(no subject)

Oct. 20th, 2017 01:54 pm
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
Cordelia got home about 1 a.m. I think she enjoyed the concert (Imagine Dragons) in spite of several anxiety spikes. It means that she and I each only got about three and a half hours of sleep. I let her go to bed without even brushing her teeth. My impression is that they'd have been back here a good bit earlier, but they got stuck in the parking structure for more than half an hour after the concert.

I went back to bed after Cordelia left for school. I slept another three or four hours (not sure when I actually fell asleep). I still want more sleep, but Cordelia will be home in an hour.

Rumors where Scott works are that there may be an opening for a supervisor on third shift. If there is, he wants to apply and thinks he has a good chance of getting it. Both of us have mixed feelings about it, but getting a supervisory slot on either second or third shift is the only path to advancement from where he is. The times he's applied for jobs off the factory floor, the decision has always come down to him and one other person who has supervisory experience. Even when supervisory experience isn't relevant for the position, it matters. The fact that supervisors make more money matters, too, but they get more mandatory overtime to go with it because there has to be a supervisor there if anybody's working.

It would mean that he and I would never sleep at the same time and that he'd no longer see Cordelia for that little bit of time before school (he never used to when she was getting up for a later start time). Another downside is that he and I wouldn't intersect for meals very often-- I'd eat breakfast before he got home and both lunch and dinner while he was asleep. I'd need to alter my daytime activities a lot so as not to wake him when playing music or watching DVDs. He thinks that I can do more than I did while he was on that shift temporarily, but we'd have to experiment a bit to find the parameters.

He did tend to get more sleep when he was (temporarily) on third shift and so would be more awake/energetic in the evenings, and it meant being able to deal with his medical appointments without taking time off.

Post on Omniscient POV

Oct. 20th, 2017 01:34 pm
sartorias: (Default)
[personal profile] sartorias
Posting on the fly here--workshop still going on.

But recently Cat Rambo read my book Inda and asked me
>for a mini-interview on omni POV
. A subject I am always intensely interested in discussing.

Friday Five

Oct. 20th, 2017 05:49 pm
lost_spook: (Dracula)
[personal profile] lost_spook
From [community profile] thefridayfive:

1. What book frightened you as a young person?
I don't know. I can think of TV things that did, and books I didn't like, or that left an unpleasant taste behind, one way or another, but I don't remember being terrified of anything in a book. I was always on the wimpish side in my reading, just in case something would scare me.

ETA: If it counts, when I was 11, our class tutor read us a Sweeney Todd story, and that definitely scared me!


2. If you had to become a ‘living book (i.e. able to recite the contents of a book cover to cover upon request – reference Fahrenheit 451), what book would it be?
I would prefer not to become a living book, as that sounds very uncomfortable for me and everyone else around me, so I'll go for Love That Dog because it's about the shortest book I know. (It's also good, though, and contains bonus poetry.)


3. What movie or TV show scared you as a kid?
The BBC Miss Marple (Nemesis in particular), and I do mean Joan Hickson. She sprayed somebody in the face with insecticide. Also some random thing where a cake was poisoned that I saw when I was four, that I think was some old b&w film comedy and was the worst/scariest thing ever. Also when I was about four, I was scared of the theme music to Doctor Who and when it came on would stick my head under a cushion and yell for someone to turn it off. So, ironically, I put an end to DW-watching in my house for about six or seven years, until I got into it myself. (It only ever scared me in the good way after that.) Also probably, as it turns out, Assignment Six of S&S, and that episode of Bergerac where Alfred Burke was so good he had to murder people. And Fraggles! Fraggle Rock was pure nightmare fuel. I still shudder if I see or hear of a Fraggle. The weasels in the (stop-motion) Wind in the Willows! TV was full of terrifying things when I was small.


4. What movie (scary or otherwise) will you never ever watch?
I am very wimpish about horror! It would be quicker to give a list of things I would watch, although that would still be far too long for a meme. But nothing that's primarily a gore-fest, anyway, unless I had to for some reason. I've been learning lately to be a little less wimpish in my watching, although only a little so far, and it's paid off.


5. Do you have any phobias?
Nothing at the level of a phobia, but I am scared of the future, fish, and over-eating (and poisoned cake, see above). And shop-window dummies.

