ravens_quill: (Default)
[Twice now I meant to bring this up in an email to a friend, but twice now I've totally forgotten to until after hitting send, but I have enough to say on the subject to warrant a post, so here it is.]

This season of Project Runway, there's a twist!

Most competition do this, especially the longer they are on the air. A twist on the season to keep contestants on their toes and audiences in their seats.

This season, the twist is based on something that Tim Gunn in particular has brought up in the past, both on the show and in interviews. This season, the models represent a broader variety of sizes. A number of them still seem to fit into the typical model sizes--weight and height--but there are taller models and curvier models, and every challenge has the models randomly assigned to a designer, so no one designer can choose their ideal model each time.

In theory, I like this idea. Gunn has spoken about the need for the fashion to represent the real women who are and who want to buy trending fashions. But all too often, fashion is designed with the smallest women in mind, and trying to find clothes in stores that are fashionable but fit larger women is a struggle.

In the past, Project Runway has usually had at least one challenge each season that involved designing for a "real woman." I distinctly remember a few seasons ago when that challenge was the female relatives of fellow designers. One designer's client was another mother, a sweet woman who was bigger. And he complained and was, frankly, pretty rude to her, and in the end, she walked down the runway wearing an ill-fitting tent that did nothing to accentuate her figure or make her feel good or comfortable or beautiful.

Very few people want to wear a tent, particularly when given the opportunity to have an outfit made specially for them.

Don't get me wrong. I am a bigger gal, and I find a well-worn pair of jeans and a giant t-shirt one of the most comfortable outfits I can put on. But even I love a dress that hugs my curves just right and showcases my hourglass figure while smoothing out the other bumps and folds.

While some of the designers have taken this "twist" with enthusiasm (Samantha Rei being one of the most positive), others have expressed worry and concern. Among those, some are positive, saying they think this is a great thing, but are worried about doing it right. Others just seem worried and discouraged.

The frustrating thing, for me, is two-fold. Firstly, that every episode has had designers talking about their nervousness in designing for larger women or relief at having a model who fits the more "standard" model size. Secondly, that everyone seems averse to using the word "fat." They are plus-sized, and atypical, and curvy, but never fat. And I get, I do. I did the same here, going for more generalized (and neutral) terms (particularly since some of the models are "atypical" because of their height, but whose weight is still within the typical model numbers). But still. There's still so much stigma wrapped around the word fat.  I struggle with it myself, trying to use the word to describe myself because it's accurate, but without feeling the negativity so ingrained in it. It's tough. But with the whole purpose of this season's twist being to represent a wider variety of body shapes, I was hoping there would be a little more effort to de-stigmatize the words that create this us vs. them dichotomy of "normal" women and "plus-sized" women.

(I could do a whole other post ranting about the false claim that it's so much more expensive to design for bigger women, but there are articles out there that say it better than I ever could. Short version: even if it's costs a little more for more fabric, those costs are negligible considering the mark-up on retail in general, so the extra mark-ups on plus-sized clothing is BS, as is the claim that it would hurt companies to sell more clothing in larger sizes. BS, BS, BS. /mini rant)

Let me end with a shout out to Liris, one of the "plus size" models, and one of my favorite people on the show this season. She has curves and she loves them and she wants every designer she's paired with to love them, too, and highlight them in the best way. And she will not take "I hope so" or "I'll try" for an answer. "Oh no. We don't hope. We do," she says in the first episode, and it continues to be a rallying call for me as I watch this season.

ravens_quill: (Default)
Photo attempt again, some more.

First a pic I took of Alan Tudyk at the convention, end of August, and then a photo of a "black magic" flower (I remember the name of the particular flower, but not the general type of flower because I fail at my knowledge of plants).

Alan Tudyk-Amazing ComicCon Conman panel-Aug2017





Well, DW still hates when I try to embed photos from instagram/external sites, but at least uploading them and adding them as a thumbnnail works.
ravens_quill: (Typewriter)
Wrote 3728 words on TIC, the sequel to the novel I'd completed for NaNo last November.

Good gods this year is flying by. Ugh.

Anyway, that's the most progress I've made on the sequel story in quite a while. I've worked on a few other things, some same world/different cast stories and a few flash pieces, but this is the proper sequel.

I had no idea if I'm doing it right. I think this is the first real, proper sequel I've ever written, and I find myself questioning how much to reference the previous book's information--I don't want to data dump the whole first book, you know, so I am trying to drop bits of info here and there where pertinent. Make it useful but not irksome if you've read the first book, but hopefully useful without being too sparse for someone if they picked up the sequel without reading the first book. Hopefully, anyway.

Part of me worries too, about the ending of the first book, TIZR, because I hate writing endings. I always know what I want them to do, but can never feel confident that they're doing that.

