People willing to admit to being my friends. Brave souls, one and all.|
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Below are the most recent 25 friends' journal entries.
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|Friday, March 14th, 2014|
|I've done this before, I think
Spent a while sorting through my fabric stash this evening. Am now torn between delight that I have all that lovely fabric for patchwork, guilt that I've got so much lovely fabric from patchwork, and urgency to start new quilts using it (despite the fact I already have several on the go at the moment).
This is not an unfamiliar scenario.
|Thursday, March 13th, 2014|
Saw John Frankenheimer's SECONDS (1966) last night at the Colony as part of the Cinema Overdrive series (next month is Dario Argento's Four Flies on Grey Velvet). A middle-aged man signs over much of his savings to a mysterious corporation that fakes his death, gives him plastic surgery and months of physical training and orientation (provided by a guidance counselor played by the brainwashing specialist from Frankenheimer's earlier film The Manchurian Candidate) and now the dead middle-aged married man with college kids is a single Rock Hudson painting in Malibu.
Will Geer as the old man and head of the organization providing Witness Relocation Program For Midlife Crisis Sufferers is positively mephistophelean in his gentle convincing of the main character to sign up for the program. Dionysian bacchanal in the middle probably felt different to a pre-Wicker Man audience. Great unnerving soundtrack, amazing cinematography. Recommended.
|2014 Reading #19
Paul Has a Summer Job
by Michel Rabagliati
I'm not usually into realistic or autobiographical comics, but I stumbled across a review of Michel Rabagliati that just made me want to try him out. After picking this up (it was the earliest of his books I could find), I'm glad I did.
Rabagliati does a slightly offbeat kind of memoir, one in which he tells his stories through the eyes of "Paul," a lightly fictionalized version of himself. In this story, Paul is seventeen and has just quit school when a friend invites him to spend the summer as a camp counselor. This is a bit of a tricky proposition, since Paul has little camping experience and no counseling experience. However he accepts, learns the ropes (literally), and has a summer of adventures and first romances.
The story is built around completely ordinary and fairly predictable events, but Rabgliati has a keen eye and an astute sense of his younger self. He isn't afraid to let his alter ego be a bit of a jerk, which makes his process of learning and growing up both interesting and believable. I'm looking forward to seeing more of Rabgliati's life in other books.
|FYS: J.J.'s Diary, cont.
January 28th, 2188
Sorry it's been a while. I decided to cut down on using my busted arm until it healed some more. I dictated some entries onto my phone, but it isn't the same. P & L have been complaining that I was posting stuff on my page, so I stuck up some links to shut them up. I tried explaining what it's like to write
an update instead of dictating it or typing it in, but I don't think they got it.
It's strange, but I have to think
more about what I'm writing. I think it's because if I change my mind, it's a lot harder to update my status, unless I just want to rip the page out. So I have to get it right the first time.
Mom says I've been getting more thoughtful since I broke my arm. Maybe she's right.
|Brand New Review of CHASING THE DRAGON
A blogger calling herself Grimlock, whom I had the pleasure of meeting briefly at Readercon last year, has posted an in-depth review of my 2010 book, Chasing the Dragon. It’s always nice to see new reviews of a book that’s been out for a few years now, because as an author you never know if anyone is paying attention to your older stuff unless they tell you. So this was a very pleasant surprise! It’s also a smashing review. Here’s a snippet:
Every detail ends up to be integral; every story line ties into the main plot, and it’s impressive looking back at how much is in this slim volume….I keep changing my mind about what exactly is most amazing about this book. Is is the fact that there is so much about Georgia and her backstory that explains why she is a drug addict? Is is that despite me despising drug addicts in general as main characters, I was charmed by Georgia? Or was it the original mythology surrounding the dragon and how it kept me guessing as to what the outcome would be? I don’t know, all I know is that goddamn, I love this book!
Chasing the Dragon got almost unanimous good reviews from critics and readers alike — it was even nominated for two prestigious literary awards, the Shirley Jackson Award and the International Thriller Writers Award — but sales haven’t been all that great. As Grimlock mentions in her review, it’s a slim volume and easy to overlook on a bookstore shelf. So I guess what I’m saying is, if you liked Dying Is My Business but haven’t read any of my earlier books, Chasing the Dragon is the one to start with. You can find links to places to buy it here.
Originally published at Nicholas Kaufmann. You can comment here or there.
|Wednesday, March 12th, 2014|
|No More Readings
Last month I saw Ian Rankin at a bookstore. I didn't spy on him; it was an event. Not a reading though—he doesn't do that. He just talked about his book, some other things that have happened to him recently or not so recently, and took some questions. I asked him why afterwards, and he explained that he is a writer, not an actor; that as a crime novelist to read even a few pages deeply into the book could ruin it for listeners; and he doesn't like.
