Feminism in Studio Ghibli

This video from The Mary Sue gets into some of the reasons why I adore Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli’s films. In particular, the way their films handle villains is something I both love to watch and struggle to emulate in my own stories.

A good villain is hard to make, and the nuanced characters who need to be outsmarted and won over, rather than killed, have become my (often out of reach) ideal.

Listen to the Epic of Gilgamesh

I’ve been listening to these readings of fragments from the Epic of Gilgamesh. I enjoy listening to mellow recordings while going to sleep. (It’s the best solution I’ve found for my insomnia.) These were pretty pleasant last night. I haven’t listening to any of the other hymns and poems yet.

What I love most is that transcripts and translations are provided with most of the recordings. Putting meaning, sound, and visual together at once makes for a more engaging experience. Of course, that’s not exactly the best trait in something meant to put me to sleep!

Pre-Spring Gardening

Yeah, okay, starting this up against might be a New Year’s resolution type thing. Just a little. :D

The last couple months of 2015 really knocked me on my ass. I’ll be posting about it a bit, but I also don’t want to dwell too much. My goal right now is to build up a new routine, for my somewhat-new life, that lets me get back to what I love while also…you know…eating.

At the moment, that means engaging with life as usual at home. With a couple light storms behind us and a big one coming this week, priority one was disking the property. Not my department personally–Mum’s run the tractor around nearly all the areas. The exciting thing about that, though, is it also means the fields will be ready for planting soon.

I planted daffodil bulbs today, but I’ve still got the second half to put in another spot. We’re trying to get up some money to order wildflower seeds for the main field. Last year’s sunflowers were something of a disappointment, so I’m keen to give something else a chance. The small front field is going to get squash and vegetables again. The real challenge: finding more tactics to use against the recurring pest problems. Bloody gophers and ground squirrels, eating my pumpkins!

Though the rain has brought up green everywhere, it’s also been very cold. It’s still solidly winter. My gardening plans are a little bit wishful thinking and a little bit groundwork for later. Being busy feels good, though, after a couple months dominated by anxious waiting.

The Brewer’s and Red-Winged blackbirds have been out in force. As are the two sparrow groups I haven’t identified confidently yet. They all like to pick through the horses’ grain, so the winter scarcity hasn’t deterred them. The collared doves have been less active than usual; I hadn’t noticed at first that they haven’t been wandering around noisily. I’m still waiting for the grackles to return. I’ve seen a few in the past couple months, but no regular presence.

Quadrantid Meteor Shower

In the wee hours between January 3rd and 4th, the Quadrantid meteor shower will peak. Between a storm building up cloud cover and an early morning Monday, I may not be able to actually watch this. This live feed might be a good alternative, though, since it’s both elsewhere and earlier. Yay for remote viewing options!

The Quadrantids are delightfully weird. They’re named for a constellation that is no longer recognized. The stars still exist, of course. Essentially, we stopped telling that story and started telling a different one. The Quadrantids, blazing across a space that used to have a formal name, are astronomical relics of a story that got lost.

Perihelion Today

During my sunrise time search for New Year’s, I stumbled on this description of a perihelion. Today, Earth is at its closest point to the Sun. It’s a separate issue from day length and season: distance instead of tilt. I had probably heard the term before; I forgot.

Upon relearning it, a corner of my brain started waxing lyrical about elliptical orbits. Drifting away, then circling back in again. It’s an idea I like. I’m the sort who will focus intense attention on something for a while, then wander off to think about something else. What makes it different from just losing interest is how I often swing back around to that thing again.

Video games, half played in a few days, will get picked up for round two months, even years, later. Hobbies learned and abandoned catch my interest again, and all the carefully packed-away supplies are broken out. Ideas percolate slowly. Interests wax and wane (to drift with my astronomical metaphors slightly).

How do you recognize the difference between a permanent loss of interest and a temporary one? What things have you drifted away from? What things have you refound? What other old interests might still be waiting, getting closer to the light again as time goes by?