Test Post

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017 01:27 pm
lizvogel: text: I have more userpics on Dreamwidth (more userpics on Dreamwidth)
I just turned on beta testing for the "HTTPS Everywhere" feature -- this is just to make sure I can, in fact, actually post via my ancient browser and snail-slow internet connection.


ETA: Yup, that worked just fine.

OMG Life

Thursday, April 6th, 2017 01:49 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
The last month or so has been a saga of one thing after another -- except when they've overlapped. To wit:

     housemate sick - trip to con in MN - power outage - me sick - kitchen faucet

each of which lasted about a week. The power outage hit 14 hours after we arrived home from a trip made into a mini-saga of its own by Amtrak's crap communication. The thirty-foot tree that's down in the front yard hasn't really been registering on the agenda. And now it's tax time.


I'm not posting wordcount stats right now, because I don't want to look.

So, LiveJournal

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017 11:53 am
lizvogel: text: I have more userpics on Dreamwidth (more userpics on Dreamwidth)
LJ has a new TOS, which pops up so you have to agree to it to use the service. (I actually give them points for the obnoxious, intrusive, unavoidable pop-up, rather than just slipping the changes into the TOS and not calling attention to it.) People are variously freaking out or shrugging. I waded through the English translation, which is not legally binding (the original in Russian is binding, but I don't read Russian, so try enforcing that in court, suckers), and it seems to be mostly the usual TOS junk -- though there is a bit about them being allowed to email you stuff, including advertising. That could be an issue if they actually use it, but then, that's why I have Sneakemail.

(If you tend to post about Russian politics or generally use your LJ as an actual journalism platform, this could be a problem for you. But if you do that, you're probably already aware of the concerns, and have been since LJ was bought by a Russian company several years ago. Nothing really new here.)

Mostly, though, it's SSDD. I shall keep cross-posting as I have been, and checking friends feed when I remember (which isn't as often as it should be). I'm not deleting anything, though I will up the priority on backing up my old pre-DW-crossposting entries -- just in case. (Since the worst LJ could realistically do to me, all the way on the other side of the globe, is delete my stuff.) And I should do that anyway.

I will say, for anyone reading this on LJ that does want to jump ship, importing your old LJ to Dreamwidth is really easy. And DW works pretty much like LJ only less broken. (The only feature gap I'm aware of is photo hosting; you can post photos to DW, but I understand it's awkward and limited. They're working on it, but it's complicated, and the DW folks generally don't like to put things into service until they're working right. Contemplate that for a minute.)
lizvogel: What is this work of which you speak? (Cat on briefcase.) (Work)
So far this morning, WinAmp has randomly played two songs that are on the Mars-novel writing mix. I think I need to get back to work.
lizvogel: Run and find out, with cute kitten. (Run and Find Out)
I didn't mean to spend the whole day in bed. I was only going to spend a couple hours sitting in bed writing. But then this kitten came and used my foot as a pillow -- and stayed that way for about six hours.

Who's going to argue with that?

So I stayed in bed all day, and wrote 1052 words, and made my kitten very happy. And LittleGirl as well, who jumped up and curled up beside me a couple of times.

And me, too. ;-)
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Blackberry Sage

Where bought: Foods For Living

Aroma: Sour/tart, with an underlying unpleasant tang.

Texture: Solid, chomps well, melts nicely.

Taste: Hmm. Savory chocolate. Well, the blackberry part is good.

Overall: Interesting, I'm glad I tried it, but don't need to have it again.
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Equal Exchange Dark Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt (55%)

Where bought: Foods For Living (They keep having sales....)

Packaging includes lots of information about their ingredients come from (all small farmers/fair trade), sustainable packaging, and what coffee to pair with your chocolate.

Aroma: Oh, wow. Cocoa liqueur straight to the back-brain.

Bar is hard to snap pieces off. Texture is *very* crunchy. Chocolate melts slowly but smoothly around large proportion of crunchy bits.

