Russia’s Open Book

Having an insomniac night, and find reading to be of no help in settling my mind, I switched on the tv at 4 o’clock in the morning. After flipping through the handful of channels I get on the antenna (I don’t have tv cable) I ran across this on OPB (Oregon Public Broadcasting). It’s a 2-year-old documentary hosted by the actor Stephen Fry about a handful of contemporary Russian authors. Russia kind of fascinates me after being closed off to the West for so long. It makes me wonder what we in the West have missed. The documentary website is here. I do have a couple of books by Russian contemporary writers, one fantasy (Nightwatch, by Sergei Lukyanenko, and The Stranger, by Max Frei) but haven’t gotten to them in the TBR pile.

If it makes you curious for more, and aren’t the type to read the comments, I found this guy’s blog which has much more on Russian writing and writers.

 

2016, We’re Counting on You

I gave up making New Year’s resolutions years ago. Generally, it seems a week into the new year most are already forgotten. It’s not that I don’t have goals, but sometimes the resolutions I’ve made were not all that intrinsic to my interests or that important in the long term. Lose weight? Sure. Exercise more? Sure. Who doesn’t want to do those things?

Who sticks with any of that past January? Hmm? Raise your hand. Yeah, that’s what I thought. (Ok you, in the back: pipe down. You’re an anomaly)

Still, for the first time in years, I actually have three things I am resolved on for the coming year:

  1. Read more. I signed up for the Goodreads reading challenge thingie last year, and hilariously said I was going to try to read 3o books in 2015. Counting a re-read of “Sense and Sensibility” I appear to have read seven. That’s pathetic. I stand here before you to confess my shame. I really need to make more of an effort.
  2. Write more. Gotta get on the stick there and finish the first draft of  “Revenants Within,”  sequel to “Revenants Abroad.” I also have several other projects half-begun so I need to get with it.
  3. Spend less time on Twitter and get back to posting more regularly here on the blog. Maybe even get my other website, ddsyrdal.com back up and functional. I still own the domain name, but let the site slide.

Best wishes to everyone for a healthy, happy, prosperous new year!

Here are a few recent photos:

November Collection

I can’t believe it’s been a whole month since I posted anything.

I threw in the towel on NaNoWriMo again. I’ve been sick for a week and it sort of took the wind out of my sails. I’m about 10,000 words into a new thing, my first attempt at a YA novel. But fear not, the vampires are never far from my mind and plan to get back to them ASAP because I miss my fanged friends.

Here are a few shots from this month, and I still have more to process and upload.

Super Blood Moon – September 27, 2015

SO. I had all these grand plans of driving up a local mountain to watch the eclipsed moon rise behind Mount Hood across the valley, and this was the view:

Mount Hood through haze????????????????????????????????????

Grrr. Argh.

Unbelievable haze. It was kind of a circus up there, too. I passed one area that must have had 100 cars parked in a field. I went much further up, by the substation, which wasn’t nearly as crowded. The only thing I objected to were the two teen boys kicking a soccer ball around all the people who had cameras up on tripods. But what did they care? And dogs. Oh my god, people. Leave your dogs at home when there are going to be crowds.

Anyway, eventually, close to 7:30 local time, we were able to barely make out one side of the moon. Here it is at 7:27

Super Blood Moon september 27 2015

Moon over Hood

Yeah, pretty disappointing. Darker moon over Hood

I gave up around 8:00 or so and drove home. Naturally by then it had cleared the trees, and the sky was crystal clear.

Super Blood Moon 9-27-15

And here are some shots of it setting this morning and one of Venus, aka Lucifer, star of the morning. Hail Lucifer.

(Venus) Lucifer, the Morning Star

(Venus) Lucifer, the Morning Star

Rain + Sun = Rainbow

Rainbow

Left side

Right side

Right side

Just a few shots from my morning commute. There was a double but I just couldn’t fit it all in the image. I kept wanting to stop and take pictures on the way in but didn’t have time! Grrrr. Hence some lousy framing and road signs.

Double rainbow

I love the sun on the green trees with the dark clouds behind. It’s so dramatic. These are completely unretouched except for a little cropping and compression.

