October 14th, 2019


Making Costumes

If you're tired of seeing costumes labeled "Sexy (whatever" that's just one of many reasons to make your own. Here are some general guidelines on how to make a costume. A few more ideas ...




EDIT 10/14/19 -- [personal profile] snippy found the site I looked for but couldn't find: http://takebackhalloween.org/ This site explains how to make empowering costumes about important female figures from history and mythology.

Improved Diet Improves Mood

This study indicates that improving diet can improve mood for people with depression.  The diet described in the article sounds reasonable, and overlaps some things I've seen in other writing about uplifting foods.

If you know why you're depressed -- frex, people are hurting you or you have bad tape from you past -- then diet probably won't fix all that.  But it might make things easier to deal with.  If you have no idea why you're depressed, then it could be subtle factors like diet, because nutrients in food are necessary to make important brain chemicals.  Diet is something you control for yourself, not something you need anyone else's permission to tinker with if you think it might help.  Also, some people find that just taking care of themselves helps them feel better, especially if others have neglected or abused them in the past.  Unlike drugs, changing your diet is a low-risk solution and has other health benefits even if it doesn't improve your mood.  So if your mood sucks, look at your current diet.  If your diet sucks too, then improving it is well worth considering.   

Light Exercise Counts

This is the first study I've seen that looked at levels of exercise with an eye toward light exercise, rather than urging people to get vigorous exercise.  More is better, but substantial results emerge from light exercise.  This is good news for people who can't, for whatever reason, do long or rigorous workouts.  Get up, stretch out, walk around a bit.  Get up and do one housework thing.  Go out and do a yardwork thing.  Move from sitting indoors to sitting outdoors.  It all counts!

Me, I would shred my body if I tried to do typical exercise routines.  But I can go stretch when I start getting stiff, and I can manage several 10-20 minute rounds of yardwork if I have lots of stuff to do outside, on a clement day.

Nature Reduces Cravings

Nature reduces cravings for a wide range of bad habits including junk food, alcohol, and nicotine.  That diversity suggests that nature isn't just impacting one thing -- it's meeting some need that often goes unmet so people try to fill the gap with all this other stuff.  So flip it around and you can see that nature deficit causes problems, such as craving harmful things.  Apparently humans need access to nature or bad things happen.  On the bright side, it doesn't take lengthy exposure to get good results: just being able to look out a window and see nature helps.

Consider putting this together with the previous observation that moving improves health.  Get up, look out a window, see if you can spot birds or other wildlife.  If you can, put a feeder near a window to encourage looking out it.

Lawns for Bees

Minnesota has launched a program encouraging people to convert lawns to wildflowers and native grasses to support bees.  That's a good start, but they really need to block the practice of requiring lawns or banning flowers and gardens, which is a serious problem in some neighborhoods.  

There are many ways to make a lawn more bee-friendly that aren't as radical as replacing it altogether.  
1) Quit putting insecticide on it, which kills bees and other pollinators.
2) Quit putting herbicide on it, which kills plants that bees and other pollinators need.  If you have noxious weeds, you can still spot-spray those or use a different removal method.
3) Add white Dutch clover and/or red clover.  These have flowers that feed bees, and the roots fix nitrogen, so you also need less or no fertilizer.

My definition of "lawn" is "whatever low-growing green stuff survives mowing and foot traffic."  It's a crazy quilt of wild and cultivated grasses, assorted weeds, clovers, a lot of violets in the shady parts, also moss, and so on.

Monday Update 10-14-19

These are some posts from the later part of last week in case you missed them:
Sunday Yardening
Read "So Often Alone"
Community Building Tip: Routing People to Resources
Terminator: Dark Fate trailer
Self-Awareness Question: Feel About Yourself
Wednesday Yardening
Adapting Bingo for Impaired Vision
Cuddle Party

There will be a half-price sale in Polychrome Heroics this week.

Poetry in Microfunding:

There are three open epics.

"Goldilocks and the Genderbears" stands alone. Goldilocks gets lost in the woods.

"Everyone Can Dance" belongs to Polychrome Heroics: Shiv and has 85 new verses. Tolli and Simon dance tango.

"What Survives the Whole Process" belongs to Polychrome Heroics: Fortressa. Penny releases a playtesting video.

The weather has been mild here. We finally got some decent rain.  \o/  Seen at the birdfeeders this week: a small flock of mourning doves, several house finches, several sparrows, several cardinals, a downy woodpecker, a northern flicker, and a blue jay.  There's more activity now.  Currently blooming: violas, petunias, pinks, marigolds, lantana, torenia, million bells, moss rose, firecracker plant, salvia, nasturtiums, gaillardia, clover, morning glories, Queen Anne's lace, thistle, little bluestem grass, purple sedum, pink sedum. Apples are ripening.  More of the fields have been harvested.


