cassyblue: (smiley)
 Grad school continues to be a time suck but my sister is visiting me which is good. I took her to see my troupe dance last night at a community show and costume sale (I was not dancing since I had hurt my knee and couldn't learn the piece in time). She liked the fan veils the best. I'm not surprised. I ended up buying three pairs of isis wings -- one is a rainbow butterfly! I could wear it to my thesis defense >:)<. I also ended up buying a $200 costume which is the most money I have spent on a costume I did not make. I got it because the bra was the only thing at the sale that looked like it remotely would fit me and it has this mediaeval vibe to the costume. It's absolutely beautiful and the only thing I need to alter is the belt.  It's made of brocades in blue, gold, and teal. It was custom made for the original owner by a professional customer for a opera company and I can tell. It came with bra, choli (turkish vest style!!!!), skirt, belt, and pants. So I think it was a deal. I also got another lace up choli in case the one I ordered, I can't alter easily. I ordered a size up as I usually do from bellydance.com. Turns out that was a mistake since it was two wide in the shoulders as in it it half hangs off my shoulders. My troupe leader is convinced she can fix it, but if she can't I guess i'll be exchanging it. Anyways, I need another closet since I keep accumulating costumes. 

I saw Captain Marvel today. It was very good and they didn't do Carol dirty. I think it's my favorite marvel related movie outside of spiderverse which was visually spectacular (even if it gave me some sensory overload). It was somewhat disconcerting that it was a "period piece" set in the 90s since it didn't feel right to me after the blockbuster scene. There were some playful nods, but I guess there's a really distinctive difference between watching things made in the 90s and things set in the 90s. That's how I feel about stranger things. It manages to mimic the era well, but it still feels disconcerting to me. Also, the one fight scene would have been great with compactors. Compactors are rolling bookshelves and I fucking love them. I pranked my poor sister one time with the compactors by starting it to move. She was so mad at me about it. Also my sister had to hear me chant archival boxes ARCHIVAL BOXES REALL ARCHIVAL BOXES. the prop deparment got that right. I hate that Carol is going to be in the next Avengers movie because then I have to go and see it and I thought I escaped avengers. Unforunately being an xmen ho also means I am going to have to see dark pheonix even though its going to be bad, so very bad. I just like the xmen? The original movies' mystique was a gay thing for baby me. 

I am reading raven tower by ann leckie super slowly. I.e. between 1am and 4am. I have a lot of reading and writing for my thesis and comps so it's taking a while. I really appreciate the fact that the narrator is a rock, we have a trans mc, and bug characters. 

I also picked up a reveiwing gig, despite being behind on reviews for my book blog. 


cassyblue: bald man reads off tablet (reading)
 I am reading Queer Universes : Sexualities in Science Fiction and it's SO WILD because it was published in 2008. It's a lot of academia talk in some of the essays, but it's still really interesting since they do talk about gender but in relation to new wave sff. I checked it out since it had an essay by the author of the current novel I am reading -- Ammonite. Like the essays range from 1990s to 2008 and it's just like wow I don't know if these authors would have expected or predicted the gender renaissance of SFF that started five years after they published this book. Seriously, after 2013 with Ancillary Justice, there has been a renaissance in sff dealing with gender since AJ opened the way for this stuff to get to the more mainstream sff audience. It existed before ya know? But it was much harder to get at or find for the average joe who was out of the loop. 

Also side note, the book does use outdated language and primarily focus on gay, lesbian, and bisexual experiences. 

So far the highlights have been voyager femslash campaign calling out rick berman (fuck berman) and some savage silverberg shaming. I feel like there's too much credit given to certain authors in some of the essays, but you know I'm disillusioned with the white male sff writes of way back in the old times. But at least they mention that some of those authors were shitty people with shitty onions. Right now it feels like a lot of rehashing of stuff I know, but also like I have to remember these essays are between 10 to 30 years old. 



This book really makes me appreciate Bogi Takacs's vintage quiltbag sff reviews for tor.com since e pulls out books I hadn't heard of that feature trans and genderqueer authors. Here's a link to the series: https://www.tor.com/tag/quiltbag-speculative-classics/

I also have a book on nonbinary people and identity I need to finish my review of that was published last year and I found at my university library. I just have been sick and busy with grad school as always. 

