💡Things I looked up and learnt today.

Apropos of a bag of potting mix, the head groundskeeper at my workplace told me about integrated pest management being developed in turf/soil/landscaping management. Instead of using pesticides, he spikes the soil with a certain sugar/molasses mix, to encourage the soil microbes and nematodes to grow and compete with each other. This way, nature works its own way and hopefully the good microbes outcompete the harmful ones. And mould/fungal growth in a bag of potting mix doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s gone “off”. It could be benign.
This gentleman is a wealth of knowledge, and happy to share it when asked. I have enormous respect for him.

Portraiture and busts/sculptures of Roman emperors, apropos of the carefully historical Emperors of Rome podcast. Julius Caesar, Augustus, Nero, Caligula, Trajan, Nerva, Vespasian, Hadrian…. These men may have been emperors but they looked rather normal. And unique: so much variety in their faces, it’s fascinating. These portraits put human faces to two-millennia-old historical figures: they are no longer disembodied and mythic names from antiquity, but became people. I’d never anticipated that just looking at pictures of busts of Roman emperors would transform my perception of those men like this. It’s refreshing.

Porphyry, (“purple” in Ancient Greek), is an igneous rock and was valuable in antiquity. Versus alabaster, which is a mineral: gypsum, and softer.

Epigrams (from Ancient Greek), pithy poetic form. One long line and one short line with a kicker/barb at the end.

Roman baths. (So much great world-building inspiration here.)

What I learnt from NaNoWriMo 2016.

As stated in my previous post, I began NaNoWriMo 2016 having done some character development, some world-building, and a rough outline of the first half of the planned story.  I trusted that I could figure out the rest of the story as I went.

I’ve learned a lot from this NaNo experience.

Continue reading What I learnt from NaNoWriMo 2016.

NaNoWriMo in July: lessons at the end.

It’s done! The main body of the story is finished at ~21.5k. I still have a little epilogue to write which will probably take me into 22k, but huzzah, at last, it’s over. And I won my first Camp NaNoWriMo! ^_^

The novella is now called Strange Music. Sometime in the midst of writing, the finalized title fell out, and it captures the story perfectly. “The Radio Andromeda” was good when it lasted, but it really wasn’t appropriate. Sometimes you have to write the story, and then in the process discover its proper title.

Lots of lessons this week, mostly about how “pantsing” can be capitalized to the fullest. Continue reading NaNoWriMo in July: lessons at the end.

Worlds within worlds.

The world is a fascinating place.

I’m discovering more and more that each entity in the universe is a whole world unto itself.

Today, I looked up the definition and origin of the word “carboy”, which we use in my workplace… and got lost in the world of bottles. There is a whole history behind the making, design and function of bottles… associated with bottles is industrial design, apothecaries, glass blowing… in the category of bottles there are carboys, jerry cans, demijohns, flasks, vials, phials, much more that I haven’t come across yet. People write books on bottles and search for rare ones. I’ve come across websites with collections of rare and found bottles on the Net.

The other day, on a whim I started reading about grass. The grasses are the most economically significant family of plants for civilization — all our cereals and grains are grasses. Grasses can thrive as lawns, or as tussocks/bunches. And that was just a little bit about what I learnt about grass.

On another day, I was reading about ants… did you know that legionary ants have no permanent nests, but form bivouacs and go on raids? Did you know that some ant species actually keep aphid “herds” in a mutualist relationship, and defend their herds from predatory ladybirds? And some members of honeypot ant species are living food storage for their colony?

And on yet another day, apropos the Homeworld Codex, I was reading about probability theory and vectors… mathematics is such a rarefied world. It’s cold and sterile and very lonely place. Numbers everywhere… no room for a living human body. But it’s unearthily beautiful nonetheless (or perhaps because of that). And it’s so easy to get lost in it.

If you delve deep enough into any entity, it becomes a whole world you can get lost in.

Didn’t C.S. Lewis say something like this in The Last Battle? God has made such a wonderful world, and humans have just made their own worlds within worlds.

That’s why we were made to live forever. Mortal lifetime is simply not long enough to explore all of these.