Thursday

31 October 2013

I started thinking about a Doctor Who/Calvin & Hobbes mashup tattoo over a year ago (among other things...there are still a couple others I've been thinking about, as well) and I tend toward the ideal that before putting something onto your skin forever, you should sit with the idea for a while. If six months after deciding on a tattoo you still want it, chances are you won't regret it later.

That's not to say you won't regret your choice of artists; I love my first two tattoos but if I could go back, I'd go somewhere else to get them. That's part of the learning process, I suppose; I'd still get the same tattoos, but they'd be better if I'd known what to really look for in an artist's portfolio other than bright colors.

One of the nice things about living in NorCal is a plethora of really talented artists; between San Francisco and Sacramento, you can find top notch artists in just about any style you want. I was fortunate enough to wander into the local shop here a couple of years ago and have Big Greg do my blue hummingbird.

He left the shop here for one in Sacramento, but a Google search helped me find his website, and hence, the shop he's working in now.

About a month ago I took a printout of the concept I had; it was pieces of other images I found online, which made for some decent ink, I thought. If I'd taken it to the local guy, he would have slapped it on my skin as is...and I would have been happy with that.

Is cute, no?
When I slapped the printout down on the counter, he damn near lost his mind. He's a huge Doctor Who fan, too, and was excited about doing this one. He also has an extremely creative mind and artistic eye, and immediately has some ideas for it.

For starters, what I had didn't look quite like Calvin & Hobbes belonged with the TARDIS. It did look like I'd cut and pasted from other pictures...but he could already see ways to make the image as one solid picture.

I was supposed to get the tattoo 2 weeks ago, but I jinxed myself on Facebook by saying no one better pass cooties onto me...and got sick. So the Spouse Thingy rescheduled for me, and yesterday was New Ink Day.

Before he showed me his drawing, he explained that he couldn't make the TARDIS I'd had work well enough, but he thought I'd like what he came up with.

What he came up with looks a hell of a lot more like an actual C&H cartoon piece; it's iconic, pulls together the cardboard box they're always riding in, Calvin's imagination, and some pretty wicked transmorgification.

That is, too, a word...if you read C&H.

Yep, I was happy with it. And he was right. I would have liked the image I came up with, but I loved the one he drew.

Originally I'd expected only to get the outline and shading yesterday, because the original image was big enough and color intensive enough that it would have taken 6+ hours, and I've never sat that long. I was sure my limit was about 3 hours, but once he had the outline done--it took about an hour or so--and then the shading, I wasn't crying Uncle and he didn't have anyone scheduled after me, so on we went.

It *really* helped that he has a TV and DVD player for distraction (I watched Anchorman, Harold & Kumar, South Park movie, and half of the Princess Bride. I need to see the second half) and that he's very outgoing and easy to talk to. And that we like *a lot* of the same things.

In total it took about 5 hours, and the last half hour was very ouchy...I'm not sure how much longer I could have gone. The end result was totally worth it, and firmly puts me into the ink category of People My Mother Was Probably Afraid Of ;)

Finished. Yes, it hurt.


This one shows the color better, though I cropped the side off when I took the picture.
No, I am not done with tattoos yet. Not even this year. I have 4 in my head (including the ones I've mentioned before) and want to get 2 of those by the end of this year.

No, I don't expect people who are =meh= about tattoos to understand or like or approve. That's all right. I like them and I approve.

But for sure, if you need a killer tattoo and are near Sacramento, go see Big Greg.

Mad skillz. He haz them.

Saturday

26 October 2013

My day has been made.

I took my rebel bad-ass wearing white after Labor Day self over to Starbucks for a little while, because...tea. My favorite table was open, and at the table next to it sat a little old lady clutching a laptop computer; I plopped myself down, started pulling my own laptop out of my backpack, when she leaned over asked asked, "Excuse me, can you tell me how to get to the Whiffy?"

Now, this is a small town. I kind of know where almost everything is, even if I haven't been there, and I'd never heard of this place. I thought for just a moment and had to tell her I was sorry, but I wasn't familiar with the Whiffy.

She looked crestfallen. "Oh. My son usually helps me with these things. I wanted to check my email."

