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I don't like to do a lot of hiking in summer. It's hot and humid and flying insects continually divebomb your eyes, ears and nose.

 photo 2015-07-06_194935_zpskxrfja2z.jpg

But sometimes it has its rewards...Collapse )


Two bags of cough drops later...

I'm mostly okay now, except for an annoying, tickly cough that isn't fading quickly enough for me. If I never have to taste another strawberry menthol Halls again, that would be fine with me. On the other hand, this meant I finally had the time to watch The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, which was a disappointment. It's not like I was expecting a whole lot (the first two movies cured my high expectations) but damn, that was a mess. Poor pacing, way too much time spent on that Alfrid character (seriously, WHY), too many ridiculous Legolas fighting stunts and just... I don't know. An overall poor balance of stuff from the books and overblown action sequences. I suspected this might be the case, which is why I wasn't in a big hurry to see it. But even so it seems to me that the Hobbit trilogy cost twice as much to make as LOTR and was half as pretty. What a shame. :-/

It's spring storm and tornado season here. Fortunately, my tomatoes were all planted a couple weeks ago, but I'm sneaking in two cubanelle pepper plants this week. Sliced cubanelles sauteed with garlic, onions and Italian sausage is a beautiful thing in summertime. I'm also trying to grow arugula in a window box, but something --squirrels, maybe-- keeps digging around in the dirt and the seedlings are not loving this AT ALL.

And ooh, Pineapple Ice Cream has gone on my list of recipes to try.


I've got a nasty head cold and my sinuses are currently engaged in the Great Mucus Rebellion of 2015. It's slowly evolving to the coughing-up-a-lung stage, so I picked up a bag of cough drops only every cough drop has a motto on the wrapper. It's annoyingly cheery stuff like, "Show your strut", "Put your game face on", "Flex your 'can do' muscle" and "Let's hear your battle cry". Do you know what my battle cry is at the moment?


Yeah. Thanks, Halls Breezers.

Oh noes...

I made a small error in judgement. It's been unseasonably warm and this is usually the time of year I get a hair cut and lose 3" of winter growth, rife with split ends. This time I got too much taken off. My hair usually falls past my shoulders; now it just brushes the tops of my shoulders and when I looked in the mirror... horrors! That is my twelve year old face staring back at me complete with petulant expression. It's also too short to tie back properly and I'm doomed to have sweaty strands of hair in my face and sticking to the back of my neck till it grows out. Dammit.

On top of that, my allergies are going nuts and all I really want to do is lie around in the shade, preferably eating ice cream. But somebody has to go outside and hack the weeds to death and these tomato plants won't plant themselves. I made these cherry limemade popsicles again, so at least I can have something cold and tart when I'm done.

It's just one of those things...

I keep meaning to post more and then I don't. Mostly because so few people are on here anymore and it feels redundant to do this and e-mail people. But on the other hand, there are people here I don't talk to via e-mail but I'd still like to keep in touch. LJ was so good for that... nowhere near as banal or klutzy as Facebook, but a nice way to keep up with peoples' lives even if you're only in them peripherally.

Things have been going better. I don't mean to be cryptic exactly, but things have been Not Great for quite a few years now and I wasn't comfortable with sharing personal details. It sort of went: Not Good, Not Good, Really Not Good, Dammit This Is Worse, Crappy and Kind of Hopeless, Not Good but not Awful, Meh I can Deal if I Have To I Guess and now I'm cautiously optimistic that things are a little better. I'm writing a bit, original fiction but also a little of the next chapter of Dark Hour of Night, the fic that's only mostly dead, but not dead dead. Much like my creativity and sense of purpose!

Spring is here at long last. The blueberry bushes I planted last fall survived the winter and have put out leaves, huzzah! I don't know if they'll flourish or if/when they'll fruit, but I'm happy they made it through an unpleasant winter. Today I bought a few tomato plants and now I'll have to brave the pollen-laden outdoors and get them in the ground this weekend.

Terrible fangirl moment: I missed seeing Battle of the Five Armies in the theater. I meant to go, I just... somehow didn't. Then I thought well, it's not like I don't know how it ends. *cough*


I kind of forgot that it was Easter, which is fine except that this means there are no chocolate eggs in the house. Nooooo! I love having small bits of chocolate wrapped in pastel colored foil that's easily disposed of so nobody really knows how many pieces I ate. *cough*

I got an e-mail about the Bring your friends back to LiveJournal! thing and it was both hilarious and sad at the same time, as if LJ is stretching one skeletal hand from the grave and going, Come baaaaaaaack, fandom! Tumblr might be all shiny and full of meta, but it doesn't love you like I doooooo... I think if I had any friends or acquaintances were who still inclined to use LJ, they'd be doing it on their own and wouldn't need an invite from me, but... ah well, I suppose it's the thought that counts.

