"The growth of understanding follows an ascending spiral rather than a straight line." ~Joanna Field

Sunday, May 29, 2011

More Paper stuff

Ugh, yes, yes, I've'nt posted anything since Thursday. Yes it's Sunday.
There just isn't much to say.

I got a piece of MDF-like board to make a deckle out of (A whopping 2.09$).

A deckle, for the uninitiated, is basically a mold for the paper pulp to follow (though there is something else called a mold, so it would be confusing to call them both that, ne?)

My mold (a frame with screen stretched over it instead of canvas) is about 11x14" on the inside, meaning that if I pull it straight (with no deckle on top) it give me sheets with a wavily-flurry-soft... uhm... not-straight/smooth edge that are about 11x14". Which is nice, there are a lot of things you can do with an 11x14" sheet of paper. (Folded in quarters it makes a nice size for a notebook sheet)

But sometimes I want something else. Like an 8 1/2 x 11" sheet (Letter) (Or 8 1/4 x 11 3/4" (A4) if you are not Canadian or American. Though I wonder why the International sizing of paper isn't in metric?)

Or, in my case, ENVELOPES. Yeppers, I'm making envelopes. I hope to be selling paper things, and past notebooks and plain paper, envelopes are a good start.
And for that major project I mentioned, I need about 100 of them.
Yup. Count em, 100.

And do you know how tedious it is to cut an envelope by hand?
That's all you need to know.
So doing 100 of them? No. Nuh-uh. Not happening.

So by using a deckle I can restrict the paper pulp from covering the whole mold, and pull envelopes out of the vat on their own. Yay.

Now if I could couch(lay out) more than 11 sheets at a time, this wouldn't take shy of a week to do.

I'm thinking I'll get two more boards and a bunch more fabrics (and possibly more clamps) so I can at least couch about 20-25 at a time.

I want to try out some textured fabrics, like canvas for drying on.
Add that to wanting to try denim paper, lint paper, plant dying, plant fibre paper, embossing, additives, and more notebook styles, and you've got a lot of things I hope to accomplish.

My main point of pursuit right now is colour. The way I've gotten colour before is by starting with colour papers.
Which is great.
If you have coloured recycling.
And right now I'm lucky to get any recycling that isn't box card or cardboard.
So I have a lot of brown going on.

But this project (which I swear I will go into more later) requires purple.
I've been trying to find ways of dying paper, and it's a hard thing to research for some reason.
Right now it is looking like I am going to be trying out a red cabbage dye.
I hope to find some kind of commercial dye, or at least something more reliable than my plant works.

I've got mum asking on Freecycle for recycling paper so I can at least have a good amount of pulp going.

I also just did a test of "fixing" paper (making it more water fast, so it won't run as much if you use inks on it) by adding a heap of cornstarch to the water. I don't know how much is needed, but it felt simultaneously like a lot and not much at all. (You use so little in most cooking things, but this vat is about 2 1/2' x 3 1/2' x 1 1/4', and half-full. So to make a mark in that much water?


Anyway, I've ranted enough for now, I've got books to read and a deckle to cut out.

Good luck, have fun, don't die, I'll miss you.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Life, update, yay?

I was trying to think of a witty portmanteau of "Life" and "Update" but I couldn't so you get what you got and you'll be thankful for it, dangit.

Anyway. Life is as life does around here. I've been going to work, coming home, dicking about, sleeping and starting over.

And I'm tired. Not excessively to the point of hypersomnia like I've hit before (46 hours of sleep is not normal, no matter how you justify it!)
Just, worn out from the day. I feel active and good while at work, and then after work rather quickly die down to kinda sore, kinda tired, before going to bed at a reasonable hour.

It's odd. It's so normal, it's odd.

And I'll tell you a secret. I kinda like it.
Now if it weren't for the drive to/from work, and the constant tension between family members, I'd be at a great place.

But as it is, I'm kinda just coasting. I feel good and strong, albeit a bit unhappy. But I'm not depressed like I was. I'm hoping that carries through the school year next year. Maybe I don't need to be on anti-depressants anymore. I'm doing well without them now.

Then again, maybe I just need more instant satisfaction like work can give me.