Well, I agree with him. From now on, no more readings. No more than a page anyway. Just banter, which I am okay at. You can hear me banter next week at two events:
Nick Mamatas, Jim Nisbet, Sin Soracco, and Ken Wishnia: PM Press Crime Writers' Short-Fire Reading and Signing, Wednesday, March 19th at 7:00 pm at Borderlands Books
Thursday, March 20th at 7pm: Radical fiction, mystery, and crime! With Ken Wishnia, Norman Nawrocki, Sin Soracco, Nick Mamatas, Owen Hill, and Summer Brenner. Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 19:00 at Bay Area Public School.
|Thursday, March 13th, 2014|
|though I admit it's not snowing, so it could be worse
Various bugs are apparently going round at work. Which means that every sniffle I take or every moment I wonder if my stomach's feeling queasy has me being paranoid that I have one of them.
Normally I wouldn't mind too much, especially with a week off next week, but there's the Knitting & Stitching Show on Saturday, and I'd rather not be a plague-carrier, given close proximity of a lot of people and fingering yarn and fabric. Fingers crossed.
Or perhaps it's just the weather.
|Wednesday, March 12th, 2014|
|Species #2 Eastern Comma & #3 Saw Greenbriar
Yay! Two new species for my Fifty Species Goal!
Things have been a bit slow since it's been freezing here, but fortunately I added two species this week, so I'm feeling a little more on track. (More imporantly, moths are beginning to congregate around the porch light, and that's usually a bonanza!)
Species #2: Eastern Comma
This butterfly showed up very early this year, before any of the others. I was afraid we'd lose them to the ice storms, but fortunately, they seem to have stuck around. The Eastern Comma is nearly identical to the Question Mark and I can tell the difference only by relative size (Commas are smaller) and our local Question Marks tend to have much darker hindwings. Question Marks are common visitors to the garden, being fond of damp earth/gravel/mulch and (sigh) dog poop. The Comma, however, is new.
Species #2: Saw Greenbriar
This pointy, stabby climbing vine is one of the vast Smilax clan--Smilax bona-nox, to be precise. It is currently infiltrating my tea camellia. I don't know how I feel about that. (Apparently they are super-duper edible with the new shoots and the tubers and all, but foraging is a little outside of my comfort zone.)
Smilax glauca was a known quantity in my garden, but S. bona-nox only showed up last fall, and I only got around to digging in and figuring out what it was today. So that's kinda neat!See also: Species #1: Blue-Headed Vireo
|The Rogues Are Coming...
. . . and much sooner than expected.
Our good friends at Bantam Spectra have just informed me and my partner-in-crime Gardner Dozois that they have moved up the publication date of our next mammoth crossgenre anthology ROGUES. . . to June 17. Yes, this
year. Three months from now, in other words.
If you enjoyed WARRIORS and DANGEROUS WOMEN, we think you'll love ROGUES. It may be our strongest anthology yet. We have some amazing writers and some incredible stories in this one. The table of contents, as previously announced:
George R.R. Martin “Everybody Loves a Rogue” (Introduction)
Joe Abercrombie “Tough Times All Over”
Gillian Flynn “What Do You Do?”
Matthew Hughes “The Inn of the Seven Blessings”
Joe R. Lansdale “Bent Twig”
Michael Swanwick “Tawny Petticoats”
David Ball “Provenance”
Carrie Vaughn “The Roaring Twenties”
Scott Lynch “A Year and a Day in Old Theradane”
Bradley Denton “Bad Brass”
Cherie Priest “Heavy Metal”
Daniel Abraham “The Meaning of Love”
Paul Cornell “A Better Way to Die”
Steven Saylor “Ill Seen in Tyre”
Garth Nix “A Cargo of Ivories”
Walter Jon Williams “Diamonds From Tequila”
Phyllis Eisenstein “The Caravan to Nowhere”
Lisa Tuttle “The Curious Affair of the Dead Wives”
Neil Gaiman “How the Marquis Got His Coat Back”
Connie Willis “Now Showing”
Patrick Rothfuss “The Lightning Tree”
Twenty stories not enough for you?
Okay, okay, we've decided to add a twenty-first, for all you fans of fake history.
"The Princess and the Queen," Archmaester Gyldayn's somewhat abbreviated account of the Dance of the Dragons, got a great response from all the folks who read it in DANGEROUS WOMEN, so we've dipped back into the archmaester's somewhat disorganized piles of scrolls and crumbling manuscripts, and brought forth another piece of his unpublished history. "The Rogue Prince, or, the King's Brother," will tell the story of the years leading up to the calamitious events of "The Princess and the Queen" during the reign of King Viserys I Targaryen, with particular attention to the role played by the king's brother, Prince Daemon, a rogue if there ever was one. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as you did "The Princess and the Queen."
(And yes, sadly, "The Rogue Prince" is an abridged account as well. For the full version, you will all need to wait some years, until we publish the complete history of House Targaryen in the GRRMarillion... which, by the way, I've decided I am going to call FIRE AND BLOOD, since the GRRMarillion joke has grown somewhat stale by now).