I also have a book on disability in sff which I'm interest to see how it stacks up to things I have read by actual disabled people and a book on orientalism in sff by asian scholars which should be fun because I see some joss whedon shaming in the one essay. 
cassyblue: (smiley)
 I heard back from Fireside and it was a rejection. I am going to try horror markets for the body horror gay ai story. I'm not retiring it yet because of the personal rejection from Apex. It might not sell, but that's ok. I have a new short story idea about gates of hell which will be interesting to translate from bat shit dream to paper. I have classes only one day a week this semester so I can dedicate one day of the week to creative stuff. I'm thinking mondays since that's when I have belly dance session 1 of 2 each week and potentially Persian dance if my teacher lets me use my punch card for that. 

I am currently writing and illustrating a tutorial on designing gender nonconforming characters after getting pissed off by an art book's "unisex body" tutorial. The "unisex body" was literally a skinny white twink. I was like really? REALLY? but I should have not been surprised since the author also had a lovely racist character design for a warrior king (mashing of Native American cultures in the worst way possible). I'll probably share it as a pdf depending how long it gets. I'm primarily using my own ocs as examples of design. 

I am currently working on cleaning my room and the rest of the places I have stuff. I have so much less stuff in my room than I thought after I got rid of my paper hoard and consolidated things. The only thing left in my room to organize is my sewing supplies which is kinda a nightmare because I have to go and get actually organizational trays and shit for that. Ironically, art boxes are actually cheaper than my usual method of using fishing tackle trays and boxes. I'm just glad that the sewing/art table is usable again. I have a couple new costuming and sewing books that I'm excited to start using. 

My birthday is next week and it's going to be super nice since my friend Orion (aka dino gay) shares the same day for his birthday. So we're going to do something for our birthday and I don't know what yet. We were thinking about going to the orchid show, but I work during the day so maybe we'll do something else. 
cassyblue: a scientist in a baseball cap with a large snail covering his right eye. (science)
Growing up in South Florida, I encountered a lot of interesting wildlife from gators to land crabs. Now, land crabs are BIG ASS crabs that migrate en masse to the ocean from wherever their holes are. In the past few years there hasn’t been big land crab migrations. But when I was little, they would just come out all over and people would come with buckets and scoop them (Free Crab Meat yolo). Now the thing is land crabs are big ass crabs which means they have big ass pinchers. Their pinchers are strong enough to pop a tire.


The crabs waiting to take out a car. 

when I said they were big, I wasn’t kidding. This one is a pretty impressive big ass crab:

So if you know anything about me, I just had to catch one of the fuckers. When you’re 8 you dont really have a lot of sense your head about grabbing things. I was the catcher of lizards, the annoyer of frogs, the grabber of snakes. 

Now the thing about land crabs is that they are not very bright. They would get into the garage and not figure out how to get out and die and STINK to high hell. One time one got into the house THROUGH the garage and my mother chased it with a broom while my sister (3 at the time) stood on the chair screaming at the top of her lungs. 

HALP, we’re stuck in a corner we don’t know what to do besides snip snip. 

So to catch a land crab, I simply had to get it backed into a corner which required watching and waiting for a victim. There was plenty of potential victims, but they escaped me chasing them. Then one day, I managed to scoot one into the corner of the patio where it couldn’t get away. Now, one simply does not grab the crab from the front because you will get snipped and these bastards can latch on and not let go. I grabbed it from the back and shoved into a bait bucket my dad let me use to keep lizards in. 

Now you see, the bait bucket was one of these. 

And the deal with these bait buckets is that the black door OPENS such that the black door GOES INTO THE BUCKET. So I have this PISSED off land crab that’s almost half the size of the bait bucket. I realize. I can’t get it out. Oh fuck I can’t get it out. So I go tell my mom that I caught a land crab. My mom was like How did you catch that? I was like I grabbed it. My mom is like, ok, where is the crab. I show the bait bucket. My mom is like, sorry I’m not reaching in there. 

