Now we are crashing early, in my case because the universe in its infinite wisdom decided to gift me with con crud BEFORE the convention. I've been under the weather with a bad sore throat since Sunday, to the point that I even changed my Wednesday flight to see the doctor before I left (but it seems to just be a stubborn virus). The main problem is talking, which is a fun thing to have trouble with at a con when you're on four panels. :/ But hopefully it will run its course soon. (So if you see me, and I dodge a hug or don't seem my usual bright and sunny self, you know why.)
I did realize why I suddenly had urges to go do other languages, Greek or French or whatnot, rather than continuing with German. It's because the words aren't sticking right now. It's not difficult vocabulary -- z.b. Ort, Kneipe, Bezirk, Grundstück, Umgebung, Unterkünfte -- but I can't remember the words or their meanings at all. Each time it's like I'm seeing the word for the first time, and by the time it comes up again I've dropped it again.
Which is, um. Frustrating. And makes me want to avoid it. And to some extent repetition is the key to learning things like this, but it's hard to repeat things you can't hold on to.
I kind of wish I could just download language knowledge into my brain.
Kid's fever has been off and on. Let's hope it's off now.
I was so tired yesterday, I forgot to finish my Walk rings on my watch. Sadness.
Went out at midnight for Kid Starvation emergency -- nothing in the house was acceptable, so to the local open-till-midnight restaurant. Found one a waitress-trainer (senior waitress? her badge said "trainer") off-duty -- her from the restaurant across the street from where she works -- at the bar, and said hi. Then on the way out, said hi to one of the waiters who was outside on a smoke-break, who I also recognized.
...I guess we go out to eat rather a bit, and hopefully tip reasonably, as people recognize us and don't seem to be upset. *wry* (I do tend to really like the ones who go, "We can do that!" for my item-on-menu modifications (to remove meat) rather than that single solitary one who was all "can't do that! they shouldn't have done that!" ......I guess that one was really new to waitressing or something??? I mean, she was, er, probably my age or older, but....)
According to the county soil maps--and I had no idea that the geologic surveys ran so precise!--Dogskull Patch and environs is "prime farmland of state concern." I assume that means "If anyone cared about dirt the way that dirt should be cared about, they would beg to keep Dogskull as farmland, not vanish under tract housing." On the other hand, it was a tobacco farm, and tobacco farming is REALLY hard on soil. So at best guess--beautiful soil treated cruelly, now with a load of trees.
(Some officialler answers are in the comments on that thread, IIRC
( INwatch+Bookwatch )
( Dragons under fold )
It's been an eventful week. I'm thankful that it's over. That's probably enough.
- We sold our house in West Seattle. Done. It required a marathon cleanup session the day of the closing (Tuesday!) after the buyers' walkthrough Monday night. Why the *bleep* couldn't they have done it Friday evening? But they didn't, and our agent and I spent all day Tuesday cleaning out the stuff that I'd been too tired to deal with last Thursday, and the stuff that the movers dumped on the side path after they ghosted on us Friday. And G and I rented a UHaul and hauled his two motorcycles -- that the aforesaid mover had said he wanted to buy on Monday but never showed up -- over to our housekeeper's house in Auburn. But we did it.
- In the end, after dropping off the truck, I went back to the old place to collect the paint cans the buyers had complained about, drove around to the front, and picked a bud and a flower off the Royal Amethyst rose. Thank you, Ame.
- ... and sang "The Mary Ellen Carter" as loud as I could on the way back over the West Seattle Bridge. Thanks, Stan -- I needed that.
- Our purchase of our new house on Whidbey Island went through without a hitch. That was a long search, and a lot of anxiety and research, but that too is done. Special thanks to our agents, Rob and (especially) Leif.
- Also somewhere in there my final payment from Amazon came through. Less than I'd been expecting because I hadn't allowed for Social Security and Medicare taking their cuts, but welcome just the same. I note in passing that they have not come through with my promised health care, so no thanks are due in that direction.
