Archive for May, 2013


Year 6 Day 193

Kilimanjero, MorguefileSnow! At the Equator! How have I missed this?

Of course it’s high—very high. I can’t stay this high long without altitude sickness. But it’s the first snow I’ve seen in years.

I decided to map more of the landmarks in the interior of the continent. I find flying is easier the more I do it, so I started by teleporting to the equatorial east coast and flying west, pausing to use the stars to get coordinates whenever I saw a place I thought I might want to visit again.  It took remarkably little time to spot a snow-covered mountain.

I was night flying, to avoid the heat, but I won’t need to worry about that on this mountain!

I think I will go back in daylight and see if this snow, like the rare snowfalls we had when I was a child, will pack into snowballs.

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Here are the contexts of quotes tweeted between May 23 and May 29.

Fortune's Fool cover“You won’t have to depend on anyone else to tell you what to do after this.” Fortune’s Fool, by Mercedes Lackey. Katya to Yulya, suggesting that once she is free, she will still be able to think for herself.

“Even sheep know not to grow much wool in the desert.” Fortune’s Fool, by Mercedes Lackey. Lyuba, commenting on the wool uniforms worn by the mercenaries in the desert climate created by the Jinn.

“Don’t they deserve a chance to repent and reform?” Fortune’s Fool, by Mercedes Lackey. Sergei, explaining why the evil Jinn was imprisoned in a bottle rather than simply dropped down a volcano. (Though I’m not sure that would have killed him, as he appears to be a fire spirit.)

SnowQueen “It was just him and his own thoughts, and he was finding that an uncomfortable experience.” The Snow Queen  by Mercedes Lackey. Kay has always been the center of attention, and he is finding that being left to himself to do what he wishes, without company, is something he doesn’t like.

“Not every tale has a happy ending, after all.” The Snow Queen by Mercedes Lackey.  Some of the Tales forced by the Tradition were tragedies.

“Wishes were dangerous things.” The Snow Queen by Mercedes Lackey.  Aleksia, whose job as Fairy Godmother largely consists of handling the results of “be careful what you wish for.”

“It’s the instability that lets you maneuver.” Tourist Trap by Sue Ann Bowling. Roi is discussing the hang gliders, but this is true of a lot of things.

Graduation photoSorry for the size of this 50-year old graduation photo; my laptop apparently doesn’t agree with wordpress. Ever since I left home photos are centered and large, no matter what I tell it.

In Fairbanks the sun rose this morning at 3:46 and will set 20 hours and 6 minutes later at 11:52. The days are still getting longer, but not as fast; tomorrow will be only 6 hours 30 sec longer than today. Temperature? As of right now, 5 am Alaska time, it’s 48 °F but the forecast says 81°F for the high. Again, I’m not experiencing this. I’m in Boston (well, Cambridge) for my 50th Harvard reunion. Here it gets dark at night and I can enjoy the unusual combination of warm temperatures and dark skies. (Well, it’s supposed to be warm by the end of the week.) The day is only 14 hours 58 minutes long here. It’s warmed up, according to what’s on line–forecasts high73°F  today, and it’s already (9 am local time) 54 °.

That said, the skies are clear, I am hooked up to wifi, and as soon as I get some essential shopping done I’ll check on and answer comments from yesterday.

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I’m getting toward the end of the snippets I plan to post from this scene in War’s End, but I still have a few weeks to go before I switch to my published works. Ginger is speaking, and she’s just said that that young a baby — Michelle’s only a month old — could not possibly mange the energy and momentum matching required for a smooth teleport.

Dark Matter Ring, Hubble“That’s why we landed a bit apart and moving relative to our surroundings. Just getting us all here alive on pure instinct—wow! She’s Inner Council material, I bet. Here, Coralie, try this.” She handed Coralie a bladder-like object with a nipple.

Michelle obviously considered the bladder’s contents a poor substitute for her mother’s milk, but she was too hungry to hold out for long. “Give her here,” Madame Irela suggested. “I’ve raised four of my own and helped with ten grandchildren, and I’ve had plenty of experience with that kind of feeding.”

