scribal_goddess: (scribbles)
Somehow I got into the habit of doing these things, but today I feel quite lazy.

Last Year's highlights:
January: I put out one chapter (yes, I know... all the blame is mine,) of The Elven Heritage Legacy last year. For those of you who showed up to the journal at some point since last January, The Elven Heritage Legacy is a serial Sims 2 machinomic in a Legacy format, wherein we follow the descendants of a single family... or in this case, because I hate following the rules, four families of Elves who have emigrated from the vaguely medival-ish world of Elphemera to areas in and surrounding the modern, mildly rural community of Riverblossom Hills.

Since I have no clue when I started the EHL anymore (I think it was some time in the summer of 2010 or even earlier... my notes say that the first post was in late August of 2009,) I'm counting this year as the official fifth year of my legacy. New readers be warned - I didn't take the first five or so chapters seriously beyond editing for grammar and consistency. The quality has increased exponentially since then, so it might be best to hop in at The Three Musketeers part two or three. Or if you want the quick version, start with Memoria. Either way, the EHL is by no means required reading, and definitely not dead, despite my extremely awful updating schedule. The next chapter, Sophomoric, will be chapter twelve on my official counter and out soonish. Emphasis on the ish.

June: I went to Israel. I also dug up some stuff. I saw every single Corinthian column in the country, it seems like. I then came home and spent the rest of the summer working on the Thesis which shall not be named, which went badly enough that I had to start over.

August - December: I worked on Thesis, take two. I also researched and wrote Poor Unfortunate Souls, the forty-thousand-odd word novella length spitefic that was born after I got so mad that Fifty Shades of Grey existed that I decided to research the crimes that were actually committed in the book and end it as civilization, human decency, and common sense intended: with Christian Grey's arrest. The fic was primarily intended for members of [ profile] das_sporking, and anyone else who likes mysteries, hates Fifty Shades, or blunders by my journal. As of the new year, I'm cross-posting what chapters I haven't already shamelessly promoted to [ profile] twispitefic.

Longtime browsers over here might sort of recognize the two detectives starring in Poor Unfortunate Souls, probably from snippets of my past attempts at Nanowrimo. Allie Veldon, mage (not wizard or magician, thank you!) and Lindsay Pilot, detective, are in fact part of their own original series, which brings us to my plans for 2014: I'm having a go at writing their first novel, Switchpoint, during spring semester. So I'll probably babble about that at some point without giving you guys anything much to read for it, as I intend at some point to try and get them published. :D

New Year's Resolutions:

1) Finish Thesis and then forget it ever happened. I have to defend the sucker in March. After March, assuming I pass, I can cheerfully kick the monstrosity to the curb, secure in the knowledge that I will never have to do it again and that I hate academia anyway.

2) Graduate. I've been at my college four years - longer than I've known most people who actually come to this blog. While I'm terrified to leave, it's high time for me to go, and Roommate has already expressed her desire to move to the city with me, where we will hopefully have accomplished resolution 3.

3) Get a Job. I'm looking at a lot of chemistry/practical microbiology/water and food safety type of jobs for now. I've been told conflicting things about the job market. I keep hearing of places that supposedly will hire graduates right out of school  because they're so focused that they don't care if you have higher education, they'd have to train you on their instruments regardless of how many degrees you have.

The dream job is one at the state water and food safety lab. The c-string backup option is water management... for those of you not in the know, that's often water reclamation, as in purification of wastewater.


4) Move out. Insofar as I live anywhere, since I am a college gypsy, I live above my parents' garage in a room stacked full of boxes, because the damn things follow me from school to home like needy puppies. Assuming I get a job, somewhere, I'd prefer my own place by this time next year, and I'm sure my parents would prefer it too. (I know this because my mother keeps giving me secondhand furniture and dishes.) I'd prefer to get it with Roommate, and potentially some of the other girls from college, but that all depends on who gets jobs and grad schools where. We've located a suitable rental as a best-case-scenario, and for me the worst case scenario continues to be waking up whenever the garage door opens or closes.

5) Write Switchpoint. It's high time for me to finish something geared towards actual publication. I've had Allie and Lindsay as characters for nearly the same amount of time that I've had everyone from the Elven Heritage Legacy. This won't be appearing on Live Journal (undoubtedly, yelling about the research process will, because there's always something you haven't yet researched,) but it's a major goal nonetheless. I've been writing more or less continuously since I was seven, and though college has done it's best to throw a monkey wrench into that fifteen-year streak, I think I've done my ten thousand words by now.

Switchpoint is a dieselpunk science-fantasy mystery (with a cherry on top) involving smuggling, the mob, sarcastic detectives, take-no-shit police officers, a railway timetable (or several), magic, and lots and lots of trains. You will not believe how many trains there are.

6) Put out the yearly two chapters of The Elven Heritage Legacy. In theory, doing this will keep me more or less sane through research, job hunting, graduation, and the mysterious world of actual adulthood.
scribal_goddess: (scribbles)
So, for Christmas I got Judgement at Proteus, the very last of Timothy Zahn's Quadrail series. I... well, I actually can't tell you much about the plot without spoiling at least book one. I've been following the series since about '08 or so: waiting for installments is actually the reason I've read so much of Zahn's other stuff. (Icarus Hunt is a particular favorite, but for people who prefer urban science-fantasy to space travel, The Green and The Grey is pretty darn awesome.)