So out of help on that front. I started to try to scoot the crab around so it would stop wedging itself behind the door with a stick. Eventually, I managed to get it into the bottom of the bucket. Land crabs climb btw so yeah it was trying to get to the top. 

I shove the black door back. 

and then…

I shake the bucket as violently as I can until the crab flies out and is momentarily stunned. Then it runs away. After that, I never tried to catch another land crab. Not even to scoot into a bucket to get out of the garage. The push broom was reserved for removing le crabs. 

cassyblue: a scientist in a baseball cap with a large snail covering his right eye. (science)
I found a plant that hadn't been previously recorded in my home county last week and I emailed the dept of environmental management like hey let me collect this plant. They finally emailed me back for more information on the plant I wanted to collect. So maybe I'll be able to voucher it before I leave to go back to colo. However, probably not. So I mentioned I may be back in March hoping they'd be like ok. But basically I go collect le plant, press le plant, write paper on le plant, and then publish paper on le plant. So we will see what will happen. Like I was good and didn't pull the plant out of the ground as soon as I saw it and ask for permission after the fact. And on top of it, it's a plant that no one but like 3 people would care about besides me. It's just an interesting plant that gets over looked bc it looks like grass but its not grass.

So hey maybe I'll get a paper out of this or maybe I won't. We will see what the county says.
cassyblue: woman at computer looking perplexed (scully)
So I've had three rejections for the body horror gay ai story. One was personal (Apex) and the other 2 not (Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld). I submitted it to Fireside last weekend and I hope it's to their tastes because I am really proud of the story.

At the rate I am going, I don't think I will make the deadline for Rosalind Siblings Anthology despite really wanting to. The whale story is written, it's just that I have to get it into final form.

I am also thinking about serializing one of my favorite projects on dreamwidth because its never going to be publication worthy and it's more of a fun SFF thing with my ocs I've had since I was 13. And then it's in a central place where my friends can find it.

Anyhoo, Dreamwidth and my laptop do not like each other so I guess I'll have to wait until I'm back in Colo, to write a longer post with some pictures.
cassyblue: woman at computer looking perplexed (scully)
Well my short story made it to the second round of review and past the slush pile at Apex! It was ultimately rejected, but that was really neat since it's the first thing I've sent out. I am currently working on some stuff for the Rosalind's Siblings anthology call and a queer werewolf call. I missed the Uncanny submission period since my story was still under review at Apex. I think I am going to try Strange Horizons next.

I am half participating in inktober. I am planning to do one art a week in October since that's all I really have time for. I'm thinking of focusing on Critical Role characters.

Dreamwidth's full text editor is not working for me. I don't know why so just using the quick update.
cassyblue: woman at computer looking perplexed (scully)
 I completed a short story and have edited it into a final draft. I'm currently sending it out for submission, which I haven't done since my high school shitty literary magazine. I sent it off to Clarkesworld first because I knew that's the longest shot and got my first rejection! That rejection is a victory because I did the thing instead of procrastinating on it for another 6 months. It's currently in submission slush queue at Apex so we'll see how that goes, not really holding out for an acceptance since it is the first story I'm sending out to magazines and venues. 

It just feels good to have a finished not fanfic product after well years of not having a finished product because I would keep starting over. Fanfic is different because it's looser and for fun. Writing original fic is harder for me to finish and to start. I have long droughts of inspiration and energy it seems because of just how much is on my plate. 

cassyblue: bald man reads off tablet (reading)
 
I reviewed Blackfish City on Insectoid Reviews. It's one of my favorite books of 2018 so far!

I neglected to mention in the review, that the cover art glows in the dark.

I'm currently reading The Poppy War which is really good -- it's everything 10 yo me was into but not in the bland proto european fantasy setting. Highly recommend. 


cassyblue: woman at computer looking perplexed (scully)
 So I finally got my password reset for dreamwidth yay! I lost it in the midst of finals and starting my internship. I started a review blog for science fiction related media. Mainly books since I read fast and my library system has a wonderful selection. Like holy shit, I can actually get the queer sci-fi I want easily at this library compared to my previous three library systems. Sometimes living in a real college town has its benefits. I am going to try to cross post the reviews here, but I am not good at technology (if my SQL database project taught me anything...i only know the arts side of things). 

