Searching for contentment


In the soft glow of light cast by a shoji lamp

The fragrance of freshly cut wood

The inspiration of a good read

The wonder of daily living

Reading: Invisible Planets

Invisible Planets translated and edited by Ken LiuTranslated and edited by Ken Liu

I found the tales in this diverse collection of 13 stories by seven Chinese authors—who are, among many other things, accomplished science fiction writers—by turns inspiring, challenging, puzzling, entertaining, touching, and above all, well worth spending some time with.

In his introduction, the anthology's translator and editor, Ken Liu—who is himself, among many other things, an accomplished author and winner of the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Awards (see my review of The Paper Menagerie)—writes:

Like writers everywhere, today’s Chinese writers are concerned with humanism; with globalization; with technological advancement; with tradition and modernity; with disparities in wealth and privilege; with development and environmental preservation; with history, rights, freedom, and justice; with family and love; with the beauty of expressing sentiment through words; with language play; with the grandeur of science; with the thrill of discovery; with the ultimate meaning of life.

I found much to enjoy within the worlds the stories of Invisible Planets opened for me. Here are a few of my favorite passages:

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Contemplating: My new favorite animal!

Photo of a thory devil in the desert by Christopher Watson / Wikimedia

"The thorny devil stays hydrated thanks to its skin, which pulls water away from moist grains, against gravity and into its mouth."

Crazy! Ed Yong writes in The Atlantic that this beautiful Australian lizard uses capillary action to suck up morning dew and other minute sources of moisture.

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Enjoying: Life in the Rockies

Now that the crush of summer visitors is quietening, we can visit some of the trails in Rocky Mountain National Park that we avoid during the peak months. Today, we enjoyed a wonderful autumn walk up the Wild Basin trail along the North St Vrain Creek. Gorgeous weather (too warm for this time of year, but still…). Given how dry this summer and fall have been, it amazes that the creek is still flowing so strongly. Hope we get a lot of snow this winter!

North St Vrain Creek flowing through Wild Basin

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Woodworking: Windtraveler shoji lamp

My current project is in the shape of the Catalan deltoidal hexecontahedron, which is made up of 60 deltoid-shaped faces.

Thinking about my next lamp: a deltoidal hexecontahedron

I really love the deltoid shape. I like the way you can put three of these deltoids together to form a triangle, or five of them together to form a pentagon, or 60 to form a deltoidal hexecontahedron.

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