Half-Price Sale in Polychrome Heroics

This week, the poetry of Polychrome Heroics is on sale for half price from Monday, October 14 through Sunday, October 20. This series is superhero fantasy. It features themes of heroism, coming of age, diversity, identity kink, family of choice, friendship, and cultural engineering. Sale prices range from $16.50 to $283, so hopefully there will be something for everyone.

Prices on open epics are locked at the time of opening; however, if anyone wants to donate to open epics and buy poetry, spending $100 will get you the quarter-price rate on the new poems, regardless of the rate on the open epic(s) you support. There are currently 3 open epics, so I would rather not open another until one of these closes.
"Goldilocks and the Genderbears" stands alone.  It needs $124 to be complete.
"Everyone Can Dance" belongs to Polychrome Heroics: Shiv and needs $15.50 to be completePOOL
"What Survives the Whole Process" belongs to Polychrome Heroics: Fortressa and needs $113 to be completePOOL

We are repeating the special discount for purchases of $100 or more, in which you get poetry at 25% of its original price instead of 50%. (Note that this increases the amount of poetry you get, rather than reducing the amount of money spent; the point is to get this stuff off of my desk. Yes, I can afford it.) That size of donation also makes you a k-fan which comes with some other perks, like a year-end collection of a poetic series. If several folks want to bundle their orders to make the $100 threshold and have one person send it all, that's okay; you'll get the discount and I'll list all your names as donors, but you'll have to decide amongst you who gets the k-fan credit. If you host a pool, please close it the day before the sale closes, so you have time to collect funds and turn them in on time.

Some of the poems are in sequence of related action, so in places there are prerequisites before a poem can be published. They can be sponsored at any time, just might have to wait for publication until something else gets posted first. Those are marked accordingly. I have also made lists of poems which unlock sequels, and poems which have prerequisites.

Linkback perk: The following poems have verses left to reveal. Boost the signal for this half-price sale and tell me which poem you want to extend.
"Mysterious and Impermanent"
"Greater Than the Sum"
"Nascent Wisdom"
"Where Symbols Had the Power"
"A Lively Feast"
"Between the Normal and the Abnormal"
"Always Carry Your Goodness"
"Crossroads on the Hero's Journey"
"May Everything"
"The Arc of the Mental Universe"
"So Often Alone"

About characters and storylines: The storylines feature multiple characters, so if you want poems about ONE specific character, look closely. The thumbnail descriptions here give some indication who features in each poem. The storyline pages are adding precise, complete information about which characters appear in each poem. If you need more than what's already visible, you can ask me.

About timing: If you want maximum choice, shop early. We usually send a batch of things to my parents near the end of a sale, and those poems will be posted as I have time.

About pools: Yes, you can combine your funds with other prompters to get the quarter-price rate. Yes, you can combine your funds with other prompters to buy a bigger poem. Yes, you can offer to match donations by other people. However, the wordsmith is not also a math whiz! After several attempts to find a way that I can work with pools and matches, I have concluded that this is over my head. (I did figure out how to avoid generating fractional pennies, though: all initial prices are now whole dollars, which means they cut evenly into halves and quarters.) So if you want to host a pool or a match, make a post for that in your blog or other venue, then comment here with what you're doing and include a link to wherever the discussion will be. You figure out the poems, you collect the funds, and when stuff is fully funded, you send me the money and the list of what it's for. Then I'll post the goodies. Please close the pool by the end of the sale, so I can start posting pool poems no later than the day after the sale.

Before placing your order, please check this sale page to see what is still unsold! I will try to update the page as things sell, and it's likely to be the case that some poems will be marked SOLD before appearing in posts. People often buy things in batches, which means that selling gets ahead of posting. Also sometimes people ask for the same thing at the same time, so that not all overlaps are preventable. If you have alternate instructions in case you request something that has just sold, please include that in your message; otherwise I'll email you back and ask what you want to do.
Currently available are the following poems. Some are in series chronological order, and others are just kind of stuck wherever, because sequencing Polychrome Heroics is like trying to sequence a dozen different comic book titles from the same publisher. See the thread page for Shiv.

Poems that unlock sequels: "Any Direction You Choose," "A Form of Escapism," "Nothing Is More Comforting," "One of the Necessities of Life," "Their Own Capacity" "This Knife's Sharp Constancy"
Poems that have prerequisites: "Celebrate and Cherish," "Conducive to Thought," "A Form of Escapism," "Thrust to the Level," "Dissolving the Barrier," "Dance in the Sun," "Serenity, Hope, Balance" "Their Own Capacity," "A Broad Health and Moral Education" "Parts You Didn't Even Know You Had"

36 poems, $8,522 ÷ 2 = $4,261
prices from $16.50 to $283

BROKEN ANGELS (3 poems, was $427, sale price $213.50)

"One of the Necessities of Life"
Story Date: Friday, October 16, 2015
Summary: Faster Blaster's park gains a new amenity.
168 lines, was $84, sale price $42 POOL

"Their Own Capacity"
Story Date: Thursday, November 5, 2015
Summary: Faster Blaster sees Cas' new first aid skills in action with an injured friend.
360 lines, was $180, sale price $90 POOL
Available for publication after "One of the Necessities of Life" has been completed.