It's called Insectoid Reviews bc I am an entomologists so bugs are my brand! I'm currently trying to put out a review every week, but with life as it is, I'm hitting more of a every other week mark. During June, I'm doing a mini series of recommendations for Pride which go out on Wednesdays. 

cassyblue: woman at computer looking perplexed (scully)
 I literally haven't touched any of my creative writing drafts for a month because it's that time of year where I have to be writing abstracts for conference submission and work on my research proposal. I'm hoping to do a couple academic conferences this year, mainly hitting the entomology ones (ESA, ECN, LepSoc, & the local lepidopterist meeting). I have two main projects to present, but I wanna to focus on my thesis with caterpillar behavior (I'm going to be known as the caterpillar puke person >.>). Three out of the four target conferences are in Canada this year. So...I need a passport and to apply for travel grants yeehaw. Although LepSoc is in Ottawa and I have a bud in Montreal sooooooo I might be able to couch surf. 

I am going to worldcon 2018 holy shit. I can't believe it. I am thinking long and hard about participating in the art show. I don't have anything decent and recent for scifi/fantasy art. To be completely honest, I'm thinking about doing a set of "fantastical" science illustrations since I know what I am good at and it's not like speculative biology isn't something I enjoy (ask me about my slug aliens...). 

I signed up to preform with my belly dance studio in may at the local arts festival. However, I didn't realize how big the festival is. It's a huge deal and there's like three stages of performances and stuff. So now I'm like welp. But it'll be ok. I have enough experience that I can make my way through the performance. It's interesting since this studio isn't a American cabaret style studio but rather more Egyptian/oriental style one. I previously danced cabaret which is the style most people think of when they think of belly dance where the movements are big and flashy. This other style is more subtle with a more of a focus on the hips then chest from what I can see so far? Which is weird to me because I am so used to doing chest and hip combos. But hey, it doesn't just use up all my stamina like ATS (American Tribal Style) does with the amount of arm movement (arms are so important since ATS is very much group improv and arms are signalers of changes).  I took two ATS classes and decided it was deffo not for me, I have a lot of respect for ATS dancers. 
cassyblue: woman at computer looking perplexed (scully)
 So I haven't posted lately because things have been pretty hectic. Depression just hit me with a rock and knocked me out for almost a week. I missed almost 4 days worth of work and class because it. Pretty bad. My adviser was like you cannot do that. I know. I am on a new medication which seems to be helping but it sucks because it makes me eat in the morning and I'm not a breakfast person. So hopefully I don't miss much more because I'm fatigued. I've started my master thesis experimentation with caterpillars. I'm studying their defensive behavior particularly puking. That means I have to make them puke. Which means I pinch them with soft forceps. It's not fun for me or the caterpillar, but I make sure they aren't harmed and that they get extra food after I do my experiments. 

I started a new story because what is finishing projects? I just don't know. It's based on a dream I had after I visited the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. I developed the concept as an au of my one story project but then didn't do anything with it. Now it's a separate stand alone story. I have about 4,000 words to it. I'm hoping I'll finish it soon. But there's a lot going on with school. 

I started back up with dance. I haven't been practicing like I should. I need to get into the routine to do it. But I am almost done with the dance costume I started two years ago and never finished! It'll be nice because I'll be able to compare my first finished one with the new one. The straps compared to the other one are significantly better. Also I wasn't rushing to finish it because of a performance. I have to glue a couple rhinestones back onto the first finished one. 

Last book read: Planetfall by Emma Newton. 3/5. interesting world, gays, but plot was so sloooooow. 

cassyblue: a green caterpillar in a space suit with a rainbow pride badge (Default)
 I hope that 2018 treats us much better than 2017 has! Wishing everyone safe holidays and travel. 

Reflection on the year below the cut
Read more... )

cassyblue: woman at computer looking perplexed (scully)
 Well grad school and nanowrimo do not mix well. I've given up on completing nanowrimo this year. I just have too much work to do for school bleh. I was revising my Aurum novel project and I honestly dislike this draft. It doesn't feel as emotional as I want it to. But also I'm writing it in a much better place. The last draft I started back when I was in the depression hole and has a lot of undercurrents of my negative emotions and frustrations.

