Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Great Twitter Experiment

If you haven't seen it or read about it I have quit twitter for a few days/week. Frankly, I have no idea for how long and the fact that I felt the need to announce it probably means that it won't be for long. Normally when I abandon things message boards, blogs, websites it's with no fanfare as the poor thing is left to rot on the vine.

With this announcement it left people scratching their collective heads and looking for a catalyst. I won't lie, there was a misunderstanding that bothered me a bit more than it probably should have and was the straw on the camels back but not the underlying reason.

Christmas and all its unending time sucking joys and traditions is almost upon me which means that bit of extra time needs to be spent on presents, baking and card making. I also still have an unfinished novel yelling at me from my word document and just agreed to creating a 2'X4' painting.

So I stepped away for a bit to regroup, recharge and redistribute my bit of creative energy I have. It isn't that I made some great Lenten like rule that I will never tweet, I'll still share something if I think it important or it helps someone and I'll hang around the Fbook. I just can't keep up with the fast paced interactions as I once did.

Day one was a bit of a cheat as I got to hang out with my best friend and her awesome kid for most of the day and had the rest crushed by a weather related headache. Which also meant I got Jack Shit done and he gets enough attention as it is.

Today sort of being the first real day then I did get some Christmas Cards done. I got 5 free ones that I printed up for my major Painting clients and instead of including a letter I wanted to make something a bit more special and a bit more me.

Now I need a good push to get back to writing. Anyone got a board with a nail in it they can run at me with?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Lost Thanksgiving

*Bring bring* off goes my cellphone at 7:30 in the morning. Luckily we'd been up since 7 due to a dog who loves food and then going back to sleep but it has to be in the living room with one of us around.

It was my mom, "Are you coming home for Thanksgiving?"

"Uh, yeah. That was pretty well established. We were going to leave in an hour or so."

"Well we're all sick here so it's up to you."

Hm, a stomach churning flu for a week or a bit of turkey and fixin's for a meal? Tough call but gonna go with the staying in our house where we're generally healthy. I must say this was a bit of a surprise of fate.

This year it's managed to ruin every holiday generally through the weather, an illness is an interesting change.

My husband and I get dressed quickly, with the dog looking very confused as to why her warm pillows got up. Thanks god for 24 hour grocery stores still open on Thanksgiving because we'd spent the past three days clearing out the fridge of just about every and all leftovers and staples.

A bit of a mad dash through the store grabbing anything we could find we had a bit of a menu, a mushroom stuffing with pre-bought stale bread crumbs and pork sausage, green bean casserole with fresh beans, cranberries made from whole, and the wings and drumsticks of a turkey (we got the rare two winged three legged bird).

The store was full of bored employees and a few other people getting last minute bits for their sumptuous feasts. Then there was us two idiots trying to scramble together a Thanksgiving meal in 2 hours.

First thing we did once we got home was made a fast brine. Four cups of stock boiling to which I added 1/4 cup of salt and other various spices (remembering that we were all out of poultry seasoning, of course). Once that was saturated into the bag it went along with the turkey bits to soak for an hour and a half.

My husband chopped celery and mushrooms for the stuffing while I browned the sausage:
About half way through I remembered I'd used up the last of the butter on the week and forgot to get more. So a 1/2 cup of margarine was used to cook up the shrooms and celery and other spices I could dig out of our pot along with the pork.

Dumped that mixture along with some brother over the bread crumbs and in it went into the oven for an hour:
I put my husband back on chopping duty, this time prepping the green beans for which I pretty much followed the recipe on the back of the onion can.

It was as the beans were boiling away in the water I remember, oh crap we don't have any milk either! It was tossed around using evaporated milk but we found a bit of heavy whipping cream and I cut that in half to add to the canned soup mix and green beans were a go.

The cranberries are the easiest of the lot, just a cup of water and a cup of sugar brought to solution then in go the berries for about 10 minutes:
In that went to the fridge to cool down.

Both of the casserole dishes got done at the same time, I put the smaller in the microwave to keep warm and covered the larger in tin foil on the stove. Now it was time for the turkey bits.

Washing them off and giving a quick pat down in they went to the roaster after I cranked the oven temp to 375. Here I said a Tom Turkey thanks prayer for my meat thermometer without which I'd be guessing when the turkey bits would be done.

They only took about a half hour, plenty of time to get the dinner rolls from Pillsbury started.

We managed without any food in the house, almost no prep time, in two hours to come up with this Thanksgiving spread:
Sadly no pumpkin, cherry or apple pie. But we got some thanksgiving themed cupcakes instead.

Happy Lost Thanksgiving everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving

May you have a day full of yummy food and only slightly annoying relatives.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I did it!

Ahem *adjusts tie* Unfurl the banner boys!