OpenID and Livejournal

Oct. 20th, 2017 05:33 pm
[personal profile] fifty_fifty posting in [community profile] getting_started
Hi,

I have been using OpenID in order to comment on LJ communities as I don't want to have an LJ account for obvious reasons.

I used to be able to log in just fine and post comments and create posts etc. But I recently got a new computer and went to log in and comment and it told me I needed to validate my email address. So I clicked through to a link and then clicked the link that was in the email that LiveJournal sent to my email address.

When I click this link in the validation email, it takes me to a page titled:

"Please, verify that you are human"
When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.

Then there's a continue button to click on. I click the page and it looks like it's doing something, but it takes me back to the same page again and I remain unverified and now unable to comment or post on any communities.

Any ideas as to how I can get LJ to actually verify the email address for my OpenID account? Thanks!
lannamichaels: Astronaut Dale Gardner holds up For Sale sign after EVA. (Default)
[personal profile] lannamichaels
1) make the days REALLY REALLY BIG because of course I need to know the calendar day. But not month...

1a) remove the month from the day heading, because of course I don't need to know what month a day is in (it does this even on the "month changes during the week" weeks, going from 31 (for October) to 1 (for November), whyyyyy)

2) make the time of day REALLY REALLY SMALL because of course I don't need to know what times things are

3) decide to get REALLY REALLY CONFUSED about how to handle dual calendar systems, even though it had no issue with that before



note: the "all day events" section is tall and mostly empty in the Old Google Calendar one because further on in the week, I have a lot of stacked all day things; that's my RL calendar. The new version is the fandom calendar, which has much fewer things cluttering it up


Old google calendar:
google calendar old version


New google calendar:
google calendar new version

If...

Oct. 20th, 2017 12:10 pm
zhelana: (potter - hermione pissed)
[personal profile] zhelana
If you could have one person alive today call you for advice who would it be?
[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

Putting this behind a cut given the “Guy In Your Office Who Gives Weird Backrubs And Ends Every Sentence With ‘That’s What She Said’ Is Totally #IBelieveYou About Your #MeToo Social Media Posts” and “Pretty Much Every Movie You Loved In The 1990s Is Now Kinda Gross To Think About” week we’ve had.

Dear Captain Awkward,

I’m a lady who has been friends with this guy for about a decade. He moved away to a nearby city a few years ago for post doc work so most of our conversations are through WhatsApp and Skype. A couple times a year we’ll visit and sleep on each other’s couches. We’re both unattached hetero-ish opposite gendered folk, but I have talked about how I’m basically asexual and never looking for anyone and he’s looking for someone to marry and have babies with. So that’s been discussed while neatly avoiding the ‘I’m not into you like that’ more direct conversation. We have always just been normal friends who are friends. I really like hiking, and he’s one of my only friends who shares that hobby so it’s something we’ve also done a lot together. A decade. No issues.

We went on a weekend camping/hiking trip this summer, and on one of the days we trekked out to a beach that happened to be clothing optional. He asked me if I was OK with him being naked. I said that while I would rather be clothed myself, I didn’t mind in the context of our hanging out sunbathing and reading our respective books at a nude beach if he’d rather ‘run free’. Since then, he’s casually WhatsApp’d me a few articles that tangentially relate to nudism. It’s clearly on his mind. “Look-these Germans are totally fine with going to the sauna naked with co-workers!” Neat. “Hey, have you seen this BBC article about naked co-ed swimming pools in Poland? It’s nice they’re comfortable about perfectly natural human bodies.” Sure, that’s cool. “Isn’t it terrible how clothing is used as such a marker of class and social difference?” I guess that’s true. Why are we so weird about bodies? But also, I like my tyranny of clothing?

Then I went out for another visit. Crashed on the couch as ever. Everything perfectly non sexual. We talked philosophy, pop culture, politics, hiking, the usual. In the morning I was getting ready to leave and he came out of the shower while I was packing up. “Do you have the bus schedule?” I asked, and as he checked the times he just fully removed his towel-one-Mississippi-two-excruciating-Mississippi-before tucking it back around his waist. I averted my eyes in panic and then said nothing, because, well, you’re the Captain of Awkward. You know.

