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[sticky post] Hello!

Oct. 29th, 2009 | 03:00 pm

Welcome back my friends
To the show that never ends!
We're so glad you could attend
Come inside, come inside!

— Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Karn Evil 9 (1st Impression, Part II)

Hi there!

If you're reading this, you're probably just looking at my journal, perhaps even thinking about adding me as an LJ-friend; or alternatively, perhaps I just added you as an LJ-friend, and you're curious about me now. In either case, I'd like to use this opportunity to say a few things.

Trevor: You're skating the edge.
Æon: I
am the edge.

— Æon Flux

First of all, I tend to write freely about topics everything that matters to me; more distanced, "professional" entries may directly be followed by more personal ones (and vice versa), and I will, generally, openly write about all sorts of things, including philosophy, sexuality, politics and more. Some of my entries will be friends-only, others will be publicly viewable, too, and unlike other people, I don't use <lj-cut /> tags or specific "topic filters" (i.e., custom friends groups dedicated to specific topics) to shield people from things they may not want to see.

Well, as long as it's text, that is; I will cut images that aren't safe for work etc. (at least if I remember, which I might not always do!), since I wouldn't want for people to get in trouble if their boss happens to be shoulder-surfing at work. Text, though, is a different issue, and if you'll get into trouble for reading about certain topics at work, you probably shouldn't be checking your friends page at work to begin with.

He said, "I am told that when men hear its voice, it stays in their ears, they cannot be rid of it. It has many different voices: some happy, but others sad. It roars like a baboon, murmurs like a child, drums like the blazing arms of one thousand drummers, rustles like water in a glass, sings like a lover and laments like a priest."

— Mike Oldfield, Amarok (liner notes)

Second of all, concerning friending me: feel free to. There is no need to ask if it's OK to do so; everyone's welcome to, as well as to post comments etc. (as long as they're genuine: spammers etc. will not be tolerated, but that goes without saying, anyway). I may add you back if your journal looks interesting or if I know you, too, but this isn't automatic. If you do want me to add you back, engaging me and talking to me is probably the best way to go about it.

Please don't ask about being added back if I didn't do so on my own, either, unless I already know you well and you want to be able to read my non-public entries.

If I already friended you but you don't know who I am and haven't been in contact with me before, that most likely means I became aware of your journal somehow, took a look, and decided I wanted to keep up with what you're writing — "I find your ideas intriguing and wish to subscribe to your newsletter", as it were. I don't expect you to friend me back or otherwise take an interest in me, but if you do — all the better.

If what it is to be furry you still don't comprehend
Then consider this advice, my curious friend
If you're willing to respect that which you don't understand
Then come take my paw and I'll take your hand.

— from "Furry", by Croc O'Dile of TigerMUCK with help from Tony DeMatio, June 1995

Regarding commenting, BTW, I'm always happy to receive comments. However, things like "lol" are not proper punctuation, and correct spelling and grammar would be nice as well. And of course, I expect people to not be insulting or rude, but that, again, should go without saying.

That's about all I can think of for now. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

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There are some seeds

Jul. 19th, 2016 | 01:54 am

OK, as threatened promised here's an attempt at an English translation of Davíð Stefánsson's "Til eru fræ".

Til eru fræ

Til eru fræ, sem fengu þennan dóm:
að fjalla í jörð, en verða aldrei blóm.
Eins eru skip, sem aldrei landið ná,
og iðgræn lönd, er sökkva í djúpin blá.
og von, sem hefur vængi sína misst,
og varir, sem að aldrei geta kysst,
og elskendur, sem aldrei geta mæst,
og aldrei geta sumir draumar ræst.

Til eru ljóð, sem lifna og deyja í senn,
og lítil börn, sem aldrei verða menn.

There are some seeds

There are some seeds that bear a grave and heavy fate:
that never bloom but wilt, that wither and abate.
And there are also ships that never homeward flew,
and islands, lush and green, that sink in depths blue,
and hope whose soothing light extinguished long ago,
and lips that never shall sweet kiss's fire know,
and lovers that remain forevermore apart,
and never can some dreams unfold from dreamer's heart.

There is some poetry that lives and dies again,
and little children that shall never rise as men.