- Thanks to my family, too, the whole crazy lot of us. Special thanks to the Younger Daughter, whose new phone plan and health coverage through her employer have taken several additional worries off of my mind.
- Thanks, too, to you, my readers. Your occasional comments and encouraging words have meant a great deal during this, um..., adventure? Something like that.
"Artists are creating gorgeous mermaid art all #MerMay". [The Daily Dot]
"Rihanna and Lupita Nyong'o will costar in a buddy movie directed by Ava DuVernay for Netflix".
"Josh Boone Says THE NEW MUTANTS Is A Full-Fledged Horror Movie".
"The Origins of Anime: Watch Free Online 64 Animations That Launched the Japanese Anime Tradition". [Open Culture] (Note: I haven't delved into this yet.)
"How dogs get older: A fascinating and deeply touching photography project".
Via larryhammer, "Photographer Uncovers The White Ravens Of Legend In West Coast Forest".
"Fallen Cherry Blossom Petals Fill a Lake in Japan for Naturally Beautiful Scenes From Above".
"All The Wrong People Are Asking All The Wrong Questions About Fidget Spinners". [Sarah Kurchak at The Establishment]
Via [flocked], "Angry otter pursues Scottish man". [~40 sec. video]
"A Moose Destroyed a Flowerbed Planted to Celebrate Canada’s Sesquicentennial". [Atlas Obscura]
"Fairy Princesses And Mermaid Queens Have Been Waiting For These Fishnet Stockings".
"Why Americans Smile So Much".
"Our Mothers as We Never Saw Them". "For me, as for many daughters, the time before my mother became a mother is a string of stories, told and retold: the time she got hit by a car and had amnesia; the time she sold her childhood Barbie to buy a ticket to Woodstock; the time she worked as a waitress at Howard Johnson’s, struggling to pay her way through her first year at Rutgers. The old photos of her are even more compelling than the stories because they’re a historical record, carrying the weight of fact, even if the truth there is slippery: the trick of an image, and so much left outside the frame. These photos serve as a visual accompaniment to the myths. Because any story about your mother is part myth, isn’t it?" There's an accompanying collection of photos on Instagram: mothersbefore.
Via ironymaiden, "I Got Drunk With The Funeral Industry To Find Out What Happens When We Die". [Buzzfeed, 2015] "The Ideal Death Show initially started out in 2011, not as an industry shindig, but as a Six Feet Under fan convention in Bournemouth. It was run by a guy called Brian Jenner, who is a professional speechwriter and not remotely connected to the funeral industry except for this one weird thing. [...] When everyone turned up for the Friday night welcome wake, it was clear that what Jenner had accidentally organised was an industry meeting for people who worked with the dead; undertakers on a busman’s holiday, stood around a cardboard coffin in a room full of lilies.
The next year he stripped away the HBO pretext and just made it that: a bunch of people talking about death, once a year, with other people who know about death. They needed it – death can literally be a lonely business."
--"You Can Stay Overnight In A Jail Cell At This Haunted Prison In Canada". (I'll pass, thanks.)
--"10 Beautiful Photos Of Dogs Underwater" by photographer Seth Casteel.
--"I’m A Barista From Korea Who Creates Art On Coffee".
(Okay, maybe not. Pillage and burn, leave no survivors. That's probably not a good dating ethos. But whatever.)
Then in June I start a 3 Novels in 3 Months workshop I signed up. June is planned to be a Humans are Space Orcs mystery novel. *happy dance* I'm gonna have so much fun with all those tropes. XD
Didn't get my exercises today. My legs were just too sore for it. Tomorrow.
I did do a lot of cleaning out on my fanfic collections. There's a bunch of stuff I copied over that I no longer read. Got rid of that and added some stuff from AO3 that I love and reread on a regular basis. Better to have the things I love than the things I never read, right?
I did not get this week's story uploaded. That's tomorrow's job. Damn it. Oh well. I'll get it done.
Oh crap! I didn't get this week's Now Available post either. *headdesk*
Right. So tomorrow's goals include writing a new short story (probably not all of it), Now Available post, uploading this week's story everywhere, exercises, leaving work early for the long weekend, groceries, and that's about it.
