Magpie Monday

Here are some shiny things that caught my eye recently:

♦ I’m really digging this photo of a sink draining, probably because the illusion of an eyeball is also just a bit freaky. Here’s the skinny courtesy of BoingBoing, one of the several places I’ve seen this image this week:

Liammmin, a redditor, caught this incidental eyeball in a swirling drain. The origin story has a good moral: “My friend said something around the lines of ‘Liam, you take too many photos.’ So I ran around the room taking photos of everything and showing him all of them, then this happened and we got spooked.”—the moral being, “If you want to double your success rate, triple your failure rate.”

♦ Book Nook.

I love the way the light falls on the bookshelves in this picture by Gillian Lowyck (via):

BookRiot had a list of 10 excellent reading nooks. Below is my favorite, I think, a nook designed by Thomas Kroger, a German architect (I like its sleekness, the clean lines and dark walls). I also really like the first reading nook on the list, which is the complete opposite (light, white, and airy). What does that mean?

♦ The Reading Spot.

Ah, all good things must come to an end. This past week AlphaBooks, the alphabetical tumblr exploration of fictional characters curated by Ben Towle, moved to the Z’s. Below is Leah Palmer Preiss‘s illustration of Z is for Zaphod Beeblebrox from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

Z is for Zaphod Beeblebrox by Leah Palmer Preiss

For your online prose reading pleasure:

Brita’s Holiday Village by Karin Tidbeck at Weird Fiction Review

Early Draft of Talking Points for the Sixth Emergency Broadcast with Editorial Suggestions by the Office’s Unpaid Interns Bob and Isabelle by Helena Bell at Daily Science Fiction

Since You Seem to Need a Certain Amount of Guidance by Alexander Jablokov at Daily Science Fiction

Old Flames by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley at Daily Science Fiction

Nevermore by Renee Carter Hall at Daily Science Fiction

This Place from Which All Roads Go by Jennifer Mason-Black at Daily Science Fiction

Flax-golden tales: Paranormal Postage Thievery by Erin Morgenstern

From Letters of Note: this letter from Army Pfc. Jesse A. Givens to his family will wreck you. You were warned.

My friend Linda Sienkiewicz wrote about Marie Corelli, a female popular fiction writer in the Victorian era. Corelli was a bestselling and prolific writer, yet I’d never heard of her before. Her work is right up my alley, though, as Corelli wrote about

fantasy worlds, spirituality and science, the secret underground chambers of pyramids, immortality, Baby Jesus as a time-traveling street urchin, Satan as an misunderstood adventurer, weird theories of electricity to radium and radioactivity, and she foretold wireless telegraphy and X-rays.

I definitely need to find out more about her!

Colleen Doran had a great post about the illuminated manuscripts of Alberto Sangorski, filled with the most marvelous examples of his work. Below is a sample, but I hope you’ll click through to read the entire post.

♦ Someone’s in the Kitchen with Dinah.

I would eat the saddest Cyberman if he was this cake made by Truly Scrumptious Designer Cakes in the UK. Via.

For my coffee-drinking readers: How to make a truly spectacular cup of coffee: the best barista in the U.S. reveals her secrets. Via.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner: have we always eaten them? (Spoiler alert: No.) Very interesting! Via.

I wouldn’t have thought I’d like a restaurant review made up entirely of rhetorical questions, but Pete Wells’ blistering assessment of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, Guy Fieri’s new Times Square restaurant, proved me wrong. Via.

The fabulous french fry and hash brown diet—”Richard Nikoley of Free the Animal started eating fried potatoes earlier this week and has lost five pounds so far.”

Stumped on your Thanksgiving dinner menu? Check out The Thanksgiving-erator at The New York Times–it knows all, menus all. Thanks to Elizabeth Hand for the link on Facebook!

Oh, Hostess! You were the mostest, and now you’re not. We weren’t in constant supply of Hostess treats when I was young, so a Twinkie was something fun and unusual for us, as was the Ring Ding and my mom’s (and my) favorite, the Sno Ball. Everyone’s been talking about the shutting down of Hostess and honoring its history. Here are some pieces I enjoyed: 10 Twinkie talking pointsBeyond the Twinkie: 5 other products we’re losing; Farewell to Twinkies, America’s most futuristic food; and Back when a chocolate puck tasted, guiltily, like America.

Oh, Sno Balls, how I love thee.

♦ The Ninth Art.

Diana Prince’s Diary is a new tumblr that’s cracking me up (Diana Prince, for those who don’t know, was the original secret identity of Wonder Woman).

Steven Padnick’s Superman vs. the Myth of Aristocracy was an interesting read.

♦ Viewers’ Paradise.

A new trailer for Oz The Great and Powerful came out last week. Sure looks pretty.

Here’s also a new trailer for Beautiful Creatures, which shows some hardcore over-dramatic acting and wonky faux Southern accents. Hardcore, folks. I might want to see it even more now.

The 100 most depressing movie death scenes (via):

Cameron and others may be interested in Empire‘s list of the 100 best films of world cinema (meaning “not in the English language”). The list is certainly comprehensive, and almost all of the films I thought should be on such a list are there—but, alas, no La double vie de Veronique. What other films need to be on that list? Via.

♦ She Blinded Me … with Science!

Genetics: How we first discovered the difference between XX and XY.

Mortuary science: 10 bizarre death rituals from around the world.

Neuroscience: Do you know the big difference between hearing and listening?

Pathology: These diseases can be diagnosed by smell; The mysterious disease that kept people from speaking unless spoken to.

Psychology: Teller (of magician duo Penn & Teller) explains the psychology of stage magic.

Zoology: How (and why) animals change color with the seasons.

Cryptozoology: 9 legendary monsters of North America (part three).

♦ The Writers’ Desk.

Aaron Hamburger writes about the gift of rejection.

True or False? Pay attention to a story’s structure and detect whether it’s made up. Or, how well do you lie? Via.

Chuck Wendig has 25 ways to unstick a stuck story and talks about why stories should never begin at the beginning.

Because you can never read this information too much: Bryan Thomas Schmidt on 8 common mistakes to avoid in submitting manuscripts.

Susan J. Morris on writing meaningful description.

LitReactor on 10 things you should know about plurals. Also, would Jane Austen write a blog? (and other things writers probably shouldn’t do).

Gail Carriger’s 5 tips for coping with writing pain (some good suggestions here, like stretching, writing at standing desks, and avoiding trackpads and couch writing).

Pauline Fisk on Wild Edric and the art of writing. A fine teaser: “Every writer’s like a sleeping knight beneath a hill, brought to life when he or she has a story to tell, rising in the dark to gallop forth with a laugh, or tears or a chill breeze to broadcast to the waiting world.  When I’m writing, I feel alive. When I’m not, I feel asleep.  It’s as powerful as that.”

Theodora Goss on being ruthless, and it’s oh so very true:

To be a writer, you have to have a hard core yourself. You have to be willing to disappoint people, to say no, to take rejection. To be ruthless even to yourself, to refuse to put up with your own laziness and cowardice.

The arts are not for the faint of heart, you know.

♦ The world’s fastest piano juggler—fun and creepy all at once.

Via.

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