March 6th, 2014
|10:03 pm - An Incomplete List of Books Cluegirl Loves|
Today is World Book Day! I hadn't known that, actually, but I still spent the day putting this list together, thinking it was a better thing to do than chew on myself. So here, in no particular order, and for a host of Very Good Reasons, i.e.
* This book got me through childhood without killing anybody.
* I have read this book more often than perhaps is healthy.
* This book changed how I write.
* This book changed how I look at the world.
* I would memorize this book and recite it on command if books became illegal.
* Gondor has no good reason for loving this book; Gondor NEEDS no good reason for loving this book.
* I have purchased many copies of this book because I keep 'loaning' it to people.
* Elements of this book have been instrumental in how I define the world.
The list begins:
The Oracle Glass by Judith Merkle Riley. ISBN: 0 449 91006 7
* I love this book so much that I hardly ever recommend it to my friends directly -- this is because I'm afraid if they don't like it, we can't be friends anymore. It's a historical fantasy that's written by a history teacher, so it passes the 'pedantic reenactor' test with flying colors. I pick this book up again every couple of years, and I never seem to love it any less.
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman. ISBN: 978 0 06 085397 6
* Nobody I loan this book to ever seems to give it back again. I never can blame them, really. It's that good. Thank Cod I can always get a new copy.
Salt. A World History by Mark Kurlansky. ISBN: 9780142001615
* This book schooled me HARD about just how much this one edible rock influenced the passage of human history as we know it. FASCINATING stuff.
A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffen. ISBN: 978 0 316 04125 6
* I adored the first book of the Matthew Swift series in a life-changing way. I just wish the second two had measured up. (Haven't read the fourth yet, alas.) Still, I wouldn't trade this first one away for nothing.
God Stalk by PC Hodgell. ISBN: 978-1-4165-5576-6
* This is another one I keep going back and reading over and over again. I feel deeply that Tai Tastigon is one of the best, most memorable fictitious cities of which I've ever read, and I adore Jamethiel more than is possibly reasonable.
Vellum by Hal Duncan. ISBN: 0 345 48731 1
* Took this book with me on my first trip to Las Vegas. Was UNPREPARED for it to eat my entire brain and attach itself to my face. I didn't go anywhere I couldn't take the book with me for the first four days of the trip, and had to be bribed with alcohol to leave it behind for meals. Finished it too fast, spent the rest of the trip longing for the sequel. Yes, it's that good.
The Persian Boy by Mary Renault. ISBN: 0 394 75101 9
* Another historical novelization done just the way I love them: using real people, and the stories that fall between the cracks of post-Roman history. This one stirs me every time I pick it up.
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. ISBN: 9780380729401
* I don't even feel obligated to explain this particular literary pash -- either you get it, or you never will.
Burying the Shadow by Storm Constantine. ISBN: 9781892065452
* Storm Constantine is a bulletproof author for me. Even when I don't like her protagonists, her language use never fails to knock me OUT. It's hard to choose a single favorite from her works -- look down thread, and you'll see that actually, I can't -- but this one taught me a new kind of magic, and that counts for a hell of a lot in my world.
Digging Up Donald by Steven Pririe. ISBN: 9781904853466
* I have to count a book that makes me burst out laughing, aloud and helplessly in public, as a triumph. I bounced off my first run at it, but on my second try, my hand to Cod, I thought it was going to kill me. My roommate just thought I was nuts, but when she borrowed it, she couldn't keep from laughing either.
Catspaw by Joan Vinge. ISBN: 9780765303417
* This book makes me cry like a wibbling ninny, and I love it beyond reason, but godDAMN, did it teach me something about the meaning of the word Sacrifice.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. ISBN: 9780679783268
* I pull this one off the shelf and read it about once every couple of years. Lizzy Bennet was my role model for more years than I can count, and I love this book unironically and without reservation -- even the excruciating parts.
Cyrano De Bergerac by Edmund Rostand (trans Brian Hooker) ISBN: 978-0553213607
* One of my greatest disappointments in life is that I will never play this title role. It is my favorite of All Things Ever, I've written fanfic pastiches of it, I can practically recite the whole damned thing on command, I even went and dug up that horrid, half-decent Broadway adaptation that, Thank Dionysos, Frank Wildhorn never actually produced. I will die loving this book/play, even if Rostand did totally erase Cyrano's gayness from his text. (Yes. Really.)
