changeling: (writing)
I had such a fabulous evening. I met up with Connie (lj: connikins still? Maybe?), and got the BPAL from her I requested months ago, and we briefly geeked out about clothing.

Then I went to swing for the first time in months, and we worked on 40s charleston (YAY).

Afterwards Jus and I walked to Elizabeth St (I love walking and talking with people, it's one of my favourite things). I told him about the fact that I'm changing an important detail in my novel which will require rewriting the whole thing, but that I was resistant to it, and why. Then I went to sit in Hungry Jack's (I was early for drinkies) and begin the rewrite...on my phone, which was the only writing equipment I had. I started to get a ways in, and I feel like I finally KNOW Rhiannon (a character who had previously been a bit of an enigma) and like her (another first).

I tore myself away from writing (because I knew I'd be there all night otherwise) and went to meet Chris at 1806 (one of my favourite bars) for his farewell drinks, as he's moving to Canberra. In attendance was Mme Omega, who is always fantastic to talk to, and we geeked about clothing and steampunk and geekery in general. Another of Chris's friends appears to know many amazing bars that I have never visited, and I now have a few more to make pilgrimages to. I had a Twentieth Century cocktail and it was marvellous and almost perfect for what I wanted.

And now I am home, and have made Drunk Food (although I was only really tipsy). Since I just bought cheezly it is fantastic junk food: little tubes of white pasta (it's not macaroni) with garlic, dill and chive pesto, spinach and cheezly. And a little bit of Massel's "chicken" stock for salt.

NOM NOM NOM.

And now, to bed, to virtuously get up far too early for work tomorrow. But at least it will be Friday! So yay!

In conclusion: So much awesome for just one night. Especially when I was home by 11.
changeling: (Default)
I have had a rather wonderful day so far. I got myself in gear early – even though I was up late with class last night – and managed to pray in front of my shrine, which is something I haven't done properly in weeks. I also turned the affirmation I was given in Kinesiology class last night into a prayer, and I'll be using that for the next nine days.

I picked up Making a Literary Life, by Carolyn See, which my dad gave me a few years ago, and read it on the tram. I haven't read it all the way through before, and it tied in well with the later theme of the day. I also got to see my girl, as I was bringing in documents from home she forgot. She is feeling flat today, and I made her smile several times on the walk to her work, which was even better. Then, as there's a Westpac right near her work, I deposited my paycheque. *virtuous*

And I decided that I was sick of being upset about missing Anelisseia, especially since it involves Thoth, one of my favourite gods, and Hermes, who has been quietly moving himself to the forefront of my attention recently. So, refusing to wallow in misery any longer, I used my Reader's Feast voucher to buy a book on beginner's book of heiroglyphs published by the British Museum that I've been eyeing off (it's designed for kids and looks like a lot of fun), which is, unintentionally and unconsciously, for Thoth. RF didn't have any books on Greece that I wanted (they had Kerenyi's book on Dionysus, which I'm interested in, but felt a bit funny buying for Anelisseia), so I checked out their YA section and picked up a new-ish Diana Wynne Jones called The Pinhoe Egg, which I suppose is appropriately Hermean since it's about magic. I tend to associate Thoth with non-fiction and editing, and Hermes with the writing of fiction, so it worked out very well.

I went into Haigh's on Swanston St for some cheer-up chocs for Steph, and some ritual chocolates (a couple of dark-chocolate violet creams for Dj, a dark chocolate, bronze-foiled heart for Herm), and made a nuisance of myself asking which of the filled chocolates were dairy-free. There was one that seemed to be a new one, and the woman behind the counter couldn't find it in her book, and ended up ringing the Block Arcade shop to find out. While she was on the phone, the other girl behind the counter struck up a conversation with me. She was a little heavy and about my age. She said that the manager of the store's husband or partner (I forget) was vegan, so she knew all about which ones were safe, but she was on hols. I said I was vegan, and the girl was really interested, and wanted to know what I ate "as a replacement", and where I liked to eat out. She said she used to be vegetarian in her teens, but her parents told her it was too expensive (what bollocks) and put the kibosh on it. She had been vegetarian for animal-rights reasons, and asked why I went vegan. I said that Steph had eczema set off by dairy, and that the research we did caused us to believe that eating animal products isn't very good for people. I mentioned The China Study, and offered to write it down. (I wrote down Eat to Live, too, partly because she was rather heavy and I thought she might be interested, and partly because it's more layperson-friendly than The China Study. Steph refers to it as the "how-to guide" of The China Study.) She said that her brother and sister had really bad eczema, so I wrote down Eczema-Free for Life, which Steph found essential in finally coming to an understanding about what having eczema means.

