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The Thrill of the Hunt

Back in the days I had an allowance and few financial responsiblities, I briefly became a collector of things. The seeds, I suppose, were planted by my childhood collection of Star Wars action figures (which met a tragic end in an alluminum storage building one blistering Texas summer), and the all star cast of Barbie and friends who acted out my early storytelling efforts, before being relegated to the attic where a family of squirrels nested in their Interstellar Luxury Cruiser, aka Barbie Dream Mobile Home.

Funko Pop Boromir.jpgBut in general, I collected things to use, not things to put on a shelf. (Books, obviously, being the exception.) But like many youngsters with money and time on their hands, I fell into bad company. By which I mean the best company, but a company of enablers.

There were four of us, who met in a fan fiction chat room, as one does when you’re in school and procrastinating that term paper. Two were already master hunters and gatherers of collectibles, and they soon showed CM and me the ways of the Force.

See, it wasn’t just about owning the thing. It was the stalking of the prey and the tireless pursuit once started. Trips to every Toys R Us in Birmingham, crawling under independent toy store shelves to see if just maybe they had that one Breyer Arabian way back behind the others. And eBay. Good God, eBay. You never saw someone so good at the Gamesmanship of the Snipe as my friend S.

At first I was content to come along for the ride. But I’m a nerd, which means there is a larger than average world of things for me to collect. First there was that Eowyn action figure…and so I had to get Aragorn. And Legolas came with a horse. And speaking of horses, there are Breyers, where the only grooming required is a bit of dusting now and then.

Obviously you couldn’t have a Rogue action figure without a Magneto Gambit action figure, and that Victorian Christmas Barbie’s green velvet bustled gown is exactly what you would wear if you were a Victorian lady at Christmas. Other people gamble. I played to find a gem at a price that fit in my grad student budget.

But collecting takes time and money and space, and when you chuck everything to become a starving artist, you don’t really have any of those. You have way better things—but you have to clear out temporal, financial, and emotional space for them.

And let’s face it. Keeping things Mint in Box takes up a lot of room.

Long story long, my toys collectibles now have a size and monetary limit. Because I’m an adult that way.

So, back to eBay, in the circular way of things. I’ve just gotten back from the post office where I said a nostalgic farewell to 1998 Portrait Edition Princess Leia in the Medal Ceremony Gown from the end of Star Wars.

In the end it was less painful than immediately saying farewell to the money she brought me, as I sent it off to pay my taxes.

In the immortal words of Sir Paul McCartney: “Hello Goodbye.”

Four Ways I’m Kinda Colorful

(See what I did there? In a post about coloring as a hobby? Hilarious, right? But there are actually four things you may not know about me hidden in this post.)

Okay, so, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that for adults is A Thing. A Thing that I was doing before it was cool. (*Pushes up horn-rimmed glasses*)

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Courtesy of Johanna Branford via Google images via Buzzfeed via Bored Panda. (Hey, at least I’m trying to be a good blog citizen.)

Leaving aside the fact that Carl Jung used it with his patients, and that he based this on the drawling of colorful mandalas that were traditional (and sacred) in India (and elsewhere), the Huffington Post covered it in October 2014, and the Telegraph mentioned it in a June 2014 article on relaxation.  Then Bustle had an article in October 2015, and in December it was on Fox News which may indicate the wave has crested.

There’s are psychological and sociological reasons for why coloring is relaxing (uses both halves of the brain, the focus is meditative, we’re all a little bit in Neverland refusing to grow up…), and I was going to post about that, but instead I’ll just telling a story and post some links.

So, my dad had a type of dementia that affected his language, so he struggled to form a sentence, but he loved to color his Dover books birds of the world, or underwater scenes, or flowers, or ships, or horses…All those things. I can’t see a Dover coloring book without thinking of him. (In a good way.)

Moving on…

So, the great part is coloring stuff is front and center, I don’t have to feel guilty (not that I did) about using expensive art pens and pencils for my hobby, and a quick Google or Pinterest search nets all kinds of printable pages. Here’s a few that tickled my eclectic tastes. (Follow the links to the source for colorable sized art.)

Starting at the beginning: the Secret Garden by Johanna Basford led the charge in 2013, and here is a link to the Guardian which has five sample pages in .pdf form.

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Hoe heerlijk is dit kline meisje? The drawing below is from a Dutch blogger. And since Ik ben nederlandse (en andere dingen), Ik wil koppelen aan haar blog. (Translation: click here to go to her blog and her art.)

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A personal favorites: Vintagecoloring.com (The Curator Prime is my multi-talented friend Heidi. Shh.) She’s collected art from antique sources for some beautiful themed books (Amazon link), and she publishes free coloring pages on Fridays, like this one below.