I have been kinda feeling down about my writing to be honest. At one point I started questioning why I keep writing when I'm probably never going to send anything out for submission and I don't seem to finish much. It just seemed self defeating. I say I write for myself and to entertain my friends. But sometimes, it just doesn't feel worth it ya know? That I should just focus on drawing and try to get better with that instead. After all I'll be published academically which was my original goal once the new species paper gets out. 

But then the radch chat had a reading night and we read our stories and poems to each other and it was really nice? Like everyone had such good stuff. It was a big mood booster about my writing. People that hadn't heard it before enjoyed it and commented they wanted to know where it goes. So maybe it is worth continuing on with these stories even if I don't send them off for submission. 

But also reading them reinforced that desire to eventually make a podcast when I have time (hahaha when will I have time?) since my writing style is very much stream of thought when I write in first person. Maybe something like Alice isn't Dead where one character does most of the exposition would be something I could very well write. I wanted to make Aurum a podcast at one point since the point of the story is that the characters interact through dialogue over radio channels between space ships. But I also need to actually finish the draft of that. It has a beginning and an end but no middle. Middles are the most difficult thing for me. 

And I heard back from my professor, she really liked my paper on including queer voices in communities. I'm happy she liked it! I was actually stressed about writing that paper because I'm not out and it was an academic space. 
cassyblue: woman at computer looking perplexed (scully)
 NaNoWriMo and graduate school does not go well together I can tell you that. I was at an entomology conference this weekend which was great but also conferences just take a lot out of me. At least this conference I wasn't a bundle of anxiety and didn't need to go hide to calm down. It was smaller and in one room which helped plus I sat next to people I knew. I kept forgetting I had a name tag on so anytime someone was like Hi Erin, I was like the fuuuuck?

I was struggling with getting going with NaNo because writer's block set in and the first day I had a paper due. But I finally was able to spew some words during the conference. I was that person who sat and wrote during presentations that were boring or just I couldn't listen to. I decide to work on revisions to my incomplete project, Aurum, which I've been working on since I think January? I have about 1900 words which isn't great, but its better than nothing. I've been doing my school writing at work when I have imaging duties. 

Also I saw my collaborator for the species description manuscript. He thinks there will be a good chance it'll be submitted before December. That'd be great because I want that sucker out because it'll be my first academic publication. 

I messed around in Doll Divine and made a cute pic of my mcs from Aurum, Sam & Nadia. They're adorable space gays. 


cassyblue: bald man reads off tablet (reading)
 I've honestly been reading more than I have actually been writing. Honestly, I feel like I've read more in the first 3 months of grad school for fun than I have the rest of the year. Perhaps its because my new library system has really good selection? Whoever is in charge of acquisitions is doing a damn good job. But also, I'm living in a more liberal area than my previous libraries which may explain why I can get a hold of more queer sci-fi and fantasy easily. I literally have not needed to ask for something to be ordered. Its so wonderful. I use good reads to keep track of what I read, but also I thought it might help to make a post here with some comments so I can remember why I rated a book so. I don't like leaving reviews on goodreads because I always feel like I need to write something longer. 

Books

The Stone Sky | N.K. Jemisin | 5/5
I enjoyed this conclusion to the Broken Earth. The world building was great and the prose wonderful. However, felt somewhat anticlimactic in some ways. 

Provenance | Ann Leckie | 5/5

I've been waiting for this one for a year. It did not disappoint. It was very different from the Imperial Radch trilogy, but the world building was wonderful. Ingray and company are fun characters and I hope we see more of them. It was relatable in areas especially with struggling with expectations. 

Hidden Figures | Margot Lee Shetterly | 5/5

I have not seen the film adaption of this book. It was highly informative and I really enjoyed the narrative. It was fascinating to see how all the factors came together. I'm glad these woman are getting more recognition instead of being forgotten. 

Fresh Romance Vol. 1 | Various | 4/5
I love the art in this comic anthology. Most of the stories were self contained and fun. Although one was part of a serial. 

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic | Alison Bechdal | 5/5

I cried. I had listened to the musical. The comic had more detail and different structure. Very good. 

