korafox: Dahlia holds up a book, a rainbow shooting out of it.  Text: READ ALL THE BOOKS (reading rainbow)
Yes, that's right, I made it out of my twenties.  I consider this an actual achievement and not at all a foregone conclusion.  I don't at all understand people who are freaked out about hitting 30.  I actually feel like a semi-adult by now (only 17 years after leaving home for the first time, hah.) 

As always, I tally the books I read in this most recent trip around the sun.  This year I read a paltry 20 books.  So shamed of myself.  *sadface*  I also look at several of these and think, "Wait, I read this in the last year?  Surely it must have been longer ago than that."

For posterity, the list below the cut:
Read more... )
korafox: (braindead)
I need someone to give me a second opinion on this.

Sitting in traffic this evening, I spotted a vanity plate that read "RIKARD". 

So, that car is clearly the property of a Star Trek slasher, right?  

korafox: wheat field with cypresses (Default)
There is really something wrong with our country when you have to go to ESPN for meaningful, respectful conversation about a political issue.

But I am really, really impressed by the participants of this round table.  They are listening to one another, explaining how their viewpoints have changed, and not shying away from saying they were wrong in the past.  Beyond that, everyone on the panel is an eloquent  and passionate speaker, which in and of itself is a refreshing thing when it comes to politics.

So yeah, a certain someone should probably stop trying to piss off football players.  They are smart, politically active, and aren't accountable to an electorate.  Shockingly enough, this is good for free speech.
korafox: (melancholia)
Okay, so here we are, it is the middle of September and I need to drag myself out of my hole.  Work has slowed down and we more-or-less successfully launched the late-start courses last week, so I should not be using that as as an excuse for slacking any longer.

Here is what I have been up to:

1) Got murdered most ruthlessly in Amber Throne War

2) Decided at nearly the last minute to take an intro to programming course with my employee tuition waiver.  We are learning Python.  It is very interesting but I am also uncomfortably aware of the major limits of my understanding/abilities at the moment.

3) Finally was able to start the stained-glass afghan project I have wanted to do for a while.  It has been a nice mindless task to fill spaces where my brain has not been capable of much else.  Also, looking at the crochet instructions and then looking at computer code makes me giggle. 

What I have not done is any actual art in like two months.  I should really change that but I'm finding myself oddly resistant to the sort of emotional vulnerability that requires.  Bah. 

In conclusion, there are too many projects and too little time/brains.  Brain donations accepted but not tax deductible. 

korafox: (melancholia)
Have not been around much lately!  Sorry.  I wrapped up a few art projects in the last two weeks and have kind of been decompressing from creative work while I figure out what I want to do next.

Also work is being a bear crouched over my mental health and I don't think it's going to get any better for the next six weeks or so.  Without getting into details, I am trying to correct a pretty major problem that is 90% other people's oversight (I think I hope).  Besides the massive amount of time, effort, and detail juggling this is going to take, now my brain is internalizing the situation as My Fault and proof that I Am Doing It Wrong and this is rightfully going to reflect poorly on me in everyone's eyes.  *le sigh*

But hey, on the bright side, I am going to be moved up to full-time starting next month!  (Yay bennies!)  So at least if this is not fixed by August 1st I will have more hours in the day to work on it.  Oh gods, it had better be sorted out by then, though.

So yes, I am in holding pattern/mental health turtle position right now.  I will try my best to resurface before mid-September.
korafox: (lilacs)
Noema card titled "The Fountain"

The Fountain represents our ability to overcome adversity and start anew, either through determination and inspiration or through the simple passage of time. This Ikon washes the past away, allowing us to move on however much our lives and selves may have changed.

This is the seventeenth card of twenty-seven. It is very strange to think that there are only ten left (not counting Virtues, of which I think I will do twelve total if I have the energy).

I should do a Conjunction next, preferably something that does not require extensive amounts of foliage.
korafox: Dahlia holds up a book, a rainbow shooting out of it.  Text: READ ALL THE BOOKS (reading rainbow)
I actually remembered to get in line at the library for the third book of the Fitz and the Fool trilogy, and last Friday my hold number came up.  We only get the book for two weeks, so Husband and I are reading it at the same time. 

The Fool is still the best and I want to give him all the hugs.  Robin Hobb is seriously meaner to her characters than I am. (Yes, really.)  : P

Also I love that Fitz is finally, finally over himself enough to not freak out at the Fool's gender fluidity and fluidity of personalities generally.  In the first-person POV, he uses different pronouns and names for the Fool in the same paragraph and I can't stress enough how right this feels.