He moved apartments just after our trip, and I’d been asking to see what his new place looked like. “Give me the virtual tour!” I suggested. He WhatsApp’d back a five minute video. Wow, it does have great lighting! And there he is casually narrating how great the appliances are here and the closet space is there, and 4 minutes in, in full view of the mirrored closet doors but not looking at them, he’s just totally naked. Dick a swinging. OK, I thought. Plausible deniability… it was a heat wave. Maybe he wasn’t thinking about the mirrors? Maybe he was, and he’s just chill with the human body? I can’t be chill this way. But I said nothing. Pretended that wasn’t in there. “Love the counter-tops” I wrote.

A few weeks have gone by. Conversations on WhatsApp are normal. “Maybe we can do more camping and hiking next summer?” he asked. Maybe. A few days ago I sent him some photos of a new hiking bag I’d gotten. He’d been shopping too. “And on sale because it’s end of season!” declared the caption on a perfectly innocuous photo: a box of new hiking boots on his living room floor. I scrolled past it and replied “Those look way better than the old ones, how much?” And so it went. We move on to other topics. Politics. Hikes. OK, maybe I wouldn’t have to deal with this situation. Things are… fine? But going back through the photos today, I clicked on the boots image this time to see them better and there, in the now fully expanded view on my phone, was his dick. Just hanging out in the bottom corner of the image. NothingwrongwithbodiesbutcomeONadickisnotahandoraknee….WHAT DO.

Lest I make you do the summarizing work yourself, here is a less full-picture but probably sufficient TLDR alternative:

Dear Captain Awkward,

I am a lady whose close decade long platonic friendship with a dude has taken an awkward turn. He lives out of town now, so we mostly communicate online with the odd visit to one another’s respective city. We both share a passion for hiking. We stopped by a clothing optional beach when hiking earlier in the year, and he asked if I was cool if he took advantage and let it all hang out whilst we sunbathed. I said that was fine, though I was gonna carry on wearing my clothes and enjoying my book. Since then he’s sent me a number of ‘isn’t nudism/naturism? great’ articles. OK, fine. What even are bodies anyway. The menace of class expression through clothing and the joy of non sexual naked bodies has been a recurring theme in his recent ‘check out this news link’ communication.

When I crashed at his place during my most recent visit, he let his towel slip for a moment too long after getting out of the shower, but I said nothing. A few weeks later he sent me a video tour of his new apartment where four minutes in he’s just casually and totally naked in the reflection of his mirrored closet doors. Just for a short few seconds. There was a heat wave. He’s maybe a nudist/naturist now? I was uncomfortable but pretended it didn’t happen. Now this week we exchanged innocuous ‘cool new hiking gear purchases!’ photos. But I realized upon expanding the shot of his hiking boots that his footwear was photo bombed by his dick. It’s autumn. There is no heat wave. Nudism surely does not equal what feels like stealth dick pics. WHAT DO? :/

Hi there! I included both the longer version and the TL;dr because you summed it up so well in both.

So, your friend is exploring nudism. Many people in the world are into that. There are clubs, days, events, hikes, bike rides, runs, online communities, resorts, and an entire Wikipedia page for “nude recreation.” Your friend can be free-falling and free-balling in the great outdoors as long as he a) finds like-minded people (i.e. not you) and b) he respects certain limits.

Speaking of limits, your friend is testing yours by repeatedly showing you his bathing suit area. He started with “accidentally-on-purpose” towel drops and escalated to “Oh hai, my apartment tour has some very special features!” Not cool. The chances that the hiking boots were accidentally photobombed by his junk approach .001%., though to be clear I don’t actually care if it was an accident.

We could spend a lot of time discussing his intentions, does he MEAN IT-mean it like, in a sexual way, or is it just part of his new lifestyle and he’s really comfortable with you vs. is he trying to be creepy/provocative, is it just a mistake where he thought because he asked you that one time that it’s okay forever,  is it just that he’s too shy/socially awkward to ask you about it again (though somehow not too shy to do it). And, why stop at “shy/socially awkward” as descriptors? Why not dive into his entire psychological makeup and history for explanations so we can find a diagnosis that would make this somehow less his fault? Or, we could try to separate a clear pattern of behavior into totally unique isolated incidents that definitely do not have anything to do with each other and definitely do not have anything to do with gender or misogyny or culture. We could write it all off as probably “harmless,” we could discuss body positivity and why are people so weird about a little bit of nudity it’s not all sexual/why are we making it that way with our dirty minds and narrow-minded upbringing, are we some kind of prudes or something? We could do the 1,000 other absurd, exhausting mental and emotional gymnastics where we deep-dive into the intentions and feelings of men and try to find the most reasonable, gentle, benefit-of-the-doubt approach that won’t startle them or make them feel bad for even a second about the things they do to women.