Oh, I pulled another eleven or twelve sheets of paper the other day; they're flattening out... somewhere. (Oh dear, where did I put them...). I've cleaned the vat out and frozen the pulp; I want to start a more major project... I don't know when. You'll get some updates on that when I know more. However I hope to put pictures of the love-note set I made up soon, I think they are nice.

But moving on; I've been to the library today after work, and picked up a few books. So I've reading. (I finished a shorter novel already- a teen fiction)
And I realised keeping the Books in My Arsenal blog going is silly; so, if I can work it, the old posts from there will be merging over here. If I can't, we'll be getting some updates here of those posts.

As for the conlanging series, don't expect that to be drifting into nothingness; I'm just taking a bit to figure how I want the next part to go.
I've been playing with pixels again, to the detriment of the conlanging work, I'll admit.

Whelp, with that, I'm tired and I have books and pixels to work on. I shall see you tomorrow!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Conlanging and you, part two!

Alright, after that crash course, I'm going to go through how I work with you. This will likely be long, so it'll probably get cut into more than one post.

I am one of those people that usually starts with a phonology, or a set of sounds that I want to put into a language. A basic idea of how I want it to sound. This usually means I start by saying a random sentence like thing out loud, then try to write it down using my dialect of English.

So something like "griskle neff twandr-ikka"
This has the plus (or minus depending on how you look) of only making sounds that I can pronounce available to me.
Another way I've done this is to pound my keyboard and try and pronounce what came up, adding vowels or word breaks where I just can't do it
" dgxfhcgvjhugbm "
"Dgzf hucgiv jhug bem"
Which I can pronounce (albeit rather haltingly).

A third way is to think of a language (or a couple, though more than three or four would get difficult) that you like the sound of, and mash them together, either by yourself, or through the use of a program to help you.
I used to have links to programs like these, but I rarely do things like this (read: once), so I've long since lost them. If you find one, will you throw it my way?

After I have something that sounds kinda how I want it, I'm going to use that to extrapolate.
I'm going to use my current language in process, Torete, to explain the following things. It will become a major fixture in these kinds of posts because it is my most complete work.

So I start with something that sounds kinda like this:
"ela fokomo de nena eska no fala make. ina feza salopa yutese"
Which, using XSAMPA, sounds almost exactly as it is written.
/el.a fo.ko.mo de ne.na es.ka no fa.la ma.ke i.na fe.za sa.lo.pa ju.te.se/

From there I notice that I have a great affinity for vowels, and I greatly despise consonant clusters. The only one that showed up was "sk" which is a cluster I find every easy to say.
So I decided that words in this language will have no consonant clusters, and that all words end in vowels.
I also get a good idea of what kind of word length I am looking at. I prefer four letter words.
I also prefer words that start with consonants. This leads me to say that words starting with a vowel are being modified in some way, a prefix.
It also gives me an idea of sounds I like:

/f k m d n s l z p y e i u a o/

From there I decided to look through IPA to see if there were any sounds that I don't have day-to-day exposure to that I would enjoy.
I mostly found them to sound too similar or to be unpronounceable, so I left it alone.
Splitting these up into vowels and consonants I have:

/a e i o u/
/f k m d n s l z p y/
I don't feel like that is enough, so I'm going to add
/b v r/ to the mix, as I like them too.

A quick way to see if you are getting words you like is to play with Awkwords. Their help button is really helpful, but I can answer some questions if you have them.

Okay, this is long enough. So.... To be continued. Likely tomorrow or the next day.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Conlanging and you!

Alright, yesterday I explained through examples what a conlang can be at some of its highest peaks. If you're still with me you are likely insane or really bored. Both are acceptable.

You see these examples and think to yourself, hey, I want my own language! It'll be great for my book/my diary/confusing the hell out of teachers/profit/etc.!
While I give little hope to the last one, the others are a yes. Other neat things that can come from it are relieving boredom, procrastination, pure fun, the admiration of your peers(again, little hope), and gaining friends.

So let's get started, you yell. And I jump, because I startle easily.
Where, oh where to start when conlanging. It is different for a lot of people, some like to start with basic syntax, others have a random sketch of an intransitive verb combining with a noun in holy matrimony, still others start with a script, and a lot of people start with a phonology.

