daidoji_gisei: (Shall bones live?)
2017-01-16 11:01 pm
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Pottery thoughts

A week or so ago I came across an ad for pottery classes here in town, and ever since I've been wanting to sign up for them. The money is not trivial and until spring bike riding-weather arrives transportation is going to be a problem, but still.

I took my first pottery class when I was in my late elementary school years, at the community center of the local park. I no longer remember what attracted me to them in the first place, but I really enjoyed them and did them several years running. Both my junior high and high school offered ceramics classes, which I gleefully signed up for. (I managed to get a D in my high school ceramics class, which looked odd next to my B+ in Advanced Physics. I could never do anything right...) It was in high school that I first heard how uranium compounds make really lovely yellow glazes, a fact I've managed to work into conversations about once a decade.

I took the intro to ceramics class in college to fill my art requirement and then had to stop, because unless you were an art major you weren't allowed to sign up for higher level classes. (I suppose they allowed art minors as well, but I was already minoring in math and English so that never occurred to me.) I never bothered to look for opportunities after college because I Am Not An Artist and Have No Artistic Talent, which closed off all the possibilies I could imagine. But the classes being offered are specifically geared towards people in the community who want to work in clay, and they sound non-stressful.

I have still have a number of the things I made--the very, very large vase inspired by a pine cone, three non-identical mugs, a few bowls, and a drinking horn with incised elvish lettering. (I know one side says "I am Nancy Sauer's" because I can recognize my name, but I'll need to dig out my copy of the Return of the King to translate the other side.) I've started a list of things I could make in the future, just in case I make this work--I don't want to spend the first week trying to figure out what I want to do!
daidoji_gisei: Tarot Queen of Swords (Queen of Swords)
2017-01-09 10:38 pm
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Thoughts about Rogue One (Spoilers!)

I saw Rogue One for the first time last week while visiting my friends K and A; I went and saw it again today. As a movie I like it a lot, though it is by no means flawless. I rarely do reviews, so I'm just going to give an assortment of points in place of an organized essay. Putting in a cut because SPOILERS.

Read more... )
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
2016-10-04 11:34 pm
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I should have been in bed more than an hour ago; work was hard today and it's going to be worse tomorrow. I just don't feel like going to bed. Part of it is I suspect I fell asleep briefly before dinner, and part of it is that I have so many things I think I ought to be doing I feel guilty going to be without doing something. Of course, as I am running on short sleep I've been spending a lot of time just staring into space which, as you might imagine, is not helpful.

Bad things so far this week: I tried to donate platelets at the blood bank Monday and was rejected because my iron was too low, something that has never happened before. I rescheduled for next Monday and had started a campaign to bring up my iron stores--beef, leafy green vegetables, multivitamin plus iron, etc. I was only slightly under, so this should be fixable.

It's Tuesady already and I've gotten nothing done.

I finished N.K. Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and it was so wonderful I think Inshould give up trying to write a novel.

Good things so far this week: I think that physical therapy is fixing the pinched nerve in my neck. Imhave jot yet managed to do all the assigned exercises twice a day, but I do as much as I can and the tingling in my arm is definitely decreasing.

I'm still on track to meet my October bicycling goal. I want to get to 300 miles on my odometer by the end of the month, and I can do it if I can manage to average 4 miles a day. I had been afraid I would fall behind today because of the weather, but it cleared up a little after 3 and I was able to get a long ride in.
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
2016-08-28 11:00 pm
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Fanfic: Signs and Portents [L5R] [AU]

This story was written in March 2006 and it is, among other things, my answer to how and why the Dragon Clan managed to wreck Kosatan Shiro, which was the story result from the 2005 European Championship. This was a result that bothered me a lot because the Lion would have been trying to destroy the fortress for centuries, so how did the Dragon manage it?

Obviously the canon explanation is wildly different from this but it still pleases me. There are a few sentences that have to be reworked for clarity or rhythm, but I like the plot and the characterization.

Signs and Portents )
daidoji_gisei: (Kakita Hideshi)
2016-05-27 09:55 pm
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It's rained almost every day this week and it's starting to get me down. I am trying to not get sucked down, but I don't think I'm doing well. It's raining, the person ordering bakery supplies at work isn't ordering us enough white flour (we've run out twice this week already and I don't know if we are going to make it through the weekend), I haven't written anything in over a week, and I was reminded yesterday that it really doesn't matter because if you want to make money with writing you write romances, and I can't write romances.