We're got something for everyone in ROGUES -- SF, mystery, historical fiction, epic fantasy, sword and sorcery, comedy, tragedy, crime stories, mainstream. And rogues, cads, scalawags, con men, thieves, and scoundrels of all descriptions. If you love Harry Flashman and Cugel the Clever, as I do, this is the book for you.
Oh, and speaking of DANGEROUS WOMEN... it's now HUGO NOMINATION time, and we have lots of great stories in both DW and OLD MARS that are eligible, so I hope you'll remember some of them when filling out your ballots. Current Mood: hyper
|Wrapping My Head Around the SciFi Noose
I have been debating what to say on a number of deep issues that have been rocking the writing world that I love so well, and today I think I'm ready to give one a shot because yet more controversy has freshly hit the blogosphere with thoughtful posts by The Book Smugglers
, John Scalzi's Whatever
and Foz Meadows
on issues such as Toni Weisskopf, SciFi legitimacy and fandom.
Science Fiction: Writers & Fandoms
ala BONE, Smith, Sniegoski & Sakai
I love science fiction. I have long admired science fiction writers. I watch science fiction movies. I have entire shelves dedicated to my favorite science fiction books. And--oh yeah--I write science fiction stories. Yet I can say that I have felt little love from the science fiction community when I started this wild ride back in the day. Every time I have attended a con or reader event, I have come away with at least one experience that left a burned and blackened bitten tongue in my mouth. Every time I debated whether to join SFWA
, something incredibly stupid
hit the fan and I felt defeated before I'd even begun. (Full timeline of recently buffoonery thoughtfully provided by SL Huang here
.) And yet...and yet...there are several writers in the SFWA community who are struggling with this, too,
and others who have reached out and stand tall, fighting the good fight, allies together in this strange war against Otherness which seems so at odds with the whole concept of science fiction that it makes my brain ache. I want to do something. I want to be part of the change. And yet...and yet...stuff like this
happens. So while I'm all for joining the Insect Army
, the argument that change can only come from within is 100% wrong. Change can come from the outside, too--but it has to come from action.**
And that brings us to Jonathan Ross and Loncon
To be fair, I didn't know "Wossy's" schtick, but I was familiar with his name and controversial antics, which is--to be fair--nothing new in the world of celebrity gossip. When I heard that he had been chosen to host the Hugos, I Googled the name just to be sure I was thinking of the same guy. Yep. My Twitter feed filled with outcry and concern and, most importantly, included a post about the conference organizer who stepped down in protest (after she completed her remaining obligations, both things I find to be markers of good character). And while there was a lot of good discussion, (and a lot of bad discussion), I was raised believing that inside every complaint there is a request and a request should be made to someone who can *do* something about it. Venting to let off steam and take comfort in your friends has its place, but I find what is most effective is taking pen to paper or, in this case, fingers to keys. So I wrote one tweet for the cause:@dawnmetcalf Re: Jonathan Ross hosting the Hugos?!? Read & respond: fjm.livejournal.com/1290060.html #insectarmy
I was passing along the link that Farah Mendlesohn, former Loncon Division head, had provided as an email on her post so that concerned citizens could contact the correct party, should they wish to do so. (I figured many of my followers and friends might wish to do so.) I walked the talk and wrote a letter outlining this simple point: I was not interested in debating whether or not Wossy was a "legitimate" SciFi fan nor whether he was good for publicity or even if this was a purposeful move on the parts of the conference organizers, given all the preparation that had been done prior to the announcement to brace for impact. I couldn't claim to know whether Wossy would pull out his particular brand of "humor" to shame, ridicule or belittle those in attendance because, despite being science fiction fans, we cannot see into the future. HOWEVER, what I *could* say is that given the current climate of our changing community, one that is struggling to be inclusive and reach out to those feeling marginalized, ignored or abused on both sides of the Pond, I thought that someone like Mr. Ross was an incredibly poor choice given where we are as a community at this time.
In fact, since the guy volunteered to do this, it wasn't too hard to retract or explain and since he hadn't expected the storm that came on despite the fact that those who extended the invitation must have suspected such a thing would happen, I considered that a poor way to conduct business and a poor way to treat anyone. Period. (Note I am not saying that the SciFi community, Hugo award nominees or interested fans didn't have EVERY RIGHT to voice their dismay--I sure did!--but it was a terrible thing for Loncon to do in the first place to Ms. Mendlesohn, Mr. Ross, and everyone involved.) This whole thing illustrates one of the very things that is currently purple and bruised; it points the finger squarely at the obvious fact that the "higher ups" seem to be completely out of touch with what is happening all around them and insults their participants with their--at best, ignorance, or, at worst, derision. We're not "anonymous insects"
(and isn't it dismissively infantile to resort to name-calling?), but people trying to stand for change while others want us to sit down, talk nicely and shut up
. I think Seanan McGuire put it best when she said, "The dinosaurs are dying off. I am proud to be part of the comet." (If I wasn't a huge fan of hers before, I sure as heck am now!)
