Revisiting the past. Sort of.

Mar. 27th, 2017 05:43 am
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Posted by Diana Pharaoh Francis

It’s spring break. Last Friday, my son and a friend decided to do a movie marathon of The Lord of The Rings trilogy. One of his friends had never seen it. I can’t remember if my son had seen it all the way through, either. I know he hadn’t seen the extended versions. I didn’t get to watch the whole thing. I had work I had to do and then my dogs were sick and I had to go to the vet and so on and so forth. I did get to see some of it, though and I was rather nostalgic. The movie came out more than fifteen years ago and I remember how amazing and powerful an impact it had on imaginations everywhere, on movie making, and on our culture. That was the first movie, and as each was released, it seemed to have an even stronger, more powerful impact.

Among the SF/F communities, it was this extraordinary vision come to life in a way we had never experienced before. It was no cheesy or all about the CGI. It was about strength, honor, choices, and hope. It was real characters in dreadful situations. The watching of heroes being made and broken beneath weights no one should have to bear. And Aragorn-a king in the making. A soul of strength and doubt and humility.

The movies were inspiring on a lot of fronts. I think it’s appropriate to watch it now in a world that is struggling so hard against itself. With so much fear, and worry and such dire enemies. Who are those enemies? Too many are ourselves. Our fears that turn us into monsters or traitors. Denethor, Gollum, Boromir, the nazgul–absolute power corrupts. There are those who give up. Those who refuse to fight. Those who lose themselves.

The stories, the movies and the books, are a view into ourselves and what we can hope to be and what we may become–good and bad. It’s a reminder that it’s never a good time to quit in the battle against darkness–in whatever shape it takes.

Like many songs, or smells, it took me back to my own past. Took me back to 2001 and what I was doing. In fact, the  initial movie is one year older than my son. I often listen to the music, but find it bittersweet, remembering that while so much was won, so much was lost, and some things happen that can’t be recovered from. That true leaders walk in the trenches and sacrifice more than most others.

It reminds me that stories are important and feed our souls. That telling stories of courage and grace are worthwhile. That reading them teaches my heart things. That evil is insidious and often knocks on the door looking like something better than it is.

“Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till.”
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings




Saturday 26 March 1664

Mar. 26th, 2017 11:00 pm
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Posted by Samuel Pepys

Up very betimes and to my office, and there read over some papers against a meeting by and by at this office of Mr. Povy, Sir W. Rider, Creed, and Vernaty, and Mr. Gauden about my Lord Peterborough’s accounts for Tangier, wherein we proceeded a good way; but, Lord! to see how ridiculous Mr. Povy is in all he says or do; like a man not more fit for to be in such employments as he is, and particularly that of Treasurer (paying many and very great sums without the least written order) as he is to be King of England, and seems but this day, after much discourse of mine, to be sensible of that part of his folly, besides a great deal more in other things. This morning in discourse Sir W. Rider [said], that he hath kept a journals of his life for almost these forty years, even to this day and still do, which pleases me mightily.

That being done Sir J. Minnes and I sat all the morning, and then I to the ‘Change, and there got away by pretence of business with my uncle Wight to put off Creed, whom I had invited to dinner, and so home, and there found Madam Turner, her daughter The., Joyce Norton, my father and Mr. Honywood, and by and by come my uncle Wight and aunt. This being my solemn feast for my cutting of the stone, it being now, blessed be God! this day six years since the time; and I bless God I do in all respects find myself free from that disease or any signs of it, more than that upon the least cold I continue to have pain in making water, by gathering of wind and growing costive, till which be removed I am at no ease, but without that I am very well. One evil more I have, which is that upon the least squeeze almost my cods begin to swell and come to great pain, which is very strange and troublesome to me, though upon the speedy applying of a poultice it goes down again, and in two days I am well again.

Dinner not being presently ready I spent some time myself and shewed them a map of Tangier left this morning at my house by Creed, cut by our order, the Commissioners, and drawn by Jonas Moore, which is very pleasant, and I purpose to have it finely set out and hung up.

