Virtuoso in a Box

Dec. 21st, 2014 02:57 pm
emceeaich: A close-up of a pair of cats-eye glasses (Default)
[personal profile] emceeaich

Last night [personal profile] cynthia1960 and I got to try a restaurant by us that’s only open on the weekends. The owner’s decorated it with several working player pianos and similar.

Here’s a look at the Violono Virtuoso, which combined a player piano, and a violin. Instead of plucking, there are wheels rolling over the strings of the violin (the wheels ablate which is why there’s a little tray underneath them) to get a nice vibrato.

Image of the interior of a Violono Virtuoso showing a detail of the mechanism that plays the violin; the soundboard of the built-in piano is in the background of the image.


Dec. 21st, 2014 09:10 pm
happydork: A graph-theoretic tree in the shape of a dog, with the caption "Tree (with bark)" (Default)
[personal profile] happydork
...have given the first draft of my novel* to Awesome Flatmate K to read.

If anyone needs me, I'll be in the corner, staring at the wall and singing Taylor Swift songs off-key. Forever.

[*Not the gay footballers; the post-war magicians.]

So let's try this again!

Dec. 21st, 2014 08:42 pm
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] davidgillon
Off to Durham in the morning, possible limited connectivitity, yadda, yadda, yadda, so have a good Christmas/rest from work/whatever, folks!

Bandom recs: 1 fics & 15 art

Dec. 21st, 2014 09:06 pm
turlough: My Chemical Romance in santahats, December 2004 ((mcr) falling hard)
[personal profile] turlough
This week I've read something very short and looked at a bunch of art. (Hover over the link to get the pairing(s). Name listed first = POV character.)


First Run (or here) by [ profile] gorgeousnerd - Last year was Bandit's first run, this is Cherry and Lily's. A lovely little post-band ficlet. (340 words)


My Chemical Romance's Danger Days by [ profile] artsykd13 - Nice work.

Gerard by [ profile] bananadock - So cute.

Every Snowflake is Different by [ profile] grinland - Cute work.

Party Poison by [ profile] hauntingsilver - Cool work.

My Mexican Romance (or here) by [ profile] ine-z / [ profile] bandgirldoodle - So cute!

Gerard Way & frank & gerard by [ profile] jettblackfeeling - Wonderful works. So full of life.

hesitant alien by [ profile] kalivana - Nice work.

Bulletproof Heart by [ profile] keytaro - Cool work.

Do you believe there are aliens... by [ profile] little-twin-tricksters - So cute!

You're Gone & Low Grunge by [ profile] nikafargos - Nice works.

Gerard Way by [ profile] onceuponatime221b - Nice work.

pocket killjoys by [ profile] poppunkatbest - Cute work.

Good Morning/Good Night by [ profile] poweredbycokezero - Nice work.

The Sharpest Lives & Destroya & Give 'em Hell by [ profile] taraanand - Cool works.

Joyriding Frank & Hesitant Alien & Can you feel the heart? by [ profile] ray-tororo /[ profile] amatoriam - Cool works. Particularly the last one.

If you like any of these please remember to tell the writer/artist. Feedback is love.

All my recs can be found at [ profile] turlough.

Oh, lord, this is sooo useful

Dec. 21st, 2014 11:59 am
cynthia1960: picture of my cat (Snickers)
[personal profile] cynthia1960
Kitten Therapy: A Prescription for Stress

The Tribble Sisters aren't little bitty things any more; I get doses of teenage/twentysomething kitties now.
Something like this would be useful at no-kill shelters to help socialize the furballs. Betcha they'd find homes really fast too.

This is also like those cat clubs in Tokyo that give city dwellers furry time to enjoy if they don't have room for them at home.

Darker Days

Dec. 21st, 2014 06:16 pm
[syndicated profile] thisaintliving_feed

Posted by s.e. smith

Pomegranates are a food that fights you, which is one of the reasons I love them so. I like to work for my food, which is one of the reasons I adore things like artichokes, which actively try to hurt you as you painstakingly deconstruct them so you can eat them. I’m not quite sure what this says about me; maybe that I am stubborn or that I enjoy flirting with danger while I eat or that I appreciate being forced to slow down in at least one aspect of my life. All of these things run contrary to one of the core elements about me that I’m least proud of: I don’t like doing things that are hard.

Selecting a pomegranate is a careful game, as the fruit provides no clues and is largely inscrutable. A specimen with a rich, red, delightful colour could prove lacklustre inside, while the most dulled of fruits may in fact be delicious. Some deceive by size, luring you in only to reveal thick pith and tiny seeds. Others are heavy, but it’s all water. The perfect pomegranate is known more by sense than by external traits. Some people have the knack of choosing them, and others do not. I wouldn’t say it’s an innate skill, but sometimes it feels like it.

Once you’ve selected a pomegranate, opening it is an equally careful exercise, as you carefully slice through the pith with knives or fingernails, taking care to avoid puncturing the bright, colourful seeds within — if you do, you lose precious fruit and end up with red juices spilled all over you. Then comes the careful tearing away of the pitch, the gentle removal of the membrane, the slightly desperate, greedy consumption of the seeds, as they’ve required such pain, such labour, that there is a part of you that becomes almost frenzied when faced with the prize.