(P.S. Because Ursula Vernon is friggin awesome!)
Which brings me back to fandom.
Who gets to be a "real fan" reminds me of the whole stupidity around who gets to be a "real geek girl." And despite the fact that I really love all that the gals say in this video
, I still want to stand up and scream I DO NOT HAVE TO PROVE MYSELF TO YOU OR ANYONE!
Do I think a "real fan" has to have read the SciFi "classics" as defined by anyone, even the white male majority? No. Do I think there is value in reading classic SciFi? Hell, yes! But that's the job of academics, not fandoms. A real fan's only job is to love their geekery of choice with all their happy little heart and when another real fan meets them and learns that they're excited about the very same stuff
can say, "Hey, have you read [X]? Oh, you haven't?! Well, I think you'll LOVE it!" End sentence. Word of Mouth is still our biggest seller, both as writers and readers. As an English Major I get the value in reading the classics, following the roots of where our modern storytelling comes from, learning the geneaology of your favorite genres and discovering where the movements began can be a great source of fun for those who are interested, but as a fan? A fan's a fan because they love something that inspires and moves them. Nothing more required. You got a smile on your face? You're in this club.
what I want from my SciFi community because a smile is universal--it has no race or color or sexual orientation or gender or religion or socio-economic strata--and it doesn't even need to have a reason to be.
You like science fiction? I *love* science fiction! Let's talk until the wee hours and write like fiends.
How hard is that, really?
Nothing to Prove by Geek Girls & the Doubleclicks** By the way, I'm not trying to blow smoke, here. I had a classmate who was the first Eagle Scout to come out to the Boy Scouts and publicly take them to court back in the 80's. We stood by him and attended lectures, petitioned, protested and I swore that no son of mine would ever be in the Boy Scouts as long as they had such a policy. As a private organization they could certainly be as bigoted as they pleased, but they should not get any government support nor would they get any support from me. I kept petitioning. I kept writing letters. It's been 30 years and change is happening from keeping the pressure on. I am not a boy nor a Boy Scout, a Scout leader, a Scout mom or have anything to do with the Boy Scouts, but I *did* care enough to take a stand for change.
( Read more...Collapse )
- Tue, 13:15: @KMont @FanLit @RevBobMIB @Nayad Hi! There's a Kickstarter to support the next book in my Jessie Shimmer series: http://t.co/ZfVwHNq9eB
- Tue, 13:20: @readthinkbooks @wdprescott @mybookishways @Keslynn @UndeadRat Hi! Want to see more in the Spellbent series? http://t.co/ZfVwHNq9eB
- Tue, 13:31: @smexybooks @Horror_World @HorrorNewsNet @HaikuFictionDJU Would you share this w/your readers? Thanks in advance: http://t.co/ZfVwHNq9eB
- Tue, 13:40: @Shawntelle @JezzyWolfe @eScottNicholson @NickCato You liked my #urbanfantasy books … there could be more! http://t.co/ZfVwHNq9eB
- Tue, 16:12: RT @mwlauthor: Kickstarter for @LucyASnyder's excellent UF series. I want to know how it ends, so support https://t.co/TWodqBNth6
- Tue, 17:32: RT @seananmcguire: ZOMG, @LucyASnyder is doing a Kickstarter for a new Jessie Shimmer novel! https://t.co/PSKBDgeZcA
- Tue, 21:08: RT @seananmcguire: Since this Kickstarter is for a book in a series, and has 33 days to run, you could read book #1, SPELLBENT, before deci…
- Tue, 21:08: RT @seananmcguire: Jessie Shimmer is basically one of the funnest, funniest, filthiest heroines in urban fantasy. She's UF by way of early …
- Tue, 21:36: The cover to my novel DEVILS' FIELD, currently being Kickstarted: http://t.co/ZfVwHNq9eB #urbanfantasy #teamjessie http://t.co/we2beN2Fej
- Wed, 01:07: RT @arthurslade: RT @mybookishways: I just backed Devils' Field: @LucyASnyder's New Jessie Shimmer Novel on @kickstarter http://t.co/PaTWis…
|Maps and Legends
Like many people who think medieval folks were stupid, this guy is wrong.
This guy being Dutch geodeticist Roelof Nicolai, who believes that because the portolan charts of 14th-century Mediterranean Europe were more accurate than many maps down to the 19th century, and indeed seem in some cases to have been drafted (or partly drafted) on the (16th century) Mercator Projection, that they must be .... from the 2nd century A.D. Or B.C. Or somewhen. Just not, you know, when they are actually from.
This is exactly like the people who say "I can't imagine building the Pyramids without steam shovels" and therefore conclude they must have been built using alien anti-gravity rays, instead of with a million drafted peasants, a multi-decade contracting process, and very lax safety codes.