Riddle Master : The Complete Trilogy by Patricia McKillip. ISBN: 9780441005963
* This was one of my childhood favorites, and I'm proud to say it's stood the test of time and adulthood pretty goddamned well, really. I don't feel the need to explain this one -- it's so good that it just sells itself, really. All it usually takes is half an hour with the first book, and if a reader's going to like it at all, they're already in love.
Chronicles of Amber 1-5 by Roger Zelazny. ISBN: 9781857987263
* This book taught me to write. It so strongly influenced the beginnings of my craft that I can't imagine what my work would be like now if I had never read it. This is another one that made me make an idiot of myself when I met the author. He was gracious beyond belief though, which is just another reason to love him and his work.
World War Z by Max Brooks. ISBN: 9780307346605
* Simply put, the best book involving Zombies that's ever been written. The movie did not come even close to the goddamned ballpark. Friends who HATE horror, and who NEVER read fiction have gotten bowled over by this one.
Song for a Dark Queen by Rosemary Sutcliff. ISBN: 9780340248645
* Another childhood book. My first Historical Fiction, as I remember, and just as powerful now as it was then. Don't contradict me. I will fight you.
Too Many Curses by A. Lee Martinez. ISBN: 9780765318350
* This book made me stay up way past my bedtime, laughing like an idiot. Turns out that laughter is a hallmark of Martinez' books, but this one, the first I encountered, is still my favorite. It's about the housekeeper of a wizard called Margle the Horrendous, trying to keep things rolling along when her employer disappears, and his enemies start to wonder why. Oh, and she's a kobold, too.
The Starlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. ISBN: 9781576469231
* Yes, really. Quit lookin at me like that, I was eleven goddamned years old!
The Heaven Tree Chronicles by Edith Pargeter. ISBN: 9780446517089
* Another gorgeously written historical novelization, by an author who, under her pseudonym, wrote the amazing Brother Cadfael Mysteries. The history is bang on, the people are real, human, and vibrant in their struggles. Flawed and gorgeous and mesmerizing.
Graceling by Kristin Cashore. ISBN: 9780152063962
* I can't really say why this YA book stands out so far from the crowd for me, but I can say I loved it. It's incredibly well written, and it made me really wish that the sequels had involved the same character, instead of just being written in the same universe. Ah well. I'll still read them someday, but this frontrunner is quite a favorite for now.
Those Who Walk In Darkness by John Ridley. ISBN: 9780446530934
* Every time someone defends Tony Stark's actions in Civil War to me, I think of this book. It's a Cop's Eye view of an America in which Supers are hunted down and deported -- once. And if they come back, they're hunted down and killed.
Anno Dracula by Kim Newman. ISBN: 9782290049662
* In case you've ever wondered what might've happened had Van Helsing et-al failed in their quest, this is the book for you. It is AU fanfic of the choicest kind, and I am shameless in my adoration of it. The cameo appearances of every damned Victorian horror figure, from Varney to Dr. Jeckyll to Oscar Wilde and Rudyard Kipling make it a history buff, true crime fan, and Victorian classics reader's treasure hunt. Truefax, I loved this book so much I turned into a That Fan the instant I realized Kim Newman was close enough for me to throw myself at his feet. It was awful. I'm pretty sure he thought I was gonna eat him.
The Wraeththu Chronicles by Storm Constantine. ISBN: 9780312890001
* There's something that readers of this series need to know before they begin: The wraeththu are a human mutation. They do not act like gay human males because they are NOT gay human males. They are hermaphrodites whose mutation from the human strain is more than physical. As stated in the book, they appear to combine 'the best of a man and the worst of a woman', and so long as you don't forget that, despite being addressed with male pronouns, they are not MEN at all, I think you stand a good chance of loving this series as much as I do. One of the things I adore about this world, and this author, is that she not only openly embraced the fanwriters and artists who seized on her work, she actually published anthologies of the best Wraeththu fan stories she came across. With full credit. And pay. Yes, really.
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip. ISBN: 9780152055363
* Another formative years favorite, and another that I've all but memorized. Come on -- TELL me you know a single teenaged girl who wouldn't love to call fantastic beasts to do her bidding and live with her, and I'll call you a liar. Here's the thing though -- the story's just as good when you're an adult.
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein. ISBN: 9780618640157
* Don't even. I read these books, and the Silmarillion some twenty times or more before I graduated High School. I could read and write in Elvish. I went through a phase of refusing to let people call me 'human'. I'd have been Tried as an Adult for sure, if I hadn't had the escape of Middle Earth at my fingers, and I will not accept any shit for unironically loving the books that kept me functionally sane until I could reach adulthood.