Of course, these days you can't completely discount ancient institutions because who ever thought The X-Files would come back? I certainly didn't, not after all this time.

We'll always have Ankh-Morpork...

Terry Pratchett and the Discworld series has been my go to comfort reading for a long time, especially when I need cheering up. He'll be missed.

"The whole of life is just like watching a film. Only it’s as though you always get in 10 minutes after the big picture has started, and no one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it out all yourself from the clues." - Terry Pratchett


I realized I forgot to mention that I'd actually finished my Winterfest fic by the free day deadline. Yay! So the entire thing is here:

Title: Fairytale of Chicago, Part One, Part Two (Labyrinth/Dresden Files)
Rating: G
Summary: Chicago's only professional wizard has landed an invitation to the most prestigious event in the Underground: the Goblin Winter Ball. Underdressed and socially awkward, Harry needs a makeover, but who can take on such a herculean task?
Author's Note: A sequel of sorts to En Fuego. I've tried to write this so it makes sense to people who aren't familiar with it or The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, but... it kind of helps if you are. No series spoilers within.

It's a dreary winter, you guys-- a dusting of snow, maybe an inch, tops. I'm glad it's not the Snowpocalypse of the east coast, but it can stop being cold ANY DAY NOW and I'd be okay with that.

Belated Bowie picspam.

Pika pointed out that I hadn't done the annual Bowie birthday picspam. It's true. I didn't forget, exactly... it's just that I didn't remember until really late and then thought, well, hardly anyone is on LJ anymore to appreciate it. Also, I wasn't sure if I recalled the password to my photobucket account. *laughs*

There"s old wave, there"s new wave... and there"s David Bowie photo 4134192.jpg

For old times" sake...(NSFW due to presence of Area)Collapse )



I'm almost done with my Winterfestfic, which is nice since my deadline was... Sunday. *cough* Like everything else I write, it ended up being waaaaaay too long and by the time I realized that oh crap, the story I planned is actually a novella and I need to trim it back a little a lot, it was too late. So I panicked, tried to brainstorm for another, shorter fic, failed to accomplish that because I obviously cannot trust my own estimations for how long a fic is going to be, then rushed back and tried to finish the first story.

Organization. It's clear to me now that I'm going to go to my grave without ever having achieved this skill. Anyway, I figured I'd post the first part and then wait until the free day (which is a great concept, BTW, an unofficial deadline for people who are hopeless at deadlines) to post the remainder.

Title: Fairytale of Chicago, Part One (Labyrinth/Dresden Files)
Rating: G
Summary: Chicago's only professional wizard has landed an invitation to the most prestigious event in the Underground: the Goblin Winter Ball. Underdressed and socially awkward, Harry needs a makeover, but who can take on such a herculean task?
Author's Note: A sequel of sorts to En Fuego. I've tried to write this so it makes sense to people who aren't familiar with it or The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, but... it kind of helps if you are. No series spoilers within.

I rarely reread my own writing unless I have to for editing or reference purposes, but looking back, I'm actually pretty pleased with how "En Fuego" turned out. It was the longest piece of writing I've completed for a while, I think it works well for a standalone story in both fandoms (though it's more Dresden Files than Labyrinth) and though I don't think I'll ever capture Butcher's style, it's as close as I'll ever get.

Time flies...

Happy new year, everyone! Between Christmas, social obligations and trying to write my Winterfest fic, I fell off the radar again. I'm about 3,500 words in, with ten more days to go until my assigned date. I don't think I'm going to make it. :-/

This thing is happening where I'm writing, but I feel very ambivalent about the results. I don't really like that. Obviously there's always a lot of mixed feelings when it comes to looking over your own writing, but usually I like to feel some small sense of satisfaction, if only about the wordcount. Part of the problem is that with Dresden Files, you kind of have to be funny and while I've been in an okay mood, I'm not feeling the comedy. Or at least, I don't think I am. But I can't be sure because maybe I'm just a cranky slug of a human being who needs more caffeine.

Anyway. Here's to trying to be optimistic about 2015. *clinks champagne glass*

Do you recognize this Labyrinth fanfic?