Mrs. Hunt coming to see my wife by chance dined here with us.

After dinner Sir W. Batten sent to speak with me, and told me that he had proffered our bill today in the House, and that it was read without any dissenters, and he fears not but will pass very well, which I shall be glad of. He told me also how Sir [Richard] Temple hath spoke very discontentfull words in the House about the Tryennial Bill; but it hath been read the second time to-day, and committed; and, he believes, will go on without more ado, though there are many in the House are displeased at it, though they dare not say much. But above all expectation, Mr. Prin is the man against it, comparing it to the idoll whose head was of gold, and his body and legs and feet of different metal. So this Bill had several degrees of calling of Parliaments, in case the King, and then the Council, and then the Lord Chancellor, and then the Sheriffes, should fail to do it.

He tells me also, how, upon occasion of some ‘prentices being put in the pillory to-day for beating of their masters, or some such like thing, in Cheapside, a company of ‘prentices came and rescued them, and pulled down the pillory; and they being set up again, did the like again. So that the Lord Mayor and Major Generall Browne was fain to come and stay there, to keep the peace; and drums, all up and down the city, was beat to raise the trained bands, for to quiett the towne, and by and by, going out with my uncle and aunt Wight by coach with my wife through Cheapside (the rest of the company after much content and mirth being broke up), we saw a trained band stand in Cheapside upon their guard. We went, much against my uncle’s will, as far almost as Hyde Park, he and my aunt falling out all the way about it, which vexed me, but by this I understand my uncle more than ever I did, for he was mighty soon angry, and wished a pox take her, which I was sorry to hear. The weather I confess turning on a sudden to rain did make it very unpleasant, but yet there was no occasion in the world for his being so angry, but she bore herself very discreetly, and I must confess she proves to me much another woman than I thought her, but all was peace again presently, and so it raining very fast, we met many brave coaches coming from the Parke and so we turned and set them down at home, and so we home ourselves, and ended the day with great content to think how it hath pleased the Lord in six years time to raise me from a condition of constant and dangerous and most painfull sicknesse and low condition and poverty to a state of constant health almost, great honour and plenty, for which the Lord God of heaven make me truly thankfull.

My wife found her gowne come home laced, which is indeed very handsome, but will cost me a great deal of money, more than ever I intended, but it is but for once. So to the office and did business, and then home and to bed.

Read the annotations

We get mail (contd.)

Mar. 26th, 2017 04:47 pm
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So I occasionally get mail via the feedback form on this blog. And I usually try to reply to it (when I get a reply-able email address and it seems to expect a reply and I have something to say), and I certainly don't publish email without getting permission first ... unless it's like this (i.e. the sender is unidentified and unidentifiable from the content, which is copypasta of someone else's out-of-copyright rant):

Subject: Fear the Lord!!!

From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

(James 4:1-6 KJV)

To which the holy spirit[*] led me to reply:

My imaginary friends have more fun than your imaginary friends.

Moral of this story: assuming someone else shares your beliefs—or even understands them well enough to respond to your attempt at evangelism other than with baffled amusement—is a bad idea.

Also: what is it that leads people to believe that an all-powerful omniscient creator, who is presumably responsible for the fine structure constant, neutron stars, and Sacculina carcini, is nevertheless obsessively interested in where and what hairless African plains apes rub their genitalia against?

[*]The memory of last night's very nice single malt whisky

Idea for an anthology

Mar. 26th, 2017 10:56 am
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* As previously mentioned, the black woman in this illustration is the only black person of whom I am aware ever depicted in a space colony-related drawing.

* Handing authors a drawing to write a story around is an established thing in SF.

Thus, an anthology with different takes on that one black person in an otherwise entirely white space community.

Sunday Sweets Springs In

Mar. 26th, 2017 01:00 pm
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Posted by Jen

It's officially Spring!!

Which, I know, doesn't mean much when you're still buried in snow or already rockin' the flip-flops.