This entry was originally posted at http://cluegirl.dreamwidth.org/1496098.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
February 28th, 2014
February 19th, 2014
|09:42 am - Rise up, Rise up ever victorious!|
So there -- there's your marching orders for the day.
Get back up. Maybe not today, if you just got knocked back, or if you haven't got the stones for it, but get it into your head that you will. That you are going to get onto your feet again, though at present you might not know the mechanism therefore. You are going to rise. It's inevitable, because you're still breathing, your heart is still flexing hemoglobin through your veins, and your neurons are still firing, and despite all the toxicity the world can inspire in your internal chemistry, the natural inclination of Life is to Live. And the natural inclination of the Living is to rise. Energy ascends, and so do you, at your own pace, and under your own auspices, but with the inherent human advantage of the most amazing resourcefulness yet seen in the terrestrial animal kingdom. You'll find the tools, you'll find the means, and you'll rise. You'll make it off your ass, and you'll get your feet set again.
There are very few guarantees, but here are some:
Nothing is permanent, no trend, no triumph, and no failure. Even death is but a moment of change from one state to another -- an electrochemical sublimation, a phase-change from personal consciousness into collective memory. This too shall pass.
Humans adapt. Humans survive. Humans use tools and resources to enforce their will on their surroundings, and if you're reading this, then nominally you are a human. You're probably stronger, more canny, and more capable than you realize. You don't have to lift a car off a toddler every day to prove that, in a moment of extreme motivation, you could. But it helps to invest a bit of faith in the innate capabilities of your species, if you can't find it in you to believe in yourself specifically.
You have all your life to figure this stuff out. Whatever's got you down right now is probably not going to be what they engrave on your headstone. You've got years and years left in which to do amazing, fulfilling, awe inspiring stuff, and even if you don't believe you will, I personally do. Whoever you are; nobody can be ordinary all the time, no matter how they try. Everyone's amazing at some time or other. Frequently more than they ever notice. Or believe. Because when you live with your own level of awesome every day, you forget that for someone else, that awesome still DOES inspire awe instead of self-doubt or boredom. No matter how little you like yourself, there's someone out there who'd be hella impressed to know you.
You don't have to believe any of this if you're in the dark place and it just feels like blah blah to you. It's fine -- I don't take it personally. But if you're not quite there, and this sparks something like hope in you, then hang onto it. Nurture that brightness, feed it, love it, and call it George, and follow its lead as it reaches for the light. Like a seed, it knows which way to go; it knows how to rise, and so, really, do you.
This entry was originally posted at http://cluegirl.dreamwidth.org/1494674.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
February 18th, 2014
|12:13 pm - Is it an actual post, or was it scared by its shadow?|
It's a little of both, actually.
It's an actual post, but not much of one. The point of note here, is that I need to make an announcement for those in the Boston area, or who are within driving distance thereof:
Myself and slipjig -- the whom of which are together known as Murder Ballads, and bigger than the sum of their parts -- will be playing a house concert in Watertown this Friday night,(Feb 21) at the home of yendi and shadesong.
The show will begin at 8:00 pm, suggested donation of $10 - $15, and those who actually show up and listen to us perform will be given a download code for a demo track which will ONLY be made available to that audience. (Every incentive we can throw at you is a good one, sez I.) So please come and hear us if you can, and if you can't, then please shill this post and shill the show. Let people know what's going down, and that they should be there, yo. There's nothing more depressing than a band winding up comping more seats to S.O's and hosts than they actually sell to attendees, especially when half the band's got to drive for 3 hours to get to the show, you know?
TL:DR -- MURDER BALLADS SHOW THIS FRIDAY NIGHT @ 8:00pm IN WATERTOWN, MASS. BE THERE, OR TELL FOLKS ABOUT IT.
Thank you, and Goodnight.
This entry was originally posted at http://cluegirl.dreamwidth.org/1494514.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
January 11th, 2014
|12:17 pm - Cluegirl's Arisia 2014 schedule|
So if you'd like to cross paths with me at Arisia this year, here's where I'll be, more or less:
Friday @ 7:00 pm -- Pacific Rim; Breaking the Mold.
