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on working and technology

After almost a month of questionable network connectivity and trying everything we could think of to fix it, our Time Capsule (Apple wireless base station/backup device) was declared dead at the Apple Store yesterday. They gave us a new one. The network is now much, much happier and back to being quick like a bunny, and backups are no longer glacial.

*hugs internet*

Seriously, I’m a geek when it comes to my internet access. I get twitchy when I can’t check my e-mail. My Google Reader is my new best friend. Having to wait five minutes for a page to load makes me crazy. Sure, I like to unplug completely once in awhile but I don’t like having to do it involuntarily and when I have stuff to do.

These past few weeks of lousy connectivity (not completely lost, just intermittent and slow, which was almost more annoying because it was teasing me) made me realize how web-based a lot of what I do can be.

Sure, I can write and paint without the internet. I can paint without a computer at all, but I prefer typing to longhand writing. But I can’t manage anything in my Etsy store without an internet connection. Thus the sale on originals got extended longer than I’d intended, but that’s alright.

And I wonder, sometimes, if I’d be as inclined as I am to push forward with trying to get my novel published if it weren’t for the incredible presence of the publishing industry online.

There are countless informative blogs by literary agents and editors out there. I follow a handful of agents on Twitter, even. There are forums and websites and it’s all so accessible that I’ve learned buckets of stuff about an industry I had no clue about just about a year ago.

(Really. I had a vague concept of publishers and agents and whatnot but I didn’t even know what a query letter was.)

Because of all that easily accessible information I now have ideas and plans and I feel like I know what I’m doing. It doesn’t feel as daunting as it once did. The process of getting from manuscript to bookshelf seems challenging but not mystifying anymore.

I think the point of this post is that I love the internet and I’m glad my little network of computers is happy again because it makes me more productive, even though my job doesn’t seem all that technical.

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books & links

I am in more of a reading mode than a writing mode lately, though I am attempting to switch back and forth. Reading often puts me in a writing mood, which is helpful.

This is my current reading pile, more or less. I have some random nonfiction things floating around but this is the fiction stack, all in various levels of just finished, mid-way through or haven’t started yet. It is both YA heavy and entirely female authored, huzzah.

Here, links and info since books are fun to press on other people. From bottom of pile to top which is essentially in no particular order:

  • The Season by Sarah MacLean. I stumbled upon this by accident, through the wonders of the internet. I actually knew Sarah when we were both at Smith, oddly enough. I found her through a collection of Smith Alum blogs and picked up her book shortly thereafter. I just finished it last night, it’s a lovely, frothy Regency era romance meets murder mystery with a wonderful, spunky heroine. I’m happy to have found it, and Sarah again, through the wonderment that is the internet.
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. I’ve wanted to read this since I first saw the cover over on the Absolute Write forums months ago. Yes, I do judge my books by their covers, but only when they also have excellent titles and zombies. Haven’t started it yet, but am very much looking forward to it.
  • Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link. I am almost finished with this one, I have a few more stories to go. I’ve been savoring them, like a box of fantastically oddly flavored chocolates. This is my second Link collection (I read and loved Pretty Monsters a few months ago) and I really love her stories. She apparently teaches short story writing at Smith, too. Wish she’d been teaching when I was there.
  • The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King. I found this one through Sarah’s blog, and was sold on the cover blurb alone (and the cover itself didn’t hurt) because, you know, pirates. Haven’t started it yet, either. May have to have a pirates vs. zombies imaginary death match to figure out which to start next. (Do zombies win by default, being undead and all?)
  • Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente. I’ve mentioned Cat before here, there & everywhere, of course. I’m only a few chapters into Palimpsest and taking my time with it, not quite in the same chocolate-savoring way but more like wading slowly into it, letting myself adjust to the water before it inevitably pulls me under.

The ampersand I found in the clearance corner at Pottery Barn this weekend. I may paint it, though the orange is growing on me. It is also begging to be photographed in the wild, combining all manner of unsuspecting subjects.

Am mostly drinking tea and trying to write, now that I have my painting obligations out of the way. I’d ideally wanted to finish my edits by the end of the month, which now seems unlikely. But I needed some mulling time, and it’s spring and there’s a new moon in a few days, so it is probably a good time to be getting things done.