All a moot point at the moment, since it's not published and I have my own time frame for editing and querying it, so I can take the time I might need to rewrite the ending--if needed--without feeling like I'm messing up someone else's schedule. But still, I'm noodling, and worrying, and ideas are niggling in my head.

Fussing about writing progress is a good sign, though, as is, actually, staying up too late because I hit the right playlist and found the groove.

Okay, anyway, it's 1:30 here, and part of me is ready and willing to keep at this story, but my eyelids are drooping and it took a while to fall asleep last night, so time for sleep, yes? Yes.
ravens_quill: (Default)
I have an appointment on Friday, and it keeps sliding to the side of my attention and memory.

I think it's just because it's been a while (six-month check-up on something that had been 1-month and 3-month check-ups until this gap), but still a bit irksome. It's like a Don't-Look-At-Me glamour, where it's hard to focus on and you find your attention glancing off of it.

Luckily I had remembered it was this month and made a point of pulling out the paperwork on the 1st to double-check the date, then wrote it down on my calendar and planner.

As usual, "When in doubt, take notes" is a practice that serves me well.
ravens_quill: (Loki)
I have had coffee (caffeine, which ought to've helped if it were a migraine), something to eat, plus two Tylenol if it's a normal tension headache. But my head still feels like it's in a vice and slowly being squeezed.

Part of me feels like I should push through it, because I haven't been very productive this week. But the rest of me knows that trying to do so is likely to make the headache worse. So even though it makes me incredibly lazy, I am going to turn off the electronics, get some soothing music going and bury my head under a pillow for an hour or so.

Hopefully when I emerge, I will feel much better.
ravens_quill: (Loki)
My dad is from the South. He grew up in Mississippi, but his mother is from Louisiana (the Wards), and he has family in Oklahoma and Kansas as well, if I recall correctly.

For a long time, my siblings and I didn't really get to hear any stories from his side of the family. We heard about the olive tree, and eating bread and onions, the grand-uncle (great-uncle?) with the castle now in ruins, the ghost with an ax in its head, and the snake in the middle of the forest path--all stories from my mother, from when she was a child living in Italy. But we never got much from my dad. For a long time, there was a rift with his side of the family.

But time changes most things, and in this case, opened up the lines of communication between him and his siblings. And he started to tell stories, about his mutt named Scraps, and visiting grandparents with a tin roof and an outhouse, why he hates all the Southern food my mother loves.

The thing is, even though there were many years he didn't tell stories, you could still learn a few things about him. He was a Southerner and he spent a lifetime in the army.

One time, he took my siblings and I to a fast food restaurant for dinner, and as we ate, he was telling us something. To be honest, I don't even know if it was a story or just a recounting of some bit of his day. I was younger, maybe not totally paying attention, until he said, "far gone."

At least, that was what I heard, and then it was all I could hear. What was the context? That makes no sense? Did I miss something? Had he said something else that just sounded like that? But then, what could it be? The rest of the details faded as I thought about that drawl which seemed to blend the words together. His Southern drawl had long been a thing wrangled into submission by years in the army--much like my mother, he'd had to learn "proper English" so he could communicate with people from other places--we knew he was from the South, but it rarely made itself so obvious.

To be honest, I don't know how long it took me to figure it out. That it wasn't just the drawl but the words themselves that were unfamiliar. He'd actually said, "fire guard." Like a firefighter. But eventually I figured it out, and I liked the turn of phrase, and it remained a tiny reminder of where my dad came from.

***

Now, I mentioned the army, something for which he felt he had to minimize the way he spoke. But it too added to his lexicon. My older sister and I were in the car with him once, a few years ago.

He was telling us about something, probably work. Complaining about someone who should have known what they were doing and who very much did not. And he ended the description with a soft but fervent, "What the fuck? Over."  [Ooo, deja vu.]

He always said it like it was one whole phrase, though. "Whatthefuck, over." Only the barest pause before the "over."

I'd heard it before, a few times, but never understood why he did it.

After this occasion, when my sister and I were alone, she asked if I had noticed it. I said yes. She loved it as a verbal quirk of our dad, and said she never wanted to tell him. She thought if he realized he did it, he'd become self-conscious and stop doing it, and she never wanted him to stop.

It was something he picked up from the army, speaking over walkie-talkies. And it stayed. He retired from the military over twenty years ago now, but he still says "over," and even more rarely, throws in a "roger."

It's delightful to experience, and feels like hearing a secret.

I never mention it to him, because I don't want him to start feeling self-conscious and stop.


I noticed something in that trip that I'd noticed before, and when she and I talked about it later, she said she never wanted to

Books!

