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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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It's a little after 2 AM and I'm trying to work.  So I have the light on.  Apparently I have woken up the cardinal who lives in the bush outside my window.  He is now pecking on the glass and screaming "Jerk! Jerk! Jerk!" at me, like a neighbor banging on the ceiling with a broom.

What the fuck, dude.  I have the light on almost every night at this time.  There are dozens of other places in the yard where you could sleep in the dark.  Go find one.

EDIT 2:25 AM: My temporally confused neighbor is now attempting a full courting song.  I suspect his mate will shortly wing him in the nuts and direct him to find another bush.

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ysabetwordsmith
I thought this article would be about spotting techniques, but it's more about plant identification with useful comparisons of different forms.

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Thanks to a donation from LJ user Rix_scaedu, "When You Strike and Overcome Him" has 5 new verses.  Ansel talks to his supervisor Bert.

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ysabetwordsmith
 The most durable metal is made from some of the softest.  Who would've thought it.  

Now I'm imagining it as a wedding ring.  It's probably more expensive than the damn diamonds, but so cool.

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ysabetwordsmith
Today the bats are very active.  Some years we have a lot, others years less.  I haven't seen many this year, but there are several out tonight. Probably they are chasing insects roused by the rain.  I couldn't hear them, though, because the crickets and cicadas are making an almighty racket out there.

Illinois has 13 native bat species. While it's impossible to identify them whirring overhead, I suspect these are big brown bats because they are pretty large for insectivores.

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ysabetwordsmith
We saw a rainbow while grocery shopping today.  Big and bright, and it was a double.  :D  Best rainbow we've seen in a long time.

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ysabetwordsmith
 ... will fuck us sideways.  Scientists are just now beginning to notice this and realize they ought to factor it into their models of climate change.  Which means those models will predict much worse futures than the already quite fucked ones in print.

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This is the free epic for the August 7, 2018 Poetry Fishbowl. It is spillover from the July 3, 2018 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] curiosity. This poem fills the "generosity" square in my 7-1-18 card for the Winter Fest in July Bingo. It belongs to the Aquariana thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

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ysabetwordsmith
The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, has passed away.

Clearly this is no time for a moment of actual silence.  Let's play some of her greatest hits instead.

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ysabetwordsmith
Someone asked me about managing energy at conventions and avoiding social burnout.  Here are some of my tactics:

* Follow normal circadian rhythm as much as possible. For me, it means I won't do morning panels but am happy to do late-night ones.

* Schedule time for meals. Carry snacks and beverages.

* Choose short activities or free-range ones. Most events will be ~45 minutes but some are shorter or longer. Many cons have a dress-up room, con suite, filk room, or other activities that people can walk in and out of as desired.

* Do not schedule more than two activities in a row. Preferably, alternate an activity and then a break.

* Avoid big crushing crowds. Visit the dealer's room during less-crowded hours. Watch the costume contest on hotel TV and/or enjoy hall costumes.

* Check if they have a quiet room, reading room, or other relaxing place. If the hotel doesn't, look for a nearby library, house of worship, or park as these tend to be relaxed environments.

* Get plenty of sleep. Never book a room on the party floor.

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ysabetwordsmith
Folks have mentioned an interest in questions and conversations that make them think. So I've decided to offer more of those. I'm starting with this list.

27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

For the purposes of this discussion, that can be anything that your friends in general need to know about you.


I overheat easily.  Pretend that I am a candy bar.  If you wouldn't leave chocolate out in the current weather for fear of it melting, the same is true of me.  Often I don't notice when I'm overheating until I have already melted.  If it seems like I am starting to melt, ask if I'm okay or need air conditioning.

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ysabetwordsmith
Today we went to the Illinois State Fair. The weather was mild and mostly cloudy. Instead of a trip cut short by overheating, we got to stay until our legs wore out -- although I was heating up from exertion rather than air temperature by then -- between 2 1/2 and 3 hours. I'm exhausted. It was totally worth it. :D

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ysabetwordsmith
 Garden pictures.

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Everyone needs contact comfort sometimes.  Not everyone has ample opportunities for this in facetime.  So here is a chance for a cuddle party in cyberspace.  Virtual cuddling can help people feel better.

We have a
cuddle room that comes with fort cushions, fort frames, sheets for draping, and a weighted blanket.  It has a basket of grooming brushes, hairbrushes, and styling combs.  A bin holds textured pillows. There is a big basket of craft supplies along with art markers, coloring pages, and blank paper.  The kitchen has a popcorn machine. Labels are available to mark dietary needs, recipe ingredients, and level of spiciness. Here is the bathroom, open to everyone.  There is a lawn tent and an outdoor hot tub. Bathers should post a sign for nude or clothed activity.  Come snuggle up!

In honor of fair season I am also laying out buffalo burgers, fried potato spirals, caramel apple slices, funnel cakes (regular and gluten-free), deep-fried oreos, and lemon shakeups.

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ysabetwordsmith
Apple wants to change apps from a single purchase to a subscription.  This is a problem because people's income is finite and already under heavy demand.  Look at all the things that are changing in this direction. 

Used to be, you bought a television set and the programming came free.  You only had to budget it once.  Then came cable and dish and all those subscriptions, but they quickly began bundling channels, so at least you could pay one price and get a decent selection of things to watch.  Now it's spreading out to where either you subscribe to a lot of services or you miss major programming.  That scatters the audience and makes it harder for people to connect by discussing shows.

Used to be, if you got sick you went to a doctor and paid one bill, which if big enough might be broken down into payments.  Now you have to have insurance, which bills you routinely even if you're not sick, and might not pay you back if you are.  Caregivers often send multiple bills for even one visit.  Some people are paying as much or more for health care as a mortgage.



Used to be, you bought a computer and some programs, and that was it except for electricity and when you wanted a new program.  Now you need an internet connection, which is a significant monthly bill.  As more software shifts to a subscription basis, it gets more expensive to do things on the computer -- and more things in life must be done on a computer.

This adds up.  Subscriptions for important things eat up a larger and larger share of people's income, leaving less for things like food, clothes, and everyday travel expenses.  That means everything which shifts from single purchase to subscription model poses an ongoing  threat to financial stability.  It is therefore a bad idea.

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ysabetwordsmith
 I went for a walk around the yard today.  The prairie garden has red zinnias, pink zinnias, blue bachelor's button, and several pinks blooming.  The septic garden has pink-and-white gladioli blooming.  :D  I love glads.  These came free with a plant order.  I may buy a bag next year, they're favorites.

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ysabetwordsmith
These are the content notes for "Catch a Rising Tide."

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These are the location notes for "Catch a Rising Tide."

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ysabetwordsmith
These are the character notes for "Catch a Rising Tide."

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This poem was written outside the regular prompt calls. It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Aquariana and Granny Whammy & SPOON threads of the Polychrome Heroics series.

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