New Tool

Today I opened the mailbox and took out a new toy tool. If this were a review, I’d say, “The Verbatim Ultraslim Bluetooth Keyboard is not as bad as everyone says.” Granted, my hands aren’t that big. It reminds me of a slightly smaller laptop keyboard. Yes, the backspace and quote keys are in the wrong spots, but the backspace is a comfortable reach. I almost don’t care that it’s one row higher. On the Android on screen keyboard, I would have to go to the same spot to pull up the screen where the apostrophe and quotes are located.

I included an Amazon link if you want to check it out. No pressure. It’s light years better than typing on the on screen keyboard of a 7 inch tablet.

Working on the website

In the last week, I’ve done a lot of editing, graphics, and other work on this site, rather than writing. I could tell you in detail what I did today, for instance, but I broke my brain. It’s not a matter of writing php that writes javascript to increment images in a directory. There are harder puzzles than that on the back of cereal boxes. It’s a matter of writing php that writes javascript within a word press page without using GET or POST and without hard coding the image names or the directory they are in. I think I finally have a good solution that will let me work outside of the php loop where I read in the file names.

We’re talking DragonCon and costume pictures, basically, and the shortcode to display them. If it works, I might post some artwork here, too. It will be just a matter of plugging the short code in and putting the pictures in a directory.

The Ten Year Lapse

This week, I had an interesting time traveling in, well, time. I think it’s time to put up the travel stained safari clothes and go on with the present. I may mine Live Journal and a few other places for material later–hopefully it won’t mess up the post order and the navigation like it did on another blog I tried–but for now I will simply apologize for the lapse.

A lot has happened in a decade. For one, I no longer have the VHS copy of Plunkett and Maclean that I had been vocally awaiting. Most of the rest, I won’t post about here. Some of it is on my Live Journal, which is so depressing it should probably be razed to the ground and the pixels swept up so that an online discount mall can use the database. It would really be for the best. Some of it was deleted from my Facebook account to protect the guilty. But I still digress, frequently and at great length, so everything should be back to normal, unless you go to the Mirror Universe, but I can hardly be held responsible for the behavior of my dopplegangers, can I?

I did make a couple of attempts to start up a humorous blog filled with farm animal comics and unrelated recipes called, “The Gothic Hen.” That’s pretty hard to sustain if you aren’t used to being cheerful all the time. I’ll probably introduce “Gothic Hen” Fridays here, just for something different.

Anyway, I’m still dusting cobwebs off of various things. The 9180 Corset tutorial will come back and so will all the other costume pieces. I don’t sew quite as much as I did and in fact, I gave a lot of stuff away. Once in a while, though, I still trot out the sewing machine. I do take pictures more often, which is a plus.

For now, I declare this blog officially reopened.

When I last left Alex…

When I last left Alex, she was in free fall between the Shepherd Hotel and the apartment building next door. (For the record, I do not know for certain that the building next door is an apartment building, but, for the sake of argument at this moment, in Alex’s universe, it is.) Is the apartment empty?

I won’t allow for the coincidence that anyone she knows is in the apartment. I made the villain who came after her in the hotel some one other than the usual suspects. The temptation was to make it Robert Donovan, but that would reveal too much of my hand too early.

So what’s it to be? An empty apartment? Some one’s grandmother? A very confused baby sitter?

Update NBM

After taking far too long hanging at the sales on Digital Art Zone and thus their forums, I’ve grown bored and gone back to writing.

The story is evolving into something really different than it ever has been before. The major theme appears to be, “You never can run away from yourself.” Well, one of the new themes that has been worked into the story.

Alex is most definately more interesting.

I have been trying to do some new renders of her character in Poser, but something appears to have happened by an unfortunate serendipity. Every render comes out looking like a particular actress, which is something I did not intend. I keep working on the facial features in hopes of fixing it, but it’s still apparent.


