Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Under pressure


Love's such an old-fashioned word
And love dares you 
To care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love dares you
To change our way of caring about ourselves
This is our last dance

What does love even mean?
Winterdragon

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Asterism

Today? I've helped program an asterism into the planetarium in tribute to a dead hero.



I've also read a fair bit of Almagest, a book written around 150 A.D. by Ptolemy which concerns the cosmological world-view of the time. Arguments for geocentricm, a spherical Earth, fixed stars, and things like that. It's great stuff.

Those who have been true philosophers, Syrus, seem to me to have very wisely separated the theoretical part of philosophy from the practical. For even if it happens the practical turns out to be theoretical prior to its being practical, nevertheless a great difference would be found in them; not only because some of the moral virtues can belong to the everyday ignorant man and it is impossible to come by the theory of whole sciences without learning, but also because in practical matters the greatest advantage is to be had from a continued and repeated operation upon the things themselves, while in theoretical knowledge it is to be had by a progress onward. We accordingly thought it up to us so to train our actions even in the application of the imagination as not to forget in whatever things we happen upon the consideration of their beautiful and well ordered disposition, and to indulge in meditation mostly for the exposition of many beautiful theorems and especially of those specifically called mathematical.
— Ptolemy (Almagest)

Love and stars,
Winterdragon

Monday, 11 January 2016

Farewell, David Bowie

It is a heavy day. One of my greatest inspirations has passed away. Today this song will accompany my tears, instead of my happily dancing around like an idiot, as it would usually do.


The world just got a lot less sexy. Thank you, David Bowie, for everything. You will be sorely missed.

Winterdragon

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Winter adventure

So winter came at last, and with it a desire for communion with the frozen wilderness. So a hike was ventured, and in great company too. Through woods of naked trees, over hills and past streams and a lake. Even up onto an ancient volcano. All under a shining winter sun. Sleeping snuggled up by a roaring campfire, stars within sight. Waking up to find the ground covered with snow.

And for a while, all was right in the world.



Love and winter,
Winterdragon

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Ireland

Fuck you, 2015. I won't even bother to recap this year. There has been happiness, but the year in its entirety was tainted by a deep sorrow. I'd rather be looking forwards now.

2016 got off to a good start at least. Being sick and tired of the Christmas and new years celebrations, me and a loved one decided to grab a couple of cheap flight tickets to Ireland and spend a couple of weeks there instead. Even though I am thoroughly broke now, I am very pleased with this decision.

Ireland is a lovely country. Have some pictures.

Dublin had a castle. 19 revolutionaries once took the tram there and stormed the place.
 It did not end well. Irish people haven't been very good at revolutions.

Cathedrals, churches and monasteries abounded.

There's been people in Ireland since the paleolithic age.
The first ones walked over from Britain during the last ice age.
These are rapiers from the bronze age.

The coasts were dramatic, and so was the weather.
Although heavy rains and flooding came in later, Christmas eve
gave me a sunburn.

On Christmas day everything was closed,
but there was always street-art to be admired.

And I took the opportunity to chill out with Oscar Wilde in a park.

Although I remember the buildings of Trinity College
being beautiful, this is the only picture I have of the place.

I guess that says something about me.

I never pass up the opportunity to sing with a waterfall.

Views from mountains were spectacular.

Or at least would have been in theory, on some days.

At other times they would call from a distance.
Some day I'm going to heed that call. I am so going back there.

In conclusion: Ireland is a beautiful, beautiful country with friendly people and a sad but intriguing history. Very much like New Zealand, really.

Love and Ireland,
Winterdragon

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Favourite readings of this year

Ireland is lovely. There's sun and rain and green hills and steep cliffsites. Bars on every street and Catholic masses. We're doing our best dodging the holiday spirit and chilling out as hard as possible. Amid sleep-ins, long walks, reading books and watching Full Metal Alchemist my body is starting to come to its senses again. I seldom notice just how stressed out I am until I take a break from it all. It is a luxury to have the opportunity to breathe without obligations coming in the way.

Speaking of books, I thought I'd make a recap of my favourite readings of the year.

  • Anathem by Neal Stephenson.

    My favourite science fiction novel to date. Intriguing ideas discussed in a compelling setting.
  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien

    A long-awaited re-read, half a lifetime later and this time in its original language. A poetically told story in an epic world well worth re-visiting.
  • The Red Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson

    I'll make a slight reservation since I haven't finished the last book yet, but so far these books are very interesting. It tells the story of humans colonising Mars in the near future, from the perspective of a variety of standpoints.

