Say who is this typing man?

I don't even know, people. They let anyone write on the internet nowadays.

Nov 1, 2012


NaNoWriMo is the term for National Novel Writing Month, or "November" in lay-person terms. During this time period, masochists all over the writing world try and crank out a 50,000-page novel within the month of November.

Last year I made an account on That was the extent of my participation.

This year I'm going to try and actually and contribute. 50,000 words in a month works out to 1,666.66666666 etc words a day. So, I'll shoot for 2,000 and see if it'll work.

I'm also kind of bending the idea a bit. 2000 words of anything will be my benchmark. So a new blog post combined with only 400 words of "novel" will totally count.

Which means that for today, I've already written... 124 words. Now it's 132, including this sentence.

Oct 29, 2012

Nine Ways To Get Candy at Halloween after Age 15

Halloween is the holiday for child-mafiosos. For a simple fee of some Snickers or Reeses, you gain protection from anomalous "tricks" that may unfortunately befall your household otherwise. A terrible thing, those random hooligans. Good thing you have purchased the protection plan of a tiny Batman now committed to fending these anonymous tricksters off for you... and all it took was a handful of candy.

For some reason, people stop finding this nationally supported crime syndicate less endearing and more obnoxious once you get old enough to have the really awesome costumes. As a cosplayer and regular Con attendee, I find that people won't give me candy anymore, no matter how incredibly detailed or canonically accurate my costume is. That is, they wouldn't until I came up with this list. Try and deny me candy now, random homesteaders!


1. Borrow a child

This is by far the least difficult thing to wrangle - find a friend who either has kids or has a kid sibling. Volunteer to "babysit" this child on Halloween. Give the kid some coaching on proper candy extortion and watch the sugar fly! Some important things to note, however: the ratio of "grown-ups" to "kid" must be regulated. Old ladies start giving you the evil eye if you ring their doorbell with five college kids and one 10-year-old. Depending on how good the kid is, you may want to let them gather the candy themselves and then take a percentage. One child with good enough acting skills can net more candy than a child with an "adult" also standing there with open bag. Some stingy candy overlords will see the adult, jump to the correct conclusion that you are using the kid for additional candy-getting years and correspondingly limit their candy-giving to one measly bar instead of the full handful you know is the due right of all trick-or-treaters.

2. Get a wagon

The best part about a wagon is its multiple functions. Transportation of body parts, ill-advised sledding vehicle, this thing does it all! If you stick some amorphous blob of material or bean bag in it and park it on the sidewalk far enough from the house you're planning on trick-or-treating so that it remains amorphous and slightly too dark to see other than a wagon with something (or someone) in it, it's an instant trick-or-treating boon. Once you've initiated the trick-or-treating encounter, explain to the poor sap at the door just giving the candy away that your child (or the kid you're babysitting if you look too young for chilluns) was too scared (aaw, poor baby) to come to the door him or herself. Have some details ready (age appropriate for fear of people's doors, name, gender, costume) in case you get sucked into a conversation. This trick is... tricky, though. Don't claim to have a kid if your neighbors actually know who you are, and be careful to pick an age that corresponds to the "scary level" of the house. Our house growing up was sufficiently scary to keep kids from coming to the door the next year out of remembered fear. Some suburbanite with nothing on their cookie cutter door won't be believable if you're pretending to have a seven-year-old.

3. Creepy kid doll/fake infant
'Nuff said.

4. Actually have children

In terms of things to do for candy, this should probably be a last resort. Having kids is like owning a house - some kind of rental plan always works out better if you're not ready for the responsibility. On the other hand, if you were already going to be having munchkin-monsters popping out of your lady garden, then dangit, capitalize on that crap. It's like your own small-operation sweatshop. But with candy.