I think there are two questions women can ask themselves when a man does something that creeps them out that are way better than “but did he MEAN IT-mean it”:

  1. Does he do this behavior to other men? Do his dad or his boss or his male buddy have to say “Whoa dude, consider the pants” when they chat with him?
  2. Do we think he’s doing even a tenth of the emotional labor in this situation that you are? 1/100th? 1/1000th?

This week has felt like a century. I don’t know about y’all but I’m done with doing this much work around men behaving badly.

Here are the facts:

1) Your friend repeatedly exposed himself to you.

2) You don’t like it and you want it to stop.

That’s enough. That’s enough to block him from your life if you want to without any further communication or work on your part. It’s enough to change whole story to “I had this really lovely friend for 10 years but then it got weird between us and we’re not friends anymore.”

It’s certainly enough to send him a text that says: “Can you make sure to put on clothes if we’re going to video-chat? Thanks.

See also:

  • “Can you make 100% sure that your penis doesn’t show up in photos you share with me, thanks.”
  • I’m glad you’re enjoying all that. I don’t really like reading or talking about it with you, so you should find someone else to send these articles to.”
  • Also, while we’re talking, that hiking day at the clothing optional beach was a one-time thing for me, please opt for pants when we’re talking or hanging out in the future.”
  • I don’t like that.” = Good general script for unwanted nudes.

If your friend has sad or embarrassed feelings about what he’s done…okay? Good? He should feel some awkwardness about making his friend so uncomfortable? He should be the one writing to advice columnists right now about how he’s really into this new hobby and he’s afraid and uncomfortable about maybe fucking up a great friendship by getting carried away with it and constantly showing her his penis, so, how can he apologize and how can he make it right.

Honestly, if you tell him to knock this off, “I’m really sorry I made you uncomfortable” + STOPPING THE BEHAVIOR AND DROPPING THE SUBJECT IMMEDIATELY & FOREVER = is pretty much the only acceptable reaction from him. If he gives you an iota of pushback about this, your friendship is probably over. “Wait, did you think I was harassing you? I was just enthusiastic about my fun hobby!” = “Cool story. But now you know that I don’t like it, so, STAHP.”

If that pushback becomes about how this is all your fault somehow, like “But you said it was okay that day when we were hiking, it’s not fair for you to change the rules on me now” or  “I didn’t think you were such a prude,” we’ve crossed over into friendship-is-over-with-extreme-prejudice territory. “It was an accident and I didn’t mean it, but, also, it was all the woman’s fault since I reasonably and objectively assumed she liked it” is not how great guys who are safe to be around talk when they get busted for behaving badly.

I’m so sorry, this sucks and none of it is your fault. Neither his penis nor his feelings are your work to manage.

 

 

 

 

 


Worry

Oct. 20th, 2017 11:53 am
zhelana: (Games - Katniss)
[personal profile] zhelana
What do you worry about the most?

Kevin's health


the rest )

[Catch-up] Inktober - Day 19 (Cloud)

Oct. 20th, 2017 10:49 am
goss: (Rainbow - Paint)
[personal profile] goss
I always seem to be a day or two behind on these... :b

Title: Cloud
Artist: [personal profile] goss
Rating: G
Fandom: Firefly
Characters/Pairings: Serenity
Content Notes: Created for Inktober - Day 19, word prompt: Cloud. Serenity soaring above the clouds. ^___^ Painted with Indian Ink, using a combination of regular brush work for the clouds and the Ink Drop technique for all the rest. I've included a second version with slight digital tint.

I came across another really cool tutorial type vid: PAINTING MOONS with Indian Ink, and it inspired me to try my hand at this piece.

Preview:


Click here for entire artwork )

Goodies

Oct. 20th, 2017 09:35 am
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
[personal profile] stoutfellow
I've been a subscriber to the Library of America for many years. I've been pleased with their output, over the years; in addition to the usual suspects - several of the Founding Fathers, big-name authors like Hawthorne, Melville, and Twain, and so on - they've also published Grant's memoirs, a two-volume set of SF novels from the '50s (and they chose well), a volume of fantastic fiction from Washington Irving to August Derleth, and so forth.