In a nutshell, half of the reason that you should read the Quadrail series is that if you like thrillers, mysteries, noir, or sci-fi in any capacity, you won't be disappointed. (Unless you really wanted Firefly. It's not Firefly. Nobody gets a ship. Actually, it has space trains. I kid you not, there are trains in space, and it's not as ridiculous as I'm making it sound.) It's got a great thriller/detective noir protagonist in Frank Compton, the man who always has a plan, plenty of memorable allies, old contacts, and antagonists, lots of yummy worldbuilding, and fight scenes. If you want a protagonist who uses their brain in fight scenes, go for Zahn - but if you want fight scenes that go on despite the best efforts of a hypertechnical alien equivalent to the TSA at their most prodding, make sure you stop on the Quadrail. Oh, and there's Bayta, whose presence throughout the series was amazing and very, very ship worthy. She's awesome, and her partnership with Frank was highly refreshing - when they get around to the respect and trust bit, they complement each other perfectly.

Oh, and whenever you think a book is over, you get to check the page count and realize that you've been had - there's more going on! Half the fun is trying to pick up on everything when Compton does, rather than when he lets on what he's learned. Which could be several books down the line. Zahn pulls the unreliable first person narrator in a lot of books, but the Quadrail series turns it up to eleven.

Plus, there's five books at three hundred odd pages apiece - they can be picked up in a small bundle and then read at any speed. :D
scribal_goddess: (scribbles)
So, guess what's not done?
... Yeah. There will be no Poor Unfortunate Souls update this week, because I only have the time to edit one thing. We're on page 16 of 20 right now. It's not of a chapter. I shouldn't even be posting here, but my eyes are sliding off citations like otters off a rock. And I could have avoided putting it off until Thanksgiving Break, and my inevitable psychological explosion, if only my professors had understood the dangers of assigning term papers to seniors!

I'm also headed down to Chicago with the rents and the canine unit on Wednesday, to pick up my little brother, who doesn't have term papers or thesis at this point, as he is a freshman. Then, it's over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother's house in the snow, and my 10 bajillion cousins and keeping Grandpa from disassembling anything important. Fortunately, I can type while I grandparent sit, and I've set my computer to lock when I shut the lid, so the tykes can't play with it. Not that they won't want to play anyway, but that is officially the job of the Fraternal Unit. If you see me on here at any point in the next six days, yell at me.

Edit, as of Tuesday: Yeah, Yeah I know. Don't bother yelling, I'll be gone in a minute after comments, because guys, I am so bored. I'm set-fire-to-random-things bored. One semester is far too long to spend on one paper subject, especially when you can't even do the damn experiment yet! And, fool that I am, I agreed to spend most of J-term sorting dirt and finishing writing this thing. The previous few weeks I could at least do my other homework, but I'm editing now and it's not even interesting. (The fact that I'm alone at home with a dog and snow and it's fucking November probably doesn't help. I managed to get some stuff done yesterday, but at this point, the 17 page monstrosity is only making me depressed and restless. [Yeah, I tried walking the dog - made me feel better, didn't get any thesis done, back to square one.] Why oh why don't we write  monographs any more? For one thing, they're shorter.)

All that and I only have one more page done. One. Somebody kidnap me to go hunt down Atlantis or something so that I don't have to deal with this crap.

Long story short: go straight to last-minute research for supporting details. Do not pass go. Do not collect $1,000.

Americans: Happy Turkey Day/Football Extravaganza/Extended Family Awareness Day.
Students: Happy Drink 'till you forget about Thesis Defense. My life, where did it go?
Everybody not in those two categories: Have some chocolate, and pray for my soul.
scribal_goddess: (scribbles)
I really should be working on Thesis or Poor Unfortunate Souls, but... it's been so long since I've played "Spot the Fallacy." So you get an educated rant/freeform essay/rebuttal.

Sexism and Wish-Fulfillment:

I found this quoted recently.

"A smoking .45 and six corpses at his feet is a male fantasy. A woman will settle for one live hero at hers.

I’m sorry, but no.
I read that on a usually intelligent, pro-feminist blog. Granted, it was:

1. A quote from elsewhere, specifically a piece by Daphne Clair in Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women.

2. An interview on a blog about good and bad romance novels, and they were using it in context as a way to explain why so many romance novels and romantic plotlines feature “bad boys,” or at least a subplot of a man finally “settling down” with a woman, treated as a contest between the genders wherein the woman ‘wins’ by causing the man to realize that he wants monogamy with her.

3. Otherwise a pretty good interview that can be accessed here. (It’s about the prevalence of virgin heroines in romance, and hits both the “lazy writing” and “society’s fetishization of good sex as the only indicator of a truly worthwhile romantic relationship” angles.(1))

It still strikes me as a mode of thought that needs correcting, since assigning gender to wish fulfillment or escapism in literature is a generalization wrapped in a stereotype stuffed in a fallacy.

