groundhog day

Winter, You’re Beautiful But I’m Done With You

Last year at this time I had flowers:

Holy Global Warming Batman!

This year not so much. Here’s the same spot today:

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I’ve hit that age where winter is no longer fun for me. Snow doesn’t mean tobogganing or snowmen, it means shoveling and slogging. If I were independently wealthy and could sit all day sipping <insert beverage>, and *looking* at the snow it would be A O K. Lets imagine we can do that, alright?

Look at my little happy tree:

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You can’t hide from me Mr. Blue Jay:

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I have a 3-pack of Mourning Doves. If I could tell them apart I would name them 1 of 3, 2 of 3, and 3 of 3. But I can’t tell them apart.

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Squirrel!

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Ahhhh. Enjoying that imaginary cuppa? I sure am.

Are you as done with winter as I am? The Groundhog said there would be an early spring. He lied.

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I am disappoint.

mario

Super Mario/Ghostbusters Mashup is the Best Thing Ever

I got to James Farr’s website through his Doctor Who/Back to the Future Mashup. And Holy Crap is it awesome. Watch it. But then there was this:

Hahahaha. I love this. It’s gaming, it’s Ghostbusters, it’s nerdy in-jokes all rolled up in a sweet 3 minute, 45 second package. What else needs to be said? Super Mario Busters is the Best Thing Ever.

Also: bonus points for gratuitous use of Lord Ghirahim, because any reason is a good reason to include Lord Ghirahim.

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What, me worry?

Names and Nuance, or Why I Shouldn’t Name My Characters Penny, Chip, and Used Napkin

So that book thing. I’m writing it, I swear. I’ve done a fair bit of planning at this point, and the plot has an actual direction. Not a full-on ‘first X, then Y, the Z,’ direction, but more ‘walk that way until you see the big tree and then head toward the river and just walk until you get there.’ I even know how it ends, more or less (!). Which for me is good.

Apropos of nothing, I am also the kind of person who puts a bunch of ingredients in a pot and cooks it ‘until it’s done’.

I’ve figured out what most of the characters look like, and their general personalities. But they are missing something important.

Their names:

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Words have power. They let us travel out of the past and talk to the future. Names are especially powerful. When our characters are chloroformed and pinned to the board, names are the neatly typed labels underneath. We all know about published authors, and how they craft names that reflect the personality and destiny of their characters, so I’m not going to rehash that here…

What I’m saying is my characters need names!

My female lead has an entire real name: Tallulah Frances Pigeon, or Frankie. Awesome, quirky, resonant with who and what her character turns out to be.

My male lead, John Farutto, has a placeholder name.  A great number of my male characters start as Johns. Plus a last name vaguely reminiscent of a famous literary character. In this case, Frodo. It’s okay for now, but I don’t like the idea of having to go back over thousands of words worth of writing making sure I’ve excised all the placeholder names once the damn thing is written.

Yeah, I suck. But I’ve been through my baby name book a dozen times, and gone to naming websites and whaterever, but I can’t find him a name that fits.

I also need a name for the main antagonist, who is an albino fairy. And who lures humans to Undermount with her bewitching pulp fiction. Give me the benefit of the doubt on that one.

I’ve gotten to the point where I want to name them all Penny, Chip, and Used Napkin.

So, here’s where you come in: what strategies do you guys/gals use to name your characters?

I think I am seriously over-thinking this all…if this keeps up I still may name them Penny, Chip, and Used Napkin.

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BlackBerry’s ‘Calendar of Tales’ Collaboration with Neil Gaiman is the Best Thing Ever

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So back at the beginning of the month Neil Gaiman announced the Calendar of Tales Project he was working on with BlackBerry. Over Twitter, he asked his followers a question about every month of the year. Out of the bazillions of responses, Gaiman picked one and wrote a flash fiction for each month of the year.

They are available here.

Cool huh? Random Twitter fans get to be the inspiration for a Neil Gaiman story. But that’s not all!

Now that the stories are written, Gaiman and BlackBerry are looking for more:

 

Eeeeeee! I’m fangirling all over the place!