I just opened the latest offering. The shipping box was unmarked, so I didn't know its contents until I saw the actual volume. It's the letters of Abigail Adams. That's going to be fun - if nothing else, the letters she exchanged with Jefferson during his long estrangement from her husband should be worth reading. (John didn't know about it, of course, until after she finally reconciled them.)

:rubs hands:
[syndicated profile] torque_control_feed

Posted by The Editors

By Alex Storer.

Any science fiction or space art aficionado should instantly recognise the name David A. Hardy – perhaps from the early part of his career working with Sir Patrick Moore on The Sky at Night and their award-winning books, including Challenge of the Stars and Futures / 50 Years in Space, or perhaps from his film and television credits, which include Blake’s Seven and The Neverending Story. Maybe you’ve got books in your SF collection adorned with David’s stunning cover art (maybe you’ve even read his own SF book, Aurora), or have encountered his work on the convention circuit. At the very least, if you’ve ever bought Cadbury’s chocolate, you’ll recognise the logo that Hardy originally designed during his time working at their Bournville factory, Birmingham, in the 1960s!

First published in 1952, David A. Hardy is the longest-established living space artist. Hardy started out as an astronomical artist, and the inevitable expansion into science fiction did not come for some years. Hardy’s work can transport you to the remotest corners of the Solar System, or into remote alien worlds and future times. What’s more, Hardy is still working and in as much demand as ever, regularly supplying cover art for the likes of Analog and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and countless science fiction paperback and e-book titles.

Initiation of Akasa_F&SF

F&SF: Initiation of Asaka

Hardy’s artwork continues to move with the times – in tandem with spaceflight technology and our ever-expanding scientific knowledge about the planets in our Solar System, and advancing with the advent of computer technology and digital art.

I grew up in awe of Hardy’s work, courtesy of its inclusion in the most marvellous book, Space Worlds, Wars & Weapons (published in 1977 by the sadly defunct Paper Tiger imprint), and an art print that hung on the wall at home, entitled Stellar Radiance. This artwork my young imagination; it was like having a window into space. It sparked my obsession with science fiction art and ultimately led to me working as a science fiction artist myself, years later.

Stellar Radiance

Stellar Radiance

When I rediscovered my love of science fiction and space art in 2007, I realised it was time to start creating my own – and David A. Hardy’s work was my first port of call.

However, at the time, I did not know the name of that wonderful painting that I used to lose myself in, nor the artist’s full name – though the carefully scribed signature of “Hardy” in the bottom corner of the painting had always stuck in my mind. Thanks to a quick Google search, in no time at all I was in touch with the man himself, and soon found myself discovering his decade-spanning portfolio, starting with the books, Hardyware and Futures / 50 Years In Space. David’s enthusiasm and encouragement were invaluable and enough for me to know that I simply had to give it a shot.

One of the things which appeals to me about Hardy’s art is that whether it is paint or pixels, the work is still distinctly Hardy. When it comes to digital art in particular, I’ve always found it crucial to still have the touch of the artist’s hand, which I feel adds soul and personality to a digitally piece, eliciting just the same kind of emotional response one gets from looking at a canvas painting – and Hardy achieves this masterfully.

Despite being in the age of photographic imagery and photorealistic 3D graphics, hand-rendered art has remained important in science fiction circles, as it is another medium in which we can escape into other times or worlds – and more often than not, the art goes hand in hand with the SF literature we read; either adorning the covers of the books we love or simply inspired by them.

A ‘Hardy’ is immediately identifiable, not only by that kind of vibrant colour palette (regardless of medium), but by a consistent style and approach. Decades of experience and expertise all go into making each and every piece a work of wonder that one never tires of viewing.

I caught up with David to chat about all aspects of his work and career …

The first time I encountered computer-aided artwork in the early 1990s, it felt like a life-changing moment; a glimpse of the future. Do you remember the first time you saw computer art and did you realise it was going to be a significant way forward, especially in terms of science fiction art?

