Friday Five: Handcrafts Edition

Lest you think I’m throwing all of this autodidactic learning material at you because some thinktanker said it was cool, I thought I’d whip up a Friday Five to share with you my own self-directed learning origin story.

I grew up in a very crafty family. Both of my parents crochet and do some type of needlepoint. Mom does at least a dozen other crafts beyond that. So, it came as no surprise when I started making things, too. While I’ve tried my parents’ crafts (they were handy), I’ve played with some other crafts, too. While the list below isn’t exhaustive, these are the crafts I’ve done the longest, or that had some personal significance to me when I was practicing them.

1. Jewelry Design – This is probably the craft I’ve been practicing the longest. I started with friendship pins in elementary school. I gathered all sizes of safety pins and beads. I learned the symbolism behind the colors. (I was already pretty deep into children’s mythology books, so stepping out to other branches of anthropology wasn’t a stretch.) By middle school, I’d switched over to friendship bracelets, which were great for carting around on road trips and to summer camp. (Everyone in my cabin napped. I made bracelets, or taught someone in my cabin how to make their own.) In grad school, I dabbled in beading, which I didn’t enjoy, and then discovered chain mail and wrapped wire. My Etsy shop (which is woefully understocked at the moment) is home to mostly wire jewelry, but maybe someday I’ll make some macrame projects (the grown-up way of saying “friendship bracelets”) for the shop.

2. Crochet & Knitting – Many efforts have been made to teach me crochet over the years, but it never took. I really don’t know why. Maybe it was having to learn a skill by mirror (I’m left-handed), although I did that for years in ballet. Maybe it was just too labor-intensive for free-spirited me. Who knows? Last year, though, I decided I wanted to use up the drawers of yarn gathered from years of other projects, and so I snagged a crochet hook from my mom, set up an account on Ravelry and found a pattern, found a series of instructional videos on YouTube, and made my very first scarf. I’ve made more scarves since then, and they’re being offered in my Etsy shop…when I remember to post them. Knitting still remains elusive to me. After years of trying to make loom knitting work the way I think it should, I”m now in the market for my first needles. I’ve found YouTube videos, and am ready to completely frustrate myself.

3. Needlepoint – Needlepoint was probably my second craft, and it’s the one I’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship with. I have probably half a dozen or so (conservative estimate) projects started and stowed away in a drawer, and another dozen or so projects waiting to be started. I have a picture I want converted into a cross stitch pattern so I can make it and then frame it to look like a canvas painting. While these projects are time consuming, it’s fun to effectively paint with thread, to handle all those colors, to be able to make a wide variety of projects with nothing more than a needle, thread or yarn, and aida cloth or plastic canvas. I can’t tell you the last time I worked on a needlepoint project, but I should seriously think about trying to finish some of the projects in the drawer.

4. Polymer Clay – I used to love playing with Play-Doh as a kid. I’d make up a full playset, and then smoosh everything down and make something else. (Now you know where that metaphor comes from in the PLE.) To this day, I can’t handle a lump of clay without first turning it into a coiled mug, a throwback to a childhood spent poring over Childcraft books. So, it seemed logical that I would get involved with polymer clay. Except…the only reason I took up polymer clay was because I wanted to make a necklace like one I’d seen on television, and I couldn’t find stones that would work. (I should find that necklace and post a picture of it. It came out completely awful. Heh.) I’ve made canes, toys, and coasters, but I still just can’t make myself get into polymer clay. Perhaps someday.

5. Weaving – Ever since I was a very small child, I have loved Native American handcrafts. There’s a beauty in the work that I think is unrivaled in many other cultures. Mom had a small automated loom, but it was a bit much for elementary school me. When Fisher Price released their loom, I received it the following Christmas. I made so many things on it. I loved it. We still have it. I think I might even know where it is. But none of my current yarn stash is well-suited to it, so I guess I won’t be busting it out and working on it.

