February 11th, 2010

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A Birthday in Community

Tonight we held a birthday party for a friend.  There were 8 people here.  The birthday feast included shepherd's pie, creamed acorn squash, chili, a strawberry jello salad, cottage cheese, and a dark chocolate cake with white icing.  We also played a few games and other activities, although we didn't have a great deal of time since this was a school/work night for several people.

Much to our surprise and delight, several folks had banded together to acquire and transport a pickup truck full of firewood for us, most of it already in convenient stove-size pieces.  Woohoo!  After supper, we all put on our coats and trooped outside to unload the firewood, which only took a few minutes with so many people helping.  ^_^  I love it when community works!

I'll post the recipe for the acorn squash shortly.

Kneading, Cheap Cookin

Recipe: "Baked Acorn Squash"

Tonight's birthday party got big enough that we weren't sure the shepherd's pie would stretch far enough.  We decided to expand the menu a bit, and I had an acorn squash, so I looked up some recipes online.  Then I thought, hey, I should spice this up a bit.  Here is the result, which was received with great enthusiasm.

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Crowdfunding in Animation

Today my partner Doug, who is a serious animation fan, sent me this link to an article about crowdfunding in the animation field.  I would love to see this take off, and maybe some of folks in the animation field will connect with the larger crowdfunding movement.  I think we'll do better if we can network across the fields -- there's a tradition some years deep of crowdfunding in the webcomics field, but folks there don't seem to network outside very much.

Crowd-Funding Animated Shorts
The crowd-funding path for short filmmakers is finally gaining traction, and established animation filmmakers have begun experimenting with the concept. Throughout the years, various filmmakers have toyed with the idea of funding their films in this fashion, mostly by soliciting Paypal donations, but the gamechanger has been new websites that are dedicated solely to facilitating crowd-funded projects. The two most prominent sites being used by animators right now are IndieGoGo and Kickstarter. There is a difference between the sites: IndieGoGo’s fundraising period continues indefinitely, whereas Kickstarter has a 90-day fundraising period and if the artist doesn’t meet their monetary goal, all the money is returned to the donors.
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Frozen Honeybees

Apparently beetiger (Vicki Bloom) keeps bees.  I did not know this before, but it's nifty.  Sometimes in winter, a few bees are found frozen on the top of the hive.  Vicki preserves them in resin and turns them into jewelry.  If anyone has a bee totem or is otherwise fond of bees, definitely check out her Etsy shop.  There is quite a range of prices, although I could wish for individual pendants or beads.
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Perfectly "Pickled"

My partner Doug, who serves as my first-reader (and is a more effective editor than some professionals I have known), has so far gotten through two of the three stories I wrote for the Torn World Muse Fusion.  He pointed out one flaw in "The Brightest Star in the Sky" (not in the story itself, but a clarity issue with one of the animal names).

He made NO changes to "Pickled."  Eee, squee!  I don't think I've had a story pass through his hands unmarked.  I get excited if I have an unmarked page  in some stories.  So I managed something while writing briskly, without setting it aside for later revision, that I usually can't manage while writing at normal speed.  Wow.

*pause for interruption*

*jaw drop*

He just walked in and handed me "Odds and Ends" ... also with no corrections.  Eeee, eeee!

Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean that either of these will be published without alteration.  They still have to go past the Canon Board, any member of which could request changes.  I am still excited.  Furthermore, "Odds and Ends" has been sponsored by tonithegreat and "Pickled" has has been sponsored by ellenmillion so they should become visible to the public.

We're discussing whether this might be showing, or causing, a boost in my skill.  One thing I frequently muff in longer fiction is the sequence.  This is because I "outline" things by jotting down brief scenes or snippets of dialog, then connect the dots.  It's not rare for me to get one of those bits out of order -- and not realize it, until Doug points it out during the revision phase.  All of these stories were things that I wrote straight through, "flash fiction" under 1000 words.  If I can write a small piece of fiction flawlessly, then eventually I should be able to do that with longer fiction.  In this regard, I'm already getting good results from my intent to practice writing more  fiction this year.

We are in complete agreement that continuing this track is a good idea.  So I plan to do more Torn World writing, more Muse Fusion participation, and more short-short stories.