I suspect the portolans are in fact medieval "big data." The portolans (1290) postdate by a century or so the introduction of the compass to Europe (~1180). Lots of individual compass-bearings from a given city to its nearby neighbors, repeated for every city in which you have contacts, equals true compass bearings for the whole map, which is a kind of brute-force Mercator. The portolans probably came out of the Jewish intellectual centers in the Balearic Islands (Pisa, where the first portolan we know of surfaced, had a thriving Jewish community in the 12-13th c); it would not amaze me at all if they began as the proprietary charts assembled over decades of observations by Jewish merchants. That also explains why the portolans suddenly go to crap north of the Thames and east of the Weser.
|FYS: J.J.'s Diary, cont.
January 20th, 2188
Grandma Jill is still awesome. She talked to Mom and Mom Sirti and told them that I'd been offline for almost a fortnight and hadn't that been long enough, esp. since I'm still going to have my arm in the cast for another month?
Mom and Mom Sirti said okay! I'm online again! Grandma Jill and I are going on a raid to celebrate!2100
Ow. Arm hurts. Strained.
|Tuesday, March 11th, 2014|
by Elizabeth Gaskell
Nothing much happens in this 1853 novel, and that's just fine. Cranford
is beautifully written and does an amazing job of making the ordinary and quotidian engrossing. The story concerns the lives of a group of older women living in a small English market town. There are social gatherings, weddings, deaths, visits, etc. There's just enough of a plot to keep things moving and create tension and resolution, but the real beauty of Cranford
is in the characters. Each of the central group of women is distinctly drawn, and I felt like I would know them all immediately if I met them. I liked Miss Matty very much for her kindness and gentility. I waxed and waned on Miss Pole because of her penchant for being a dramatic busybody. I was often exasperated at Mrs. Jamieson's snobbery, but liked her friend Lady Glenmire's pluck. It was such a cosy and entertaining novel that I am hoping the BBC production is on Netflix so that I can visit Cranford and its ladies again. Current Mood: tired
|2014 Reading #17 and 18
by John Barnes
I wanted to like this one better than I did. It's a solid premise, and I dig both techno-thrillers and disaster novels. I'll even cheerfully ignore the caricatures of steel-jawed heroes and slimy politicians that traditionally inhabit this kind of story.
However, I also want the disasters to make sense, both on a technical and a human level. Directive 51
succeeds on a technical level -- the nanomachines and bioweapons portrayed seem chillingly possible -- but I don't buy into it at all on the human level. I get that Barnes is playing with ideas of memes and autosuggestion, but there are a lot of characters taking actions that make no sense at all given their lives. The Unabombers of the world exist, but they don't have kids with asthma whose lives depend on modern technology. There are a lot of people in this book like that, and I just could not accept the idea that they would successfully form a secret movement to destroy the modern world.
There's a lot of good stuff in this book. I just wish my suspension of disbelief hadn't collapsed so regularly.Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 3: War Of Kings Book 2
by Dan Abnett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
More goofy fun with the Guardians of the Galaxy. The art style is still hard to follow and the storytelling is over the top, but at its best this book reminds me a lot of the things I liked about Marvel's old Excalibur comic. Lots of humor, fun characters, and a sense that anything can happen.
|Wednesday, March 12th, 2014|
|I suspect spring hayfever has arrived
Work was busy but manageable today. Managed to juggle two intersecting meetings, hopefully without insulting the people in either. Well, you know how it is, it's nobody's fault
, but when you're having to run out of one meeting early to get to the second one, and are asking the person chairing the meeting to reorganise the agenda so you can get your important bit done, it's always a bit awkward.
Fortunately we are all reasonable professionals. No, really. They're all decent people.
I'm glad to have good coworkers.
|Tuesday, March 11th, 2014|
|Homemade Biodegradable Fiber Seed-Starting/Transplanting Pots
Homemade Biodegradable Fiber Seed-Starting/Transplanting Pots
In a previous blog entry, I wrote about how to make your own seed starter box
from a biodegradable egg carton. This entry takes that concept a little further. If you’re like me and start your seeds early indoors, sometimes the seedling begins to outgrow the little egg cup and needs transplanted to yet a larger pot before it can be moved to the garden.
Many seed and garden companies sell biodegradable fiber pots, but why buy something you can make for mere pennies? Sure, the homemade versions might not LOOK as pretty and uniform as they do when you buy them, but who has money to just bury in the ground? Using the lint from your dryer, newsprint or tissue paper, and other natural throw-aways such as egg shells or coffee grounds, you can create your own fiber pots in any size you desire.What you need:
Dryer lint (about a grocery sack full)
Shredded newsprint or tissue paper
Coffee grounds * optional
Egg shells (ground finely) *optional
2 bowls that will “nest”
In a very large bowl, place the dryer lint and shredded newsprint and/or tissue paper. I cut the tissue paper I used into narrow strips because it was faster. If you use tissue paper, be warned that colored paper will bleed dye when it gets wet with the starch.