I'm not really getting much taste of caramel, though there is a nice richness that's probably attributable to the toffee-like bits. Occasional bursts of salt when I hit a larger chunk of salt. Chocolate itself is full, deep, but perhaps a little overwhelmed by the other players.

Overall: Good. Not perfect, but I'd be curious to try other flavors from the same company.

January Word Count

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017 02:44 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
original short fiction: 577
Falling From Ground: 2542

Total new words in January: 3119

Not quota, but not bad for a month that got eaten by the home improvement project from hell. I can't blame myself for not writing after a day of being up on a ladder with a sander until midnight. But in future, I need to manage projects so they don't consume time & energy that needs to be spent on writing.

I will note that the FFG progress was all in the first half of the month, and reasonably steady. If I'd kept that up, I'd have made quota no problem.

The short fiction was another chunk of Adrian Blissfield and the Night Train to Munich, which I apparently really can only write while on a train.


I totally failed on January's other goal, which was getting a new email account set up and tested. It was present in my mind a lot, but nowhere under my fingers.

(On the incentive side, the rat-bastards at my current email provider are discontinuing my account level. Given the way they've been taking away features and their general attitude, I didn't really expect them to honor what I bought as a "lifetime" account much longer, but it's not the sort of thing that would encourage me to give them more money even if I didn't already want to leave. To their credit, they are at least giving several months notice; to their shifty-eyed not-credit, my two different accounts have gotten two different offers to buy up, sent some weeks apart. Yeah, 'cause that looks like a company I can trust with my cash and my data. Not.)


For February: 5000 words, which is eminently do-able if writing is the priority it is supposed to be. And get the email going.
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
November:

original short fiction: 800
Falling From Ground: 2649
Total new words in November: 3449

Decent, especially with alpha-feedback to incorporate. The 800 words was a complete short story, begun as prompt fic and completed in one sitting.


December:

original short fiction: 43
Falling From Ground: 4265
Total new words in December: 4308

Not bad for what I was kind of treating as a relax-a-month, and which is always a bit crowded with the holidays and whatnot. I'm still waffling about a plot, but I've finally got a next-bit that will lead to more next-bits, and will let me introduce several elements I've been looking forward to.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I'm not much of one for New Year's resolutions, but I do have two writing-related ones. It's time to bring back my 5000-words-a-month quota; if the novel gets stuck, I need to remember that I've got plenty of short stories to play with. And, by the end of January I should have at least one new email account set up and tested.

And that's enough to be going on with.
lizvogel: Run and find out, with cute kitten. (Run and Find Out)
Last night I went to bed with the laptop with the intention of working on the Mars book, decided I'd rather play with an early old-mission story instead, and ended up writing a couple of lines that set up another bakery story.

Mono-focus is not exactly my problem. ;-)
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Nutty Steph's Pink Peppercorn Ecuadorian Chocolate (71%)

Grown wild in the woods, according to the shiny silver & pink packaging.

Where bought: Marshall's, I think?

Aroma is sharp, slightly tart, not deep.

Texture has a brittle snap when I bite in. Melts nicely after a few chomps.

Quite a cornucopia of flavors here. Harsh bite from the peppercorns, little bursts of tartness from the lemon, something else that I'm attributing to the rosemary. The chocolate itself is a pleasantly bitter dry dark.

Overall: Interesting. Definitely not something I'd want on a regular basis, but quite enjoyable as a change of pace.
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
I have come up with a "what the hell's going on" for the Mars novel that is just evil, evil, eeeevil. I probably won't use it -- it's not quite the kind of story I thought I was writing, and it's got its own "what's going on" that would need to be solved -- but it is so far the only idea I've come up with that connects all the dots.

There are things I want to do with this novel that I can't do if I do that (probably... hmm.), but it does put a happy evil writer grin on my face. My main character is staring at me in appalled disbelief.
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
I finally managed to make cookies for the family Turkey Day gathering: turkeys, pumpkins, maple leaves, oak leaves, and cornucopias. I feel like I spent the five days leading up to Thanksgiving immersed in cookies, and that's because I did. They went over very well; much oohing and ahhing, and even people dragging other people into the kitchen to see them. (And several comments that they tasted good, too, which is important.) Very gratifying. The kids broke into one of the trays before dinner (which is high praise if anything is). The cornucopias were particularly popular with the little kids, doubtless because of all the glitter and shiny candy bits.

