sholio: webcomic word balloon (Kismet-Frank threat)
Hi, new people following me from the DW friending meme! And people who have followed/friended me in the last couple of years in general. For one reason and another, it's taken me this long to write an intro post, and I don't think I ever did one the last time I did a friending meme at all.

So - hi! I'm [personal profile] sholio/[ profile] sholio, or Layla. I live in Alaska, and I'm a graphic designer, artist, and writer. I used to mainly do freelance graphic design, but over the last couple of years I've transitioned to writing for a living, and I do that full-time now. I write het paranormal romance as Lauren Esker (also on Facebook and on Amazon). I've written a few M/M books in the past as Layla M. Wier (that pen name is basically retired at this point, though), and I'm planning on launching a new pen name this summer for fantasy and sci-fi that's not really romance as such, but tends to feature LGBTQ+ characters and pairings. I haven't settled on that name yet. I also write ultra-commercial erotica-laced het romance as part of a group pen name, which I'm not naming because we're trying to preserve the polite fiction that we are a single person (a la the way kids' series like Nancy Drew or Trixie Belden are written by a number of writers working under the same name) but I'm happy to tell people what it is if you ask in a PM or on a non-public post. I just don't want to give it out in public.

Feel free to PM me or email me at laureneskerwriter at gmail if you would like to try any of my books. I'm happy to hand them out to flist people for free. :D Lauren's website also has a couple of free stories, with more to come.

I used to be active in the small press comics scene, and I've been doing a weekly sci-fi webcomic called Kismet since 2002 (give or take a few years' hiatus in the middle there). It's all online for free. The first book, Hunter's Moon, is archived at my website and the current book, Sun-Cutter, updates every Monday and is about 160 pages so far. (It's on Tumblr, so you can follow it there, but the nav buttons don't work on mobile. There is a partial archive at my website, along with some short side comics. These are only partly archived because my other archive site went down and I haven't gotten around to finishing getting them up at my site yet. I really should do that ....) Anyway, the Kismet comic also has a Patreon where I post sketchbook pages, development art, glimpses of upcoming stuff and so forth, and a Tumblr sideblog for similar content and page announcements, [ profile] kismetcity, which I really need to do more with.

(Kismet is what the icon on this post is from.)

So that's the pro stuff! But you're probably here for the fan stuff! My fanfic is all on AO3, except for most of the Stargate stuff from 2006-2008, which can be found on my old website and will be on AO3 ... uh ... eventually? On Tumblr, I'm [ profile] laylainalaska/[ profile] sholiofic - the first is for reblogs and gifs and general chatting with people; the second is for fic and fic announcements, where I also periodically solicit prompts for whatever fandoms I'm in at the moment. I tend to be a fannish serial monogamist - although right now, unusually for me, I seem to have two main ones, Agent Carter and The Flash (and the DC universe shows in general), and I'm still kinda dipping in and out of White Collar and a few other side fandoms. I mod [ profile] collarcorner (White Collar gen prompt community) and also run SSR Confidential, an Agent Carter fanworks exchange that will have its signups in March.

So basically what you're going to get around here is a lot of fan squee about whatever I'm into at the moment (Flash and Legends of Tomorrow come back on Tuesday, eeeeee!!), fic, and intermittent chatter about writing/comics/my life/etc. Due to current events, there may also be more politics around here than there used to be, but I'll put it behind a cut.

And that's me! It's really great seeing so much renewed activity around here, and I'm going to try to be more active on DW/LJ in 2017. (HOW IS IT 2017 ALREADY, WHAT.) I'm looking forward to chatting with you all, whether you're just stopping in or have been here for years. :D
sholio: Ana Jarvis (Avengers-Ana)
It really delighted me to come back from running errands to find that this post, which I reblogged on Tumblr to talk about my teenage celebrity-picture scrapbooks (vintage Tumblr, basically), had spawned a bunch of reblogs of people talking about doing the exact same thing. It's always nice to know you're not the only one.

