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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

My wife and I realized just now that we haven’t seen any daddy long legs in many, many years. (We both grew up in this area and saw them fairly often when we were young.) Not sure what happened to them.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Just released version 2.1 of the reader’s edition of the Book of Mormon. (Fixes two minor typos.)

Also, the print edition is getting closer. I’ve been refactoring my publishing scripts to make things more seamless on my end, and that’s close to done.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Ursula K. Le Guin in Words Are My Matter:

Present-tense narration is now taken for granted by many by many fiction readers because everything they read, from internet news to texting, is in the present tense, but at this great length it can be hard going. Past-tense narration easily implies previous times and extends into the vast misty reaches of the subjunctive, the conditional, the future; but the pretense of a continuous eyewitness account admits little relativity of times, little connection between events. The present tense is a narrow-beam flashlight in the dark, limiting the view to the next step — now, now, now. No past, no future. The world of the infant, of the animal, perhaps of the immortal.

I don’t at all mind present tense, but she does have a point.

From The Lost City of the Monkey God, this unsettling description of smallpox:

Epidemiologists generally agree that smallpox is the cruelest disease ever to afflict the human race. In the century before it was eradicated in the 1970s, it killed more than half a billion people and left millions of others horribly scarred and blind. It inflicts unbearable suffering, both physical and psychological. It usually starts like the flu, with headache, fever, and body aches; and then it breaks out as a sore throat that soon spreads into a body rash. As the disease develops over the subsequent week, the victim often experiences frightful hallucinatory dreams and is racked by a mysterious sensation of existential horror. The rash turns into spots that swell into papules, and then fluid-filled pustules that cover the entire body, including the soles of the feet. These pustules sometimes merge, and the outer layer of skin becomes detached from the body. In the most deadly variety of smallpox, the hemorrhagic form, called the bloody pox or black pox, the skin turns a deep purple or takes on a charred look, and comes off in sheets. The victim often “bleeds out,” blood pouring from every orifice in the body. It is extremely contagious. Unlike most other viruses, smallpox can survive and remain virulent for months or years outside the body in clothing, blankets, and sickrooms.

Whew. I had no idea.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Michael Swanwick on how fantasy is not about magic:

So what is the beating heart of fantasy, its sine qua non, its irreducible necessity?

Enchantment.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Came across Joel Grus’s I Don’t Like Notebooks slides on the downsides of Jupyter notebooks. I don’t really use Jupyter (other than when a class I recently took required it), but these are good points.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Nice recap video on the 2018 Mormon Arts Center Festival in New York back in June. (Also, Lita and Kevin Giddins are in my ward.)

I don’t think I mentioned this on the blog before, but at 0:51 in the video you can see the Handed Down and Altered series of “golden plates.” I contributed two paintings — New and Everlasting and Not Very Far Away — to book one (plates six and seven). It was a fun project and my first public painting using acrylic:

Handed Down and Altered submissions

Came across this good post on Mormon Women about the recent statement on the name of the Church:

As I pondered more, I thought about how in some religious traditions, a saint is someone who has received extra-human status, perhaps even someone who is worshipped. In the Restored (latter-day) Church of Jesus Christ, Saints are messy mortals, all in need of Christ’s saving grace, trying to follow Him the best we can, and committing ourselves to Him through ordinances and covenants of baptism, confirmation, and so on. So to me, even calling ourselves Latter-day Saints can testify of our focus on Christ!

Monday, August 20, 2018

Came across En Masse, a Vim plugin that makes the quickfix list editable. Very useful. (Similar to Swoop and CtrlSF.)

Pot is a problem:

But cannabis is not benign, even if it is relatively benign, compared with alcohol, opiates, and cigarettes, among other substances…. “The mantra about how this is a harmless, natural, and non-addictive substance—it’s now known by everybody. And it’s a lie.”

Eye-opening photos of stacks of inflated Venezuelan currency. (First photo: 5,000,000 bolivars, worth $0.76 USD, the cost of a single kilogram of tomatoes.)

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Per President Nelson’s announcement and the new style guide, I’ve renamed the Mormon materials page to Religious materials.

Mormon Artist will stay as it is for now, but if/when we resurrect it, we’ll consider changing the name. (I’ll admit that the lack of a short, simple adjective to replace “Mormon” is kind of hard, with “LDS” out of the running as well, but we’ll cross that bridge later. Hopefully the forthcoming instructions will have some good solutions.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art is only $1.50 on the U.S. Kindle store right now. Such a good book on creativity and resistance. Highly, highly recommended.

Also, I’ve effectively retired my Twitter account (deleting almost all my tweets, cessation of posting, etc.) and will pretty much only be posting here on this blog. The “what to post where” dilemma is solved, knock on wood. (I do plan to still post new artwork to Instagram and Facebook, at least for now.)

Other reasons for this move: I like running things on my own platform. And Twitter is a (very) mixed bag with a whole host of issues. I don’t think I’ll miss posting to it.

Thursday, August 9, 2018