At least Coralie’s getting a break from almost non-stop nursing, though she’s still stuck with figuring out what to do.

There are lots of us posting snippets of our work today. Click on the logo at the top for Weekend Writing Warriors; on the logo at the bottom for the Snippet Sunday facebook page. Again, I’ll be really late getting around. I won’t be spending as long in the air today (Ithaca to Boston) but have no idea what internet connection will even be possible at my 50th Harvard reunion.

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Year 6 Day 151

Lioness, MorguefileLittle Gnu is walking again, and even running, though I doubt he will ever have his old speed or agility. Unlike Giraffe, who worked well with Patches, he seems unable to grasp the idea of hunting with a non-human partner. But without hunting partners he cannot hunt mammals effectively, so we were mostly eating fish and small game we could snare.

We did need hides, so I took to stripping the hides off fresh lion kills. At first I mostly relied on a local pride, counting on my warnoff to keep them away long enough for me to separate the hide telekinetically and then leave the carcass to them. Then I realized that they were actually backing off their kills as soon as I appeared, apparently hoping that I would strip the hides and give them easier access to the meat! After some discussion with Gazelle as to the most desirable parts of the carcass, I now teleport some of the better meat as well as the hides back to our home. If the predators are benefiting from my removing the hides, it is only fair that they pay something!

I have also started rotating which species and which individuals or groups of predators I target.

Little Gnu may not be able to hunt, but we are amassing so many tools that I suspect he will do quite well giving them to more able hunters. These people do not seem to have trade as such, but they gain status by giving gifts, and generally are given gifts in return. Meat is a prized gift, but so are exceptionally well-made tools. I’ve seen a couple of individuals who are crippled to some extent so specializing, and there is no reason Little Gnu cannot become one of them.

Quotes from Tolkien

These are the quotations tweeted from May 16 through May 22. All but the last are from The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Map of Eriador“Clothes are but little loss, if you escape from drowning.” Tom Bombadil, after he rescues the hobbits from the burial chamber in the barrow.

“I think you are not really as you choose to look.” Frodo to Strider, in the Prancing Pony when Strider first offers himself as a guide.

“All hat is gold does not glitter.” The first line of a poem made by Bilbo about Aragorn, included in Gandalf’s note to Frodo. The whole poem (by Tolkien) is:
“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not touched by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”

“I think that one of his spies would seem fairer and feel fouler.” Frodo to Strider, after the hobbits have accepted him as a guide.

“I hope the thinning process does not go on indefinitely, or I shall become a wraith.” Frodo, joking about his diminishing waistline in the wilderness.

“It is also as good a way of saying ‘here we are’ as I can think of, bar shouting.” Sam, when Strider suggests building a fire in the dell by Weathertop. This was very much changed in the movie.

“Stupidity isn’t illegal.” Bowling, “Horse Power.” Roi’s comment on how hard it is to prove that the Company is trying to force the colonists into debt slavery instead of just being stupid.

front yard 5:18:13In Fairbanks, the sun rose this morning at 4:09 and will set 19 hours and 19 minutes later at 11:28 this evening. It won’t really get dark in North Pole, but I’m not in North Pole today. I’m in Ithaca, New York where the sun rose at 5:40 this morning and will set at 8:25 this evening. If it’s clear tonight (against the odds) I’ll be able to see the stars, because it gets dark at night while staying warm. After 50 years in the Fairbanks area, that’s a novelty.

Back home it’s still freezing nights, though it’s warming up quite a lot in the day time. I’d hoped to have the mints planted before I left, or at least leave them out hardening, which I’d certainly be doing most of the years I’ve been here. This year I decided to leave all of the herb plants indoors. I hope my plant sitter waters them correctly! It has finally warmed up. At not quite 8 am in North Pole, it’s 27 degrees F.

