The Oddities and Curiosities Expo

Sup, y’all! I have some interesting (I think) things to show you on this fine day.

If you know me well, you probably know that I have a small collection of dead things, mostly bones and fossils. I won’t run through all the fossils, but I will mention the bones: deer skull, bear skull, racoon skull, small jar of mouse skulls/bones, red-tailed hawk skull (which I have not yet cleaned), and a mummified flying squirrel that I’m terrified to try and process.

So when I saw that the Oddities and Curiosities expo was coming, I was in. For the record, I also like weird stuff. I didn’t just go to the expo for the bones.

I took some pictures. Want to see them? Of course, you do. Otherwise, you would’ve stopped reading by now.

So this was the first thing the children and I saw when we walked in.

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Aw, yeah, baby. That’s my scene. #gothgirl4ever As you can see, this fantastic display was for a brewing company.

This next masterpiece was the 2nd thing we saw.

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CAN you feel the magnificence of this, fam-squad? We have a very cool steampunk-style blimp. Let’s get a closer look at the…uh…bottom part? I don’t know what that’s called, but let’s look at it.

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O.M.G. Those are tiny skeletons. Most of them looked like rodents, but if I remember correctly there was at least one that looked like a small bird as well. I wish I had gotten a better picture, but it was a very hectic environment. The place was mad crowded.

Here are a few random shots.

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Good times.

We caught a few seconds of a magic show, but it was very crowded.

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We saw many, many dead things, horror-themed art, dolls, jewelry, fake eyeballs on forks. This Stranger Things Ouija Board!!!!!

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If I were a less responsible human, I would’ve come home with this beauty

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or possibly the one caribou skull I saw.

The only thing that really bugged me was the incredible number of dead things. Finding a single skull in an antique store is one thing, but these legions of creatures couldn’t have all been ethically-sourced. I thought about that a lot as I walked around. The number of bats really got to me. So. Many Bats.

I did end up buying a couple of things. I got this sweet mounted cicada.

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I’m not overly fond of the frame. I might switch that out or paint it or something eventually. The children also bought insects. The boy got a wet grasshopper specimen, and the girl bought a magnificent bell jar display with moths and a skull.

I also scored a cool palmistry poster, which I have not yet framed.

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Below is a link to the website for the expo. I will warn you that if you decide to watch the video, you will see a lady hanging by hooks through her leg skin. Me no likey.

https://odditiesandcuriositiesexpo.com/

 

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Friday Updates

Greetings! Sorry about the extended absence from the blog, with the exception of yesterday, of course. I thought I’d pop on for a couple of updates.

Spring is here, so no more polar vortex for the moment. Yay!

Current status: very blonde. I might update my photos. I haven’t done that in a while anyway.

Today I’m finishing the first ⅓ of season 3 of DDTS, my short fiction series that should come out sometime in the next few months.

I decided to write a whole year’s worth of content for the series before releasing any of it because I didn’t want to get distracted halfway through and derail the rhythm. I also didn’t want to get into this cycle of stressing out over a monthly deadline. This system is working great so far. Unless life interferes somehow, I should have them all out on time.

Also, I have a t-shirt design in mind, which will likely be just for me, but I’ll put them up for sale in case anyone else wants one or wants any other related merchandise. This is assuming I can pull off the design I want. I’m still learning my new software so anything could happen.

What I do know for sure is that working on this series is making me happy. It’s a bit of a slog, but I get the ideas out of my head much faster than with full novels, and I get to move on to the next thing in a matter of days or weeks as opposed to months. This way of working is very attention-deficit friendly.

Plus, I keep thinking of different ways to use the stories. Turns out that short fiction is a very portable thing. More on that later if I get around to doing what I’d like to do with it.

Audiobook progress: either 26 or 27 chapters recorded. As usual, I’m having technical difficulties. My ten-year-old laptop has all but died. It decided that it no longer wanted to acknowledge the existence of my mic, except for the sound effect that goes off when I plug it in. It will also no longer load the list of devices.

I did all the things it liked before: cleaning it off, defragging, etc. It’s just time to let it go. I knew it was coming.

I am sad, though. That’s my computer ride-or-die. On it, I’ve written books, drawn and designed, learned, conversed with internet people. Have I mentioned that I get weirdly attached to things?