Fancy baking doesn't really go with my image with that side of the family; I rather enjoyed spraining their expectations that way. ;-)

Notes to self:

I made two batches of dough, because I also wanted to make some one-year-anniversary hardware cookies to take to work. One batch would have been enough, even with that. (Well, also extra dough to cover breakages and screw-ups, but I only broke one cookie and didn't botch any.)

I started out being good and making a set number (a dozen plus cover for breakage, so ~15-18) of each shape, so that I wouldn't be decorating forever. But then I had dough left over, so I finished it up with more of the same shapes. And then I decorated them all, because they were there. Better than usual -- I only did one all-nighter -- but still way too much time squinting over sugar. Next time, if there's dough left after whatever number of cookies you said you'd do for the specific event, cut it in some other shape entirely so you know when to stop!

I arranged the cookies on two of the rectangular trays, 8 or 9 of each shape in a column, 5 shapes per tray. This looked great! Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of the presentation, but it was very professional-bakery looking.

One tray would have been sufficient, however; even with the very positive response, I still ended up bringing an almost full tray home. 8-9 each of 5 shapes for approx. 18 people is plenty, especially with the huge amount of other food that's always there.
lizvogel: What is this work of which you speak? (Cat on briefcase.) (Work)
The problem with giving myself permission to goof off writing that DW fanfic for a while is that I haven't been in the mood for gothic-y horror. Which is not surprising, after Mars; not enough of a change of pace. I needed something light and fluffy, maybe even silly, to work on.

Luckily the housemate gave me a prompt last night, which turned into an 800-word completed story. (Tentatively titled "First Contact", unless I can come up with something less generic.) It makes me chuckle. And it's done, in one sitting no less, and that makes me very happy indeed.

Just This One

Thursday, November 10th, 2016 09:22 am
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
I wasn't going to say anything about the election, but I feel the need to put something above Tuesday's then-humorous post.

So, a few calming reflections.

- We can probably trust to bureaucratic inertia to scotch the more wacked-out ideas. Recreating the Great Wall of China is not really feasible for a country that can't even keep its existing roads and bridges properly paved, for example.

- Regardless of who won, I still would have been at the mechanic's yesterday getting the car seen to. Regardless of who won, I still would have needed to clean the toilet. And the cats would still be cute. Whose butt is in the Oval Office does not really affect most people's day-to-day lives.

- We don't actually know what the election-winner's going to do. We know what he thought would get him publicity (and he was right). Those may not be the same thing; we're talking about a reality TV show star here, remember. I'm not suggesting he's some kind of undercover saint, but let's see what actually happens before cranking up the hysteria, eh?

- This too shall pass. Although I am somewhat a subscriber to the Great (or Awful) Man theory of history, the truth is that one person generally can't shift the destiny of an entire country. Eight years ago, there were plenty of people proclaiming the end of the world, but the world's still here. I suspect it'll still be here four years from now, too.

- Finally, we can't control what the guy in the White House does. We can control what we do. This was one of the most acrimonious campaigns on record, and that stems directly from the acrimonious, sound-bite-driven, over-reaction-as-a-tool-of-silencing society we now live in. But we don't have to. If you're talking to someone you disagree with and your immediate response is to take what they say to the most egregious extreme and then vilify them for it, you're part of the problem. If you immediately assume anyone not jumping on your bandwagon is on the other side and attack them for it, you're part of the problem. But if you read or listen to what they're actually saying, and take the time to engage with it with civility and the assumption of good faith, you might just be part of the solution.

lizvogel: A jar of almonds that warns that it contains almonds. (Stupid Planet)
And now, I can't resist this.

Cthulhu / Voldemort 2016

Are you sure it's the greater evil?