Pomegranates are one of my favourite winter fruits. Aside from their flavour, they push me into a strange, trance-like state as I pick them apart and eat them, and I find myself surprised when I fill up long before the fruit is finished, because I’ve actually had time to digest as I eat, instead of wolfing down the fruit and then feeling unexpectedly, painfully, unpleasantly full. There is something deeply pleasurable about picking at a pomegranate while I read on a rainy day, about taking one to the cliffs and thoughtfully nibbling at it as I watch the ocean, tossing pith below.

And there is something deeply tragic about opening one only to discover withered, tragic seeds with almost no flesh at all around them, or those gone to rot, a sickly-sweet smell pouring out from beneath my fingers, a slimy slush trickling out onto the table or my lap as I finally finish cracking the fruit open to access what’s inside. It makes me bitter and frustrated, mainly with myself for failing at picking the perfect fruit, the one that cracks open beautifully to yield what it keeps inside, the one that fills me with delighted glee when I finally peel back enough of the pith and membrane to glimpse the seeds, hidden like rubies inside — yes, it’s an overused metaphor, but it’s so apt.

I suppose most of us don’t like to do things that are hard, even if we claim to like challenges and things that push us to new heights. Why take the hard route when there’s an easy one? If you could have what you want handed to you, wouldn’t you take it, instead of insisting on stubbornly doing it your own way? My own unwillingness to do things that are hard infuriates me, though, because I feel it acutely as a personal failure, a part of myself that I should work at — because when things are handed to me, I feel that I don’t deserve them, and I live in guilt that I got a pass, a freebie.

For those of us to whom some things come very easily, it’s tempting to be spoilt, and to turn away from things that are difficult. For me, writing came and comes very easily, even though my abilities and skill are, of course, variable from day to day. But even from a young age, it never occurred to me to doubt my writing ability, and no one around me cast doubtful shadows upon me — even though in childhood and through my teens I actually didn’t want to be a writer, which is perhaps a story for another day, writing came as effortlessly and thoughtlessly for me as walking on level ground, and I didn’t understand why so many of my peers struggled with it. I failed to make the connection between my struggles with math in the face of others’ effortless and casual skill and the reverse, that I could be good at something that others couldn’t, or had to work hard for.

The consequence of being good at writing throughout childhood and into adulthood — I don’t deceive myself, there are many talented writers out there and I am not the only one, nor the best of them — is that I didn’t push myself to be good at other things. I didn’t push myself to be better at math. I didn’t push myself to be better at science. I didn’t push myself to be good at people, to exercise those skills that seem to come so easily to others, to be able to read emotions and handle social situations with grace and to not be clunky and terrible at every human interaction. One of the things I pledged to myself, privately, last year was that I would try to get better at people this year, and I honestly don’t know if I succeeded at all, even minutely, which I think is the most telling testimony of all — that we don’t like to do hard things, and that we lose all sense of perspective when it comes to judging whether we’re doing any better at them.

I don’t know if I got better or worse at people this year, but I do know this, on the shortest day of the year: I didn’t get good enough.

(no subject)

Dec. 21st, 2014 10:32 am
cofax7: Angel Dunnett Slashy (AtS - Seduce Men -- Infinitemonkeys)
[personal profile] cofax7
... so I'm mildly surprised that my flist did not inform me that the final episode of The Colbert Report was actually a Highlander crossover.

Flist, you have disappointed me!
[syndicated profile] geekfeminism_feed

Posted by spam-spam

  • How user research woke me up to harassment in the design community | Medium (December 19): “But then I get a bad response, and then 2 more. My heart sank. […] My immediate reaction was to play down the comments in my head, after all it was only 2 people. But then I thought back to all the stories I’d read and the endless blog posts about sexism and harassment in the digital industry. Suddenly I was faced with the realisation that a huge group of my target market think it’s a good idea and want to use my product, but don’t feel safe enough to. It’s not just a business problem I’m facing, it’s a moral one.”
  • MIT Computer Scientists Demonstrate the Hard Way That Gender Still Matters | Wired (December 19): “The AMA became, to borrow one Reddit commenter’s phrase, “a parody of what it’s actually like to be a woman working in a STEM field.””
  • Why it’s so hard to stop online harassment | The Verge (December 8): “In her column last week, Jessica Valenti wrote, “If Twitter, Facebook or Google wanted to stop their users from receiving online harassment, they could do it tomorrow.” […] Valenti assumes here that Content ID works. But Content ID and other blunt, algorithmic tools in the service of copyright enforcement are documented trainwrecks with questionable efficacy and serious free speech ramifications. In other words, Content ID and its ilk are simultaneously too weak and too strong. Their suitability in addressing copyright infringement is already deeply suspect; their suitability in potentially addressing harassment should be questioned all the more.”
  • 2015 wall calendar of women in science | SmartyWomyn on Etsy (December 17)
  • [Warning for discussion of sexual assault] Defending the indefensible: gaming’s fondness for ‘rape’ | ABC Technology and Games (December 3): “It’s  true that adolescents around the world have co-opted [the word] as a term of comprehensive dominance for their online prowess. And yet despite the incredibly broad and increasingly diverse demographic that gaming has come to represent, […] there remains a staunch obsession to hold onto the uses of words like [these].”
  • Codecracker | CastillejaDPW on Youtube (December 15): [Video] “The Dance Production Workshop Class in collaboration with the 8th grade choreography class created Codecracker. This dance was created at the all girls school Castilleja in Palo Alto, CA. This dance combines coding, technology, art, and education. Enjoy!”
  • Hilarious Christmas Song Is the Feminist Rally Cry You’ve Been Waiting For | Identities.Mic (December 17): [Video] “the Doubleclicks, a musical duo made up of sisters Angela and Aubrey Webber. Hailing from Portland, Oregon, the sisters write songs “that are all at once snarky, geeky and sweet.” This holiday season, they’ve gifted all of us with their version of a Christmas carol, only instead of sleigh bells and Santa coming down the chimney, they sing about a magic weapon for ridding the world of sexists and a fervent hope that slut-shaming dudes will be long gone this holiday season.”



