Redheaded Neanderlady

Redheaded Neanderlady
This is a photoshopped version of something I found in National Geographic about the time I started researching

Friday, April 30, 2010

More changes to the blog


Just a quick note to let everybody know(if you can't see it already), that I've changed the blog background.  The reason? Someone suggested it was difficult to read and caused eyestrain.  I don't want that, and believe it or not, I am responsive to these things.  If you have any likes or dislikes about this latest change, Gentle Readers, I will listen carefully

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

More nice Neanderpics

Just to let anyone interested know, I have just stumbled on some rather nice pictures of Neandertal reconstructions.  They all look, very, very human. One of them is eerily reminiscent of that famous early 16th century painting of Jesus.  Another one looks like lots of athletic young men I have met(sans the beard, and in modern clothes). His nose sticks out, but he' really doesn't look remarkably different.  The little girl looks like a little girl, etc.  The only one I don't really "cotton to" is the picture of "Wilma".  Were Neandertals really all that messy?  The link, BTW, is on Mathilda's Anthropology Blog.
Anne G

It's true, Brutus is confirmed dead

Yes, it's true. the International Wolf Center has confirmed that poor Brutus the Wolf i s dead.  The cause was a musk ox, who was doubtless trying to defend itself.  Musk oxen are very good at this, and the picture of the hole in his side is about the size of a musk ox horn. The International Wolf Center works with one of the weather stations on Ellesmere Island, and some weather station people went out after snow stopped falling, and dug up his remains.  So farewell, Brutus the Wolf!  You lived a good wolf life, doing what nature intended you to do, just as the musk ox was doing what nature intended it to do.  I hope that there will be some way to continue reporting about the habits of these beautiful animals, living as they do in the High Arctic.
Anne G

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sad news

I've had some sad news today.  The sad news is about the apparent demise of Brutus the Wolf. I mentioned in an earlier post, that Brutus was not with his pack, way up there in Ellsemere Island, nor was his radio collar transmitting anything.  It's still not transmitting anything, so he is presumed dead, but unless the people at the local weather station can find something out, they won't know for sure until around July 4.  I guess it's very difficult to get there much before then, or at least the conditions necessary for getting around on an Arctic island are very difficult till then.  This is all very sad.

On the other hand, Brutus was apparently about 10 years old.  That's pretty old for a wolf in the wild, and it looks like he did live a nice wolf life in a tough environment.  He sured a lot of pups, some of whom are still apparently with the pack, so his genes, if nothing else, are probably living on.  And you could say, while alive, he did the job nature intended him to do, which is good enough.  Still, it's sad, especially for the researchers, to lose one of the wolves whose movements they were tracking.

Rest in peace, Brutus the Wolf,
Anne G

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Another egregious goof(don't know whether it was Bloglines or me, though

Gentle readers:

Apparently the link to the letter the little boy wrote to the mayor, in my previous post about the Seattle Public Library System, did not go through. Don't ask why. Computers can be mysterious things.

Anyway, here it is:

Read it if you wish. It's quite powerful, in its way.
Anne G

Library woes, again

Gentle blog readers:

That time has come around again. Budget time for the City of Seattle. Unfortunately, there is a shortfall, and the budget looks as tight as ever. Which means somebody is going to try to cut library system's hours and services. This affects a lot of people

The kid who wrote this e-mail to Hizzoner Mayor McGinn had a point. There are still people, whose only access to computers is through the local library system. And it's not just little kids, either. I've mentioned before that many of the people who don't have access are immigrants trying to become citizens, people looking for a job, some homeless people who try to keep in contact.

There is also the "human" aspect: How about parents of small children who want to find some parenting advice that fits their child? They may have computers, and that helps, but they may need just some time away, especially if their child has special needs. The library system might, for them, be a place to relax for a short while, to catch their breath. Libraries are also community "hubs" of various kinds. Community meetings and other functions are often held in them, and the wonderful thing about libraries(certainly that's the case here in Seattle), is that they're free for all. We citizens pay a certain amount of taxes to keep them funded. I realize also that some people here in the US are pretty "antitax", but they, too, use the library, regardless of whether they think tax money that goes to fund libraries is a good idea or not.

I also realize that what is happening in Seattle, as far as budget difficulties go, is happening all over the country. In this sluggish economy, these problens are unlikely to be resolved soon, and in my opinion, this is all the more reason to get our City Council and Mayor McGinn to hold the line on funding for the library. We have been cut enough.

Also, while this may seem "political", and in a way it is, I want to assure all Gentle Readers that this is not, and never will be, a "political" blog. It is primarily a blog about writing, medieval history and society(especially in a certain period in medieval England), prehistoric humans(especially Neandertals), and I won't leave out My Beloved Wolves. Most of these subjects relate to the book I'm writing, so I feel justified.

But libraries are important to writers, too. Oh, there are lots of interesting resources, of varying quality, on the Internet, and that's the trouble. They are of varying quality. Some are quite good, others, well, dubious to say the least. So my fallback is libraries, for research. Yes, we writers often do research about whatever we're writing about! So this is why I occasionally blog about the state of the library system here in Seattle, and what I think should be done about it. Libraries are a reflection of the health of the local community, and thus are important for their own sake.

And lest anyone think I'm just sitting on my behind complaining about this, I"m not. Yesterday, I e-mailed the mayor, and everysingle member of the Seattle City Council, laying out reasons why they should hold the line with the Seattle Library System budget, and not cut any more. I hope they will take heed. I also plan to attend a community meeting about this, in about 2 weeks. I will not stay silent. I will do what I can to add my voice, and try to keep the library going as it is till better times. And when better times come, I plan to add my voice to a push for expansion and restoration of previously cut hours and services. I will not be silent about that, either.
Anne G

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sad and serious news from Ellesmere Island

Gentle readers:

I have been hoping to recount the genesis of my Great Medieval Science Fiction Masterpiece With Neandertals long before this, but there have been many things, including life, that have interfered. I will be posting about this, soon.

