cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Because [livejournal.com profile] fayde asked.

Is it Christmas? I love getting holiday cards! I turn them into origami boxes after the holidays. I also love getting gifts (but don't really expect them).

The short version: Want to get me a gift? Good ideas are a homemade dinner, a gift certificate to Barnes & Noble or Baen's Webscriptions (since these days I do all my reading on my Nook--it's so hard to balance physical books while breastfeeding), an Amazon.com gift certificate (since I do most of my shopping online these days), whimsical stud earrings, a book of fairytales/folktales, or crystal prisms I can hang in my windows to cast rainbows.

For more specific things, I do have an Amazon wishlist, too, under my gmail address.

Read more... )
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
MemetotheMax
Leave a comment telling me you want me to ask you questions and:
❶ I'll respond by asking you five questions to satisfy my curiosity.
❷ Update your journal with the answers to your questions.
❸ Include this explanation and offer to ask other people questions.

Questions 3-5 from [livejournal.com profile] inktea.

3. You have been breaking a lot in the past few years! How is your body doing nowdays?

It's true! I really wish I'd gotten the extended warranty!

Right now, I am basically as functionally healed as I will be, though the final verdict on how functional this makes me is not yet in.

My knees are somewhat more fragile than your average athletic person, and worst of all, I'm now aware of it. So is my over-protective husband. Which sucks. Also, there are some very basic things that hurt or are impossible now--squatting on my heels, getting on my hands and knees to reach something that fell under the couch, etc. My knees make horrible noises at the slightest provocation. And they ache more when I've been active, to a level that's quite uncomfortable.

My biggest problem with my body right now is my weight, which 2 knee surgeries and a prolonged inability to exercise really affected badly. I am extremely displeased with it right now. I am fat and I do not like it (this is not up for discussion; suffice it to say that I qualify by various metrics, including my own opinion, which is the important one). My new approach is to use headology to lose weight. Following the wisdom that is statistics, I now eat off smaller plates, and I'm tracking my calorie intake and exercise at http://www.sparkpeople.com. I plugged in various factors and they gave me an estimated daily calorie intake that I should aim for. It's pretty interesting learning how to weigh calorie counts of different foods, I never would have thought tortilla chips were so bad--aw, who am I kidding, it's tedious as heck. But it's working. This has led to me losing about 5 lbs in the last week-and-a-bit, so I think I'll stick with it. 5 down, 41 to go.

I'm also trying out the assortment of workout videos available from the library and Netflix, since actual class costs are not an option right now. Any money we have has better things to be doing.


Bellydance for Beginners. Fusion Fitness Pilates. (Library) Not really a good workout, though holding your arms up for an hour will become painful. Some very good stretches, and some mind-boggling muscle isolation. You haven't lived until you've seen a dozen buttocks twitching in unison. Acceptable for an off-day workout, and entertaining. Also, Phil walked in and asked, "Why are you watching porn?"


Get Ripped! To the core. (Library) Spent a lot of time swearing during this video, which is a good sign. Also, I had sore muscles for the next three days. It was a very good workout. There were some things that hurt my knees, though, so I have to figure out negotiating that.


Self Workout: Bikini Ready Fast! (Netflix) An easy workout, except for its heavy emphasis on arm workouts. Ow. My arms hurt, but the rest wasn't much affected, and there were no sore muscles the next day.

For reading through all that, here, have a bizarre kitteh exercising ad as a reward:


Also, I got my nose pierced! More about which eventually.

4. How is your photography doing these days? I haven't seen any images from you lately. Is it on the backburner?

Nope, I've been taking photos--the not posting is a side effect of my desktop computer dying. I've been trying not to upload photos to my laptop, so they've been going to the stand-alone HD, and--well, I'll get on that. Also, I've been crazy distracted, and so haven't been doing my Sunday photo safaris. That must change. But for now, let's just say--photos soon! Thanks for reminding me!

5. Zombie apocalypse. What's your plan? Where do you go, who do you take with you, do you plan for the future after zombies, or do you just try to survive as long as you can, and worry about survival later?