Packing, packing .... I am about 95% sure that I'm not going to take my laptop to England with me. The fic I just posted, Chasing Lightning, was mostly written on my phone while I was traveling earlier in July. It was an experiment -- I bought a cheap Bluetooth keyboard (because I can't type on my phone keyboard to save my life; even my texts are picked out one key at a time) to see if I actually could use the phone as a functional laptop substitute for writing. The experiment was mostly successful. The keyboard is a little frustrating because it often fails to pick up all my keystrokes and, even more annoyingly, it'll sometimes fail to notice that a key has been released (so I have to be careful not to end up with two pages of "ddddddddd" -- or, worse, get the delete key locked down; I got in the habit of deleting blocks of text by shift-clicking to select, rather than holding the delete key, because it was so easy to try to delete a sentence and end up deleting two paragraphs instead). I also discovered by tragic accident that it is VERY easy to unrecoverably delete a file with a single tap in the Google Docs android app. Fortunately I was being incredibly paranoid, writing my fic in smaller files of about a thousand words each, AND c&p'ing that into a backup file in a different plain-text app. And my phone-written fic requires a lot more editing than my usual fic; normally I write very clean drafts, do a lot of on-the-fly editing, and don't do much more than a SPaG and continuity edit before posting. However, the combination of rampant keyboard-related typos + only being able to see one paragraph at a time on the phone screen produced a rough draft that needed a lot more cleanup than normal.

But it did work! I don't really like traveling with my laptop because it's not only large and expensive, but the consequences of losing it would be too personally devastating; even though I back up regularly, my whole life is on there. Plus, it's really amazing how much space it frees up in a carry-on if there's not a 15" Macbook stuffed in it.

In theory, I should be able to use the phone + keyboard to do everything I can normally do online (post to DW/LJ/Tumblr/etc, answer comments, and so forth). In actual practice, there may be a lot of frustrated screaming as I try. XD
sholio: Berries in the sun (Autumn-berries in sunlight)
I am temporarily sneaking onto my grandma's internet (hiding out in the bedroom XD). I drove down this weekend to have a table at Senshi-Con, Anchorage's anime con (more on that in a minute). I am staying for the next few days to help Grandma move into her new senior-facility apartment and to provide various forms of assistance for my mom in facilitating the process.

Last night I couldn't sleep for awhile and I ended up writing a long report on Senshi-Con, which I did not have Internet to post, so that follows under the cut, and then some late-fall pictures from the Fairbanks-to-Anchorage drive last Thursday.

Senshi-Con )

Denali pictures )
sholio: (Fireweed blossoms)
I love my family dearly, and truly enjoy spending time with them; however, after three weeks of travel/visiting/houseguests, I am greatly enjoying having the house to myself again. I dropped off my mom and sister at the train station early this morning, and have had a very relaxing day of writing, working in the garden, and generally enjoying peace and solitude. And now I have a glass of wine, for a mellow evening.

(Although the wildfire smoke has been absolutely miserable today. I posted this to Tumblr earlier, by way of illustrating why it feels like breathing soup out there. Smoke-flavored soup. It did clear out a bit this evening, however.)

I also have a completely frivolous poll. Crossposting polls is a pain because you have to create them in both places, and there's really no point for a silly little poll like this one, but please do feel free to let me know in the LJ comments if you like any of these, or have any suggestions. :) The thing is, I've been posting my garden pictures periodically to Facebook for a few years now, but I think it might be fun to create a garden sideblog on Tumblr so I have a proper place to put them, and if I do that, I need a name for it.

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 23

What should I call my garden blog?

View Answers

5 (22.7%)

1 (4.5%)

3 (13.6%)

4 (18.2%)

11 (50.0%)

4 (18.2%)

something else (suggest in comments)
1 (4.5%)

6 (27.3%)

Should I allow other people to contribute THEIR garden photos, if they fit the Alaska theme?

