Thursday, March 06, 2014

Home is where you post your plight.

My neighbors? They're cool. So I wasn't surprised, at all, to see this cute little sign pushing out of the mound near the curb as I walked to visit a neighbor today. Ah, winter, feel free to move along.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Frozen and the Gay Agenda

Yes, Virginia, it is reasonable to argue Frozen has a gay agenda. Here's why.
The whole point of fairy tales is to tell stories with archetypes whose struggles work on multiple levels and speak to different situations. Elsa's is the story of a girl who was different, whose parents felt she should hide that difference. A girl who felt isolated despite the love around her. On the surface it is the story of hidden power, the fear of an accusation of witchcraft or sorcery. Those are still real concerns today, and to every little pagan kid in the audience, the story touched a chord. For the LGBT audience members, they may have identified with Elsa's isolation too, and that's, wonderful. That's the point.
Elsa began concealing who she was for the sake of other people's opinion and learned that the path of honesty, love, and self acceptance can make the world a better place. Who can't benefit from that lesson? The closet atheist, the creative depressive? No, everyone can benefit from that message. So while yes, there has been a lot of drum beating with the far right, dare I say extremists, decrying that Frozen is nothing but shoring up the Same Sex Marriage argument and normalizing homosexuality, really it is just normalizing vulnerability, inner strength, and the positive effect of embracing our individuality.
Go out there and interpret Frozen. Then reinterpret it. Deconstruct it, compare it, look at the symbols and pick apart the social values. Mock Anna's lack in judgment and scratch your head wondering where the Regent went. Connect with the piece. It is a fairy tale, created for human connection- a metaphoric prism through which we can all view many things, even the "gay agenda." Then when you've exhausted yourself, Let it Go.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Geeky Girly Fabric Joy

My new fabric swatch, One Ring Cathedral Window - Hot Pink, from Spoonflower came in the mail today, and it's even prettier than I expected. I'm thrilled. I forsee myself getting some of this printed off to edge some pillow cases, and possibly shrinking it down a bit for some more geektastic Raggedy Rebels. I missing having the truly nerdy dolls in the shop.

Of course, I'll have to shrink it a lot to make it a doll size print. I can't  help but think that the One Ring Cathedral Window print, in all the different colors I have put it out in, would make a FABULOUS bow tie or neck tie fabric. Of course, I'm partial to bow ties, you know, because bow ties are cool.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Getting More from the Library

*I tried Grammarly's grammar checker free of charge because I've been editing that novel I mentioned, and if I stare at the words long enough, they start staring back at me. It gets a little disquieting.*

So, you're using the library to check out books. I tip my hat to you. Here's seven more things that if you're not doing already, you might want to start.

1.  Checking out things your library doesn't have on hand.
       Seriously- if you didn't know this, you need to hop on it: even if your library doesn't carry something, if you want to read it, you can request it. If you can't request it from home, online, your librarian can do it for you. Be prepared with title, author's name, publisher, and ISBN. 

2. Checking out music.
     Libraries aren't just about reading material. They're repositories of information and culture, and their holdings include a plethora of media. Here's a hint, they have movies too.

3.Joining Book Clubs.
     After you finish reading books, doesn't it feel good to talk about them with someone? Well, chances are, your library hosts a book club or can point you in the direction of one. My library hosts two a month, and the members are wonderful.

4. Checking out e-books. 
      Libraries have e-books, and e-books have the added benefit of returning themselves. That's right, no late fees. God bless my e-reader.

5. Using magazine exchanges.
     Many libraries have places for patrons to bring in their magazines and drop them off for other patrons to pick up and take home to read. It keeps them from becoming clutter without creating extra waste.

6. Sorting Government Hokum.
     Need those tax forms? Need help with your taxes? Need to know how to sign up for the ACA? Most libraries will have the standard tax forms on hand, and many have people trained to assist in filling out not just tax forms, but also other government forms, like the applications for health insurance through the new exchange system. Check your public library's website or give them a call to see which services they provide.

7. Getting Research Assistance.
     Don't know where to start looking for something and you really need more information on it? Talk to your library's research librarian. They can point you in the direction of books on the topic, help you determine better search parameters, teach you how to use the big scary microfilm newspaper viewing machines, and possibly put you in touch with someone who knows a lot about the topic you're researching. Topical experts are wonderful, research experts are priceless. Some libraries have excellent local history sections and special collections with amazingly detailed information as well. Research librarians are Heroes.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Laser Eyed Pigeon of Love Valentines Day Printable!