Jeez, die? Unfortunately, I've sorta lost contact with my heavily armed acquaintances. It really depends how fast the zombie apocalypse spreads. High ground is crucial. Y'know, grain elevators, or Arkansas mountains, depending on if we have time to go somewhere. Probably we'd head north--zombies freeze solid, right? The human brain being the wonderful squirrel wheel that it is, I imagine I'd plan like crazy, and hopefully that wouldn't get in the way of survival.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Leave a comment telling me you want me to ask you questions and:
❶ I'll respond by asking you five questions to satisfy my curiosity.
❷ Update your journal with the answers to your questions.
❸ Include this explanation and offer to ask other people questions.

Five questions from [livejournal.com profile] gunn

1. Have you ever considered self-publishing? Is that an option for writers in your field?

It's not really a good idea for fiction writers, IMHO. There are maybe two successes (books that get picked up by a publisher, usually because they sell well) out of every 5,000 self-published works (statistics totally made up). The biggest problem with it is that if you later try to sell a different book to a publisher, they will look you up and see how well your previous venture into self-publishing went. If you sold thousands of books, great! If you didn't, well, it may be seen as showing that your writing won't sell well. Never mind that you didn't have a marketing department, that booksellers won't sell self-published books, etc.

Also, there's a whole lot of stuff that traditional publishers do for a writer that otherwise the writer has to do on their own or pay for somebody else to do, and most of it is specialized skills like editing, proofreading, marketing, cover art, legal details, etc. Spending the necessary time to do those things takes away from valuable writing time.

With that said, though, I *may* end up self-publishing "Circus of Brass and Bone"--if there's enough interest, if enough people donate at the level that would get them the book "free", etc. I have no idea how that whole thing is going to turn out. If nobody bites, it'll come to a natural end in a month or so.


2. Say someone gives you 5 million dollars to write the story (novel/short story) that is nearest your heart, taking as much time as you need to do so, and making it your masterpiece- how would it differ from the works you do now? Would it?

I'd be able to quit my day job, so it would get written a lot faster! I'd be able to hire editors! Other than that--no. My goal in writing is to make a story that people will enjoy reading, with characters that they'll believe exist (in the world of the story), and that provides a feeling of satisfaction at the end and (sometimes) puts a different viewpoint into their brain.

I don't have a grand scheme or idea that I feel I can't do "because the Man is keeping me down" or anything like that. Maybe I'd play more with alternate storytelling structures or delivery methods, mostly because I'd have 5 million dollars!

(5 Questions to be continued)
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)

I write like
Bram Stoker

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!




My first results said I wrote like Dan Brown. Reader, I was distraught. But then somebody else pointed out that I may have had religious symbolism in my first chapter, so I selected randomly from somewhere in the middle of Vicesteed, and the result was much, much better!

Stories!

Sep. 15th, 2009 10:25 am
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Let Me Tell You a Story)
By way of [livejournal.com profile] mrissa.

Give me the title of a story I've never written, and feedback telling me what you liked best about it, and I will tell you any of: the first sentence, the last sentence, the thing that made me want to write it, the biggest problem I had while writing it, why it almost never got published, the scene that hit the cutting room floor but that I wish I'd been able to salvage, or something else that I want readers to know.

***Please do not use any ideas you do not want me to seriously run with. I don't guarantee I will seriously run with anything. But this sort of thing sometimes makes my brain go and go.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
x-post LJ/Fb--

Because internet friendships (and even real-world ones) are strange things, with unexpected intimacies and startling gaps.

I want you to ask me something you think you should know about me. Something that you think should be obvious, but you have no idea about. I promise true answers.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (cat with cream)
I probably don't have enough people who've read my writings, but I can't resist--

If you could persuade me to write anything, what would it be?

Be as specific, random, or strange as you'd like.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
In 2009, cloudscudding resolves to...
Get back in contact with some old eggrolls.
Stop bat-wrangling with bitwise.
Eat more old buildings.
Go to the books every month.
Ask my boss for a food.
Go fighting three times a week.






Get your own New Year's Resolutions:



I'm especially entertained by "Eat more old buildings" and "Go fighting three times a week."
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?
Had knee surgery. Went to a convention. Joined a face-to-face writer's group. Started a SF/F writers' newsletter and market list. Visited Georgia. Biked to work for most of summer.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
That's a whole 'nother post. I will be making/revising New Years Resolutions, because I hear it'll bump up my chances of meeting my goals from 4% to a whole lot more.

