end with a map of Michigan from one of the books that was “only” a few centuries old. Michigan sure looked different in the old days…

Map of Michigan

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Back from Les Imaginales

May. 24th, 2017 09:18 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

I got back to Michigan late on Monday after a wonderful week in France for Les Imaginales.

The festival was amazing. The whole town participates and helps to sponsor Les Imaginales, which felt like a cross between a book fair, convention, and renaissance festival. The town is gorgeous, the food is delicious, and there were dogs everywhere–even in restaurants or sitting under a table in the book tent 🙂

I’ve posted photos from the book fair on Flickr. I’ve got a bunch more to get through and post, but I’m doing them one batch at a time.

The best part, naturally, was getting to hang out with some wonderful author friends from America, and to meet new authors, fans, editors, and fellow geeks from France and elsewhere.

It was fascinating to see the differences between French and American conventions. The panels were very different. Instead of a free-for-all conversation, the moderator asked each author a question, one at a time. There wasn’t much interaction between the authors. It felt a bit more formal, but also made sure everyone got the chance to talk and contribute. You were also expected to talk a fair amount about your book and how it related to the topic. At home, I try to avoid doing that too much, but in France, it’s expected that you’ll talk about your writing and help the audience learn enough to decide whether or not they’re interested.

Which means the best time to be in the book tent is immediately after you’ve done a panel. (I didn’t figure that out for my first panel, and probably missed some sales since I didn’t immediately go to the tent afterward. D’oh!)

I’m still trying to get caught up on everything. In the meantime, have a few pictures. (Or check out the full album on Flickr or Facebook!)

A shot of Epinal at night

Authors en route to Epinal

James Morrow and Christopher Priest

Château d’Épinal

A bit of historical reenactment? I really don’t understand French history…

My thanks to everyone at the festival for inviting me, for their hard work organizing the event, and for making this such a delightful week.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Dinner Comes Around Every Day

May. 23rd, 2017 05:18 pm
malkingrey: ((default))
[personal profile] malkingrey
And some days, I just don't want to cook it.

Unfortunately, given the current state of the household exchequer, saying the hell with it and ordering take-out isn't an option. (Not that this town's take-out options are anything to write home about, anyway.) I've got tonight's dinner planned and shopped for and scheduled, so there it is. At least it's a minimal-ingredient, minimal-fuss kind of recipe -- but the mood I'm in, even the small fiddliness of removing a half-dozen uncooked Italian sausages from their casings feels like an imposition.

I can tell that Himself's cold has started moving into my system and settling in, because lethargy and a lack of initiative are how these things always take me.

In which I am quietly smug

May. 23rd, 2017 10:05 am
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
 My thirty-years-agone Spanish fluency has returned to my lips well enough to talk to the Spanish-only-speaking gardener.  And I don't mean point and grunt, I mean "Could you dig this up?" and "They told me it would die", as well as understanding the gardener's questions about what to do, and remembering past tense and conditional.

This makes me ridiculously happy.  I'm sure my accent is still terrible, but at least I can converse on basic subjects.

The Ghastly Inevitability of It All

May. 22nd, 2017 10:41 am
malkingrey: (Rain)
[personal profile] malkingrey
Himself has a cold -- the full head and chest congestion, bones and muscles aching deal.

So I know what's in my future.

(Also, it's grey and clammy again outside. Just what I needed.)

Malapropism du jour

May. 21st, 2017 12:12 pm
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
Charles Willson Peale referred to one of his son's allusive, cryptic letters as "hiraglefecks", which I immediately looked up.  Google suggested "hieroglyphics", which I'm sure is right.   I adore "hiraglefecks" as a standalone word; very satisfying to say and type. 

Peale's fascination with the dead

May. 21st, 2017 11:45 am
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
It turns out it wasn't just his child's body that interested him. He tried to buy the well-preserved body of a German Lutheran child for exhibition in his museum; he also said he'd like to stuff Benjamin Franklin's corpse -- Franklin was then living -- as a tribute.

I would adore to chase down these citations (screenshot from Wendy Bellion's Citizen Spectator:
Art, Illusion, and Visual Perception in Early National America
, c/o Google Books) someday.
A set of citations for Charles Willson Peale's interest in corpses

An article you can read with a free MyJSTOR login is "A Death in the Family", Phoebe Lloyd, Philadelphia Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. 78, No. 335 (Spring, 1982), pp. 2-13 . This sets the painting in the context of other portraits of death, gives the full poem that was used as both advertisement and trigger warning, and has interesting details on the whys of Rachel Peale's pose.

A Romantic Life indeed

May. 20th, 2017 04:39 pm
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
(from Demorest's Family Magazine, Volume 15, c/o Google Books)

A ROMANTIC LIFE.—The romantic vicissitudes of the early life of the Countess Solange De Kramer have once more become the talk of the Paris salons, and they are, indeed, so extraordinary that, used as materials for a novel, they would spoil the book by their lack of verisimilitude. One night in 1801, a little girl about one year old, was deposited in the drawer of the foundling hospital at Brest. She was dressed with much finery, and a note attached to her skirt told that her name was Solange, and that she would be reclaimed by her father. The claim was never made, however, and in due time the child was transferred to the orphan asylum to be educated there.

