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Jul. 24th, 2016 @ 02:28 pm Writing Progress - Balach Dubh
2046 words today.

16785 words total. Another thousand words or so and it will have achieved novella length.

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Jul. 24th, 2016 @ 09:53 am Funny scene
I write out on the porch in the morning, until either I finish the scene or the glare of the sun sends me back inside.

This morning, I completed the scene, started to come up to the computer to keyboard it into a document file when I realized I had to write two more lines. A paragraph at most. That's all. A question and an answer. However, one of the parties in the exchange is a princess of Faerie, a student at the University. The other is the head of the School of Magic.
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Jul. 23rd, 2016 @ 10:18 pm Progress on Balach Dubh
2349 words today for a total of 14739 words.

I began on the 17th, so this is a week's progress, about 2000 words a day, give or take a bit. I expected it to be a quickly written short story, the dream on which it is based wasn't all that much, only two scenes, but it seems to be a bit more than that.
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Jul. 11th, 2016 @ 10:09 am Plato - Crito; notes
I need to get to the library to get the next volume of readings - Aristophanes "Clouds" and "Lysistrata". I have the latter in my personal collection, but I really want to read them in order if possible. And it seems to me that I should return the one book before taking the next. So here are my thoughts on CRITO by PlatoCollapse )

I perceive his arguments as such -
(1) a person must do what he knows to be right and must act in a way consistent with his personal integrity.
(2) the opinions of the many do not or should not in any way impact upon a person's personal integrity or decisions. If one knows that something is wrong, the fact that many others are doing or saying or advocating it does not make it right. Right and wrong are NOT and should not be subject to the majority rule.
(3) In choosing to live within a society, one agrees to work to improve the laws and conditions within the framework of that society. Deciding on exile because one does not like what corrupt and self-involved persons have done to damage the State is contemptible. One should remain and struggle against injustice.
(4) Returning evil for evil and injury for injury negates the arguments made. Suffering injustice conveys moral superiority - descending into violence serves to justify the injustice one is attempting to right.

The major premise from which all this follows seems to me to be this :--
Loss of life is not the greatest evil which can befall one, the greatest evil is loss of integrity and personal honour.

As Matthew says "The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single {true}, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" Mt 2: 22-23

In my own words - you should always live and act in such a way that you can look your reflection in the eye; That you should be able to live with yourself no matter what you have done because ... in the end when all is said and done, you do have to be able to live with what you have done.
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Credendo Vides
Jul. 10th, 2016 @ 05:56 pm Story notes
I'm trying to get a handle on my main character and her friends. One thing is to know what classes she's taking. So this is my idea of her coursework up to the end of her 3rd year in college.

Courses by semester - Sarah Farris, magic major, Claire College, Bowbridge Univ.Collapse )

The gym courses are required but extracurricular in nature - Pass/ Fail. Those who fail the gym courses never leave HQ.

INT 497 is Independent Research, a required course for scholarship students like Sarah. They are in the way of being intern positions, unpaid and ungraded. INT 497 is an invitation only course which is mostly attended by 5th Semester and above students, it is an honor for Sarah and her friends Malalya and Jeremiah to be invited to take it as 4th semester students.
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Jul. 9th, 2016 @ 02:29 pm Notes on Plato's Apology
You can read it here if you wish. I would recommend it, it is surprisingly easy to read and if read aloud flows off the tongue.

This is an account by Plato of the defense that Socrates mounted at the trial in which he was accused of
(1) not recognizing the gods honoured by the State
(2) inventing new gods
(3) corrupting the youth of Athens.

The word apology comes from the Greek apologeisthai which means "to speak in defense". It had nothing to do with the modern definition of saying sorry and believe me when I say, Socrates does not appear to regret ANYTHING he did in his life. He just wished he had more time to do more of it.

In fact, to my understanding, Socrates appeared to be of the opinion that a good defense is a strong offense as he devotes most of his time insulting his chief accuser, Meletus.

The apology is divided into three parts, which this translation does not make at all clear. There is Socrates main defense against the charges followed by the vote of guilt or innocence. Having been found guilty he must then propose a punishment which he finds very difficult to do as he knows he has done nothing worthy of punishment. After the court votes on the death penalty Meletus pushes, Socrates addresses those who voted against him and those his friends who supported him.

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I meant to say something about this point. Socrates was 70 years old at the time of the trial. Imagine that, in that day and age - 70. Incredibly, unbelievably ancient. When the jurors came back with the verdict of death, he was incredulous asking "If you had waited a little while, your desire would have been fulfilled in the course of nature."

I may be warped, but I found that humorous.
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Credendo Vides
Jul. 9th, 2016 @ 08:25 am A Liberal Education
Once upon a time this did not refer to politics but instead meant an acquaintance or awareness of the body of work of great authors of the Western world. At the turn of the last century the then president of Harvard University, Charles W. Eliot, made the claim that the elements of a liberal education could be obtained by spending 15 minutes a day reading from a collection of books that could fit on a five-foot shelf. He had initially said a three-foot shelf but I guess he remembered some books later. Collier and Sons, a publishing company, challenged him to prove his claim and he did. The result was a 51 volume anthology of classic works from world literature, available online from Gutenberg Press at http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Harvard_Classics_(Bookshelf).