3. How will you be spending New Year's Eve?
At [livejournal.com profile] gunn & [livejournal.com profile] ytinas's house!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My grandmother.

5. What countries did you visit?
Georgia. Oh, wait, the state Georgia, not the country.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
Energy. Consistency of good work. Publications!

7. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
April 1st - our 7-year wedding anniversary.

8. What was your biggest achievement(s) of the year?
I feel like I didn't achieve anything this year, but I know that's not true.

Um...learning to walk again?

9. What was your biggest failure?
Failure to get another job. Failure to get a raise.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Only the after-effects.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My precious, beeeyooootiful new DSLR.

12. Where did most of your money go?
See question no. 11.

13. What song will always remind you of 2008?
Clockwork men with stopwatch hearts.

14. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Everything. Okay, more seriously--write, submit (both photos and stories), practice martial arts. Cultivate friendships--I'm really bad at that, even though it makes me sad.

15. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Alternating work and stressing-over-no-work.

16. What was your favorite TV program?
Dexter. On DVD.

17. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Yes. Though I'm trying very hard to downgrade from hate to dislike.

18. What was the best book you read?
Best, I don't know, but the one that lingers in the recesses of my mind is Glass Books of the Dream-Eaters.

19. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Pandora! (I'm not much of a music person.) No, wait--actually, Jill Tracy.

20. What was your favorite film of this year?
Wall-E

21. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Can't remember. Must be getting old.

22. What kept you sane?
My feet. They kept moving forward even when I didn't.

23. Who did you miss?
Everybody.

24. Who was the best new person you met?
I can't choose--I met too many new peoples of the writery and Sf/F variety. They're all still at the acquaintance stage, so I can't really judge yet.

25. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
Things won't get better unless you have a plan that you stick to even when it's hard.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
January Fabulous party at [info]gunn and [info]ytinas's last night!
February I like the strange face flags tangled in the tree.
March [info]damninteresting may be my favorite feed right now.
April Dear body, waking me up at 3am for no damn reason is *not* a funny April Fools' joke.
May Was running around like a Mad Hatter this morning after realizing have physical therapy apt. today.
June Made editing changes to "Salvaging Scottwell" FKA "Police Bot," correcting a rather large problem with how thermal imaging *actually* works.
July 4th of July party at our place!
August Realized this morning that houseguests had No Way Out of our house except by breaking through a window.
September Added in details for a custom 404 Google widget to my "update the website" plan
October As I was biking home the other day, a girl biking on the other side of the road fell over into the parking lane in front of the court building.
November crocodile
December Instant Chrysanthemum Beverage is actually pretty good with a little lemon and sugar.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now (even if we don't speak often or ever) please recognize that I am not the boss of you and continue doing whatever you like.

It can be anything you want - good or bad - but it has to be your decision, not mine.

When you're finished, continue doing what you like... because random people on the Internet shouldn't have the power to make you follow their whims.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)

Photo This-Instant Meme, originally uploaded by aswiebe.

Since I have a camera now, I can actually do this! I still think it was cruel and unusual that this meme started circulating through my friends page right after my camera broke.

If you want to play this meme, take a picture of yourself right now. Don't change or edit the picture. Post it as is with these rules.

cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 08:28 Hope-in-adversity story set in the Jumper books universe (Tor.com). Read it. ping.fm/deFMZ
  • 14:16 Martial arts notes are weird: "land with meat of calf on their bent over back"
  • 16:20 Dear writers' spouses: Coming home early isn't acceptable unless you're whisking us away to a lovely distraction.
  • 18:01 My stove just tried to electrocute me! That was...shocking.
  • 18:11 Little known fact: Sarah Palin's veins run with oil instead of blood.
  • 22:13 So sleepy. Hmm. Theoretically, I could sleep in tomorrow. Feels like forever since I've done that.
Automatically shipped by LoudTwitter
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Who comments the most on this journal? )

Of course this is skewed by how long somebody's been around, because the stats are cumulative.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (bite)
Bold what you've tried; strike through what you won't try, ever. (or, in some cases, ever again.)
Read more... )

Edited to add: Phil reminded me that I have in fact eaten roadkill, because my in-laws served it to me.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Questions from [livejournal.com profile] utilitygeek--should have done this a while ago!

