Thursday, December 25, 2008

NANO Success

Turns out not so much success as a good idea and not enough execution. I'll try again next year.

I did get interested in another story from a while ago. It's got a bit more humor than the other, so it might be more fun.

More later.


Test from iPod Touch.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

NaNoWriMo Progress

It's the fourth day of NaNoWriMo, and I am on track. I'm just about to sit down and start my fourth day's work, and I have about 5200 words. I'm going to try and pass the minimum for today, but I might not because last night I fell asleep on the couch with my laptop in my lap.

The story progresses well thus far, and though I thought it was going to be more about a god stalking a high school girl, it's actually about a particular pantheon asking the girl for a favor. Don't know what the favor is yet since I didn't outline, but it's going well.

A couple of links for you:
Time's 50 Best Inventions of 2008
The Best Tech Tools to Get in Shape.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Some linkage for you:
Awesome/Awful jokes on Making Light,
20 Classic Films in Legos

Sorry it's been more than a month between posts. School's keeping me pretty busy, got four preps this year, which means four different lesson plans to the administrators every Monday, four kinds of grading to do, and four types of assignments to write.

On the plus side, I haven't had many discipline problems except for the Big Bigot and the Little Bigot (more about them later) and I have a student aide who is better at grading than I am. I need to buy that girl lunch or something.

Also, Happy NaNoWriMo! I've decided to try again this year, after my failure of a couple years past. I've actually advertised it people IRL, so that might keep me on task. There's two other teachers at school doing it too, and I'm hoping that we'll be able to support one another. I've never actually had an acquaintance that I could see almost every day do this with me, so I'm pretty excited.

I may or may not post with more frequency in November, though it will probably surpass my October total of 1. See you on the other side!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

She Has a Vagina

Brittle evil in an attractive Tina Fey package.

Just the ticket to get those Hillary supporters away from Obama. I know that I will only vote for gyno-Americans, regardless of their actual policies.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

so . . . tired . . .

Welcome to all the visitors from Talk About Comics forum. I've been busy at school trying to teach freshmen how to draw or I would have written something earlier.

Thanks to James Kochalka for linking to my blog. It was nice to meet you, and my niece devoured your book in two days. Then she wouldn't let me read it.

So far I've had my students try some Mona Brooks exercises, done blind contour drawing, made them draw with their non-dominant hand, and done an upside-down drawing as recommended in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.

On Monday I'll be visiting Chloe and Cletus in HEB and I get to see their 3 year old, and of course baby Mary.

Have a great Labor Day Weekend!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008


Posting will be sporadic for at least the next week, as school starts on Monday and I'm nowhere near ready. Wish me luck!

Here's two photos of James Kochalka from the SDCC, drawing his version of Warlock from New Mutants for a friend of his.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ocean Beach (in San Diego)

This is the street at the end of the Ocean Beach Pier. It was about 10pm. We stayed at a little B&B on Narragansett Street. Very cute place.
Unfortunately, Ocean Beach is under the takeoff path for the planes at San Diego International. At 6am.

I wanted to try to use my camera in manual mode. It's a Minolta Dimage*, and I've had really good luck with it. Except that the battery cover's about to break, it's a great little camera.

This is my brother and my niece as we walk toward the ocean.

Here I rested the camera on the handrail and pointed it toward Sea World. I love the sky in this one.

Walking back down the pier. I like that all the photos have a different color.

I had the camera strap around my wrist because the ocean was a loong way down, but it was resting on the railing. I accidentally pulled the strap as I pushed the button.

* I bought it in 2003 and I've taken it on all of my trips. It can take some really good shots, and almost all of the photos that I post are from this camera.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Even More Costumes from ComicCon

Aldrea, my niece took these at the convention.

These Predators look great. I don't remember seeing them at all. It's weird what you notice and what you don't.

I know Xena's a bit blurry, but look at that awesome costume.

I have no idea.
Cool, though.

Link and ? I'm not a giant Zelda fan like Aldrea, so I have no clue as to the identity of the bandaged person.

Love this Zelda costume.