So, there you go. A collection of handcrafts I’ve learned, mostly on my own, over the years. When I tell you stories about self-directed learning projects, you’ll know now where I’m coming from…at least on this front. (I”m a self-trained digital storyteller, too. But that’s a conversation for another time.)

Friday Five – Motivational Speeches Edition

Sometimes in life, we go through rough patches. Some of them are brief and easily chased away. Some of them are really unbalanced game bosses that take a lot more effort to work around. May was the second type for me.

But I tend to deal with rough patches by lecturing myself…often repeatedly…until something changes. And I thought I’d list out some of the lectures I’ve beaten myself over the head with over the last few weeks. Maybe you’ll find something that will help you out the next time you hit a rough patch. (These are in the order I remember them, not the order they happened in.)

1. Do. Something. (Yes, I say it almost exactly like that almost every time. And my students and editing clients think I’m only mean and snarky to them. Heh.)

2. Baby steps are your friend. (But it’s okay to take a day to hide under your bed or in your pillow pile when you just can’t cope…as long as you don’t beat yourself up over it.)

3. If you claim you want something you aren’t willing to stick your neck out for it, maybe you need to figure out why you think you want it and if you really want it at all. (This one actually ended up working great. It got me to start doing the thing I wasn’t doing that I needed to be doing. Of course, it might have helped that I got an unexpected boost in that area of my life about the same time I lost patience with myself, so… *wink*)

4. I’m in the right place. I’m just not in the right place. (This is related to Number 3, and is something I have said so often to myself in the last year and a half it’s lost nearly all meaning to me. YMMV.)

5. If you were clearly meant to do something, but you can’t do that thing the way you planned or expected, find other ways to do that thing. (Someone actually tried to shoehorn this lecture down my throat at one point some months ago, but I wasn’t in a place where I could hear it. Now, I am, and I’m trying. It’s a very bizarre fight.)

Sorry about the last couple of weeks. I’m working on something for you guys that I hope you’ll find useful. I’m not sure when it’s going to be ready to share, though, so be patient with me. (Hopefully, you’ll be better at that than I am.)

Friday Five – Roleplaying Edition

I wish I could say that a lot of thought goes into creating these Friday Fives. That’s why I’m so consistent about it, and encourage y’all to suggest themes in the comments (or on social media, if that’s your thing). Because very often (99% of the time, actually), the Friday Five is a thorn in my side until some time on Thursday when I run into yet another reference to something, scream, throw up my hands, and pull the post together in under an hour. (This one took longer because it took fewer than five references to set me off.)

This week, it was the collision of memories of being involved with roleplaying games. I wasn’t allowed to play roleplaying games growing up. It was just as well, as I had very few friends who gamed. In college, I fell in with a group who did game, and I played a couple of times with them. I’ve experienced a handful of different tabletop RPGs and a couple of LARPs since then, but more often than not I end up in short-lived campaigns because the GM loses interest or I sit on the sidelines listening and contributing snark.

Anyway, you’d probably rather just read the Friday Five than listen to my bad luck with roleplaying games. 😉

1. LARPs: The Series – This one is a bit unfair, as I’ve been watching it since right after it started running on Geek & Sundry’s YouTube channel. But it’s a fun little poke at LARPers, both in game and out of game, and if you’ve ever LARPed you’re probably going to relate to it. (I’ve also said this about The Guild.) My own LARP history consists of being an NPC in a V-LARP (which I enjoyed) and being everything from a wizard to a scout to a reeve (referee) and game maker (Somewhere, I may still have my game book, complete with scenarios, mini encounters, monsters, and relics.) at a fantasy boffer LARP.

2. Critical Role (This is the first episode, but the series runs here.) – I find Twitch a bit difficult to navigate, so I apologize in advance if you encounter problems, too. I didn’t pay close attention when I finally heard a description of this show. Actually, that’s not true. I somehow got a bad description, which suggested this would be an animated D&D game, and I thought, Oh, hey. Cool. Like the old cartoon. It turns out the source was misinformed, and this is actually a lot cooler than that. It’s a group of animation/anime/video game voice actors playing D&D. And it’s pretty much like listening to any laid-back D&D game I’ve ever sat next to. (And I’ve sat next to a fair few in my time.)