Wait, wait, wait. What? Intransi-whoey? Synta-what? Phrenology?

Okay, so I think it would be best to start at the top. Linguistics! Otherwise known as More Than Your Average High School English Class!

If you are groaning already and can't stand the thought of spending time on Grammar, then perhaps this is the wrong past-time. Maybe try cryptology? (Not to be confused with the science of crypts) (I hope to cover codes and ciphers another day, but for now that link should do)

So. Linguistics. Where to begin? Well, you certainly don't need a doctorate in it, but it would sure help. So if you think you can do it, go forth. I can wait.
Okay. You don't need to know a lot of linguistics to start with, just a few basic terms and you should be rolling:

Phonology: Basically the set of sounds possible within a language. English allows "sss" "ch" and "sh", but does not allow "sch" (Unless it is "school" but that is more of a "sk") We also don't allow things like "ts" or "zx"

Morpheme: The smallest linguistic unit (word or word bit) that has definable meaning. Think "un-" "break" "-s" These are pieces we can tear out of other s=words and hold up as having meaning. I can break "break" into "br" and "eak" but neither has independent meaning, so are not morphemes.
Phone: the tiniest definable sound, such as one possible pronunciation of "b"

Phoneme: the smallest contrastive unit in the sound system of a language. So the entirety of possible pronunciations for "b", including "allophones" or sounds that all mean the same thing.

Syntax: The way that all the other things are put together to form coherent thoughts, the rules dictating order of things.

Parts of Speech: Noun, Article, Conjunction and a slew of others, you might want to get re-familiar with these.

The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA): A set of letters based on the Latin alphabet that is intended to be used as a standard representation of all sounds used in spoken language (by anyone, anywhere).
Having at least the ability to know what the symbols are is a great start. Being able to move things back and forth with it is even better.

X-SAMPA: At the most basic, a way to use IPA using ASCII characters. I use it as I find it easier to remember.

Everything else is probably okay to learn as you come across it.

Ugh, that got long quick. Okay, splitting this into two for today.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Other worlds, other languages

Remember how I apologised in advance for that rash of papermaking posts? The ones that never showed up? Yeah, I have a feeling this will be the same way, but just in case, I apologise for a rash of conlang/worlding posts to come.

Now that that is done, and I have a yummy banana ice lolly to eat, I thought I'd do a quick post about what I've been up to these last few days.

I'm a conlanger. Well, I prefer geofictionist...
A whosit? A whatsit?

If you don't already know, lemme throw some definitions at you. Stand still, this shouldn't hurt:

Conlang: A constructed language
Conlanger: A person who makes a constructed language
(Not to be confused with a canlang, or a Canadian language. Those are infinitely more frightening)
Geofiction: fictional worlds, geographic fiction
Geofictionist: A person who makes geographic fiction
Conworld: A constructed world
I'll let you figure out consports, conreligion, etc.

So yes, there, I've admitted to this oh so secret of vices. I know one other person, personally, that does it, along with a slew of internet folks, maybe two or three thousand as an upper guess (compiling all the numbers I know from a few forums and mailing lists, some of which are likely duplicated (like me!)), but I know there must be more lurking in the shadows.

So when you hear constructed language, what should you think of?

Well, think of Na'vi as a current example. The language spoken by the blue cat-people in Avatar? Yup. That's a constructed language. The people making that language hired a professor with a doctorate in linguistics to make a language for the movie. If you want to read more, wiki is a good start: Na'vi Language.

Want something a bit less current, but still alien? Reach only so far as Star Trek. The Klingons of that series have their own language which has become a major player in the field of conlangs. The language wasn't really intended, they mostly used nonsense "words" to get a feel of an alien tongue. But leave it to Trekkies to blow that up and out. Klingon is now a full fledged language with speakers around the world. You could even take classes at some point (This may still occur?) I unfortunately never really got into Star Trek, so my info is a bit dusty. However I have studied Klingon in a cursory manner, as it has structures similar to my conlang. You want to learn more, try the Klingon Language Institute.

