Internet Travel Guide: 4/24/2014

“Be yourself – not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.”
-Thoreau

Recently Pinned:

17 Shades of Purple | Honestly WTF (via Pinterest)

I am loving this rainbow hair trend that I keep seeing on Pinterest. If the time ever comes when I don’t have a desk job my hair will absolutely be a super-unnatural color for a little bit. I had a pink streak in college and it was AWESOME and I want MOAR COLOR and I don’t care if it is ridiculous. Although hey, I could totally get away with this right now:

Hidden Hues | The Beauty Department (via Pinterest)

I’ve also been thinking about giving henna hair dye a try for a while; I like being a redhead, and I might as well go Full Hippie since I’ve got such a good start. This lady’s got basically my hair color….

DIY Dyeing with Henna | Two Bobbins Later (via Pinterest)

 

Around the Interwebs:

I like this description for people who have a hard time getting their thoughts from their brains to their mouths (like yours truly) – we’ve got a long runway!

How did humans evolve to deal with city crowds? Apparently by creating tiny rural villages with the **Power of Imagination** (we tune out everyone except for an “inner circle” of 150-ish people).

Somebody had to invent cartography, and it was probably a couple of monks, and it probably went down exactly like this. (From – you guessed it – The Toast)

Vid o’ the Week:

“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.

It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

So if you* have great taste, that’s probably why your work is disappointing – because you can tell it’s not great, even if other people like it. That’s discouraging, but if you have the discipline to keep going and push your skills and produce a bunch of art or words or video or whatnot, your skills will start catching up to your taste. From what I’ve heard from professionals… your skills never actually catch up all the way. You still can’t look too closely at your work without finding flaws. But maybe you can glance at the things you’ve made and feel proud of them? You can at least feel proud of your quantity of work. That’s encouraging.

*I don’t know about you, you. “You” in this case is definitely me, though. As far as the disappointing/frustrating part. I don’t know if I actually have “killer” taste or just terrible self-esteem.

Internet Travel Guide: 4/11/2014

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”
– Jack Canfield

This week was weird. Were the planets out of alignment, or was the moon in a weird phase, or was it just me? Monday – Wednesday felt like an eternity, but then somehow I woke up this morning 100% sure that today was Thursday. I have no idea what happened to that extra day, but apparently I went to work and gave a passable impression of doing my job? So that was a fun surprise. Yay Friday!

I’ve been brainstorming a small flying familiar for my girl wizard, so today was Bat Day. Turns out bats are really hard. Like, their little faces are pretty cute, but I would probably be a little crazy to try drawing those weird, stretchy, semi-transparent wings on a regular basis. Then again, I have been known to be a little crazy.

Remember The Velveteen Rabbit? The heartwarming tale about a humble toy rabbit, full of only sawdust, who dreamed of becoming Real? I… I didn’t remember it being quite so dark, but somehow… somehow this version feels right. Real, even. Yes… This is the Real Velveteen Rabbit. (Yeah, I’m obsessively in love with The Toast. Yeah, I retweet Toast articles pretty much constantly. WHAT OF IT.)*

Do you know the difference between Chekhov’s Gun and a MacGuffin? Here are 5 common movie terms explained. You’re already discussing movies and TV shows in obsessive, completely unnecessary depth; might as well use authentic vocabulary. (Just me, again?)

I found this recipe for a microwave mug brownie on Pinterest today:

Mug Brownie | Pinterest

Now you are about to have a very unique experience, because I whipped up my very own mug brownie, which is in the microwave RIGHT NOW AS I TYPE THIS. That’s right, folks – I am live-blogging my microwave mug brownie attempt. *the sound of gasps and pearl-clutching is heard*

Okay hold that thought, it has been 1 minute and 40 seconds. FINALLY. Looks pretty good (see photographic evidence below). I’mma put this in my mouth real quick.

photo

 

The verdict? Definitely has a different texture than a normal brownie, but it’s tasty. I think I’ll keep this on my Pinterest board to satisfy the odd emergency chocolate craving without making an entire batch of brownies… because when you do that, you have to eat that entire batch of brownies. And I do not need to do that. Also, my picture above shows ALL OF THE DIRTY DISHES that resulted from this 3-minute experiment. Mug brownie = definitely worthy of the Layabout’s Guide.

*Note: I’m not saying this story is an account of true events, but I personally own a pet rabbit. Her claws are sharp, and her eyes are full of hate, and I would totally believe that she stole the living soul from a child. Just saying.