Still, Spring means flowers and happy colors, so today, that's what you get. And you're gonna like it.

(By Suzanne Kleinsman, aka The Queen of Pops)


See? Happy cake.


(By Mutlu Gün Kurabiyecisi)

And BOOYA, sweet mini florals for an engagement cake!


Tell me you're not smiling, 'cuz I've got more.

(By Kiara's Cakes)

Like this! Something about that color combo equals instant eye candy for me.


Of course Spring is all about gettin' down and dirty, so brace yourself:

(By House of Cakes Dubai)

SO DIRTY. And gorgeous. And kinda cute, if you like snails.


Here comes another natural beauty who's all bark and lots of bites:

(By Sweetness)

Phenomenal Fondant Powers, look at these textures! This is one that must be bitten to be believed; I've never seen a better tree bark OR more delicate ruffles.


Speaking of double-takes, here's another one that fooled me:

(By McGreevey Cakes)

The pitcher is cake, if you can believe it - I'm still not sure I do! What I do know is I'm in love.


Here's a fun modern take in bright pinks and yellows:

(By Kakes By Karen)

It's so Springy, right? And look at that embroidery texture! Incredible!


Now my favorite color, with my favorite flowers:

(By Torta Nicoletta)

Orange + Poppies = Pure Jen Joy.


Or how about a wheel barrow bouquet?

(By Golumbevskaya Olesya)

That's all sugar paste work, with a cake barrow!


Let's wrap things up with one more bold and bright number - and I freely admit I'm playing favorites:

(By Lumipo)

MORE POPPIES! Woot woot! And how fun is that green "barn-wood"? (The topper is two hearts with a padlock and chain between them.) My favorite is the hand-painting, though, inspired by the art of Colleen Parker. So good.

Hope this made your Sunday a little more Springy, peeps, and a lot more happy!


Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.

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Posted by Jill Zeller

We rise early, try to chug hot, mediocre coffee, and line up to enter our Bush Cruiser, the faithful Land Rover, with cameras, phones, hats, scarves, bug juice, water bottles all handy and within easy reach. Camera is charged and ready to be filled with today’s graphic data. Binoculars afixed around the neck. Eyes sharp and ready to see what is there.

Ibizu is on his walkie-talkie, chatting with other guides, sharing sightings. He is on the hunt for lions. (See Blog #1 of the Reluctant Traveler—we did see lions during our final drive). He turns the Land Rover around, telling us that we might see something. Another safari vehicle is stopped on the road ahead of us, its riders staring off into the bush.

It’s a tree, of a type I don’t recognize. I picked up a booklet in the park concessions store of the animals and birds of Kruger National Park, but the shrubbery and flowers stump me. Through my binoculars I can see the leopard prone on a thick branch, all four limbs hanging down. The beast is distant, a black shadow against a glowing sky.

Using my zoom I snap photos, knowing they will be odd and blurry. The marvel of modern digital photography is that when I upload the photos and perform a virtual zoom, I can make out the leopard’s spots.

Another mark on our Big Five list.

We drive west, the Crocodile river on our left, the rising sun behind us. We pass through the biggest zebra herd of all—at least 100 beasts, several babies among them, spread out through the bush. They are content, Ibizu tells us. “If the lion comes now, they will run straight at us,” he warns.

Impala, wildebeest, graze in the tall grass. Guinea fowl trot in front of us, dash out of our way in the last seconds. In the west a tower of clouds flows north, bringing rain to the sugar cane fields.

Someone points toward our left. Ibizu slows the Rover as we watch a group of elephants, three or four adults, one or two babies. They are moving east, quickly, almost at a trot.

Ibizu says, “They are not happy. There is something around. I will back up so you can see them but if one of them starts to run toward us you have to tell me because I can’t see them.”

We nod obediently. As the Rover passes a shrub we get a view of the elephant bringing up the rear. She is the largest, and probably Big Mama. Stopping, she turns to face west, ears wide, tail up. I know, I don’t have to be told, that she will face any danger and stomp it to death to protect her sisters and their progeny.

