arnheimsdomain: (Team Scribbles)
Ah, a touch of the golden nectar :-)

Celebrating, on account of walking to the corner shop and back in one go.

Yay!
arnheimsdomain: (globe)
Merry Christmas to all.

Christmas 2008

It's been a rough year for us and a there's a stretch of hard road to go, but there is always light on the horizon, and we travel on with faith and in hope.

cut for my Christmas message )
Don't stand for a hypocritical, meaningless Christmas. Don't go through the motions and blame the faith for it: dump the trimmings and create a Christmas you are truly proud of.


The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains,
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever over its Babel sounds
The blessèd angels sing.


It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
arnheimsdomain: (thoughts)
Each minute bursts in the burning room,
The great globe reels in the solar fire,
Spinning the trivial and unique away.
(How all things flash! How all things flare!)
What am I now that I was then?
May memory restore again and again
The smallest color of the smallest day:
Time is the school in which we learn,
Time is the fire in which we burn.

from Calmly We Walk Through This April's Day
Delmore Schwartz
arnheimsdomain: (words)
Could mortal lip divine

The undeveloped Freight

Of a delivered syllable

'Twould crumble with the weight.

Emily Dickinson


Really loving having time to think about my faith at the moment :-)

[livejournal.com profile] daegaer has a great post on the current Anglican crisis over homosexuality and the conservative church's fierce interpretation of Paul's words on the subject (Romans 1:18-32, I Corinthians 6:9, I Timothy 1:9-10), which they claim isn't interpretation at all: they have the plain truth in black and white, it's them there liberals that want to worm out of unfashionable ideas by suggesting there might be more nuanced meanings in context.

"The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision."
Lynn Lavner

cut for those who have a twisted view of sex  )

It just seems a shame to define someone by one word, when another will do just as well. Like 'neighbour'...

I think that there's a lot to be said for the old Methodist hymn book: if Christians, actually any folks, know most of the best bits as poetry to share, the Bible as something to participate in rather than as a rule book being waved at you, I think it gives you a better feel for the meaning and a more balanced perspective than those who want to use the odd vague phrase to impose something very specific and non-negotiable.

In my later life I have appreciated having the Bible as a searchable text to pore over you in order to quote chapter and verse of differing translations when people get cavalier with their selective readings, but back when I was happy and clappy I read it more like a favourite novel: Some of the sub-plots aren't resolved and you might need a commentary to get a lot of the cultural references, but I really, really like the central character :-)
arnheimsdomain: (thoughts)
I've got into the DS Brain Training program :-)

While initially sceptical, I saw it starting to make an impact in school, raising the profile of mental maths, which piqued my professional interest. One has to be clear that the central conceit of 'brain age' is a convenient nonsense for marketing purposes, but, as a moveable measure of performance, a lot healthier than the harmful and monumental (sorry) myth of a fixed 'capacity' like IQ.

More musing, boasting, etc... )

I hope the more useful slogan of 'brain age' can start to bury the deleterious spectre of I.Q.
arnheimsdomain: (words)
Picking up on something that came up in one of the workshops at SqueeFest, I was surprised to learn that Alexandre Dumas' serialised Musketeer novels were based on the "Mémoires de M. d'Artagnan" by Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras, themselves an embroidered version of the real d'Artagnan's life (Charles de Batz-Castelmore).

So how does Dumas' work differ from the subsequent adaptations for the films, credited to his 'original' (despite his own open acknowledgement of Courtilz)? By reputation, perhaps based on more effective distribution, or substance - the "value added" in his ideas? Does this make 'good' fanfiction with its own literary value or invention more valid than that which simply recycles characters in predictable ways?

More discussion below )
arnheimsdomain: (memories)
Tired now :-)

Fantastic con, far too much to talk about right now. I loved being part of dark_squall's posse and cosplaying for the very first time!! Scribbles was so cute as Nanao-chan - definitely typecasting :-)

I miss all of you guys already. I'm bookmarking pictures of us on Flikr as I speak (search for Salvianus & click 'favourites').

eep, I am now bionic! )
arnheimsdomain: (Default)
An anniversary is a fine time for telling the world how wonderful your partner is and, by heck, she is, she is, she is.

Cut for being sickeningly happy )

If anyone doubts it: marriage worked for us. Everyone should have the right to the same.

