Map blogger. Science fiction and fantasy critic and writer. Snake whisperer.

Month: November 2021

Pilot Discontinues Three Iroshizuku Inks, Introduces Three Replacements

Pilot is discontinuing three of its Iroshizuku inks and replacing them with three new ones. Production will end next month on yellow-brown Ina-ho, royal blue Tsuyu-kusa and medium-brown Tsukushi (which we just bought a bottle of). Replacing them are pink Hana-ikada, yellow-green Hotaru-bi and dark teal Sui-gyoko—which maintains the Iroshizuku line at 24 inks. See Pilot Japan’s website. [Fudefan]

Update, 14 April 2022: The Well-Appointed Desk reviews the new trio. (Also, we just picked up a bottle of Ina-ho, while we still could.)

The Sex Lives of White-throated Sparrows

Writing for in 2017, Kenn Kaufman looked at the boggling mating strategies of the white-throated sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis), which comes in two morphs: one with black-and-white head stripes, the other with brown-and-tan stripes. “Within each gender, white-striped birds are more aggressive while tan-striped birds are more nurturing. […] Nesting pairs consist of one bird from each morph more than 95 percent of the time, but it’s especially interesting to consider what happens on those occasions when two birds of the same morph pair up. In short, it’s likely to be a bad idea.” The next time I see one—they do turn up around here—I’ll have to look more closely.

Tomoe River Paper: The Next Generation

An update on the Tomoe River paper situation (previously). Last month Tomoegawa sold all rights to the paper to Sanzen Paper, which has begun producing a new version of Tomoe River 52 gsm paper on its own machines. Fudefan has gotten his hands on a sample of Sanzen’s new paper and is impressed. He compared it to both old (pre-2020) Tomoe River and “new” paper produced on a different Tomoegawa machine. “Sanzen’s paper is impressive. It seems to take any ink you throw at it […] In terms of shading, sheen, and vibrancy, Sanzen’s paper consistently outperformed ‘new’ Tomoe River and was mostly on par with the old paper. […] There was slightly less ghosting (show-through) on Sanzen’s paper than on the others. It was also the only paper that didn’t suffer any bleedthrough, even with my ridiculous nibs. An impressive feat.” Stockpiling the old paper may not be necessary, in other words.

‘Twitter Is the Worst Reader’

Having been on the receiving end of Twitter vitriol half a dozen times, sf writer Fonda Lee has some thoughts about being in the crosshairs of the rage machine. “Twitter removes the trust between writer and reader by flattening meaning to the single most offensive understanding and proliferating that version alone. […] For the most part, we authors write for a receptive, open-minded audience, an audience that has paid money for our work and wants to trust us. Twitter is the opposite of that, a twisted looking-glass version of reality in which the readership beyond our immediate circle is poised with hostile scrutiny.”

Two Observations About the Local Results of Yesterday’s Municipal Elections

Municipal elections were held across Quebec yesterday, and with the votes more or less counted, I have a couple of thoughts about the results, at least here in the Pontiac MRC.

First, voter turnout was crazy high in some places. I’m used to turnout for municipal elections hovering somewhere between 30 and 40 percent—and in Quebec’s larger cities that seems to have been the case: 36.6 percent in Montréal, 35.1 percent in Gatineau. But around here the turnout has been a lot higher in some communities—thanks, I suspect, to some closely fought races.

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