You can add coffee grounds or finely ground egg shells if you desire as well. (The coffee filter can go in too, just shred it up into strips first).
Add about 1 cup of liquid starch. You can find liquid starch in the laundry aisle in grocery stores, drug stores, and dollar stores. Do NOT dilute the starch. Use it straight from the bottle.
Mix the ingredients well using your hand to squish it all together. Add more starch in ½ cups as needed to make a paste-like consistency. Place a bowl on top of a plate. I’m using a plastic food storage container. Any container will work. Choose one that is the size you want your fiber pot to be. The pot will shrink some while drying, so overestimate rather than underestimate. Dump the goopy mixture into the bowl.
Use your hands to spread the mixture up the sides of the bowl, making a depression that is “bowl-shaped”. Put your hand into a plastic cup (like you get from restaurants) and use it to “roll” the sides flat, and to flatten the bottom inside of your fiber pot.
When the fiber pot has taken shape inside of the container, set it aside for 24 hours to dry.
Place a smaller bowl inside of the fiber pot that is partially dry now. Place the plate over the top of the container holding the partially dried fiber pot.
Invert the bowls/containers on top of the plate and allow to dry for 48 hours. The lint and starch and paper are dense and soak up the starch requiring a lot of drying time.
Slowly and carefully remove the top container, leaving the fiber pot, the inside smaller bowl (as a brace) on the plate for another 24 hours.
When the outside of the fiber pot is dry to the touch, pick it up carefully, removing it from the smaller bowl inside. Turn it right side up on top of the plate. If the inside is still damp allow it to sit on the plate and air dry until the fiber pot is entirely dry.
Fill with potting soil/mixture, transplant your seedling. When you water your seedling, do not over water, and make sure the fiber pot is on or in another container. Try to avoid getting too much water on the sides of the pot. When it is time to transplant the seedling/plant, place the entire fiber pot into the soil and cover. The fiber pot will dissolve and degrade in the soil.Look for other helpful, handy projects in my Index of Entires: http://angelinehawkes.livejournal.com/180046.html
|So Let's Talk About Patreon...
In the last few weeks, I've been getting occasional comments and e-mails suggesting I set up a Patreon account, which is a sort of patronage model where a "patron" sets up a monthly donation to a "creator" because they like what they're doing and want them to continue.
And I have mixed feelings about this, and want to talk about it and get y'all's thoughts, so here goes...Point The First:
It's awesome that people want to throw money at me! I am terribly grateful and flattered! Please don't think I object to that, because woo, hoo, no way, people want to give me money, not a complaint! Trust me!
And I understand that there's a kind of thing here--a commenter said it very well, actually--which, to paraphrase, is "I've bought your books, I've bought as much art as I want/can fit on the walls, how do I keep giving you money to keep doing awesome stuff when you're out of stuff to buy?"
And this, too, I totally understand--one failing of that whole "1000 true fans" thing that went around for awhile was the fact that a lot of creators don't have $100 worth of new stuff available per year. (There were a lot of other failings, if you ask me, most significantly that it defined "true fan" as "person with disposable income" and I think that's kinda bullshit. I have fans who cheer wildly for my successes who are scraping by working two jobs, and I resent relegating them to "less-true fan" status even in theory. But anyway.)
So yeah, I can see that if somebody wants to support the Ursula Vernon Experience, there's limited venues. I mean, I put out two kid's books and maybe one self-pub a year. That's...err... well, at current royalty rates, I get $5 a year if somebody buys all three. You can back the Digger Kickstarter (and OMG, so many of you backed the Kickstarter! Still wowed!) but how often do I do a Kickstarter? I don't even paint that many originals any more, because I'm so busy with illustrations for Dragonbreath, and if you're out of wall space, it doesn't matter anyway.
But then we get to...Point the Second:
Owing people things scares me.
People suggested Kickstartering Cryptic Stitching (both the StoryNexus version and the future Twine) and my knee jerked so hard in the other direction I about dislocated my hip.
Because, thing is, if I take money for a specific thing, I have to do that specific thing.
And I have to do it well enough and fast enough that people don't feel ripped off--or that I don't feel like I'm ripping them off. And if it's different, in the end, then what they thought they were getting, what if they hate it? What if I am that Awful Person Who Took People's Money And Made A Crappy Product With It?
This is why I've tried to get away from commissions, because the stress about killed me.
Now, I think it's awesome that people are trying to find ways to make sure that I have the money to Make Cool Stuff and they want to contribute to Getting Cool Stuff Made! I am thrilled that you think I make Cool Stuff! That is awesome!
But there is a voice in my head--no, not in my head, a voice that lives under my breastbone and whispers to me like Sweetgrass Voice, saying What if you can't deliver? Everyone fails eventually--that's not poison, that's life. When you fail on your own time, it doesn't matter. When you fail with other people's money, that
If CrypticStitching2.0 never gets made, say, (and lord, I hope it will!) people will be disappointed and I'll be bummed, but nobody paid me for it, so it's just a cool thing that I wanted to make that didn't work out, not a thing that people have a right to expect. Particularly not a thing they have a right to expect on a specific timeline.