5. Blame your parents

My brothers and I managed to milk this one for a couple years. Our parents, being economically-minded as well as just dang cruel, would take a percentage of our haul from the night and give it out to trick-or-treaters as our home stash ran out (or was eaten by said parents. You know, taste-testing. Making sure it wasn't tampered with). When we hit that strange sullen year when we decided we were "too cool" to trick-or-treat (I'm still not sure what was wrong with us, but my bet is some kind of alien virus that we only shook because of our natural bacteria's strength), we'd still get chucked out the door with the instructions to get more candy, 'cause we were almost out. Our neighbors became accustomed to us showing up at their doors saying "trick-or-treat... don't blame me, Dad ran out of candy." The same excuse works on strangers in neighborhoods that aren't your own - just make sure you have an appropriate "I'm too cool for this" expression on. If you want to step up your game, say you just moved in a couple of blocks over. But remember the specifics of your lie in case you come back to that house the next year.

6. Dress up as a child

This is a chancy thing. Don't get creepy with it. No adult babies. But if you, like me, frequently get mistaken for a teenager, play it up a bit. Dress like a middle-schooler and see if you can get away with it! If you can't, remember I'm not liable.

7. Do the grown-up party thing

Most Halloween parties (are over by now) have a giant bowl of candy present for the attendees to water down their alcohol with. The best part is, all the work to look good as a zombie lingerie model happened before the party, so you are free to eat as much as you want with little repercussion (unless you're having another party on actual Halloween).

8. Find a parade. Or a hay ride. Or something where they throw candy at you.

It's probably a good idea to pick a costume with a helmet if you go this route. Haunted hay rides and parades can be a great time until you pick up a concussion from a king-sized Butterfingers to the face. I have gotten more than my fair share of Smarties-shaped bruises from overenthusiastic kids and straight-up violent teenagers chucking candy like it's the qualifying round of the Olympic shot-put event.

9. Buy candy at the store (like a goshdang adult)

This is admittedly the most boring option available. Seriously. Candy just tastes sweeter when it's been finagled for free from a "responsible" adult. It's earned in a way that has nothing to do with spending your actually-earned money. Not to mention the priceless stories you'll have for years to come if you attempt any of the other items on this list. But then again, buying candy from the store ensures you won't end up with a bunch of crap you don't like or the lame giveaways from those houses that are into health kicks and give you like, apples and junk instead of the diabetes-inducing sugar coma you're really there for.

Do you have any tips or tricks for the so-called "too old to trick-or-treat" crowd? How do you get the optimum amount of haul on Halloween?

Sep 11, 2012

My Mom is a Big Damn Hero

I'm a huge geek. Seriously. You're not surprised, right? Come on, I've got a cribbed Joss Whedon Firefly line in the header of this post. I love stories of overcoming adversity and aliens exposing the underlying truths of humanity and crazy superpowers and knights and wizards and all that jazz, and I can fangirl out at the drop of the hat for oh... anything. (Seriously. I got followed by @ConfusedCap, a fictional twitter account for Captain America, and I felt like a superstar.) My fandoms are as wide as the great expanse of space (including the uncharted Delta quadrant), and my shame at my enthusiastic love of most all things geeks is practically nonexistent. (I say practically, because parts of 4chan straight up scare me.)

I come by geekery honestly, though. My mom started my two brothers and me on Star Trek, musicals, crafting our dreams and reading classic novels before we grew out of the stage where everything is amazing, and as a result none of us ever really grew out of that stage. We never struggled with the suspension of disbelief, because the stories of overcoming ridiculous odds and generally being a hero never seemed too out of reach - we had an example right in front of us.

My mother is my hero.
Okay, she can be a geek at times as well.
She dropped out of college and worked various crap jobs (some literally crap jobs, she was a zookeeper at the Birmingham Zoo) and married the man of her dreams who had also dropped out of college and forged a life where their marriage could grow their faith as they provided for three kids on a one-kid budget and kept them all healthy and happy and fed, pushing through depression, going back and getting her degree as her youngest 2 graduated high school (twins, remember?) because she was writing curriculum for the field she was in, and they thought since she was creating the classes she should probably have graduated from them.

My mother should be your hero too.