The evidence is that the Hudson School system once possessed the entire collection. I don't know how many disappeared in the great purge of 2011 - all of the ones which were on the shelf, I would guess. I managed to preserve those that had been in a box in the back room, one tenth of the whole. They are with other old books on shelves around the front of the check-out desk - purely as decoration.

Almost fifty years after the Harvard Collection was released into the wild, Encyclopaedia Britannica published its own version, The Great Books of the Western World. Unlike the Harvard Collection, this anthology comes with a volume explaining the intent and a SYLLABUS of recommended readings for ten years. Also unlike the Harvard Collection, the library has almost the entire set. And finally, unlike the Harvard Collection, it is not available online - still protected by copyright (even though the material contained within is public domain).

Syllabus for the First Year
1. Plato: Apology, Crito
2. Aristophanes: Clouds, Lysistrata
3. Plato: Republic [Book I-II]
4. Aristotle: Ethics [Book I]
5. Aristotle: Politics [Book I]
6. Plutarch: The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans [Lycurgus, Numa Pompilius, Lucurgus and Numa Compared, Alexander, Caesar]
7. New Testament [Gospel according to St. Matthew, the Acts of the Apostles]
8. St. Augustine: Confessions [Book I-VIII]
9. Machiavelli: The Prince
10. Rabelais: Gargantua and Pantagruel [Book I-II]
11. Montaigne: Essays [of Custom, and that we should not easily change a law received; of pedantry; of the Eduation of Children; That it is folly to measure truth and error by our own capacity; of cannibals; the the relish of Good and Evil depends in a great measure upon the opinion we have of them; upon some verses of Virgil]
12. Shakespeare: Hamlet
13. Locke: Concerning Civil Government [Second Essay]
14. Rousseau: The Social Contract [Books I-II]
15. Gibbon: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire [Ch. 15-16]
16. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, the Federalist [Numbers 1-10, 15, 31, 47, 51, 68-71]
17. Smith: The Wealth of Nations [Introduction- Book I, Ch. 9]
18. Marx-Engels: Manifesto of the Communist Party

More to follow - I have to get ready to give blood in less than an hour
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Credendo Vides
Jun. 21st, 2016 @ 05:07 pm 21 June 2016
Tags: , ,
sorrow is a bitter beer
thief of words and thoughts and cheer
leaves a hole in human heart
strains the soul and love apart.

sorrow is a lonely sound
a violent thug, a faithless hound
a grey oppression, heavy weight
a dollar short, too long late

heart so empty sheds no tear
for sorrow is a bitter beer.
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crafts, cooking, designs
Jun. 19th, 2016 @ 07:59 am Almond Cupcakes for Father's Day
Trying an experiment

Almond Cupcakes

2/3 cp almond meal
1/3 cp wheat flour
1/3 cp oat flour
1/4 cp sugar (optional)
1/4 cp dry milk powder

1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt

1/2 cp water
1 egg
1/4 cp olive oil
2 tbsp plain greek yogurt

1/4 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare twelve cups for cupcakes (paper liners are recommended or grease them with shortening).

Mix the dry ingredients together.

Combine the water, egg and oil. Add to the dry ingredients with the yogurt and stir to combine. The batter will be thick - about muffin batter consistency.

Stir in the almond extract.

Spoon batter into prepare cups - about 1/2 to 2/3 full. Bake at 350F about 20 or so minutes.

I used a variant of this recipe yesterday in the waffle iron (using rolled oats instead of oat flour). Frosted with vanilla icing, the taste and mouth feel was reminiscent of a cinnamon danish. M said that the rolled oats made them "too chewy", something the oat flour *should* ameliorate.

The advantages of this recipe - reduced sugar, reduced wheat/gluten, increased nut. Oats are good for cholesterol and are not as quickly digested as wheat, which should satisfy hunger longer.

Disadvantages - they do not rise up as much as regular cupcakes and are not as light and fluffy (density is more muffin-like). They are "grittier" by definition - the components are not as refined or processed by design; overly processed foods digest too quickly leading to a sugar rush and drop that leads to constant snacking.
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Jun. 16th, 2016 @ 09:55 am Last night ...
I set myself to wake me up periodically during the night to check that we hadn't rolled over on our stomach. Whether this helped or not, I do know that I didn't wake up in terror of swallowing with a closed throat.

M and I went to 99 Restaurant for his birthday celebration. Not too pleased with the service, but it didn't spoil the outing. The blueberry compote on the "Red, White, and Blue" cheesecake tasted of garlic and onion though, with was disconcerting. The cheesecake itself was very nice.
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Bernard the Elf