We see her agitation only for a few seconds, hearts beating, ready to yell if she begins to think we are the threat. She is roughly 25 yards away, but can cover the distance in seconds, but she whirls around and trots after her retreating family, herding them quickly away, to safety and out of sight.

The only threat we see are a couple hyenas, who trot directly past us, uncaring and on a mission.

No lions. But maybe tonight.

The night safari leaves our lodge at dusk. Night falls quickly in South Africa. Ibizu uses a spotlight to find the hippos for us as they emerge from the river to feed during the dark.

But just at twilight, before his spotlight comes out, after our tea break of wine and cookies, we see another grouping of elephants ahead of us on the road. There appears to be only three, but there could be more unseen in the dim light. Slowly Ibizu approaches. He has no warning words, but I believe he is tense and ready to evade them, if we have too.

We snap photos. My camera is not fast enough for low-light photography without a tripod, so I amuse myself with my binoculars. These elephants seem huge, maybe because we are so close. Slowly we approach, the Rover growling softly.

The elephants leave the roadway as we near. Two move left, but one moves right. We are about to drive between them.

Ibizu is silent, and keeps the vehicle moving. He is not about to stop this close to any African elephant. We are ignorant of the threat, astonished and happy, looking at these powerful beasts.

As we pass the elephant on our right turns to face us. He looks straight into the Rover, ears flapping. We are agog.

Then he lifts his trunk and trumpets his warning, loud and blasting. We jump. Ibizu keeps the Rover moving, steadily, carefully. We leave the trumpeter behind, and looking back we see him cross the road to join his friends.

In elephant-speak, he said “Hey!” Really loud. A warning, I think. Get out of here or else.

We did as we were bid. We got out of there.


Black cockatoos

Mar. 26th, 2017 11:51 am
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Christmas Eve last year:

Went outside my parents' house and heard a bird call that didn't fit. Took me a minute to realise that it was a yellow-tailed black cockatoo call. Not something I normally hear/see near my parents' house in Australia. Quickly grabbed my sis' camera with her awesome zoom lens to get photos, as the two cockatoos were pretty high in the banksia (I think) tree.

Black Cockatoo nomming on a banksia nut, beak on to the camera

4 more below the cut )

Friday 25 March 1664

Mar. 25th, 2017 11:00 pm
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Posted by Samuel Pepys

(Lady-day). Up and by water to White Hall, and there to chappell; where it was most infinite full to hear Dr. Critton. Being not knowne, some great persons in the pew I pretended to, and went in, did question my coming in. I told them my pretence; so they turned to the orders of the chappell, which hung behind upon the wall, and read it; and were satisfied; but they did not demand whether I was in waiting or no; and so I was in some fear lest he that was in waiting might come and betray me.

The Doctor preached upon the thirty-first of Jeremy, and the twenty-first and twenty-second verses, about a woman compassing a man; meaning the Virgin conceiving and bearing our Saviour. It was the worst sermon I ever heard him make, I must confess; and yet it was good, and in two places very bitter, advising the King to do as the Emperor Severus did, to hang up a Presbyter John (a short coat and a long gowne interchangeably) in all the Courts of England. But the story of Severus was pretty, that he hanged up forty senators before the Senate house, and then made a speech presently to the Senate in praise of his owne lenity; and then decreed that never any senator after that time should suffer in the same manner without consent of the Senate: which he compared to the proceeding of the Long Parliament against my Lord Strafford. He said the greatest part of the lay magistrates in England were Puritans, and would not do justice; and the Bishopps, their powers were so taken away and lessened, that they could not exercise the power they ought. He told the King and the ladies plainly, speaking of death and of the skulls and bones of dead men and women,1 how there is no difference; that nobody could tell that of the great Marius or Alexander from a pyoneer; nor, for all the pains the ladies take with their faces, he that should look in a charnels-house could not distinguish which was Cleopatra’s, or fair Rosamond’s, or Jane Shoare’s.