New Fiction

Aug. 2nd, 2008 08:13 pm
arnheimsdomain: (garden)
Having been blocked since November, [livejournal.com profile] scribblemoose's writing prompt workshop at Squeefest hit me like a foam bat and I was away! The prompt that chose me was the handful of miniature dominoes.

Click for Fic: Endgame )
arnheimsdomain: (garden)
I can't do any real sword practice at the moment, but have resolved to study my footwork:

One does not need buildings, money, power, or status to practise the Art of Peace. Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train.
Morihei Ueshiba

Some links to hopefully useful clips for Janen-san: )

Eye candy for my fangirl friends:

Big Bren Foster being butch, built and very shirtless, not my thing, but...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQRFuBeRAi4

And the more petite sword dancer Brendon Huor:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOqbw-ovmSE


Do not be sorry that you did not practise more in the past, do not be daunted about practising more in the future, just practise now.
I'm sure lots of people have said that before, if Ueshiba didn't... Feel free to substitute 'writing' or 'drawing', 'playing guitar', 'phoning Brian' etc. I would have said 'do it', but that might have sounded rude. That too, come to think of it ;-)
arnheimsdomain: (No fear)
I haven't been posting recently, but intend to get back to connecting to my friends out there in lj-space.

Cut for some personal bad news )

Wonderful Squee weekend. I love seeing Doctor Scribbles so happy, surrounded by friends and it felt great for me too. A great atmosphere, with moments of peace as well as crack cameraderie adn the first two beers I've had for two months. It would be easy to feel out of place surrounded by a dozen women, but somehow I coped :-)

Amazingly, the writing prompt session helped me knock out a short story - first since November!

Looking forward to Amecon: my Shunsui Kyōraku cosplay is nearly complete!

Finally, remember the old saying I just made up: When you are blindfolded on a clifftop, it is time to enjoy the air, not run around in circles :-)
arnheimsdomain: (words)
You have no enemies you say?
Alas, my friend, the boast is poor.
He who has mingled in the fray
Of duty, that the brave endure,
Must have made foes. If you have none,
Small is the work that you have done.
You've hit no traitor on the hip,
You've dashed no cup from perjured lip,
You've never turned the wrong to right,
You've been a coward in the fight.
—Charles McKay,
"No Enemies"
arnheimsdomain: (dragons)
Wearing with toil, I haste me to bed,
The dear repose for limbs with travel tired;
But then begins a journey in my head,
To work my mind, when body’s work’s expired:
For them my thoughts, from far where I abide,
Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee,
And keep my drooping eyelids open wide,
Looking on darkness which the blind do see:
Save that my soul’s imaginary sight
Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,
Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night,
Makes black night beauteous and her old face new.
Lo, thus, by day my limbs, by night my mind,
For thee and for myself no quiet find.

Sonnet XXVII, Shakespeare
arnheimsdomain: (visions)
Peace and joy to you .

Christmas 2006

Luke 2:14

Gloria in excelsis Deo
et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis

Glory to God amongst the heights and, on Earth, peace to men of good will.
arnheimsdomain: (windows)
:Waves:

O.K., if I can pledge 100 words a day to [livejournal.com profile] mini_nanowrimo, I can dust of the journal on the weekends.

Scribbles made me sign up for the mini writing challenge & it's working so far, despite me feeling like used chewing gum all this last week. I'm reading 'No Plot, No Problem' & that is very encouraging: rather than preserving my perfect story safe from the profanity of the page or trying to out-distance War and Peace, I'm just writing an achievable amount each day without the tyranny of structure.

It seems like a good cure for my long term literary constipation.

Let's hope it lasts.
arnheimsdomain: (dragons)
UK government rejects tests scrap call

The education secretary Alan Johnson said parents valued existing tests, rejecting evidence that they have adverse effects on children.

Calls to scrap part of the battery national exams sat by under-16s in England have been rejected by the Labour Government.

The General Teaching Council, an independent regulatory body, said tests were failing to raise standards and placed added stress on pupils.

But Johnson said that ditching the tests, which are sat at seven, 11 and 14, would be "profoundly wrong" in the face of this evidence.

He asserted that they had helped raise attainment and claimed the tests themselves provided transparency for the complex life of educational institutions, rather than the current system of OFSTED and LEA inspections, statutory reporting and school self assessment.

"Parents don't want to go back to a world where schools were closed institutions, no-one knew what was going on in them," he told the BBC, equating easy-to-understand annual test scores with accountability.