The the lightbulb went off. "Oh! You want to get online? I can help with that."

In less than a minute she was online, surfing the web and checking email at the Whiffy.

Too. Freaking. Adorable.

Friday

25 October 2013

Someone who recently purchased Max's first book, The Psychokitty Speaks Out: Diary of a Mad Housecat, found a typo. This typo was apparently distressing--I had typed "cat" when I should have typed "can"--and they felt compelled to complain to Amazon about it.

Amazon, wanting their end product to be clean, emailed me to tell me about it, with a request to fix it. Now, the request felt more like an order, but it was a polite enough email and it told me exactly where to find said typo. Well, where to find it in the file. First I had to find the freaking digital copy of the book in order to fix it.

Yeah, I'm not especially organized.

I admit, the formatting in the Kindle copy of the book was not the best; it was one of the first I worked on (if not the first) and I didn't have the software that I do now, so correcting that typo was a good time to re-format the whole thing.

He "helped."
I spent 9 freaking hours on that today. I went over it line by line (and caught a few more typos) and fixed some formatting errors, re-inserted the images, and started the conversion from InDesign to .mobi.

And then I looked at the final file.

All the images shifted a page. I have no idea why. But they're all in the wrong places, and there's giant white space where they should be.

I'm a bit grumpy right now.

But...I'll get back to it tomorrow. I'll surely figure it out, and by the end of the weekend I'll either tell Amazon to shove it, a few typos won't matter or I'll have a nice clean file and I can ask Amazon to notify everyone who has ever purchased it that they can get the new one.

It beats housework, in any case.

Plus, all this weekend Max is having a 10th blogoversary party on his blog, so I should keep an eye on that. I need to make sure no under age kitties get into the Niptinis.

Fun times.

Thursday

24 October 2013

 Tonight's WTF email:
Why can't you just enjoy your cat as a CAT instead of making him earn you a living? Let him be already!


 Yes, and it's equally as awful that I spend his royalties on things he never even asked me for. I'm awful that way. Now excuse me, I have to go sit him down at the computer and make him write the next chapter.

Tuesday

22 October 2013

We have a general rule in this house: never intentionally scare the kitties. We don't pop balloons or make loud noises just to see them jump; we don't sneak up on them and yell "Boo!" That momentary LOL just isn't worth how it makes them feel.

Still.

I really laughed at this, and I'm not so sure I wouldn't do it...


Poor kitty.

Friday

11 October 2013

Random memory…

We left Texas when I was 14 years old, just before I turned 15, the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of high school. I felt like I’d been forced to leave a lot behind; Duncanville was the first place we’d lived that I really felt connected to, the first that felt like home. I had friends; I had good friends. It ticked me off to no end, once I realized what I would be leaving behind. Who I would be leaving behind.

When we got to CA we stayed in a multiplex while the hunt for a house to buy was on. I was bored out of my mind and spent a lot of time watching TV and writing, and one odd afternoon making up math problems, because God knows I loved math. I loved it the way one loves a root canal; that’s how bored I was.

Still, bored or not, I really didn’t want to go looking at random houses. In typical teenage wisdom, my thought was just go buy one and be done with it; it’s rooms and a kitchen and bathrooms, any one was just as good as another. I would have been happy to stay in my room with my pen and paper, writing my way out of the frustration wrought from being plucked out of a place where I was perfectly happy in order to move to someplace I might not be.

I often wasn’t given the option. If my dad said to get dressed, we’re going house hunting, I got dressed and went house hunting. He just was not someone to whom a kid said no.

I don’t remember how many houses we looked at; it was more than a few, I know that. I mostly remember finally getting a house and moving in, and settling in so well that it quickly became home. It was comfortable. I loved the school I went to. I made friends, lifelong friends. Orangevale is still what springs to mind when I think “home.”

Tonight I sat here playing online with the TV droning on across the room from me; I had it on mostly for the noise and wasn’t paying particular attention to it until a news story about Test Drive House Hunting came on. Some sellers are now offering potential buyers the chance to spend a day or two in the house so they get a better idea how it fits them; they can have a party, let their friends weigh in, or just sit in the yard and soak up the neighborhood atmosphere. Whatever works for them.

