Monday, July 11, 2011

This is why I'm so often barefoot...

I shared this picture earlier today on Google+ (I'll be posting my thoughts on G+ tomorrow), but it was cute and thought that the rest of you would enjoy seeing it.

In regards to my NaNoWriMo experiment, I'm a bit behind if I'm going to reach 50,000 by the end of the month, but that's okay. I'm getting through the hard part right now--at the end of this chapter I should hopefully be able to let loose and fly without providing context/exposition every fourth paragraph. That's the hope anyway. Still, I'm averaging not quite 1,500 words a day. I'm happy with that!

Total Word Count: 16,026

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Holly: 1, Shelob: 0

"Watch out, Sam. There's a spider web across the length of the kitchen."

I'd just finished eating the last piece of bacon, tormenting Nala mercilessly the entire time. The cat has on more than one occasion licked up the bacon grease off of a plate if no one's watching.

She's a smart cat.

Sam was in the process of packing his lunch, and I'd looked up just in time to see a single thread of the web glinting in the morning light. Heeding my warning, he came to a dead stop, looking for it. I pointed it out to him, and he tore off a paper towel and proceeded to knock it down, no spider in sight.

"That's weird. Definitely not a cobweb," he noted as he threw the paper towel away.

"Don't tell me things like that," I shuddered. Spiders and I... well, we're not friends. "I'm just wondering how you'd missed it."

Sam shrugged. "It was up pretty high."

Knowing my fear of spiders, Sam proceeds to amuse and distract me as he finished packing his lunch. In the course of cleaning up breakfast, all thoughts of spiders and webs disappeared from my brain. Mission accomplished, he kissed me and then headed to work.

Later in the afternoon, I realized that there was far too much blood in my caffeine system. Understanding the direct relation between my writing and caffeine intake, I walked back into the kitchen to make another batch of coffee. I set it to brew and then tidied a few random things around the house while I waited. Re-entering the kitchen, I poured myself a mug and went to fetch some half-n-half from the fridge.

Walking along I caught a glimpse of black and felt something brush against my hair. Immediately I started batting at my hair, thinking a fly had somehow managed to get into the house and avoid the cats. I look around, surprised that I cannot hear it buzzing.

Now, my eyesight isn't the best in the world. In fact, it's pretty atrocious. Because of this, I often make assumptions based on the general size and color of objects.

So here I am, batting at the air about my head like a madwoman at what I think is a fly, when my brain repeats what it just realized: I cannot hear the fly buzzing. Pieces snapping into place in my brain, I shrieked and ran into the laundry room. I pulled clothes away and ran my fingers everywhere, trying to find any trace of the bug. Coming up with nothing, I turned and looked back into the kitchen.

Sure enough, there in the middle of the kitchen, hanging at about head height, was a spider dangling at the end of its thread. In my delusional state I'd been playing tether-ball with an arachnid.

Blood pounding, adrenaline pumping through my system, my vision tunneled down to where all I can see is this spider. Briefly I toyed with the idea of exiting the back door and walking around to the front of the house and just waiting for Sam to come home so he could deal with it. I discarded the idea, unwilling to call my husband home to deal with a spider yet again. (Yes, this has happened on multiple occasions. I fear, loathe, and hate anything with eight legs. It's irrational and I'm not proud of it, but there you go.)

Eyes darting about for something, anything, to deal with this intruder, they lit upon a broom in the corner. I reached out and grabbed it, not comprehending the fact that the dustpan was still snapped onto the end of it. I spun around, broom in hand, and with a resounding crash I smacked the spider out of the air and to the floor.

What followed was five minutes of me pounding the broom and dustpan into the floor with all the incoherent rage and violence of any murder done in passion. When I finally stopped, all that was left was a shattered dust pan and a messy ball of spider guts.

Breathing heavily, I slid down the wall and sat on the floor, closing my eyes and waiting for my body to calm down. Minutes passed, and when I opened my eyes I could not help but start laughing.

Nala was licking up the remains of the spider, purring the whole while.

Total Word Count: 14,544

Friday, July 8, 2011

Camp NaNoWriMo

At the end of June, Sam started bemoaning how he needed to start working out more than just twice a week. He'd plateaued on his weight loss over the course of the month and was wanting to kick his butt into gear. Completely understandable. Problem is in the past when we've tried to make a commitment to more exercise or different eating habits or [insert good habit here], we typically do well for a few weeks and then fall off the wagon.

I had the brilliant idea of making a one-month commitment to a goal. As this blog has shown, I can usually force myself to do something for about a month. A whole year... not so much, but a month I can handle.

So the last day of June, Sam came home from work and again mentioned a desire to increase his exercise. I found myself saying, "I'll make you a deal."

Deal? What "deal?" You said nothing about a "deal" to us! my inner lazy child started to wail.

"Oh?" was all Sam said, unaware of the internal panic and confusion my words had caused.