So we want less current, but not alien. How about Tolkien? There's a reason that the secret vice quip was linked.
Tolkien made Elvish, and it seems that one reason he made the Lord of the Rings was to not seem crazy when putting forth the language. Neat, mm? Now Elvish I know as much of as anyone who never read the series (don't shoot!), but there are certainly a lot of resources about for it. So why don't we just direct you to the wiki, and you can put the knives down: Elvish Languages.

One more, then I swear I'll move on.

Esperanto. No, that's not some Spanish cowboy. It's a language developed by L. L. Zamenhof (Quite the mouthful, mm?) and his goal with this language was to have Esperanto be a politically neutral language spoken everywhere, allowing people of different nationalities to make an equal play towards peace.
A lofty goal.
And while it never reached that height (they don't teach you Esperanto in international business courses!) it is still the most widely spoken auxiliary language. There are 10,000 to two million fluent speakers, some of which are native speakers (that is, Esperanto is, or is one of, their first languages) Pretty big for something some guy just made up! Though, it has been around a while, the first book about it was published in 1887.
There is obviously tons of material about Esperanto out there, so I'mma leave you with just a Google search for Esperanto.

Now that you know a little bit about conlangs, I thought maybe I could share some information about how to go about making one, but I've kinda run out of space, plus you've probably wandered on to thinking about your dinner plans. That's okay, I ran out of ice lolly a paragraph and a half in, and I'm thinking about food too.

So I think I'll say:

ĝis la revido,
Mára mesta

or goodbye, in Esperanto, Klingon, Elvish and Na'vi respectively.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Banana Nut Cheerios

So as many of you know, I love bananas. They are my favourite fruit. Aside from their unfortunate phallic connotations, they are definitely the best.

So it should come as no surprise that my mum bought me Banana Nut Cheerios the other day(along with some banana ice lollies, yay!) so I'm going to try them.
But what is the point of trying new things if it can't be a SCIENCE EXPERIMENT?

Overall expectations: Low.
I mean, there are so few banana flavoured things, and a lot of them suck. There must be something about bananas that make them difficult to work with or something.

Opening the box, first comes smell test:
They smell like cereal. No distinct banana or sugar smell. Just Cheerios.

Dude, they're Cheerios. However they seem to have a skinnier, less puffy, opener look to them. I may just have not seen Cheerios in a while, but these ones look a little skinny.

Dry taste:
They have a... something to them. Kinda like banana bread? Sweeter than regular Cheerios, and a surprisingly pleasant taste.

Think Cheerios. Exactly.

With Milk:
Unfortunately we are out of milk. That is just depressing.
However, we have 10% cream, and water. So with a splash of each in my bowl, let us proceed:

With Creamy-water:
Good. They have that banana bread taste, in a more pronounced way.

They seem to sog down faster than other cereal, and feel a little slimey, though that might be the cream-water.

They smell like baking banana bread! Except colder? (Does it make sense that I can smell temperatures?)

Overall reaction:
Pleasantly surprised. They taste good, smell good, and are easy to eat. I like them.

For next time:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Anonymity, the Internet and me.

So I'm reading on Cracked.com (yes, you are welcome to change your perception of me, however I've mentioned this habit before...) and this article came up.

And I realised, I had this discussion with a friend the other day. Or at least a similar one. Which is what sparked the Housekeeping post last Friday. But it has been festering in my mind, so I thought I'd go more in depth. Which is your cue to put on your spiraled infinity glasses, because this will get convoluted.

Any way. For the most part I don't mind being transparent to the internet. There is nothing I do or say that I consider odd or wrong enough to warrant my eminent arrest/murder/virgin sacrifice. So I put pretty well everything I do and say under that handy-dandy pseudonym ekobor, and call it a day. ekobor is directly linked in many places to my real name, people in real life know I go by it and see my actions. Many things I do and say around the web are linked directly into my Facebook account for perusal by my family, friends, peers, possible employers...

I like it that way because it lets me feel like a cohesive person, even in a place filled with empty shells of anonymous ghosts. If I say or do something in one place, a quick search allows anyone to find things I've said or done in other places. My slow accumulation of distaste for lobster can be chronicled by anyone who feels the need to do so. (Side note, if you feel the need to do so, please contact anyone, any where. Your life has reached an all-time high level of boredom, you may soon die of it).