No, really, I can't write them. I can write stories where the characters have romances, but that's not the same. Romance, the genre, is defined by the Happily Ever After, the payoff, the fantasy that there is Someone Out There who loves you and wants to be your life-partner and after a series of suitably scripted problems the two of you get your denouement and ride blissfully off into the sunset. I can't write that. It's too painful to be reminded that I'm not going to get a HEA, I'm not even going to get dates, I'm not going to ever get someone to tag-team with me through life, and I'm going to die as I have lived, alone. Which sounds incredibly melodramatic when I put it down in text, but it's still true.

I need to shake this off. I have a stack of short stories in various stages of completion, there's an anthology I want to submit something too, and I still need to humiliate myself with a draft of a novel. (I still want to write what I want to write because I'm stupid. And because I have stories inside of me.) This is Nebraska so the rain can't really last forever, and sunshine will help.
daidoji_gisei: (Kakita Hideshi)
2015-10-29 11:07 pm
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Scratching the wall with some old barbed wire

I should be sleeping, or at least working on my outline for NaNoWriMo (not that this matters, because I am unlikely to write anything worth reading regardless of how much I prepare) but--they say journalling clears the mind, and I need to have something resembling a clear mind when I talk to my parents this weekend.

Cut for useless drama )
daidoji_gisei: (Kakita Hideshi)
2015-09-07 08:31 pm
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Status report

Well. I had a follow-up blood test in July and my A1C came back in the normal range. It was at the very top of the normal range, but it still established that I can control my diabetes with a healthy eating plan and that was my goal. I admit August was kind of a bad month for me, foodwise, but I've stayed mostly on track. I don't know when my doctor wants to do another test, but hopefully I can assume enough virtue before then to stay healthy.

One of the things that makes August so hard is the let-down from Gencon. It's five days of people acting as if I was an interesting person who is worth spending time with......and then I go home to where I'm alone. I have a number of people in town who I would like to be in regular contact with, but only one of them thinks it's worth making the effort to stay in contact with me. I wish I knew what made me such a terrible person: then I could try to fix it.

I really, really need to devote myself to writing. Not only is it a hypothetical source of more money, it would keep me busy. Busy people have less time to mope about the fact they are going to die as a lonely old spinster.

My garden out back has been a semi-success. I never did manage to stake the tomato plants, so they are just snaking around on the ground. The yellow pear tomatoes are bearing LOTS of tomatoes; the beefsteak vines are less bountiful. My Anaheim peppers are bearing well, except most of the fruits start to develop the pepper version of blossom end rot as they ripen. Still withholding judgement on the bell peppers.

I am thinking that maybe I should skip getting a CSA next year. Robinette Farms has good quality produce, but it has too much of the things I'm not fond of (like cucumbers) and not enough of the things I do (like green beans). It's been this way two years running, so I guess this is a feature and not a bug.
daidoji_gisei: (Shall bones live?)
2015-05-20 03:34 pm
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Updates and meanderings

I'm behind on posting here, for various reasons. One of them is that in mid-April I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. It's currently mild enough that my doctor thinks we can control it with healthy eating and exercise, and since I'm highly invested in not having to take a pill every day I'm trying hard to make this happen. But doing this means that I'm having to think a lot about my food: I have a maximum number of carbs per meal (and snack) that I need to aim for, and any time I have a carb-rich food I need to eat something protein-rich to go with it. I am telling myself that this is temporary, after a while I'll be familiar with everything and it won't seem like so much work--but I'm feeling flashes of overwhelmed. This makes me feel slightly cranky, which in turn makes me feel guilty, because I know of people who are managing far worse health problems than this. I don't deserve to be able to feel bad about it.

As a corollary to my healthy eating campaign I have been losing weight. This is all good, because this will make managing my diabetes easier. I've lost 13 pounds so far, apparently all of it from my neck, as that's the only measurement that seems to be changing. I am assuming that eventually I'll run out of fat in my neck and other parts of me will get smaller, but this is only an assumption on my part.