DAH: I had a similar “Eureka!” moment when I discovered the airbrush in 1957! Here was a way to paint atmospheres, glows, nebulae in a way that was realistic yet wouldn’t take hours of painstaking blending of paints. I have always kept up with new technology, and started using photography, especially ‘derivative’ (manipulated) images, in my work. In the 1980s I did all my own darkroom work and even became a LRPS. I also bought a large-format camera and started taking photos of my work to send to publishers as transparencies (slides) rather than entrusting valuable artwork to the tender mercies of the Post Office! I became aware of the intrusion of computer art in publishing, and it was exciting, but I couldn’t afford any of the equipment. Then when the Atari ST came along in 1986 I got a 520, then a 1040 and finally a Falcon before getting my first PowerMac in 1991. But it was still some time before I felt able to use this professionally. (I did however produce graphics for an Atari/Amiga game, Kristal, which won an industry award.)

Kristal

Kristal

Many SF artists have continued to work with paint while others have moved to digital or only work digitally – yet you have maintained a healthy balance of both. What do you feel you can achieve with digital art that you can’t with traditional media – and vice-versa?

DAH: Digital art is much more flexible – you can change, delete, try different effects and save the results separately. There are filters and plugins which produce results quite impossible to achieve in painting. And of course one can send JPEGs to publishers by email. (This can be a disadvantage as well as an advantage, as it gives them an opportunity to request many changes, some of which would be virtually impossible with traditional media. Fortunately, though, this rarely happens to me now!).

How do you feel your work has progressed since branching out into digital art?

DAH: I’m not sure it has progressed – perhaps this is for others to say? My method of working has changed, because now I usually produce a digital version first on my Mac, to see what I am working towards, before putting paint on canvas.

You create works both in paint and digitally which both clearly have your distinctive style. How would you say you achieve this?

DAH: Well I suppose it is inevitable that my work will look like mine, however I work. In either case I know how I want my final work to look, and I just continue until I achieve that, in whatever medium. However (see below) computer art can have a rather bland look, and I try to avoid that by using various ‘real media’ filters and other techniques.

Mountain Grill_Portals_comp

Mountain Grill Portals

I personally dislike the term ‘digital’, as it all too often makes people think of cold 3D renderings or that the computer does all the work, whereas you still work by hand using a graphics tablet – the way of working is practically the same, just the medium that is different. Would you agree?

DAH: I do agree. TV presenters especially tend to give the impression that ‘digital art’ is produced simply by pressing a few buttons. This is far from the case – I use very little ‘3D’ art, but I admire those who can, because it is a very steep learning curve to use Vue or Lightwave, and the results can be incredible. I do user Poser to help me with figures, and used the original version of Terragen as a terrain generator for many of the new illustrations in Futures: 50 years in Space. But then they changed it, and instead of being a user-friendly graphic interface one has to enter numbers and such – not what I call art!

Comet Probe

Comet Probe, as featured in 50 Years in Space

It’s only in recent years that digital has become more accepted as a medium – yet there’s no less imagination or creativity involved. How do you feel when collectors voice concerns about there being no ‘original’ so to speak?

DAH: I can quite understand that. Yes one can produce any number of prints from a traditional painting, but there is only one original, and the difference is immediately obvious on close inspection. Also, when painting I often use ‘impasto’ effects – paint applied thickly with a palette knife – and although it is no doubt possible to simulate this, it is quite impossible to do digitally. There is a huge amount of trust involved in digital fine art (personally I only use the computer for illustrations), as the customer is expected to accept that only one, or a limited number of prints will be made from a digital file, which may or may not then be destroyed. . .

Talk us through your general process when starting a new piece. Are you more inclined to head to your digital or wet studio? What kind of creative routines or rituals do you have?

DAH: As I said above, I often produce a quick digital version first when painting, but for illustrations – covers and such – I always use the Mac. So the choice is quite simple really. Currently I am experimenting with less realistic, even abstract techniques, and for these the wet studio is the only choice. Actually, after working for perhaps weeks on a 27” monitor it is a pleasure to be able to slap some paint on a large canvas, and I enjoy the whole physical process of working directly with my hands.  Routines? None really, except to have all my tools readily available and to hand.

Do you remember when you first realised that science fiction and space art was something you absolutely had to do?