The first point is that this false dichotomy is traditionally heteronormative to the point of being a caricature, along the lines of “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.” I’m not even going to go into gender identity here – I’m not qualified to do a deep analysis – but the primary fallacy of categorizing broad swathes of the population and saying that they all want the same thing. There are plenty of people, including men, who don’t necessarily like James Bond type violent thrillers, and women who don’t like romance novels. The assumption here seems to be that people’s literary tastes are primarily influenced by their gender above all else, and that women’s reading in particular is mostly influenced by their (presumably hetero) sexuality. The idea that it paints the typical male reader as stereotypically bloodthirsty and violent, at least in his paperback wish-fulfillment fantasies, is just as bad, but I’ll save that for later in my rant. What about people who *gasp* don’t give a damn about sex, a relationship (or monogamy), or “taming” anyone? Granted, you could say that those people are in the minority and don’t fit the standard romance novel demographic, given that they’re not all heterosexual middle class females with somewhat sheltered upbringings and romantic aspirations, so romance novelists and those discussing romance novels can safely ignore them. That seems a bit exclusionary to me, because it should be pretty clear to anyone connected with reading, writing, media or fandom that people don’t have to be able to project their whole selves into a character to enjoy them. Plus, what people want for their favorite characters isn’t necessarily what they want for themselves.

Secondly, I’d like to point out the huge popularity of action-oriented fandoms among the female population. Works like Lord of the Rings and Star Trek and Sherlock, starring primarily male main characters(2), varying degrees of sausagefest-ness in their supporting roles, and plotlines that feature fighting, exploration, and crime, have plenty of fangirls. In fact, fanfiction for all of the above is overwhelmingly written by girls and women. And while there is a lot of shipping going on in this fanfiction, there’s also a lot of the original action and adventure premises. In fact, since very few shipping fics that don’t exist solely to have two characters do the deed can avoid including these elements, I’d say that there’s an overwhelming presence of action and adventure plotlines. Female authors writing about female characters and focusing on adventure, exploration, intrigue, and action are also very common – see any of Tamora Pierce’s books, approximately half the works of Diana Wynne Jones, and Anne Mc. Caffery’s works outside of Pern. Check out Ursula K. Le Guin’s more recent books, especially the Gifted universe, or Madeline L’Engle’s heroines, for whom coming unstuck in time, or rescuing their family members from diabolically conformist planets most definitely does not take a backseat to romance.

Making the same point, but in reverse, how many male authors have written romantic plotlines as significant chunks of their series? Taking the examples above, J.R.R. Tolkien may not have written much romance into the final draft of Lord of the Rings, given that the only romance that we witness during the plot is that of Eowyn and Faramir, but had romances – Beren and Luthien, Elwing and  Eärendil the Mariner, Arwen and Aragorn – play an enormous role in the backstory and future of his world. As far as Star Trek goes, how many points during the original series alone were potential or past love interests brought in for Kirk, Spock, or McCoy? Sherlock, being an adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, which contains one of the few authorially confirmed asexual characters in literature, is also a little bit low on main character romance, unless you happen to ship Sherlock and John. Still, several attempts are made by Moffat and Gatiss to bring in competent female characters as love interests: Molly Hooper and Sarah Sawyer stand out, though John’s string of easily-dismissed temporary girlfriends serve very little narrative function except to show the passing of time. The third season will supposedly see John married, as he was in the original stories, to Mary Morstan. And there are plenty more male authors who devote a significant amount of their male protagonists’ time to romance, successful or not. Poe is perhaps the most famous for his protagonists’ borderline obsession with the women in their lives: read Ligea, Annabel Lee, Berenice, Eleonora… anything he wrote that’s named after a woman, actually. Alexandre Dumas had romance at the heart of his “historical romances,” relying on it to provide motivation for his protagonists and pathos to their opponents. D.J. Mac Hale, Timothy Zahn, and Jim Butcher all have significant romantic plotlines in their series, and they all take care to have their female characters competent and plot-relavant.

Thirdly, I’ll put the final nail in the coffin, by listing the fondest wishes of some major characters which directly contradict the false dichotomy that female fantasies are romantic or domestic, while male fantasies are adventurous or full of action. Please note that some of these are not the case for the whole plotline, but they’re significantly large chunks.

Keladry Mindelan, from Tamora Pierce’s Tortall Universe: Become the kingdom’s second-ever lady knight. (Alanna of Trebond also counts: she wanted to be a knight, but had to pretend to be a boy throughout her training to get there.)
Vierran, House of Guaranty, from Diana Wynne Jone’s Hexwood, itself a mind-screw wrapped in an unreliable narrator wrapped in a double take: Bring down the corrupt Reigners. Preferably while not getting herself or anyone she knows killed.
Michael Carpenter, from Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: To be able to spend more time with his (enormous) family, hopefully in a world where it’s safe enough for him to do so. Granted, he’s a supporting character, but a very major one.
D’Artagnan, from Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers: He has three major goals throughout the book. The first is to become one of his majesty’s musketeers, the second is to chivalrously protect his queen’s reputation, the third is to woo and later rescue his lady love.

You don’t even have to write characters of your own gender to get it:

Eowyn of Rohan, J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings: Defend her country. It’s seriously that simple – attack Rohan and you’d better believe this lady will be riding to slay you.
Peeta, from Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games: Although he’s got a pretty general goal shared by all the tributes (don’t die,) he spends a huge portion of the book being crazy about Katniss, and it’s largely due to that that he can’t accept the idea that she might die in the arena.(3)

In conclusion, I think we can safely throw out the idea that a particular genere or theme inherently appeals to a specific gender. Fiction is meant to be inclusive and, above all, entertaining: if your readers care about the characters and the world you present, they should be pleased to read more whether you send everyone out to sabotage the evil empire or whether you finally get those two characters – you know which ones, don’t play dumb – together. Including action shouldn’t be done halfassedly in order to “widen the fanbase” and neither should adding an irrelevant romance.

