Quote of the Moment

"It's never wrong to hope, Byx," said my mother. "Unless the truth says otherwise."
- from Endling #1: The Last, by Katherine Applegate

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Halfway Mark: Resolution Update

The above is the result of several days of playing camera tag with the local goldfinches. We usually don't have that many - indeed, we stopped feeding nyger thistle seed some years ago due to total lack of interest - but this is an unusual year, apparently. Not only do we have goldfinches hanging around (at least two pairs of them), but the thistle feeder's been perhaps the most active one in the yard; birds'll fight each other for the privilege of a perch. I think it may have something to do with the loss of local thistle fields; most of the open land where they used to find wild thistle has been "reclaimed" in the past couple years. So maybe we're the only game in town for thistle seed eaters. Or maybe thistle is a distant relative of tobacco, and the birds actually are as addicted to the stuff as they act.

Okay, back to the title...

Today being the last day of June, the sixth month of the year, we are now halfway through 2009. In the interest of wasting time and internet space, it seems like a good time to check how I'm doing on that resolution list from January.
  1. Develop More Income Sources. (Bonus: Obtain Business License.) - Well, I can't claim much success on this front, unfortunately.
  2. Spend at least one hour daily creating. (Bonus: Start online sketchbook.) - If "one hour daily" can be counted as "one hour daily, at least five/six days a week," then, yes, I'm definitely seeing progress here. At least, I'm doing much, much better on this front than I was last year. As for the bonus, I started my ConceptArt.Org sketchbook on January 1, and the thread's up to five pages. I think I've posted at least one new item a week, usually more than that. Hooray for me... now, if only I could actually start to show measurable artistic growth...
  3. Follow through on at least one creative book/site/course. (Bonus: Develop 2D/3D/animation program skills.) - I started out okay here, but I seem to have fallen off the wagon somewhere in mid-spring or so. I blame the weather... and the pollen count.
  4. Finish at least one marketworthy story. (Bonus: Submit said story/stories for publication.) - Nope, hasn't happened yet, though I'm forcing my way forward on a couple of my stalled-out monstrosities; with any luck, I'll be able to check this one off by my birthday. I'm not holding my breath, though...
  5. Overhaul web presence. (Bonus: Relearn "basic" skills - HTML, CSS, etc.) - After some serious procrastination, I've finally started moving foward on this project. (The observant may note the new Link of Interest - W3 Schools - where one can learn such things for free online.) As I thought, things have changed in ten years, and the stuff I got away with back when I started the sites looks like it won't work these days, or much longer into the future. I think it'll be easier to start over from scratch than simply retrofit my old sites to the newer standards, but if it needs doing it needs doing. Once more, I hope to have something to show for it this fall, but we'll see how it goes.
  6. Organize, clean, weed out my space. (Bonus: Rearrange shelving/storage.) - I won't lie. I haven't made any progress on this front. If anything, I've backslid. Fortunately, budget issues mean I haven't accumulated too much extra junk.
  7. Walk/exercise at least 3x weekly. (Bonus: Walk even on work days.) - Eh, what can I say? I have good weeks and bad (a.k.a. lazy) weeks here. Hopefully I can have more good weeks than bad by the end of the year.
So, that's how I've been doing. I feel like I'm doing better on resolution follow-through than I was this time last year, so we'll see if I can carry the momentum through to the end of December.

Monday, June 22, 2009

To Anyone Who Has Ever Written or Read Fanfic...

This is probably the least useful or informative post in my entire blog, but I felt a certain obligation to share this.

Basic Instructions: How to Write Fan Fiction (Rated Strong PG)

As a reader and occasional author of fanfic (the G/PG kind), I had to laugh. With so many older shows now freely available to a whole new audience via the Internet, I wonder if this sort of thing isn't being written by a new generation of fans right now. (Assuming, of course, it wasn't written back in the 80's... dear gods of heaven and earth, it better not have been...)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Free as a Dragonfly

This seems to be a good year for dragonflies. This guy was one of a pair who rested in an elderberry tree off our porch; they obligingly waited while I got my camera, and lingered long enough for several shots. Most others I've seen this year haven't been so photogenic, but they have been fascinating to watch. Just the other day, over at Grandpa's house, I wandered into the backyard and found myself surrounded by dragonflies. Huge, beautiful dragonflies, at least five at any given time. They circled and swooped and cornered and dove, moving in manners that seemed contrary to the laws of physics and nature. Not a one ever landed. I quickly gave up trying to capture them on camera. Instead, I simply stood there in there midst, letting them weave their aerial magic around me.

Okay, back to the title...

I'm writing this blog entry on the Little Black Critter, which has been sadly neglected of late. My excuse was that I didn't have a wireless connection to keep it updated, and I got tired of it constantly nagging me for something I couldn't provide without heading out of the house. (Yes, the ability to take one's computer and camp out at any given Starbuck's all day is one of the chief attractions of laptops for most people, but I'm a reclusive and antisocial beast who doesn't think nearly so well when surrounded by cell-phone yakking, caffiene-addicted people. Or most any people, to be honest.)

Back at Xmas, I received a gift card from a relative, which I'd intended to spend on remedying the LBC's connection woes. Alas, time kept slipping away, as time is wont to do, and I kept putting it off. The times I looked online for help, I only got more and more confused by an inpenetrable wall of terminology and conflicting product reviews. And so I cowered, and I waited, and yet more time slipped through my less-than-agile fingers.

As June arrived, the long-awaited digital conversion left us with an unexpected complication. We had thought, as cable customers, that we'd be safe from hassles. According to an e-mail sent out less than three weeks before D(igital)-Day, that wasn't the case. We ended up having to get cable boxes and digital converters installed, a process that turned into a much bigger headache than it ought to.

So I thought about it. It was six months into 2009. We're already wrestling a bunch of new boxes into the house. And the old router seemed a bit fidgety now and again. So, I figured to heck with it - I'm gettin' me a wireless router.

And so I did.

And if this blog entry, written in the living room on the Little Black Critter, publishes, I'll know everything is working right, leaving me with one more toy and one less excuse.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Bearing Up

Something's been going after the bird feeders on and off for the past few weeks. We thought maybe it was the coons. Evidently not... This guy and his brother (or sister - I didn't want to get too close, even if they are just black bears) were caught red-pawed this evening. A clatter of a broom against the railing spooked them, but we decided to take the feeders in early. (We've been leaving them up until sundown, because normally nocturnal foragers don't go out before then, but these must be early risers.)

While they were out there, a neighbor called in a panic to let us know there were - gasp! - bears around!!! A prowling cougar might be worth a little panic, but black bears? Generally not troublesome, save the property damage. Besides, our housepets are indoors for just this reason. Sometimes I wonder why certain people moved into bear country to begin with...

We now return you to your regularly scheduled evening.