What were your favourite readings of 2015?

Love and books,
Winterdragon

Monday, 21 December 2015

Holidays incoming



And the carcass of the beast
Left over from the feast
May still be found haunting the kitchen
And there's life in it yet
We may live to regret
When the ones that we poisoned stop twitching

Merry Christmas and happy new year to those who are so inclined. Myself I'm off towards Ireland now. Later, dears!

Love and holidays,
Winterdragon

Monday, 30 November 2015

NaNoWriMo success!


Hell yes! NaNoWriMo done, and with four whole hours to go. That's more than I usually manage, in the way of deadlines. The third novel in my trilogy (known by the name of Wings on my Back), is thus complete. The first draft of it, that is. Craptastic as it is, it's going to need a lot of very thorough revision. But I did get some brilliant ideas in the writing process, which is pretty much what I hoped to accomplish. That, and to push myself into getting into the habit of writing. Never mind the fact that I should have spent all that time writing up my master's thesis instead. The prospect of said thesis being on an anxiety level a couple magnitudes above that of my novel it isn't so strange that it has had to wait, though. This could even have been a good getting-into-shape exercise for finishing at last that final part of my astronomy education. (Final for now, at least, who knows what mad things I will endeavour in the future?)

But regardless of my mental issues, I wrote a novel! Another fucking novel, in fact, in a series I've been working on for over three years. If I manage to keep up this momentum the whole thing might be ready for publication before next year is at an end. We shall see. It feels great, in any case, to finally have seen this story to an end. It has been hiding within me for so long, so afraid of being laughed at. But at last the pain of ignoring it got stronger than the fear, and out it tumbled, in a glory of crappy language and plotholes, but with an idea strong and interesting enough to build an actual book out of through large amounts of hard work. I love and hate the process and learn a hell of a lot from it, just like so much else in life.

Oh well. Tomorrow begins the return to so-called normal life, where it is said that other things than the writing of words each and every day should be of highest priority. Maybe I'll finally get the rest of my life under control and manage to give loved ones the attention they deserve. That's the ambition at least, but right now I'll settle for nursing my fever-stricken body with ice cream and revel in the pride of having taken on this challenge and fucking owned it.

Love and success,
Winterdragon

Homestretch

Exhausted, dazed with a fever and a cold, the apartment in dire need of cleaning and a mountain of dishes to do. The weather is lovely and I should probably take a shower, too. Or make some food. But all those trivialities can wait. I've got a novel to finish writing, and I'll be damned if I'll let such excuses come between me and the 6850 words I've got left to write before midnight.

Oh well, enough with the procrastinating. I'd better get to it. To paraphrase Robert Frost:

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And words to write before I sleep,   
And words to write before I sleep.

Love and writing,
Winterdragon

Saturday, 14 November 2015

This day a life

There is neither happiness nor misery in the world. There is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must have felt what it is to die […] that we may appreciate the enjoyments of life.
— Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)

Today has been a pretty great day, in all its ordinarity. It just keeps hitting me that I have so much to be thankful for. I am alive, for starters, in no way to be taken for granted. I have a wonderful place to live in a town that I love where I have a lot of friends who I am lucky enough to get to spend much time with. I am in good health, and might well be in better physical shape than ever before. I ran 19 kilometres today (that's further than ever before), in brisk sunny windy weather, with an uncomplaining body that finally seems to be adapting somewhat to long-distance running. I have spent half the day working at a job that I enjoy, in daytime hours and for reasonable salary. I have written a lot of words today, on a book that I think I might actually manage to tie together in the end. NaNoWriMo is going according to plan, and I am enjoying the unexpected turns the story is taking. I made food and baked a cake and cuddled with two cats. I've got some time left before sleep, and I am damned well going to spend it doing things I want to do instead of things I should do. I hardly ever have to be lonely.

So yeah. Even though this year has been extremely rough, I'm getting by. More than that: I fundamentally love my life, which is a very effective way to keep going even when times are hard. I think this really is how I want to live my life, and I am privileged as fuck for getting to have my high ambitions and work towards them. Mostly through luck, probably, but some aspects of my life are actually awesome because I worked hard for them to become that way. So amidst all the angst I tend to exude through this blog, I thought it would be appropriate to just bask in my joy of being alive for a moment.

Egocentric, me? Well, I do engage with the outside world sometimes. But not today. Today belongs to me.

“What was personal gain, but the freedom to do what you wanted to do?”
— Kim Stanley Robinson (Green Mars)

Love and joy,
Winterdragon