DAH: When I was thirteen my parents took me to Blackpool. I walked down the seafront from the boarding house, and found a newsagent’s which had some SF ‘pulps’ on a shelf. I bought two: Seven to the Moon by Lee Stanton and Rocket Men by King Lang (a pseudonym if ever I saw one!). They were the first ‘adult’ SF books I had read, and I was hooked!  From then on I got SF whenever and wherever I could, including of course H.G.Wells from the library. Sometimes the covers were quite good, if garish, but often I would amuse myself by trying to create my own based on the stories. A year later, in 1950, I found a copy of The Conquest of Space by Willy Ley, with the most amazing photographic paintings of the Moon and planets by Chesley Bonestell.  That was the moment when I knew what I wanted to do! From then on, although I read and was involved with SF, I thought of myself purely as a space artist; this was of course amplified by the fact that I was working with people like Patrick Moore, and illustrated my first book for him in 1954. In fact it wasn’t until 1970 that my first published SF covers appeared, first on Vision of Tomorrow and then on F&SF.

EnigmaF&SF- Enigma

Enigma (1970) and the F&SF cover featuring it

DAH: In the 40s and 50s F&SF, and to a lesser extent other magazines such as Amazing and Galaxy, used Bonestell art as covers. Yet he always insisted that he was not a SF artist, but an astronomical one. When Challenge of the Stars (a book that I co-wrote with Patrick Moore as well as illustrated) was published in 1972, F&SF and a couple of the other mags used my paintings from that in exactly the same way that they had used Bonestell. But sadly, 1972 was also the year in which men visited the Moon for the last time, and public interest in space began to wane. To give me a reason for still painting space art covers I invented (with my cartoonist friend Anthony Naylor) ‘Bhen’, the benevolent green B.E.M., who I showed with the Viking lander, riding in the bowl of the Pioneer probe at Saturn, riding the Lunar Rover, and so on.  (Not a little green man, as some have called him, because if you compare him with the NASA vehicles he is about two-and-a-half metres – nearly 8ft – tall!). He first appeared on F&SF in 1975, and of course the earlier covers – there have been ten – were painted, though the last one, in 2015, was digital.

Bhen on Mars v1

BHEN on Mars (1975)

Bhen 15

BHEN ExoMars (2015)

In recent years, we’ve seen a healthy revival of painted/illustrated covers for SF titles. What do you think it is about this kind of artwork that has such longevity, and right for the genre?

DAH: I suppose it’s largely tradition, and nostalgia? We became so used to expecting SF covers to look a certain way that it still gives us pleasure to see that type of work.

In your opinion, what makes a good SF book cover?

DAH: Ah, that’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it! For me, it’s essential that it really relates to the content of the book (but preferably without giving too much away), and that is exciting and eye-catching.

Is there any particular SF novel that you’d still like to illustrate?

DAH: Loads, but I couldn’t really list them. . .

Moving briefly on to space art – your earlier depictions of Pluto turned out to be astoundingly accurate in recent years, when NASA published its first high-definition images of the planet. This must have been a proud moment.

DAH: Yes, I think I was as surprised as anybody when we saw that there actually was a cracked, icy plain which they named ‘Sputnik Planum’, few craters, and that on Charon there are great crevasses – just as I had painted them in 1991 for The Universe by Ian Ridpath. I don’t really claim any prescience; I had just based my version on the geology of some of the outer moons, like Neptune’s Triton.

New Horizons at Pluto.jpg

New Horizons at Pluto

As a space artist, do you feel it vital to keep painting new and updated interpretations of our planets, as we learn more about them? For example, the way you may have painted Jupiter from Io in the 1970s would be significantly different to how you would paint the same scene today.

DAH: Absolutely. I’ve heard people say that the paintings of, say, Bonestell from the 1950s have no value now because they are inaccurate, showing tall, jagged mountains on the Moon or canals on Mars and so on (and of course I was highly influenced by him then). Rubbish! What we painted then was based on the scientific knowledge of the time, so yes, we do need to keep updating our work as new data come in. Having said that, even Bonestell should really have known that the lunar mountains have been eroded by millennia of impacts by micrometeorites and extremes of temperature – French astronomer/artist Lucien Rudaux knew, back in the 1930s, because he observed the limb of the Moon, where the mountains can be seen in profile – though they still cast sharp, pointed shadows in a low light.

Despite the amazing, high-resolution photographs of other planets which we now can see thanks to modern technology, there continues to be a healthy interest in space art. Why do you think this is?