Binti | Nnedi Okorafor | 5/5
Where do I begin with Binti? The worldbuilding was amazing. The aliens were suitably alien. The story was solid. It left me wanting more. Highly recommend. 

Binti: Home | Nnedi Okorafor | 5/5

The sequel to Binti did not leave me disappointed. It was a wonderful look at families, friendship, and continues to build on the world Nnedi Okorafor started in Binti. 

The Prey of Gods | Nicky Drayden | 3.5/5

This was a fun read. The romance between the two kids in the story was sweet and believable. I was sitting there like oh yep they are teenage boys. It was an over the top romp. There were things that made me uncomfortable in the story regarding the one character. However, I enjoyed it. 

The Devourers | Indra Das | 3/5
This was honestly too much for me. The pacing was slow. The world was fascinating. But it managed to hit most of my squicks. 

Will Do Magic for Small Change | Andrea Hairston | 2.5/5

I tried to read this, I really did. However, I think I've been spoiled by other authors who try to do similar stuff. It just felt like too much going on all at once.

Spinning | Tillie Walden | 3/5
Honestly this one hit to close to home for me. The art was ok in the graphic novel.  It wasn't a fun time for me. 

Red Threads of Fortune | JY Yang | 5/5
AAAAH I LOVED THIS BOOK?? The world building is so good. I love Rider. I love the raptors and nagas. Mokoya is great. Please read it. 

Black Tides of Heaven | JY Yang | 5/5

This is the companion to Red Threads. It focused on Mokoya's twin brother, Akeha. I didn't enjoy this one as much as Red Threads but it was still wonderful. The pacing is slower but it goes more into depth with the world. 

Podcasts
I listen to a ton of podcasts at work while I'm doing data entry or imaging. These are ones that I listened to in the past three months. 

Alice isn't dead | 5/5
It didn't spook me since it was in an audio format. The story is enthralling and the imagery is visceral. Highly enjoyed. 

Inkwyrm | 3.5/5

This is such a fun listen. It's like the perfect intersection of trashy and romcom. I wish the sound quality was better on the recordings. It got serious at the end of the first season which was a surprise. But the characters are delightful. 

Sawbones | 4/5
Ok yeah I like the McElroy products. I started this one because it seemed interesting. It's funny and informative. but sometimes the topics are too much for me. 

Ars Paradoxica | 5/5
I love this podcast so much. It's just the intersection of everything I like, conspiracy, science, character driven stories, time travel. Most of all, all the science gals are queer? That's a really big thing for me. I see myself in these characters as a queer woman in stem. 

The Strange Case of Starship Iris | 4/5
I really enjoyed this space opera podcast. Its fun, whimiscal, but also serious at times. Sometimes the sound quality sucks :/. I really love the alien, Crej. They're great. 

Under Pressure | 3/5
I honestly felt like this one meandered and didn't have a cohesive plot. It went all over the place. It was still a fun listen. 

Within the Wires | 2/5

I tried. It just bored me. I think it's not the narrative style for me. I honestly just got so impatient with it. 

Steal the Stars | 4/5
I really enjoy this one bc alien conspiracy. Its engrossing and I appreciate the characters. Fun story. Lots of twists. 



cassyblue: woman at computer looking perplexed (scully)
 Grad school had been keeping me busy and I wish I was actually working on original fic, but I've written a couple fanfics for Imperial Radch. Maybe its because I'd like some attention and validation for my writing. I'm a slut for instant gratification what can I say? But also sometimes its easier to explore in other people's worlds. You have more knowledge of things and don't quite have to make up as many things at least in my mind. 

I wrote three fanfics in September? Wow? That's a lot for me! I don't do it often. But also its Radch Week so there's some catalyst for that!

Bittersweet is a sketch about Breq, Seivarden, and Tea: http://archiveofourown.org/works/12001560

Denial was written for Radch Week & features an ooc star trek AU: http://archiveofourown.org/works/12170958

And I just did Cousins today which is about Breq & Sphene: http://archiveofourown.org/works/12180822

I might try to do some small drabbles with my original fic? Maybe that will help me get back into the swing of writing original stuff. But then again it depends on those pesky brain weasels. 

cassyblue: a green caterpillar in a space suit with a rainbow pride badge (Default)
 With moving and all, writing has gone out the window for the past couple weeks. But honestly this happens a lot to me. I write in spurts. I blame my high school self for using up most of my writing energy by writing all the darn time. But hey, I pretty much learned on my own in high school how to piece stories together so that's a positive look on that. 