Off to bath and bed for me--goodnight everyone!
Same as last week, The Invisible Library and The New Jim Crow, both of which I've made good progress on. I'm over halfway through The Invisible Library and about a quarter of the way through The New Jim Crow.
What did you recently finish reading?
I finally picked up my ipad and read some manga today! I think part of why I've been dragging my feet on manga is that I'm not hugely enjoying what I'm reading right now. I have several volumes of Saint Oniisan as I apparently hadn't read it in a few years, so I thought I'd read them all and get caught up, but I just don't love this series anymore. It's gone on too long and isn't nearly as funny as it was at first, but it's not like I completely hate it, so I don't just want to give it up either. There were a couple chapters in this one where I really did laugh out loud (the one with Jesus trying to get Buddha into Instagram was hilarious), but most of it was just kind of meh. On the one hand I want to read the next two volumes so I can be caught up and have one less folder on my ipad, but maybe I should take a break and read something else instead.
What do you think you'll read next?
Scrolling through what's on my ipad, apparently I have three volumes of Kimi in Todoke to catch up on, so I think I'll read those next and give Saint Oniisan a break!
Tuesday I was outdoors because I went to visit morwen, in her new flat. It was good to see her again, it had been a while.
Wednesday was the first time the air-conditioner was on this year. It was a hot and humid day.
Thursday I went out to King's Cross to meet Derek and Muffy, and there were food stalls outside, so I bought myself a Crosstown™ gin-and-lemon doughnut. We sat in the sun and talked, then took ourselves indoors, away from evil daystar, and talked more. It was good.
Later Derek and I went to a delayed NT Live screening of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, the Old Vic production, with Daniel Radcliffe at a cinema inside King's College. I enjoyed it, I laughed, and then I was sad. Because Rosencrantz and Guildenstern die. Hamlet in it was very cool. There was David Haig as The Player, and he was good. Funny and attention-capturing and that.
Fandom: Batman comics
Pairing: Gilda Dent/Harley Quinn
Prompt: Shakespeare - 1. Beauty provoketh thieves sooner than gold - As You Like It
Word Count: 1000
Title: through my actions
Fandom: Star Wars (prequel trilogy)
Pairing: Padme Amidala/Sabe
Prompt: Shakespeare - 2. They had not skill enough your worth to sing - Sonnet 106
Word Count: 200
Title: stress relief
Fandom: Dishonored (video game)
Pairing: Meagan Foster/Alexandra Hypatia
Prompt: Shakespeare - 6. Let not light see my black and deep desires - Macbeth
Word Count: 978
Title: Memories in Ink
Fandom: Mad Max: Fury Road
Pairing: Miss Giddy/Keeper of Seeds
Prompt: Shakespeare - 7. That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot - Sonnet 71
Word Count: 529
And this year I did manage to get a massage from the amazing massage therapist at the place on the square, it was quite entirely wonderful.
Yesterday and earlier today it was still quite cool and cloudy, but seems to have warmed up by late afternoon.
Spent a mostly quiet and lazy day before going to the A Room of One's Own Reading.
Have managed to see and have some degree of conversation with the old familiar faces.
Have registered and must now look through the schedule to see what (apart from panels I am actually on) I want to go to.
Really, no news here, pass along.
1. Place of Orgin
2. Where I've Lived
Kansas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New York
3. Places I've stayed.or lived for one-two months
Brittany (Bretagne), France, London, England, Wales, Australia
4. Favorite Movies of the 1980s (from memory, don't look them up)
* Dirty Dancing (1987)
* Raiders of the Lost Arc
* Empire Strikes Back
* Pretty in Pink
* Die Hard
* Top Gun
* Risky Business
* Chariots of Fire
* Breaking Away
5. Star Wars or Star Trek
Weirdly? The characters. I just found them to be more relateable and better developed somehow. I'm not really into world-building all that much. Nor do I care about theme. If I did, I'd have chosen Trek. But I'm more character and metaphor driven, also like mythology.