View Answers

Sure, why not?
13 (59.1%)

No, that is a terrible idea
0 (0.0%)

mmmmmmaybe ...?
9 (40.9%)

ETA: alaskangarden was suggested in the DW comments. I don't know why I didn't think of that one on my own, because I like it best so far! :)

ETA2: Also alaskangardener, which I like as well! Though it's leaning toward the long end of things.
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)
I really should not be this glad that my Saturday evening plans fell through, but this has been an exhausting week -- what with emotionally draining houseguests (my in-laws), frantically cleaning the house top-to-bottom in advance of said houseguests, trying to get the garden in, realizing last-minute that I haven't done any of this year's promotional materials for my comics class and scrambling to get all of that done before running a comics workshop on Wednesday night. And I have something scheduled tomorrow night (selling my stuff at an intermission show for a geek-themed play on campus), plus wanting to buy my bedding plants and finish getting the garden in tomorrow, so they can benefit from all this lovely, unseasonably warm sunshine we've been having ... let's just say I was NOT ready for a fun night out on Saturday. My feelings right now are considerably more oriented towards collapsing at home for a couple of days that I don't have to go anywhere.

It would have been difficult to gracefully get out of the Saturday thing if my only excuse is "I've hit my introvert social maximum for the week" -- it's a going-away party for a friend. However, she changed it last-minute from something I actually wanted to do (dinner at a nice Greek restaurant in town, followed by a bar crawl, which I was already planning to quietly beg off from), to something I really don't want to do AND have a decent excuse for not doing (a concert with a band I don't care about, that has $40 tickets). She doesn't mind me not coming and we made plans to have lunch next week instead.

Collapsing at home it is, then!

Also, once I get the garden in, my (once) frightfully intimidating May to-do list will be nearly 100% done. For the rest of the month, the only thing I really HAVE to do is to get my Kismet page buffer finished through early August (since I will be either traveling or too busy to work on it for most of June and July). And yeah, that's gonna be quite a bit of work, but it's fun work, and otherwise I can play a bit, and do art, and maybe write some fic. And figure out what my next big fiction project is going to be.
sholio: webcomic word balloon (Kismet-Frank threat)
I went to bed at a reasonable hour, like a responsible adult, and then woke up -sproing- at 2 a.m., as usually happens when I try to be responsible that way.

On the other hand, the aurora was having a gorgeous display, so I went out in the yard and watched that for awhile, enjoying the novel sensation of watching the aurora without freezing to death while doing it. We rarely get really striking auroras this late in the year -- it's already not quite getting dark at night, so the aurora glimmering above a bright horizon was really interesting and novel. Plus, at one point I saw an owl fly across it, which in all my years of aurora-watching is totally a new one for me.

And now I'm wide awake, since my body thinks I had a nice refreshing nap. So I decided screw being an adult, I'm awake anyway and I don't have to be up early in the morning, may as well have a beer.

I went ahead and updated Sun-Cutter since I'm awake anyway. This particular update is a meet-cute between two characters whose first meeting I've had in mind for close to 15 years, but I never did it as a side story because I never really had a plot for the rest of it. Eventually I realized it would work fine as a flashback, since most of the rest of their story is in flashbacks anyway. And I got to play with a limited color palette for this, which is fun. (Next week, things go off the rails, as usual.)

I think I should probably spend the upcoming week doing mostly Kismet. My comfortable page buffer has been nibbled away to a little over a month, and summers are always very busy for me, so I'd like to get all the pages done through early fall in the next few weeks.

I also want to start doing more Kismet stuff on Tumblr, but I'm completely drawing a blank on, like ... what to do? Because most of Kismet these days is either working on pages, or it's mental plot noodling that exists entirely in my head. There used to be a time when I wrote a ton of Kismet snippets outside the main continuity, and sketched a bunch (well, I still do that, but it's mostly working out costume designs for upcoming characters and other spoilery stuff), and made gifs and cartoons and so forth. I feel like I should start playing with it more again. I'm having trouble even figuring out where to start with that, though.