From the Keep Moving website:

Now he wants your art to illustrate his work. If a picture can speak a thousand words, this is your chance to add your voice to Neil’s. Enter into the world of the story, get under its skin and show us what it looks like. Bring his words to life.

O-friggin-K!

Whether it’s a sketch, photo or doodle, using paint, ink or collage, upload your artwork for a chance to feature in the digital showcase and the printed, limited edition of A Calendar of Tales .

I have to say, sometimes the internet seems like a cesspool of stolen time and cat pictures, but a lot of Maker types have realised that it is actually an endless well of creativity, and if you want something from it, you just need to ask. Something amazing will bubble up from under the roiling surface, and all you have to do is grasp it.

And that is about the most awesome thing ever. Who’s in? I can sorta draw right?

I have a crow feather quill pen, and a bottle of ink! What more does one need?

I’m not seeing a deadline on the website, so get your arses in gear folks, and poop out an art. 😉 Illustrating a Neil Gaiman story is absitively, posolutely, the Best. Thing. Ever.

Ever.

Go read the stories. If nothing else.

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Asteroids, Death From the Sky, and the B612 Foundation

So, while we are all waiting for Asteroid 2012 DA14 to zoom by, a smaller meteor exploded over Russia this morning. Thanks to that fact that so many Russian drivers have dash-cams, we have lots of most excellent footage of the fireball. I know you’ve all seen it by now, but let’s watch it one more time:

Crazy stuff. I like how, in all the videos I’ve seen, the Russian drivers are like, “meh.” I haven’t heard of any deaths so far, but injuries are mounting up over 1000.

The Telegraph has a cool infographic on the Chelyabinsk Meteor:

Russia meteorite impact graphic in Chelyabinsk

Thanks to Reddit’s coverage of the Chelyabinsk Meteor, I learned about the B612 Foundation. Named for the asteroid on which the Little Prince lives (in The Little Prince, obviously), this non-profit that exists to, “find threatening asteroids before they find us.”

From the B612 ‘About Us’ page:

Important Facts
  1. Our solar system is a busy place. Ninety-nine percent of Near-Earth Asteroids larger than 40 meters have not been mapped. We do not know if a collision with Earth is imminent.

  2. Deflecting asteroids is technologically feasible … but only IF we have lots of warning.

  3. Asteroids that cross Earth’s orbit are the ones that can hit us. Since they spend part of their orbit closer to the Sun than Earth, the best way to spot them is from a vantage point yet closer to the Sun (i.e., from an orbit around the Sun much like Venus).

Run by scientists and ex-NASA guys, B612’s goal is to launch  a satellite that will orbit the sun (the Sentinel Project) and catalogue Near Earth Asteroids; to find them before they find us.  Go check out their website, and donate if you have some spare cash. You may be saving the world.

Repurposing Your Old Pennies is the Best Thing Ever

Last year the Government of Canada announced that it would be phasing out the penny. So, as of February 4, 2013 the Canadian Mint is no longer making and distributing pennies. Retailers are supposed to round cash transactions up or down to the nearest 5 cents, but they are free to accept pennies indefinitely.

Sure there are good sound reasons to phase out the penny (the main one being that they cost more to make than they are worth), but as a pedant and hater of change I am ensaddened (sure it’s a word. Honest). But, my personal feelings aside, some moderately neat-o things have come out of Canada’s transition away from the penny.

Have a look at these most awesome of things that people are doing with their obsolete Canadian pennies:

Over at Creating Domestic Bliss, blogger Amanda shows you how she made this nifty art piece. I’m very tempted to make this myself…

And, via the Globe and Mail, check out this awesome penny dress crafted using approximately 1800 coins:

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And Blogger Jproe spent four days and used nearly 12, 000 pennies to make this amazing feature wall in his cottage:

Okay, this one is a cheater, as these are US pennies, but how is this not awesome? Marvel at the cubic cubosity of the penny cube:

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And for those of you who like that sort of thing, the Royal Canadian Mint has a pretty neat infographic tracing the history of the Canadian penny:

A one-cent story: the life and times of the Canadian penny

So, do you have any crazy plans for your carefully hoarded pennies? I think recycling them into art is the best thing ever. 🙂