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Weekly Round-Up

A while back, I wrote something really personal about superheroes and pop culture and how representation matters – that piece was published last month on ISA Professional’s blog, and I hope you’ll all check it out: Superheroes Save Us from the World.

Read on for what else I’ve published in the last week!

Things that I wrote: 

Dying Your Hair: Before and After Care
Nail Art Inspiration 2017: Curate Your Claws!
Why You Should Brush Your Cat’s Teeth

Things that I listened to:

“Hey Alice” – Rachel Rose Mitchell. This random YouTube suggestion won’t stay out of my Alice in Wonderland-loving head.
“Bones” – MS MR. First discovered this song years ago via The Vampire Diaries; it’s been back in heavy rotation recently.
“Pretty Little Head” – Eliza Rickman. First discovered via Welcome to Night Vale, this is a solo version! Still haunting.

Things that I made: 

Whiteboard Weirdness!

I also made the above graphic design honoring Carrie Fisher and raising mental health awareness, which you can find on a variety of products!

Things that I’m excited about: 

 

 

 

 

 

Click the pics if you fancy purchasing any of the above! I get a modest kickback from Amazon if you do.

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Carrie Fisher was an amazing woman: complicated and brash, outspoken and compassionate. She spoke out about mental health, mental illness, and normalizing its treatment. She lived out loud and helped others be less afraid. Losing her in the world was a blow – not just because I value her acting, value Princess then General Leia in Star Wars – but for all that she was.

There was such an outpouring of love and grief at her death, and her eulogy was written in thousands of anecdotes and farewells and spreading of her best moments across the Internet – including quotes and arguments against sexism, for mental health, delivered with a barbed and humorous tongue.

From one of her many conversations about bipolar disorder, I came across the following: “Now get out there and show me and you what you can do.” I’d been wanting to honor her with my January design, and there it was – her words which I could render graphical – and honor her and raise awareness for mental health both.

This is that design.

The words are in the color combination of a certain brand name of fluoxetine, warped into a capsule shape. I have made a number of products featuring this design available to you at my Zazzle shop, What Duck?, and my Redbubble shop.

You can pick up this design on the following items:
A large refrigerator magnet.
A standard-sized button.
A really lovely tote bag or a different tote or a drawstring bag.
A profusion of shirt types and a hoodie.
A great throw pillow.
Both mugs and travel mugs.
A selection of notebooks.
A series of wall art.

If you’d like anything else, I take requests – so hit the comments.

P.S. If you were a member of my Patreon, you could have received a Limited Edition Postcard of this design as a perk!

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I Aten’t Dead

Let me just take this “I Aten’t Dead” sign off, and rejoin y’all here on the Internet. I’m dismayed to see it’s been over a month since I last posted, but there were seriously extenuating circumstances behind all of it. Namely: I got sick. Twice. In January. A bout of the flu was followed by a kick to the throat, AKA tonsilitis. It was horrible, required antibiotics, and was so bad that even swallowing ice cream made me cry. So, that happened and then February has been swallowed up by catch-up.

I’m happy to say I’m slowly climbing back on top of this mountain.

I’m also happy to say I had quite a number of blogs and articles published during these two months, so at least y’all have something to read while I get back into the groove of blogging.

D’ya like cats? Then you’re in luck! Have three cat articles on me. Over at Front Page Meews:

Can Cats Catch Colds?” – Yes. Yes, they can. But click the link to get more detail!

Are You Picking Up Your Cat Correctly?” – Hopefully so! But if you’re worried about it, I got you covered.

Purr-esidential Cats of the White House” – We did this one for President’s Day. It doesn’t have ALL of our First Felines listed, but I covered quite a few!

And now for something completely different – a variety of hair and beauty blogs over at ISA Professional’s site:

Stylish Ways to Wear Winter Scarves” – What it says on the tin. Let me introduce you to some great and different ways to rock scarves this season.

New Year’s Resolutions Get Real” – It’s hard to make real change in your routines, even with the social pressure of New Year’s Resolutions to guilt trip you. I’ve got some advice on how to succeed for real.

Fashion-Forward China” – Have you taken a look at the fashion designers coming out of China recently? Because they are amazing.