So she’s off to graze in the meadow of semi-dead laptops that lives in my basement. Fare thee well, my love.

I have since commandeered my son’s abandoned HP laptop, which doesn’t seem to have the super weird sound issues that the Windows 10 Dells have.

That’s all I have for now. Catch ya later!

Tolkien, Plato, and Gyges Walk Into a Bar But Not in that Order

You may have heard of a few little books by Tolkien: The HobbitThe Lord of the Rings, etc.

In these books, a central part of the story is THE ring. You know, the one to rule them all? Well, guess what. Tolkien was not the first to write about an invisibility ring.

Let us back up several steps to Herodotus’ Histories and the story of Candaules, his wife and Gyges. This version of the Gyges story goes like this: King Candaules keeps bugging his bodyguard Gyges about how hot his wife is. Candaules is like hey, hide in this room and watch her take her clothes off if you don’t believe me. Gyges does it. Wife catches him. Wife says you have 2 choices. You can die now or kill my skeevy husband, marry me, and usurp the throne. Gyges chooses the latter.

No ring, I know. Just wait for it.

In Plato’s Republic, he takes elements of that story but puts his own spin on it. Here’s a bit from Wikipedia:

“It told of a man named Gyges who lived in Lydia, an area in modern Turkey. He was a gygesshepherd for the king of that land. One day, there was an earthquake while Gyges was out in the fields, and he noticed that a new cave had opened up in a rock face. When he went in to see what was there, he noticed a gold ring on the finger of a former giant king who had been buried in the cave, in an iron horse with a window in its side. He took the ring away with him and soon discovered that it allowed the wearer to become invisible. The next time he went to the palace to give the king a report about his sheep, he put the ring on, seduced the queen, killed the king, and took control of the palace.”

Allowed the wearer to become invisible. Sound familiar?

So we have Herodotus influencing Plato possibly influencing Tolkien. The legend might even go back further than that.

What does it all mean?

That Tolkien likely read Plato, and that a great many writers, even the best ones, take inspiration where they can get it. Kind of makes me curious about what else Hero and Plato were serving up.

Linkies

https://www.livius.org/sources/content/herodotus/candaules-his-wife-and-gyges/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyges_of_Lydia

 

 

 

 

Coupla Updates

Greetings! How are we doing? Well I hope. I am super excited because today I finished the last of the rough drafts for season 2 of my upcoming short fiction series. Including the box sets, I now have 8 months of releases. Pretty cool!

I’m not sure how well the Authors Read Podcast is going to do this year. I’m having trouble finding guests. I don’t really want to invest in advertising because it’s not a profit thing. I do have a good relationship with a book publicist, who sends some people my way, but I’m not sure it’s going to be enough.

I’ve been on a couple of message boards, etc. The requests just aren’t coming in. I have no plans to shut it down, but if I don’t have content, I don’t have content. Soooooo, if you are an author or you know an author who’s looking for a free to publicize their book, here is a link.

BUT even if it stagnates a bit, I will still have podcast content in the form of a second podcast for the short fiction series. I’ll have full control over that beast.

That’s all I’ve got for the moment. Catch you on the flip side.

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Chaos Magic and Corporate Logos

Okay, this is going to be a quick post.

I’ve been reading up on Chaos magic, which is a magical practice that concerns itself less with worship and more with the mechanics of making magic work.

One tool of the Chaos magician is the sigil, a symbol that represents an intent. Sigils can be letters and/or words smooshed together to make one symbol. Like this.

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Image from Wikipedia

These totally reminded me of cartoon characters. So, once you have your doodles, you proceed thus:

“The magician acknowledges a desire, he lists the appropriate symbols and arranges them into an easily visualised glyph. Using any of the gnostic techniques he reifies the sigil and then, by force of will, hurls it into his subconscious from where the sigil can begin to work unencumbered by desire.” Wikipedia

Alrighty, that seems pretty simple, I guess. A further bit of weirdness, a writer named Grant Morrison says that corporate logos are hypersigils.

“Corporate sigils are super-breeders. They attack unbranded imaginative space. They invade Red Square, they infest the cranky streets of Tibet, they etch themselves into hairstyles. They breed across clothing, turning people into advertising hoardings… The logo or brand, like any sigil, is a condensation, a compressed, symbolic summoning up of the world of desire which the corporation intends to represent… Walt Disney died long ago but his sigil, that familiar, cartoonish signature, persists, carrying its own vast weight of meanings, associations, nostalgia and significance.” 

