Friday, 24 October 2014

More Open Access stuff. And a bleg.

The OA week has provoked some more blogging, not only here. Doug has posted a longish article about OA publishing concepts that sound a lot more reasonable than the ones I ridiculed yesterday. And one before that, with a lot more information about free or affordably-priced OA journals, and links to said journals. Go read it here.

In other news, I'm still busy editing (the Beast is losing words - it's like a book diet!) and also preparing for the Textile Forum. Additionally, I am thinking about offering an embroidery set for doing a small medieval motif, about 4 cm in diameter. I would like to offer that as a complete package with cloth (that has the pre-inked design), naturally dyed silk thread, maybe gold thread, short instructions and possibly also a small (non-medieval, but affordable) embroidery frame. Suggestions as to motifs would be greatly appreciated!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Open access and "open access".

I just found out that this week is Open Access Week. Yes, it's nice and comfy here under my rock, thank you for asking.

I found out, by the way, from an email sent to me by Maney. The email says they are partaking in Open Access Week - and my first reaction was "yay free access to articles!". Turns out that was wrong, though.

The email tells me about the very generous offer of 50% off the fees if you want to publish an article as OA with them. Yes, that's right - Maney is one of the "author pays for OA" journals, and their fees are quite hefty. Even with 50% off, you'll still shell out between 400 and 1000 USD. Erm... thanks, but no thanks. In my universe, the One Rule still stands: the author never pays. Yes, I know that publishers have to eat, too, and that their money does not come from publishing for free and giving away the published articles, too. It comes from selling what they have published - and I still think that it is fair to pay for what you want to read, provided it is not what Germans call a "Mondpreis" (moon price, literally - an astronomical sum that is totally unrealistic). I'm also convinced that a reasonable pricing of articles, especially older ones, would raise their income far enough that a fair-for-everybody model will be possible. (Or would you hesitate for a second to pay one or two dollars for immediate access to a paper that interests you? Instead of being asked to shell out 30+ dollars, even though the article is several years old and you do not know whether it will really help you on with your research, or not?)

You can laugh about the pricing yourself here. Incidentally, the page also offers the full list of OA articles published with Maney. I do not wonder why there are so few... (There is one about spinners and yarn regulation in 1550-1800 that might be of interest to you, too, written by John Styles.)

If you want to read some more, you can go to Paperity, an article aggregator of OA articles. (I found that via, by the way. The site seems to try for promoting OA, but also seems fairly small, impact-wise, and it has a layout that is a bit confusing to me.)

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Things happening here.

The Textile Forum is drawing closer and closer, and thus we are busy preparing things and planning. I'm also doing editing work on the book project I am doing together with Gillian - we are reverting some changes that we made during one stage of the project, and both have the impression that our final book will be much better for it. It really is amazing how hard it can be to sort out the best sequence of chapters in a book - and how many bits and pieces would fit into several chapters equally well...

There's even more coming up - I have received hand-woven cloth ordered for the equipment of Lauresham, and it's washed and dried now, ready to be sent off for dyeing. The spinning-wheel tuning is also progressing, though slowly. The next step is a suitably "sticky" drive band to properly turn the whorls on flyer and spool; there is too much slip at the moment, and thus I am not getting the ratios that were planned.

Finally, I am starting to do the lists of things to prepare and to take to the "Kreativ" fair in Stuttgart. It's going to be a full and interesting November!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Hedgehogs, Grapes, and what you surely did not know about them.

There's a nice little video with Latin text from the Physiologus (with English subtitles) that will teach you totally true facts about hedgehogs. You can watch it at discarded images.

Another manuscript tells us that if you want to enchant your lover, you should feed him catnip. Nice, eh?

Speaking of manuscripts, there's a conference about 14th century manuscripts in London on December 1, and more places are available should you like to attend.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Games! At Essen!

It's autumn, and that means it is the time of year where me and the most patient of all husbands go off to Essen for a long weekend and spend that time having fun with friends, playing new (and sometimes mostly new) boardgames and cardgames, get too little sleep, eat unhealthy amounts of chocolate and spend a bit of money buying games that really tick for us.

So, with a few tweaks to the usual food and sweets supplies we pack, that was exactly what we did during the last days. The "Spiel" at Essen is, according to the organiser, the world's largest consumer game fair, and going there really is an experience. As usual for our group of four, we spent a lot of time in the parts of the fair with the smaller publishers and non-German authors. These are games that you often only get to see (and play, and buy) in Essen unless you happen to know the authors, or the publisher, or stumble across them due to sheer luck. Going through the small publishers' hall has resulted in quite a few games in our collection that are now out of print or hard to get. Many of these are getting played regularly here - such as Snow Tails, my favourite racing game, or Totemo, a cube-placing game where you are trying to get more points than all the others.

This year was a bit weak on overall, at least in our impression. We did like a handful of games, and some of them enough to buy a copy - we picked up the new extension to Flash Point (a cooperative fire-fighting game that we play a lot) and a copy of the new edition of Monster Derby, a racing game with monsters with a nice mechanics twist we did enjoy a lot. There was no real Winner of Essen this year, however.  Usually, there was one game that the whole large group of folks we go to Essen with are all excited about, and that game then gets played a lot in our quarters, plus many of us pick it up. Said game is usually something in the medium complexity range, rarely a highly complex one. This year, there was no such game - the one closest to being the Winner of Essen 2014 was a prototype one of our group brought with him. A lot of us played it, and we had an insane amount of fun, so of course we now all hope that he and his co-authors will find a game publisher.

Fun was had. Mission achieved. And now? Tea, and back to work...

Friday, 17 October 2014

Even more sprang.

After yesterday's blogpost, I had some more of a look around the internet - and lo and behold, there is one of Dagmar Drinkler's presentations online.

You can download it, as a pdf file, here. It's in German, but even if you do not read the language, it might well be worth a look, since it contains a huge number of pictures of tight-fitting legwear, plus a number of pictures of sprang with diverse patterns.

And with that, I shall leave you to the weekend : ) which I am planning to enjoy thoroughly!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Sprang, more of it.

One of the things that I really learned much more about at the London conference was sprang. Dagmar Drinkler and Carol James did a joint paper about tight-fitting trousers in Antiquity and Renaissance, and their arguments for at least some of the depicted trousers in artwork being made in sprang were, in my opinion, absolutely solid.

Even better was seeing and touching the sprang objects they both had brought, and seeing a pair of trousers in action (worn by Carol James). Together with seeing lots and lots of pictures of the Coptic sprang "hairnets" (many of them look more like caps or bags to me, since the word "net" does evoke some kind of openness or lacyness for me), my understanding of what is possible with this technique has grown a lot.

Carol James, by the way, has a website and a blog; she has made a few instructional videos, and you can also buy a book with instructions from her. Do check out her website, there is amazing stuff to be found on it!