Hat-Proof Hairstyles: How to Keep Your Head Up this Winter” – I love wearing hats, but they can play merry hell with my hair. So I researched some of the best ways to combat hat hair while still looking stylish.

Valentine’s Day is for Everyone” – I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this, but it’s absolutely necessary every year. Valentine’s Day shouldn’t just be about romance – read my blog on why.

Right: y’all have EIGHT new things to read now! Enjoy, and I’ll be back on Thursday with the belated January design in honor of Carrie Fisher.

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These Violent Delights Have New Merchandise

Toward the end of the year, I finally got around to watching HBO’s Westworld. Many people had commented that it was just Jurassic Park, but with androids – an argument I found both ridiculous and reductive. Westworld, after all – the original 1973 film – was written and directed by Michael Chrichton. Almost two decades before Michael Chrichton himself wrote Jurassic Park. If anything is just something else, Jurassic Park is Westworld, but with dinosaurs.

One of the most compelling aspects of the original Westworld is that you have no insight into the androids – no reason is provided regarding why they begin killing guests, or whether there’s any reason inside their machinery at all. And while that storytelling aspect is intriguing in a short 1973 film, it wouldn’t have worked for a juicy television series in 2016.

So is HBO’s Westworld “just Jurassic Park, but with androids”? Hardly. It’s a reflective, chaotic, beautiful mess of a show, broaching and tackling a number of interesting topics: the development of sentience. The quality of a society that can embrace a theme park like Westworld. A jab at meta commentary on gaming culture. What makes an entity human. The power of storytelling, and the deconstruction of narrative.

Westworld is a tornado, and one of its best summaries is that oft-repeated bit of Shakespeare: “these violent delights have violent ends.” So I made y’all a thing:

 

Violence – against others, against yourself – is a tornado, sweeping everyone in its path up indiscriminately and depositing them somewhere new. In the Maze, to come to self-realization? In a paroxysm of emptiness, a fallen and depraved society? We’re not sure. All we know is that white hats are so hard to keep clean.

And we’re grateful to Shakespeare for this line from Romeo and Juliet: “these violent delights have violent ends.” Does anyone ever listen to Friar Laurence?

This design uses the font Musicals by Brain Eaters, and features hat clipart from Clker.com.

You can find this design in both my Zazzle shop, What Duck?, and my RedBubble shop on a diverse array of designs:

On magnets and mugs, buttons and keychains!

On shirts and prints, pillows and travel mugs, stickers and notebooks, and more!

If you’d like anything else, I take requests – so hit the comments.

P.S. If you were a member of my Patreon, you could have received a Limited Edition Postcard of this design as a perk!

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Weekly Round-Up

I had several pieces published this very first week of the new year! And I won a giveaway, receiving an ARC of A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn courtesy of Penguin Random House! So expect thoughts on Veronica Speedwell’s latest adventure  at some point.

Things that I wrote: 

So Your Cat Has Worms…“, over at Front Page Meews.
New Year Style: Now Be You“, over at ISA Professional’s blog.
A review of Ghostbusters (2016), over at Nerdspan.

Things that I read:

Woman Facts” by Sandra Newman at McSweeney’s, being hilarious trufax about women.
A microstory about krakens and the sailors who hunt them, courtesy of Micro SF/F on Twitter.
Nine Duels: a Tremontaine Story” by Tessa Gratton, FREE, read it and SUBSCRIBE immediately.

Things that I made:

This week’s Whiteboard Weirdness pieces were all about out with the outstayed-its-welcome and in with the you-better-do-better.

Just over a year ago, I pronounced this the Year of the Goddamn Unicorn. Well, we apparently spent the year playing leapfrog with said unicorn. I guess no one ever said we were smart. Let’s do better in 2017. Thanks to KC Green for my Whiteboard Weirdness inspiration. Fat Unicorn inspired by unicorns by janno-arts on DeviantArt, and by Jen Seng.

Welcome to 2017, the Year of the Otter! Let’s be adorable and flexible, juggle rocks, be vicious when necessary (river wolves represent!), and hold on to each other so no one floats away. Whiteboard Weirdness art inspired by Kat’s cute doodle at katdoodles.com.