I blinked, and the squeaky door in my brain that I often keep locked to save my own sanity creaked open, and some very clear images clouded my vision.

Standing in a dark living room, watching my dad look out into the back yard, a teenaged boy I’d never see again spread out over a recliner as he oozed pretended disinterest in the people who might buy his house.

Wandering through empty bedrooms in a much brighter house, peeking in the closets to see how much room there was.

Cringing in an unclean kitchen, wondering if there was anything alive in the cupboards and drawers.

With every one of those I can see my dad; in the darkened living room he turned to me and semi-shrugged, telling the real estate agent that we’d think about it. When we were outside he said, “Sure was dark in there, wasn’t it? It didn’t feel right.”

“No room for your things,” in the house where I peered in closets.

Leaving the kitchen with the questionable wildlife, “Your mother would never let things get like that.”

I can hear his voice; I may have the exact words wrong—I surely do—but I can hear him speak, and more than that, right now I can see what I didn’t see then.

He was carefully gauging how I felt about the places we looked. We never made it to the bedrooms in the house with the too-dark living room. He turned and saw the look on my face, the near-fear that this would be the place they chose. He noted my disappointment with the house with the small closets. He acknowledged my disgust with the dirty kitchen, the reassurance that I would never live in a place like that, not under his watch.

When we looked at the house that became home…we looked the whole thing over. Inside and out. He and my mom listed the things they liked, but this time he came straight out and asked what I thought. Was this the one?

He could see I was actually excited. I’m sure he paid attention to my sister’s reaction, too, but what I see in front of me right now is my father brightening because I loved that house right off the bat. I was excited about it; I asked if we could keep the basketball backboard over the garage, and I said I would help paint the back patio cover.

He made an offer on the house right then and there.

I don’t pretend that he did it because I wanted to live there. But it was a major factor.

My dad was never demonstrative. I don’t remember ever hugging, not until I was an adult with a kid and we were moving away, courtesy of the USAF. I don’t think he ever came straight out and said he loved me. I don’t recall him ever touching my mom. Touchy-feely was just not how he was.

They didn’t drag me around to look at houses because they wanted to torture me; they didn’t do it because I needed to be ripped away from the story I was writing or from watching the Olympics on my tiny black and white TV.

They wanted me to like my next home. My dad in particular wanted me to feel safe there, to love it. He paid attention to the look in my eyes, the disappointment or excitement on my face.

Thirty seven years later, I see what I didn’t see then.

What I wanted mattered. What I needed mattered even more. I know that when’re you’re just barely 15 you’re supposed to by 80% brain challenged, but I wish I had seen it then.

Thursday

10 October 2013

'Tis nearly that time of year again, when aspiring writers--and non-aspiring writers, hacks, dreamers, professionals, and word-droolers--commit to coughing up a 50,000 word literary hairball in just 30 days.

NaNoWriMo is coming, y'all! And I'm joining in this year; while work on Max's book is plodding (and I mean plodding...it's been slow work) along, there's this whisper of a story that's been poking at the back of my brain for at least a year and a half, probably longer. It's also in a genre for which I typically don't write--Young Adult--and will not be especially long, so I've decided to set Max's work aside (don't tell him,it will only get his shorts in a wad) and spend a month getting the bones of the new story out of my head.

"But Thump," you're thinking, "won't a book written in just thirty days suck pond scum?"

Yes. Yes, it will.

And that's all right.

The point to NaNoWriMo is not to have a polished novel at the end of the month; the point is to sit yo' ass down every day and scribble out a minimum of 1,667 words and have it make enough sense that the end result is the foundation of what will eventually be an awesome book.

It's a place to start. It's a creatively freeing event: you have to let the inner editor go off somewhere else to play so that you can get the story out. There's no worrying about grammar and sentence structure. There's no worrying about catching mistakes right away. There's no second guessing. You just sit down and write and let the words fall where they may, because you know that the intention is not perfection.

Just sit down and write.

This will probably be where I spend a good chunk of my time throughout November, hopefully at the table under that picture on the far wall.