3. PBS Idea Channel recently thought about how writing comic books could resemble tabletop roleplaying. It’s an interesting idea. Given how long many comic books have been running, there’s a situation now where those who are writing stories around these characters aren’t the ones who created them. (There’s a parallel for fan fiction here, as well, although it’s sanctioned because of the licensing…sorry. Off topic.) Current writers don’t know what the original intents for a character were, but they can create situations and then have the characters react in ways historically appropriate for them. While someone running an roleplaying game cannot realistically control how the player characters react, they can create situations that should provide some sort of stimulus that will allow the characters to react and respond in ways true to them. Of course…I then start remembering sessions with missing players, and… ;D

4. “Real Magick” in RPGs: Spellbooks – As I’ve mentioned, I’ve played a wizard class a time or two in my roleplaying career. Yelling poorly written poetry at the top of my lungs and pretending something actually happened as a result was sometimes far easier than taking foam-padded shots to any part of my body from guys two to three times my size. While I don’t remember much about the memorization component (beyond the fact there was one) in D&D, I do remember the equivalent (if it could be called that) at the boffer LARP was your spell list, because you had to spend time going through all of the spells available to you to craft a decent list with the points you had available. Most people built a regularly used list, plus ones for special events. I tended to just build my list every week. It wasn’t entirely practical, but it allowed me to do lame things like bring an entire field to a halt when I, as a max-level wizard, pulled out a first-level spell ball and cast it. (I didn’t have the points to carry the higher level of the same spell ball. I knew I’d never get off the verbal side of the higher level of the same spell ball. So I went for cheap and easy…and got away with it.)

5. I don’t have a fifth thing to share, so I’ll just remind those who like a little background noise with their roleplaying that Tabletop Audio is a lot of fun. It’s also not bad for just getting some writing done.

For the record, I do have the very first d20 I ever stole off someone. It’s somewhere around here. (read: It got misplaced when I moved a year and a half ago. Oops.) And my dice bag, filled mostly with marbled dice sets, sits on a shelf of my desk for easy access…although it really doesn’t get used for gaming these days. Transparency!

Friday Five – Liz the Cat Edition

This has been a difficult week. Monday night, my thirteen-year-old cat Elizabeth had to be rushed to an emergency vet hospital, where she passed away Tuesday afternoon from heart failure. It was the worst eighteen hours of my life, no exaggeration, but I was grateful to at least get to say goodbye. She and I had been through a lot together, and her loss has hit me pretty hard.

So, I thought that for this week’s Friday Five, I would try to come up with five facts about my late cat.

1. The day Liz adopted me, my housemate (who knew much more about cats than I did) identified her as a boy. So, I named her Jenai after the character in Digimon, one of my favorite cartoons in grad school. A few days later, the vet confirmed that she was in fact a girl, and I switched her name to Elizabeth. But the first time I yelled at her, I called her Elizabeth Jenna, so my cat in fact had a first and middle name.

2. Liz came into my life just before I started living online, so when I started posting about her I often confused people. I would just talk about her, and people would comment, “Is this a person?” or “Please tell me this is an animal of some sort.” So, to help clarify, I started using the tag “liz the cat” so people would be less likely to get confused…which is how I learned people don’t actually read tags.

3. As a kitten and young cat, Liz loved Tomb Raider. In fact, she would watch me play and then shimmy along my antique chaise or climb up the screen door and crawl over to the top of the door. I started calling her Lizzie Croft, and made sure to shut down my laptop every time I left the house. (I was struggling with Tomb Raider 2, and just knew that one day I would come home and find that she was not only playing, but was past where I was struggling.)