Discussing what the movie did right, and what we hope the rest of Hollyweird can learn from it. I'm probably going to see if I can get Dominus onto the panel as well, since we're gonna wear our Jaeger pilots stealth-costumes that afternoon for the drive out.
Friday @ 8:30 pm -- It's Good to be Bad
A costuming panel on the design and implementation of an evil character in visual terms. I'm modding this one, and I haven't heard anything from my panelists on this yet, so I might be doing a lot of 'show and tell' on this -- you never know. I'm hoping that some of them will bring visual representations too though.
Friday @ 10:00 pm -- Reading
I'll be pulling a selection of my original work to share with folks and yes, I WILL have copies of A Thing of Rags and Patches on hand for people if they haven't got their copy yet and want one.
Saturday @ 1:00 pm -- Time Travel, Therapy, and the Quest for Redemption
Pretty much just what it says on the tin, only I'm the mod for this one, so I'll get to sit back and listen to all the awesome panelists be awesome on this one -- which I'm okay with, really. This is also the day when, (assuming I get it done in time,) I'll be wearing my new Scarlet Witch costume. Just for irony's sake and all.
Saturday @ 2:30 pm -- Killing Characters
Another writing panel, and this one's going to be fun, because only the mod is male. I predict we'll last approximately ten minutes (give or take the intros) before we're talking about Fridging.
Saturday @ 4:00 pm -- Write What You Know All Too Well
Another writing panel, and another one where I'm the mod. Don't worry though, we'll keep the Top My Trauma to a bare minimum, and try to talk practical shop here as much as we can.
Saturday @ 8:30 pm -- Are Rules Meant to be Broken?
Another writing panel, and I predict this one's gonna be fun, looking at the panelist lineup. I mean, aside from me (the resident Slytherin iconoclast) we have a handful of panelists who have fervent, and non-linear opinions on this, and it looks like it'll be a lively discussion.
Saturday @ late -- Cluegirl's Only Chance At The Filk Room
It looks like I'll be there stag on Saturday night, but given the other scheduling stuff, Saturday night'll be more or less my only shot at filking. Hope to see some of you there!
Sunday @ 11:30 am -- Fortune Telling Methods
I'm not the mod! Yay! This panel looks like it's going to have a really broad spectrum of divination styles and philosophies, so I expect it to be quite fun.
Sunday @ 7:00 pm -- Found Families in Speculative Fiction
Again, just what it says on the tin. But the panelist lineup looks really interesting, and I expect we'll cover some fun ground.
Sunday @ 8:30 pm -- When Poets Write Prose and Vice Versa
What is this with the self-referential panel titles? How am I supposed to find anything to say in the blurbs?
Sunday @ 10:00 pm -- MURDER BALLADS CONCERT
Adam Fromm and Catt Kingsgrave take over the Burroughs panel room and sing for an hour! This will be our band's first official concert where it's US, instead of one, with the other doing backup work. We've got new songs you've not heard yet, and we're doing our pest to have an EP pressed and available for sale to those who can make it to the show -- I mean, we'll sing to the empty chairs if we have to, but we really think you guys will want to come and hear this. (Psst! Tellyerfriends!)
Monday @ 11:30 am -- Beyond the Stereotypes
Another writing panel, and this one tackles one of my favorite writing tricks -- that of deliberately turning cliches and tropes onto their ears and seeing how they fall out with that little extra spin.
That'll be my last panel of the con, and we'll probably be heading out of Boston not too long after that, so I hope I'll have gotten a little time to see all you who're going to be there before it's time to go home again.
This entry was originally posted at http://cluegirl.dreamwidth.org/1492676.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
December 21st, 2013
|06:15 pm - Liveblogging the Apocalypse er, I mean the Solstice|
So we're all lit up against the longest night.
As of yet, it's only aquila_dominus, the Faithful, and I, but I expect we'll get some refugees from House of Lords in about three or four hours. The votive carving of Brighid is turned to face the wall, where she'll stay until Imbolc, and we've got Thea Gilmore's Strange Communion playing on the stereo. It's nice.
We've got a turkey in the oven, expecting it'll be finishing up more or less at midnight, which'll be a good time for a hot meal for those of us doing the full-stretch of the vigil tonight. We've got a few games set out to choose from, and Netflix to fall back on if we get really bored. I'm sure I can find episodes of The Tick and Invader Zim somewhere if we really need some hyper to get us along.
So yeah. You'll hear more from me as the night goes along.
You have been warned!
