Sunday, July 29, 2018

2 Weeks to Coldwater Steampunk Festival

Festival homepage here.

The town of Coldwater is a remarkable place. Everybody knows Richard Shrivels in Coldwater and the way they boil eggs is oft-discussed. And also, they have an annual Steampunk Festival. I was busy for one of the first ones and out of the country for the next four and excited to attend this one.
Some Facebook pages:

Medieval Swordplay 
Steampunk Festival
Coldwater Steampunk Festival
and Coldwater Steampunk Festival  - Yes, the names are similar or identical but the landing sites are different and I am not sure of the sources.

The theme this year, and I only learned of it today, is Oceanic. I had been trying to figure out how to make a costume for it and this one word has given me some ideas that I should have had days ago. Chiefly, that I should look for faux-leather vinyl to wrap stuff in for a period feel. How did that only come to mind after the unrelated word 'Oceanic'?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

TWIC: butter, Tor Library, hot streaks, Quora

Leave out the butter notes: a story that either suggests how to play music better or suggests bad hearing is an excellent aid to creativity.
Scalzi on Tor Library and its effects on established authors vs new authors.
The abstract from a meta-study on 'hot streaks' in creativity and other fields. The rest is behind a paywall; I would like to read it.
Are the arts important? I say yes but there is something desperate in arguments like this one. I don't know, as if there were only one path to arts. That said, artists need to earn a living just as much as the next person.
I've just decided I want to learn about the history of horsemanship.
Quora diving:
How creative do teachers have to be?
Math requires creativity.
Creative methods of execution and murder. Asking for a friend?

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

TWIC: buy my art,

A busy week. Here are some Quora questions on the subject for my reader(s?) in lieu of my usually slightly less half-assed TWIC posts.

Why don't people buy my art? The answer is tough but sympathetic and offers useful criticism.
How can one become creative in art?
What is the connection between memory and imagination?
How can I combine creative writing and computer engineering?
I'd say ask Charles Stross or the people at Ommwriter.
Is the brain just a machine with known mechanisms for creativity?
What are some tips for writing historical fiction?

Monday, July 16, 2018

3 jobs

After a drought of employment, I am now working three jobs. I am not sure how specific I should be here but they are:

1. Wildlife interpreter, guide, educator and canoe guide.
I have worked here, casually, for most of the three months I have been home. I am a laid back person I think, but to be clear, 'casual' means 'on-call' and the site hasn't called very often. I love the work and love the animals I see there and the work is usually meaningful enough and hugely enjoyable for me.

2. retail store clerk
I have worked for a well-known chain of stores in Ontario for two or three weeks now. They would give me more hours if I were available for them and it is the third job that prevents me from working more here. I have never used a cash register - I guess the modern version is POS device - and have a lot to learn. And I also have a lot to learn about the inventory. I am the new guy, the novice and I will be for a long time, especially as I don't work here often. My coworkers are great and offer as much help as they can. People need the product but as a beginner, I find myself hoping for easy orders. This is probably the most stressful of my jobs, even though the instant I leave it, the job is over - nothing follows me home.

3. Activity aide at a seniors' home
This is a new position for me and I will work nearly full time hours this summer at it. I am learning a lot and quickly but also I studied a similar subject -recreation studies - at university and the work is quite similar to planning classes for my university students so I am certain I will fit in pretty smoothly. My current position is entry level, or a little better. It is a good start, and since I have been out of Canada so long, I need to build Canadian experience before moving on. I will need to move on or up at the same employer relatively soon though.

None of these jobs are creative in the direct way that writing is. And yet, I was asked to make a pledge for school groups visiting the Wildlife centre and enjoyed working within the limits given. It felt a little like making a Haiku; short enough to be pithy and memorable but as filled with meaning as possible. And at the seniors' home, I am currently following the plans and activities made by people with greater experience but already have new ideas that I want to try. This isn't the creativity I wanted but creative challenges and need to make new things are indeed what I want.

I have carried my phone and a bluetooth keyboard everywhere I went for the nearly three months I have been home. And I have had so much free time where I could have been writing. And I did not write the stories I thought I wanted to write. That I still want to write. Instead I wrote thoughtful answers on Quora and also angry comments on answers I disagreed with on Quora.

In wood carving news, I worked up a series of plans for small swans, herons and eagles and also for dragonflies and I toyed around with sketches for butterflies. I did this on some great flipchart paper, huge enough to hold all my ideas and have room for mistakes. And this went no further.

I am working hard to not say I wasted my time, but I would have trouble arguing with others who said that. I am and will be creative at work, but I am still having trouble being productively creative at home. Self- motivation is a skill I still lack.

Hey, there's always tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

TWIC: Quora, poor artists, interview, writing graphic novels

On Quora, how to make fantasy character more intriguing.

Also on Quora, an author, I think Mercedes Lackey, wrote about how she does not do seat-of-the-pants writing now. She needs a clear ending before she starts writing. As this is (one of) my problem, it is good to hear that I can be, and should be proactive about it. She suggested Beat Sheets which the link offers an explanation of. Here are some of the beats, minus the explanations:

Opening Image -
Set-up –
Theme Stated (happens during the Set-up) –
Catalyst –
Debate –
Break Into Two (Choosing Act Two) –
B Story –
Similar templates for organizing a story.
The National Writing Project Knowledge Base.
We believe that the Knowledge Base will be useful for a range of Writing Project work. Nonetheless, we particularly wanted to address the needs of potential teacher leaders who will enter Writing Project sites via new pathways beyond a traditional summer institute. These might be teachers in a hybrid summer institute, for example, or in a year-long program focused on a specific content area, or in a program for community-based educators. Our goals have been to identify foundational resources with the elasticity to introduce Writing Project principles to an increasingly diverse population of teachers as well as to gather content that is specific enough to speak to emerging teacher leaders from such a range of experiences.
Stress over bills doesn't build character and improve your writing; it is just stress.
CBC interview with Canadian author Dania Tomlinson.
Maggie Tokuda-Hall asks for, and gets, some help on how to write for a graphic novel.
Jeff Rider, in that thread, says:
I still write a LOT of the physical panel descriptions, specifically to position characters in a shot so the 1st speaker is in the correct position, indicate mood via facial expression, or indicate time of day and light sources. ESPECIALLY if I’m working with a new Collaborator.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Penetang Animals: Horsehair worm

Horsehair worms are pretty scary parasites of insects. Their eggs are eaten by insects. The small worm grows inside the insect by eating the insides. When the worm is fully grown, it compels the insect to jump into a body of water and drown. Then the worm climbs out of the insect and finds a place to lay its eggs.

From Wikipedia


I normally see clouds as a continuous mass and seldom see discrete clouds. This was a beautiful, clear evening so 'What do you see?'

I am not sure my answers are all that creative but I have included them 'below the fold'. Make your own decisions and let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Penetang animals: Mustela nivalis

Weasels are such cute looking animals. If we could see into the minds of these playful and cuddly creatures, we would find little but thoughts of killing and killing some more. These are the happiest of psychopaths!

I think this is M nivalis but the Internet tells me there is also M frenata in Southern Canada.
Frontenac News tells me that mink are quite similar but larger than what I saw.
Encyclopedia of Life names 42 different species of mustelids.
Wikipedia has entries on Mustelids and on weasels.