Jul. 14th, 2017 12:08 am
ravens_quill: (Default)
The McKinley Book Sale starts this weekend. It is a week-long book sale run by the Friends of the Library organization, wherein a high school cafeteria is filled with books (plus, DVDs, cds and art) of various genres.

It's heaven wrapped up in an introvert's hell. It's basically a tradition with my family (well, my dad, older sister and I, plus whoever feels like it, the latter of which changes from year to year) to go the first day, right when they open. You can early choice of the books laid out because it's the first day, but also, people line up that first day, and it very quickly fills up, so you are scooching and squishing past people with boxes full of books.

Even with fans running, it is a tight fit after a little while, and your humble introvert here has to start deciding what's more important scouring each shelf for books in her desired genres, or getting away from the people. I try to hit my top 2 or 3 areas first, so if they get crowded I've already searched enough I feel okay moving elsewhere, and the other sections aren't so desirable that I feel I might lose out if I skipped them once I've reached maximum peopley-ness.

I like the rare book section, though those tend to be a little pricier and frankly, Hawai'i is not kind to old books. Then I hit the sci fi and fantasy books (usually I try to have a list of 'books I hope I can find' or a 'books I already have so make sure I don't buy doubles,' sometimes I bring both lists--then proceed to not look at them because juggling a box of books, other people, books everywhere plus lists is occasionally asking for trouble). Sometimes I look through the psychology books, often I roam the art books (so few art nouveau books, but I love it so, the only bit of asymmetry I really like), and the art pieces themselves are usually nearby, so I duck into that corner, which tends to be a little emptier of people. Gives me some breathing room, plus interesting art to look at which I cannot afford.

Last year, I opted to bring just my large fairy tale tote bag. Easier to squeeze past people, self-limiting because it can fill up faster than a box, and a good test for how sturdily made it was. A pleasant surprise I haven't snapped any of the stitches ~knocks on wood~ but it's nice to see something I made hold up to heavy use. I'll probably bring it again this year.

Honestly, I have no space for more books. But it's tradition, and I have a few books from trilogies or series missing the rest of the titles, and you never know what you'll find there. Sometimes I find something I wasn't looking for at all, and it strikes me as a perfect gift for someone.

So my goal for tomorrow is to finalize a list of books to be on the lookout for, plan a bit of a budget, and see if I can't organize things to make a bit of space for the ones that'll be coming in. Plus find a mantra I'll actually listen to so I don't overbuy everything because it's got a pretty cover.

Book dragon? Me? Noooo. >.>  Okay, maybe a little.
ravens_quill: (Loki)
I mentioned last post a job interview. It was last Tuesday. It went...okay. It was, what I am coming to think of as a "let's get the basics out of the way" interview. The interviewer was the HR, not anyone doing the specific hiring. She made it seem like there were a like of directors and managers looking for job positions to fill in the area I was looking for work (admin/clerical), but she also seemed a little inattentive, which she said was sleepiness caused by the sound of the rain.

I dunno, though, someone being sleepy during your interview doesn't bode well, even if she said she'd pass my resume and whatnot on to the managers and she'd call me back to set up a second interview if any of them were interested.

I know I am in a tough spot because my work history is heavy on editing and teaching (both of which, is my eyes, would count as "clerical" experience), and the 2 years of customer service a bit farther in the past. But I feel like I have the skills, and I keep thinking, "Just give me a chance." I want a job where I can stay with a company for a long time, something that is enjoyable and challenging, full of good people and supervisors who appreciate the work their people do. A company where I can grow within it. I don't feel like that should be asking too much, but no matter how close I get, eventually it's a no, or silence, and I'm not quite sure where I'm going wrong.

Anyway, so this past Tuesday I went to meet with a staffing agency, also connected to them through the job fair in mid-May. The person I'd met, who had my info and had scheduled this meeting, never showed. I was finally introduced to another recruiter, who knew nothing about me and didn't have anything prepared (because even they didn't know why the person I was supposed to meet wasn't there. Finally, the receptionist texted her, and when this other recruiter came out, she said the missing one was at a doctors appointment). So it turned into another "let's get the basics out of the way" with the very small addition of my asking why the process is like. I learned so little from that meeting, it doesn't feel worth the bus fare I had to pay to get there. And then she said the missing person would call me later that same day, and I have yet to hear from anyone at that company. Not a call, a text, nor an email.

So that's sort of frustrating. I'm inclined to shrug and say, if they call me, they call me. And if they don't? To keep searching on my own in the meantime.


***


There's a tumblr post I like, where friend A told friend B to "man up," and friend B didn't like that and asked them to use a phrase that wasn't so gendered and sexist. Friend A came up with "Fortify!"

And I like that.