I Love Webcomics

SickWatch 2014:  Minor overall improvements in Patient Zero; however cough and sore throat intensifying by the day. Infection has been transmitted to husband, hereafter known as Patient One. No end in sight. Send soup and crackers but do not make contact. Subjects likely contagious and certainly cranky.

I don’t remember when/how I discovered webcomics, or which was my First. I know I read through the entire archives of Between Failures at some point early in college, and I remember being devastated around that same time to discover Daisy Owl was no longer updating. A good friend of mine definitely introduced me to Dresden Codak at some point and it’s still one of my favorites.

However I got into webcomics, I’m super glad that I did. I was obsessed with comic strips when I was a kid. I dove into the Sunday paper each week for the two-page color funny pages, and I read the dinky little black-&-white page almost every day. I even read the weird narrative strips like Mark Trail and Prince Valiant, which… why? Why would I do that? They’re terrible. We got all the collection books of Calvin & Hobbes and Foxtrot. My grandparents had dozens of old Peanuts paperbacks from when my dad was a kid, and I always flipped through them when I visited. (I recently inherited those when they cleaned out their Kid Stuff, score!)

But eventually I “outgrew” gag-style newspaper comic strips, and I thought my comic days were over. As far as I knew, my only other options were superhero comics, and I’m not interested in that genre, in general. Discovering a whole world of “grown-up” comics with varied art styles and no spandex was Earth-shattering for me! I don’t have time to read through archives anymore, but here are some of my favorites to keep up with, in no particular order…

Dresden Codak

Dark Science | Dresden Codak

Clip from Dresden Codak by Aaron Diaz

I mentioned this one earlier, and it deserves two mentions because folks, it is amazing. Aaron Diaz paints (digitally) his strips, with incredible attention to detail, and a grasp of anatomy, light, and character design that is absolutely stunning. (He posts about that stuff on his art blog, which is also a great read) Updates are slow coming but absolutely worth the wait. The content of the comic deals with fun sci-fi stuff like Mad Science and transhumanism, set in a silly sort-of-dystopia, where the cities are built on the bones of ancient monsters and no one remembers how to fix the robots. You can read the full Hob storyline, or start the current Dark Science story.

Nimona

Nimona #1

Clip from Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Nimona is Noelle Stevenson’s (gingerhaze) latest award-winning project, which is currently appearing serially on her website and will be published by HarperCollins in 2015. The story centers on the villain Ballister Blackheart, and his teen shapeshifter sidekick Nimona. They have great plans to wreak havoc on the kingdom, and particularly on Ballister’s former friend and nemesis (and possible hair model), Goldenloin. But Ballister gets uncomfortable when Nimona turns out to be a little too effective at villainy. Noelle’s art is so incredibly charming, and the characters – both Good Guys and Bad Guys – are endearing and sympathetic. The comic started out lighthearted but it took a super dark turn and I’m on the edge of my seat for the next update!

Starslip

Starslip

Clip from Starslip by Kris Straub

Starslip is one of Kris Straub’s comics (he also does chainsawsuit and Broodhollow, which I’ve heard great things about but haven’t read – I do enjoy his chainsawsuit podcast with Mikey Neumann). It has concluded, so you can read the full run either online or in book form. It starts out as a silly adventure story about the curator of a museum spaceship and his less-than-civilized crew, but ends up as a complex time-travel romance. The art is pretty simple, but the story is anything but. If I had to choose a favorite completed comic, it would probably be Starslip.

Hark! A Vagrant

H!AV clip

Clip from Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton

Hark! A Vagrant is the oddball on this list because it’s not a story comic – just a collection of random (usually literary or historical) jokes drawn in Kate Beaton’s insanely charming style. I am seriously obsessed with the way she draws; such doodle-y, messy lines create such lifelike expressions! If you like what you see be sure to follow her (@beatonna) on Twitter, if only for her adorable family comics around the holidays.

Internet Travel Guide: 3/21/2014

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.”

~Rabindranath Tagore

I made this Greek Chicken Salad last weekend and it is AMAAAAAAZING. I added some shredded cabbage for crunchiness. Delish.

Kitchen Scraps You Can Regrow with Nothing But Water | Lifehacker

This seems like a fun kitchen experiment on Lifehacker – kitchen scraps that you can regrow in water. You certainly can’t do this indefinitely but it might work okay for double-lettuce or whatever. Or I bet you could put these same things in soil for even better results. As you may remember, my love for free/recycled plants has been previously documented! (Every single plant featured in that post is now long dead, by the way. Oops.)

This week in Reverse Psychology News: simply giving yourself the option of doing nothing could make you more likely to achieve your goals. The idea is that people are more dedicated to their commitments if they feel like they were truly free when they made the decision.