Maybe if I set a goal of starting on May 1 (that's a nice day for starting a new venture - Beltane!) and posting one new Kismet thing per day on Tumblr. That might work. And it'll give me some time to work on stuff. I kinda just want to get the word out about the comic a little bit more, because it has a loyal audience, but a very small audience, and I think there are probably more people out there who'd like it if they knew about it! But there is just so much of it, about 500 pages so far. And that's a significant chunk of comic if you are just checking out something new. I think maybe it's easier to entice a new audience for a webcomic if it's brand new and there isn't much of a time commitment. (On the other hand ... Exhibit A: Homestuck.)

In genuinely unrelated news, I really, really wish the AO3 had a blacklist function. It would make certain fandoms 1000% more fun.
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)
I've been traveling - visiting family - but now I am back, curled up in my favorite chair with my computer and a glass of wine. And I have a story to tell you, the latest installment in the ongoing saga of one woman's failure to understand how doorknobs work.

I have this habit, apparently, of locking myself out of places. Cars. Hotel rooms. Houses. I did it so many times in our current house that we ended up changing the locks, because we used to have the kind where the doorknob can still turn on the inside if it's locked on the outside, and that was ... bad. My most spectacular door failure so far was probably locking myself out of my sister's house wearing nothing but my nightgown when it was 30F and she was working an overnight shift. (After numerous attempts to break into her house using improvised tools, I ended up getting into her unheated basement -- which has an outside entrance, one of those old cellar-type trapdoors like in The Wizard of Oz, but no way into the house -- and huddling under a pile of craft supplies until morning, while trying not to think about black widow spiders.)

At least this time I was indoors. )
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)
It's interesting to me what's fun for different people. Like ... today, I wrote for a few hours in the morning, and then I've spent the last 10 hours or so buried in InDesign (with occasional detours over to Photoshop), first working on a freelance project I'm actually getting paid for, then working on getting Freebird reformatted for a digital edition. It's immensely fun to me. I don't mind that I spent 15 hours in front of the computer today. I don't really want to stop. However, I can imagine this being absolute boring hell for some people. (I haven't spoken to a single other human being besides Orion. I did take a walk with the dog and made from-scratch beef stew, though!)

On a completely different topic, I'm reading a book called The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England, which is a lot of fun, but I was going through the chapter on city life, which was discussing fraud and shoddy business practices in city markets (spoiled grain concealed by handfuls of fresh grain, fraudulent measuring tools, iron baked into loaves of bread to increase its weight, etc) and the merchant guilds' policing of such things .... which obviously sent my brain straight to Peter Burke, Medieval Market Fraud Inspector. PLEASE, someone tell me I'm much too busy to write this.
sholio: brightly colored Christmas cookies (Christmas cookies red-green)
The last few days I've been hip-deep in novel revisions and it's completely exhausting the verbal part of my brain, to the point where I can't even scrape together enough brain cells to answer comments, let alone to post anything. I decided to take today (mostly) off and work on a few smaller things that have been getting shoved to the back burner. The fact that this frees up brain processing cycles for dinking around on social media is a nice bonus. :D

... also, tonight is the series finale of White Collar. Being the enormous dork that I am, I've obtained a bottle of pretty decent wine so that I can have either an Irish wake or a pity/rage party, depending on how the finale goes. (I am not at all spoiled for it and haven't watched any trailers/clips; DO NOT SPOIL ME PLEASE.)