This entry was originally posted at http://cluegirl.dreamwidth.org/1490804.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Current Location: Mandala House -- Parlor
Current Music: Thea Gilmore -- A week to Christmas
November 19th, 2013
|10:31 am - Tales of the Faithful -- The Parable of the Snot|
And so it fell that a plague of shoggoths wast released upon the Promised House, and the Faithful were sore beset by the sneezings and the wheezings and the coughings-up of the treacherous snotbeastes. And in their duress did the Faithful snork and whistle their every breath, pointedly within the hearing of The Mom, as though to say "Lo; I cannot breathe."
And being a kindly Mom, did she Seize upon the eldest, and most fragile of the Faithful -- yea, even upon Sister Hilfy herself -- and did thrust her into the Box of Do Not Want, and thence, by many lurchings and rumblings, and with much wailing and gnashing of teeth, didst convey her into the hands of Those Who Deal In Feline Torment, saying "Lo; this cat cannot breathe."
And then did the chief tormentor smile the smile of many teeth and little pity, and didst take Sister Hilfy into the Depths for prickings and probings and indignities many and various, and not satisfied thereby, didst send back with the Mom instructions that the torment must further continue even within the fastness of the Promised House, for the Shoggoths were a tenacious evil, and might only be exorcized with suffering.
"Lo, you must set a Dosing for her in the presence of her kin,," quoth the Tormentor, with expression most evilly sympathetic. "For thy pill and thy liquid shall comfort her... sort of. Twice a day, for about two weeks. And then we shall see about more."
Alas, and woe.
And more woe.
And still more woe.
And, after a couple of days, slightly less woe, but still plenty of resentment on the part of the venerable Sister Hilfy, who loved not the Box of Do Not Want, and whose knees were ouchy thank you EVERso, and who took particular care that The Mom might know the extent of her sufferings.
And oh yea verily, did The Mom fucking know.
And yet the shoggoths were not defeating themselves, and even over the Song of Woe could be heard to muster and loom, and whistle their battle cries of Tekeli liiii from the sinuses of the Faithful, and so it was unto the Dosing that The Mom didst turn.
And the Pills were quartered, the squishy pockets therfore procured, and the eyedropper was filled, and thus armed did The Mom set about The Medicating of Sister Hilfy. And the battle was fierce and long, and much drool was flung, and many claws were slung, and many bribes were utterly scorned, and much medicine was slobbered all over the goddamned patch, but in the end, the liquid and the pill were ingested.
And the Bitching and the Moaning were the first day.
And thus did the battle continue for days; Sister Hilfy steadfast in her refusal to partake her of any goodly thing, and to fight with surprising strength and viciousness for such a skinny little Seniorcat, The Mom steadfast in her resolution that, goddammit, this cat was GOING to get better, and The Dad in the awkward position of agreeing with the both, yet conscripted to Afflict The Indignities because Sister Hilfy is His Goddamned Cat Dammit. And thus might he war have sailed blithely on, had not the Shoggoths marshalled an offensive upon the very instance of The Medicating one morning, resulting in an immediate and voluminous return of all medications, propelled by such copious snot as might have called for the making of an arc, had there been any decent warning.
And in conference and sober contemplation whilst mopping up, (Lo, so much mopping up...) did The Dad and The Mom decide that this just was NOT damn well worth it. And the Tormentor was called, and The Medication was altered, and The Mom didst decide that The Pill was just not happening, and thus was a seeming peace dealt out upon The Promised House... sort of.
For still was there The Liquid to administer, yea upon each and every day. And still was Sister Hilfy, as ever, THE most pointlessly stubborn of creatures ever to set paw into paint and run throughout the house (but that is another parable.) And so did The Medicating become like unto a duel each and every day, The Mom winning each match by way of superior size, opposable thumbs, and a certain pitiless determination common to Mothers everywhere when the good, if not the preference, of Their Faithful is at stake. Though Sister Hilfy, never caring to have a way not her own enacted upon her, didst ever make things as difficult for all concerned as possible.
Unto this very morning, when, syringe loaded, did The Mom approach the Radiator of Battle, whereon did Sister Hilfy lie in grumpy repose, and displaying her weapon, did shout her battle cry of "Okay, sweetie, it's that time." And seizing upon Sister Hilfy's skull, didst lift her face from out of hiding, and prizing open her fierce-clenched teeth, didst poke the syringe deeply in and squirt The Dose far to the back of any bud of tasting, the better that Sister Hilfy might simply swallow and Get It Over With. And holding Sister Hilfy's chin upward, didst gently stroke upon her throat, by way of a hint that she might better swallow than spit.