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Sunrise

Ten Brides

This is a flash piece I wrote for The Future Fire’s Tenth anniversary writing contest. Even though the word “contest” is plainly stated, my brain somehow glossed over it and I didn’t realize it WAS a contest until I was contacted and told I’d tied for the win. So I’ve got a couple of lovely free books coming! Yay! So, something a little creepy as we go into Halloween season. And Blessed Mabon to all.

Ten Brides

The winter Will Gannett’s mother died, the ground was so frozen they had to wait for the spring thaw to bury her, as if the earth wasn’t ready to accept her.

In the spring, the earth gave up her dead. The hole they opened in the ground for the widow Gannett revealed a skeleton: unknown, unnamed. A trade. A new body for the old.

An ill omen, said the elders.

Soon after, like trooping fairies ten lovely women arrived in town. Within days, each was betrothed to a young man of the village. In due course the weddings were accomplished. Each of the strange beauties, while barely able to speak the local tongue, were obedient, compliant wives to the young men who could scarcely believe their good fortune.

The first to die was the miller’s son, trampled by the donkey that turned the millstone. Soon after, the parson’s son fell ill and perished. The blacksmith’s son fell into the forge and was burned alive. Within a year, all ten were dead, leaving behind wives who were soon mothers. Within days of each other, each delivered a daughter.

Gathering in the field where the ancient body was dug up and the Widow Gannett and the young husbands now lay buried, the new mothers met in a circle. In the center lay the bones of the mystery corpse. The women chanted and sang:

“This is the spell that we intone
Flesh to flesh and bone to bone
Sinew to sinew, and vein to vein,
And each one shall be whole again”

as the bones again grew muscles, sinews, blood veins, and skin. And when it was whole again, the corpse that was now a woman looked around at the women assembled around her.

“The old god is dead, and we will reign again.”

And she led them back to the village.

Autumn’s Early

After a lengthy, extremely dry summer filled with excessive heat during which the record for number of days above 90F was broken, our rainy season seems to be off to an early start. Beginning last weekend, August 28, when a large storm blew into the Pacific Northwest, disrupting the Hood-to-Coast run, and forcing campers off the beach, causing power outages, tree limbs crashing into cars and homes, it has been unseasonably cool with rain nearly every day. It doesn’t always amount to much, mostly just wetting everything down a bit, but my lawn is greening up again (I never water it in the summer). It’s in the low 40s now in the mornings, and I’ve had to break out my boots and warm clothing. Forecasts call for temps back into the upper 80s, possibly even 90 by next weekend. Well, that could change (and probably will). We’ve already had fog in the mornings, which we don’t normally see until late October, and I think last year not until November.

Mostly I’m writing this for my own benefit to keep track of when the bad weather started this rainy season. Goddess knows we need the rain and cooler temps to help fight all the fires, so I’m not complaining. It’s just in a few months, or a couple years down the road I won’t remember when the summer ended and the rainy season began. Well, we’ll see how long this lasts.

But we have had some fabulous clouds as a result.

Here’s hoping for a wetter, cooler winter than we’ve had the last couple years. I’m sorry for people who struggle to pay heating bills, but we’re running out of resources to fight wildfires that have destroyed dozens of homes.

I think I will go crochet some more hats.

Oregon Airshow 2015

I didn’t go to the airshow this year. Actually I haven’t gone in many years, but I’m close enough to the airport that I can see some of the action from my street, and the Blue Angels (when they’re here) fly out over my neighborhood to make turns and line up for various maneuvers. So herewith: a few photos I got standing in the street. The heat was too much for me after 45 minutes of being out there,  even in the shade. I don’t know how anyone could sit out at the airfield in that heat. It was 95F in the shade at my house. It had to be over 100F at the show. All photos taken July 18, 2015.

Visitors

Another suspected feral cat. He takes off like a bolt of lightning if I open the door to try to get a picture, but if I just talk to him through the screen he keeps eating. He’s so pretty. No further sightings of Socks, the black and white one. And Pumpkin is confirmed male. Progress with Pumpkin: he actually let me touch the top of his head twice while he was eating, just a quick stroke with one finger, then I backed off.

Black feral

Boston Blackie

And this guy was hanging out in the backyard all day Saturday. By all means, get comfortable.

comfy buckchowing down

And his girlfriend

7-11-15 pretty gal