My favorite table.

Yes, I sit in the corner. It feels right.

Why, yes, I did spend a lot of time in the corner in 2nd grade. Why do you ask?

Come on. Let your inner writer out for the month and join me in writing some truly horrible fiction in November. It'll be fun!

3 October 2013

I'm not uber-religious; I have no stomach for organized religion anymore, but I have my beliefs and my faith, and those are pretty strong.

I try--and I stress try--to not judge people. I figure someone else's sin is no greater or different than my own, so I honestly try to not place judgment on someone else for the clothing they wear, the music they listen to, the words they choose when speaking, or their political bent. Face it, when you're looking down your nose at someone else, you stop seeing clearly. When you point a finger at someone...well, count how many are pointed back at you.

I know what being judged feels like, from the sneer about the clothes I wear, the tattoos I love, the pink hair, and the occasional potty-mouthed moment. I sense the hypocrisy in it, knowing that the person sneering at me or dismissing me probably has history littered with poor choices and outright stupid utterances.

We all have them. If it's something you've ever done, you don't really have a right to pass judgment of others doing the exact same thing. So I make a concentrated effort to not judge.

But. BUT...

...if you're a supporter of Tea Party politics and the complete crap Boehner and his cronies are pulling right now...oh yeah, I judge you. I judge you hard.

The Tea Party stranglehold is immature and selfish and beyond intelligent comprehension.

So yeah, if you side with them and are enjoying this governmental sideshow being manipulated by Boehner, if you think it's perfectly all right for women and kids in need going hungry because WIC is running out of funds fast; if you think it's terrific that military commissaries are closed, pushing our young active duty members--many of whom qualify for food stamps--into shopping on the economy where their food costs will be beyond their ability to afford; if it doesn't bother you that medical care is pushed aside for veterans and those who have military medical and therefore cannot now get an appointment with their doctors; if you're perfectly fine with the idea that this whole shutdown has the potential to make homeless a whole lot of people, all because of the Affordable Health Care Act that has already been passed by Congress, vetted by the SUPREME COURT, and its demise shot down over 40 times already...you suck.

Wednesday

2 October 2013

Oddz N Endz #3,874,016.9x3

  • Saturday afternoon, after having come home in major disappointment from not walking in the Avon walk thanks to my stoopid gut, I was ready to get an appointment with the doc. That chit had been going on too long; it was time. But then Sunday rolled around and it was like a switch had flipped, and I felt a lot better. I was still not sure, still thinking I needed to go see him, but Monday rolled around, and I felt human. So...I decided to wait and see, and am still waiting. I'm not declaring anything resolved, just...waiting.
  • In the list of possible things it could have been/could still be: diverticulitis, colitis (just not as bad as last year), the start of Crohn's, soda withdrawal, or pineapple licorice. Seriously, it could have been the licorice. Over the last month I've had a few pieces just about every day because that chit is delicious, but oddly enough the last time I had it was around last Wednesday...which means any effects from the licorice extract would have run out right around Sunday.
  • In other news, pineapple licorice has actual licorice extract in it. I just figured it was named so because it's squishy twisted self is made to look like licorice.
  • I am also keeping firmly in my head that last year the gastroenterologist warned I might have the beginnings of a chronic inflammatory bowel issue.
  • I am getting far too comfortable discussing poop with people.
  • The Spouse Thingy is off this week, so I'm glad things are not awful. We can do things.
  • The weather is perfect, so that means lots of car-top-down driving.
  • We played miniature golf this afternoon, which was fun until someone's little brats--and they were brats--started running round, cutting through and over holes, including right onto the green where I was about to putt.
  • Yes, I yelled at the little shits.
  • I'm sure their mom heard.
  • No, she did nothing about them.
  • I just looked to my left, toward the floor, and realized I have nearly 400 mini candy canes. Keep them all, or hand them out on Halloween? We only get like 5 kids coming to the door. Hm.
  • I still have not sold my motorcycle. Haven't done anything about selling it; I haven't ridden it either. I really need to sell it.
  • Wanna buy a pretty motorcycle?
  • Sure, you do.
  • Fine.