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If you haven’t noticed, I like pictures with people. (Not unrelated, I guess, to the fact that I’m more likely to pick up a book with a person on the cover.) I have a particular weakness for the fashion history books from the aforementioned Dover publications. (Because I’m only a fashionista when it comes to bygone days.) Like this Fashions from the Roaring Twenties page (which links back to Dover’s site).

Fashions of the Twenties Dover

So, that’s my show and tell. Any recommendations for me? You know, in my copious spare time when I’m not slaving away on my next masterpiece? (Which I am.)

 

Trendsetting again, darn it. (Pen and Paper Edition)

So, I’m kind of a dork for stationary.

Pens, paper, and if I’m in a whimsical mood, stamps and stickers… But mostly it’s about pens, pencils, and the perfect thing to use them in.

This can be an expensive obsession. Check out Levenger or The Goulet Pen Company for proof. There are entire forums for fountain pen aficionados, facebook groups, and I don’t know, probably conventions that rival SFF cons for geekiness.

Why do I mention this now? There’s a not-really-new trend for “analog” planning and journalling. You’ve got your hipsters with their index card journals and the Cult of the Planner with the tricked out Erin Condren Hobonichi Fauxdori DIYs with the stickers and washi tape and stamps. (Which is not even the same thing as the scrapbook planner or “smashbook.”)

These are distractions from the sublime satisfaction of a black fine-point ink pen and a black, hard-cover, grid-lined, classic size Moleskine.

A Moleskine is the perfect canvas for customization (see Cult of the Planner above, or Google “Moleskine hacks” for proof) but one thing I know about myself is that my outside world has to be pretty tidy for my inside world to work properly.

SO let me tell you about my discovery of the “Bullet Journal,” aka “Writing Stuff Down in a Book.” Who knew I’d be such a trendsetter. I’ve always kept multiple journals (some of you have heard me talk about this), and joking aside, this guy Ryder Carroll didn’t reinvent the wheel so much as say how he got it to roll better for him, and maybe it’ll work for you, too. The blog has ideas/modifications to try, but it’s really just about finding a way to put everything in one place—events, to-dos, notes, future planning, etc.

 

But dammit!  I’ve been “analog” all this time! And now I’m following a trend. Heck, I”m not even on the cutting edge of it. There are blogs and facebook pages and instagram tags devoted to making your “BuJo” all it can be.

All you have to do is look on Pinterest (speaking (affectionately) of the Cult of the Planner) for infinite ways to make your planner take up more time than it saves you. I stopped trying to make mine pretty, but I have added ideas that work for me (Click here for lots of info on Tiny Ray of Sunshine), and I am not exaggerating when I say that being more intentional about writing things down and keeping track of my time (both going forward and looking backward) has had a serious impact on my projectivity and general mental health. (This actually deserves a post of it’s own. Watch this space.)

Ugh. I hate following a trend.

Except, of course, when it gives me an excuse to shop for pens.

 

Read or Write Anywhere!

Do you like to read? Do you like to write? Have you ever missed your ride/bus/subway stop because you’ve been reading or writing? Then this is for you.

YA Chicks is hosting an AMAZING giveaway, with prizes that include books, writer stuff, classroom stuff, from about 32 authors. Just go to their website for more information. I will be giving away a copy of SPIRIT AND DUST.

Here is MY Read or Write Anywhere Picture, along with my clues for where I am.

Where was Rosemary when the lights went out?

Where was Rosemary when the lights went out?

1) The answer is not “The dark.”

2) This is the largest equine sculpture in the world. (This is just part of it.) (Are you disappointed those aren’t real horses?

3) Did you go to the North Texas Teen Book Festival? This is in the same city, right across the highway from that.

4) Those are horses. Wild horses. And they have a name. It’s also the name of a car.

5) You will might may or may not have to use Google. Input the answer to number three and number two.

I’m reading TRACKED by Jenny Martin. Taken in the dark in honor of all the times at camp when I got in trouble for reading under the covers with a flashlight. (Just because you CAN read anywhere doesn’t mean people won’t call you out if you’re supposed to be doing something else.)

Love,

Rosemary

Edited 5/22 I accidentally posted this on the wrong Friday. Blog fail.

Edited 5/22  I turned off comments so no one gives it away. Go to the link in the post to find out how to enter.

Otters, Chester Zoo, and my dog goes wild.

So I guess baby otters are a thing now, judging by my Twitter/tumblr feeds, though I have loved otters since way before they were Cool On The Internet. *pushes cute-nerdy-girl glasses on nose*  When I lived in Corpus Christi, I was a member of the Texas State Aquarium so I could go hang out and watch the otters whenever I wanted.

That’s not important. What is important is that you watch this video:

Oh. My. God. When I played this, Penny Dog went absolutely bonkers trying to find where that noise was coming from. So of course I had to move the laptop to another spot and play it again. And maybe a third time.