I have moved to Colorado for graduate school. Its so very different from Florida. For one, there are mountains. The land is not Flat nor is it Sea Level. I am starting to get adjusted to the altitude. I have a lovely view of the mountains from my new apartment's patio. I did go hiking last weekend for a little bit, but I hadn't yet acclimated to the altitude so I didn't last super long. But the landscape here is gorgeous??? Florida is pretty in a very different way. Here it's more on a grand scale. Think like high fantasy scenery. 

user standing on rocks on a hiking trail with mountains behind them

My mother snapped this photo of me while I wasn't looking. Classic photographer pose. 

I started working at the university's natural history collections as a graduate assistant last week. My graduate classes will start the end of August. I'm in the entomology section since my focus is bugs. I'm currently working on curating an donation of grasshopper specimens. However I've explored other sections of the collections. I was shown the basement that houses the fossil collections and got to touch a triceratops vertebrae! That was pretty neat. I also got to see bear specimens in our walk in freezer that will be turned into skeleton and tissue samples by the vertebrate zoology section as well as one of the collection assistant in vertebrate zoology pickle some rodent specimens. I'm pretty excited because I'm a happy duck when I'm involved in museum and natural history work. It's much like working in a library, but your books are dead things instead. 

grasshopper specimens in a tray

These are my grasshoppers. The donator was a Dr. Willey, so sometimes my supervisor and I call them willies. This poses a problem when they need to go in the freezer so they don't get pests in because our sign on them would be "Friday Willey Freezer " which uh sounds NSFW when we say it aloud to other people who want to know what we're putting in the walk in freezer. 

The bus system is fantastic here and I have been able to explore several places. The public library here is amazing. They have a maker space with sewing machines, tools, and 3D printers. The main library has a lovely cafe as well as bee hives, several community gardens, a theatre, and an art gallery. I also have stopped at several coffee shops in search of the best chai latte close to campus. My favorite tea shop so far is the Dushanbe Tea House. It is gorgeous and has great food and a thai tea that is so very worth the gastrointestinal distress. 

Word Counts
Aurum: 29,596
Thunderstruck: 2,083
Princess & AI: 979

cassyblue: woman at computer looking perplexed (scully)
 Well a lot has happened since I wrote up my plans and goals for my writing. First off, I got a car which is awesome, but my dad is working on it so it's in shipshape to go to grad school with me. My work schedule last week was not the usual so I didn't quite get as much writing done as I would have liked. However, I did wrap up some art projects which was good because I had been thinking about working on them for a while. I'm back to my normal work schedule which hopefully means more productivity. 

Progress & Word Count:
  • Aurum: Did not work on it at all last week. Word Count: 28,498 words. I have decided to restructure the beginning and alter a few of the events. I plan on serializing this story first since it has the most content. 
  • Thunderstruck: Worked on it some last week. Word Count: 2,083. Approaching end of first chapter. 
  • Princess & AI: I started it on Thursday of last week since I would like to submit this to the Mother of Invention anthology. I don't think I will make the cut but it doesn't hurt to try. At this point I might have a better shot of getting my fiction published than my research manuscript. But that's my inner pessimist. Word Count: 663. The anthology word limit is 5,000 words. 
Goals For this Week:
  • Aurum: to work on it this week and ignore the brain weasels it might wake. I want to finish transcribing the last chapter I was working on in my notebook to the google doc. 
  • Thunderstuck: Finish first chapter and think a lil more about the plot line. 
  • Princess & AI: Try to half a rough draft by the end of the week. 
I have friends coming over this weekend so hopefully that will prove to be an incentive for me to get off my butt and write in the evening after work. 

Also here's one of the drawings I finished last night. It's a spider mech from an upcoming book I'm super excited to read -- Provenance by Ann Leckie.


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