But mainly: I fell in love with Leia, Han, Luke, Chewie, R2D2, CP3O...they lived in my imagination long after the movies ended. There was a richness there that stayed with me years later. It's also the first ones I wrote fanfic about...if only for my own eyes and in my own head.
6. Buffy or Angel
My brother didn't get this -- he thought I'd prefer Angel, because he saw it as more adult. I didn't. I thought Buffy was more innovative and broke more rules. Angel, well, I'd seen it before with Forever Night, Brimstone, Koljak the Night Stalker, and half a dozen noir anti-hero mystery/horror shows. I mean yeah it was different in some respects, but overall, it felt like well-traveled dirt.
Buffy on the other hand surprised me. It basically subverted so many things, including old horror tropes...and high school show tropes. I found it harder to predict, and in many ways more relateable than Angel.
And I liked the characters better. My brother, of course, completely disagrees with me.
7. Favorite 1980s songs/artists...
* The Cure
* Pink Floyd (okay maybe not exactly 1980s, but I saw them in concert in the 1980s)
* Peter Gabriel
* Kate Bush
* Fleetwood Mac -- although more 70s in some respects
* Stevie Nicks
I can't frigging remember song titles. I have no memory for songs, lyrics or tunes. No matter what they are. It's one of the reasons I can't sing to save my life. I might be able to recall half a tune in my head but not enough to reproduce it. I don't have much of an auditory memory -- can't remember anything spoken well either, unless I write it down, and repeat it in my head. This throws off people who do have auditory memories. They just don't get it.
I'm a visual think not an auditory thinker. It's what makes me a good artist. I think in words and pictures and images, not really sounds.
8. Favorite Children's Books that you read as a kid
* Chronicles of Narnia
* Circle of Light books
* Nancy Drew mysteries
* Witches of Worm by Zelphia Keatley Snyder
* The Hobbit
* The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
* Watership Down by Richard Addams
* Are You There God, It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume
* Restoree, Dragon Riders of Pern, Crystal Singer, Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey
* Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
* The Outsiders by SE Hinton
9. Five Favorite Television Shows from 1980s
* Hill Street Blues
* Night Court
* St. Elsewhere
10. Sunrise or Sunset?
So much fun colouring them.
I livestreamed the colouring of all of these over at Instagram,
and had really great crowds join me throughout the day.
Also honestly how have I never drawn a Mandarin Duck before,
they're so awesome. :D
Mandarin Duck as Totem
Original available at Etsy
'Love can be such a bright, brilliant emotion. I teach about eternal love. I don't teach lessons about love that fades, but instead, love that remains, stays steady, flames bright no matter what. I champion fealty and loyalty to one's loved one, will show you why opposites attract, or why two people can fit together like a perfect puzzle even when they're already whole. I also teach about the beauty of the liminal, how to find wisdom in the dawn and dusk, in the mist and fog. I will guide you through confusing places, and you can follow my bright plumage, or, if you get along better with my female counterpart (or myself when I'm in eclipse plumage), you can follow the flashes of green-blue upon her wings. See me at the surface, and I will teach you about the beauty of love, but I am a duck, and we are made to delve deeper, friend. Come with me, learn what lies beyond.'
( More under the cut. )
Mediterranean Gull as Totem
Original available at Etsy
'You might think, to look at me, that I am a bird that whispers the secrets of the sea, or squawks them, but I'm the Mediterranean Gull, and you'd best get to know *me!* I cry the secrets of the coast, the shoreline, the cliffs, but especially the reeds, the marshes, the swampy wet places where sea meets land. I'm not about those huge open seas, nor am I about endless land, I love the meeting places. Perhaps you'll not be surprised then, to learn that I also teach about meeting places! How to socialise, interacting with others, loving others and hating them, walking through a social life of literal pecking orders and subtler nuanced association. I am not as brazen as some of my gull counterparts, but I'm not quiet either! I will be near you, and I will talk happily. Do you want someone to walk along the beach with you? To forage through the reeds? To find gems of wisdom in the places other people neglect? Look at how we can become so successful, commanding the places that people put second, to their detriment. I am joyful, determined and outspoken, but respectful and understanding too. I might look like so many of the others, but you will learn that I am only ever myself - as you are too.'
