Saturday, November 16, 2013

New Amazon mag: Day One

New Amazon mag: Day One
(It seems that so far, it's only available in the US. Typically, that is not made clear up front, making thousands of readers waste time trying to find it on their own non-US Amazon site. That is typical not just for Amazon, but for the majority of such instances, it's sad.)

The magazine is currently closed to unsolicited submissions (and I think it'll probably stay so). This is undoubtedly disappointing to millions of writers. But I can understand why. Even before Internet submissions, publishers were already drowning in unsolicited submissions. The so-called 'slush pile' was a never-ending backlog. And with the Net, Kindle, and Amazon, imagine the pile! They would probably get over a thousand stories per day, it would be insane.

And trying to judge the merit of one story can be hard enough, imagine trying to read slush 10 hours a day, it must fry your brain. I can't see how you could even enjoy reading anything for years after having had such a job for any real length of time.

Reall far-out animals

Weeeird animals.

It's amazing that the life on Earth is so richly varied that there are still many creatures that most of us have never heard of.

12. The Peacock Mantis Shrimp: The mantis shrimp is also known as “sea locusts“, “prawn killers” and “thumb splitters”. Their front claws can deliver a punch that is as powerful as a gunshot. The mantis shrimp can’t be kept in normal aquariums, as they punch through other sea life and even the glass. (!)

13. The Venezuelan Poodle Moth: The Venezuelan Poodle Moth was only discovered in 2009. They are found in Venezuela and not much is known about these fuzzy, dog-like moths just yet.

19. The Thorny Dragon: The Thorny Dragon is an Australian lizard that resides mostly in the desert and, as the name suggests, looks like a tiny dragon. They are also known as the mountain devil, the thorny lizard, or the moloch. This lizard is covered in sharp spikes, and it uses these to frighten away predators. They can live up to 20 years, more than most lizards.

Autumn image

My penpal Mark Weise sent me this. I think it's nice and unusual, at first glimpse out of the corner of my eye, I thought it was a painting.

Mark made the dark version, based on how it looked.
I then adjusted to the lighter version, partly on habit, partly thinking of making it look good on the maximum number of monitors. (For example I have my monitor adjusted a bit darker these days, to save wear on the eyes.) But I admit it looses a little of the artistic specialness that way.

To illustrate, I also include one where I adjusted all the way. But while it is has more spark, I think this makes the picture too normal, lose the specialness.
It's hard to say, but I guess if looked upon as art, it all comes down to taste.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Is perfection valuable?

Aim at perfection in everything, though in most things it is unattainable. However, they who aim at it, and persevere, will come much nearer to it than those whose laziness and despondency make them give it up as unattainable.
 - Lord Chesterfield

No good work whatever can be perfect, and the demand for perfection is always a sign of a misunderstanding of the ends of art. 
 - John Ruskin

I really like the second one. That's quite important, because a lot of artists, as they learn their craft, get hung up on Perfection, and it's a very sticky trap.