2020 started out strangely. Terry and I dozed off around nine o’clock New Year’s Eve but both of us woke back up after two o’clock New Year’s Morning. We both migrated back downstairs and dozed off again for another four or five hours. Ah the exciting life we lead!
I had promised Terry a breakfast of bacon and waffles. I put the bacon in the oven, and forgot to set a timer. Meanwhile, I continued drafting a newsletter for my local book club and lost track of time. I’m not sure how long I was editing, but I did eventually remember the baking bacon before it was reduced to charcoal.
Next I had to rearrange the kitchen counters a bit to make room to mix up a half batch of waffle dough from my King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook. In the process of shuffling items around I managed to drop and break a small measuring glass. This event foreshadowed how the rest of my morning evolved. Strike one!
On Saturday, October 12th, I attended my second MiddleMoot, hosted on the campus of Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, Iowa. After the Welcome Address delivered by Robert Steed in the auditorium of Tama Hall, the first session I attended was a fascinating look at the theme of female grief as foresight and subcreation by Jude Bleile (more details forthcoming in a separate post). The following session I selected from the program was entitled “The Journey of FanFiction” presented by Nicole Evans, a fellow member of the Tolkien Society of Kansas City, a librarian, writer and blogger.
Nicole spoke briefly about the history of fanfiction, even citing examples from her adolescence (over 12,000 on one site alone but who’s counting?) and explained the interactive nature of her session. We, the audience, would select five pieces of a story puzzle that we then would assemble creatively into a short fanfiction story. We could then enter our story into a pool to be read and voted on by attendees for a prize to be awarded at the end of the conference.
The five elements we would drew were Character, Object, Setting, Plot and First Lines. The photo below displays my drawing. We had approximately thirty minutes to compose our tales. We were to underline each item as we used it in our story so the readers/judges could confirm we had used all five.
Corey Olsen would write fanfiction using Odo as a character, the Arkenstone for an object, Mordor as a setting, sneaking into the Council of Elrond for a plot and start off with a first line of ‘I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.’
For the last nine years, my blog, Misty Midwest Mossiness, has languished as a ‘free’ site hosted at WordPress.com. That ‘free’ came with a slight headache, which eventually morphed into a migraine. My ability to host for ‘free’ meant being saddled with advertisements, the content of which I could not control.
I took a huge leap this week and dived into the Digital Ocean. I’ve created a couple of droplets, their term for virtual machines hosted in their cloud. I created this new home using one of their prefab Droplets in their Marketplace. I did have to buy a new domain name, mostly because I didn’t want to mess up and re-configure my existing domain name just yet. My new domain name – hennethannun.net – which reflects my ongoing love for all things Tolkien and sunsets. For more information about Henneth Annûn visit this brief article at the TolkienGateway.
I was able to export my blog (overnight) from WordPress.com and import it this morning in just a few minutes. I will leave the old blog in place for the rest of the year and monitor this new blog home to see if this is cost effective and won’t break my pocketbook.
I will be adjusting the look-and-feel of this new blog – rebranded as “Into the West” – over the next few days. Let me know what you think.
On any given Sunday, you’ll find me awake before sunrise. Old, very old, habits die-hard. I embrace being a morning person. Only causes an issue when I want to toast in the new year since I generally turn into a pumpkin around nine o’clock. Today was no different from any other weekend.
Yesterday was Twelfth Night, the official end to the Christmas season. When Dickens was a youth, Twelfth Night was ‘THE’ biggest day of the winter holiday in England. Between his Christmas Carol and Prince Albert’s importation of German Christmas traditions (namely the Christmas tree), Twelfth Night began to fade out of fashion during Dickens and Queen Victoria’s lifetimes.
I did not stay up late celebrating or hosting a Twelfth Night party. I had servers to upgrade and test bright and early on January 6th, also known as Epiphany.
I woke up before my alarm (I almost always do this; my alarm only woke me up once in the last six months) and got logged in and ready to upgrade a server. It went much smoother than the last time I tried, right before Christmas, and I was done within 20 minutes (leaving an hour forty minutes of my maintenance window unused). Server patch testing took another fifteen minutes so I was done ‘working’ before seven o’clock, still before sunrise.
Most Saturdays you can find me hanging out at my local library over the lunch hour. While it’s true I do devour books, I curb my appetite so that my favorite hard-working librarians can grab a bite to eat and catch up on their reading. I’ve been volunteering for four or five years now and I look forward to those two or three hours spent helping patrons find their next great book or movie.
Today, within five minutes of getting started at the circulation desk for the first half of my shift, a mother and a cute girl with a rainbow of flowers in her hair arrived to collect her gift basket. The girl had won one the baking basket, one of eight gift baskets donated as prizes for the winter reading program. I overheard one of the librarians mention that collectively adults and children read over two thousand books this winter. I only contributed twenty-two to that total.
Great article to read first thing in the morning. Solidarity in the feminist trenches with wit and humor.
It this statement by the author under attack which rang especially true for me:
Speaking of the difficulties feminists face when trying to get their message across, Ford said: “It’s tedious and exhausting to deal with a daily onslaught of abuse and paranoia from angry men and their terrified cohorts. It’s impossible to have logical conversations with them because they don’t care about facts, only about how they feel about those facts.”
They should kick ass but have other talents; they shouldn’t necessarily kick ass because that’s been done to death; they should have agency; they should move the plot forward; they should be assertive but not obnoxious; they should hold positions of power; they shouldn’t be raped or die to give the hero incentive for his quest.
What I think is missing from some of these discussions is: writing a fully realized character of any gender requires one trait above all others, and that is empathy. When a female character goes off the rails, it is often because the author experienced a failure of imagination; while he could imagine all the emotions a man might feel in a similar situation—and Continue reading “Deconstructing Strong Female Characters”
Browsing an unknown book on the internet requires the foresight that it is there! More, public opinion shoves the book’s data right into your face: ratings, reviews, numbers – crowd opinion leads the barrage.