As she grew up she developed a most extraordinary beauty; but her intellect appeared to be very weak, and she suffered from frequent nervous fits. When she was twelve years old she was sent out into the streets to sell flowers, and her beauty and modesty attracted many people's good will; but she grew weaker and weaker and at last she died. According to French custom she was buried in an open casket, and, as it was Winter and the soil was frozen, she was laid into the grave, only covered with a thin layer of sand. During the night she awoke, and, pushing the sand away, she crept out from this grave. Not exactly understanding what had taken place, she was not so very much frightened; but in crossing the glens between the cemetery and the fortifications, she was suddenly stopped by the outcry “Qui vive,” and as she did not answer the sentinel fired, and she fell to the ground. Brought into the guard house her wound was found to be very slight, and she soon recovered ; but her singular history and also her great beauty had made so deep an impression on a young lieutenant of the garrison (Kramer) that he determined to be her protector, and sent her to one of the most fashionable educational establishments in Paris.

During the next ten years Kramer was much tossed about by the war; but when, in 1818, he returned to Paris, he found Solange a full-grown woman, not only beautiful, but accomplished and spirited, with no more trace of intellectual He married her, and for several years the couple lived happily in Paris. Meanwhile, investigations were made concerning the girl left in 1801 in the Foundling Hospital at Brest, and as these investigations were made by the Swedish ambassador, and in a somewhat official manner, they attracted some attention. Captain Kramer heard about the affair, wrote to the ambassador, and a month later the ambassador himself came in state to bring Mme. Kramer a formal acknowledgment from her father, the former General Bernadotte, afterwards King Charles XIV of Sweden. Captain Kramer and his wife went immediately to Stockholm, they were ennobled, etc., and their son has just now been appointed attaché to the Swedish legation in Paris.

Today So Far

May. 20th, 2017 05:19 pm
malkingrey: (BlueSkyClouds)
[personal profile] malkingrey
Took Himself down to Groveton for weekend duty. Came home.

Made myself a three-egg omelet with bacon, cheese, and onion for lunch.

Ran the dishwasher.

Took my brother down to the Wilderness for his evening socializing.

Picked up a couple of items for him at the Rite-Aid. Came home.

Paid the Fairpoint bill. Bank account is now once more sucking mud until next Wednesday, but at least the phone and internet will continue to flow.

I can't believe the dizzying excitement of it all.

At least it's sunny. Frost warning up for tonight, though.

An early trigger warning

May. 20th, 2017 09:55 am
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
 In 1772, Charles Willson Peale's daughter Margaret died of smallpox.  He painted a memorial portrait of her corpse lying on a pillow, prepared for burial.   In 1776 Peale expanded the portrait, adding his wife, Rachel, weeping over the baby.   The revised portrait was called "Mrs. Peale lamenting the death of her child", or alternatively "Rachel Weeping", an allusion to Matthew 2:18: "In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not."   

From the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which now owns the work:

 In 1782 Peale advertised Mrs. Peale Lamenting the Death of Her Child as a feature of his new painting room but sequestered it behind a curtain with the warning: "Before you draw this curtain Consider whether you will afflict a Mother or Father who has lost a Child."


A DIY hair color question

May. 20th, 2017 09:42 am
ellen_fremedon: overlapping pages from Beowulf manuscript, one with a large rubric, on a maroon ground (Default)
[personal profile] ellen_fremedon
Hey all! I'm dying my hair green tonight or tomorrow. The only green at Ulta was Splat Deep Emerald, which is a bluer green than I wanted, so I also picked up the yellowest blonde in the store, which was L'Oreal Superior Preference 8G. This is considered one of their non-bleaching colors but still contains some hydrogen peroxide.

I've never used a dye that contained bleach before. The Splat comes with a separate bleach product for stripping the hair, but it's meant to be applied and rinsed out before the dye goes on.

I have bronze-ish light brown hair--golder than mouse, but about the same saturation and lightness. If I want to use the L'Oreal blonde to change the hue of the Splat green, should I still do the separate bleaching stage, and then apply both colors after? Apply the blonde dye first and the green over that? Or mix them and apply them together with no pre-bleaching? I don't want to overbleach my hair, but I'm worried that the bleach in the L'Oreal on its own won't strip my hair enough for the green to take.


May. 14th, 2017 08:31 pm
malkingrey: (Rain)
[personal profile] malkingrey
So much rain.

And I ended up standing outside in it for almost two hours.

It was like this: Himself wanted to go down below to the New Hampshire RennFaire, because one of his magician buddies had an onstage gig as a performer, and had asked for Himself to come and watch his show with a critical eye. And because Himself prefers road trips with company to road trips without, I went along.

The temperature was moderate and it wasn't raining when we left town, so we went right past the umbrellas and I left my fleece jacket hanging on its hook. By the time we hit Franconia Notch it had started raining -- in fact, there was actually a dusting of snow on the upper slopes -- and by the time we hit the RennFaire site the rain was falling in a light but steadily determined fashion, and continued to do so the entire time we were there.

We'd already made up our minds to leave as soon as we'd caught Himself's friend's act, but we had an hour and a half to kill before that. And there was nowhere to hide from the rain. By the time we'd fulfilled our obligation and were ready to leave, both Himself and I were soaked and borderline hypothermic. Fortunately, Himself was wearing a cotton shirt that dried quickly once we were back in the car, and he had a spare clean Groveton EMS shirt in the back that I was able to put on in place of my sopping-wet knit turtleneck.

Our other bit of good fortune lay in getting into the Faire for $5/head instead of $15/head because of the rain, so that the length of our shoestring was increased thereby. So we went straight to the nearest Wendy's, where we filled ourselves up with hot food and drink before heading on home.

And then I made pork roast and baked sweet potatoes for dinner, and they were good.
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