(I kind of want to write a fanfic of this titled Harlequin Romance but I have no idea what it would be about other than the obvious.)

korafox: (lilacs)
Over the weekend I finished a watercolor painting I've been working on for a while. For your viewing pleasure (one hopes):
Deepest Forest--watercolor painting

Now I just need to keep working on The Fountain. I think it will not be nearly as long a project as the previous card, thankfully.
korafox: (lilacs)
On our way back into town from visiting the in-laws this weekend, we stopped by the garden store and picked out some plants for the front yard.  It turned out to be really fortuitous timing, as there was a massive Memorial Day weekend sale.  Combined with a coupon, I got a lilac shrubling for eighteen dollars.  At regular price it was going for fifty.  I hemmed and hawed a bit about where to plant it, but ended up putting it on the left side of our driveway.  I would have liked it closer to my studio window, but I may very well put in more of them if this one works out.

That's a very big "if", since I seem to have something of a black thumb.  I really need to stick to hardy plants because I have no idea what I'm doing--about the only thing I've been able to grow on my own is catgrass and catnip, so far. We also got daylilies and a couple of what I believe are Asiatic lilies (they were not very well-marked, but the blooms will be very beautiful if I don't kill them). 

I am very happy to have a lilac on my property, even if it may be a while before it is a proper shrub.  They have a lot of personal meaning to me, and it is an appropriate time in my life to have one as a reminder of that.
korafox: wheat field with cypresses (Default)
If I had an entrepreneurial spirit (I do not), I would start a chain of haircut places.  Unlike every other haircut place in existence, there would be no talking allowed other than to communicate hairstyle information.  No forced chitchat whatsoever--you could just sit there and enjoy the sensations of having your hair worked on without feeling like you are failing at being human or the stylist feeling like they are failing to engage you. 

There would be a clearly marked, spacious place in front of you to put your bag instead of having to choose between 1) coat rack right by the front door where you can't see it, 2) on the floor with all the hair (blech), 3) on the counter in front of the mirror (won't work, mine is too big and the stylist has their stuff there), or 4) throw it in the trunk of your car before you leave for the salon so that no one sees you leave it unattended in your vehicle.

Also everyone would be paid a good living wage and because of that there would be no tipping allowed, either, so that you don't have to freak out over whether you are tipping way more than or way less than you should. 

So yes, this haircut chain would cater to those of us who hate negotiating the social aspects of salons.  I guarantee there are stylists out there too who would enjoy the prospect of getting to work on people's hair in silence and really focus on it. 

And in my fantasy world this salon would be called the Awkward Turtle and it would be the best ever.
korafox: wheat field with cypresses (Default)
On reflection, a bout of acute social anxiety/awkward is probably not the best time to go try to in-person talk to my House rep, but it can't be helped.  Like a unicorn, he appears out of the mists for a full hour and fifteen minutes of talking to his constituents tomorrow, and I can't in good conscience not show up at his office.  He almost certainly scheduled it for mid-afternoon so that people with full-time jobs couldn't go, so I need to take advantage of being part-time while I can and stick up for everyone.

Who knows, maybe I will get in to see him because I won't be shaking a placard (no time/energy/ability to come up with pithy sayings).  Maybe I will roll a 20 on my persuasion check and he will roll a 1 to oppose.  Maybe he will fall to his knees and weep for the betrayal of the public trust and simple decent morality that has been his continued support of the AHCA.

No, it will probably not happen,  But I have to carry myself like it is possible.

korafox: (melancholia)
I do not sing for joy.
When my voice lifts to pierce the air
it is not for love of beauty, hope, happiness.
I cast my song before me as a shield
a rebuke
a triumph that screams:
Here is my voice, to silence what steals my thoughts.
Here are words that do not turn inward to feed.
Though you try to drown me,
Here is air.  I breathe.
I sing.

korafox: What the hell is going on? (phoenix wright)
I may have been a little premature in declaring that I kicked the almost-cold to the curb.  Hopefully it doesn't get any worse than a general ooginess.

Okay, so this morning we found out a thing that was apparently very different between Husband and my childhoods.  Over the weekend, I dyed a bunch of eggs, because it has been years and years and I wanted to.  (The best reason to do anything creative.)  I was very happy with some, and others were just a mess, and then there was the one I dropped on the floor and it got a bit...cracked.  It's okay!  I stuck stickers on it!