Mind blown. I’m going to guess that most logos weren’t designed as a magical means. HOWEVER, the idea makes a kind of sense. And let’s face it, some companies probably wouldn’t be above using whatever means necessary to get their dollars.

Below is a link to a related fun thing, a sigil generator! There are a bunch of options for the form of the sigil. One of them called “Kuji Kuri” is a series of hand movements that look like the spell casting on the SyFy show The Magicians.

http://www.chaostarot.com/wp-content/uploads/generator/

More about Chao magic on Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

Trello for Writing Projects

Hey-o! What a fantastic Tuesday. I’ve been super productive the last several days. I’m back in the recording booth. I took an ever-so-slight…um…4-month(?) break, but it is officially game back on. I’m 16 chapters in and that number will continue to climb. I solemnly swear that I will also get back to my mastering responsibilities, probably this weekend.

BUT that isn’t really what I’m writing about today. Today, I’m sharing a free app that I really like. I should add a disclaimer that the way I use this app probably isn’t the intended use, and there are other apps that are more specific to my purpose, but this is the one I like.

It’s called Trello. It’s actually a team project management app. I do use it for projects, but I don’t have an official team and my projects are stories.

Here’s a sample of what it looks like.

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What you get when you first open the app is a list of your boards. The above picture is a board I created just for you! I can’t put my real ones up because they’ve got titles and character names and stuff, and it’s my super secret clubhouse.

The boxes on the board are cards. Basically they’re fancy lists that you can name and move around and add information to. Below is a screenshot of a card with a little note that I added.

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As you can see, there are some options under the note. I don’t really use those but I can see how they might be helpful.

You can also add pictures and stuff, but I haven’t had a use for that function yet. Here’s a pic of just how jazzy it can be.

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I was previously keeping track of all my writing bits and pieces in a document file, which can get kind of long and annoying if I want to check something quickly like a character traits or name or whatever. Trello makes for a nice quick reference.

I did find a similar app called Novelist that’s geared more toward story plotting, but when I tried it, it didn’t feel as free-form as Trello. It kinda had this forced organization vibe that I did not dig as much.

Plus, I can put pretty backgrounds on my Trello boards and that is, apparently, very important to me.

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So, it’s a fun time if you have a hundred projects going on and need to keep them straight. I highly recommend it.

Nuckelavee the Demon

Greetings, internet fam-squad! How are things? Things here are COLD, like literally all the outdoor things. I’m coming to you live from within the polar vortex.

I grabbed a fun snippet from the Indy Star yesterday. These are places that were warmer than Indy on Wednesday.

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Fun, right? I’ve been hiding in my house since Tuesday evening, which is okay with me. One of my favorite activities is not leaving my house for days on end.

Anyway, today, we have one of THE weirdest demons I have ever stumbled across…in writing, not real life. I really never want to stumble across any demon in real life.

The Nuckelavee originated Scotland’s northern islands, specifically the islands of Orkney and Shetland, with bits and pieces possibly inspired Norse mythology. The Nuckelavee is a pretty baby, described thus: “a head and torso in the shape of a man but with a huge head and a large mouth protruding out like that of a pig. The creature had one single red eye that burned like fire. It had a man’s torso attached to a horse’s back but with long arms that could reach the ground. To add to the horror of his appearance the creature is without hair and skin. A raw body where his black blood could be seen coursing through his veins. Every pulsating muscle on show.” description courtesy of Transceltic.com

Want a visual? Of course, you do! Who doesn’t?

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Image Source

His superpowers included super-bad/poisonous breath capable of poisoning livestock and crops, and he could bring on storms and droughts. Basically whatever bad stuff happened to island people could be blamed on him.

Fortunately for the island dwellers, he wasn’t active all the time. The “Mither of the Sea” was said to keep the Nuckelavee confined during the summer months, so apparently, he can’t just run amok at all times.

One last piece of very important information. If you’re ever faced with one, it is recommended that you cross a river or a stream because the Nuckelavee cannot enter freshwater.

Nuckelavee on Wikipedia