Thence by water home. After dinner to the office, thence with my wife to see my father and discourse how he finds Tom’s matters, which he do very ill, and that he finds him to have been so negligent, that he used to trust his servants with cutting out of clothes, never hardly cutting out anything himself; and, by the abstract of his accounts, we find him to owe above 290l., and to be coming to him under 200l.

Thence home with my wife, it being very dirty on foot, and bought some fowl in Gracious Street and some oysters against our feast to-morrow. So home, and after at the office a while, home to supper and to bed.


  1. The preacher appears to have had the grave scene in “Hamlet” in his mind, as he gives the same illustration of Alexander as Hamlet does.

Read the annotations

On this day in 1911

Mar. 25th, 2017 10:12 am
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Enjoy this preview of what working life will be like in the US once the Republicans strip workers of every legal protection.

Worldbuilding: Curses and Cusses

Mar. 25th, 2017 06:00 am
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Posted by Sherwood Smith


How many Sf or fantasy novels have you read, or shows have you watched, that toss you right out when the characters started cussing and the made-up words, or euphemisms, sound totally fake?

Some writers solve the problem by ignoring it. American writers use American slang, metaphors, and cusswords, even in invented worlds full of dragons and magic.

I remember a TV show my daughter watched years ago, in which the main characters constantly exclaimed “Pitafajita!” It even grated on my ten year old’s ears, and though she liked the show, she did not adopt its carefully constructed g-rated epithet.

Many readers feel that a world is more convincing if  the  characters relieve anger or pain with exclamations that 1) reflect their culture and 2) sound like words that people would actually say.

Do we really need cussing and cursing in our genre fiction?

Not long ago, scientists demonstrated proof that cussing when hurt actually relieves pain. Not surprising was the discovery that recovered black boxes from crashed planes most frequently end with blue language. It’s not always sailors and gangstas who let fly what teachers call “language.” Even very civilized folks can find themselves in situations where the wrong word escapes: if you’ve ever attended a childbirth, you might hear an otherwise mild-mannered woman blistering the wallpaper, or if you are a martial artist, you could hear that laid-back, super cool black belt who’s just accidentally jammed a finger backwards yelp a word with the same vim they usually reserve for their Chiai.

When approaching worldbuilding, many authors come up against the fact that cursing is not always cussing.
Cursing, or swearing, used to mean swearing oaths–an important part of many cultures. If you look at Beowulf you discover that oaths are not cussing at all–the insults are flyting, which is a totally different matter, often ritualistic. And this is true all over the world. Rappers trading rhymed, poetic insults are (maybe without knowing it) carrying on an African tradition that also goes back many centuries.

Oaths were meant to be kept–a person’s oath was their honor. Often these included oaths before a deity. God is mentioned many times in Beowulf but you won’t find a single one of those tough warriors using ‘God’ in their cussing.

In early novels, ‘oath’ was often used in fiction as a politeness for cuss words (“The villain uttered a coarse oath as he tied the maiden to the railroad tracks”) unless it’s specified (“She raised her right hand and swore her oath of office.”). The word “Vow” gradually replaced “oath” in that context: “Marriage vows.” “Vow of vengeance.” “Vow of silence.”

swearing an oath

I think oaths are pretty much gone, and current post-truth politics make it crystal clear that also gone is the notion that one is as good as one’s word.

In rougher times, tight bonds of kinship and community often were the difference between survival and non. They also made life worth surviving for. Are your characters living in desperate straits where being as good as your word means something? Or are your characters able to move away if they don’t like or trust the people they are around?


‘Cursing’ is even older, the idea of making a formal curse so that harm would come to another. There was certainly magical thinking here, but cursing could also be a social signal to go after the cursed one. And his or her family, friends, and possessions.

‘Cussing’ is usually exclamation, expletive, expressing sharp emotion. The crazy thing about human cussing–and it probably reflects the extraordinary inconsistency of human behavior and thought–is that foul language isn’t the same in every culture, except in a very narrow range, usually having to do with excreta.