Little Mary (IKYDA)

My sister had a baby on the day we flew to San Diego. She tried to schedule the birth on Friday, but these things never work out that way.

Here she is. Named after my mom, with I'llKickYourDamnAss as a middle name. Not really, but it would be cool.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

For My Siblings

Hope this makes you laugh:
The Ack Attack

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Writing Prompt #01 (v. 2)

From Writer's Digest:
You're a stand-up comedian having a good night on stage except for one loudmouth in the back of the crowd who keeps heckling you. As your set ends, you storm off stage to confront this person, only to discover it's (fill in the blank). Write this scene.

That sucks. Mine does too, but I'm not a professional.

Describe your car. Use all five senses and some metaphors. Also, give your car a name in the description and make it fit the car.

I'll post mine in the next few days.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Memory Lane

I was just reading some of the backups I made of this blog afterI decided in a fit of pique to delete it and blog under another name. I was MEAN!

Here's an excerpt:
I go to an afternoon teacher's meeting and don't get back to my desk until after 4pm, and see the message light on my phone. Hoping that it's the doctor's office, I call and listen to the message, but it's the nurse, and this is what she said, "Kate, this is Kristen from Dr. Patel's office. First, I need you to understand that I'm just a temp, I'm another Kristen and I just got here today. I'm trying to help you. I need to talk to you to find out what you need called in. Please do not get upset with me, this is a different Kristen. I need you to return my call at 555-5555. I'll try to help you the best I can."

I tried calling back at a little after 4, and got the following response, "You have reached Dr. Patel's after-hours voicemail. Please leave a message."

So, here's a message to Kristen: Kristen, get the fuck off your ass and do what you're supposed to do. Look at my chart and then the fax that the pharmacy already sent your dumb ass and fax it back with the authorization. Then, take that fax and shove it in your ear to clean out the shit that passes for your brain, and NEVER, EVER, temp in a doctor's office again. Then, have the doctor call me so I can tell them that they have hired a monkey passing for a human, and that not only will I never be going to their office again, but I'm also going to place a full page ad in the Dallas paper telling everyone what my experience was so that no one else pays $180 to be subjected to impersonal treatment and the idiocy and incompetence of the Kristens* of the world.

*If you are a Kristen, work at a doctor's office and are not a moron, please, please tell the rest of them to quit being so stupid.

Also, I've been blogging since July of 2004. I had no idea that I'd been doing this for four years. And mostly in the same place. As I recall (with some help from archived files), I started keeping this blog to do writing exercises and try sticking to my goals and to record my experiences with online dating. Those haven't been a priority for quite some time now, but I think that maybe I'll get back to some of that stuff. I've been spending way too much time with Google Reader and not enough time entertaining myself.

Maybe it's like a little kid with a cardboard box.* I had this a cardboard box, refrigerator-sized as all kids know any decent cardboard box should be, and I put imagination and pieces of myself into it and played. It was whatever I wanted. But now it's not just a cardboard box, it's some fancy toy and I've lost the fun of just having the container. I'd like to get back to that.

Now, as with most things, I am a procrastinator and honestly a bit lazy. If it involves anything more strenuous than using a remote on-button, not for me. We'll all see.

*Not the best metaphor, but it conveys what I feel.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

More Costumes from ComicCon

Old school Cylons. They wouldn't let me take a photo of my niece with them, and went into the exhibit hall right after I asked. I'm sure that it was just a coincidence and they had important business.

Bat-villains. Lots of those, actually, including an awesome Ceasar Romero style Joker with an fabulous purple brocade suit. Who I didn't manage to get with my camera.

Four huddling Indianas, with one Willi and one Marion.

Power Girl posing with my niece, who shall remain anonymous, but was dressed as film X-Man, Rogue.

Costumes from ComicCon

Many people dressed in costumes. An astonishing range of subjects too. The most numerous, The Joker. Next most, Indiana Jones. Also lots of manga/anime characters.

Here's a few:

I'm guessing some dude from 300, though I've still not seen the movie.

I have no idea, but I'm loving the detail on this costume.

Ash, how we love you.