Things that I’m excited about:

 

 

 

 

 

Click the pics if you fancy purchasing any of the above! I get a modest kickback from Amazon if you do.

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Ghostbusters (2016) – Movie Review

Blu-ray packaging for Ghostbusters (2016) Extended EditionGhostbusters. It’s not a title you’d expect controversy over, at least not among the living. Yet Paul Feig made an update of the 1984 classic with an all-women team of Ghostbusters, and the Internet lost its collective mind. Many people behaved badly. Trolls came out to play. Productive conversations concerning feminism happened, at least, even in a veritable sea of uninformed hate. Ghostbusters became a rallying point for feminist interrogation of pop culture.

Feminism deserves better, which Alyssa Rosenberg covers with acuity at The Washington Post.

Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters can be a fun movie, especially when combined with a ladies’ night in and a judicious number of drinks. (Ooo, and Twizzlers. …no? More for me!) The cast is fantastic, carried by sharply funny women with great comedic instincts. It’s just not a particularly good movie, afflicted with poor pacing and wasted potential.

[Let’s cover the good bits up front…]

Click the link to read the rest of my review over at Nerdspan!

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, y’all!

Just over a year ago, I pronounced 2016 to be the Year of the Goddamn Unicorn. It was going to be fabulous if I had to throttle it into rainbow colors, you see. And there were some excellent things accomplished personally – I’ll get to those in a minute – but by and large 2016 came across as a bit of a dumpster fire. Or a cafe on fire. Instead of cavorting with the Goddamn Unicorn, we were apparently all playing leapfrog with it.

(Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.)

Moving on!

In 2016, I did quite a bit of reading and writing. The numbers look like this:

34 nonfiction pieces written.
26 nonfiction pieces published.

And you can see all of them over on my shiny new PUBLISHED STUFF page. (It’s in progress, so nonfiction published stuff only, so far.)

More numbers:

2 short stories written.
1 short story sold to Onyx Path Publishing for their Changeling: the Dreaming 20th Anniversary Anthology.

71 books read.
50 books read once you lump together each season of Tremontaine from Serial Box.

I always take the GoodReads Reading Challenge each year. You should join in and read along!

Even more numbers:

Dragon Age games played.
1 new video game world fallen in love with.

1 nephew born. ALL THE CONFETTI.

100% more tabletop RPGs played.
100% Star Wars.

Okay, that’s enough numbers for now. The point is that I wrote things – educational things, entertaining things, things to make you feel – and I enjoyed myself and joy came into the world and I played in imaginary ones. There are points of light, even in the dark.

So, goodbye, 2016. Farewell. Hello, 2017. And –

WELCOME TO THE YEAR OF THE OTTER!

Image of 7 otters at the Kabini River's edge by Puru150 at the Wikimedia Commons.

Let’s be adorable and flexible, juggle rocks, be vicious when necessary (river wolves represent!), and hold on to each other so no one floats away. 

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Hatters’ Collectives are very secretive and magical things, indeed – they keep the best and brightest in hats, throw top-notch tea parties in Wonderland, and keep witches safe. Oh, yes – Miss Tick’s automatic pointed hat, the disguised wonder of the Discworld lowlands all covered in fake flowers? Hutmacherin von Hexen No. 13’s work. They provide fantastic millinery, safe routes, and correspondence services for nasty women everywhere.

This is actually November’s design, in honor of a nasty woman near you. Maybe even inside you. I’d apologize for it being so late, but I’m not nice. (I’m just right.) I can’t be bothered. It was created with the font “Stampede” by St Rachan, and a rubber stamp effect from Diego Sánchez.

My Redbubble and Zazzle shops have a range of wonderful items with this design on it – if you fancy picking one up:

Two-tone mug, or mason jar with handle (and without, for storing flowers or herbs).
Silver-plated locket.
Cream-colored stationery.
Single-sided acrylic keychain.
Purple round fridge magnet.
Hardcover journal for recipes, spells, and agendaing.
Spiral notebook for same.

That’s it, for now. If you’d like anything else, I take requests – so hit the comments.

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