When I finished dyeing the eggs, Husband asked me where I was going to display them.  I was confused!  I answered, "In the fridge?"  I mean, I cut the top off the egg carton so you could see the pretties, but that seemed like a no brainer.

Fast forward to this morning, as I am having my breakfast and I grabbed one of the eggs out of the fridge.  I'm sitting at the coffee table cracking the shell, and Husband walks in and asks, very confused, what I am doing.  Equally confused, I reply that I am eating the egg. 

"After you dyed it?" he says.

So, it turns out that in his family they did not eat their dyed eggs.  Presumably they displayed them out on a table somewhere?  But this just seems horribly wasteful to me!  The egg dye says it is food-safe.  It's pretty much just food coloring and the vinegar used to dissolve the tablets.  There are probably more toxic things in the spicy buffalo ranch chips he was noshing on yesterday, no joke.

I am definitely curious what other people's customs are, if egg dyeing is a thing you do/did. 

(Also I totes made an Exeggcute egg and it is my favorite ever.)
korafox: text: Let me 'splain...No.  There is too much. Let me sum up. (summarize)
Sorry I've been so scarce for the last week or so.  Work has been an absolute bear, and any time that was not scheduled for something, I was using to try to recuperate and rally my energy.  It was stressful enough that when the week was finally done, I nearly got a rebound cold.  Thankfully, the scritchiness in my throat and the splitting headache eased off today, so I think I am out of the woods. 

I finished the squares for my blanket and have moved on to octagons.  It's nice to be working with colors instead of all white yarn again.  I just hope it all comes together in the end and I don't run out of green or yellow too early.  : /

Speaking of blankets, I finally had to replace my cloud blanket on Friday.  Poor thing.  I bought it before I went off to high school, which means...it is about 16 years old.  *cries*  To be clear, it was not my choice to replace it.  I knew it was on its last legs what with the filling spilling out in half a dozen places.  But the cat had other designs, and I really don't think it would have survived another trip through the washing machine after she barfed all over it.  *cries more*

I sincerely considered giving the blanket a viking funeral, but in the end I just thanked it for its service in keeping me warm all these years and threw it in the trash.  Then I spent waaaay too long trying to find a replacement at the mall.  See, my cloud blanket was made of a fabric they described as "T-shirt material".  It was so soft, and I am very particular when it comes to tactile sensations, so I wanted to find something similar.  Apparently this was too much to ask, as all the department stores only have cruddy scratchy polyester fabric comforters, but I eventually found something at Target that I could stand.  It is not quite as soft to the touch, but it is good enough and much pwuffier than the old blanket. 

Anyhoo.  There is much more that happened this week, but that is all I have for tonight.
korafox: wheat field with cypresses (Default)
Griorgair's Visionary

The Visionary is the part of us that creates grand designs and tries to execute them-- that wants to change the world and believes that it can be done. Unlike the Stargazer, the Visionary's plans come from within; but both frequently result in lifelong quests and obsessions. Out of all the aspects, the Visionary is the most likely to create something which will stand the test of time; but in exchange it is also an engine of perpetual dissatisfaction with the way things are.

This is number 16 of 27! Progress is being made! I was hoping to have more done by halfway through frickin' April, but this card was understandably complicated. There was a lot of figuring geometric things out as I went along, and there were most definitely things that did not make the final cut.

I think I will leave the next card up to the random number generator. I've had some ideas for the Courtier, but it needs more time to percolate.
korafox: (braindead)
Well, I finished it.  The Visionary is done, stick a fork in it.  Unfortunately I have no brains remaining to make intelligent commentary on it right now or navigate the arcane process of uploading images, so you all will have to wait until I get home tomorrow to see it.  : P

Because I am constantly getting myself in over my head, I started a new crochet blanket yesterday.  This time I am learning how to do things that are made on a polar coordinate system instead of Cartesian!  In other words, I'm making squares right now.  Later there will be hexagons.  And then after that, I will get to figure out how to attach these all to one another.  *cries*

Right now though, I have made...6 squares out of 50.  Long project will be long.  I just hope I don't have to go buy more yarn because the other point of this blanket was to use up some of my leftovers so I can feel less bad about going and splurging on lovely soft Lion brand yarn.  I'm making this blanket in a green and yellow motif (gee I wonder why) and hopefully it will be done before football season for Husband to snuggle under.  Given that football doesn't return for almost five months, it had better be done by then!
korafox: text: Let me 'splain...No.  There is too much. Let me sum up. (summarize)
I am feeling so very overwhelmed the last week or so.  My to-do list has absolutely ballooned, both for my personal things and for stuff I need to get done at work.  And of course, the bulk of it is multi-step forward planning that requires me to make decisions and reservations with other people's money, which is about top on my "do not want" stress list.