In 22 days I managed to finish the NaNoWriMo challenge and get 50,000 mostly coherent words into a story format! (And I swear they weren't 'Screw Flanders' over and over.)

However, I'm still many many pages away from hitting any kind of an ending so the banner seems a tad apt. I promised to my husband that I would keep chugging along and not abandon it now that the magical number's been reached. But this seemed a good time to celebrate and what better way than by including a celebrity.

At night I camp out at the kitchen table, ear buds in, while Kratos chops people to tiny bits behind me to get my writing done.

I shall also, on occasion, do a bit of internet surfing when I come to a particular passage that's giving me grief or even dare tweet. Before hunkering down my brain made a little burp which lead to this:

"For some reason my brain read Garmin as Gaiman and I wondered what would happen if @neilhimself gave everyone driving directions."

And having entertained myself with the idea of directions from authors I dug into it.

Round about the 49,600 range as I can see the light I hear the little tweetdeck cry and look up to see this:
I may or may not have yelped out in surprise causing my husband to think that I had finished the NaNoing, which lead to lots of giggles and a drive to finish the last bits. I hope it's a good sign to get random beloved writers attention just as you cross the NaNoWriMo finish line and it isn't like saying MacBeth in a theatre.

Well, now to get back at it. This story isn't going to write itself unless I make an unholy deal with a strange little man with a jaunty hat and funny name.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Introverted Painting Sale

Hello one and all, the Christmas shopping madness shall soon be upon us and I would like to throw my jaunty hat into the ring.

To celebrate I have put my entire store on Sale. Enter the code BLKFRIDAY at checkout and you'll get 10% off your entire purchase.

Now might be a good time to show off my new Cardinal painting:

I've also recently created a video slideshow of most of my paintings. See if you can spot some of your favorites.

Happy Hunting!

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Day of Thanksgiving

I'm still trucking away at that novel idea (he he, it's a pun) but when taking small breaks my husband and I managed to finish a new iRiff.

And it's all about Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving - that national tradition of stuffing yourself so full of turkey and various other heart attack inducing foodstuffs to leave you comatose on the couch.

But due to a shortage in turkeys thanks to someone in the 70's needing to toss them out of planes (don't ask me how the economy works) in the 1950's the government was afraid all of the schoolchildren would turn communist. So this short was born, a warning to everyone that if you are not grateful for your small miserable little American life then the government could just break down your door and take your small popcorn bowl away when you weren't looking.

Perfect for anyone who's facing a huge family Thanksgiving dinner, a small intimate gathering, or planning on eating a Hungry Man in front of the TV this short will make you grateful that you're not stuck in their horrific little world being forced to recite at McCarthy gunpoint every democratic thing you're thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Here's the sample, can't pick a riff without a good sample after all:

A Day of Thanksgiving with a load of good red scare stuff thrown in for good measure.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day 10

Subtracting one because I didn't get into it til day 2, I've been at this NaNoing for 9 days.

I feel into a pattern pretty quickly, I try to get 2,000 words or so a day done (the suggested is 1,667 so I round up to give myself some breathing room).

Early in the morning, once I get any painting and/or carpet cleaning out of the way (Oh we got a carpet cleaner. It's amazing, our carpets actually are tan now instead of covered in tennis ball sized black marks,) I curl up with my writing juice and try to get out the first 1,000:
Then, once I've exhausted my brain and my hand, I put the laptop aside to humor the dog and do other day stuff.

At about 6, after having to throw the ball for Essie once she gets back from her walk with my husband (our dog is more consistent than the train schedule) I get back at it and try to finish up another 1,000 words for the day.

It's kinda interesting putting myself on this schedule wherein I force myself to write at these certain times. I haven't gotten much writers block, there were a few tantrums when I didn't want to work through a block of character development, but for the most part it's been humming along.

I fear when the inevitable creativity crash comes and I can't think much less form cohesive thoughts in words. But til then, EXCELSIOR!

I also have the best excuse for when I don't want to talk to anyone during Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Toy Suggestions - Wal-Mart

I've been told by more than a few people that I have a knack for choosing christmas presents for kids. I seem to find the ones that last for more than a few months and are usually not too pricey.

So this year I thought I'd try using my powers for good and for the next few weeks I'll visit some of our local retail stores, play and experience all the toys, and come up with a list of those I really enjoy.

This first trip is from Wal-Mart - which we swung into quickly by taking advantage of the time change.

Monster Treads Tractor - for the John Deere Nut - $9
This tractor has soft rubber wheels and a rather resilient chassis.  What makes it a lot of fun is there's a button that makes it jump up and down. You can slide up the top part which is where the batteries are stored.

Really good for any kid that likes trucks and tractors and things with wheels.

Barbie Puppy Swim School - $20

With girls you can almost never go wrong with cute puppies. Cute puppies that swim around and come with a Barbie is a gold mine. The dog (named Taffy because Barbie is a harsh mistress) can swim if you wind its tail which may or may not work long. But again, cute puppy that can be carried too and fro.