But Sister Hilfy the Contrary didst, as though in some strange Stockholm's Syndrome with the Shoggoths, didst struggle to lick the whole dose forward in her mouth, despite The Mom's holding-closed of her damned face, the better that she might taste fully of its awfulness, and commence to drool like a goddamned Newfoundland Hound -- and would not swallow. And The Mom did hold, and The Mom did stroke, and The Mom did murmur "You're only making this worse, you know," whilst weathering the most baleful of stares.
And Sister Hilfy did but whistle, and glower, and drool her medicine slowly, by trickles, out of the corners of her mouth. Until finally, half the dose lost beneath her chin, and dripping down The Mom's thumb, did she finally give up and gulp. Then released, did she flee the Radiator of Battle, and didst curse and grumble her lot, and plot her eventual triumph over The Medication, whilst The Mom didst hie her back unto the kitchen to clean her weapons and her hand, and her sweater, stating unto The Dad that, "Your cat is the most pointlessly stubborn creature EVER."
And in reply quoth The Dad, "Well yeah... Hilfy." The which being simple truth, The Mom hadst no cunning reply.
And watching over The Promised House from the Fair Fields of Napping In Comfy Laps, didst Brother Godric drink of the water of whatever he bloody well wanted to and know plenty, but trouble himself for nothing.
This entry was originally posted at http://cluegirl.dreamwidth.org/1488988.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
October 11th, 2013
|09:08 am - Ouch... this is gonna hurt.|
We just got the estimate back from the builder we're hiring to work on Mandala House.
The work we need to do *before* winter, the preliminary work of bracing the porch roof, and pouring new piers so that this time the porch will be supported correctly, will cost us in the neighborhood of $7,000 - &10,000, depending on timing and weather conditions. Mind, this is money we have to find and spend BEFORE we can even refinance the house, and get the funds to do the rest of the work.
Yes. There will be a kickstarter/indiegogo. We will also possibly be selling my car, and some of our furniture, if we can find buyers. Tarot drives, some small craft commissions, recipes with donation buttons attached, things like that too. There's a hard deadline here of getting the work done and paid for before it gets too cold for the concrete to properly cure, and THAT is the biggest draw-up we're facing here. Not getting the money, but getting the money in time to have the work done.
In the meantime, here's a link to my tarot layout options, and a paypal button with the prices on.
And, another way you can help, is to pick up a copy of my book: A Thing of Rags and Patches Or, if you already have your copy, to go out to Amazon, or to Goodreads, and to review it. Or to review it on your blog, and shill it to your friends. Any of those will help put nickels into the 'let's stop Clue's house from falling down' fund, really. Just get the word out, keep it out, and maybe I'll be lucky enough to find the resources we need to get on top of this in time.
This entry was originally posted at http://cluegirl.dreamwidth.org/1484895.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Current Location: Mandala House, Atelier
October 9th, 2013
|04:44 pm - What I'm doing instead of writing today.|
So at one point in my life, I remember asking myself "How cool would it be to make a gorgeous double breasted longcoat entirely out of patchwork? I could totally do that. Use up my scraps, make something unique, enjoy it... how hard can it be?"
The answer is, not. As in, it's not 'hard', per se, it's just complicated, fiddly, time-consuming, and strangely meditative work. Hard on the back, given that I'm not working over the table (which is covered with construction/repair supplies at the moment) and somewhat boring to my wordbrain, but it's damn hard to read while wrestling with fabric, pins, shears, and piecework scraps. That way lies Rule 1 infractions, and no thanks to that.
I do have to say, it's going to be a gorgeous coat once I finish it though. So far I'm averaging a day of work per piece of the coat, but that's just the patchwork. Assembling the thing, finishing seams, adding pockets, collar, maybe lining it, and, -- oh dear Athena save me from my own folly -- making approximately sixty buttonholes will take considerably longer. Double breasted looks cool, you said, and, it'll be worth it, right?
Anybody asks me to make a copy of this coat for them, I'm gonna set the asking price at approximately the down payment of a new car. That's the only way I'd get anywhere near minimum wage on it!