(1) I’ll save this – and the rest of the interview - for another rant later. Suffice it to say that I found this a very interesting interview in multiple ways, though I have more rant fuel for later with this quote:

[on virgin heroines] “There are a lot in categories in particular that annoy the shit out of me: usually the ones that have reached the age of 25 or whatever without ever once experiencing the least flutter of sexual desire. It's not so much because I find them unbelievable as immature - are they really in a position to engage in this intense committed long term relationship?

The Interviewee is clearly falsely conflating emotional maturity with sexual desire, as if one cannot be had without the other. While at least one person has acknowledged that romance doesn’t work if both partners aren’t mature enough for the relationship, which is a real problem in romances that I’ve seen, the rest of the quote shows a lack of awareness.

(2) Yes, I know about later seasons of Star Trek featuring significantly more recurring  female characters than the original series, but the fact stands that the most recent non-reboot series, Enterprise, still featured a 70% male bridge crew, wherein females received exactly the same percentage of representation as nonhumans. Janeway’s bridge crew likewise had only three female members at any given time, giving them a 66.6(repeating)% male presence, which ties with Voyager as having the highest female presence in the bridge crew in the whole franchise.  At any given time, at least one of the females on a Star Trek bridge crew, assuming that there are more than one, will be a twofer demographic: female and some species of alien, cyborg, empath, etc.

(3) No, I haven’t read the second or third book of The Hunger Games. I haven’t seen any movies either. I liked the first one okay, but I’m not a major fan of extremely obvious and absurdly powerful dystopian societies in my literature, so I never looked for the next few. In case you were wondering, I didn't finish 1984 either.

TL;DR – Don’t make gender-based generalizations on the internet. Somebody like me might find them and use you as an example. 
scribal_goddess: (scribbles)
Hi human beings! This is a post that isn't about things I wrote or thinly disguised whining about my academic life.

As several of you are aware, I'm asexual.

The brief description: I personally am not interested. In sex. With anyone. Ever.

This makes me Asexual.

There are also Aromantics. These people do not wish to have a romantic relationship with people - unlike me, they might actually want sex, but there are to be absolutely no sappy candy hearts and flowers. Or you get the kind of aromantic who kind of wishes that they could have sappy candy hearts and flowers, but never seems to find anyone in particular that they want them with.

The long description: When everybody else was busy having puberty, I was busy reading mystery novels. (That's not to say I didn't do puberty - the fact that I have boobs and hips and my own razor kind of says that biology happened. And hormones - I certainly had the zits to prove it. It's not that managed to ignore puberty, because most of the time I <i>really</i> wished I could, but when everybody else was discovering that they really had the hots for people, and daydreaming about kissing... I think it would have to have been Johnny Depp or Orlando Bloom at that point... I was busy. I wrote fantasy novels I never finished, learned chemistry, and wrote in codes. Kissing was something that happened to other people, with other people. I was busy binge-reading the entire collection of Sherlock Holmes stories and crying over the fact that Watson never seemed to be able to keep Sherlock away from the cocaine that probably cut his retired years quite a bit shorter than they needed to be. And what was poor Watson to do with all the untended bees when the inevitable occurred?

Of course, <i>during</i> puberty I was pretty sure I'd hit the phase where I'd start really having crushes and becoming a twitterpated fool like all my classmates in a year... or two years... or the year after that... by the time I was a Junior, certainly... when I met people in college who I would probably be more attracted to since I hadn't known them since they were little snotrags stomping on worms who I kicked in the shins because worms deserve to live too...

Eventually? I was pretty sure by the time I turned twenty that puberty was officially over. No dice.

I also had to come to grips with the fact that I would never receive my Hogwarts letter. There are only so many years an owl can get lost in the jet stream.

In short, it looked like I wasn't a wizard, and my mother's routine interrogation of "Did you make any friends?" (Yes Mom, I went bowling with this dude from chem club and kicked his ass.) "Does he seem like a nice boy?" (Yeah, he knows everything about spectrophotometry.) "Do you like him?" (Mom, he's going out with my lab partner. And I've only known him for a week!) started to take on a worried and somewhat sinister tone.

Several wiki-walks later, I didn't stumble across AVEN. (You can get to their site if you click the flag, too.) I actually got there via TV tropes. Then I did research. While it made perfect sense to me that there were characters in stories who didn't care about sex, or romance, I didn't think I was one of them. For one thing, I still thought I wanted a white picket fence, and that I'd know the other 50% of that couple eventually because the heavens would open and the trumpets would sound and his voice would sound like something suspiciously dessert-y (seriously, chocolate and caramel do not make sounds, you'd have to eat synesthesia to figure out if a voice sounded like them, but I digress) and suddenly I wouldn't feel vaguely bored and uncomfortable at the thought of genitalia and we'd get married and shag like bunnies and have two perfect children who I would name and we would raise.