Picture it, dinnertime- chicken and toasted ravioli. Sure, it's not "healthy fare," but the kids were happy and that's what matters. Somehow the conversation swings around to light bulbs. Light bulbs? Yes, light bulbs, and the wasteful nature of the warmth and wholesome glow of incandescent bulbs and the wonderment that is the efficient and passive aggressive maverick way to light your home, the compact florescent. This reignites the age old debate of Tesla v. Edison. Here's a hint- we're Team Tesla in our household. All discussions of Tesla lead back around, eventually, to his laser eyed love pigeon. You wish I was joking, I wish I was joking, alas, I'm not. Tesla loved a pigeon, and at St. Valentine's Day, it's always good to honor those who embrace the adage, "Love as thou wilt." So, on a lark, I decided to throw together a Laser Eyed Pigeon of Love design for her to hand out for Valentine's Day. I mean, who doesn't want obscure geek references for their Valentines cards? Really, it worked out well, because writing Valentines in Circular Gallifreyan was proving to be a much more complex task than I'd originally thought it would be. 

I considered using a great Tesla quote:

“I have been feeding pigeons, thousands of them for years. But there was one, a beautiful bird, pure white with light grey tips on its wings; that one was different. It was a female. I had only to wish and call her and she would come flying to me.
I loved that pigeon as a man loves a women, and she loved me. As long as I had her, there was a purpose to my life.”

Long story short, that was too many words and we wanted something less... heartfelt. Since it's a fun and simple design, I thought I should share the printable geekery. Feel free to distribute to those who would get a kick out of it, just, you know, don't sell it. That'd be tacky.

Just fit-to-printable-area and print on standard 8.5x11" cardstock.

For more nerdy Valentines, check out the Standardized Test Valentine I made a couple years ago!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Goals and Accountability: Where did NaNo Go?

I have a gorgeous calendar by my computer. Okay, that's misleading. It typically sit under my netbook and is more than many moons outdated. Anyway, it's open to November and has word counts penciled in on it, a relic from a year I almost didn't finish NaNoWriMo, and yes, before you say anything, I do need to clean my desk more often. I know that it is January and NaNo is long over, but let's face it, I'm not done. Sure, I, like you, hit my goal of fifty thousand words, and then some, but that doesn't mean I'm done. Fifty thousand is a good starting point, but for my emotionally-fragile family drama, but before I start shopping it out to agents, it really needs to put on about thirty thousand meaningful words. 
Let's have a moment of math, shall we? 
80,000 - 54,376 = 25,624 words to go. 

Time to get writing!

That's not so bad, really. If I hit they keyboard like it's November, I'm looking at another two weeks of writing. Six weeks of writing? No big. However, that's when the real work starts. The editing. 

Have you already hit the word count zone for the novel you're writing? Yes, there really are word count guidelines for different genres. Then you still need to be editing with the rest of us, and so it's time to set some goals.

It is not November. Try however I might, I can't make it be November now. I can't summon the collective energy of millions of writers struggling to hit their daily word counts, and I can't convince myself I'm racing against a friend's growing word count chart, especially when editing isn't as simply quantifiable as a word count. As a result, it is time to be honest about what kinds of measurable progress I can aim for. 

Word Count

Goal 1: 500 words a day. I'm not going to finish this as quickly as I started it, so the imaginary six weeks is right out. At 500 words a day I have another month and a half ahead of me, and that's manageable. 

Accountability tool: I'm replacing the outdated calendar with a new one to pencil in my word counts. If it's a number I can see with my eyes even when I' not touching a device, I'm far more apt to keep up with it. I keep it simple by updating word counts at bedtime so I don't have a string of numbers confusing me later.


Goal 1: Read through and correct all glaring errors. There's always a lot more to editing than correcting errors, but it's somewhere to start.

As I get back into the process of writing every day, I'll write about more of my little goals on the way to actually finishing my novel. With any luck, all of us will be finished before November rolls back around.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Want a Kindle?

As part of the Xpresso Book Tours promotional tour for RATGIRL: Song of the Viper by Gayle C. Krause, Xpresso is also hosting a giveaway for a Kindle.

I was lucky enough to get a chance to review RATGIRLl: Song of the Viper for We Do Write, so hop on over if you're interested. I'll also be posting my opinions on RATGIRL here and on Biblivoracious over the next few days. Good luck!