Anyway, the other woman came back from her phone conversation, and I placed my order (as well as a couple of peppermint centres for me), and she was very stoic with the shopgirl chatting with me. Finally, as I was about to leave, the shopgirl said I had "lovely skin", which made me smile all the way back to work.

I set up an altar on my desk, where the books in their navy Reader's Feast voucher form an altar cloth, and the chocolates sat upon a CD-spindle pedestal. I've got a few important things done at work, which is nice, and as no-one is in the office at the moment, I performed a ritual in my lunchbreak. I read a hymn to Hermes, and a prayer to Thoth, skimmed through the heiroglyph book, read the first few pages of The Pinhoe Egg, and performed bibliomancy in same:

"I only came to find my cat, really," Marianne said.


... which is pretty revealing to me, for a YA fantasy novel.

So I've had a lovely Anelisseia, even ten days late.

AWESOME.

Jul. 30th, 2007 11:38 am
changeling: (Default)
This year, in an attempt to start getting back in touch with my writery longings, I signed up to Locus and Fantasy&ScienceFiction. The former is a F&SF publishing industry rag, that keeps you up to date with all the gossip, reviews books, magazines and short stories, and has interviews and opinion pieces. It's great. The latter is one of the short-story magazines that is reviewed in Locus.

I got my first issues easily enough, then we moved house. The Locuses kept coming, though after a delay of a couple of months (I don't know if the Parents-in-not-law forgot to bring them over, or if there was a delay in the postage somewhere). Fantasy&ScienceFiction just dropped off the face of the earth. I was disappointed, but assumed it must have been a quarterly, or something.

Finally, after collecting all my back issues of Locus that I hadn't been reading (for various reasons), I sat down to plow through them. And noticed that two Fantasy&ScienceFiction issues were reviewed in one issue of Locus. Hang on, I thought, I remember this in the first issue I read. Fantasy&ScienceFiction is a monthly magazine!

I got online and popped off an email. Hi, remember me? I gots no magazines. P.S., please update my contact info.

They sent one back. They probably went to your old address, loser. P.S., July and August issues probably aren't out in the Antipodes.

I thought that would be the last I ever heard from them. But no! I just got a parcel from them, ten days after their email (which is fast from the USA), with all the missing issues, including July and August.

I love Fantasy&ScienceFiction!
changeling: (Default)
I may not have a permanent account, but I do have this:


We managed to break the belt (oops) while trying it out in the shop, but that's OK. The belt was old and worn, and I can get a new one for $9 in the city. I used my l33t sk1llz to search yellowpages.com.au, and then pick up the telephone. Magic.

And guess what? It's lasted at least fifty years. I'm sure it'll still be around after livejournal.com goes under.

I still wish I had a permanent account. Maybe I'll renew my paid account soon.

Home now.

Jun. 18th, 2007 05:31 pm
changeling: (Default)
My shirt is made of WIN today, and frankly, so am I. I've created two alternate covers for the play I've been typesetting, including making a composite image out of engraved, out-of-copyright images. I think it looks awesome. I may have a headache, but I have one more thing to add to the design portfolio I'm putting together for use at prospective jobs. Yay!

I feel ill. I think I should have declined my boss's offer of a drink. I do not think that soy hot chocolates and I are on speaking terms.

I tried to find a new notebook for my morning pages today, and instead found a little notebook made up of envelopes for storing your receipts in for tax-deductions. This will be enormously useful; I'll no longer store them in my pile of paper where they might get lost. Woohoo!
changeling: (Default)
I've been re-reading Living the Good Life: How one family changed their world from their own backyard, by Linda Cockburn (and her accompanying website) I first heard of Linda back in July–August 2005, when Steph and I were babysitting a beautiful house in Kingsville (I want to say "cottage" – it was pretty small), living out of home together and for the first time, going vegan, and embracing wholefoods ... and losing weight without trying. There was an article on what they were trying to achieve in Gardening Australia's organic gardening magazine. Later, when the book came out (February 2006), I snapped up a copy and wolfed it down as fast as humanly possible.

The book charts Linda and her family's attempt to live for six months without spending a dollar (barring things like medical expenses and rates). And they succeed pretty well, considering they're in Queensland and it was one of the dryest six months on record in their region (and frankly, probably in the whole of Australia). I found it so inspirational, as if someone had just projected my desires into a book. THIS is what I want to do with my life.

I have since found Cauldron Farm and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who've also got pieces of the puzzle. These people are all so inpirational. I can't wait until Steph and I have enough capital built up to take our own step.

I just re-took the Global Footprint test online, and my results were pretty good:
CATEGORYGLOBAL HECTARES
FOOD0.4
MOBILITY0.8
SHELTER0.6
GOODS/SERVICES           1.1
TOTAL FOOTPRINT2.9


IF EVERYONE LIVED LIKE YOU, WE WOULD NEED 1.6 PLANETS.