Books - I meant to do a reading post yesterday for the reading-on-Wednesday meme, but, uh, see above re: lack of functional brain cells. I've actually been reading quite a bit because the only way to make my brain kick out of editing mode in the evening so that I can fall asleep is to get away from the computer and lose myself in a book. Most recently I've read:

Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood - the first of the Phryne Fisher historical mystery novels, which I've heard people on my flist talk about! This one's been sitting on my Kindle for awhile because I downloaded it during a time when it was being offered as a freebie, and I finally got around to reading it. It was a lot of fun, with engaging characters and a witty, playful narrative voice; I can see why people like them! Sadly it looks like the entire rest of the series is checked out of the library right now, so I'll simply have to pounce on them when they come back in.

The Martian by Andy Weir - This book was SO GOOD, you guys! I absolutely adore "problem-solving" SF -- it's one of the things I love most in the genre, really. A lot of sci-fi (and other kinds of fiction too - wilderness-survival fiction, especially, which this also is) follows the general formula: "You have a problem. You have some random items. Now come up with a clever way of solving your problem." I EAT THIS STUFF UP WITH A SPOON. And this book is 300 pages of it. It's also solidly researched hard SF, which I also adore as long as the technical side doesn't overwhelm the human side, and I never felt like this did.
sholio: Berries in the sun (Autumn-berries in sunlight)
Boston was really fabulous, and sorely needed. It was so wonderful to get to hang out with friends I haven't seen in years -- and some I saw just last month! -- and meet new people like [ profile] _leareth. [personal profile] naye and [personal profile] doctorskuld had a gorgeous, low-key wedding, with the two most beautiful brides ever.

I'll continue to be somewhat scarce online 'til the end of the month, but I'm still having a lot of fun with the DVD commentary meme, so feel free to ask me about any scene from one of my fics -- even if you've already asked! Go to the meme post to ask (or I'm also open for questions on Tumblr). I'll post another masterlist of the answers in a few days, since I did get another couple of questions recently.
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)
I'm home right now, for two days, because I have some specific business/household things I need to get done, and then on Friday morning I'll turn around and drive 300 miles back downstate. But tonight I'm home and in a state of relieved collapse and also "Yay, Internet!"

Brief explanation of what's going on with me right now: my grandmother had a major health-related disaster at the end of August, and she currently requires round-the-clock care, so my mom and I are taking care of her. It's not the first time she's needed it, and not the first time we've done it; my mom is very close to her, and I am the only one of my mom's kids who isn't 4000 miles away -- plus I have no kids of my own and am self-employed, so I can put my life on hold and drive across the state much more easily than any of my cousins or my aunt, who all have families/jobs/etc.

At least we are able to caretake her in her home now, so we're no longer having to overnight at the hospital. That was remarkably miserable all around. When I get back, my mom will be flying back to her home for awhile to take care of her stuff, and then we'll trade off again.

However, my grandma's place doesn't have wireless, which means I'm stuck snatching little bits of coffee-shop Internet when I can arrange for some time out of the house. This means I'll be scarce online for the next .... well, until the end of October, really, because once I get back home next time, I'll be turning around in a few days and heading out of state on a vacation for which the tickets are already purchased. I suspect I am really going to need it by then.

ETA: I think this post may have come out sounding whinier than I actually feel. I mean, yes, it's not how I planned to spend my September, but it's the kind of thing that you do when it needs doing. Right now I am in a sort of sudden-absence-of-stress brain-drop state -- general relief at the peace and solitude (hello, introvert) mingled with a lot of staring at walls and difficulty forming coherent sentences. Possibly an early bedtime is advisable.
sholio: Hand outlines on a cave wall (Cave painting-Hands)
I'm trying something new with my sketchbook. One of the big reasons why I've never been terribly successful at keeping an actual sketchbook (as opposed to drawing on loose sheets of paper) is because I feel terribly inhibited about what I draw. Rational or not, I feel like my sketchbook drawings should be good, or at least suitable for public consumption, because other people might look at them (and if you're sketching in public, people do totally look over your shoulder; also, friends like to flip through each other's sketchbooks, etc). I feel kind of weird doing a nice artistic drawing of a flower and then having the thing right before that be an entire page of superhero legs.