What is the difference between science fiction and fantasy?
Science fiction can a) take place in the (not-immediate) future, or b) require as a plot point (or setting, but I'm more lenient than most in this) the use of some technology that may or may not exist that is used in a way it is not currently being used in.

Fantasy can a) involve magic or magical creatures, or b) take place in worlds and countries that never existed and are not science-fictional.

See also hybrids like magic realism, alternate history, and science fantasy.

What was (or is) the worst part of knee rehab?

The uncertainty. The fear that I would do something wrong while I was healing and mess it all up. Not knowing how much flexibility and strength I would get back (I still don't know).

Other than writing, what would you like to do for a living?

Photography.

Brainstorming as part of a think tank or concept-creation thing.

Making the lives and/or businesses of others run more smoothly by figuring out more efficient ways of doing things.

If you could only eat one style of food, what would it be?

Asian, probably. I don't think I could give up my stir-fry and curry.

What is something you are really, really bad at, but enjoy anyway?

Difficult to come up with something here--I tend to cut my losses if I'm not improving. Dancing? I don't think I'm that bad, but I'm certainly not "good". Martial arts? I don't think I'm in the "really, really bad" category, but it's one area where there's a huge gap between where I should be (by my standards and probably those of others) and where I am.


I believe this is one of those memes where if you want questions, you can comment and I'll ask.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Haiku2 for cloudscudding
you 10 light orange
grape flavoured pieces of light
yes exactly 11
@
Created by Grahame


Haiku2 for cloudscudding
you choose and decide
for reasons unknown to me
of course i almost
@
Created by Grahame
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (self-evolving system)
From that What you don't post about and should meme. See, I get around to it when I have time! Also still accepting challenges if anybody else has any.

WHY you write.
I started writing because I was frustrated by an inadequate supply of the sorts of stories I wanted to read, and I didn't like the endings of some of the stories I had. So I rewrote them the way that *I* wanted it to end.

At some point, I had the inevitable "I can write better than that" epiphany while reading a published work. I also had lots of encouragement from my parents, and even from one English teacher who took me aside after class and asked if I'd ever thought of becoming a writer when I grew up.

The real reason that I write so tenaciously, though, is because at some point it dug itself into my psyche so deeply that I have problems when I don't write. Around college and a little after, I would whine about wanting to write or not writing...but I didn't actually *do* much. I was also frustrated, depressed, and not a little psycho. Those who knew me then might have just shuddered a little as they read that! Eventually, I got called on it.

So I started writing again. And things got better. Because basically, some part of my psyche is so tied up in being a writer, in creating, that when I'm not writing, I get frustrated and depressed and start feeling like my life has no point and no purpose and I'm accomplishing nothing, just treading water. I feel trapped and desperate and meaningless. Bad Times.

A light bulb went off. Aha! And so, as part of my ongoing attempt to maintain sanity and meaning in my life, I write.

Giant sandwiches.

I'm quite fond of giant sandwiches. Really. I think they're delicious. Especially when somebody brings the "party-sized" ones to an event? They're best after they've sat out for a couple of hours and are room-temperature and the flavors have "cured" a little. Also? I can't see food go to waste (v. poor growing up, lived in Africa, too, etc.), so these giant sandwich remnants will frequently come home with me.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Everyone has things they blog about. Everyone has things they don't blog about. Challenge me out of my comfort zone by telling me something I don't blog about, but you'd like to hear about, and I'll write a post about it.

It's a neat idea, but I'm not sure there's much I don't post about.... I'll screen comments in case you're bashful, but I'm not sure--do those things become unscreened if I reply to them? Because that's kind of silly, but if I remember right that's how they work. So if you do comment and do want it to be screened, mention that and I won't comment back.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Haiku2 for cloudscudding
agonizing pain
hearing my bones make some weird
noises inside my knee
@
Created by Grahame


Haiku2 for cloudscudding
to work rest up get
healthy and possibly do
such tedious things
@
Created by Grahame

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Abra Staffin-Wiebe

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