Okay, so, I’ve been really sucky at writing anything on a regular basis here.
But that’s because the world has been… insane.
Let’s focus on the past for a little while okay? This is from Paul Reda. And I just love the fact that not only is the ad awesome, the history is pretty cool too.
I am really into old ads and Chicago history, and the ad copy filled me with joy. I loved the idea of a female PI working the South Side of Chicago during the Progressive Era. My mind almost immediately started concocting stories and cases for her (historical fanfic? Is that a thing?). Cheating husbands, missing daughters, crooked alderman, maybe even a murder in the Stockyards. I was sure she had an affair with Upton Sinclair and her nemesis must have been H.H. Holmes.
I resolved to find out as much about her as I could. I never would have guessed that I would find so much and that she completely lived up to my expectations. So here is a timeline and documentation of everything I could find out about her (or at least as much as I could while spending no money and “researching” from the comfort of my couch). I HIGHLY recommend you click the links and read the articles. They’re amazing.
So, we have a wonderful mascot named Nugget. He’s adorable. But obviously, he didn’t come glittery and golden as he should be for a golden fleeced sheep. We made him glitter.
After five attempts.
You can make your own. With the best method, not the first five, which involved varying types of fabric paint.
1 Stuffed sheep
Fine gold glitter
Step 1: Acquire a stuffed sheep. Our Nugget was saved from a thrift shop in Delaware.
Step 2: Use painter’s tape to mask the parts you don’t want to glitter.
Step 3: Open the spray adhesive. Then, throw out the vintage spray adhesive that you’ve had since high school; run to the store and buy a new bottle of adhesive.
Step 4: Spray the sheep in sections and cover with glitter. Be aware that spray adhesive is what Spiderman uses to web criminals. Wear latex/nitrile gloves or be prepared to pick that stuff off your hands for the rest of the night. Oh, and glitter? Yeah, glitter is evil. It will get everywhere. Forever.
Step 5: Allow the glue to dry.
Step 6: Remove the tape.
Step 7: Enjoy the wonderful and glittery shine that makes your sheep pictures look like JJ Abrams filmed your sheep.
It’s been a pretty seriously hectic holiday season around here. Not even counting the normal publishing woes (at the absolute best of times this business is a fickle battlefield littered with random time-sucks and backslides) there have been personal leave issues and weather problems and I could keep going but lets just say January was more or less a wash.
So, back there before or around the 2015 holiday season I was going to post this really great thing I saw, that tied in with our Fandom project, The Fandom Universe: A Galaxy Far, Far Away and then all the aforementioned stuff happened and I didn’t.
But it was too cool not to post anyway. So here you go, in case you’ve ever wondered how you were supposed to differentiate between stormtroopers and clone troopers.
And here’s hoping eventually 2016 starts to shape up…
A meditation on community and using what you know in a unique way.
“Creative people say ‘yes’ until they have enough work that they can say ‘no.’”
— Austin Kleon (Austin has several wonderful/amusing form letters about saying ‘no’ on his tumblr.)
If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this month, you have to say no to something. That might be not watching TV with the family after dinner. It might be bowing out of a night of drinking and debauchery. (Why not try a write in, instead? A lot more coffee, but random conversations that will make you wonder what’s *in* that coffee. And you get some writing done.)
But even if you aren’t, the holiday seasons are upon us. They’ve pounced with the ferocity of a reporter on a Donald Trump quote. This season, more than any other, is when you need to think about your own sanity. You will have a lot of people who believe you have unlimited time to devote to them. This might be family. This might be friends. This might be a boss who has fourteen new projects that need to be pushed out by the beginning of January.
You need to take care of you. So, you need to be able to say “no” to things. “No, I’m sorry, I can’t make sixteen dozen cupcakes for tomorrow.” Or “Sorry, I won’t be able to make your party on the 16th! Have a wonderful time and eat a slice of pie for me.”
And here’s the nasty little secret people always forget: You are not required to explain why you are saying “no” to an event. “I’m sorry. I won’t be able to make it. Thank you for inviting me.” Feel free to copy and paste that sucker whenever you want.
When it comes to projects? Remember that quality trumps quantity. Can you take on 3 freelance projects and get them done on time and make enough to live on/pay the bill you need to pay? Take on 3 projects. But remember to start truly evaluating when the next possible project comes down the road. Will taking on a 4th project result in all 4 of them going off the rails? Say “I’m afraid I won’t be able to take this project on until [Date]. Will that work for you?”
And right here and now is when I point out that I am a total hypocrite about this. I almost always take on enough to push me to the edge.
But I have learned my lesson. 50 pies I’ve never made before? Sure, I can do them. Just not tomorrow. I’m going to need some notice for that sort of thing.
It’s the run up to NaNoWriMo (give me a minute to stamp the panic back down, I’m really not ready) and I’m trying to crash through the rest of my pre-November to-do list. I could write a few thousand words about how well it’s going (or I can give you two, it’s not) but you’re probably more interested in things that might mean something to you.
So. In the attempt to finish all the things, I’ve been watching a lot of non-fictional Netflix the last week or so. It doesn’t require me to actually pay attention, and when I’m in the midst of editing or file creation that’s sort of helpful. I fall down a hole with Netflix though, almost as badly as I do with Wikipedia. Case in point, the other night I started off with some creepy freaking show about a dude who kept his daughter locked in a dungeon in the basement and made her have his babies for like twenty years. Yeah. Ick.
From that I went to watching a bio-pick about John Denver. If that’d been intentional it would have worked, right? Because some sweetness and light (even with a sad ending) can help chill you out after watching something horrible. But no, I wasn’t intentionally making the night less weird. Apparently weird is my drug.
I told you all that, because I heard something really amazing in the middle of that John Denver show, and I’d like to share it with you.
“You can’t make someone a star. Nobody holds a gun to your head and says ‘listen to this record.’ All I can do is bring the people to the artist and let them shine, let them be who they are.”
I hear a lot, in the online communities about how so and so got that major deal because they know somebody, or so and so knows the way to become a multi-platform best-selling author and all you have to do is be exactly like them.
I like Jerry’s advice better. The man has had a multi-decade spanning career in music and movies, organizing giant concerts and fostering talent in a lot of different ways. And up there, he’s basically telling you to be yourself. Shine. There’s nobody exactly like you, and that’s the best advantage you’ve got.
Keep an eye on our social media in the next few weeks. We’ve got a whole lot of fun stuff coming down the pipes!