Is the skirt the correct Wonder Woman bottom? I remember Linda Carter's outfit wasn't a skirt, but almost all of the Wonder Women at the Con wore a skirt.

Love the Phoenix costume, too. I guess the middle one is Alice from Resident Evil? Not sure, but if you know please tell.

San Diego Convention Center

San Diego Convention Center is 'uge! I took a panorama of it, and here's one of those photos. This is from the first full day, Thursday.

This second image is from the last day of the Con, Sunday, as we waited for the trolley.

One of the days, Saturday, the trolley was so full that we had to ride on the steps at the door, which technically you're not supposed to do.

Sea World Part Two

On the second day for Sea World, we left the house quite a bit earlier, but we still (sniff) missed the flamingo parade. The first show we saw was Shamu "Believe," which, while slightly cheesy with its inspirational message, still had some good tricks. In the best trick, the trainer rides the Orca's nose while it jumps many feet out of the water, at which point the trainer leaps off and into the water right before the whale does.

They also did a few beaching tricks, and one time they had a small boy feed the whale some fish and scratch it. We sat in the "soak zone" but too far up to get wet, even through the "shamu, shamu" chanting.

After the "Believe" show, we went to see the dolphin show. I kept my camera in my purse, unfortunately, because only my feet got wet and the the dolphins did some really good tricks.

During one of the tricks, a helper from the audience "fell" into the tank and got the dolphins to carry her around. She's a trainer, but it was still pretty funny and I wish I'd gotten photos.


We had a wonderful trip to San Diego, but not much free time, especially after the Con started. I'm sorry for not posting some of the wonderful (and occasionally scary) costumes. Also, I met Joss Whedon.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sea World Part One

Did you know that going to Sea World at 1 in the afternoon probably isn't the best plan? And that not only do you pay from $51-80 for a ticket, depending on the options that you choose, but that parking costs an additional $12?

We saw the sea lion show first, and it was okay. A little tamer than I would have liked, but cute. This shot is of Clyde and his trainer goofing off while they're supposed to be marching. I didn't get a photo of the most awesome part of the show. The trainer says she's thirsty, and a trained river otter comes out from backstage walking on it's hind feet and gives her a soft drink.

We decided to get a two-day pass (even though we only planned to go one day) because it included a behind the scenes tour. Only seven people showed up for that tour, so our guide didn't even use her microphone. Her name was Keleigh.* Keleigh took us to see the newest dolphin of the park and her mom. I didn't get a good photo of them, unfortunately. According to our guide, the little dolphin hasn't learned how to stop swimming yet, but she has advance to the turning while swimming phase.

The moray eels here are in a tank covered with an acrylic plate so you can take a photo that looks like you're touching them.

Also, Sea World rescues all kinds of animals. They frequently rehabilitate seals, sea lions, elephant seals, birds like macaws and parrots, dolphins and whales, and also turtles.

This is, I think, a seal. Any of the animals that can be released back into the wild are released. One exception to this is manatees, because they are, according to Keleigh, dumber than a box of rocks. They will get themselves tangled in a net seven days in a row without remembering that they maybe shouldn't go near the stringy thing with holes.

Every day when the park opens, the staff allow some of the flamingos to walk around the park. They call it the Flamingo Parade. Unfortunately we were too late and missed the parade this morning, but we got to see those flamingos in their pen yesterday.

While we were there two or five of the birds started squabbling, hitting each other with their beaks and making really loud noises. Sort of like brothers and sisters.

*Like SanDeE*, no one will ever spell her name right.

More Zoo Photos

This giraffe family has a relatively new member there in the back. I think our tour guide said he's only a few months old.
They stayed together while we looked at them as another larger giraffe chewed on the metal of their enclosure.

We saw both Timon here and Pumbaa while at the zoo. The warthogs and other pigs were the animals not hiding in caves. Only Timon of his group stayed above ground.

We had already been at the zoo for a while and so didn't go see the apes, but this guy got the closest to the glass of any of the monkeys that we saw. I tried to take a video on my camera but apparently I don't know how to do that. Oh well.