Like the German translation this is in Iambic hexameter. It's not perfect, but for the quick effort it is I think it's actually quite good. :)

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Manch' Samen gibt's

Jul. 18th, 2016 | 06:33 pm

I'm still learning Icelandic, and the textbook I'm currently using had a poem today, Til eru fræ by Davíð Stefánsson frá Fagraskógi, which was so nice I ended up not just reading it but also crafting a translation. And of course I'd like to share that, so here you go:

Til eru fræ

Til eru fræ, sem fengu þennan dóm:
að fjalla í jörð, en verða aldrei blóm.
Eins eru skip, sem aldrei landið ná,
og iðgræn lönd, er sökkva í djúpin blá.
og von, sem hefur vængi sína misst,
og varir, sem að aldrei geta kysst,
og elskendur, sem aldrei geta mæst,
og aldrei geta sumir draumar ræst.

Til eru ljóð, sem lifna og deyja í senn,
og lítil börn, sem aldrei verða menn.

Manch' Samen gibt's

Manch Samen gibt's, dem schweres Los ist auferlegt:
daß in der Erde Schoß nie jungen Trieb er schlägt.
Auch gibt es Schiffe, die nie sich're Häfen seh'n,
und Länder, reichbegrünt, die in der See vergeh'n,
und Hoffnung, deren Schein vor langer Zeit verblaßt',
und Lippen, die niemals ein zarter Kuß erfaßt.
Einander bleibt allzeit manch' Liebespaar verhüllt,
Und mancher teure Traum wird nimmermehr erfüllt.

Manch' Dichtkunst gibt's, die lebt und sterben will alsdann,
Und manches kleine Kind wächst nie zum Mann heran.

I had to change the meter to make it fit; my translation is a Iambic hexameter (the original is a Iambic pentameter), but it stays true to the original's evocative images and manages to flow and rhyme well, and I'm really quite happy with it, if I say so myself.

Perhaps I should consider a career translating poetry. :P

EDIT: no English translation yet, BTW, though I'm sorta toying with the idea of attempting one. "And islands, lush and green, that sink in depths blue..."

EDIT 2: English translation's done.

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More Skyrim fan fiction

Jul. 17th, 2016 | 05:24 pm

I played Skyrim again for the first time in weeks last week. Coming back to exactly the same spot where I'd left the Dragonborn felt odd to me; lots had happened to me since then, yet for her no time had passed at all. But I wondered, and ended up writing the following piece of fanfic that I edited into something publishable today now.

"Das hat sich ja gelohnt."

Mit einem zufriedenen Grinsen verstaute Lydia den ledernen Beutel mit den Goldstücken unter ihrem Brustpanzer und trat aus dem Schatten der Terrasse hinaus in die warme Nachmittagssonne, auf den Übungsplatz hinter Jorrvaskr. Zwei der Gefährten Ysgramors waren gerade dabei, sich in einem freundschaftlichen Kampf zu messen – unter den Helmen und Rüstungen meinte sie Farkas und Njada Steinarm zu erkennen –, aber die meisten saßen lediglich herum, rissen derbe Witze und tranken Met. Einige winkten, andere zwinkerten Lydia zu, die beides grinsend erwiderte, bevor sie sich zu ihrer Freundin umwandte.

Oglala war ihr aus dem Haus und in die Sonne gefolgt, dann aber stehengeblieben. Ihr Gesicht hatte einen gedankenverlorenen Ausdruck angenommen, und sie blickte ins Leere, als Lydia wieder zu ihr trat und sie ansprach. "Na, was ist denn mit dir? Kommst du?"

Die erwartete Antwort blieb aus; Oglala schaute durch Lydia hindurch, schien sie nicht wahrzunehmen. Lydia tätschelte ihrer Gefährtin die Schnauze. "Hallo! Jemand zuhause?" Die Schnurrhaare der hochgewachsenen Khajiitfrau zuckten ob der Berührung, dann kräuselte sich ihre Nase, und geschlitzte bernsteinfarbene Katzenaugen richteten einen nun klareren Blick auf Lydia. "Was?"

Lydia lachte, und auch die versammelten Gefährten, die die Szene mit einem Stirnrunzeln verfolgt hatten, lächelten und entspannten sich wieder. Niemand hätte gerne gesehen, daß Oglala etwas passierte; seit dem Tod von Kodlak Weißmähne war sie als der neue Herold angenommen worden, aber mehr noch als das waren ihr auch fast alle Mitglieder der Gefährten in Freundschaft verbunden. So groß die Skepsis anfangs gewesen war, so sehr mochten doch mittlerweile alle die Drachengeborene, ihre Kunstfertigkeit mit der Klinge, ihre unverstellte Offenheit, und ihre Trinkfestigkeit.