( More under the cut. )
Mountain Hare as Totem
Original available at Etsy
'I am integrated into my ecosystem, to the point where the way I live from place to place is variable, as it should be for you as well, if you are hopping from ecosystem to ecosystem. I am aware of my place, I respect it, we have a relationship of mutuality. On the surface, you may think me silly and hilarious, with my hopping antics, my wild racing across the fields or meadows or forests. I am happy in the higher places, I'll never be all that content at sea level, and you may find yourself drawn to the wisdom of hills and mountains and rises. Whether gentle or steep, we know how to appreciate a good hike to see the view beneath us, don't we? It's not always an easy life, I feel you know this well. I am hunted, and I am prey. But there are those who look out for me, and I look out for myself, too. I'm watchful, wary, made to inhabit my environment as perfectly as possible, whether white as new-fallen snow, or as grey-brown as a stone in a grassy field. Look for my moon and goddess wisdom too, if you wish, look deeper, into how I am anchored with the legends of the land and fertility. Oh, we can go so far together, you and I, across the fields or meadows or forests.'
( More under the cut. )
Whether or not I get to read the Cheesecake Factory Menu in public (or Dr Seuss's tonguetwisting Fox in Socks) I will be doing a few more readings and talks this year. Tickets are going fast:
Each of these should be links to the event -- all of them are solo me just reading and talking and answering your questions, except for the Hartford one, where I'll be interviewed by the NYPL's very own Paul Holdengraber.
⌈ Secret Post #3795 ⌋
Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.
( More! )
Secrets Left to Post: 01 pages, 10 secrets from Secret Submission Post #543.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.
Also now that I think about it I kind of like the idea that I've become either advanced enough or familiar enough that we do the get there sit around in street clothes sharing a moment of "I don' wanna" before we get started. It doesn't help my confidence that I can help Groot teach at all, but it's fun!
I need to get better about my drawing discipline (there was a plan to do fifteen minutes of sketching every lunch that lasted for about a week) but I am at least getting better at my life model quick sketches. I was very good and did not buy the necklace I saw at Ten Thousand Villages, I looked at it and checked the price and marked it out for later and I will buy it after some time when I haven't just spent a bajillion dollars on new makeup and a few clothes. It will probably still be there in a month or two.
I also kind of want that pink unicorn essence primer, never mind that I don't use makeup primer although I plan on trying it given that I got a free sample of Tarte's, it's pink and it comes in a shiny bottle and it screams "Hello I am a lovely and powerful courtesan" or something.
... no wait, I take it back, I think it does the same thing the serum I already have does. Also at some point I need to make a list of all the shit I need to try or try to do. So far it's primer, waterline eyeliner, side by side comparison of translucent powder baking vs layering my own foundation powder over my face, and working on pressed shadow normal person eyeshadow. Actually since I need to take pictures for my tutorial tonight I might just do a side by side test of the translucent powder vs my usual powder.
My brain is so tired. And GoogleDocs is being a pain when I try to load my files. And it's cold out and I just want to curl up under blankets and sleep until the weekend or something. And instead I have writing to do, and languages, and so on. Maybe I will go to sleep early though. I woke up early thanks to the cats galumphing around like pinballs.
Prompt: 76 - A Veela mating gone horribly wrong (by rzzmg).
Pairing(s)/Character(s): Ron Weasley/Gabrielle Delacour
Word count and/or medium used: ~3500
Warnings (Highlight to view): * Blood, gore*
Disclaimer: Harry Potter characters are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: Ron should be careful with his promises.
A/N: Thanks to sevfan and emynn for beta reading, to torino10154 for the handholding, and to the lovely writcraft for throwing this fabulous fast and for making me feel so welcome.