Anyway. This was filmed at the Chester Zoo in England. I do love a good zoo that takes the best care of the animals that they can. Obviously animals belong in their natural habitat, but when that habitat is disappearing, what are we going to do? What I like about the Chester Zoo is that they don’t limit their species preservation efforts to breeding programs. The zoo created the Act for Wildlife campaign, which works to preserve and restore natural habits all over the world. Even cooler, 100% of a donation goes to conservation efforts and none to administration. You can read about or donate to a specific species effort, or you can follow their blog to see how their projects are going.

Frozen Things

So. I finally saw Frozen. Now I know what all the fuss was about. My God, what a great movie. It had all the things. Elsa is so badass (this is my favorite word lately) and she just broke my heart, and then there was that song. So many feels. It was pretty much the exact same song as from Wicked, but I liked Frozen about a million times better, so that makes me happy. But I just fell in love with Anna.  I fell in love with both of them. I don’t know. It was just awesome to have a movie with two multifaceted female leads, and even though there was romance, it was turned on its head a little bit, and… I don’t know. I want to write books that are like that movie.

Frozen sisters

We are awesome.

 

Wait. I do, kind of. Or I try to. That’s what I’m going for. No wonder I liked the movie so much.

I also saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Also an awesome flick, in a totally different way. It might be my favorite of the stand alone Avenger movies. I don’t know. It’s a tough call.  Also, these two topics totally go together because Captain America was frozen in the 40s and thawed out to become an Avenger. See what I did there?

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This is my serious face.

Movie Monday: Pacific Rim

Here are the reasons you should go see Pacific Rim:

1) Giant Robots (Jaeger)  vs Giant Monsters (Kaiju).

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2) Idris Elba.  His character’s name is Stacker Pentecost. He’s canceling the apocalypse. This could be ridiculous, but he sells it like it’s Shakespeare.

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3) They order the evacuation of the city, and there are kaiju shelters, even, so I felt much less guilty enjoying the structural carnage (see item #1) imagining the people of Hong Kong weren’t getting squished right and left.

3) There’s a nice cast of character actors who flesh out the human story really nicely, with full commitment, whether as the nutty, nerdy science geek or the  last-man standing, get the job done hero.  Sure there were a few without enough screen time to avoid feeling a little stereotype (“In Soviet Russia, robot drive you.” and “Australians and Americans like to brawl!”) but it was surprising how many really nice character moments that kept the humans from being totally overshadowed by… well, giant robots and monsters.

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4) The girl–and yes, there was only one, but she’s awesome–was an actual character. She had a, you know, personality. And a backstory. And something really important to do. And here’s the kicker:  Relationships with the male characters that were not about romance.

Sure there’s an attraction between Mako and The Guy, because they’re both young and attractive. But the cool things is, they also challenge and respect each other, and they make a good fighting team because of it.  They are an even match. She’s not there just to worship him (I’m looking at you, Man of Steel), or take care of his kids (I’m looking at you, World War Z).   And Mako has a really cool dynamic with Pentecost. She’s both strong AND vulnerable, and smart and feminine. Also, her hairstyle is adorable, and I’m totally taking a picture of it to my stylist.

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So Hollywood blockbusters please take note. You can have a female in a movie and have her, you know, DO STUFF.

5) The storytelling.  Pacific Rim is not high art. And that’s okay. Because it’s damn good storytelling. (And here’s where, as a writer of books, I justify putting a long-ass post about a movie on my blog. Other than the fact I dig movies with giant fight-y things.)

The characters aren’t complex, but they all have a ‘hook’ and every point we know exactly what is at stake for them, and for the human race. We know what they have to do in a scene, and why it will be difficult, and what will happen if they don’t. When you’ve got THAT MUCH CGI going on, and that much destruction happening all the time, this can be difficult to accomplish (*ahem*Michael Bay*ahem*).

Pacific Rim hit every Man vs. Monsters beat, that’s a GOOD thing. Those beats are important, because they make a satisfying story. If you skip one (like the “all is lost” scene or the “hero pulls himself up by the bootstraps” moment) then it makes it less satisfying when the humans (spoiler) win the day.

SO, here’s a note to Hollywood. You CAN have a blockbuster movie that’s fresh, fun and tells a good story. You can have a female character who is an actual character, and not a cipher.

And also, don’t think I missed that if Idris Elba is the head of the Jaeger program, that makes him the Jaegermeister.

In summary:

Pacific Rim is damned enjoyable, loads of fun, intensely satisfying, and even though I HAVE seen this story before, all the elements: script, direction, characters, plus the particulars of the premise (Jaeger, Kaiju, etc.) make it feel like I haven’t seen it a million times.