Actually, I didn't think much about the shagging like bunnies - like, almost never, and then with the assumption that it was probably better than it actually sounded, like squeaky cheese curds. They're actually delicious if you can get past the fact that they rub your teeth.

It was especially complicated because I clearly have a fangirling type for fictional characters: tall, dark, and usually unrepentantly snarky, but with a good heart, buried not too deep beneath the surface. This made appearing "ordinary" sort of easy at slumber parties and on the tennis team bus.

Interrogator: Hey Scribbles, who do you think is hot?
Scribbles: *Racks brains for interesting characters.* Aragorn. I really like him in the movie, they did really well with his emotional arc-
Interrogator: Oh, Viggo Mortensen? He's hot, good choice.
Scribbles: *Internal Monologue* Who the frick-frack is Viggo Mortensen?
Interrogator: So as I was saying, about Orlando Bloom's ass...

All of this was despite the fact that I had limited patience for the silly bits of people's crushes - the ones where they wouldn't man or woman up and face potential success or rejection already - and the fact that I'd sort of known since I was eleven that I was like Sherlock Holmes, more interested in puzzles than people's pants. In fact, peoples pants and the preoccupation with what was in them was pretty silly. In fact, most people were pretty silly, come to think of it. Was it too much to ask that my project partners concentrate on the presentation instead of making cow-eyes at each other across the table?

Yeah, puberty was frustration. It just wasn't sexual frustration, it was can't-wait-until-college things-move-too-slow-around-here out-of-good-fantasy-novels-at-the-school-library frustration.

The late teens were more "I'm sorry, you want to what?" followed closely by "My boobs are not that educational. Stop staring." (And seriously, when the hell did those things show up on my chest? Last I paid any attention to them, I was having difficulty buying them training bras that didn't show hot-pink polka-dots through white shirts.) You could say that I was a bit of an alien to the stereotypical college freshman lifestyle. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that I went out to class, went to clubs, and then sat in my room playing computer games and hoping like hell the squeaking from next door was my neighbor's wheely chair or someone jumping on the bed.

See, most of the people at high school - people who, in the large majority, I'd known since somewhere between eleven and fourteen - caught on to the whole asexual thing before I did. Not specifically, because, like I said, the tennis team liked to bait me during practice because they had nothing better to do, but in general most people's knowledge of me ran "This is Scribbles. She's still a unicorn magnet, and probably will be for the foreseeable future. Possibly until the sun burns out."

But honestly, in high school, I was the bookworm and nobody gave a flying fuck about my sexuality or lack thereof, assuming they ever gave it more than a momentary thought. College was suddenly very different, and yet, not different at all, because other than a few specific people who were blatantly interested enough that I actually noticed, I did the same things as usual, with the same kinds of people.

I guess I could wrap this up by saying that finding out that I was asexual was freeing (it was, but... honestly, mostly it killed the "there has got to be something wrong with me or maybe I'm just the suckiest actress ever," and brought on the "omgwtfbbq other people actually do think about the possibility of going at it like bunnies! Like, often! Like, with other people! What in hell is going on?") and that I finally found my people.

Not so much. I like the people on AVEN. It's nice to know that there's a place where people can come with similar problems to the ones I'm likely to face "re: I think I might like this guy, but human lips! I can't! They're like fishes, why do people go around sticking them to each other?"

Honestly, though, I worked through the ten stages of utter denial at high speed. (1. But there was that guy, in middle school... who I really wanted to play chess with? 2. I can't be! I'll be foreeeeeeeeever aloooooooooone. 3. Fuck you, life, just fuck you. Well, don't, but yeah. 4. Probably I'm only attracted to really damn smart guys? 5. Well, of course I'm not attracted to any guy at my college, the ones I don't know are all party hogs, and the ones I do know are dating my friends. 6. Damn it, I see the appeal of not giving a fuck about sex or relationships. This is a stupid thing to spend so much time thinking about! 7. I haven't known any guy long enough to be sexually attracted to him, except for the ones I've known so long that they're practically family, and, ew. (This lead to several weeks thinking that I might be demisexual, which was a.o.k. with me, because of the fact that I can't seem to shake the arguably catholic upbringing off my shoes.) 8. What the fuck ever, I don't care. 9. Okay, so I care, because this is yet another thing that most people will never get about me. 10. I am a floating brain, motherfuckers! Be careful or I'll clone myself into a goddamn army!)

Lately, though, I've come to realize I've always had my people.

I've got the girls at school, who I'm out to - especially my shiny new roommate, known to some of you as Watson (still like Sherlock Holmes, obviously,) who gets kudos for standing there and glaring at people who gear up to ask stupid questions - I've got my club and board members, who are more than willing to not make an issue... and to tell people to go wikipedia it if it comes up. I've especially got Moustache Dude, my favorite history major, who was just one week ago willing to cut through the bullcrap for me and explain his attraction to me... and allow my non-attraction to him to continue unthreatened. We might be going to see Monsters Universe tomorrow night.

I've got my mom, who is creeping towards the acceptance side of disbelief. I've got my dad, who never wanted to run off boys to begin with. I've got my little brother, who doesn't care in a very fraternal way and says that it's all good because sisters shouldn't have sex anyway.

I've got the net folks - lots more now, than I did last year about this time, when I was still stuck at the intermediate stage where "but houses and chocolate and flowers and reading over people's shoulders and eskimo kisses noo, don't leeeeave my future foreeeeever....!!!!"