She was the first (and was the only for most of her career) female fire fighter in Mountain Brook and saved lives and fought fires for over 25 years before retiring with the rank of Lieutenant. She was also an EMT and in her spare time joined DMAT (Disaster Medical Assistance Team), a volunteer-organized and led division of FEMA that responded primarily to natural disasters. I say primarily, because in September of 2001 she and her team AL-1 (Alabama Team One) deployed to ground zero. She was team captain of 13 fellow medical volunteers who treated the workers coming off of the pile. The workers digging through the rubble of the trade centers knew that the AL team would do their best to patch up any injuries and send them right back out there. People would duct-tape wounds shut out of fear of being pulled from their work and wait for her team's shift to start because they knew they'd only be taken from their duty if there was no alternative.
This was taken two weeks after impact.
Mom dealt with the crushing stress of working at ground zero with aplomb, sweet tea and the aid of her Toy Story Sheriff Woody doll. She came back with pins from the other DMAT teams from all over the states and the obligation to share her story with her home state. Luckily, Mom's skill at story-telling, well-honed from coming to my kindergarten class and reading The Highwayman and telling zoo stories and firefighting stories at bedtime, was well up to the task of expressing the horror and hope found in New York.

I was in middle school - I wasn't even really sure what the world trade centers were, and when I saw it on TV before the faculty were ordered to shut off the news and explain to the kids, I honestly thought the buildings being shown were somewhere in Japan or something. It was a shock to realize safety can be an illusion, even as far away from the more iconic cities as Alabama is. I don't remember much of her being away. I'm pretty sure she called us a few times - I know she at least called Dad, because our family is her favorite touchstone of support. I do remember waiting in the airport for her to arrive home and having a news crew there.

Of course, four years later she'd do it all again in the NOLA airport after Hurricane Katrina - I do remember her calling home from there, since the phrase "If you hear about a medic that's been stabbed, don't worry, it wasn't me" was in the conversation. She brought back a cat from that one.

My mom has been my hero since before I could express myself in writing. My dad too, actually. She's my hero for reasons that don't really have anything to do with what she's accomplished, but more with how she operates and works with her gifts and around her own flaws and just is generally amazing. The rest of the stuff just makes it easier to force other people to recognize and feel even a bit of the awe she can inspire.

So yeah, to further crib from Whedon, I believe in heroes. It's an old-fashioned notion, but not hard to do.

Because my mom is a big damn hero.

Sep 7, 2012

Explanation Post

So here's the deal. My mom is going through chemo for breast cancer. It happens. I found out about it on the car trip back to Alabama from Atlanta after being on a plane and stuck in an airport with people who I'd been exposed to for a solid week in Costa Rica doing church with, so I didn't take it well.

And I absolutely dislike when practical strangers force advice, condolences or support upon me regarding this subject. I'm dealing with it, my mom's dealing with it, you don't really give a crap so don't make me pretend to appreciate you. She ain't dying, I'm not her facebook, don't ask me for status updates.

And that kind of sums up my attitude on the whole thing. I felt this more strongly right at the outset in June, but I still don't want to deal with people about it.

BUT, it's kind of affecting everything I write, and my mom is basically my hero so I'm going to be gushing about her coping methods and I don't want to have to preface every awesome blog post about her Ugly Doll O'icks and his scrubs or the better non-pain scale with an explanation post. Also some drafts I've been working on are being hooked into this (especially my write-up of the trip to Costa Rica), so again, easy and (relatively) short write-up of exposition.

Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, vast and vaguely anonymous uncaring internets.

Aug 9, 2012

Ode to Missing Camera Charger - Balcony scene (Proof that my English Major ain't been in vain for nothin')

I originally wrote this in a Facebook note on Sept 1, 2011 in a fit of pique while trying to find my video camera charger. It's been a while since I updated the blog, and I found the note again while trolling my own profile (like you do), so I thought I'd share with the world, 'cause honestly it still tickles me. Of course, what's ironic is that this isn't an ode.

O Camera Charger, Camera Charger, wherefore art thou Camera Charger?
Deny thy maker and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but double in function,
And I’ll no longer buy batteries.

Camera Charger:
[Aside] Shall I hear more, or shall I appear at this?

‘Tis but thy monofunctionality that is my enemy:
Thou art thyself, though not a DC charger.
What’s DC? It is nor plug nor cable,
Nor port nor adaptor, nor any other part
Belonging to a charger. O be some other charger!
What’s in a charger? That which we call a USB charger
By any other word would work with my laptop;
So Camera Charger would, were he not Camera Charger call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Camera Charger, doff thy DC port,
And for thy DC port, which is a useless addition to a camera that has a USB connector already,
Take all my camera.