I'm otherwise conflicted about my weight loss. On one hand, improved diabetes control and the chance to buy clothes in the Petite Misses section, which might have slacks short enough to fit me. On the other hand, I don't think I'm going to hate myself less. My current dream-weight is roughly the same weight I was in college, and I hated myself then. I've always hated myself over my weight, and this is unlikely to change. I'm never going to be a single-digit dress size, which means I'll always be unacceptable.
daidoji_gisei: (Kakita Hideshi)
2015-03-21 09:00 pm
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Sickness isolation blues

The problem with being sick--aside from the obvious that I am sick--is that I live alone, and when I'm home being sick I lack even the minimal social contact that work provides. I came home early on Thursday, and missed work Friday and Satuday. Sunday and Monday are days off, which is good for sleeping more and getting better and bad for my loneliness. I have friends, but I seem to lack friends in town who consider me part of their lives. Or maybe I'm just too demanding. Or maybe, probably, this is all somehow my fault.

Someday I will die, and no one will notice until I fail to show up for my work shift.
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
2015-03-21 07:02 pm
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Potholder pattern!

I can't figure out how to bookmark things and Google can't find it because it doesn't exist anymore. But it's my favorite potholder pattern, so I'm putting the link here.

V-stitch potholder pattern
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
2015-03-02 09:56 pm
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I'm trying out my free sample of BPAL's Vixen. It's making a bid to be one of the very, very few patchouli-note perfumes that I don't hate with the hate of a million fangirls. I'm intrigued!

I am trying to get ready for my trip this weekend. I had to work today, which is normally my day off, but I went grocery shopping, washed dishes, and cooked. I should have done laundry as well, but I wussed out. :(

I wrote a page of a new story, but I'm thinking of tossing it all out. I don't like how it opens, but can't think of what to do better. It so frustrating. I wish I could find an idea that amused me, the way DA amused me. (DA was never supposed to be a real story, it was my effort to master first-person POV. Maybe that's why I felt free to stuff cool things into it.) At this rate I might as well go back to studying Latin; it would keep my brain limber and give me an excuse to play with my pens and ink.

The larger of my two orchids is blooming with great enthusiasm. I need to come up with a way to support the bloom spike before it tips the pot over. It's safe for now, as I have it leaning up against the lemon tree, but I can't see it well from that perspective.
daidoji_gisei: Tarot Queen of Swords (Queen of Swords)
2015-02-24 10:39 pm
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The only fun thing I got done tonight was a little ink mixing. Last fall I got a bottle of Noodler's Red Black and after trying it decided it wasn't black enough, so I'm mixing it with some Heart of Darkness to find something more to my taste. When I was in KC in January I was able to pick up a bottle of Noodler's Blue, which I really like. But you can't have too many different blues, so I'm seeing what it looks like with a wee bit of Heart of Darkness added in.

Right now both blends are sitting in sample vials. I'm not expecting any problems with them, but there is no reason not to hold off for a few days to make sure nothing untoward happens. This will give me time to write a pen or two dry, so much the better.

In unrelated news, maybe it's time I hunted down a real fountain pen icon. Though the Queen of Swords does have some applicability, given that Swords are the suite of Air.
daidoji_gisei: (Kakita Hideshi)
2015-02-16 08:52 pm
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Got half the dishes washed, along with enough laundry to get through the week. I desperately need to wash some towels, but that will have to wait. Watered plants, took out trash, fed myself, had nap.

Did not get any letters written or food made for tomorrow, so I'll have to buy lunch at work. I hate doing that when I have so much food at home, but all that food is ingredients and turning it into food to eat takes time and energy.

Dropped two pens today, my Pelikan 200 and a Lamy 2K. The 200 was capped and fell onto a pile of papers, so it's fine. The 2K was uncapped and fell on to the tile floor of my bathroom. The drop was only a couple,of feet and I don't think it hit nib-first, so I'm hoping for the best. I'll know tomorrow when I ink it up.

At some point this week I have my annual eval. So not looking forward to this.
daidoji_gisei: (Shall bones live?)
2015-02-15 07:40 pm
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Loser me

I don't know what is wrong with me, or even if there is something wrong with me.

In January I decided that there were areas of my life I wanted to improve. I made some lists, decided what to change first (I'm old enough to know I can't change everything at once), and started it. For a few weeks all seemed to be going well, but I've hit a snag. These last two weeks I've been pretty useless; I've managed to get myself to work and that's about it. I'm behind on everything--dish-washing, laundry, housework, gardening, crochet, writing, EVERYTHING.