"A Broad Health and Moral Education"
Story Date: Friday, November 13, 2015
Summary: Faster Blaster makes a desperate, blushing call to Boss Finn in search of sex ed for prostitutes.
326 lines, was $163, sale price $81.50 POOL
Available for publication after "One of the Necessities of Life" and "Their Own Capacity" have been completed.

FORTRESSA (3 poems, was $316, sale price $158)

"A Form of Escapism"
Story Date: Friday, September 18, 2015
Not all designers like the one-month challenge, but this gives Penny and the Pit Group some interesting ideas.
291 lines, was $146, sale price $73 POOL
Available for publication after the open epic "What Survives the Whole Process" has been completed.

"Thrust to the Level"
Story Date: Saturday, September 26, 2015
Many battlesuits are built by hacks. Fortressa is not impressed. Penny is downright appalled.
162 lines, was $81, sale price $40.50 POOL
Available for publication after the open epic "What Survives the Whole Process" has been completed and "A Form of Escapism"  has been sponsored and posted.

"Quality, Convenience and Tech Experience"
Story Date: Monday, November 30, 2015
Fortressa tries out a bodysuit with lightweight armor.
177 lines, was $89, sale price $44.50
Available for publication after the open epic "What Survives the Whole Process" has been completed and "A Form of Escapism" and "Thrust to the Level"  have been sponsored and posted.

MARIONETTES (1 poems, was $412, sale price $206)

"A Different Vision of Life"
Frustrated by not knowing Italian, Griffin decides to learn it with superpowered assistance.
823 lines, was $412, sale price $206   POOL
Available for publication after "The Compass That Guides Us" has been sponsored and posted.

SHIV (19 poems, was $4867, sale price $2433.50)

"A Weird Tension"
When art therapy reminds Shiv of his unpleasant past, he loses his temper.
811 lines, was $406, sale price $203

"Because the Therapist Continues to Grow"
Story Date: Monday, November 24, 2014
Summary: Dr. G searches for places to learn new skills.
200 lines, was $100, sale price $50

"All the Beautiful Lights"
Story Date: Sunday, December 21, 2014
Shiv and Luci enjoy a holiday cruise on Lake Manawa.
824 lines, was $412, sale price $206

"Strange and Twisted Creatures"
Story Date: Evening of Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Molly takes care of Gray after the incident with Chyou.
558 lines, was $279, sale price $139.50

"Survive the Recovery"
Story Date: Sunday, December 28, 2014
Shiv meets with Dr. G to talk about what happened with Chyou.
828 lines, was $414, sale price $207

"Calming and Rewarding"
Story Date: Monday, January 12, 2015
When Shiv feels restless, Elisabeth Finn invites him to bake bread and teaches him some of the more complex slashing patterns.
1039 lines, was $520, sale price $260   SOLD to Mom & Dad

"A Fine Sweater"
Story Date: Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Summary: Shiv and Luci knit up some of their sari yarn.
223 lines, was $112, sale price $56

"The Cutting of the Gem"
Story Date: Monday, February 9, 2015
Tolli takes Shiv to a rock and gem shop.
555 lines, was $278, sale price $139

"The Most Genius Thing That Man Created"
Story Date: Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Summary: Shiv gives Molly the knife that Tolli and Simon commissioned.
127 lines, was $64, sale price $32

"Wanting a Little of Everything"
Story Date: Monday, March 16, 2015
After several casual meetings, Shiv and Luci finally get together with Bennett for a deeper discussion about kink in general and switching in particular.
1132 lines, was $566, sale price $283

"This Knife's Sharp Constancy"
Story Date: Thursday, March 19, 2015
Shiv wants to give Edison a gift, but Elisabeth wants to try it herself first.
264 lines, was $132, sale price $66

"Conducive to Thought"
Story Date: Monday, April 13, 2015
Shiv begins knitting a brain to help him understand anatomy better.
558 lines, was $279, sale price $139.50

"Another Expression of Art"
Story Date: Thursday, April 23, 2015
Summary: A nutritionist visits Blues Moon to talk about food as edible art and how to make a healthier menu.
586 lines, was $293, sale price $146.50

"A Thing of Comfort"
Story Date: Monday, June 1, 2015
Summary: Shiv has a hard time sleeping in Gray's apartment.
141 lines, was $71, sale price $35.50

"Slash That Shit"
Story Date: Thursday, August 6, 2019
Summary: Shiv comes up with a whole new idea for graffiti that is devastatingly clever.
142 lines, was $71, sale price $35.50 POOL

"Dance in the Sun"
Story Date: Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Shiv enjoys wheelchair dancing at Tolli and Simon's wedding.
1063 lines, was $532, sale price $267
Available for publication after the open epic "Everyone Can Dance" has been completed.