But unfortunately, I have to pass this alarming news on, to those who love all living beings, including wolves. It seems that something bad has happened to the wolves on Ellesmere Island that scientists at the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota have been following.

In the first place, something seems to have happened to the radio collar on Brutus, the wolf through which the scientists have been following this pack, has stopped transmitting. Sometimes, a collar malfunctions or falls off. Unfortunately, it also stops functioning when the creature wearing it dies or disappears. This is what is alarming.

There is a weather station nearby, but apparently the weather station people can't snowmobile to the last place from which information was transmitted. Weather at this time of year is even more "uncertain" than April weather around where I live. And more dangerous to snowmobile in when it is.

So we don't really know what has happened to Brutus. Except that he hasn't been seen with the pack, and that's bad news, too. If something has happened to him, the scientists will doubtless r4adiocollar another pack member, and they can follow its movements into the summer. I do hope this doesn't portend more disaster for them, though.

Anne G

p.s. I will post more info about Washington wolves, whenever I can get my hands on it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I've got more followers, and I'm happy

In fact, I've got 20 of them now, I didn't expect to haveany when I began this blog!
Anne G

They're beginning to notice medieval things and recycle them!

Gentle readers:

It looks as if the town of Bury St. Edmunds is going to recycle a 13th century guildhall for um, modern purposes. You can see the site here:

The exterior certainly looks "medieval" enough. And atmospheric, too!
Anne G

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I missed the URL to link to Judy Arnopp's site

I forgot to put the URL for Judy Arnopp's blog site. Here it is:

It's a pretty interesting blog, and I will probably have more to say about the various topics in it,
Anne G

Introducing Judy Arnopp

Gentle Readers:

I'm linking Judy Arnopp's Medieval Scribe to my bloglist. I think it's a worthy addition, especially since her(strictly historical) novel, Peaceweaver is set in a slightly earlier period than mine is(I'll be writing more about that, later), but featuring some of the same characters. I haven't read it yet, but it looks good!
Anne G

Monday, April 12, 2010

I've learned some interesting things about some types of fiction. . . .

I'd like to follow up a bit about my introduction to the blog Clio's Children. I was invited to join via another blog, which I won't go into now. Well, actually several blogs, and my accumulated knowledge, while hardly "scientific" suggests a few things, at least about the genre or subgenre "historical fiction".

I've already noticed that most readers, and even more so writers, like "accuracy" in historical fiction. Which is fine. A historical novelist should maintain accuracy in whatever historical fiction they're writing about. But that inevitably leads to the question about what is "accurate" or "accuracy". Some writers, for example, feel that they must use "period" place names, or a lot of expressions like "ere", "nay" "tis" "twas", and so on. Or write the names of people in "period" style(or what they think is "period" style(how many of these writers actually know Old English or Old French, for example?) These kinds of things can be quite confusing for a modern reader. es[ecoa;;u of the modern reader is being asked to figure out how to pronounce some Old English name as it was originally written down(since monks were about the only people who could write, and there were no "rules" about how to transcribe place or personal names, these things could vary wildly, but recognizably, which only adds to a modern' reader's confusion. And that doesn't even take into consideration that English-speaking writers are basically communicating in modern English.

Another interesting thing is, the majority of historical fiction readers tend to be female, and both female readers and writers, tend to gravitate toward biographical fiction about Famous People. Which is one reason so much Tudor-themed material is being written for the growing historical fiction market. Which has resulted in an absolute glut of Tudor-themed books. . . . This may be partly publisher-driven' the people who publish books have apparently gotten it into their heads that "everybody" likes Tudor stuff. A fair number of historical fiction readers have gotten into that period, and love, love, love it, but I was never all that interested in Tudor anyway, and I'm beginning to feel that there's just an absolute glut on Tudor-themed historical novels. Aren't there any other periods that are interesting? The same thing could be said, especially in the US, about the abundance of American Civil War themed books. And the American Civil War is, for reasons I won't go into here, I avoid, avoid, avoid.

This, by the way, is not a rant, exactly. Just an observation. Men write historical novels, too, but men's historical novel-writing tends to be closer to the "thriller" subgenre, in that it tends toward blood, guts, war, battle, etc. and often doesn't have very well-rounded female characters. When there is a female character that's reasonably well defined, I've noticed a tendency among some male writers, to just have the female character sit at home and cry or there is a "bedroom reunion" or something like that. Men still don't tend to view women as having any real "agency", and it shows. This all too often doesn't accord with actual history; even constrained by the mores of their times, women could, and did, and not infrequently, act on their own for sme reason or another(but all within the framework of their times)

As I said, this post is not "scientific" at all. I don't pretend that it is. It's just my observations, and I'm sure there are many, many exceptions which the Gentle Blog Reader can surely point out, if they wish to do so. I will have more to say about a lot of this in a not-too-distant future post.
Anne G

Introducing Clio's Children

I've gotten off to a late start blogging for the month of April. Part of the reason for this has been certain time constraints. But another reason has been that there hasn't been much going in in the subjects of this blog. At least not enough to excite me enough to write about them, though this is beginning to change. \

My purpose here, though, is to introduce the new blog Clio's Children,which is a group blog, devoted to historical fiction, which I was invited to join. I haven't posted anything -- yet. But I intend to as soon as the blog is better established. Those of you who are interested in historical fiction, may want to follow my musings there.
Anne G