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equinox

It’s cold outside, but we bought flowers to make the inside more springy.

This little potted ranunculus that’s now living in a blue glass goblet, and some snapdragons.

I have Cadbury Mini-Eggs, the true sign of spring.

And I’m having computer network issues that I am ignoring in favor of chocolate & flowers & springtime.

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someday i will tell the tale of why her name is bucket*

A few days ago I got some firmware upgrade for our Airport/TimeCapsule and my internet went from happy to grumpy and slow. Just figured out how to downgrade the firmware and my internet is back to happy. Still not sure exactly what went wrong, mostly just glad to have pages loading at something other than a glacial pace.

Took pictures of kittens in the sunshine.

That’s Bucket, being extra special dramatic. There’s a less dramatic one of her and a couple of Tessa up on Flickr.

Mostly spending today drinking tea and knitting, gearing up for the epicness that is the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade tomorrow.

Really this entire post is just an excuse to post dramatic lighting Bucket.

*Today is not that day.

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i *heart* friday the 13ths

Two Friday the 13ths in a row! They are one of my favorite types of day. I got married on a Friday the 13th, which probably adds to the fondness, but I liked them before that, too.

I’m wearing BPAL‘s latest 13 blend today, too.

A sweet, comforting base of dark chocolate and brown sugar with thirteen herbs of good fortune, including nutmeg, Tonka, allspice, star anise, Jamaican and African gingers, devil’s shoestring, lucky hand root, and thyme.

It’s a dry, spicy, gingery scent on me with just a little bit of sugar sweet kicking around the edges. Very different from my only other 13 from BPAL, the original white chocolatey version that I wore for my wedding.

Mostly layering paint on a custom painting today that keeps wanting to be darker. I like it better today than I did yesterday, so I think it was right about the dark. Going to let it dry and see how I feel about it after that.

Tessa just jumped in front of the computer, so I assume that means she says hello.

This is my new tea mug that I promised pictures of, on my desk with my statue of Thoth hanging out in the background:

It’s from khphillips on Etsy. (This mug, link has additional angles.) I’ve had my eye on this style of his for ages, I love the tones and the decals, but this is the first one I’ve actually purchased. It’s even lovelier in person. I’m tempted to start collecting them, replace my mass-produced mugs with unique pieces of usable art.

Getting Indian food for dinner, nom nom tandoori salmon. Mulling things over more than editing, I tend to switch back and forth from painter to writer and back again. Today is a painting day.

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why do i not live in australia?

Thanks to my friend Steph and her Seen on Flickr blog, I am thoroughly besotted with this Australian performing arts company called Strange Fruit.

I sometimes have difficulty explaining the tone of my fictional circus. It’s not a traditional circus. It’s not clowns and elephants. It’s stuff like this. I love that there are people out in the world doing things that I sit in front of my computer and imagine.

I just wish they weren’t on the other side of the world.

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knitting & tea & editing

I am not much of a knitter. I like the actual rhythm of knitting, I love pretty yarn. But I don’t absorb patterns well, so anything that requires a chart is usually too much for me.

Also, I’m a slow knitter. I’ve been working on the same scarf for the boy for about a year. In my defense, it is 1×1 rib on size 5 needles. It’s gorgeous, but it is taking forever.

But I do finish things occasionally, and a couple weeks ago I knit myself another Calorimetry. I did one a couple years ago in this green Noro yarn that I had sitting around, but I never wear it since it doesn’t match anything. So this one I did in this grey/pink Malabrigo called Pinot.

It’s marvelous and it keeps my hair out of my face. I’m not one for full hats anyway (my hair is problematic, even at this length) so it is a good alternative headwarmer considering the never-ending winter wonderland. It’s sunny today, at least.

Back to the boy’s scarf again, knitting-wise. Someday it will be finished. Really.

In other news, I have e-mails to catch up on but my gmail is being cranky. I shall blame the full moon. I have Yorkshire Gold tea that I found at Whole Foods over the weekend and did a little happy dance in the tea aisle. I don’t know if they had it before, I’d looked a few months ago and didn’t find it, and this time it was hidden behind cinnamon sticks or some such. And I ordered a new tea mug, because I realized I didn’t have a special mug for, well, not for anything in particular other than tea, I just thought it would be nice to have something handmade. I’ll post pictures when I get it.

