Sharing: August 16, 2018

More things I like:

Anime: Puella Magi Madoka Magica
I mentioned this in a previous post but I want to recommend it again…partly because I’ve now seen the whole series, and have started to watch it again from the beginning. So many little things in the series take on a completely different meaning once you understand what’s really going on. One particular character’s lines never mean what you originally thought they meant. Well worth watching and re-watching.
Casual Reading: The Princeton Companion to Mathematics
It’s big and expensive and frequently goes over my head even though I have a master’s degree in math…but I still had to own the book and don’t regret buying it. I’ve been working my way through it for several years now; I try to read a bit every day. It really is the best advanced-level introduction to the entire field of math that I know of. And here’s a cheat: if you think you might be interested, download the free sample of the book from Kindle. You’ll get lot of free reading so you can see if it’s your cup of tea.
Writing technique: Writing longhand
I do most of my writing at the computer, either in Scrivener or Microsoft Word. But if I really get stuck, I sit down at the dining room table and write longhand on loose-leaf paper. Writing longhand is a different experience than keyboarding. It happens at a different speed, and with a different mind-body orientation. If my brain is in a rut, or if I find myself inhibited when writing a particular scene, writing by hand almost always gets me out of the rut. Sometimes I write whole stories by hand. I think it gives them a different feel from the work I write by computer. Give it a try.

 

Sharing: August 4, 2018

More links:

Anime: Puella Magi Madoka Magica
“Puella Magi” is Latin (sort of) for “Magical Girl”, and this anime series is a very dark vision of what being a magical girl might be like. A cute talking animal offers to make “contracts” with girls who show promise. They can have a wish come true, no matter how miraculous, in exchange for which they must become magical girls and fight witches. Yes, becoming a magical girl is the price, not the reward. And things go downhill from there. (This is a 12-episode series now available on Crunchyroll.
Manga: Knights & Magic
This starts as a run-of-the-mill Gary Lou series (i.e. about a male version of a Mary Sue). However, it eventually changes to deal with the engineering process, showing the effort needed to turn a brilliant prototype into a practical, reliable product. It’s an unexpected swerve, and more interesting (to me) than just a normal Fantasy Mecha series. (FYI, the series is ongoing, available on Crunchyroll.)
Hobby: Cross-Stitch Embroidery
I don’t do as much cross-stitch as I used to, because my eyes aren’t as good as they once were. (My left eye is well on its way to having a cataract, but the optometry clinic says I shouldn’t deal with it yet. Apparently, for best results, you’re supposed to leave cataracts until they really start hampering your vision.) Anyway, I still do an hour or two of cross-stitch a week. It’s pleasantly relaxing, and like an oyster making a pearl, I end up with pretty pictures as a side-effect.