"The Making of a Wonderful Sculpture"
Story Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Summary: Shiv, Tolli, and Simon visit the Raleigh Metalwork Show.
176 lines, was $88, sale price $44

"To Be Something Stronger and Better"
Story Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Summary: After the Raleigh Metalwork show, Shiv and Tolli make things in the workshop.
462 lines, was $231, sale price $116

"Parts You Didn't Even Know You Had"
Story Date: Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Summary: Shiv accompanies Elisabeth Finn on a shopping trip, and two hoodlums unwisely start trouble.
173 lines, was $87, sale price $43.50
Available for publication after "This Knife's Sharp Constancy" has been sponsored and posted.

STRANGE FAMILY (4 poems, was $1144, sale price $572)

"Nothing Is More Comforting"
Story Date: Saturday, November 8, 2014
Pips helps Genna rebuild her wardrobe.
831 lines, was $416, sale price $208 SOLD to Mom & Dad

"Serenity, Hope, Balance"
Story Date: Saturday, November 8, 2014
Genna and Pips go shopping in Amilla Vazan.
770 lines, was $385, sale price $192.50
Available for publication after "Nothing Is More Comforting" has been sponsored and posted.

"From Many Emotional Colors"
Story Date: Sunday, November 16, 2014
Summary: Genna and Dom stumble across a batik class on the beach.
137 lines, was $69, sale price $34.50

"Dans une grande âme"
Story Date: Monday, December 1, 2014
Genna does some educational troubleshooting.
547 lines, was $274, sale price $137

OTHER POEMS (6 poems, was $998, sale price $499)

"Loss Is Like a Wind"
Story Date: Saturday, April 3, 2010
From a previous backchannel prompt, I got the poem "Loss Is Like a Wind." A drowning death inspires people to take concrete steps to prevent future tragedies.
600 lines, was $300, sale price $150

"A Combination of Brains and Materials"
Story Date: Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Some Dreamwidth prompts inspired the free-verse poem "A Combination of Brains and Materials." Four inventors contributed to the rise of Microfyne: a man, a woman, a little girl, and a cat.
373 lines, was $187, sale price $93.50   SOLD to Mom & Dad

Story Date: Monday, February 3, 2014
Fadwa Zaitoun went to extreme lengths to flee Syria.
189 lines, was $95, sale price $47.50

"Into the Thousand-Eyed Present"
Story Date: Monday, 6 April, 2015
Aidan, Saraphina, and Drew apply for citizenship in the Maldives.
654 lines, was $327, sale price $163.50

"The Great Growling Engine of Change"
Story Date: Monday, September 7, 2015
In Soho, magic and technology mix, and nobody really notices.
65 lines, was $33, sale price $16.50

"The Robe of Wisdom"
Story Date: Friday, December 4, 2015
Summary: An old patchwork robe assists with meditation, and inspires new ideas.
113 lines, was $56, sale price $28


Magpie Monday

[personal profile] dialecticdreamer is hosting Magpie Monday with a theme of "flexibility." Leave prompts, get ficlets!

On Tuesday, I’ll post a story for free, usually one chosen from among Monday’s prompt fills. However, the bonus story depends on “Smooth Trade,” a 1400-word story that picks up with several new people asking Faster Blaster for permission to join his crew. Things are not nearly that simple, however, which leads to the bonus story, “The Talk.”

If we reach a total of $100 in tips, I will also post a bonus story of eleven thousand words, effectively doubling the number of words offered for the price. My usual rate is pennysmithing, estimating a penny per word. That’s the other reason that I round down the word counts in the summaries; it makes the math easy!

This month’s bonus story is called “The Talk,” and is part of the Broken Angels series within the Polychrome Heroics universe. Faster Blaster has called in a favor, but does not expect the results that he gets. Eleven thousand words of story, divided into nine parts, will be posted as soon as we reach the goal in tips. (The word count of the story is the reason that the goal is set higher than usual.) The window for tips begins today and ends on Sunday, 27 October, just before the Feathering the Nest prompt call begins. I certainly hope to post this delightful and amusing story long before then!

Atavistic Muscles

Added to the list of atavistic features that human embryos develop but then shed: extra muscles in hands and feet that allow some lizards and monkeys a greater range of dexterity.  Occasionally some of them don't disappear, although the article says they don't affect dexterity in adults.  This makes me wonder, however, if people who do  have exceptional dexterity have any of those extra muscles.

Gotta love the kitchen junk drawer.