... so I'm flipping it. The front direction is my "public" sketchbook: flowers, seashells, trees, etc. Then, flip, and the other direction is for experimental stuff, fanart, copying random bits of other people's art, badly drawn stick figures on which to drape Kismet costume designs, pages of experimental eyeballs, etc. Not that I would never ever show anyone the back half, but it'll at least save me from having to show it to curious grandmothers when I'm sketching in public.

I'm not sure if this will work, but I've tried having separate sketchbooks for different subjects and that doesn't really work either - it just results in even more mostly-empty sketchbooks with a few drawings in the beginning. So we'll see how this goes.

In other (comics-fandom) news, I have a brand new tentative prediction for Age of Ultron -- not based on any particular spoilers, just speculation due to the comics and various actors' general caginess about what happens to their characters in the future.

Not actually spoilery, except somewhat for the comics )
sholio: Hand outlines on a cave wall (Cave painting-Hands)
I ran across a sad post on tumblr today bemoaning how much harder it is to be a fanfic writer than a fanartist, because fanfic writers get so much less feedback and respect - everyone reblogs fanart, hardly anyone reblogs fic ...

/cries because I am OLD

Speaking of being old, it's absolutely fascinating to me to be drawing enough lately to become aware how much my drawing skills have atrophied over the last few years. It's not that I can't draw at all, it's just that it's a lot harder than it ought to be. There's a much bigger gulf between what I see in my head and what comes out of the pencil. Anatomy is hard in particular; the graceful drawings in my head, with their sense of chunkiness and mass, come out stilted, awkward and flat. I think that the drawing I did the other day of the Avengers characters + sunbeam is the closest that I've come in ages to getting my head-picture to match up with what my hands were capable of, and even there, the perspective is off ...

But I guess it makes sense when I think about how much I used to draw. From my teenage years up to late 20s, I was always drawing. I filled up sketchbooks while I was in college; I drew on scraps of paper, post-it notes at work, the edges of envelopes. I copied other people's art, drew my own characters, did fanart, basically just drew and drew and drew.

I don't remember when that obsessive level of drawing stopped, or why. I think it had something to do with moving back to Alaska in 2004 and not really being around other (comic) artists much -- not in the way I had been, where I was going to conventions regularly and sketching with other people on a semi-regular basis. I think that was also about the time I started writing A LOT, and while I've always done both, it seems that activating my prose-brain to that extent went partway toward shutting off my drawing-brain.

.... anyway, it's been probably 7 or 8 years since I've drawn a lot, and probably 4 or 5 years since I've drawn more than every once in a while. For a long time, I really didn't WANT to draw. Being back into comics seems to have gotten me drawing on a more regular basis, and I'm trying to keep a sketchbook -- I've never really done sketchbooks since college (and mostly then, it was only because I had to for a lot of my art classes, so I got in the habit and/or ended up with class sketchbooks that were half full, so I needed to fill them). I am DROWNING in sketchbooks because of people either giving them to me, or buying them and putting 3 drawings in them and then not filling it. (Is this something that other people do? Do most artists have dozens of blank or partly-used sketchbooks hanging around on their shelves?)

I want to try to start drawing every day again, even if it's only something small. It feels like reconnecting with a part of myself that I've been out of touch with for a while. I'd almost forgotten what it felt like to really enjoy making art for its own sake, not just as a means to an end.
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)
I'm leaving tomorrow (well, as it's past midnight, technically today) for most of a week with my in-laws in Florida, so my slow and erratic responses to comments and whatnot will be even MORE slow and erratic than usual. I'll see if I can manage to avoid almost drowning this time. Wish me luck.