I have the to-do list, but just looking at it makes my chest tight.  I really, really need to make some inroads this weekend.  That requires first being able to get over the anxiety and decision fatigue and starting on something, though.  This requires first not curling up on the couch and sticking my metaphorical fingers in my ears and going "lalala".

Screw everything, I am starting with walkies at the park.  Maybe that will decompress my chest a little and let me breathe.

korafox: (melancholia)
Today was (local) election day for us, and with about 85% of the precincts in, there are definitely a few results I want to *facepalm* at.  The good news is that we got a competent mayor.  Overall, though, local politics feels somewhat like crawling forward hands and knees on a treadmill.  I am...disheartened.  And having difficulty soothing myself so that I can get up again tomorrow and keep trying to make things better in my sphere of influence.

I don't have any kind of leftover energy to deal with national politics right now.  Supreme Court and a zombie health care bill and North Korea and ugh.  And there is pretty much nothing I can do about this anyways, having two firmly Dem senators and a jackass of a Republican rep who was completely in favor of the original AHCA.  (I will keep flinging phone messages into the void of his DC office once there is something concrete to complain about again, though.)

Work on art continues.  The lineart for the Visionary is nearly done, for a certain value of "nearly".   I will try to keep telling myself that this is a worthwhile pursuit that adds something to the world.


Apr. 2nd, 2017 09:10 pm
korafox: wheat field with cypresses (Default)
I finished reading Parable of the Talents yesterday, and while a part of me wishes I had read it much earlier in life--not because the younger me would have enjoyed it more, but because I could have had its messages with me all this time--this is definitely an appropriate time in the history of our country and world to have undertaken it.

I have a nagging curiosity about whether the campaign staff of the asshole sitting in the White House had read this book, because the demagogue who gets voted President in the book literally uses the phrase "make America great again" more than once.  But then I give a bitter laugh because there's no way in hell anyone associated with that campaign has read the work of a black, female science fiction writer.

I really, really like the Earthseed belief system in this book and Parable of the Sower.  While it is not exactly the way I would shape my own energy and efforts, it really does feel true.  And the verses that begin each chapter of the books are lovely and apropos to our times, to wit:

Choose your leaders
with wisdom and forethought.
To be led by a coward
is to be controlled
by all that the coward fears.
To be led by a fool
is to be led
by the opportunists
who control the fool.
To be led by a thief
is to offer up
your most precious treasures
to be stolen.
To be led by a liar
is to ask
to be told lies.
To be led by a tyrant
is to sell yourself
and those you love
into slavery.

I highly recommend both of these books, which do not shy away from bleakness and misery, but have real gems of hope in them regardless. 

Taboo art

Mar. 29th, 2017 08:38 pm
korafox: (melancholia)
I got an email today that said our college library is putting together a display of "transformed" books for National Library Week--books that have been altered by being drawn on, had things pasted on, had the pages cut up to make 3-D effects, etc.  They are asking for loans of any such books people might have.

I just...do not know how to feel about this.  Well, I know how I feel.  It causes an immediate and visceral negative reaction in me.  I cannot imagine taking a knife to a book, even to create art out of it.  I've never been able to even highlight or underline in textbooks, let alone dog ear pages.  I just don't know whether this is a mala prohibita thing that is just my own bibliophilic moralizing, or if it's actually a mala in se offense that goes against the Good and Just order of the universe.

It's not like I have delicate sensibilities when it comes to art.  "Piss Christ" didn't faze me, and I can just shrug at Christo's "let's cover a bridge with tarps" installations (I do worry about the environmental impact, though I think he makes efforts to minimize it).  But I wouldn't break into someone's house to steal their paints, and I wouldn't go into a museum and scribble on paintings someone has already made.  That's what cutting on books feels like to me--these are already works of art, complete, and they belong to everyone in the sense that they are physical records of the human body of knowledge. 

I just think about what would happen if we have a nuclear apocalypse, and how precious that knowledge would be.  Can you imagine being one of the monks from Canticle for Leibowitz, and you come across this treasure trove of "transformed" books?  How devastating it would be to find these texts, chopped to bits and missing half or more of their information. 

So, yes.  I will never be able to bring myself to make art out of books in any way that damages them.  Alas, it is the way of things that there is not a damned thing I can do to keep others from doing so.

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