At the moment, I owe the following to various sources, either because they've paid me or by verbal contract:
1 book cover
2 sketchbook illustrations
1 commission when I get around to it (they're being very nice about that)
5 Digger podcasts (one is in the bag already, but needs remastering)
7 convention appearances in the next year, 5 of which have attendant art shows and 2 of which require me to write speeches.
1 book fair appearance, with corresponding talk
3 children's books written
4 children's books illustrated, at approx. 150 per, so 600 illustrations. (Over the next three years. Only 300 of them are this year!)
4 children's book covers
Couple of RPG illos for that one cool thing
2 single panel comics
This is kind of a lot. And by that I mean, I just clutched my chest and had to breathe into a paper bag for a few minutes, because holy crap. (And I wanted to get a self-pub anthology out this year, too! Yikes! What was I thinking?)
The children's books don't weigh on me as much, because that's my job and it's less of a weight and more of a getting-up-and-going-to-work thing. But otherwise, that's all stuff I have to get done. Some of it fairly soon.
I don't think I can add anything else to the pile without going barking mad. CrypticStitching is awesome because I don't owe it to anyone, it's just a thing I do for love and because I want it to exist, but the moment it becomes something I have
to do, the whole dynamic shifts.
Which brings me to...Point the Third:
What are you paying for, anyway?
If someone wanted to throw money at me with Patreon, in support of...err..."Ursula does vaguely entertaining blog stuff AND a couple podcasts AND writes books AND draws pictures now and again AND spends a lot of time obsessing over mulch," I have no inherent objection to that. But I start to fret a little over the notion of whether people are getting their money's worth.
I mean, say you're giving me $5 a month to make the world a slightly odder place. And one month I'm on fire. I put out something like CrypticStitching, which is $25 bucks of entertainment value!
Does that mean we're cool for the next five months? If I have a bad month and all the blog posts are just "Can't hack life, busy, talk later" are you getting your $5 worth? If I post a painting, is that worth it? If I get into a fight about SFWA and you're tired of reading about my outrage that I'm tired of feeling, do you pull your funding?
What's a patron entitled to? I know somebody who's doing an icon set a month, which is cool, but we all know it ain't gonna happen here. I might get two months done and then I'd want to run screaming into the night. If you're a big fan of KUEC and we have to stop some day because our internal organs have been reduced to pencil shavings, will you be sad and want your money back?
Would it be a better deal if you got my self-pub stuff free if you were a patron? (I could maybe manage that...)Point the Third Point Five:
There's one element of Patreon I find weird--the way they talk about connecting to creators via their specific forums or mailing list or whatever. It makes it sound almost like the patron gets a backstage pass. And there I start to feel really weird, because believe me, there is no backstage to this outfit.
There's not even a front
Actually, I think I'm crouched behind a cardboard box with a sock puppet.
So if people buy into this notion that somehow being a patron gets them extra-special access to yours truly...um...there's nothing extra-special TO access. You've got the maximum level of access right here, via blog comments and e-mail. (And feel free to comment! I will even comment back if you have a question I can answer! I hope everybody knows that--I had multiple people saying "Wow, I can comment and you answer!" about the CrypticStitching stuff, and I want everybody to know that's not unusual--I really do talk on the blog! And on Twitter!)
I am not more me
in other places than I am here. There is no hamster behind the curtain.
I don't want anybody to get the impression that the secret to getting my attention is money. I mean, don't get me wrong, if you wave a thousand dollars at me, you will
have my attention, but it will not be a better Ursula or a more clever one. It will probably be a slightly paranoid one going "Why is this person waving a thousand dollars at me!? Is this an FBI sting?"Point the Last:
All this makes me sound like I'm horribly opposed to the Patreon model, or the patronage model in general, and the thing is, I'm really not. I actually think it's a really awesome idea to have an easy and convenient way to support people who you want to keep creating stuff. And, in all modesty, this sort of thing actually works really well
for people like me, who dabble in a dozen different things and give half of them away for free on-line.
I think those of us on the internet who are kind of...mm...you know, Makers of Random Cool Stuff...are great use-cases for patronage systems. I may not want to buy any particular thing from an artist, but I may be delighted at what they do and want them to keep doing it and want to kick a couple bucks toward them to keep them able to do it. And that's fantastic!
I'm just not entirely sure that it's a good idea for me, and I want to make sure everybody knows what we're looking at in terms of what you get for the money...
So hey, let's talk! What do you guys think--both of Patreon in general for supporting creators or in specific?
|A couple of things I’d like to point out about the Space Pen
So it’s tax season, and the old urban legend of “we spent $X on a space pen, and Russia used a pencil” story is making the rounds as an example of wasteful government spending. I’d like to point out a couple of things that we should all keep in mind :
(1) The story is false. While the program was started by NASA, the project was abandoned as too expensive. The actual Space Pen was developed using private capital, by Paul C. Fisher. See Here and Here.