May 15, 2012

I was a childhood conman.

I was told to "blog something, FCOL" by my dad. Once I determined that FCOL wasn't something I should feel insulted at, I dug this gem out. I've been working on it a while, but I really don't have anywhere to go with it.

I am not a very interesting person, from a fictional standpoint. I mean, I can be occasionally pithy, and I do like to do things like wear wigs and sing spontaneous choral pieces (when enough friends of a similar mind and intoxication level are present), but I'd be straight-up screwed if I were a character in a novel. I have a very supportive middle-class white family with strong morals that would love me even if I ran away, shot up a butt-ton of meth-laced fruit loops, got pregnant and tattooed, cut off a toe in a drug-induced paranoid high, changed my name to Sunshyne, and became a lesbian hipster who ate other people's pets. Now that's love, people. Hipsters aren't generally accepted.
Image from LATFH

Part of that might have to do with the fact that I already have a tattoo, my mom apparently did drugs and went by Sunshyne in college (when she was a hippie backup singer), and my dad just REALLY REALLY wants grandkids, but most of it is love.

Anyway, back to the point - I'm not tragic enough to even rate a last name in a fictional adventure. I not only know my birth parents (and having a twin brother kind of makes it impossible to pretend I was adopted), but my mom's incredibly detailed genealogy projects mean I can trace my ancestry back 4 or 5 generations on my dad's side, and all the way back to the time of Columbus on my mom's side (His name was Samson Mason. He was a pioneer of justice and equality in a time of general raping and pillaging. Actually, I have no idea 'cause records aren't that detailed. His name was Samson, though, which seems a bit ill-fated to name your child since the dude started out blood-thirsty and donkey-abusing and ended up blind, bald, and in a bad BDSM situation after an interim of sex with heathens. Which actually, Samson Mason was around when the Native American nations were being universally labelled as "heathens" in a stunning display of ethnocentrism, so that kind of pans out if he's the side I get that 1/50th Cherokee blood from.). Also, I don't have superpowers that I know of. (Go waaay back to the beginning of that last parenthetical. It's a list of what I don't have, remember?)

I'm not particularly filled with angst, I don't suffer from anything other than the standard fits of depression that don't seem serious enough for medication since I'm still in the "college" age-bracket and that apparently is normal, and nothing particularly life-shattering has happened to me yet.

So basically, I'm a bit boring.

May 4, 2012


PERSON (leaving at 3:30): I'm out for the day.
ME: Lucky.
PERSON: It's for a visitation.
ME: ... Less lucky.
PERSON: uh... yeeeah.


May 1, 2012

Speak Friend and Enter Doormat - Step 1

This doormat is gonna freaking happen. First step is (as usual) getting references and deciding layout.

Using google-fu and thanks to a helpful yahoo answers entry, I found both the actual Tengwar characters of the Sindarin in an easy to decipher format as well as a great, clear jpg of the actual gate of Moria from the LOTR book.

This is gorgeous. It's also the wrong orientation for a landscape-style doormat. I figure I have a couple options: I could get a doormat that's the standard rectangle and slap this in the middle, I could mess with the Tolkein illustration to fill up the doormat in the proper orientation, or I could chop off the top of the graphic and smack it on a half-circle style doormat.

OR I could just put the Tengwar characters for pedo mellon a minno all fancy-like and have "Speak friend and enter" in dramatic allcaps across the bottom. I'm doing lots of crappy little thumbnails. I think what I'm going to have to do is (once I am no longer at work) go and make stencils of each element that I may want to include and just juggle them around manually to see what I like the look of best.

At this point, it's still only a model. But honestly, I kind of forgot I was planning on doing this... which is why it's taking so long. In other words, any progress is... at least progress, right?

Flammable Giraffes - It's How I Roll

I bought some stuff for my mom today from Perpetual Kid. I took the customer note box as a personal challenge.

This is a totally true story. Unless it isn't, in which case I was lied to.
I told my brother to put it on Reddit and make me famous.