It's slightly bollocks: it didn't take into account (for example) that I eat organic food (fewer nasties getting into the environment, less water use); that we flush the loo with shower water (and sometimes with discarded laundry water); that we switch our appliances off at the wall to avoid phantom loading; that we only switch the TV on about once or twice a week (to watch Robin Hood), that we source our electricity from Green Power; that S and I try to shower together, and briefly, only every other day and that on alternating days we bathe out of a sink; and so on and so forth. Still, I got markedly below the average for Australia – 7.6 global hectares per person, meaning that if everyone lived like that, we'd need 4.2 planets.

Still, it gives us something to aim at, and we're improving, too. We're going to get rid of the car indefinitely in the next six months (the only difficulty will be intra- and interstate morris trips – there we'll either have to rely on other people's goodwill or V-Line) and replacing it with electric bikes. Mine will have to get another basket affixed to it, as my pushbike has, and possibly a basket in front, so that I can market shop if we move somewhere further away than we currently are from a market & public transport. Once we have our own place and are not renting, we'll be moving towards sourcing most of our food (we'll probably still be buying sugar and flour). We also plan on getting a composting toilet, solar hot water, and solar panels for electricity.

And we plan on moving out of the city. I want to smallhold (just like Hugh ...) The current plan is to move to Marysville (she says, having not yet visited it). It's sub-alpine, has more rainfall than Melbourne (currently a BIG factor), and apparently has four distinct seasons and tends to the COLD. This all makes me extraordinarily happy. I have planned on moving to England for years and years, but Steph was moved around a lot as a child, so the idea of permanently relocating again moves her to tears. This way I get an England-esque climate, not to mention RAINFALL, and we'll only be a bit further away from Melbourne than the distance between our parents' places.

I can't WAIT to get started. In the short term, though, we have a couple more pots that need filling, which we're going to tuck in to this weekend. (Hooray! Finally!) And I just might plant some basil in the backyard to let it grow wild.

Further inspiring links:
A cute mindmap of things you can do to lessen global warming (I've printed it and it's going on our fridge)
A link to an organic gardening how-to site (this is mostly for me)
A website giving tips on how to lessen global warming, based in Tasmania.
changeling: (Default)
So, that worked right up to the point that I moved the PC back to its rightful place at the other end of the house. This is when I discovered that, oh, yes, I still had the modem directly connected from when I installed it. Oops.

Anyway, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] winikoff and non-LJ user=My_Dad for offering to help, but I fiddled around more this morning (another 2 hours gone), and talked to [livejournal.com profile] urbanfae who is AWESOME and made me remember to use some brainmeats. I looked answers up on my router's homepage (after I spent part of this morning reading the modem's PDFed manual, which was USELESS).

Long drama short:
  1. I had the modem set to USB instead of ethernet when I first installed it (I wondered if that was going to be a problem)

  2. The ethernet cable provided by Motorola DIDN'T ACTUALLY WORK (good thing I had ONE spare from the modem Nat's mum supplied that we couldn't use)

  3. Sometimes modems and routers just need to go to sleep for a bit and are a bit picky about the order in which they wake up. Sometimes they need several sleeps. Especially if you have been changing their settings


Our router is also now called Fred. This amuses me.

In other, more stupid news, I was having leftover pasta sauce for breakfast, so I boiled some water on the stove in our kettle. It has this handy-dandy feature that stove-top kettles generally have, which is a piercing whistle that can be heard from (as in my case) the other end of the house. Unfortunately, saucepans have no such useful accoutrements, so if you happen to be in another room, ooh, let's say updating your livejournal and fixing your wireless network, and you forget about your pan on the stove, that's it. Two-inch long spaghetti with unpleasant crunchy burnt ends for you. Sigh.
changeling: (Default)
I have sorted it out. I had tried to use the wrong tool to set up the workgroup for the computer, and so stuffed the wireless network settings. All is well again (as I suspected it would be), and the workgroup is set up. Now we should be able to share the printer. I just need to find out if the network signal stretches to the other end of the house ...

I am so pleased. I have proven myself my father's daughter, even if it took me a few days (only about three or four hours, though).
changeling: (Default)
Today was hot, yet I wanted to have stuffed (roast) capsicums. Using the oven on Hot Days is verboten in this house (understandable, I know). So, what to do?

What I did was bake them. I created no extra heat, and used no extra electricity or gas.

Want to know how? )
changeling: (Default)
I just finished the structural/line edit I was doing for [livejournal.com profile] cupiscent. I think I've been pretty thorough, and I have finally gained confidence in my structural skillz, as I completely re-ordered the book to make it non-sucky.