This entry was originally posted at http://cluegirl.dreamwidth.org/1484489.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
October 3rd, 2013
|10:35 am - Deeeeep breath. Okay.|
So. As you all know, I live in a very old, gracious, beautiful, and NEEDY lady. Mandala House is an elegant, sadly neglected Duchess, who has had more than her fair share of grifter tenants in the last half-century, alas. I respect the hell out of the fact that this house has been standing for about four times as long as I've been actually alive though, and so when I try and undertake a repair or improvement, I really do put some effort into making sure it's done right.
But I'm no Mike Holmes, and I'm also no Donald Trump. Dominus earns enough that under normal circumstances we live better when I don't work outside the house -- I do more cleaning, cooking, household management, family counseling and handyman repair than we could afford for the cost of such a salary as I could bring down, and that doesn't even begin to cover the incidental costs of the meds I'd need were I to add the stress of a boss and co-workers to my life in place of creative expression and output. Or the bail and lawyer's fees. Stupidity makes me mean -- it's a family legacy.
And all of that, combined with the utter fuckery of the Reagan/Bush legacy economy these days has meant that we haven't really been able to actually dig into the porch for real and figure out WHY it's slipping, sinking, and trying to slide off the house. We've needed to, but that's just not a project you begin on your own when you don't know what the hell you're doing. Not if you're smart. I am, despite the state of my CV, smart.
All that's leading down to this: I have finally, thanks to a local friend who called a friend, found the builder who we'll have redoing the porch. This morning was my second meeting with him, and I am so, SO glad to have him in my court that I can't even adequately express it. He respects the age and heritage of Mandala House, but he's willing to not only ask the hard questions, but to propose the hard, messy, complicated, potentially expensive, but correct solutions. Solutions that won't wind up with another owner staring, baffled under the porch in another fifty years and wondering WTF crack was I even smoking when I decided this was the thing to do.
This morning Simon came over again, crawled underneath the porch, dug around a bit at the foundations, and now we finally, FINALLY know why the whole thing's been slowly sinking into the soil. Guess why. No, you'll never guess why, because it's just so mind-bogglingly STUPID that NOBODY who understands basic physics would EVER guess why. So I'mma tell you why. It's because they didn't dig PIERS to rest the support columns on. They just set the whole thing on cinderblocks, which are in turn resting on a brick wall, probably ornamental when it was put in, and which is now crumbling to powder a little more with each rainfall and freeze. And THAT is why the porch is creeping off the house.
And THAT means we have to demolish the cinderblock wall, somehow while supporting the roof structure, dig holes for the piers, build them up to the right size and depth -- mind, this is all underneath the existing porch -- and commence from there to see what we can do about jacking the whole thing back up to true again. Without breaking any windows inside, or separating any of the floors from the walls.
What could POSSIBLY go wrong?
(Other than a few miles of cracks in the plaster, that is?)
And all this is before we even get the numbers we'll need to apply for the refinancing we hope will PAY for all this work. It's gonna be a bumpy ride, and we are going to be MUCH poorer when it's over. I'm going to be working along with Simon for the project, not only to learn what needs doing, but also to shave the cost of exactly one day-laborer off the cost of the project, but that isn't going to help all that much when it's all counted out.
So this is my announcement that I'll probably be running some kind of Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign to try and help cover some of the costs. Fandom is an amazing collection of resourceful people, and producing fandom content is pretty much what I've done most for the past ten years, so it just makes sense for me to open that door as a way to try and make this repair happen.
My question to you, dear readers, is this: What do you want from me? Assuming you had the funds to donate to a crowdsourcing campaign, what could I offer that would tempt you to kick in? Readers of this blog know that I write -- poetry, fiction, and op-ed articles; I cook and create recipes; I draw and paint, but not at any reliable speed, though I do have a back catalogue of prints I could still offer; I sew, knit, and crochet at various skill levels; I sing, write, and record music; I read tarot and can do long-distance readings; and I am married to a very talented photographer who doesn't always have a lot of time for his craft, but who can be nagged into it on occasion.
The swag for Brother Godric's Charity Box was pretty straightforward -- he was always a charming little shit, and everybody loved him, so pictures and stories about the hero of the hour were an obvious choice. Figuring out what I can offer to entice people to help out Mandala House is a tricker thing, and I'd really like some feedback on it. What can I offer you? If you have ideas, I'd like to hear them. And if you're willing to shill this post out a bit so people who might otherwise not see it can offer their ideas as well, I'd be pleased to have that feedback too.
Thanks in advance!
This entry was originally posted at http://cluegirl.dreamwidth.org/1483464.html. Please comment there using OpenID.