Of course, this means if there is anything I ever want to do that I don't want people to see, it gets stickier. Like watching Rubik's cube solves. While I openly admit to learning how to solve a Rubik's cube and not being a natural solver, maybe I don't want people to see me asking questions of the people I learn from. It makes me feel less smart. (Though it was the Square-1 this occurred with).

Now, that is a bit petty, I admit, but it is something I try to avoid for the most part. I like feeling smart. But there are other things and places that I do and go to that I might not want others to see.

For a while in my life I frequented a forum for people in crisis, Suicide Forum. (Side note, if you are feeling depressed, this is a great community to get some casual help) There were things I was feeling that would scare people if I put them publicly out there, and I would have to deal with uncomfortable questions. So you'll note that there is no ekobor in the member list. (And if there is, it isn't me). When I go to 4Chan I use a different name (Though I don't stick with the plain "Anonymous" either) because the only reason I use 4Chan is to get away from myself from time to time.

I can count the number of places I am intentionally not open on one hand, and I like it that way.

Sure, I don't want any Joe-blow knowing my phone number, library card, SIN, Drivers License, etc, but I walk around showing people my face and heritage, telling them my name and age, and most can guess my sex. So I see no reason to leave that out from most places. I'm not going to jump into a rant on the heteronormative, androcentric, misogynistic state of the world to any random passer-by, and so similarly keep such out bursts to myself online as well. My desire to use gender-neutral pronouns and to be seen gender-neutrally, as well as my sexuality, I will mention if asked, and am the same way online.

Really the only thing I can think of that changes between online and "IRL" (in real life, for those not acronystically savvy) is that I am more bold online. That doesn't come from the anonymity though, it comes from the ability to quickly fact-check, to use words more fluidly than in real life, and from talking to people with a world view vastly different than my own.

So, yes, where was I? Oh, yes, while I don't have any great reason to be all mysterious and anonymous online, I still have times where I want to be free of being me, and being seen. And an internet without anonymity would be a sadder place for me, in some respects.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pacing in filmography

Today I watched Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland followed directly by Eminem's 8 Mile. And I noticed something. While the two movies are obviously disparate, there was one thing that really stood out to me, and that was the timing between the two movies, the pace and how it lent itself to the narrative.

Alice in Wonderland lets you just float and trail along for the most part. There is no real force in any direction, just the most minor hint of a push forward.
8 Mile comes at you like a bullet train to the back telling you that you either go forward of get run down.

That push and drive is something that really kept me in the movie, despite my interest waning near the middle. They throw thing after thing at you, questions of a sort, and then hold a gun to your head asking you to answer them. Which is kinda neat. It makes you feel involved in the film and important.

The only problem with a push like that is that, as media consumers, we are accustomed to being brought down from a high slowly. Led there, hand held the whole way. 8 Mile didn't do that. At all. When the end credits started rolling I was left with a "that's it?" feeling, and I think what happened there is I got so used to the pushpushpush that the sudden... nothing didn't feel right.

I mean, it makes sense, being a biography of sorts, life just isn't so kind as to wrap up all the loose ends for people. But it still felt a bit... rough, I guess.

As for Alice (who is a character in 8 Mile, I laughed when the name showed up), there is that lull I mentioned, just a slight ebb in the right direction. Which is a nice alternative to the pushiness. It lets you rest and listen, not needing to provide to the story, or fill anything in. It feels like a story tale (which it is, so kudos there Mr. Carroll and Mr. Burton), and plays like one.

In a way that is almost disappointing though, in comparison. It doesn't give you any hand hold to grab onto and wish it were all real. From the very moment we reach the engagement party everything takes on a varnish of fakeness that is hard to get over. The story is being told to you, and that is that. A large wall of "It's not real folks!" surrounds the whole movie, keeping you firmly here, and them firmly there.

Which kinda sucks.
(Though I wouldn't want to deal with that frumious Bandersnatch, no matter how cute it is.)

So there you have it. Some late night (Early morning, actually) ramblings about symbolism through video pacing. Have fun with that.

Friday, May 13, 2011


No, I'm not referring to my job, I'm referring to a scary thing called web presence. Specifically, mine.

For a while there if you searched my name on the Googles, I was result number one. Numero uno. Now I'm back to number two, alas.