And hey, I've always got myself. I figure I can work my way into most of the pickles being an odd type of human lands me in. :D

* Fun note: I still had no idea who in the nine hells played Aragorn - this despite the fact that he was a damn good actor and looked exactly like I'd imagined Aragorn - so I had to look him up. Things don't change.

scribal_goddess: (scribbles)

... Yeah. I'll try to be around for a little bit, but my ass is being kicked by thesis and will be kicked until sometime after April 30. I'm not actually dead, just busy. I have to finish a draft in two weeks and I only have eight sources.

... Strike that. I am actually dead. I'm gonna die. Did I mention I don't have my sources yet? Zombie Scribbles will be available between April 30 and finals, and then again after July the 4th, at which point I will be the limited-time offer of Zombie Scribbles while running an experiment on seeds. I'm due for revivification Christmas of next year. See you guys, it's been fun.
scribal_goddess: (scribbles)
Some of you know that I'm in research methods, which is mini-thesis class, so I've been sort of incredibly busy. Add to that the fact that this month is crazy because of all the family birthdays, tax season, new semester school obligations, and the fact that I'm retaking Cell and Molecular Biology, (Which isn't really that scary this time because I sort of know what I'm doing already and am not currently having a month-long panic attack,) along with the fact that I went home last weekend to help fix things up around the house because my dad pinched a nerve and my dog slipped his patella (so someone needs to walk him at a very controlled pace,) it's been a bit quiet on the Midwestern Front. The dog is having surgery on Thursday - according to the vet, this sort of thing is to be expected, as he's a male lab and a bit shy of seven. He's not supposed to play so much with other dogs any more because he just doesn't know when to quit.

There's not really a lot of this in my life at school. (Well, dancing lamas, that is: unidentifiable caf food happens quite a bit. I think they ran out of vegetables.) Also, is it just me, or does the llama mascot mesh look a bit... awkward at this angle? I guess it could just be that there's no way a sim can see out of that. Then again, when have I been surprised that Maxis has it's most fun with the last meshes you'd ever use?

Now, this looks much more familiar. I'm currently working on my readings and bibliography for my pre-thesis papers, which are all about the importance of forensics and geosciences in archaeology. (Archaeology and Environmental Science major, hopefully going into Archaeometry (the chemical study of artifacts) for the big "if," otherwise known as grad school.) I've spent the last week or so simply finding extracts from articles that might be helpful; I've still got to order the books and articles and then read them and take the notes. All this so that I can spend my summer rotting eggshells and chicken bones.

... I realize that wasn't precisely in common English up there, so... I have to spend this semester doing a 20 page paper with nearly 50 sources on how my job as an archaeologist is exactly like being Sherlock Holmes, except with less Victorians and very little glory. (Decidedly less falling off cliffs and people trying to murder me with trick boxes full of germs too - that's a good life goal, I think.) Also, the Religions Majors that I share this class with are a bit skeeved that I'm going to be burying chicken legs and that half my articles so far come from the body farm. A strong stomach is not a prerequisite to major in religion.

On a completely different note, my simself kind of looks like Belle.

What the heck is with the dude in the window?? I've never noticed how many background Disney characters don't even have human proportions....

... I ought to clarify: I don't actually usually walk outside with my books. I just wander the halls muttering. It's part of a small war I have going on with the people who live below me and keep playing music at all hours of the night. Some day I shall isolate the room that it has been coming from and stuff their keyhole with paper. Or maybe not, because that would be unreasonably hard to get out. But I'll think of something. ;)

My campus looks less like this and more like there's a wet white blanket on everything right now. It's still snowing, and has been since about thirty minutes after I went into the lab this afternoon. Microscopy labs are nice because they're very clean, but at the same time they play hell with my depth perception because most of the binocular pieces don't have a setting that will actually accommodate my eyes. I think mine must be unusually wide-set or something, because I have 20-20 vision and there really shouldn't be this much of a problem, but it took me an extra half an hour today due to a combination of actually trying to represent the cells and eye strain.

So far, I'm resisting the urge to roll in the snow like a dog, because I'd be drenched.

I made a very small snow mound last time it snowed, but mostly I ran up and down campus taking deliberately artistic pictures of trees and looking for someone I knew to attack with snow.

Unfortunately, our school mascot is nowhere near this accommodating to my insane antics.

... Although, I do have a class full of Religions majors that I might be able to pull a fast one on...
(Also, our mascot is a torch. Yeah, you heard me. He's a torch. He looks even derpier than the llama, just in a different way. And no, he's not part of the Fantastic Four, because that might actually be interesting.)

Yeah. When I get a chance to sim, I'm busy setting up the college and the rotation, I've got most of the chapter mapped out but not written, and I hope to update sometime around spring break. Other than that, I'm doing good,  I have a short story in the works wherein I and some LJ buddies go back in time to knock some sense into the selfish head of Ayn Rand (look up objectivism: you'll figure out why I think she's one of the most self-centered, slimiest weaklings to ever crawl the earth,) [and damn, why is there not a clip or a gif for that?]
scribal_goddess: (Anariel)
Obviously, this is a general post. I've got a countdown up for the chapter, and I need about 10 images, two of which need photomanipulation. Woot - go me. Next chapter is slowly, but surely, being written. I've got two scenes, and this time I really do think that I won't need too many things. Besides more casual teen male clothes - anybody know of something non-photoskinned? *Crosses fingers and spits on them.*

The chapter might actually have been up tomorrow, if not for my roommate's car, and Birdie, my lovely former-almost-roommate, who dropped in for a surprise visit on Saturday. (Yes, it's my fault that people call her Birdie.)