She didn’t just love watching the game. She also loved the first movie. I had a rack for my DVDs, and regardless of where it was in the rack, she could always find it when I asked her what she wanted to watch. As she got older, she became less interested in the movie, but we did watch it together last Saturday and I found myself grateful that was one of her last experiences. (We always watched Tomb Raider on Lara Croft’s birthday.)

4. Liz took to Seattle far more quickly than I did. I had been giving her beef and chicken treats, trying to figure out which one she liked better. But when we got to Seattle when she was three, I started picked up more fish-flavored treats and she thought that was awesome. Her favorites were different varieties of salmon, and she ate them right up until the end. (In fact, we’re passing on a full bag of salmon-flavored treats to a nearby shelter.)

5. Liz was notoriously anti-social. People would think I was kidding when I warned them, and then would find themselves hissed at, scratched, or peed on. Part of it may have been the life she’d had the first month of her life. Part of it may have been that her mother was Siamese. We’ll never know. We just know Liz wasn’t the friendliest cat, and she didn’t have a problem with it. It was really her brand. Everyone knew the big black cat of doom, and many feared her, even when they had only heard of others’ run-ins with her.

There really is so much more I could say, but these are really her highlights. I’m still heartbroken, and probably will be for some time. She was my world.

Friday Five: Pet Peeves Edition

This week’s Friday Five is going to be of a different nature. Instead of links, I’m going to address some of my pet peeves…mainly because they’ve all come up one time too many this week.

1. This one has actually come up one time too many over the last few months, but that may be because I’m starting to hang out around more writers who are either convinced they’re revolutionizing the writing world by serializing their stories, or who hate those who are jumping on this newfangled serialization bandwagon. (I’ve seen some polarized discussions in my time, but this one… Whoa.) Serial writing in not new. Not by a long shot. This shouldn’t seem like such a revelation, given the long-time existence of literary magazines, but apparently it is.

2. We live in a world where marketers are trying to make everything “go viral”. I guess they all missed the part where our society tends to react to viruses by trying to eradicate them with antibiotics and such. But this need to make sure everyone sees everything leads to people being exposed to the same ideas, the same news, the same everything. Many of us have our own mix of interests that we pursue, which helps us differentiate our own experiences and knowledge from others, but at the end of the day, being exposed to that much sameness can lead to an apparent hive mindset. Among writers, this can look like someone has stolen your work, when really they’ve just drawn similar inspirations from the same source material and produced their own take on it. And honestly, everything’s a remix anyway.

This is not to say there aren’t legitimate cases of plagiarism, but it’s not quite as rampant as some would have you believe. This is part of why I’m writing the Copyright Primer. The more you know, the better you can respond appropriately to things.

3. In that same vein of trying to produce same experiences, your way onto a path is not necessarily the One True Path. This is especially true in creative endeavors. And again, it comes back to that whole “we each have our own interests which leads to a differentiation in experience and knowledge” thing. And it’s good. It’s how we get a diversity of perspectives on a set of ideas, knowledge, and experiences. It’s fine to offer your origin story or advice based on your own experiences, but to behave as if your way is the only way says a lot about you as a person and as a creator.

4. Fairy tales were never meant to entertain children. In fact, they were never meant for young children. They developed as part of the oral tradition, providing education through warnings to older children preparing to face adulthood. So, the originals can be a bit…scary…and definitely inappropriate for your average seven year old. However, one of the signposts that a child is shifting into their next phase of development (known to educators and psychologists as their second sensitive period) is the child seeking out stories that scare them. Children in this phase are realizing that there’s a big world beyond their front yard, and they’re scared of what that might mean. So stories that show other people, especially kids closer to them in age, meeting something scary and moving past it brings them a bit of comfort as they level up.