Now, I'm not sure if I want to be number one, it feels like a lot of responsibility. But what I do want is for my internet self to be well organized.

I'm a member of a lot of sites on the internets, and recently I've been trying to pull them all together into an interconnected web of stuff.

So I thought I'd make a running list. If you can think of a place you've seen me, or want to see me, comment and I'll add it to the list!
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Blogger
  • Google
  • Ravelry
  • Flickr
  • Tumblr
  • StumbleUpon
  • Youtube
  • DeviantArt
  • ConceptArt
  • Kongregate
  • Gaia Online
  • Goodreads
  • VisualizeUs
  • We Heart It (Eclipsed by VisulizeUs)
  • Pintrest
  • Imageshack
  • Etsy
  • eBay
  • Formspring
Those are the main ones that come to mind, but there are literally hundreds of them. Those that I can connect to my Google or Facebook accounts, I do, however.

I'm not sure just how to bring all these thing together, I'm not even sure it is possible.
But you can expect to see some links in the sidebar ---> in the future, giving you access to some of these places. I'm nothing if not a transparent web persona.

So enjoy. And remember, take a look for ekobor on your site of preference, if there is one, say hi. Chances are to betting that it's me, and I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Image favouriting sites.

What's with the sudden rash of them, anyway?

We Heart It, Vi.sualize.us, Pintrest... The fact that there are three reasonably major ones means there were probably a number of minor ones that floundered.

Trouble is, what do you pick?

Well, if you're like me, all of them. Then narrow it. I started on We Heart It, and liked it a lot, but I found their off-site favouriting so clumsy it didn't do it for me.

Then I found VisulizeUs, which allows me to add a widget to my browser, letting me right-click and favourite the image that way, and even share it to social medias from there.

That is what I currently find to be the best.

Howeverrrrr, I heard about Pintrest. So I thought I'd try it. However they are in invitation-only mode, so I put in for an account. With luck it won't take too long and I can start scoping the place out. I want to pick one, and stay there. (Moving 1000+ images will not be fun if I move from VisualizeUs), but I want the one I pick to be reasonably permanent on the web and to have enough user-friendliness to it that I don't hate it every time I think about it.

There is also the issue of things like Ravelry and DeviantArt. There are things I like (sometimes love!) and I want to share that with people. However, they have their own individual built in favouriting systems, and I have to wonder if it would be weird to "Visualize/Heart/Pin" them. So I tend to use the built in systems first, then post things if that doesn't work/isn't available.
Which really goes against this whole connectivity/conglomerate/single page thing I want going on.

Ah, what is an internet addict to do.

I feel like asking reader questions this week, so I'll do another:
Do you use a favouriting site? Which one? If not, how do you keep track of all the things you see/do on the web and want to remember?

The art of paper making

So some of you may know that I'm a crafty geek, and enjoy fibre arts the most.
How many of you have thought about paper making before? It is a fibre art too! Just, different fibre.

I got into making paper maybe five years and a house ago. Set up a vat, blender and screen in our basement laundry room and churned the stuff out for a few months. Then school, cold weather and depression put a kibosh on it.
Oh, and moving to a house that doesn't have a drain in the floor of the basement. And had a fully carpeted basement for a time.
So I slowly ditched all the made up pulp, cleaned the vat, stored the screen and pressing boards, ditched the old cloths.

I made journals for all my teachers in grade ten, cards, backings for poems and neat art paper. Even a box to hold 105 tiny paper stars (about 5mm or .20in across) for a very special person.

After stopping I got into writing, geofiction, conlanging, reading, crochet, knitting, spinning, weaving, braiding, sewing and more all over again. (The first three were more prevalent for the first two years while I dealt with the aforementioned depression.) So I'm happy I stopped, it opened the door to a lot of other things I had ignored.

Fast forward to about a month ago. First year of college was ending, and I was looking forward to a summer of boredom, work and boredom.
So I thought, hey, paper!
Well, that and I was thinking about things I could add to an Etsy shop or similar, and dying/spinning wool seemed to expensive/time consuming for a start up. (Plus I'm not sure I would be able to give up the things I made >.>) Then I remembered the paper, and how so many people fawned over it and wanted things made from it, and thought it would be a good idea.