Editing today, and should be finished with my general editing within a couple of hours. I’ve been going through section by section doing minor edits and taking notes for major changes, and I’m on the last sections now. I have three that need overhauling and outlines for three or four additional ones. After that I think it should be done. It’s been sort of tedious but I think I’m making it better and stronger (and longer) than it was. But I’ll be glad when it’s finished and I can work on something else.

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on boston and watchmen

The boy had Friday off from work so we took the train into Boston to see Watchmen and go out to lunch. It was still snowy but not terribly cold, which was nice. (Yesterday was downright tropical. 60 whole degrees!)

I’d been eagerly anticipating Watchmen for awhile. Not nearly as long as most people who read the graphic novel years ago since I only first read it recently, but longer than I usually anticipate film releases.

I loved it. Really. Really really loved it. It’s not the book, but no film can ever really be the same as a book. They’re two different experiences but I think it does a lovely job of capturing the essence of the book and you can feel the respect for the source material on the screen.

The opening credits are brilliant. The 80s-ness of it hits just the right notes, without looking silly or dated. It just kind of seems classic and a little bit retro and timeless. The slight changes to the plot make sense in the context of the film, and I think they work very well and didn’t feel forced or disingenuous. And at almost 3 hours it didn’t feel long at all. Really, it got to the last act and my first thought was “we’re here already?”

The casting was spot-on almost across the board. Having seen both Patrick Wilson and Jackie Earle Haley in Little Children I was a teensy bit skeptical (particularly of Wilson, since the Nite Owl is my favorite and he usually looks very golden-boy) but they were both wonderful, and the hair & makeup team did an amazing job on both of them and several other actors in making them look exactly like the pen & ink versions.

Have I mentioned that I loved it? I did. I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews but I really think it’s impressive and I struggle to imagine how they could have done it better. Two thumbs up, lots of stars, I may need a Nite Owl action figure, this film is Erin-approved and all that jazz.

After the movie we went and had black&tans at Ned Devine’s and wandered around town a bit. We walked through the North End and spotted all the stores and restaurants and cafes that had changed in the year and a half since we left. I don’t miss it, really. I miss aspects of it but not the whole. I’m glad we lived there for as long as we did but I’m also glad we moved.

I did take the opportunity to use my new(ish) Canon PowerShot while we were walking around. I like having a smaller camera to keep in my bag to catch random snapshots and such. Some of the better ones are up on my Flickr photostream.

This birdie was hanging out with the seagulls in Christopher Columbus Park.

I like being close enough to Boston to visit, still. I’ll like it better when it’s even warmer and has less snow.

Home now, with books to read and work to do and coffee. MacBook was fixed yesterday by nice Apple Geniuses. Going to bake banana muffins later.

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in memoriam

Had a lovely day today which I will post about at length over the weekend.

But my mom called tonight to say that Lucy, who has been the family cat since my junior year of college, died today.

She was all white so she was easy to spot when she would sneak into the backyard after being allowed out on the deck. She liked to sit in sunshine and flop on the floor.

I can’t find any photos of her on my computer, but this is a picture I drew of her circa 2001 or so:

She was a sweet kitty, and she will be greatly missed.

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finished bunnies & suggestions welcome

The Phantomwise Tarot 10s are done, remarkably ahead of schedule. You can see the set in the tarot minors gallery on phantomwise.com or over here on my art-based LiveJournal. Someday I might combine that blog with this one. Today is not that day.

Here are the finished bunnies, in bookish tea party glory:

I kind of can’t believe the numbered minors are complete. I’m really pleased with how they’ve all turned out, so often the minors are dull in comparison to the majors, and I’d like to think these hold their own. Now it’s just a matter of getting the courts completed, and then the deck is done. I doubt I’ll know what to do with myself then, I might need another epic art project of some sort.

In other news, I am going to endeavor to blog here more frequently. I was going to set a lofty goal of once a day but that seems too lofty at the moment. So I’ll start with several times a week and maybe attempt that every day thing in April.

I’ll need topics, though. Suggestions are welcome, just comment. Otherwise you’re just going to get more writing, art, kittens, and possibly a lengthy essay on why I love LOST in general and Michael Emerson in particular.

And you get a Watchmen review on Friday, of course.

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