Here in Ithaca, it’s 72 degrees, trees are green, and flowers are blooming or even past. Some photos I took this morning:

Ithaca Falls closeup 52113

Lilacs toward the end of blooming, this morning in Ithaca

Lilacs toward the end of blooming, this morning in Ithaca

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Welcome back for another snippet from War’s End. The big question for all of them (aside from how to stay alive and get home) has been how they got from the ship (which was getting decidedly unfriendly) to the surface of Rakal.  Now they may have that answer, though the problem of survival is still there.

Hodge 301 cluster, Hubble“Lyra said if she were frightened enough she might teleport to me. But ….”

“Colo was still after her!” Audi exclaimed. “She went farther to get away from him, and since she wouldn’t leave you, and we were all in physical contact, she brought all of us along. No wonder she’s hungry!”

“Poor baby,” Ginger said as she rummaged in her kit. “Nothing wrong with you, Coralie—no Human mammary system could keep up with the energy demands of a R’il’noid baby who’s just teleported that much mass. No wonder she couldn’t quite manage the energy and momentum matching.”

For more snippets, click on the logo at the top of the page to get to the list for Weekend Writing Warriors, and that at the bottom of the page for the facebook page for Snip Sunday.

I’ll be slow getting around today (most will be next week, if at all) because I’m taking off in a plane about the time this goes live at midnight. (The only way to get connections out of Alaska is via the red-eye.) If I make my connections, I’ll get to upstate New York (Ithaca) well into the afternoon and I am not going to arrive in any condition to be surfing the internet and leaving coherent comments.

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Year 6 Day 105

ObsidianAlmost any stone will do for pounding, Little Gnu assures me, but for tools to cut, the stone and how it is shaped depends on what is to be cut. Most of the cutting tools he showed me were some form of microcrystalline quartz: chalcedony, flint, jasper or even agate. A few decorative pieces, more for showing off or for grave offerings than for use, were of colored quartz. But his real prize, used only for the most delicate of tasks, was a carefully chipped piece of obsidian as sharp as any steel knife.

“The stone is rare,” he told me, “and not easy to work. Sometimes I can arrange to trade a worked piece for a much larger piece of the raw material. But sometimes a thorn or a spear is driven into the body, and this is the best kind of knife for cutting it out.”

“It is also,” Gazelle remarked, “the best thing for cutting hides. When I can get my hands on it.”

It took me a moment to remember that Little Gnu was not at the gather the year I presented them with obsidian. “Would you like some raw stone to work?” I asked. “I know where I can find some, and it would be easy enough to get it. You could make knives while you cannot walk well enough to hunt.”

He was delighted at the suggestion, and so was Gazelle. “If he has more of that stone, perhaps I could have a knife of my own,” she said, “just to use for cutting tanned skins.”

Quotes from Anne McCaffrey

These are the contexts of the quotes tweeted between May 9 and May 15.

Cover, The Dolphins of Pern“I know it is not the truth, and I say so.” The Dolphins of Pern, by Anne McCaffrey. Master Fandarel is contradicting rumors he knows are not true, that the dragonleaders are dragging their heels about settling the Southern Continent.

We intend to talk to you or at you or at you, but you would be wise to pay attention.” The Dolphins of Pern, by Anne McCaffrey. Larad, speaking for the Lords when they confront Toric.

Cover, the Skies of Pern“I sing the songs of old so that the young do not forget the past.” The Dolphins of Pern, by Anne McCaffrey.  The Tillek (Head of the dolphins) in response to Seball (Masterharper) saying she has much the same position as he has.

“When your Master calls, you go.” The Dolphins of Pern, by Anne McCaffrey.  Readis’s new master and teacher is the Tillek, and she has just called him to join her.

“Stars did not change their courses.” The Skies of Pern, by Anne McCaffrey. Shankolin, one of the conspirators against AIVAS, rehearsing to himself what his father taught him.

“He had a duty to perform, a wrong to right, and a theory he must confirm or forget. The Skies of Pern, by Anne McCaffrey Shankolin again, justifying the terrorism he is planning.

“Maybe I can do something about it when I’m older, but not alone. Tourist Trap, Sue Ann Bowling. Roi dislikes more than one thing about the Confederation, but he knows no one will listen to someone as young as he is.