So I tore the old screen off and got a new, tighter one. Found and washed my old vat. Spent days trying to find a second hand blender, and eventually my mum said I could use the house one. If she ever wants one, she'll get another. (She barely used this one. A nice new blender for me!)

The furnace room was stripped of carpeting last year after the oil spill. (Torn up by a friend and I), so I do most of the work there (Until I can convince mum to tear up the disgusting carpet in the laundry room.) I've made two posts of sheets in the last three or four days, and will probably pull another today (Though I may experiment with some other fibres. I never got too far into the experimental last time.)

I hope to make some pulp out of old blue jeans and dryer lint soon. Maybe next summer try out some plant fibres. (Probably have to wait longer than that. I'll be done school then. Looking for permanent employment and housing...) You will probably soon get sick of the flurry of paper-making posts I feel are to come. Pictures too, hopefully!
I hope to make gift/greeting cards, some finer stationary, envelopes, boxes... Things are looking crafty around here.

So tell me, intrepid reader, what kind of crafts do you do?

Monday, May 9, 2011


So I've been thinking a bit about the relationships in Mario recently, especially the rather messed up Mario/Peach/Bowser/(Luigi/Daisy).

Now, had you asked me this time yesterday, I would have told you out right, I hate Bowser/Peach pairings. I don't support interspecies kidnap/rape/forcible childbearing.
But I was reading over some of the facts yesterday (Spurred by a Cracked.com article, yes...), and I'm starting to dislike it from a different angle. I'm certainly more sympathetic of Bowser.

What it looks like:
Bowser is bored out of his spiky skull, so kidnaps Peach and sets a maze of asinine tasks for Mario to do for Bowser's amusement.

How it seems to me:
Bowser is alone. His old squeeze died/left/turned into a transvestite, and now he is left with a couple of kids and nothing to live for. Then comes Peach, and he sees light at the end of his despair. Peach is kinda huffy about having to run a castle and says hey, here's a guy who is a king, and does a damn good job of it. So she runs off to him with no warning. They have a fling, maybe a kid or two...
Then the Mushroom Kingdom is left with no notice and ruler-less. So they send out the cavalry. An idiot plumber and his marginally smarter brother. Mario probably had a one-nighter with Peach at some point, thinks he loves her etc etc. Or just wants in on this ruler thing. Luigi is there to keep Mario alive, and possibly has a crush on her (Daisy was not introduced in the first few games, so he can't be trying to save her...). (Mushroom Kingdom probably asked him first, but Mario jumped on it.) Peach realises, oops, I done fucked up, and makes an elaborate plan to stay hidden.
Bowser probably was never trying especially hard to keep a hold on Peach. His castles are just well defended because otherwise who knows what would happen. That, and since Koopas take something close to a nuke to kill, it makes a good playground for his kids.
By the time he finally notices Mario, he's angry 'cause his kids are hurt and whining, not because Mario wants Peach.
So he finally gives up and goes back to Koopa Land, thinking that Peach fucked him over. (Say, yeah, you can have my land, then send in your fighter? Not cool bish.)
Peach is "rescued" and all is well.
Then Peach gets bored of Mario (He is just a portly plumber, after all. Bowser is a king) so says heck with this, and lures Bowser in with her feminine wiles.

So now I think that the Bowser/Peach pairing sucks because Peach is a manipulative whore.

It makes some sense though. I mean, why else would Peach not upgrade her army? Keep inviting Bowser to go-kart and golf and tennis? She considers him another plaything. Heck, she dumps the resultant kids on him, and pretends he is THE BAD GUY for years, staying with Mario until, oops, I'm bored of the Italian, lets get our turtle on.

I feel bad for Bowser now. All he wants is a good wife and mother for his kids, someone to love and lavish and give kingdoms to. Instead he gets Peach.

Thankfully Luigi eventually meets Daisy, the somewhat slow relation to Peach, who seems a bit more loyal to him.

But outside of that crazy quinrangle, Yoshi/Birdo forever. A dinosaur and his boyfriend cum girlfriend that don't seem to have any issues staying together and making plenty of cannon fodder, I mean, children.