"How about for the month of June, you try to exercise every single day. In return, I'll try to write at least 1,000 words a day on a story."

Where did that come from? my other inner voices wondered, flabbergasted.

How should I know? Y'all are the ones who supply my ideas. Just roll with it, I replied.

(Please don't send those gentlemen in their nice white coats after me. I'm not truly crazy. Promise.)

Sam agreed to this experiment, and I'm now supposed to write a story.

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short, occurs in November each year. I learned of it back when I was college, and while I've always been intrigued by it, I've never participated. Partly it's because November is always a crazy busy time in my life. Mostly, however, I just never felt like I had a story to tell.

Well, apparently I'm not the only one who never has time in November but seems to have plenty of time in the summer, so this year they're doing Camp NaNoWriMo, which I'm trying out. We'll see how it goes. I still don't really have a story of my own to tell, but I'm enjoying my foray regardless. If everything goes well, I may even share it on this blog once it's completed.

Or not.

Either way, we'll see how this turns out. Currently I'm right on target for hitting 50,000 by the end of the month--providing I do today's 1,500 this afternoon. Onward and upward!

Total Words: 11,680
Total Words: 13,062

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Just like riding a bike

I promised all of you that I would be back on July 7, and true to my word I have returned.

Yes, I know you have missed me greatly. Rejoice! For the time of parting has passed.

Or something like that.

It was nice to take a break from the blog for awhile and not feel guilty about it. It's probably something I'll do again at some point. For now, I'm excited to be back, and I'm going to try and make it worth your while.

(Notice I've made no promises as to how successful at that I'll be.)

The past month has been filled with good times with friends and family, games, books, movies, and a plethora of happy memories. Hopefully at some point I'll remember to share them with all of you. If not, just know that the past month has been put to good use.

And now, to celebrate my return to the interwebs.... a cat picture!

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Leave of Absence

No, I'm not dead yet.

However in the past couple of weeks Sam and I have been kept pretty busy with friends/family coming to town to visit, and it doesn't look like it's going to slow down any for the rest of the month. This weekend is Sam and I's second anniversary, the following week my parents will be down for a day or two, the weekend after that is Hip Gamer's birthday, and then the following week will be my I'm-going-to-be-a-hermit recovery time. That weekend will then be Independence Day, and then Sam's 'weekend' will happen.

With all that in mind, I've decided I'm just going to take the month of June off, since I've already missed a week of blogging goodness due to the (excellent!) problem of a social life.

So, until I come back on July 7th, I'll leave you with this adorable picture:

Monday, June 6, 2011

Too Cute

I find this absolutely adorable for some bizzaro reason. Go to Boing Boing to find out it's details.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Flaming Hamster Wheel*

After our adventures with the zoo, we had one of many cookouts from that weekend. Of course I was still in shutterbug mode, so I made a nuisance of myself taking pictures of people.

It would be easy for me to overwhelm everyone with the shots, so I'll restrain myself to just one particular picture. It's been well received elsewhere, and really I just want to show off the pretty:

Hi-Res version.

I've been told it looks like a band poster/album art. I just like the way the lighting came out.

(*The blog title is a reference to the first band name Rapier Wit ever suggested to Sam nearly ten years ago.)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lions and Tigers and Cute Baby Elephants!

Ever since I went off to college, I've made it to the zoo at least once a year. Most years, I've gone to the OKC Zoo. However, I have also made it to the Fort Worth Zoo, Tulsa Zoo, and Wichita Zoo during that time.

Again, most of those times were with Sherri. (In case you were unaware of the fact, Sherri is obsessed with the zoo. Really obsessed. Like, she's-been-getting-a-Zoo-Friends-Pass-for-several-years now-as-all-of-her-friends-trade-off-buying-it-as-a-Christmas-present kind of obsessed.) Occasionally it's been without her, but on those rare occasions I typically was accompanying a small child.

Therefore, it came as no surprise when Sherri informed all of us that she was going to the zoo on Saturday, and we were more than welcome to accompany her. Our friends Rapier Wit and Literary Cat were in town, and Walking Hyperbole's birthday was this past weekend, so a trip to the zoo seemed an excellent idea.

Unfortunately, Sherri ended up not getting to go with us on Saturday because of family, but the rest of us decided to go ahead and brave the heat and crowds because, well, it's the zoo! And we had plans! And there were animals to see!

(Sometimes I channel my inner five-year-old. I'll try to keep her under control.)

Since all of us have visited the OKC Zoo multiple times in the past, we did not do a full tour, instead choosing to visit the exhibits that most interested us that day. In particular, we were on a quest to see the baby elephant, Malee. I think Adorable Nurse would have thrown us to the alligator if we had skipped the baby elephant.

We did see several other animals, of course, and I even managed to grab a few decent shots along the way. Even though I've posted most of these elsewhere, it's my blog and I feel like showing them off. After all, not everybody frequents the same places I do!