He also appeared to believe that the testing ensured learning: "Our responsibility is to ensure that our children leave school with a good grounding in English, Maths and Science." This flies in the face of recent reports. The GTC, which works to promote better standards of teaching, has submitted a report to the Commons Education and Skills Select Committee stating that the policy of national exams for the under-16s forces teachers to focus resources on how to pass tests instead of concentrating on a broader education.

"Evidence from teachers indicates that high stakes testing has a narrowing effect upon the curriculum, by moving the focus of curriculum delivery away from being broad and balanced to a narrower one based on test content," it says.

Keith Bartley, chief executive of the GTC, said: "Placing added stress on pupils, teachers and parents on a regular basis before that time is not creating the best environment for learning.

It suggests a check could be kept on standards by monitoring a sample of children in about 1% of primary schools and 3% of secondary schools.

"There are all sorts of malign effects from the current testing regime," said John Bangs, National Union of Teachers.

Despite this, the Department for Education said: "Parents need and greatly value the information they get from performance tables."

However, the government did announce in January that a pilot scheme would examine whether more frequent assessments could replace fixed testing.
arnheimsdomain: (visions)
Happy Birthday [livejournal.com profile] scribblemoose

Have a wonderful day :-)
arnheimsdomain: (ad)
The Green Blade

Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain,
Wheat that in the dark earth many days has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

In the grave they laid Him, Love Whom men had slain,
Thinking that He’d never wake to life again,
Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

Forth he came at Easter, like the risen grain,
He that for three days in the grave had lain;
Quick from the dead my risen Lord is seen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

When our hearts are wintry, grieving or in pain,
By your touch, You call us back to life again;
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

John M. C. Crum, 1928.

My first art for a long time. Losing Doug, my Father-in-Law, has changed our little world and it makes you remember the essential. Seeing the daffodils I planted last year & the year before round the villages rings deep - the Lenten Lilly:

Bring baskets now, and sally
Upon the spring's array,
And bear from hill and valley
The daffodil away
That dies on Easter day.
A. E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad, XXIX, 1896.

We're off to the Lakes now, to walk with some mountains :-)

such a Moon

Mar. 4th, 2007 12:35 am
arnheimsdomain: (mysteries)
Watching the Lunar Eclipse :-)

I love it that my Dad & I can ring each other up to remind each other to watch the skies.

An oldie:

AT A LUNAR ECLIPSE

Thy shadow, Earth, from Pole to Central Sea,
Now steals along upon the Moon's meek shine
In even monochrome and curving line
Of imperturbable serenity.

How shall I link such sun-cast symmetry
With the torn troubled form I know as thine,
That profile, placid as a brow divine,
With continents of moil and misery?

And can immense Mortality but throw
So small a shade, and Heaven's high human scheme
Be hemmed within the coasts yon arc implies?

Is such the stellar gauge of earthly show,
Nation at war with nation, brains that teem,
Heroes, and women fairer than the skies?

By Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

A right-nowie:

Eclipse

The glorious Moon steps quietly into shade,
Gently slipping into subtlety,
A rare moment alone from the gaze of the Sun.

She dances,
The dance that is slow,
Concealing her, but never her intentions.

It is not blood.
They imply too much, to pretend they know,
But she is not touched by them.

She takes the colour of wine,
Poured out by her worshippers,
In their long vigils.

Pour a glass for me.

Arnheim.
arnheimsdomain: (globe)
Watching a Channel 4 programme of the above name. Only this morning we were speaking with pessimism about the way recent weather patterns seem to have convinced people we have failed to with mere persuasion, only to have recourse to do 'too little, too late'.

For all its naivity, it contained the revelation (heh) that after years of portraying climate change as either another satanic hoax by the hippy lefty pagan scientist evolutionary alliance or as welcome signs of the apocalypse, some Christian Right pressure groups are now saying climate change exists and that Christians should do something to reduce it. This reminded me of a conviction that I have not thought about for a while: that the kind of uncharacteristicly large scale enlightened self interest required to save this planet might only reasonably be expected to be engendered amongst the necessary billions of people through religious faith. I believe some sort of moral framework is needed to condition the new converts' zeal or they will try to impose changes to the detriment of civil rights. And thinking about the Christian Right, perhaps even then...

The earth is Yhwh's, with its fullness; the world, and those who dwell therein.
Psalm 24:1
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