December 31st, 2011

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Art by Bootheel

Bootheel is hosting a free art day.  There are individual and group perks for donations, and the first threshold has already been met.  Pictures start out as ink and there are ways to get grayscale or simple color.  Drop by and leave a request; the suggested themes are "housecats" and "monsters" but anything goes.
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See "Apricot the Mule" by Ankewehner

ankewehner has finished two lovely illustrations of Apricot the mule, who appears in the poems "Shine On" and "One Eye on the Horizon" from the Path of the Paladins series.  I have linked these on the Serial Poetry page and posted them in the "Illustrations by Various Artists" gallery of my LiveJournal scrapbook.

This is a fully-shaded close-up portrait done in pencil.  The long ears are a distinctive feature of mules, and you can see quite a bit of detail in the draft collar.

This is a full-color, full-body picture of Apricot in harness.  It's a beautiful rendering of the apricot color and a nice detailed look at the kind of adjustable draft harness often used for mules.  (Notice that both the tack and the character remain relatively consistent between these two images, though in different poses and media.  That's tricky to do, and an excellent exercise for artists.)  The harness and the charming expression of the quirked ears come from one of the reference photos I provided.  I love participating in free art day projects where I can provide source materials and get nifty results like this.

I encourage folks to visit the gallery page and browse more art by ankewehner.  "The Christmas Mouse" is another favorite.
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Have a Safe New Year

If you're celebrating the Gregorian New Year, please keep an eye on safety concerns for yourself and others. 

* It's best to stay off the roads after dark.  If you're hosting a party with alcohol, remember to collect keys before people start drinking; check to make sure everyone is either spending the night, has a designated driver or other transportation.  Offer nonalcoholic celebratory beverages too, such as sparkling grape juice.  AAA offers a "Tipsy Tow" service in some areas, where anyone can get their car towed home for free on New Year's Eve. 

* When opening corked bottles of bubbly beverage, be careful.  Sometimes a cork can launch hard enough to hurt people or break things.

* Familiarize yourself with alcohol safety tips to avoid or cope with overindulgence.  Remember that alcohol is a poison and can harm or kill people who are careless with it.

* Have a green New Year's Eve with Earth-friendly foods and decorations.
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New Crowdfunding Project: "Run On Sentence CSM"

My friend Mishie tipped me to this fascinating project. There's a blog post, "Music for the New Year," and a Kickstarter project page, "Run On Sentence CSM."  There are videos of a different songs so that you can get an idea of what the music is like.

The CSM stands for Community Supported Music, inspired by Community Supported Agriculture. A $10 basic membership gets you a new, previously unreleased song delivered to your email each month -- cheaper than most albums. Higher donation levels get extra goodies.  Currently the project is at $2,073 pledged of its $2,500 goal, with 17 days left. It seems likely to make its goal, so we should get an example of this crowdfunding model in action. That would be both awesome and useful.

I'm deeply intrigued by this adaptation of the CSA model to creative endeavors.  In this version, it's using online access to attract a wide audience, which is fine; that has great potential for other crowdfunders who have an established audience and might like to experiment with this kind of share structure.  However, I suspect that it could also be done locally -- people in a given town supporting local bands, maybe even artists or poets or other creative folks.  

What would it be like if you could get a copy of the live recording from each local performance, or a discount on a performance at your place once a year, backstage passes, maybe a meet-the-musician party?  What would it be like if you could get copies of all the poems written about your town, its people and businesses, and the chance to have a custom poem written once a year, and see your poet livewriting at the county fair, and go to a poetry reading followed by a discussion in your local bookstore?  What would it be like if you could get screensaver images of a local artist's paintings of your town and neighbors, a discount on portraits, a chance to win a free original, invitations to an artist jam in a nearby park?  I think this has lots of opportunity to get people involved in local activities and facetime interactions between creative folks and audiences.


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Talk and Build a Fire

In the Little Fuzzy novels, the rule of thumb is that anything which talks and builds a fire is a person, therefore possesses rights such as the right to life and to territory.

I was fascinated to discover that Kanzi, a bonobo, can build a fire and cook food.  (I already knew about his communication skills.  He uses a set of icons, rather fluently.)  Some related articles include "Speaking Bonobo" and "Kanzi the Bonobo Can Start a Fire."  I think that fire, along with language, is one of the fundamental distinctions of human behavior, and a major sign of sentience.
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Read the Advent Story by K.A. Jones

The advent story by kajones_writing is now complete.  It's a pretty cool setup in which several focal characters consider the situation in Thear, a world where three different races are squabbling over their differences in heritage and religion.  (Despite human claims, the deities are not  amused by this.)  Each installment is approximately 1000 words.  Here are links to the first installment by each character, in order of their appearance:
Trey
Aisling
Genevieve
Orla
Conall

I think Conall's first installment is my favorite, due to the interaction between him and a blind girl named Sophia.  To see all the installments, just go to kajones_writing and scroll through.  Put together, they add up to about 25,000 words and give a comprehensive look at the major conflicts in this setting.  I find this an effective way to tell a story that is very complex and spread over a wide area with a lot of people involved.  You can follow what's happening to each character yet also see how their experiences intersect.  So far, Thear hasn't been one of my top favorite series, but this story did pull me into it a little more and it introduced Sophia, whom I really like. I'll probably keep an eye out for more about her.  This story is worth reading for its interesting structure.
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Read "Snowbound" by Rix_scaedu

rix_scaedu has written a story, "Snowbound," based on my prompt about being stuck in snow.  It starts out light and then gets more intense.  I love the last line.

And I really, really wish this was one of those projects where a couple extra bucks would get me more words.  It's still at the practice stage though.

[EDIT 12/31/11] So I went back and read all the other stories based on different people's prompts. Almost all of them are just as good. Seriously, go scroll through the comments on the prompt post to find them. If you're reading stuff by folks like aldersprig or kajones_writing then you'll probably enjoy this too.