Sunday, December 7, 2014

Chicago Book Expo 2014

So yesterday, I ventured out from my little hermit hole and attended the 2014 Chicago Book Expo.

Matt, the coordinator of the Tamale Hut Cafe Writers Group, had gotten a table with a couple of other writers from the group and had invited me and co-conspirator Jenny to use the table as home base while we wandered the show in search of new writers to invite to the Tamale Hut Cafe Reading Series.

As a bonus, I also got to take time to contemplate new ideas for furnishing the home.

It's not quite the Scandinavian Contemporary look I was going for, but it might make a good accent piece anyway.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Going Counterclockwise Past the Mission

Currently reading Widdershins by Charles de Lint, in which one of his long-running and much-loved characters (Jilly Coppercorn) deals further with the abuse she suffered from various people in her past, including a priest. Having that story in mind while watching this video makes both a little more powerful; they echo each other well.

On a slightly different note, damned if hearing Trent Reznor's voice sneak in on the chorus there still doesn't make me smile.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Best American Nonrequired Reading/Listening/What Is Storytelling, Anyway?

This is a picture of one of the pages inside The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2014. What you're looking at is a script for an episode of Welcome to Night Vale, an independently produced podcast that I would say is rather popular in that just-below-the-mainstream-radar kind of way.

Your mileage may vary; I think this is pretty neat. Either way, though, the times, they are a-changin'.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Tree in the Forest

Well, since I last wrote, Monsters in My Backyard got put on indefinite hold. "What?" you might gasp. "Someone on the Internet stopped doing work on a blog?" I know; it's shocking to me, too.

But I was writing the text at the last minute, Wes was squeezing in the drawings between gigs for which he was actually accepting payment, and yeah. It's one thing to be disciplined, quite another to shove out work out of a sense of obligation. I like the idea too much to see it become something we half-ass or roll our eyes about whenever it comes time to do an entry, so we paused before we got to that point.

I've been working on writing stories on my own time, but that means very little to anyone, because they're not yet in a state to be seen. They need feedback, editing, a kick in the tush, everything it takes to get a story to the point at which it means something to someone reading it. If a tree falls in the forest, and no one's around to hear it--if a person writes a story, but no one else has been able to read it, is there really any sound to be heard other than the sound of said person talking out of her ass?

I don't have an answer for that; some mysteries simply are too deep. But this is an article I wrote for work, and this is the item description that's probably going to be my crowning achievement at this job (scroll down a little and check under the "Item Details" tab). And that's my life for the moment.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Hairy, Naked Buds

That's what the descriptive URL for today's post on Monsters in My Backyard got shortened down to.

Wes and I are still going with the blog, though I switched to posting on Sundays to give us more time to produce the material needed. The image that Wes drew for today's post is my favorite of all the ones he's done so far.

Do have a look, won't you?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Monsters in My Backyard

So Wes and I started a blog, called Monsters in My Backyard, that combines his drawing and my writing, and we put the first post up today.

The idea is that we look at stuff from the nearby natural world, he imagines and draws a monster based on what he sees, and then I write about some of what science says is actually going on out there.

If you saw me pop up on Instagram as "monstersinmybackyard" a while back--this is what that was about. But we'd love it if you took a look if you're interested and shared it with anyone else you think might be interested, too.

Here's our first post: On Wood Decay Fungi, or, That Dying Tree Is More Alive Than You Think

And here's Wes's illustration for it:

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Neuromarketing: Why Your Brain Loves Free T-Shirts

More stuff I did for work. It's pretty nice of them to let me babble on about science all the time, considering that the company's all about producing stress balls and pens.

Neuromarketing: Why Your Brain Loves Free T-Shirts

Saturday, February 22, 2014

I Depleted Any Ability I Have to Think About Post Titles While I Was at Work

At my new(ish) job, I'm responsible for writing stuff, including product descriptions, social media updates, and blog posts about topics related to the company. The first blog post with my name on it went up this week. Have a look-see:

Nice Plastic Bottle You're Wearing: What You Never Knew About Recycled Fabric

If the post title doesn't interest you, perhaps the fantastic image set I found for the header will:

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Rhapsody in Boo-Hoo

I cried in the car on the way to work today, not because I was upset, but because this song came on the radio, and there's a part in the middle that gets me every stupid time. Today marks the 90th anniversary of its first public performance, where I'm sure plenty of other people also cried like sissies.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Science, Featuring Shrimp and the Sun

(I keep a running tally of phrases that I can see being used as band names. "Shrimp and the Sun" might make it on there.)

I actually learned a lot when researching both of these articles, namely that our sun is probably not as old as some other stars and that shrimp have brains.

Do Shrimp Have a Nervous System?

What Is Meant When Our Sun Is Referred to as a Second Generation Star?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

That does more than sting...

One of the articles I wrote recently was about the ecosystems that stingrays inhabit. Yesterday, I Fucking Love Science posted about a study that warns that 25% of the world's sharks and rays could be extinct within a decade and explains why we should be worried.

Science for your weekend, kiddos:

The Ecosystem of the Stingray

And a couple of other recent pieces:

What Is a Pinna in Botany?
How Are the Surfaces of the Moon & Mercury Similar?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Today I learned that Prozac will screw up shrimp. No joke.

While researching an article, I found out that shrimp have the hormone serotonin circulating in their systems, the same hormone that improves mood in humans. When exposed to one of the chemicals in Prozac, shrimp will see their serotonin levels skyrocket, and they'll start behaving in abnormal ways, like swimming out of their safe, dark hidey holes toward bright areas where predators can find them.

Take what you will from that. The lesson I took is that happy creatures do stupid shit.

Read more about conked-out crustaceans here.