There isn’t a fifth point this week, but I will offer this advice. Consume what you want in terms of entertainment. Create what makes you happy. Develop your own goals, and your own steps, and your own learning path. Consult everyone from beginners to masters, and then take what resonates with you and use that to strengthen your own path. Don’t worry about what someone else is doing unless you’re collaborating and trying to make sure your parts intersect well. And don’t worry too much about being “original” because it’s all been done before. Find your own voice, and don’t hurt others in the process.

See you next week!

Friday Five: Eclectic Writer Edition

As so many of us do at the end of the year, I spent time last month cleaning out various physical and digital spaces. You know how it goes when you clean out spaces you haven’t touched in a long while – you find all sorts of garbage and treasures long forgotten. I found a nice little pile of links I thought strung together nicely, both with each other and with my goal for fitting a steady writing practice into my voiceover schedule this year.

There are posts here for the undiscovered, the newly published, and the veteran, so enjoy!

1. John Scalzi, past SWFA president and friend to writers new and established, wrote this great article almost two years ago (a really long forgotten treasure!) explaining to new writers facing their first contract just how powerful their position is in negotiations. If you’re pursuing publication, you will want to sit down, read this, and mark it up.

2. Many writers have their own method for organizing their writing. Some prefer physical notebooks and binders; others digital notetaking apps. But I’m always interested in hearing how other writers organize their work because you can often pick up a trick or two you may not have thought of before. Wendy Van Camp’s Novel Reference Journal isn’t anything new to me. I do the same thing digitally on Evernote. But it’s a great, relatively simple method for keeping information organized and quickly accessible.

3. I like Sherlock Holmes. I like adaptations. I’m a feminist. And I’m currently re-reading the Sherlock Holmes stories in my free time (heh), trying to take a closer look at how Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss are adapting the stories for Sherlock. One of the problems in the series, and in pretty much every modern attempt at retelling Sherlock Holmes, is that no one seems capable of presenting Irene Adler as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did. It almost always feels like you’re seeing, in fanfic terms, Irene Adler (OOC). (OOC means “out of character”.) I’m not the only one who’s noticed this…

4. You hear so often people thanking talent scouts, agents, or other people in similar positions for taking a chance on them. Athletes and creatives are especially bad about this. But here’s the deal: Those scouts, agents, and what-have-you are all businessmen. They aren’t “taking a chance”; they’re pursuing what they see as a reasonably secure business risk. It’s very calculated, and the article does a great job laying this out.

5. This week’s final link is a nod to my weakness for cool toys and games that enable storytelling. Rory’s Story Cubes is a set of dice, an image on each face. The goal is to roll them, and then tell a story that connects all of the images facing up. I can see this being a lot of fun with a group of friends or strangers, and I can see this as potentially being useful for breaking through writer’s block.

All right, so…another week down. If you’re enjoying these posts, feel free to let me know. If you find something useful in these links, let me know. If you just want to say hi, feel free.

Find Five Friday: Tinker Gnome Academy Edition

Sorry for the lack of post the last couple of weeks. The past few weeks have been a bit crazy, and the blog has been lost in the shuffle. But this week, I thought I’d share some posts I’ve been gathering about learning from playing and doing.

Because…you know…I never talk about those things.

Anyway, off we go!

1. Allow me to introduce you to Sylvia, a kid who loves to explore and share what she’s learning. She’s a great example of what the Maker Movement can inspire, and she’s an up-and-coming role model for girls interested in STEAM topics. (Source: Why Kids Need to Tinker to Learn)

2. Does Lego No Longer Promote Creativity? They do. The fact that the back wall of Lego stores are walls o’ brick proves that. There’s just a lot of money in tie-in materials for movies and games. But a lot of artists and fancrafters have realized they can show their love for genres and properties by recreating scenes, characters, and the movie itself through Lego creations, often pioneering new building techniques in the process. (For good examples, look up Bruce Lowell and Rick Martin. Both are doing some pretty cool things with Lego bricks.)