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umadoshi: (hands full of light and water (roxicons))
[personal profile] umadoshi
A happy Solstice to those who celebrate!

[personal profile] bosonator is home as of Friday. He's one of those "like he was never gone" friends, although at the same time I'm overwhelmingly glad to see him because it's been so long, and very glad we get to keep him at our place for a few days before Ginny arrives. Both of them in town at once! *^^*

Now it's time to put in a couple hours of work on my current rewrite, but this afternoon there'll be holiday baking, and tonight I think there's going to be Leverage. *^^*



Anime News Network has the first revealed artwork for the upcoming My Love Story!! anime. *^^*

"The New Sailor Moon anime has changed" shows the (drastic!) differences between the broadcast and Blu-Ray art for Sailor Moon Crystal, with lots of screencaps.

Via several people, "How a Nickelodeon Cartoon Became One of the Most Powerful, Subversive Shows of 2014 ". [Spoilers for the Korra series finale, including in the actual link.]


Via a few people, "The 40 Most Important Corgis of 2014".

Via Facebook, "Capybara hot springs are back: Rodent-friendly onsen now available all over Japan".


[personal profile] juniperphoenix posted about The Complete Enneagram: 27 Paths to Greater Self-Knowledge, a new-to-me Enneagram book that sounds very interesting (by which I mean I've already bought a copy).

Via [ profile] seananmcguire, "The 5 Things a Massage Therapist Will Probably Tell You to Do to Stop Hurting".


[ profile] blythechild posted some photos of Toronto's snowfall in 1944. Eep!

Via Facebook, winter fox photos by Roeselien Raimond.


Via [personal profile] alisanne, optical illusion graffiti.

Via [ profile] rashaka, a website that translates the time of day into hexidecimal color.

Via [personal profile] yohjideranged, Cast in Bronze performing Carol of the Bells. I'll echo the Wikipedia quote [personal profile] yohjideranged included: "Cast in Bronze is a musical act, notably including one of the few portable carillons, a musical instrument consisting of 23 or more tuned bells. Mounted on a frame, the instrument is played by striking with fists and feet wooden levers that are wired to each bell’s clapper. Due to their enormous weight, carillons typically reside in towers or other permanent structures."

Via Facebook:

--Korean artist Na Young Wu drew a variety of Western fairy tale characters in manhwa style (with Disney influence on some of them, plus the inclusion of Elsa from Frozen).

--"4 Teachings of Jesus That His Followers (Almost) Never Take Seriously".

ANOTHER free book!

Dec. 21st, 2014 09:44 am
soc_puppet: You found kitten! (Robot, heart, kitten) Way to go, robot! (You found kitten!  Way to go robot!)
[personal profile] soc_puppet
For the folks out there who took advantage of yesterday's offer because you totally would've bought the book anyway but finances are really tight and you couldn't justify the expense, here is a thing:

I have bought some gift cards from Prizm Books. With Shira's special Channukah sale, these gift cards should be enough to cover the purchase of the second book. (They should also cover the purchase of the first book, even without the discount, if you happened to miss your chance yesterday.)

I will be giving a gift certificate to each of the FIRST FOUR PEOPLE to respond to this post, especially if the first paragraph applies to you (though I won't ask). Anonymous commenting is turned on, though you do need to solve a (text-based) capatcha for your comment to show up, and it will be screened initially (and will remain so if it includes personal information).

There is only one caveat: So far, I'm having trouble with the website and getting to the "Send Gift Certificate" page. (With finding it in the first place, really.) I've contacted the site admins, so hopefully this issue will be cleared up shortly, but if it does go on longer than Shira's sale, I will be purchasing a small add-on to make sure that everyone who wants to can still buy the second book, since five dollars won't quite cover it at that point.

Joyous holidays to all, and I really hope that everyone who picked up the first book enjoys/enjoyed it!


sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)

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