Jetzt schüttelte die Khajiitfrau den Kopf und fuhr sich mit einer Pfote durch ihre Rastazöpfe, bevor sie sich auf einem großen Stein niederließ. Lydia setzte sich neben sie, wandte sich dann dem Kampf zu, der mittlerweile fortgesetzt worden war, und wartete geduldig. Schließlich gähnte Oglala ausgiebig, stellte ihr beeindruckendes Raubtiergebiß zur Schau, und schloß dann in der Sonne die Augen. "Sag' mal... welcher Tag ist heute eigentlich?"

Lydia lachte. "Was für eine Frage! Der fünfte Tag im Monat der zweiten Aussaat immer noch, so wie's der Ausrufer heute morgen verkündet hat. Was hast du denn gedacht?"

Oglala nickte. "Ich... hätte schwören können, es wäre schon später im Jahr. Was haben wir heute gemacht?"

Lydia warf ihr einen halb belustigten, halb skeptischen Seitenblick zu. "Willst du mich etwa auf den Arm nehmen? Wir sind heute Morgen aus Rorikstatt aufgebrochen, sind schnurstracks zu den Gefährten geritten, haben den Pelz dieses menschenfressenden Säbelzahnviehs abgeliefert, wie's vereinbart war, und unseren Anteil an der Bezahlung bekommen. Und jetzt sitzen wir hier hinter Jorrvaskr in der Sonne."

Oglala rieb sich mit einer Pfote Augen und Nasenrücken. "Wie seltsam. Ich erinnere mich wohl an all diese Dinge, aber bei den Neunen, ich hätte geschworen, daß sie schon Wochen zurückliegen. Ich war..." Sie brach ab und atmete tief die klare Luft ein, seufzte dann. "Ich war in einer riesigen Stadt, wo niemand niemanden kannte. Die Häuser waren riesig, und überall magische Artefakte. Ich habe einem... Jarl gedient, glaube ich, aber nicht mit dem Schwert, sondern mit dem Federkiel, so wie Farengar. Abends war ich alleine in meinem Haus." Erneut seufzte sie, schüttelte dann den Kopf, als wolle sie den Gedanken verscheuchen, und schlug die Augen auf und betrachtete ihre Umgebung: den staubigen Übungsplatz unter dem wolkenlosen Azurhimmel des ausklingenden Sommers; die steinernen Mauern Weißlaufs dahinter, die seit der Schlacht um die Stadt hier und da bröckelten; den Monahven mit seinem schneebedeckten, nebelverschleierten Gipfel, der ehrfurchtgebietend über dem Land thronte, während geringere Gipfel ihn umdrängten, ihm huldigten, als sei er der Kaiser ganz Tamriels. "Es muß wohl ein Traum gewesen sein."

Lydia knuffte sie in die Seite, was aber nur ein lautes Klonk hervorrief, als Panzerhandschuh und Rüstung aufeinanderprallten. "Ich weiß nicht, ob du letzte Nacht zuviel getrunken hast oder zuwenig, aber ich weiß, was du jetzt brauchst. Warte mal." Umständlich erhob sie sich und verschwand im Inneren von Jorrvaskr; kurze Zeit später erschien sie wieder in der Tür, gefolgt von Tilma, die in respektvollem Abstand ein großes Tablett trug, darauf zwei gewienerte Zinnhumpen und etliche Flaschen besten Mets. Oglalas Ohren richteten sich auf, und sie grinste, als die Dienerin ihr einschenkte. "Danke, Tilma."

Die so Angesprochene nickte freundlich und zog sich dann unauffällig zurück, während die Drachengeborene einen tiefen Zug nahm. "Aah. Ja, das habe ich gebraucht." Sie rutschte von ihrem Stein herunter ins sonnenwarme Gras und lehnte sich zurück; Lydia tat es ihr gleich und legte ihrer Gefährtin einen Arm um die Schulter, lehnte sich an sie. Der seltsame Traum war schon vergessen, und so saßen sie noch Stunden, folgten dem Kampf und genossen die Wärme der Sonne ebenso wie die des Mets.