3. Why You Should Become Curious Today The title pretty much says it all, and the article does a good job explaining why inviting curiosity into your life is a good thing. And curiosity isn’t just for creative and scientific types. We can all benefit from being just a little more curious.

4. Have you seen that Lego ad from the 80’s with the little girl proudly holding her Lego creation? Well, someone caught up with that little girl, all grown up now, and interviewed her on the directions Lego has developed since then. It’s a good reminder that play exists in all its forms without being hemmed in by grown-up gender issues.

5. And finally, remember these very smart words from Rene DescartesEach problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems. (Just try not think of Lefler’s Laws every time you read that.)

So, there you are. Five more links for you. I don’t know if there will be any of these “link dump” posts during the holidays, and I’m thinking about changing the name of this series. Keep an eye peeled, and have a safe holiday!

Find Five Friday – Stealing From Greats Edition

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve kept coming across materials, new or old as I’m both trying to keep up with my information streams and trying to clean out old bookmarks and out-of-date notes, that touch in some way on identity performance and management and personal productivity. So naturally, I thought I’d pull some of my favorites into a single post for y’all.

1. danah boyd’s Master’s thesis Faceted Id/entity is over a decade old, but it had been lost in my Kindle for a while and I only just got around to reading it. She talks about how we perform different facets of our personality offline by necessity and practice of social conventions, and then looks at how we try to mimic that behavior in online spaces. Despite being a decade old, it’s a discussion that really never falls out of style as we wrestle with creating and managing personal and professional profiles and social spaces online.

2. Another gem (which has apparently been updated) from my old bookmarks, this slide show encourages librarians and ed tech professionals to incorporate Lady Gaga’s approach to identity performance and management as they think about how they can create a more engaging, magnetic presence for their own programs. Really, many disciplines can benefit from the information.

3. PBS Idea Channel, which you should subscribe to if you haven’t already, recently took a look at Taylor Swift’s control over her own identity and body of work, and how she constructs her identity through her body of work. (This video really spoke to me because I have long believed that our body of work reflects our own experiences and beliefs, and that focusing on chasing trends is what leads to mediocre or bad work. You can’t convincingly create what isn’t yours to create.)

4. And on this topic of bodies of work and being productive in a manner true to yourself, I stumbled across this article on Joss Whedon’s productivity and how it influences his body of work. Being the little Whedon fan that I am, I found it interesting. But what I found most interesting was how he gets things done because he breaks out larger tasks into specific, actionable bits. I’ve done that forever and had “friends” mock me for it. (I’ve since learned that’s a sign of jealousy, to which I say if it bothers you that much, then why not adopt practices that will give you what you feel you lack when you see me working?)

5. And last but not least, Writing Excuses about a year ago shared Mette Ivie Harrison’s tips on how to be a more productive writer. Otherwise known as how to make time to write when you think you just can’t. While this may not be the right time to throw this at you…it’s the absolutely perfect time to throw it at you. But in all fairness, you can throw it back in my face, too.

And that’s it for this week’s links. I had so many link built up from the last couple of weeks that I’ve already started working on next week’s post. So, you have that to look forward to.

Find Five Friday – Girly Geek Edition

I don’t know how things have gone for y’all, but for me it’s been a week. Actually, it’s been a long couple of weeks, and next week will be pretty crazy, too. You may have noticed the blog’s been a little quiet this week. So has the social media. I’m not even sure I’ve done the bare minimum. What I do know is that this week’s Find Five Friday only has four links because things have just been that crazy.

Soooo…on with the show!

1. I have designed jewelry off and on my entire life. I’ve just re-opened an Etsy shop, and was strong-armed last week into a craft show that my work was not a good fit for. But because I have been designing jewelry my whole life, I tend to be fascinated when someone does something interesting with jewelry design, like creating a wearable light show. You can tell from the pictures it’s still a work in progress, but it’s an interesting idea.