Styles and modes seem to vary not only from culture to culture but from region to region as well as in time. Cussing that relates to sex can vary wildly, but some of the most opaque cussing is that relating to class. Like ‘toff’ and ‘cit.’ Worldbuilding that reflects your world’s history might venture into legal attempts to curtail certain expressions or words. (Which usually just drives it underground, human behavior being in some senses a constant.)

Another worldbuilding curiosity to keep in mind is how words can alter in meaning and effect over time. Take “Drat!”, which is considered fairly innocuous, once meant “God rot your bones!” which wasn’t innocuous at all during the middle ages.

“Plaguey” is merely a quaint adjective, usually put into the mouths of cliche pirates, along with “Arrr!”–no one anymore says, “Plague take you!” which was an extremely serious imprecation indeed after the mid 1300s, when half the population of Europe died within about a year. “Zounds!” was “God’s wounds!”–one of those expressions one swore by, incomprehensible now.

In some cultures, people swear by something, usually deities or leaders, either their own or someone else’s. In our history, for example, a hundred years ago it was okay to swear by the Greek or Roman gods: “By Jupiter!” was all right for gentlemen to say (though not for ladies) but “By God!” was considered blasphemous by either sex. If you read books printed two hundred years ago, you will see “By G–!” in the mouths of villains, or “d— you!” So you are actually thinking the word, and yet not seeing it in print.

Religious imprecations still resound all around us, secular though most of contemporary society is. When someone asks God to damn us, we no longer make the sign of the cross to ward it, much less drop flat in order to avoid a direct hit from a heavenly lightning bolt. The anger behind the words triggers anger just the same, even if we don’t fear we will be instantly blasted to the eternal rotisserie on this person’s word. Still, religions invented for worlds are far more convincing if the characters actually believe in them, and use language that conveys that belief.

Another curiosity that the worldbuilding author ought to consider is how cussing inspires its own euphemisms, like “effing” or “f***”–we know what it means, but we’re not saying the word. A sort of magical thinking without much magic, hearkening back to those days of printed d– and G–.Gillray02

Do genders have their own forms of cursing or cussing? 150 years ago, British and American women who aspired to be considered ladies could exclaim “Fiddledeedee!” Men didn’t say it lest they be considered unmanly.

Inventing cussing and cursing can be problematical. I remember a discussion back in the seventies, when women in consciousness raising groups were concerned about the fact that so much cussing had to do with violence against women, and of course there were the many, many socially acceptable bigoted terms meant to keep racial or social minorities outside the mainstream. I remember one woman tried to get a movement going in which epithets were to be heinous acts, such as “Rape!” It didn’t catch on, any more than some seventies science fiction in which characters would exclaim “You anti-egalitarianist!” or “Classist!” (Which I thought would have been better for the use of the good old-fashioned “Snob!”)


Anyway, the writer who wants to invent cultures does have to consider this aspect of behavior. But it’s tough to make their blue language convincing.

If the people in your culture think that the deadliest insult of all is “Thunder-chicken,” the world-building details have got to convince me that there is dreadful or ominous meaning in those words, or else I’m going to snicker. In spite of the fact that here on earth, there are cultures where calling someone a pig-dog is a terrible insult, as is “May your father’s teeth rot!”


Thursday 24 March 1663/64

Mar. 24th, 2017 11:00 pm
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Posted by Samuel Pepys

Called up by my father, poor man, coming to advise with me about Tom’s house and other matters, and he being gone I down by water to Greenwich, it being very-foggy, and I walked very finely to Woolwich, and there did very much business at both yards, and thence walked back, Captain Grove with me talking, and so to Deptford and did the like- there, and then walked to Redriffe (calling and eating a bit of collops and eggs at Half-way house), and so home to the office, where we sat late, and home weary to supper and to bed.

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Posted by Leticia Roncero


Gabriela originally trained to be a chef. She never considered photography. Cooking was her main passion. “I come from a family of business people and art was not common in my house when I was a child,” she explained. “My grandmother was the only creative person in my family. She sewed wedding dresses and was an excellent cook. At that time, I collected recipes and, as a teenager, I spent the evenings cooking.”