I've used the German names for places etc. here for the most part, BTW, but I think most are self-explanatory; the only one that's not is Monahven, but that's the name of the Throat of the World in the dragon language. I considered using a more direct translation, but they all sounded forced, or silly, or both, and in any case I think the Dragonborn might well use the dragon language here and there.

No title yet, BTW, but maybe I'll think of something.

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365 days of SL, just for fun 26

Jul. 4th, 2016 | 11:49 am

365 days of SL, just for fun 26:

(Click for larger — 1920x1033 PNG, 2545 KiB)

moth_wingthane recently joked about "Beware of Wolf" signs – I don't know in what context anymore – and (jokingly) suggested I should get one. It turns out you can indeed get them, but not being willing to spend real money, I thought I'd just make one in SL. Uploading a texture is only 10 L$ (about 0.04 USD), after all; and of my 3D modelling skills I'm justifiably, uh, modest. :P

In any case I made a standing sign using rusted metal textures, and put it up next to my bedroll at the Casa Del Moth. It even has bolts holding the sign proper in place, though you can't really see them in the screenshot. :)

If you want a copy of this (or another, smaller sign I made), just let me know in-world and I'll be happy to hand 'em out.

Location: FP Enigma (7, 129, 21) (Koyaanisqatsi)

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Two Norwegian jokes

Jul. 2nd, 2016 | 11:34 am

Two Norwegian jokes I heard recently and don't want to keep myself from inflicting on all y'all:

A Norwegian, a Dane and a Swede made a bet who could endure the stench of a pig sty the longest. They all entered together.
After two minutes, the Dane came running out.
After five minutes, the Norwegian came tumbling out.
After ten minutes, all the pigs came running out.

Q: How do you recognize an extroverted Norwegian?
A: He's looking at your shoes rather than his.


Tags: ,

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R.I.P. Bud

Jun. 28th, 2016 | 11:35 am

Per kalogrenant — it is my sad duty to report that one of my favorite actors just died last night: Carlo Pedersoli, better known as Bud Spencer.

Image: MichelB88 @ Wikimedia; CC-BY-SA 4.0

He's best known for his comedic spaghetti westerns, of course, but he was a gifted man of many talents who was (among other things) an actor, legal scholar, Olympic swimmer, stuntman, inventor, singer and composer, author, fashion designer, music producer, water polo player, airline founder/owner, and more.

Here's to you, Bud.

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Unusual Definitions / Words That Don't Exist But Should

Jun. 25th, 2016 | 01:13 pm

From the list of Unusual Definitions™:

rustic bunting, n.

A spontaneous romantic interlude on a countryside ramble.

And from the list of Words That Don't Exist But Should™:

longcut, n.

An intentional detour; the "scenic route".

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Looking for a new phone

May. 18th, 2016 | 03:13 pm

I might be in the market for a new mobile phone.

The reason's simple: people I know in real life are starting up a WhatsApp group to keep in touch, and I don't want to be left out. But my old Nokia 5800 running SymbianOS doesn't do WhatsApp, and while there is a desktop version it requires you to have it installed on a phone as well. (The desktop version will display a QR code that you will have to scan using the WhatsApp app on your phone. If you don't have a phone, or if your fun doesn't have a camera, or if it can't run WhatsApp, you can't use WhatsApp on the desktop either.)

So, what do I get?

Last year at CFz a Danish fur (you know who you are :)) showed me his new Blackberry Passport, which I thought was a rather nice phone — I've always liked physical keyboards on phones anyway, all the way back to the Nokia 9210 Communicator (which I personally never had, mind). Leinir also noted that the Passport runs Android apps, which is a plus, even though WhatsApp is also available as a native BlackBerry app. The downside? The phone's very expensive, going for 400-500 EUR at the moment, without a contract. Yowch.

There's other Blackberry phones with physical keyboards, of course: the Classic (~300 EUR), Q10 (~175 EUR) and Q5 (discontinued). They should all be suitable for WhatsApp, as well as email etc. (which is what I'd really want; I don't care about playing games or watching movies on a phone), but cannot run Android apps.

On the other end, there's the Blackberry Priv, the first Blackberry actually running Android rather than Blackberry OS — a rather fancy phone from the looks of it, but even more expensive, going for about 650 EUR. Double yowch.