I was thinking today about writing in different fandoms, and how the exact nature of the source canon brings out different things in my writing. It's not just fanfic -- I write a little differently on different original projects, too, but I think that with fanfic the process is a little more ... obvious? Transparent? Because it's not a matter of thinking "Oh, this is YA, so I shouldn't [xyz]" -- trying to tailor a project for a particular market or rating, or just being subconsciously constrained by having decided "this short story is urban fantasy", for example. There are no market considerations at all with fanfic, it's entirely a function of what the source material makes me want to write, and that's what makes it so interesting.

The specific example I was thinking about today has to do with characters swearing. When I was writing White Collar fanfic, I tended to shy away from using profanity, for the most part. It just didn't feel right. Whereas for the MCU characters, even though the actual source material is just about as PG-rated as White Collar, it doesn't sound right if I don't -- especially for military or ex-military characters like Sam or Bucky. This makes a little more sense when it's a matter of consciously reflecting how they talk in canon, but in this case it isn't, really -- they don't swear all that much in canon, either. But that's how their character-voices sound in my head. Whereas if I were writing, say, Peter from White Collar, I don't think I'd have him swear (much) except in really desperate circumstances, as opposed to Sam who I think probably tosses around words like "shit" in his inner dialogue all the time.
sholio: (Egypt-Sombrero)
Tonight I'm working on migrating from my old laptop to the "new" one (actually it was a Christmas present a year ago, which indicates how much trouble I'm having prying myself out of the old one). Fleetwood MacBook was purchased in 2008 and is still a surprisingly functional little computer despite seeing heavy usage and being toted all over the country with me; it tends to overheat on video and graphics now, but it's still a great little writing machine and I expect I'll keep using it as a travel machine even now that I'm moving to a computer that can actually run InDesign and Photoshop at the same time without choking.

Fleetwood MacBook was never supposed to be my main computer at all, but ended up being drafted from my travel computer to my main/only one when my iMac suffered a sudden catastrophic death in approximately 2010. And it's computered up beautifully, I have to say. *pats it*

While I was copying stuff and trying to remember my passwords tonight, I started feeling nostalgic about Computers I Have Known and decided to write it all down for posterity.

Cut for length )
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)
• I finished my [ profile] wcpairings fic! Well, the rough draft anyway. And my beta likes it. \o/ So I just need to do a bit of polishing and then it'll be ready for its go-live date.

• That SF/mystery book that I was complaining about kinda falls apart towards the end, plot-wise. Mild spoilers )

• It is FINALLY WARM. Words cannot express how wonderful it feels, after the Winter That Would Not Die. It was 73F today, and the trees around town are starting to flush faintly green (though everything is still set on its default brown shade around our yard). Of course, all of this is happening just in time for me to leave ... for someplace ludicrously hot. I'm spending a few days in Florida to see family there. And yes, this is a silly time to go to Florida, but it happened that my husband was going to be there for business anyway, so we're combining it with a family trip. So I expect I'll be even scarcer around LJ/DW for a few days than I have been lately.

• I got my hair cut and dyed a very fetching shade of purplish red. It's a pixie cut, much shorter than my norm, and I think I actually look better with longer hair, but I do like the cut and I also like being a redhead. (I went red last summer, too, and liked it a lot.) The only downside is that hair dye is super painful. Is it like that for everyone? If so, I have all the respect in the world for people who dye their hair a lot, because seriously, OW. It's sort of like having your head set on fire, and I can't bring myself to do it terribly often (plus I suspect it's probably not very healthy). It looks great, though!