What happened was this:
"How many college girls does it take to change a tire?" )
scribal_goddess: (scribbles)
Which I'm all for - my sentient math equations should be able to solve themselves without my input. The've shown a lot of inventiveness this semester in making my life miserable, after all. Also, I'm a sucker for books, and although I'm not allowed to think too much about it (as per the rules,) I've got a list. 

Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Comment if you want to know why I chose a specific book or tell me what you think about me based on this list of influences. 

Starting now:

1) A Wrinkle in Time (Madeline L'Engle)
2) The Theif (Megan Whalen Turner)
3) The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
4) Black Beauty (Anna Sewell)
5) The Hobbit (JRR Tolkein)
6) To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
7) So You Want to Be A Wizard (Diane Duane)
8) The Book of Three (Lloyd Alexander)
9) Bridge to Terabithia (Katherine Paterson)
10) The Book Theif  (Marcus Zusak)
11) Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman)
12) The Merlin Conspiracy (Diana Wynne Jones)
13) The Once and Future King (T. H. White)
14) The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (Howard Pyle)
15) House of the Scorpion (Nancy Farmer)

I feel a bit like I'm recapping my childhood here - I read almost all of these books before the age of thirteen. Actually, only 10 onwards are ones that I read after that.  Except for Robin Hood, that was some time in fifth grade. 

Oooh! I forgot Othello (Shakespeare, obviously,) and Macbeth (same source, of course.) I also could have filled this list with Madeline L'Engle and Lloyd Alexander books, but I felt that might be cheating a bit. Not that I didn't cheat a little based on what was truly influential rather than the first thing I've thought of, and that I picked the most important books for me from some of the series I've got. Also, I just noticed, but I could probably make a list of these  influences for each storyI've ever written and still not cover all of it...

The true secret to creativity? Read so widely that no one else can discern your influences and inspirations for anything in particular. XD
scribal_goddess: (Default)
I remember being five years old and listening to trees, the slow creak of the water rushing through them, buried deep under the bark, matching the sea-sound heartbeat in my ears. On windy days I would hold tight to the corners of my open jean jacket, and let the wind blow me back half a step, convinced that I would be lifted, kitelike, along the cement. Every note made by running a stick along the tall wrought-iron fence was different. I wasn't quite six yet when the thoughts came.

They might have come before, but the first time I can really remember is standing in the backyard, staring at the tiny strawberry that I had picked, and knowing that it was alive and so was I and that the world was huge around me, hearing the cars and the other people and knowing that none of them besides me could see the second where the strawberry had come off the stem, no one besides me could see the green-bruised snap when I picked daisies out of the lawn, and that I couldn't explain the soft, talcum-powder textured sound of the sink running at it's lowest flow when my mom washed my strawberry.

In later years I discovered that I was the only one I knew who the thoughts came to, opening up boxes upon boxes and spilling all the world into my head, snapping off one-two-three like popcorn, filling me up beyond my ability to speak or draw or write them down. I could hold great fistfuls of them in my head, swimming about like fishes, as if my brain were my dad's computer slowly loading up the internet while he typed. I remember talking to other six year olds about electrons running in wires, not being able to turn around, about the orange color in carrots that turned your teeth yellowish after you bit into them, about the fact that different trees had different heartbeats and people having different-flavored names. I remember being incredulous that no one else knew how a butterfly turned liquid inside it's chrysalis and put itself back together again, a wing here and a leg there, maybe a bit of an eye. Worms were an endless fascination, slimy against my fingertips and their tiny veins reminding me of the heartbeat of the trees.

Today I watched in my head as the theoretical molecules were pulled apart and bounced between magnets to determine how much they weighed, electrons screaming across empty space, and I realized that the popcorn thoughts, which were popping up a story and a method for separating soap and dirt while I watched, weren't going on behind my professor's eyes. She didn't know about the popcorn thoughts, and it made me sad to know that the thoughts didn't come to her, the electrons didn't sing for her, even though she loves the beautiful too large too small world and she watches the student-mind click over to realization every day. But she's watching the slow tick, not the jump and snap of the popcorn thoughts, and it would be rude to tell her to fast-forward.

To this day, I have met three people who I see the popcorn thoughts jumping in. I've met a few more who I can see a few boxes opening up in, pouring things out, and I've come to realize that aside from the unfolding in the heartbeat of the trees, the popcorn thoughts are essentially a lonely thing.

So - who else out there has had the thoughts come to them?
scribal_goddess: (Default)
Spent my day carting about 150 pounds of compressed nitrogen (weighs almost as much as me) around, hooking up compressors to an evaporator and crawling about with an eyedropper full of soapsuds to check for leaks. If I'd been thinking, I would have took a couple steamunk glamor shots with my equimpent. :) Then I poked my head in all the fire safes to look for bottles of clear, smelly liquid. Then I realized that I'd just done an extra hour or so worth of inventory because all I really needed to look for was Hexane, Acetone, and Dichloromethane. Now it's time to go do my part for democracy and vote to fix Wisconsin.
scribal_goddess: (Default)
... and your hands are tired and your knees are shaking, and the mouse skitters away the first time you twitch, and you look at 150 pages that create everything and destroy everything only to let it rise again...