Fisher-Price Imaginext Spike Chomper - $14
Got a child on your list that loves dinosaurs and has a younger sibling to annoy? This is perfect, as you put your hand up its larynx (also a good anatomy tool if you want them to become ENT doctors) and squeeze so it chomps down. It says a few cute things but not too annoying or too loud.

It also comes with a bone, which will probably get lost fairly quickly but if you just press on his tongue or the child puts random things in it he'll either make yummy or yucky sounds.

Go Baby Go Bat & Wobble Penguin - $20
I almost got this for a baby on my list last year but found something that fit his stacking needs a bit better.

Regardless this thing looks like tons of fun for the 6month and up crowd (though your 13 year old may not be as appreciative). It's a penguin you can bash around with brightly colored balls in it.

Heck, I kinda want one when I need to work out some aggression.

Delicious Boutique My First Oven - Sadly no pictures to share. ~$20
Got a child that loves to cook? This oven is adorable. There are three buttons that light up the oven and the dials up on the stove light up the burners under each bubbling pot.

It's not too big so it's pretty portable and would work well for any cooking/kitchen games.

Delicious Boutique Deluxe Cash Register - ~$20 Again no pictures

There's a lot here like most cash registers, you have your calculator, your scanner that beeps, a scale, the little microphone. The really fun and sinfully loud part is the inclusion of an actual working conveyor belt. It doesn't move that quickly and like I said makes an ungodly noise but sometimes that's half the fun.

Play-Doh Puppy Time - $13
As I said before kids love puppies, and kids love making stuff. So here kids get to make puppies and things for puppies.

With this play-doh set you form the baby puppies from what looks like underneath the mom (leading to a very confusing birds and bees talk), you also make treats and toys for the puppies from various molds. And, probably the most fun part, you get an extruder that makes kibble.

Give it enough time and I'm sure the baby dolls will be eating nothing but neon pink kibble.

Tempo's Rocking Guitar - $36
This thing is fun! The strings are made of nice thick strands that unlike the FP guitar next to it are far enough removed from the middle you can really string like crazy. There are various buttons that add different sounds and singing from their tiger man who isn't too annoying.

I didn't really have time to press every single button on the thing as we had to move on but I really wanted too and as we left the store that was the one that stuck with me the most. I kinda want to play with it again.

And those are a few of my fun finds from Wal-Mart. I still have a few more stores to hit up and see if anything catches my eye so tune in next time.

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Friday so far

I've managed to get about 7,000 words or so down on computer for the past three days on that crazy novel idea.

I had planned to write more today but sadly something else took precedent:

Sadly, it's all true.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I am insane.

Yes, I know this comes as a large shock to all of you. I was such the perfect example of sanity previously when I decided to take a picture every day for a year or I started my own riffing group with my husband (which we just got our first check for, we're official) or well really any random creativity project I bit into without seeing if I could chew first.

But I think I may have finally out done myself, you see I have decided to try NaNoWriMo.

No idea what that is? No problem, we're full of answers here at the loony bin.

The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in a single month - the month of November. I'd heard of it on and off over the years but paid it almost no heed as I knew I could never write a novel.

But then ideas started appearing in my brain and before I knew it a few weeks back I realized my imagination had formed a novel outline without really informing me.

So on the second day I joined up (and have been scrambling to catch up, it's amazing how quickly 1,600 words can sneak up on you) Up on the top right you can follow my word count progress. Or if you'd like here's a link to my profile including an excerpt that I wrote on Tuesday.

I have no idea if I'll pull it off or not, I may go completely insane in the process, but seems like a fun challenge.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween is over

Like everything you spend months planning and orchestrating, a few hours reveling in and then tearing down we're going through a bit of mourning for the loss of Halloween.

But oh how grand a night it was. We'd been watching the weather reports and at first there was talk of rain and cold but the water never appeared and it actually warmed up as the day wore on.

 My husbands goblin that he worked on this year
 And this is my Edgar Poe Tombstone all light up and eerie
My Dragon head with glowing nostrils and a burn victim. One kid said we were burning people back there. Not us, just the dragon.
My giants head, he never did make it onto a pike. Some things always fall by the way side.

This was some last minute brilliance on my part. I remembered that hey we have legs and a trash can right in the way. so ta da.
Our mage was a bit slow in casting that spell and the Dragon got her.
It's almost tradition now to have a guy enjoying a bath in a bubbling cauldron somewhere in our haunt
This is my grave buster, he's not doing such a great job at it. There was a small girl, not much older than 3 walk past and rub his head. It was so cute.

If those pictures aren't enough to whet your appetite, here is a video of the whole thing in various staged of darkness:

Happy Halloween! See you all next year, mwHAHAHAHAha ha ha *cough*