I guess I just showed some of my inner geek there. But things like this bother me when I'm busy doing crafts and such.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A $25 computer?

Not quite.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation seems set on bringing one of my favourite movies to life. And thankfully not the previously mentioned eXistenZ.

No, they're going the way of The First $20 Million is Always the Hardest. In that movie they are trying to make the PC $99, a computer that costs less than a hundred dollars to make. Now, if that seems kinda familiar, you might want to remember the One Laptop Per Child company, the one making a full-on laptop and selling them near-cost for $100 to impoverished children?
Yeah, this is kinda like that.

The Raspberry Pi is a computer that costs approximately $25 and is hoped to be used to teach computer programming to children. The little thing has no monitor or keyboard, but instead has two ports, an HDMI and a USB: One to plug in an HDMI capable TV or monitor, the other to attach a USB keyboard. (Is it bad to feel old that I remember the keyboards that used headphone-esque jacks?)
The little stick then allows you to boot up Ubuntu or another open-source OS.

Anyway, I'm not a very computer-y person. If it isn't working I can give some suggestions to how to fix it, but the jargon that surrounds the field goes way over my head. So instead of just lyring the specs, I'll just link you to a few places that have more info, in case you are on of the more savvy among us:

And of course, the previously linked foundation website, Raspberry Pi.

So what does this mean? Hopefully it will help bring about change in the computer world, much like the One Laptop per Child did, and unobfuscate the way the computer is built and functions. Hopefully it will bring more power to the young and trodden upon in places that are in desperate need of change.

If nothing else, hopefully it'll help bring about some more savvy people, and create a trend for lower cost, high function machines in this world.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A short response

So a teacher of mine (or past teacher? I'm not sure if this is the last we get of her? anyway: ) posted an interesting... post... about her relation with the short story. Read it here. It got me thinking about my relationship with short stories, and I started to write a Facebook response, but it got too long. So I thought I'd share it here.

Alex makes some good points on the thought of short stories. Their very nature can be annoying to people. They're just so dammed short! And yeah, that can seem like a silly complaint. I mean, it's a short story for a reason, right? But if you're not in the right place for one, it's like a kick to the teeth.

"Oh, good characters, neat idea for a plot annnnd-- wait, it's over? What?"

As I said, good points.

I'm on the other side of the spectrum, however. I have a hard time settling into novels anymore (though school may have been a big factor in that as I've devoured two novels in the last three days of being off school for the summer (though I slept through one day...). Short stories have kept me well fed for a few years now.

I didn't always like them though. In fact, I used to be so against them that I dragged my writing out into longer stories simply because I didn't want to be a short story author. Enter Letters Unsent, Letters Unwritten (or LuLu) and I started to see the appeal of shorter stories. Now I have a good number of anthologies in my collection and I have to say that I am all for them.

But what is drawing me to them? The short nature of the story is still frustrating to me, I still often find myself at a loss at the end, wondering where the rest of the story went, or feeling I've been abandoned.
And it isn't a lack of time that is making me read them. When you read a three inch thick paper-back of back-to-back short stories in a sitting, it may as well be a novel.

It is the very brevity of the stories. When you only have ten pages to get a point across, there is little to no room for flowery language. Only things of great importance are mentioned. Even if their importance is only to make you think that other things are not so important.

My interest in shorts may come from my found love of writing them. The author gets to play with a story that size. Where is the harm in writing an ultrashort? (varyingly defined as less than 1000, 100, 10 words. ) I can put out 1000 words in a half hour trying to get a paper done.

There is no fear of getting it perfect. You don't like it? Toss it. You've wasted nothing.
So you get to read something just a little more raw. If you don't like it, you've wasted nothing. Ten minutes.

So I'm glad she's getting back to short stories. A cut up look at the world(that is, could be, would be, was, never will be, isn't, etc) is a nice mirror to the daily life that plagues so many people this side of the globe.

Shorts are a zap to the brain of a new thought, new way of seeing. Easily digested, like precut cubes of meat. And like precut cubes, they shouldn't be the only thing in your diet. But they can become a staple, and can become a delicious alternative to the chewy steak-like portions of Pride and Prejudice, A Tale of Two Cities and Moby Dick.