DAH: It’s true that instruments like the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) have sent us the most amazing, detailed colour images of distant nebulae etc. But much of the information we receive comes in the form of data, and while numbers, charts and graphs may be exciting to astronomers, the public and the media prefer to see exciting visual interpretations. This is where space artists come into their own. It is also the area where we see the difference between space artists and SF artists: while SF and fantasy artists are free to use their imagination, space artists need to combine these talents with accurate scientific knowledge. And they can’t afford to get it wrong!

Two Worlds 15

Two Worlds

This Summer Hardy exhibited at Visions of Space 2 – An Exhibition of Astronomical and Space Art by British IAAA artists at Wells & Mendip Museum in Somerset, at which he also gave a talk on the Moon and Eclipses on the opening night. His next event is next month at Novacon, the UK’s longest-running SF convention, at which Hardy has attended and exhibited every year since it began in 1971.

Every year, Hardy presents a display of work covering all aspects of science fiction, fantasy, space art and beyond. Not one to rest on his laurels, Hardy continually pushes himself and experiments with new artistic media – the most recent being sculpted 3D relief landscapes and scenes, and also abstract art.

At 81, David A. Hardy could easily be living proof that art and creativity keeps both the body and the mind young – youthful in appearance, with a mind as sharp as his wit, just a few minutes of conversation with the artist leaves you feeling inspired and educated. His passion and dedication for his art and everything that has influenced it over his long career, is as strong today as it ever was – and this should be an inspiration to us all.

Alex Storer is a science fiction artist and electronic musician. www.thelightdream.net


Biking

Oct. 20th, 2017 10:11 am
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The 25 mile ride I did in Helsinki at Worldcon left me wanting to do more longer rides on my bike. I somehow rode ~25 miles in Helsinki in spite of the fact that I don't think I've ever ridden more than 10 miles in a trip here in the US- in retrospect the bravado of saying "Sure, I can do this, let me sign up" amazes me. Helsinki is flatter than Highland Park, though, especially along the coastline, and the bike I rented there had road tires that I think probably also helped reduce rolling resistance compared to the more treaded tires on the crummy mountain bike I've been riding since I was a teenager. 25 miles still feels out of reach at home, but I want to work toward it not feeling so crazy, since I know that in some parallel European universe it's possible.

About a month ago, I set off on a 14 mile ride. They converted an old industrial railroad track into a biking path in Metuchen. It's about 4 miles to the trail, the trail is 3 miles long, and so all told the round trip is 14 miles. I rode 3.5 miles and then wiped out catastrophically on a curb cut, damaging my bike and bruising my arm pretty badly. There's this tricky part of the trip out where there's no choice but to ride alongside Rt. 27 and there's no sidewalk, and I was overly anxious having cleared that passage to get back on the sidewalk as soon as it was there, and there was also a puddle to avoid, and the result was I hit the curb slightly wrong and went flying. So that was a bust.

But I got right back on the horse. Er, bicycle. As soon as my bike was fixed up, I went out on the same route. We had beautiful weather and I made it through the tricky part without trouble (beyond a racing heartbeat) and the actual bike trail was lovely, with an overgrown tree canopy isolating it from the rest of town. I had to cut the ride short because I was going to dinner in my sister's Sukkah that night, so I only did 10 miles total. But I easily could have done the 14, I had it in me. I'm waiting for the next free Sunday to do the whole trip.

I've also been pushing the limits on my shorter after-work rides, lately, though it's getting dark earlier and earlier, making it harder for me to get in those rides before the point in the sunset where I'm too nervous of getting hit by a car to ride.

My next goal is to do a ride on the D&R Canal trail... I've done, a few times, the ride to the entrance to the trail- it's roundtrip 8 miles from home. And then the actual trail segment is 29 miles, so I can sort of pace myself and work my way up to the whole trail. Of course, now it's late October, I'm going to be running out of good weather weekends soon. I keep saying I'm going to get a gym membership to try to do indoor stationary biking in the winter, but then I remember that I find stationary biking stultifying. So we'll see.

Cool Stuff Friday

Oct. 20th, 2017 02:00 pm
[syndicated profile] jim_hines_feed

Posted by Jim C. Hines

Friday is looking forward to a slow, quiet weekend. (Saturday and Sunday are laughing at Friday…)

So who’s going to try to watch the Orionid meteor shower, which peaks over the weekend?

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[personal profile] conuly
imbroglio
spurious
righteous
Kafkaesque
mike (short for "microphone")

Should I ditch my plans and plunge into a day of current events?

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