October Word Count

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016 04:00 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Falling From Ground: 4717
Total new words in October: 4717

Hey, not bad! I was worried it was going to be lower (did I really not work on anything else all month?), but possibly-too-much coffee seems to have paid off.

More importantly, the first five-and-some chapters are with the alpha reader. (It was my unspoken goal to make that happen by the end of the month: check, with most of a week to spare.) She's given it a first read-through, and reports that it's not boring! So my worries about the pacing are soothed.

November will be going over the alpha's detailed feedback, fixing anything that needs it, and brainstorming where the heck to go next.

In the meantime, I've given myself permission to mess around with some fanfic if that's what's taking my fancy, which it is. (Might actually have figured out a fix for an old DW story I stalled out on, which pleases me.) It's really quite nice to just play with something for a change, no wordcount quotas or considerations of publishability.
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Hagensborg Wild Boar Madagascar Single Origin 64%

Where Bought: Marshall's

Like the last Hagensborg, amusingly-shaped bar and cute packaging. (Love the boar going wild.)

Aroma is sharp and bitter.

Texture is smooth and soft, chews easily and melts well.

Flavor is sharp, almost tart, but surprisingly pleasant. (I think this is what the Green & Black 85% was going for but missed.) There's an underlying sweetness that makes it very appealing, more so the more I eat.

Overall: Not something I'd want every day, but definitely wouldn't mind having again.
lizvogel: What is this work of which you speak? (Cat on briefcase.) (Work)
Has it really been since May that I've not done one of these?

Wordcount hasn't been the point of the exercise lately: first I was doing Highway of Mirrors revisions, and then I was working on getting Falling From Ground booted back up. And, indeed, on writing anything at all, which is always a frustrating horse to climb back up on.

But, just for the record, here's the counts for the last few months:

May
HoM: 13
original short fiction: 997
Total new words in May: 1010

June
HoM: 273
Total new words in June: 272

July
HoM: 645
original short fiction: 706
Total new words in July: 1351

August
HoM: 32
original short fiction: 219
FFG: 2783
Total new words in August: 3034

September
Green Ring: 1513
FFG: 2559
Total new words in September: 4072

(And yes, I deliberately held this through September to make the numbers look better.)

Mars continues to be the Franken-novel. I'll write a line here or a paragraph there, then gradually stitch them all together. Apparently I am going to write the whole damn novel that way. But at least the stitching's going well.

My time management, on the other hand, is shot to hell. I'm working just a day or so more than I want to be, and that plus the pressing house projects seems to be sucking my time away before I even see it. (I know plenty of people manage to write with full-time jobs and far more demands on their time than I have. I'm not saying it's not possible. I'm just having trouble with it atm.) Part of the problem is that right now, the writing process is taking quite a while to boot up each time, so if I can't clear about four hours at a stretch, I'm unlikely to have much to show for it. This is partly a function of Mars being obstreperous, and partly a function of being out of practice -- but of course I can't get into practice unless I can make time to write. And the only way I seem to be able to do that is to let everything else go to hell, and some of the bills for doing that previously are coming due.

But, as the counts above show, the trend's getting better. And at least I'm at the point where the rest of the ideas I originally had for FFG come in. I expect to hit a wall when I get through those, but it'll be the old ~30K wall, familiar territory. It makes an ugly splatting noise, but I know what to do about it.


October's goals: Decent progress on FFG, and at least check in with Green Ring and/or the A-Z story. Find a way to steal a day for email research, and at least get that a little farther forward.

Mostly, keep writing.
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Hammond's Pigs N' Taters

Where Bought: Cracker Barrel

Aroma is weird; bacon and potato chips and chocolate half-cancel each other out, so there isn't much smell and what there is can't decide if it should be sweet or savory.

Smooth melty chocolate with lots of crunchy crispy bacon- and chip-bits.

Flavor.... I'm not sure what the flavor is. Bits and chocolate seem to be half-cancelling each other out again. Nice salty aftertaste, though.

Overall: It's not bad, and the housemate quite likes it. Probably get some again, if only to try to figure out what I think of it. Would certainly try other flavors by the same brand.

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