(2) It’s a FREAKING SPACE PEN. This is a technological achievement! This is American Engineering at its FINEST, and something to be proud of.
(3) What kind of havoc does pencil shavings have on an air-filtration system and zero g? Can’t have a pencil without a sharpener, and those things are messy. Unless you like floating in a haze of graphite dust.
(4) Are you honestly saying the Soviet Russia was better than America in the 60′s & 70′s? Oh, wait…
(5) This was over 40 years ago. You sound like a spouse/significant other who keeps bringing up the time you did that thing – you know the one – a long time ago and even though they said all was forgiven, they bring it up every time you have an argument, even though it has no bearing on the point they are trying to make.
If you want to have a serious talk about wasteful spending, let’s talk about black budgets, two wars, oil company subsidies, bank bailouts, and equally relevant budget items. Let’s not talk about an urban legend that is both false and therefore has no bearing on the argument at hand. Frankly, I’d rather spend the money on TEN SPACE PENS than paying oil companies to be profitable.
I mean, come on people, IT IS A FREAKING SPACE PEN, developed and marketed by a private company in the US, and used by both NASA and the Russian Space Program now. Sounds like a win to me.
Originally published at sonney.com.
|March Break Monday
First day of March Break proper, achieved. Accurately, I guess it really started over the weekend, but that went pretty well, all told. On Saturday afternoon, my Mom phoned and suggested we take Cal to see Miyazaki's (supposed) final film, The Wind Rises
. She had seen the trailer and thought it had a "gentle, musical" sensibility he'd respond to. I pointed out to her that it was a fairly adult-oriented narrative set during World War II which includes an earthquake, a train wreck and the main character's girlfriend dying of tuberculosis, but countered with the idea that we try My Neighbour Totoro
out on him instead.
So we did, and...he loved it. He's actually asked to watch it every day since, all the way through. This particularly odd, because it's fairly "realistic" (for a movie involving giant animistic forest-spirits) and has only two songs, neither actually sung by the characters. But yeah, he's into it. (English dub version, obviously.) He's even taken to saying things while watching it, like: "Oh, please don't sob, Satsuki!" and "The sky is blue" or "It's going to rain." All good signs.
On Sunday, meanwhile, steve and I were able to park him overnight with my Mom and go see 300: Rise of an Empire
, which is utterly ridiculous and wonderfully entertaining. I was never a massive fan of the original, which we re-watched recently because A) this was coming out and B) it was down to $6.00 on DVD, but this edition manages to avoid at least some of the traps of its predecessor: the rape/revenge subplot is backstory for one character, not a part of the text, and we get at least two women with agency, one (Artemisia, admiral of the Persian navy) played by the insanely gorgeous and gorgeously insane Eva Green.
History geeks would be right to point out that the actual Artemisia was not only the only one of Xerxes' commanders to argue against
attacking Greece, but also managed to survive the battle (by ramming her own tiremes after it was obvious where things were going, convincing the Greeks she couldn't possibly be working for the Persians). Here, however, she's the anti-Queen Gorgo, as devoted to the Persians' Evil Empire as Gorgo is to Sparta. She also turns out to be responsible for Xerxes turning himself into a nine-foot gilded giant with creepy sarcophagus-painting eyes in the first place, which is pretty choice--his Dad Darius, dying after the battle of marathon, tells Xerxes that "only the gods can defeat Greece," which Artemisia helpfully translates for him as "...so that means you should make yourself into a god-king, and go conquer that shit."
How? Necromancy and black magic, obviously. Step one: wrap yourself in linens soaked in evil nectars. Step two: wander the desert until you trip across a cave full of evil hermits. Step three: immerse yourself in a glowing pool of handwavium, then exit nine feet tall, bald, and multiply pierced. Hey presto! The hilarious part is that even after all this, Artemisia remains totally unimpressed with her ostensible lord and master, often telling him to chill on his throne like the pussy he is so she can go defend "the power I
Also great: the soundtrack, by Junkie XL, which includes a demented orchestral remix of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" run over the closing credits. And Eva wears a dress made out of human hair at one point, with matching gauntlets, which must be seen to be believed. She's not wearing it when she turns surrender negotiations with Athenian leader Themistokles into a rough-sex match, more's the pity, but that's still fairly intense. I particularly love the moment when he gets ferried back immediately after refusing to join her/get her off, and his second-in-command asks him: "Well? What did you learn?" Themistokles just makes a weird little twitch with his mouth and eyebrow, which might mean: "Um...first off, she cray. Also, we fucked."
Okay, I need to get back to doing a few more chores, then sleep. Tomorrow is Surrey Place, plus hopefully some writing. We'll see if Cal cooperates.This entry was originally posted at http://handful-ofdust.dreamwidth.org/520897.html. Please comment either here or there using OpenID.
|Monday, March 10th, 2014|