Sometimes people send me Labyrinth and Bowie related PMs. I try to help and I'm usually not too bad with the Bowie ones but I am no good at identifying mystery fics. These are the details the reader recalls:

"Jareth has been pining after Sarah for years, allowing his kingdom to die. Sarah travels back to the Labyrinth and befriends a fairy, shrinking to their size and seeing their home. The Labyrinth has already declared Sarah queen. The story featured Jareth's parents, whom were Fae. Jareth hides his feelings from Sarah because he thinks she doesn't love him, while Sarah has to come to terms with her own feelings for Jareth as well as her own misconceptions of him. I think it was a part of a larger series."

I know I've read fics involving Jareth's Fae parents, but I can't remember exact details and the shrinking thing stumps me. Does it sound familiar to anyone?

ETA: It occurred to me that this is going to be really embarrassing if the author is someone I know. I apologize in advance for my crappy memory.


Sometimes writing is like trying to build a skyscraper out of Jello. It'd be neat if I could pull it off, but mostly the story just sits there and wobbles helplessly.

*stares at the useless debris of my Winterfest fic*

How is your fic coming along so far?

This is nice:


Ambient background noise with customized settings. I like the rain/thunder/wind combination. With birds if I'm feeling tropical. You can also set it to a timer as a gentle alarm.


Like an idiot, I managed to miss the fact that Winterfest dates were assigned weeks ago. My only excuse is being distracted by Thanksgiving. So I've got from now until January 11th to write something winter/holiday related and all my relevant plot bunnies are rather sickly and lethargic.

Hmmmm. Is "Five Times Hoggle Needed Lube and One Time He Didn't" good for a working title?


If my responsibilities and health allowed it, I'd spend all winter in a blanket fort, hooked up to an IV of mashed potatoes and gravy. They do not allow this, so here I am. Weather forecast says we might get more snow for Thanksgiving, which isn't typical. Sympathies to anyone in upstate New York, who's getting it far, far worse...

I'm trying to mentally gear up for labyfic's Winterfest, but I have ZERO winter/holiday-themed plot bunnies at the moment. I've been sort of itching to write another Labyrinth/Dresden Files crossover because I enjoy that universe a lot, but... ehhh. I don't even have a Jargle plot bunny, which is just sad because you know how my bitterness about the cold weather brings out the deviant writer in me. Not to mention, well, how can tallulah99 possibly enjoy the winter season without Jargle? It's like fries without ketchup. I hope one of you takes pity on her to supply her with all the hot Jargle action that brightens up her long, cold nights.

If you're not too busy with NaNo...

labyfic is having its Winterfest sign up: fanfic, fan art, gifs, icons, fan vids, it's all welcome. You sign up, get assigned a day to post to the community, and then go off and create something to share. Unlike the fic exchange, it's nowhere near the amount of stress, so it's easier on everyone's busy schedule around the holidays. Details are here if you want to take a look.

If enough people are interested, tallulah99 is open to the possibility of Springfest as well!



A mock trailer: "If Labyrinth was a horror film"... plenty of material for the horror aspect, of course. You know your first encounter with a glittery magical being is off on the wrong foot when he bursts through your window, fondles his serpent right in front of you and proceeds to hurl it at your head.*

It's interesting though, when you take a panning shot of a child's room full of toys, the line between nostalgic fantasy and horror all depends on the background music... and maybe whether or not there's one of those satanic cymbal-wielding monkeys that go off on their own.

* I originally typed "and proceeds to offload it onto your face", but thought maybe that's too vulgar. And more importantly, too clumsy of a metaphor. On the other hand, we're all adults here, right?


Happy Halloween

It's 39 F out, wet and gray, and trick or treating starts in an hour. I feel sorry for all the parents who'll be escorting their kids around the neighborhood tonight, because it's only going to get chillier and more miserable after dark. :-/

Late last night, I went on a midnight baking spree and made challah (minus the raisins) for the first time. The braiding was very lopsided but it tastes nice, very soft and ever so slightly sweet. Definitely a keeper.

Tonight: some scary movies, cinnamon toast and hot cocoa. I hope the rest of you are having a good Halloween!



Usually when I experiment in the kitchen, I try to make something fairly practical, but I couldn't resist these: homemade gummy candies. Super easy, and I used some cheap silicone molds from Ikea. A shallow bowl or baking tin lined with plastic wrap would probably work, too. I used pineapple jello mix and it was fine but I'll probably try a version using fruit juice, too. My end goal... blackcurrant gummies. It's not a popular flavor in the States, but they're my favorite flavor of Jelly Babies. :-}

I'm in the mood to do some baking. Maybe cinnamon rolls, because things full of cinnamon and butter always seem nice for fall, though at the moment we're having some freakishly warm weather. It's 77 F out as I type, and that's just plain weird.

In honor of Halloween: Essential Guide to Living Lovecraft: The Real World Locations Behind the Horror