( Heart and Soul )
I'm kind of amazed that these are my drawings, from reference images (but not traced): they look recognisably like human bodies, and while I'm not happy about the heads - there have got to be better ways of suggesting heads and faces, all I manage is awkward - I am starting to capture the human form with a few bold lines and I'm liking the results.
This is nothing short of miraculous.
The number one tool for this has been the practice of lines: straight lines, C-curves, S-curves; learning to draw them boldly and confidently and more or less where I want them to go. Combine that with a drawing course that teaches you to apply these lines boldly, to capture the energy of a human body rather than trying to find exact lines, and suddenly I get the feeling that I'm doing the right thing (just need to work out a lot of details) rather than doing something completely hopeless.
And yes, I am currently sourcing my poses on body-positive blogs: I don't find the 3D dummy all that interesting to draw, and seeing pictures of squishy bodies looking fantastic is a really useful exercise for me.
and the above is a month. And while I have practiced _some_ drawing, I have not practiced anywhere near enough drawing to justify the improvement, which kind of confirms what I've worked out anyway: if I can find a way to work that suits my learning style - kinesthetic, Gestalt-oriented - I find most things relatively easy. (I'll never be _great_ at this drawing thing, but I think I can get to 'competent' from here). If something is presented in a way that makes no sense to me - if I am trying to learn sequentially and if the practices is stressful - I can suck terribly badly and feel that I'll never get there.
The answer to that is not to practice harder. Practicing things that are stressful is counterproductive for me. Looking for 'the right way to learn' is, of course, a path with a very obvious failure mode - never applying oneself, and always looking for 'the right' method that will miraculously get you to where you want to be, without having to put in any of the work, but while, in principle, I am extremely opposed to that idea, I have to admit that _it works for me_.
And it's hard to talk about this without sounding like I'm bragging. I'm all too aware of my artistic shortcomings; I'm a perfectionist, I can see a dozen things wrong with every drawing I make and I'm fully aware that there's probably a dozen more that I can't see because I'm not trained _enough_, I can only draw the poses I see, not any other possible poses, but when I started this six weeks ago I thought that maybe in a year I'd be able to draw like this: confident lines with recognisable results. And I'm willing to bet that if I had stuck to techniques that don't work for me, tasks that seem unsurmountable, exercises that stress me out, that make me feel completely incompetent and like I will never learn - I would not have reached this stage yet, if ever.
This, in short, is why learning styles matter, and why we need to take responsibility for our learning, and find out what does and doesn't work, and insist on finding resources that resonate: there are no shortcuts to becoming skilled, but if you can follow a straight path instead of floundering around, you *will* learn things in a reasonable amount of time, whatever that thing is.
Talent might get you there faster, by more paths, and take you further, but the right teaching will get you places surprisingly quickly and painlessly.
I can't wait to continue with my courses and learn more; I just wanted to bounce a little at how far I've come.
Thank you for many messages for Maru.
The news reporter from Turkish TV didn't expect the surprising guest that turned up during the live broadcast and waited for the right moment to reveal himself. That's definitely a cat with a special taste for the limelight.
I wrote Heart and Soul, a relatively short story featuring Ron/Gabrielle and a Veela mating gone terribly wrong. I'm not sure now horrible it was, but I tried for creepy. I plan to repost soon, so if you're in the mood for something different, give it a whirl and let me know what you think. If it's any consolation, no one dies. ;)
Also, this was my first time participating and it was definitely different (and kinda fun). I may even try it again next year. Thank you writcraft for being so lovely and encouraging.
We overnighted the documents to the seller's attorney, so hopefully sometime next week the listing will show as "in contract" rather than "active" (if it continues to appear at all online).
Now I am going to eat my face off, since I haven't eaten since 10 am, and then maybe try to sleep. I remembered that I had an icepack in the freezer last night, so during my now-usual 3 am - 5 am sojourn, I strapped that onto my calf where two of the bug bites are, and it helped immensely with the itching. Eventually they'll go away and I'll be able to sleep again. Just have to stand the itching until then. Sigh.