• Last but definitely not least, [personal profile] frith_in_thorns made me a thing. And it is AWESOME. She knitted me a pair of Voracious Gloves from Fallen London, with teeth and eyes! All my pictures of them basically suck, but you can get an idea here:

Picture under cut )

So yeah, my ridiculous picture doesn't do it justice because you can't see anything, but basically these gloves are THE BEST, and Frith is the best to make them for me. ♥
sholio: Ice-covered berries (Winter-icy berries)
Yesterday I went for a long walk on the creek in the spring sunshine. (The fact that you can still walk easily and safely on the creek ice is one of the many symptoms that we're stuck in Narnia this year: always winter, never Christmas!) Along the way I heard a birdsong I've never heard before, which made me pause to try to figure out what was making it -- I'm always interested in seeing something new. And it was a really odd song, a cheerful twitter that would occasionally shift to a low raspy tone. Eventually I located the culprit, a northern shrike perched in the top of an aspen on the bank. (Here is a singing shrike - it shifts to the raspy note at about 0:39.) I was ridiculously excited about this, since I knew that shrikes are all over Alaska but I'm not sure if I've ever actually seen one, and definitely not here.

So I had to share this exciting discovery when I got home.

Me: I saw a shrike today!
Husband: What's a shrike?

I was prepared for this, so I launched into an explanation.

Me: It's a small predatory bird, about the size of a jay -- here, I can get the birdbook and show you a picture --
Him: Could you be a little less specific? Okay, it's a bird. Got it.

Undaunted, I showed him the picture in the book.

Him: Okay, so it's a gray bird.
Me: ... yes, it's a gray bird.

He finds my fascination with plants and animals completely baffling, because to him there are few things less interesting than identifying songbirds by sound or figuring out the finer points of distinction between willows and alders. (But it's fun!)

On a completely different subject, I cannot get over how strange and wrong it feels to reblog uncut spoiler posts about the new Iron Man movie on Tumblr. I know it's how things work over there and people filter things via tags, but it feels like the worst kind of fannish etiquette failure to me. (If you want to follow me there, my tumblr is icefallstudio. The original idea when I created it a year or so ago was that I'd post my art there, but that hasn't really happened - although it may eventually! - so at the moment I'm just using it for reblogging IM3 squeeflail.)
sholio: Ice-covered berries (Winter-icy berries)
[community profile] fandom_stocking was fantastic for me this year. ♥ I think it's the best year I've had, actually. I hadn't realized until I went back and looked at my one other really prolific year (2011) but I wrote more this year than I ever have, and my stocking was stuffed to the brim with lovely things, from season's greetings to beautiful winter icons *points to icon*, fic recs and pictures including a gorgeous Peter & Neal picspam, and so much wonderful fiiiiiiic! I loved every last fic that I received. Thank you so much to everyone who made me something. You made this cold January week very bright indeed. ♥ ♥ ♥

In general, I'm doing well at my resolution to be more productive and start breaking the downward spiral that I'd found myself in at the end of December. More nattering about Operation Be Less Depressed in 2013 - not really triggery, just navel-gazing )

I'm also a lot more actively fannish. It really does all tie together. Happiness in one area of my life spills over into another. I'm more resilient and cheerful, and falling back into love with my shows. (Once Upon a Time is back! ♥) Life seems to be on an upbeat these days.

I'm still not getting up early or getting enough exercise, but you can't do everything at once. *g*
sholio: cup of cocoa with a swirl of whipped cream on top (Autumn-cocoa)


(Though based on some of the things I've seen just driving around Fairbanks, I suspect with adequate camera coverage you could make one for the US that is at least as bad. Probably with more cops, however ....)

In other news, we bought FURNITURE. Like grown-ups. We're 36, have been married for 12 years, and have never actually just gone out and bought a piece of new furniture, as opposed to acquiring things from garage sales and occasionally the dump (well, plus a couple of nice pieces that The Husband made during one of the periods he went on a woodworking kick). So last week we went to a furniture store and bought a pair of nice recliners, an end table and a cool table-thing with a bunch of drawers in it (which there is probably a technical term for, but I don't know it). They were delivered today and I'm all ecstatic over my shiny new living room. It doesn't look that great, since I still have the interior decorating sense of a hamster, but at least it has comfortable places to sit that are not covered with cat hair.*

*The cat is attempting to remedy this situation even as I type.


sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)

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