Now I'm just waiting on the internet fame to start rolling in.

UPDATE: I took so long to write it in, they made me redo the whole order process. So I did.
This is, unfortunately, also true.
your turn, internet.

I just got my stuff delivered, and attached to the packing list was the print out of my note:

Crappy photo brought to you by crappy camera phone! Filling all of your slightly blurry, dark photo needs!
S/he liked it! Made the whole thing worth it.

Apr 27, 2012

Chats with Dad

I read "Let's Pretend this Never Happened" by Jenny Lawson this last weekend, then started mainlining her blog (I'm on page 61 of the "previous posts").

So basically, I'm regurgitating her writing style as well as feeling pseudo-guilty that I never write blog posts frequently enough and at that point where it's like "no one's gonna read this anyway," so I thought I'd post random snippets of conversation with my dad.

From this morning:
Fishing: you're doing it wrong

From not this morning: 
me: Quick, give me a biscuit pun
 Daddy!: you are half baked
  i never have enough dough
don't get in a jam
  you'er toast
 me: your mom's face is toast
This is how I found out my big brother was engaged: 

Daddy!: Oh yea
  U see ace is engaged
 me: I found out after patrick
8:10 PM Daddy!: Of sourse he's a douchbag
 me: I found out because patrick posted Congrats to your brother, and good luck being the only sibling not married.
  but i'm not really sure where my phone is
8:11 PM so if you call me a couple times i'll pretend i was tried to be informed before all of facebook
 Daddy!: Oh tay
 me: maybe a text too
  that's not from twitter
  and if you really want to be extravagant, a snail mail letter
 Daddy!: Want me z2 call ur phone?
 me: maybe some sky writing
8:12 PM nah
  i don't have it with me i'm pretty sure
  and i'm listening to live music
  it'd be a bit rude if it went off
 Daddy!: Calling 7 now
 me: 7?
  I'm 7?
  that's it, i'm changin your nmber to 3
  mom's now 2
8:13 PM I seriously have no idea where it is
  maybe it's in my bedroom
 Daddy!: I just called u
Conclusion: I love my dad, and I can't figure out the formatting tab to save my life. (why you no left-align, post? v.v)

It's not like it's pink-eye, right?

A conversation with my dad from earlier this week: me: yo
  u there?
 Daddy!: yes
 me: Did mom feel sickly last night?
 Daddy!: no did you?
 me: ... yus.
9:31 AM me: i think i may have eaten some expired chicken for dinner.
 Daddy!: u at home?
 me: no
 Daddy!: Tazikis?>
 me: no
  that was lunch
  though it doesn't look near as good 10 hours later.
 Daddy!: did you blow chunks?
 me: indeed
9:32 AM it was gross
 Daddy!: nice
  i hate3 it
 me: yeah
  but at that point, I was too nauseous to sleep
 Daddy!: not as3om3sauc3
 me: so I was kind of glad
  at what point do you know it's okay to go home sick as a grown-up?
 Daddy!: last time I was sick it was after Behold
 me: i know.
  I heard
9:33 AM Daddy!: u have sick leave use it
 me: this is true.
  but I'm not like, impaired
  and I'm not exactly pukey mcpukerton
 Daddy!: 'cept mentally
 me: thx
  i just don't want to eat anything ever again
 Daddy!: good plan
 me: and i have a weird headache that makes it hard to focus
9:34 AM Daddy!: go home, dummy
 me: ooo
  but if i hold out till 11 I'll only use a half-day
 Daddy!: and possible infect the entire office
 me: I don't think it's that kind of sick, i really don't
 Daddy!: take a vote at work
 me: pretty sure it's straight up "whatchu eat, willis?"
9:35 AM i thought i was having a migraine last night
  then it was like, OH WAIT
  all better
 Daddy!: maybe it was bad comedy
 me: mebbe
9:36 AM Daddy!: steve Martin had a quote
 me: we had a steve martin movie clip at church sunday
 Daddy!: Comedy is the art of making people laugh without making them puke.
9:39 AM goota go -puke ya later
 me: thanks
  puke you later too. :/
I really don't know when it's okay to leave. When I was a kid, I'd get migraines during math tests, and my mom would be like, "Honey, I know you don't feel good, but I'm fighting fires right now and I cannot come to get you. Just do your best, okay?"
So I feel like I need parental approval to go home. Unless it's strep. Vague bad feelings? no idea on what the go-home point is. Being grown-up is hard. This is like the worst post ever. But don't blame me, I was sick on Monday ('cause that totally justifies this).