Steph and I also spent all of Australia Day (I am not even remotely exaggerating), as well as the morning of the next day, cooking for [livejournal.com profile] daharja's birthing ritual on Saturday.

Went to see Pan's Labyrinth Thursday night with Jess (and the last-minute addition of her friend-from-work Andrea). It was fabulous, if rather violent. The imagery was up on par with MirrorMask. We did have some problems with bits of the plot, though, and felt that there was a fatal flaw in the ending. No reviewers seem to have picked this up yet, but Jess and I are old fantasyhands, who probably understand the genre better than laypeople.

Rock on. I'm so relieved. Everything's over ... except the sewing for my party(!). I'm almost ready for my next temp assignment, so long as they give me a couple of days to finally do some things for me, like buy a diary for this year, and get some of this interminable sewing completed. Curse you, silk chiffon. I will never try your like again.
changeling: (Default)
I have just read this essay and have had a breakthrough in my YA novel. There is going to be a new character, Sergeant (which may possibly just be her title, I haven't decided yet), who will be Sebastien's 2nd-in-command. Hopefully this will also spark some exploration of the Shadow Boys' rather Victorian Problems with Females, or at the very least an early 20th C Problems with Females in Command.

It'll be great.


I also, through the same LJer, though possibly not the same post (can't remember), came across Father Knox's Decalogue: The Ten Rules of (Golden Age) Detective Fiction. I shall reproduce below, without permission, in case of a wandering in the internet stream, because I'll probably want to reference this later:

Monsignor Ronald A. Knox (1888-1957) was a British clergyman, editor, a literary critic, a humourist and a detective story writer himself who nicely laid out, with a gentle wit, the "ten rules" that guided detective fiction in its so-called Golden Age. They appeared in the preface to Best Detective Stories of 1928-29, which Knox edited. I think he was mostly joking...

1. The criminal must be someone mentioned in the early part of the story, but must not be anyone whose thoughts the reader has been allowed to follow.
2. All supernaural or preternatural agencies are ruled out as a matter of course.
3. Not more than one secret room or passage is allowable.
4. No hitherto undiscovered poisons may be used, nor any appliance which will need a long scientific explanation at the end.
5. No Chinaman must figure in the story.
6. No accident must ever help the detective, nor must he ever have an unaccountable intuition which proves to be right.
7. The detective must not himself commit the crime.
8. The detective must not light on any clues which are not instantly produced for the inspection of the reader.
9. The stupid friend of the detective, the Watson, must not conceal any thoughts which pass through his mind; his intelligence must be slightly, but very slightly, below that of the average reader.
10. Twin brothers, and doubles generally, must not appear unless we have been duly prepared for them.


This, of course, made me want to write a story, breaking as many as possible. Perhaps for NaNo this year. The page goes on to note that someone called Josef Svoresky has already done this, in a book entitled The Sins of Father Knox, which of course I want to read, but not yet. I know I will do it BETTER.

So far I have the protagonist attempting to off someone, though this is against his moral code, with a hither-to-yet undisclosed poison. However! As he's preparing for the handcuffs to be put on, it is discovered that the man was (gasp!) already dead! The victim will be a magician, and one theory (possibly the final one, I'm not sure yet) is that a la that great, thick, black-and-cream tome, you know, wossname, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (which I must confess I haven't finished), fairies will come into it somewhere. Anyway, the detective shall detect. Thus I have at least 2, 4 and 6 down. Having just read Five Red Herrings by Dorothy Sayers, I feel I am perfectly able to conceal A Clue from the reader (well, I didn't spot the missing white paint, for goodness sake).

So that's really exciting. I haven't had an idea for a new story for awhile, and have in fact been barely writing at all. So woo!


In a related note, have you seen Neil Gaiman's new cover for Coraline? I positively must acquire a copy (nevermind the fact that I have both the British and American editions — one was a present). I am also fantastically jealous, as I want a cover for the Shadow Boys that is so Victorian-influenced. Want, want, want. Guess I'd better finish the damn thing.


On the non-writing front, it's a bit of a relief to see that someone else has male-gendered and female-gendered parts of their brains*, and that they spend most of their time quarrelling over clothing. For many years my male-gendered side was winning, but Steph has largerly smothered him in a bag, so that my wardrobe consists almost entirely of skirts. It's an interesting foray. I would still like to add some more trousers to my wardrobe, particularly in colours that actually suit me — but think I'll wait until I lose a bit of weight and have a fighting chance of finding some that fit.




* Granted, my male-gendered brain swings a bit between being some sort of British alternative soft-rocker and being an utter fop, and my female side tends towards the Victorian and gothic, but still.

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