2. I’ve also grown up interacting with music. I danced for a long time. I’ve done choirs off and on. In school and at LARP, I even played a couple of instruments. I frequently joke that music runs through my veins, and I can’t imagine not being able to read or interpret sheet music. So, finding out that people with dyslexia can find sheet music daunting was a bit of a surprise. A product designer who has experience trying to get dyslexia and a desire to play music to cooperate has designed a way to create and play music in a way that doesn’t trigger a war with her dyslexia. The Dyssonance looks like Colorforms on steroids, but the idea and implementation are pretty cool.

3. This has been a stressful month for STEM women. In 2013, Mattel released a 2-in-1 Barbie book where one half was called I Can Be…A Computer Engineer. The Barbie line has a mission of trying to show girls all the doors that are open to them, and has come under a lot of heat over the years for the limited number of hard science/STEM professions represented in the line. I suspect this book was part of an attempt to address that. A pair of blogs discovered and shared the book this week, pointing out that while Barbie does design the game featured in the book (girl game designer = good), she then hides behind guy friends to code the game and clean up her virused computer. She then takes credit for both the game and saving the infected computer. Needless to say, women coders and their friends and supporters shredded Mattel, who has now offered a very half-hearted apology for the mess.

The book’s discovery comes only a week after STEM toy developer GoldieBlox announced their Barbie-like action figures. GoldieBlox still leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths after the whole Beastie Boys incident, but their CEO was recently the keynote speaker at a Texas women’s conference where the themes included responsibility and presenting positive role models for up-and-coming STEM women. (I just about spit out my chai when I read that.)

4. While many made memes of the more troubling statements in the Barbie book and some mocked the pink tech and the flash drive necklace, one woman coder created a mock-up of the book (PDF) rewritten to reflect the message Mattel should have put out if they truly want girls to see what they could experience as a coder. The book is heavy-handed, but the message is much more positive.

Also, my inner jewelry designer couldn’t understand those upset about the flash drive necklace. It was completely appropriate to Barbie. But what do I know? I spent part of a season of Pretty Little Liars wanting Jenna’s owl flash drive necklace.

 

All right, there you go. Four links, but I tried to make up for it in the commentary. Hopefully, I’ll collect five links next week, but we’ll have to see what free time my workload gives me.

Find Five Friday: Eclectic Geek Mix

This week has been a little crazy. The voiceover work piled up unexpectedly. I got roped into a craft show this weekend, so I’ve been trying to pull things together for that. If you’ve been following my DigiWriMo adventures, you know I’ve been quiet there. And the only reason the Saturday Serial will have a new scene this weekend is because I managed to write it last weekend.

So, today’s offerings will be…eclectic. (To be honest, I had no idea what was sitting in Instapaper when I started writing this post.)

1. A fellow DigiWriMo participant introduced me to DailyCreate on Twitter. They post prompts for you to respond to. They’re supposed to rotate through a number of digital arts, but I’ve only seen visual prompts this week.

2. But it did introduce me to the coolest tool that allows you to create virtual magnetic poetry. I wanted to craft something about a Wall of Fire, but as my options were limited, I created this stirring poem instead.

3. Dork Tower introduced me to BrikWars, a system that allows you to use your favorite interconnected brick toys to create tabletop roleplaying spaces. I remember a few years ago when Lego released board game sets, but this strikes me as something a lot of geeks I know would really get into.

4. And while we’re on the topic of geeks doing cool things with Lego bricks, may I introduce you to Rick Martin? This is not a new link for me, but as it’s relevant and his scene recreations for Words of Radiance are cool enough to get shared by Brandon Sanderson, I’m going to declare it fair game.

5. Rounding out the list this week is this Wired article on Jim Davis and the phenomenon of Internet cats. Because it’s always cool and fun to talk about Garfield. (Plus, it was interesting to see just how he perceives the distribution of comics as technology advances.)

There you go. Another five links for another Friday. Next week should (theoretically) be calmer, so maybe I’ll actually stay up-to-date on Instapaper and have interesting, useless links for you.