One of the first animals you see when you enter the zoo is a rhino. As this was my first trip with my new camera, I was looking forward to giving it a workout here.

These are a couple of the prairie dogs that were brave enough to risk the heat. Even though the predicted high was only for the high-to-mid-80's, by the time we left that afternoon it was pushing 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Needless to say, most of the animals were taking an afternoon nap.

They looked quite adorable too.

Not all of them were snoozing the afternoon away, however. The black bears were full of energy.

This grizzly just kept walking the same circuit over and over again. It made me wonder what he was nervous about.

Of course, other animals were lucky and could just go for a swim to cool off. The sea lions were quite happy to be aquatic animals, and would have have teased the other animals if they'd been nearby to see.

Eventually, we succeeded in our quest and found the new Elephant Exhibit. (It's gorgeous!) Malee was also very active and willing to show off for the throngs of humans who'd gathered to gaze adoringly at her.

(Once again, I apologize for the lack of updating. I blame it on so many fantastic people coming to town for Memorial Day, the last of whom are finally home. Don't worry, I'll more posts about our adventures in the coming days.)

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Fuzzy Pack

Another trailer for your viewing pleasure...

Cat Variations 6

Sorry this didn't post yesterday. I was in a happy place hanging out with Literary Cat and Adorable Nurse, and didn't notice the glitch until this morning. 

Similar to the previous batch that was mostly a straightforward edit, this set focuses on trying to make the photos soft and gentle. Cuddly even.

Of course, the only cat that's truly cuddly is Nala, though Tiger tries to pretend otherwise. Techie wants to be cuddly, but has no clue how to go about it. At least he doesn't hide quite as much as he used to.

(For the longest time, Adorable Nurse refused to believe that Techie actually existed.)

Which kitty would you want to cuddle?

For high-res versions of the pictures, please visit their Flickr album.

Previous treatments include black and white, seventies, summer, dusty, basic.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cat Variations 5

Most of what I've done thus far has involved aging the pictures in some way. For this next treatment, I decided to try a more straightforward feel to them. Most it involved enriching the colors and a little basic editing. Of course, some photos reacted better to the process than others.

For your viewing pleasure, a basic treatment:

To view high-res versions of the pictures, please visit their Flickr album.

Previous treatments include black and white, seventies, summer, and dusty.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It's coming...

I'm so, so excited! Please, just watch this through to the end. It's worth it. I promise.

Thanksgiving can't get here soon enough for me! (At least in regards to this movie....)

Cat Variations 4

As I've mentioned before, I've spent a good deal of time going through old family photos, scanning, labeling, and touching them up. Some of my favorites are pictures from the turn of the previous century. While I know that my cats would never in a million years stay still for the old technology to capture them, it's still fun to pretend.

With that in mind, for this next treatment I tried to make them look like old, dusty portraits.

Has anybody found a favorite yet?

To see high-res versions of the pictures, check out their album on Flickr.

Previous treatments include black and white, seventies, and summer.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Marvel(ous) News

While I'm not a huge comic nerd (I'm not rushing down to my local comic book store every Wednesday), I still grew up knowing a fair amount about the more popular franchises due to their representation in other mediums: television, movies, and novels. This is how I discovered Batman, the Justice League, Spider-Man, the Hulk, and of course, the X-Men.

In fact, the X-Men are what eventually lead me to reading any comics at all. (That and later on Neil Gaiman's Sandman series.) My discovery of X-Men resulted not from the movies that came out out when I was in college, but rather the animated series that ran in the early 90's.

Man I loved that show.

Well, yesterday I discovered something that made me utterly ecstatic, and today I'm sharing it with all of you: all 63 episodes of X-Men (The Animated Series) are available to watch for free on the Marvel Website.

You're welcome.

Cat Variations 3

I almost left Techie out of this particular batch, because he absolutely refused to stay still when I took this set of pictures of the cats. Then I found the one included here that I'd overlooked several times. You don't see his pretty eyes the way you can with the girls, but it's the best picture of the lot.

For this next set, I wanted a hazy warmth. Something that made me think of lazy summer days, especially since Tiger looks like she's drinking up sunshine in these pictures. I'm fairly pleased with the way they came out. Of course, I'm more interested on what you all may have to say.

Without further ado, the "Summer" treatment:

To see higher res versions of these pictures, check out their album on Flickr.

Earlier treatments include black and white and the seventies.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cat Variations 2

It's amazing to me sometimes the differences that Photoshop can make in certain pictures. For this next set, I wanted them to feel like the pictures my Papa took back in the seventies. One of the results was that everything ended up with a blue-green tinge to it, which made Nala's pictures come out so much better than in the black and white photos. By the same token, I feel like Tiger's pictures were much better in the black and white treatment.

Once again, let me know your opinions on the pictures. I'm too close to the project to have an objective view!

Here are my kittens again, this time with a "seventies" treatment.

To see higher res versions, please see my Flickr account.

Previous treatment done to the photos was black and white.