This leaves me in a bit of a bit. I'd like a phone with a physical keyboard, which I think is uncommon with other brands, but let's face it, Blackberry OS is a dead-end at this point, just like Symbian. Worse, while WhatsApp is available for Blackberry OS, e.g. Telegram is not; I might want to use that at some point (I think there's a CFz staff group, for instance), and I'd rather not have to buy another new phone a few years down the road. OTOH AFAIK the Priv is currently the ONLY Blackberry phone running Android.

So it seems like my requirements, namely basically

  • physical keyboard,
  • runs Android,
  • affordable

are mutually incompatible. Meh.

I've mentioned contracts before, and that's of course something else I'd have to look into. In fact I might get the phone for free then; OTOH I'd pay more for the contract than for the phone. (Contracts for the Priv, say, appear to start at 50 EUR/month, running for at least 24 months.) But OTOOH, I'd also have to pay with a prepaid card, so it's unclear to me right now how the numbers would work out in the end. (My gut feeling is that a contract would, all things considered, be more expensive despite being designed to appear cheaper.)

So, any ideas?

Perhaps I should just drop my "physical keyboard" requirement (I'll admit that's really just for the "cool/unusual" factor anyway). Or perhaps I should be looking for a used phone first.

Actually, I might as well as ask here. Since there's presumably people who have contracts and get new phones every few years reading this, do any of you have any older phones (Blackberry or not) lying around you'd like to part with?

If so, let me know! :) I'm sure we can work something out.

Alternatively, if you have other thoughts or recommendations, let me know below, too.

EDIT: I've since learned two things: one, there apparently is a Symbian client for WhatsApp after all; and two, both that and the Blackberry version will be discontinued at the end of 2016, whatever that means in practice.

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The Black Door

May. 16th, 2016 | 11:36 am

Here's another Skyrim fanfic fragment, creatively titled The Black Door and (mostly) based on real events:

"What... is life's greatest illusion?"

The toneless whispered words hung in the air even as Oglala removed her palm from the black door. The khajiit stood motionless for a few moments, then began stroking her chin. She had removed her mask for the day, a rare display; usually she was not seen without it, but the day had been too nice, sunny and surprisingly warm, and the ragtag bandits littering the coast knew better than to bother the Dragonborn. A light, pleasant breeze tugged at her dreadlocked hair now, and her brow furrowed as she pondered the question; she had never been much of a thinker.

After a few minutes of silent deliberation, she placed her hand on the door again. The tarnished metal was cold to the touch, and strangely oily; it drew her in, threatened to pull her toward a terrible unknown, as if a black writhing mass of eels were dragging her down a lightless well. She dispelled the thought with a shake of her head, then steeled herself and firmly announced, "the one where you saw a lady in half!"

There was an almost palpable pause. The waves of the cold seas sloshed back and forth, soothing and rhythmic; seagulls circled lazily overhead or bobbed on the waters. The spiky grass growing in the coarse black sand waved in the breeze as the Dragonborn stood confidently and waited.

Finally, the door spoke again, disapproval resonating in its ghostly disembodied voice. "You are SO not worthy." Oglala grinned in spite of herself and cast a quick glance at Lydia, who was trying very hard to suppress a giggle; then the khajiit stuck out her tongue and blew a raspberry. A fine mist of cat saliva descended on the unmoving, unmoved metal like dew on mountain flowers on a cool spring morning, and as the Dragonborn remounted her horse and rode off towards Dawnstar with her companion, only the echos of their shared laughter remained behind.

If you've played Skyrim, you'll probably understand it alright. If not, let me say that in the general area of Dawnstar, at the coast of the Sea of Ghosts, there's a disused sanctuary belonging to the Dark Brotherhood (the assassins' guild). The Black Door leading inside asks the above question, and if you don't know the right answer, you only get a choice of various silly replies, among them "um... the one where you saw a lady in half?"[1]. The door will then inevitably reply "you are not worthy", and refuse to open for you.

I've always imagined that it would be a bit less dispassionate than it is in the game, though, when faced with a certain khajiit. :)

  1. As well as "Dreams are reality, and reality is really a dream?", and – my second favorite – "Being happily married?". On a side note, if you opt to destroy the Dark Brotherhood (like I did) rather than joining them, the Dawnstar Sanctuary will remain permanently inaccessible to you.

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