You know what I don’t miss about my first job? CONFERENCE CALLS. Conference calls are the actual worst. They’re like meetings, but even less productive. This video imagines – with uncanny accuracy – what it would be like if conference call annoyances happened IRL.

Internet Travel Guide (1/30/2014)

So there was a fun Twitter thing going on this week where people were drawing their “witchsona” and posting it. This is what I came up with:

Orbs are a fun party trick

I did it pretty quick in Manga Studio 4, which I’m not super familiar with yet, so I’m pretty proud of it. I guess if I had Witch Magic I would just use it to hover in the air and play with orbs? That actually sounds about right.

There are worse things to do with Witch Magic, I suppose.

 

I’ve got a thing for quotes; I’m really fascinated by the way little snippets of someone can proliferate and last, and be helpful or interesting even generations later. I tend to collect them automatically, so I think I’ll do a Quote of the Week so they at least serve a purpose. This week:

“Such as are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts.”
Marcus Aurelius

This is a cool thing: a photographer named Chino Otsuka collected photos from her childhood, and digitally inserted her current self. The results are perfect; serene and ever-so-creepy. I love stuff like that.

I don’t get political about a lot of stuff, but the women’s health debate hits pretty close to home for me, especially since I live in Texas. Rachel Held Evans wrote a wonderful piece on the topic from the perspective of someone who considers herself pro-life, but supports lowering the abortion rate through widely available contraception rather than legislation. I would love to see our country take an approach that supports struggling families, instead of punishing them.

On a lighter note, here’s a falcon* that’s really #winning.

*Or something. I’m not an ornithologist.

Internet Travel Guide (5/18/12)

I think any cohabiting couple can agree that this illustration is pretty darn accurate.  My poor Husby’s situation is probably even worse than it would have been, since he moved in after I’d already established my dominance over the land of Closet Space.

Have you seen The Avengers?  If not, you should, because it was fantastically entertaining.  (And if you haven’t seen the movies leading up to it, you should watch those first.  Except maybe The Hulk’s movie.)  And after you watch The Avengers, you should read this abridged script from The Editing RoomDisclaimer:  Don’t read it at work, or in a library, or at a funeral, or in any other situation where an involuntary giggle-fit would be frowned upon!

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is a truly hilarious lady, but the more I read Yarn Harlot, the more I am thankful that I don’t know her personally.  This is not for my sake, but for hers… Because if I knew her, I would probably demand knitted goods just constantly, and it would become awkward, and she’d be forced to avoid me in order to stave off carpal tunnel symptoms, and it would just end badly for all involved.  But really, I couldn’t be blamed, and this is why the dear Lord in all his wisdom has in fact gone so far as to place us at opposite ends of the continent.  Look at what this woman can conjure out of yarn, without a pattern or anything.  Just look.  Maybe one day I’ll reach that level of knitterdom, where I can take some yarn and a block of cabling and create an adorable little mini-cardigan out of it, and just “know” how to make it fit a baby just so…  But I doubt it.

Speaking of adorable…

Confession time:  I don’t use reusable grocery bags.  I have this crinkly mass of plastic grocery bags growing ever-larger in my pantry, waiting for the hypothetical day when I’ll take all of them to be recycled… Which is better than just throwing them away, I guess, but still feels a little hypocritical for someone who claims to be “green.”  Probably the biggest reason that I don’t use reusable bags, is that the ones they sell at grocery stores are just sooooo ugly.  Shallow?  Yes.  True?  Absolutely.  I’d be much more likely to use homemade grocery bags… but which ones?  So many great choices on this list!  I’ll probably try one that uses old t-shirts, since I’ve got a big bag full of old shirts waiting to be donated (…or repurposed)!

In other news, I have found my newest desktop wallpaper.  Incredibly beautiful!

Internet Travel Guide (3/29/12)

Abbreviated and late Travel Guide this week, as I was on a business trip Monday-Wednesday.  On a related note, business trips are the worst.

What would happen if science and pseudoscience had to coexist?  I imagine it would go something like this.

Have you seen The Hunger Games?  You should.  I very much enjoyed it, and I can’t wait to read the books!  Would you like to know what The Hunger Games can teach you about surviving and thriving in tough situations?  I thought so.

I don’t use a lot of stevia, mostly because I haven’t found it at the store in a form that I like.  I’ve got some Stevia in the Raw, but I’d much rather have actual ground-up stevia leaves, or an extract.  Maybe I should grow my own stevia plant!  Would you try?

Speaking of sweetener, are you watching your sugar intake?  Try converting it into units of Cadbury Eggs!  And then go eat some Cadbury Eggs  😉