In 2001, amidst the turmoil of social and economic crisis in Argentina, Gabriela decided to step away from her career as a part-time chef. Later in the year, she mustered up the courage to move to Montreal, Canada. Once in Montreal, she opened a small gourmet food cafe and market. Everything started off fine, but then she realized she needed some commercial photographers to help her market her products.

After several years of working with costly professional photographers, Gabriela’s husband bought a camera and encouraged her to take the photos herself. “In only a few weeks my interest in photography grew exponentially, and those commercial photos fell into the background. I was discovering something much more important, a different form of expression.”

This Is What I Came For

Where previously her products were being interpreted by other photographers, Gabriela now had the confidence to represent them as she wished. From that point on her skills began to develop. Now she photographs everything from portraits and landscapes to food, animals, and children. In the trend of lifestyle photography, Gabriela’s photos follow suit, reflecting more than just the products of her life, but their place in her life. “Photography is a sort of therapy for me; it is a means to share my perspective on things, while keeping me attentive and focused.” She doesn’t want to specialize yet and aims “to continue experimenting.”

“During my creative process, I always try to listen to my intuition over reason because that gives me better results.” It’s too easy to get bogged down in the technical details of photography, she explained. When it comes down to what, how, when, and where to shoot Gabriela goes with her gut. She finds moments, like when she’s looking at a landscape, a small object, or notices a particular bit of lighting she likes. Gabriela feels that without a passion for the thing you are shooting, the how you shoot becomes somewhat irrelevant.

“When it comes to photography, there are many rules that we can choose to follow, but I need to follow my gut feeling.”


“In this image, I lowered the saturation and set black to the minimum, and then I cropped it. It took me three seconds, and the image turned out as I wanted.” She says the image would’ve been discarded had she followed the consistency rules that strangle so many lifestyle photographers. Her ‘brand’ of photography isn’t so narrowly focused. The vast majority of her photos are in color.

Gabriela’s daughter, who is the model in many of her pictures, echoed that her mom’s camera is a major part of the family’s life. Gabriela thinks it’s important to capture her daughter’s childhood and knows that these portraits will become tomorrow’s precious memories. “I try to photograph her as is, without asking too much of her. Sometimes I just ask her to stay quiet for a second or to move to the side, that’s all.”


Gabriela works with natural light, which can be tricky sometimes, especially for someone who lives in a northern country and has to deal with short daylight hours. “With practice, I’ve gotten to know my environment and what is the best light at different times of the year, and to look for solutions that allow me to keep shooting.” When she shoots inside, she uses a tripod and takes advantage of the natural light sources like windows, to which she sometimes applies a filter. “To me, it’s important that the image looks as good as possible straight from the camera, without having to do thousands of fixes while editing later.”

Gabriela just returned from a trip to her home in Argentina, where most of her family still lives. In the coming months, she plans on taking some specialized photography courses and putting out some new projects like the shooting of a few local artists and models from Canada.


Be sure to follow Gabriela’s Flickr page to see the world #ThroughHerLens and tell her what inspires you the most about her work! Gabriela has been active on Flickr for a very long time and has made a lot of great amigos here. She invites you to connect with her and become a new one. :) <3

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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
My gaming group is starting a new campaign using Mage. I had been thinking of a martial artist but someone else wants to play a wuxia character. Now I am thinking of maybe going in a Doctor Thirteen direction: a parapsychologist who has never investigated a claim of magic where it wasn't a fraud, even back in the days when it was him, his three friends and the talking dog tooling around in a crappy van.

I am thinking the two schools of magic he can do are Prime (specifically dispel magic) and Life (with a major in talking to animals).

If he was a teen in 1969, he's in his sixties now? But I see him as unusually well-preserved. All that running from "monsters" is excellent cardio.

Mission Statement

Reading, writing, plant photography, and the small details of my life, with digressions into science and computing.



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