Do you still pick up the pen again?
scribal_goddess: (Default)
Finals are gone. I never have to see chemistry 2 again. Two classes left to finish a spanish Minor, two weeks to Guatemala, and three hours until I get home.

And I got my internet back for more than half an hour at a time, so I posted my interview at simstorytellers.

And I get to go home to traditional German-American Christmas now, which the familial units have been putting off until I get home. That means trimming the tree tonight, making gingerbread, knuffle soup, and apple crisp this weekend, and generally having nothing of importance to do besides wrap and buy presents, walk the dog, and start shooting the next chapter.

Clean! Riverblossom Hills is a distinct possibility at this point, since I'm gazing at my character files right now, but I really don't want to fix everyone's skills, grades, etc. Even though I just finished my cc dump and I might as well just start fresh so I don't have to fix everyone's genetics again. I should just start packing up lots and call it Christmas. (Someone expressed interest in Eluisa's cottage, and the school set, so those probably will be going up. Hope people have clean installer, because there is a lot of stuff in those lots.)

I also have the bug to make some paintings: my geekishness wants a school blackboard with the writing in D'ni [from the Myst series] as simlish cursive probably looks close to the same. Pile it on my 'useless projects' inbox.

I'll try to give you guys an update on what's going on when I leave for Guatemala New Year's Eve. And probably drop you a line to let you know I'm not dead/laid up with malaria when I get back during the first week of February.

Nano, day 7

Nov. 7th, 2011 10:40 am
scribal_goddess: (Default)

I worked all of yesterday, so... yay, 11k?

Today's excerpt:
There had been a rainstorm the night before, and the world should have looked scrubbed, fresh and new, but there was still a drowned note to the early morning sunlight and the world seemed watery. There was a mist rising over the sea and invading the lower reaches of the town, forming a cloak that obscured the horizon, beyond which the outer isle lurked like a squatting tiger. The shadows lay oddly in corners, exhausted from all the doubts that had been lurking in them.

I stood in the sunlight and raised my hand above the door. I had already decided. I had a right to know and to be part of the planning here. Besides, it was my job. There would be no more dwelling on the past or fear of shadows, at least not on my part.

I have to admit, I'm kind of scared because the story is progressing forward towards the end of the trilogy so quickly. But I feel like there's no more time for Raellyn to wait - even though I kind of want to put off the decision she's going to have to make. I can't help it, I get really attatched to first-person characters sometimes, and Rae is, according to my scribbly friends "my token well-adjusted character," in a world that makes sense. Or at least, it used to. It's a beautiful place but that beauty is going to be awful as well, which I suppose is just like reality.

This series went from something simple and happy where I didn't pay much attention to anything outside of the action and humor to something much more contemplative. I see Raellyn's character changing already, and the important bits haven't even happened yet. She started out irresponsible - well, she was nineteen - and I think that she's already grown up, she just doesn't have the time to realize it before everything gets complicated. I think she'll find what she needs to find, though, in the end.

scribal_goddess: (Default)
Gah. I keep doing this to myself. Chapters take too long because I get too ambitious. Then I write too much, then there's another angle left over from the extra writing in the last chapter, then there's something new to wrap up...
Ugh. One scene left to shoot. About three left to write, though as it's a national holiday tomorrow I'm likely to go canoeing with the family. That is, if the rain that's been haning out all day ever stops.
Seriously, I just need to get through one more scene without exploding my plot into some sort of giant attack balloon. Then I can go hide in the public library for a while...
scribal_goddess: (Default)
Finally, I have the time and energy to do a little work on the chapter.

By the end of the day I plan to be done writing what has been one of the more difficult sequences to me, because this new section is rather different from the first two. The principle of "Show, don't Tell" is really central to this part of the narrative, so the pictures will tell you things that the words don't. I'm fighting with it just a bit, because I have to have Eluisa tell events that she didn't witness, which was easier in the case of Chalimyra, who got a story within a story.

Gimp for your amusement )
Scribbles is alive. I'm surrounded in kleenex and boxes from college, but the fever's mostly gone down and I'm gunning for three proper meals today. So far, so good.
scribal_goddess: (Default)
Cookies if anyone knows who this is :)
Memoria part 3 should be coming out in... probably less than three weeks. Maybe faster, depending on what the doctor says about my ankle. If it really is broken, expect me to be rather more glued to my computer than I would be normally.
Because not everyone wants to hear me complain about injuries and final Exams )
scribal_goddess: (Default)
Sooo... I'm beginning to think that there's a reason I didn't make CreMo.
That reason can probably be summed up as attack of the epic backstory.

I will upload the actual chapters in segments, as what I have is too long... )
scribal_goddess: (Default)
Because I have my computer back yet am nowhere near finished with the chapter, you get a picspam. And boy, did I bite off more than I can chew!
The insanity )
scribal_goddess: (Default)
De did it, so I might as well. So... for sims, writing, and the Internet, I have 10 resolutions.
10 things about next year. )


scribal_goddess: (Default)

July 2017

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