At the Zoo

We spent five hours at the San Diego Zoo on Monday. It's bloody 'uge! We didn't get there until around noon, so a lot of the animals had already gone through their active period.

Brad and Aldrea and I sat on the top of the double decker bus for a tour of the zoo, and Brad got sunburned. Through his shirt.

Aldrea and I got a tiny bit pink, even more so yesterday at Sea World.

This lynx had some friends in his cage, two of whom did some mutual grooming.

This is the last image that I took at the zoo. The stripes on these zebras were so clean looking, like the painter had just removed his tape.

We're off to Sea World to catch some of the stuff we missed yesterday, so more later.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Going to the zoo! Photos later. That is all.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Bay

My niece, who has chosen the name Aldrea for this blog, and I just went down to the water. Here is a photo of the house where we're staying:

Here is a view of the boats in the bay from the living room patio:

When she put her feet in the water to see how cold it is, she startled a ray and it swam a little bit away from her. It took me a long time to see it, and I would have taken a photo but it blended right into the sand. And, then it buried itself so neither of us could see it.

We're having a wonderful leisurely time so far. Though we did go out for a burger and hit two restaurants where we couldn't eat. The first, Sandbar, doesn't admit under 21, and the second, Pacific Beach Bar and Grill, doesn't serve burgers at 12:15, only brunch buffet until 1.


So, instead we went to Fatburger.

We're Here!

We're here in San Diego! It's beautiful, and the weather has been nothing but awesome. We arrived at our rental house and the bay is so peaceful. I think that choosing Mission Bay instead of Mission Beach was the right choice, it's calm and not nearly as loud and raucous as the beach, and it's only a short walk across the street to get to the beach.

I'll try to upload some photos later of both the bay, the beach and the house. I think we're going to go down the street and check out the amusement park called Belmont park. But first, lunch.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bad Poetry

Want to read some really bad poetry? Come on, all the cool kids are doing it.
I've only gotten one submission, so I posted one of my poems from creative writing in high school.

Go and laugh, you know you'd love to laugh at a bad poem about fairies. I mean, faeries.
I was so proud of my ability to rhyme, too.

Leaving for San Diego Soon

We leave for San Diego on Saturday. So far, I don't really know what we'll be doing when not at ComicCon, but probably the zoo, and maybe Seaworld and maybe LegoLand.

I bought some touristy books and one of those awesome pop-out maps. I've bought those for almost every place that I've been. All the overseas ones anyway, except for Nice.

They've posted the entire schedule for the con finally, so if you're interested you can see it here.

I was pretty excited about the autograph area, too, because the first four people listed were:
Katey Sagal
Lindsey Wagner
Richard Hatch
Erik Estrada

Now, last year they had Kelli Moroney, who I would love to meet.

Here's a photo of the view from where we'll be staying:

I'll be trying to blog while we're there, so stay tuned. My brother Brad will be bringing his laptop, so if he's not using it I guess that I will be.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Saturday with Cletus and Chloe

I hope you had a Happy Fourth! Poor me, no fireworks this year.

Went to Useless* on Saturday to hang out by my sister Chloe's pool. It was DAMN HOT, so I spent a good deal of time on the couch inside, mostly because I didn't feel like swimming.

I forgot to bring a camera, so have no photos from this particular holiday. That kinda sucks, but I'll remember next time.

My sister's about 11 months pregnant with a girl. She's naming the baby after my mom, but with a rather unusual middle name. The baby's name will be Mary "I'll kick your Damn Ass" Smith, (or whatever I decide their last name is this month.)

Next week we'll have a baby shower. I'm in charge of the cake. Have I said that I hate baby showers lately? Wedding/bridal showers too. Not my thing, especially the pastel colors, stupid games and all about the childbirth experiences of each and every woman there. Which, don't get me wrong, I totally respect these women and their lives and their stories, but I'm not sure that I really need to know which of the women I know have had an episiotomy (since I've already heard about it four times.)