I got up late this morning and frittered away the day reading the Internet and taking cat-naps. :(

I hate the state of my apartment but when I look at it all I want to do is crawl into bed and hide. I'm running out of clothes, my kitchen is a wreck, my pens and crochet hooks are giving me reproachful looks.
daidoji_gisei: Tarot Queen of Swords (Queen of Swords)
2015-02-13 04:07 pm
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In summary

I don't believe in astrology, but I must admit that most of this week could be summed up as "Mercury is in retrograde".
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
2015-02-09 09:32 am
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As always, I have too much housework to do, but that will have to wait for a bit. I have a brief freelance assignment to take care of, and I intend to get the rough draft done this morning. My deadline isn't until a few weeks, but I don't want to put it off until the last moment. On the one hand, that's just a bad habit. On the other hand, I've become infatuated with a pen on the FPN classifieds and the sooner I get my money the better.

More long-term I have a few short stories I want to write and start sending off. If I intend to make money off of writing (and I do, even it is just enough for some luxuries), I need to always have a story or two out for consideration. I need to get back to the novel, but that can wait--I want to get some short-term money flowing.
daidoji_gisei: (Cornflower field)
2015-01-04 10:08 am
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Vegetable angst

It's a change of topic, at least?

I've gotten an email from Robinette Farms informing me that enrollment for this summer's CSA subscription is open for past customers. I have about a week to make up my mind whether to enroll again or not. On the one hand, I was satisfied with the amount and quality of vegetables I recieved last year. On the other hand, part of me knows that I could grow just as many vegetables myself for less money. But that takes time, and part of me wants to use time somewhere else. But if I did it myself there would be more of the vegetables I liked, and a complete absence of beets. I keep going in circles.

To make it all more complicated, there's the possibility of doing both. Then I could grow more of my favorites, and use the CSA share to fill in the rest. It would also give me space to experiment with long-season crops like dried beans or winter squash or even melons. Having a third option is not making my life simpler!
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
2014-12-21 09:33 am
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More writing angst

I have scribbled and stumbled my way to the sixth scene in my outline. (I specify in my outline, because as I've been writing I have figured out that I need at least one more scene before now.) I need to push on, because that's the only way I will finish. But it's an important, pivotal scene, and I'm intimidated by it.
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
2014-11-16 09:43 am
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(NaNoWriMo) Status update

November is half-over and I have a little over 8K words written. It takes very little math to see that I am very behind. I'd like to say that I think I can catch up, but given my experience from being on the writing team for L5R I don't think that's possible.

Nevertheless, I'm not depressed. I need to write this novel, need to learn how to write novels, and NaNo was a psychologically good starting point. I'm still engaged in finding out just how many words I can get done this month, so the game is still live for me. Also, I've promised myself some more ink samples when I hit 10K and an incense buying spree when I hit 20K. (The key to writing bribes, I have discovered, is to find something I want, but not want so badly that I'll just abandon the task and order the thing right away.) It's too far away to think about what the reward for finishing will be. (But I'm considering some bottles of Iroshizuku.)

I've tentatively decided that handwriting the first draft is the way to do it. Not because of some claptrap about it making me more creative, but because it makes it impossible for me to change things. If I was doing this on a computer, every time I reread what I had written I would see things I didn't like and would need to stop and change them. This is fine in a short story, but in a long project like this I need to keep moving and fix stuff in the next draft. When I see something that I think needs fixing, all I do now is grab a pen loaded with a contrasting color of ink (this totally justifies my habit of keeping about a dozen pens inked, btw) and make a note in the margin. Then I move on.

I'm planning on writing today. If there are no emergencies I should be able to order some ink samples tonight. Go me!
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
2014-11-10 08:02 am

Writing-related stuff

Having missed three days in a row of writing on my NaNoWriMo novel, I really really need to hit the 2000/day mark if I am to finish on time. Trying to stay calm about this.

Yesterday I inked up the fox pen! I used Diamine Sepia, because that is the first in sample I came across that coordinated with the color of the pen. The pen itself feels nice in the hand, which makes me happy. The ink, on the other hand, is very blah. I think I'll try switching out the fine nib for something more dramatic and see if it helps. If not, I'll just make an entry in my ink log and dump it. I have too much ink on hand suffer through one I don't want to look at.

I also tried the Franklin-Christoph Dark Denim in my Black Ice pen. I like the color, but it seems like a very dry ink--the nib just kind of drags, and I know from previous experience that this is a smoother nib. I'm tempted to add a pin-prick of dish detergent to the converter and see if that helps.

While browsing a writers forum over breakfast I came across a post that broke down just how impossible it is for a new writer to get a short story sold. At least now I can tell myself that it isn't me, it's just the numbers. And DA started life as an experiment in writing first-person, so I still got that much good out of it.

Now on to a busy day of housework and NaNoWriMo.