Apr 3, 2012

Cosplay update - Mockingjay

Let me start off by saying I'm not a furry.

This is important, because I want to cosplay as a bird. But I'm NOT A FURRY. No offense to the furry crowd, but that's not how I roll.
So I dressed as Puss-in-boots once... still not a furry.
I was thinking of dressing as a mockingjay, the offspring of mockingbirds and genetically engineered bluejays called jabberjays from The Hunger Games. I do NOT want to dress as Katniss in her mockingjay costume, or anything like that - though I may be able to get away with it, since I have similar coloring to the actress who played her in the recent movie. I just have always loved mockingbirds (they're everywhere here) for their attitude and abilities, and thought it'd be cool.

I'm still waaaaaay in the beginning stages of the project, though. I've found some pretty good reference images around the net, as well as an incredible lifelike wing tutorial and lady model template for designing the costume on deviantart.
inked by Dualmask
I also have got my hands on some Wonderflex to play with and I'm on the hunt for some liquid latex. I'm thinking some feather patterns on exposed skin using the latex and some body paint. A note on the Wonderflex - I ordered a sample sheet from Dani's Cosplay supplies and it arrived pretty quickly (in fact, it shipped less than 6 hours after ordering), but I had some unforseen problems. Nothing that could be blamed on the supplier; I just forgot that it's "spring" here in the South. Wonderflex is wonderful because it's easy to work with using heat, and 80 degree weather combined with the back of a mail truck equals partially worked Wonderflex. It bonded slightly to the envelope it arrived in. Obnoxious, but something I can work with.

To sum up, I'm concepting like a crazy person, but I'm not expecting this particular costume to be ready for Dragon*Con 2012.

Mar 5, 2012

Lent and other dryer problems

I'm a Methodist, right?

Not that that's a question, but I'm trying to break away from any decent kind of writing style and descend completely into my new stereotype as a friendly, but none-too-bright girl that seems to go along with "receptionist." (Not my coworkers, who know better, but just about anyone who asks me what I do for a living follows it up with "you know, folks like you tend to run the place, oh hohoho," while mentally dialing down my mental acuity.)

Anyway, pulling away from my misplaced defensiveness, I'm a Methodist. Among a variety of other things, this means I have the option of practicing Lent, a church "season" that takes place for the 40 days before Easter (not counting Sundays... so it's actually like 45 days). The idea is that you can choose to give up something for the duration, a kind of self-reminder of Jesus giving up his life combined with the 40 days he spent in the desert resisting temptation by the devil. 

Most of the time, people give up stuff like pizza or soda, and spend the whole time lamenting the loss of their pizza and deliciously fizzy drinks.

Mar 2, 2012

Drunk Blogging - the commentary

(blog post begun in December 2011)
Often I feel the urge to caustically comment on things I find in public forums - say, the incredibly stupid teenager-y comments put up by the kids I'm friends with from church (I swear to Bob, the chain status updates just never stop), the heartfelt messages with blatant typos, y'know, stuff that basically would make me a douche for actually putting down what I think in the permanent ink of the internet. A lot of the time, this doesn't really stop me. But then I feel guilty.

So I figured, heck, why not really let myself lose on the one person I'd never feel bad about maligning - Drunk!Me (come on, she's just begging for it).

So here's running commentary on my Thursday night drinking blog (it took me until today to really recover from that anyway). Drunk blog is in red, sober commentary is in black.

Jan 26, 2012

The Doormat Riddle - Challenge

This is a travesty.

There are apparently no such things as doormats with "Speak friend and enter" on them. Neither in English, nor in Elvish.

Underwear, yes. Doormat? INCONCEIVABLE! 

This must be corrected.

This WILL BE corrected. I'll be doing this at some point in the near(ish) future.