*AKA Euless, a suburb of Dallas that's usually grouped with its sister cities Hurst and Bedford in conversation.
As in, "Hey, I was in HEB this weekend visiting relatives.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Thursday's Cat

Pretty and with a sense of humor. How often does that happen?
Sadly, his brother has no sense of humor. This is why he gets all worked up running around the living room and bites me when I try to pet him.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


I was looking at blogger's Blogs of Note and from there went to Sketchblog, by Rob Sheridan. He's done a great and irreverent digital painting of cereal mascots, and also a really detailed how-to.

One of the reasons to love this series of tubes.

Same Bunny?

This might be the same bunny, but now he's in the front yard. The cats were fascinated with him all day, and wouldn't leave the window. The first photo that I tried with my mom's camera (a Nikon D50) had the flash bouncing off the window. That was a great photo. (sarcasm)

The next few I tried different settings but the camera wanted to focus on the leaves of the bush instead of the rabbit. Finally got a few, but only two good enough to post.
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Monday, June 30, 2008


Today's the anniversary of my mom's death. She died in the hospital one year ago today. I remember it was pouring rain most of the days in June last year, and every day that we visited her in the hospital we brought our umbrellas.*

The day of the surgery they told us it went well. Maybe it did, but she didn't get better, only worse. One of the techs at the hospital who took her out of the room for some tests told us she'd tried to slap someone the day after the surgery, so we all thought she was improving. I feel like if I only knew what had gone wrong, that I'd feel better. Intellectually I do know that's not true.

I wish that I could talk about her without crying. Not because I'm ashamed of or mind the crying, but because it's so much harder to get out all the things that I feel I need to say about her and how much I loved her if I keep interrupting myself.

I used to ask her to tell me stories about her life before she had her four kids. Most of the time she'd say something about how it wasn't all that interesting, but she'd tell me a story anyway.

My dad found me reading one of her diaries a while back, and asked me why I felt the need to read them. It took me a little while to formulate the answer to that one, but now I know. I can't get her to tell me any more stories, and reading her words is a little like that. Being able to listen to her stories again.

Anyway, if I believed in the afterlife I might take comfort in that thing people like to say to you after someone you love has died. You know, "She's in a better place, she's looking down at you now." But I don't.

My mother's legacy exists in the people that she touched, and the children that she raised. And we're all good, because of her. We're good, and I'm glad that she knew that we loved her.

*If you know anything about North Texas in the summertime, you know the odds of rain for the entire month of June. It even rained on the 4th of July last year.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

My New Bunny

I originally bought a house because I had some annoying neighbors. Yippy dogs on one side and an idiot with a very loud car stereo and a penchant for Poison (in 2004!) on the other side. So I looked in the same neighborhood as my relatives for a house that I could afford. Turns out that I really couldn't afford it, but that's another story.

I found a cute little three bedroom house, about 1300 square feet and got a loan (though, let's face it, everyone got a loan in 2004) and moved. It was great, until the dog started barking on one side and the neighbor on the other side with the really loud car stereo worked on his car at all hours with his music blasting.

I know, getting to the point. So the neighbor with a dog moved out about a month ago. Yay, not as much barking! Unfortunately the dog dug a big trench under a part of my fence. So yesterday I went out to look at my horribly maintained backyard and had a need to trim the dead branches of the crepe myrtle RIGHT THEN. And something moved in the brush at my feet.

I looked a little closer and saw the tiniest bunny ever right next to my elm tree. I told my sister months ago that I don't have bunnies, and I didn't. She called me a liar, but I know that they not only did not have a way into the backyard, but I had a horrible large loud dog right next door to scare them away.

I took about six photos but in most of them the auto-focus chose the leaves instead of the fur. This one turned out the best. And he's only about four inches long.
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Friday, June 27, 2008

Cicada Killers

There's a very large wasp here (probably other places too) called a cicada killer. The female wasp paralyzes a cicada with her sting and lays an egg on it in a burrow. The egg hatches and the larva feeds on the cicada.

With all the noise around here lately, I'm wishing for a few more cicada killers. Unfortunately for me, each wasp only kills between 10 and 20 cicadas, which won't help me stave off insanity.

I was over at my Dad's today and caught one digging her burrow. Maybe I can get some closer photos tomorrow.