I heard this eve that I have been entertaining a young visitor to the castle who will soon be attending prom. If I may be so bold as to make a suggestion, you might have decent luck spending your gold at this fine tailor A very good friend found her wedding dress there. (The now discontinued La Traviata gown in red and black, unless I am mistaken.) There are a few nice dresses on the site for not so much…well, comparatively “not so much.” The best thing about it is that you can use the dress again at faire. I, myself, adore their clearance sales and have gotten some nice jewelry that way.

I would suggest that you bring a parent or grand-parent with you when you browse that shop, however. Clothing and jewelry are usually safe enough to browse there, but some of the “gifts” can be of a delicate nature–although most are not. There are a lot of fairie ornaments, for instance, as well as crystal balls and dragons, etc, but the catalog does not separate these “gifts” from certain others. Granted, Pyramid Collection is a lot more tame than a lot of the other New Age and Goth Shops I know.

Hot Topic is, of course, very good, but the cost of clothing tends to be on par with some of the fancier mall stores. I have not seen positive proof, however, that the quality of the clothing is extensive.

My very favorite local store (local=Gainesville for me) is The Gypsy Palace. They are located on Newberry Avenue, West of 34th street, but before you get to the Oaks Mall. They have a nice selection of cheongsam at the moment and much in the way of gauzy/gypsy style clothing. They also have a selection of Victorian underwear (no corsets, that I can recall) which may be adapted into modern outerwear for special occasions.

Good luck with your dress shopping. Tim tells me you are interested in Faires/SCA??? I might be able to get him more information if you want. I work with a number of people involved in our local chapter and in the thieves guild and know a few more socially. I, myself, am not SCA. I never was much of a joiner. More of a lurker or shadow-skulker, really.

Meeting places

Due to the lack of descriptions/pictures of Valisere in Cairo, I need to come up with another name for the lingerie store…something I can use on a fictional shop. It strikes me as a good/logical meeting place for two female characters to exchange information. I can’t have Aiyesha come to Hassan’s, convenient as that would be. She isn’t family, strictly speaking, and she probably cares about her reputation. Half of Cairo knows that Hassan’s Tea Shop is a den of theives. However, running into Alex in the Egyptian version of Victoria’s Secret might work. Naturally, she would give Alex the journal then.

St. Patrick’s Day Project

Although I find it the quandary of whether or not I should be celebrating the day the “snakes” were sent forth from Ireland (though I do imagine that the Pixies and Leprechauns stayed anyway) I always wear green in self defense (warding off pinches) and often pluck a bouquet from my shamrock pot. This year the shamrocks were not in bloom (I don’t know why–maybe not enough rain until just recently?), so I left them be. However, I found myself walking through the misty, rainy morning to the building next door to the one where I work. On one side of the side walk was a veritable forest of clover. I plucked two hand-fulls and came back to my office, where I have an electric laminator.

I arranged the clover on a piece of card stock, covered them with a heat seal pocket, and ran them through the laminator. A little bit of liquid pooled on the card stock below the cut stems, but I think it worked well enough. I’m not sure how long the clover will last or if the card stock will mold where it is wet through, but I will watch it and let you know.

When I was small my mother used clear contact on four leaf clovers (I’ve never found one of those in my life, by the way) and it kept them fresh for a long time. I thought perhaps heat seal might do a bit better at the pressing/preservation. For now, they are quite pretty, having almost the appearance of a water color painting of shamrocks.

I still have the shamrocks. They yellowed/browned, but they still look like a water color.

The Lingerie Souk

Okay, knowing that there is a ladies underwear Bazaar in Cairo just makes me smile. It’s one of those things that just affirms that we are all the same, no matter what…and other fuzzy thoughts.

Why did I look this up? It’s kind of important if you send a character out of the country without adequate clothing. I don’t have any mental images of Alex buying lacey nothings, particularly, though. It’s not that kind of story.

Growing up in Dar Hassan

“Growing up in Dar Hassan was like living in an orphanage in downtown Gomorrah at the crossroads of Hell Avenue and Damnation Way. I have been shot at, yes. I’ve also been kidnapped and left in the desert for dead. It just hasn’t happened in a very long while,” Alex explained.