I hold that in my heart for those moments when I can feel my anxieties pulling me back, tucking me into a ball that says "it's not going to work out anyway, so why even try?" "Fortify" is Gandalf holding his ground, it's refusing to be pushed over and made small by the Balrog of my anxieties.

So when something disappointing happens, especially as I try to find a FT permanent job, I say to myself "Fortify," straighten my shoulders and find one small thing to do to move a little closer to my goal.
ravens_quill: (MurderWalk)
I have ideas for posts.

* I want to write about Marvel and comics and the ones I'm loving and the story-arc-that-shall-not-be-named because it is despicable and should have been dropped ages ago. But there are other titles, like Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, and The Unstoppable Wasp, which are doing so many good things.

* I also want to write about 12 Monkeys. Honestly, Syfy (still don't like that they changed it from Sci fi, but oh well) actually has some pretty good original shows--Dark Matter, Killjoys and Wynonna Earp are all returning in June. But the new 12 Monkeys season was released in its entirety over this past weekend (Fri-Sun) and I think that is an interesting choice in addition to the show itself being an intriguing take on time travel, a genre I like but have a lot of trouble with. My biggest issue is with time paradoxes, which the show directly addresses.

* I still want to do a photo-heavy how-to breaking down my method for creating a new sewn item, but the one I'm in the middle of is a wallet, which I've never made before, and I'm a little stuck on how best to sew it. I do find that, tricky as it can be, I much prefer making my own patterns, though. I bought a pattern for a simple skirt and that was such a hassle, trying to sort out directions and symbols and just cutting the pattern pieces.

* somewhat less focused on posting, I want to try the bottled galaxies again. I have some bottles with screw tops that might work better than the corked bottles, and I found a few tips for making the cork ones more secure/air tight, which will hopefully fix the problem I had of air escaping and the water evaporating. I also want to get reinvigorated with editing TIZR and writing TIC and my ace romance.

* Lastly, update on life: I went to a job fair last Wednesday, gave out my resume to a few places, got some applications, and received a call regarding an admin position for one place. The interview for that is tomorrow at 9. Awkward to get to via bus, but not impossible. Not my ideal job, but might be something that could lead to more satisfying work. I also have a few other positions to actually finish applications on, including an academic advisor for what was a for-profit college, but is now a non-profit.

Wish me luck and look back here in the coming weeks for talk of comics, TV, and crafting (I have a baby quilt to sew for my cousin's first child, she's tiny and adorable and you can never encourage awesomeness too soon).
ravens_quill: (Amethyst)
But it is a holding pattern.



I haven't felt like I've much to blog about lately--nothing in my life has really changed in quite a while--I wake up; have coffee; get on the computer to check email, twitter, dw, fb; reply to emails as needed; do editing work as needed; spend more time on twitter and tumblr and fb and whatnot, sometimes netflix; search for jobs I think I'd like and be good for and have the required experience and education; sometimes make dinner; usually water the plants; watch TV; take a shower; go to bed.

I haven't gone out with friends in quite a while, except a brief Starbucks trip with a friend to catch up on things. I look for jobs but I still struggle to push past a motivation block (possibly depression-related, it's a little hard to tell, because the driving symptom is just the lack of motivation/energy/willpower to do things or complete tasks). The anxiety hasn't been too bad (the combo of anxiety-depression is irksome: anxiety "you need to go, do, make. Find a job, get your place. Move, move, move!" and depression: "why bother? who's got the energy for any of that?" and the 'This is fine' comic).

~sighs~

I do want to break out of the holding pattern, though.

Tomorrow there is a job fair. It tends to be more lower-level positions, fast food, manual labor, teaching at the 'get your degree in 18 months' colleges, but that's not all that's there. I might not find anything, but then again, I did get my last job through one of these. It was a teaching job, and I did it well and had that job for five years. Now I want to move out of teaching (not necessarily education, but away from the classroom side of things at least), and preferably towards a communication job possibly related to marketing. So maybe I'll find something there, or maybe I'll break through the block just by interacting with potential employers and pitching myself to them. Maybe I can come away from that and be motivated to spend the following day actually applying for the jobs I find.

Fingers crossed.

The social anxiety I sometimes have to deal with is rearing its head, saying the bus ride will be crowded and uncomfortable, and it'll be hot, and I'll sweating the whole day, and the fair itself will be crowded, and the idea of being surrounded by people makes my chest a little tight.

But I try to turn it around and tell myself it's the next step towards making the life I want. A job I like going to every day, not the easiest work but satisfying, the energy and motivation to keep writing in the evenings and weekend, getting stories published here and there, maybe getting some of my novels published. A home of my own, not cluttered but full of little wonders. When people come over, there's a small detail in every corner to draw their eye--an old book, a figurine, a piece of art, a sculpture. Objects that seem like they belong, but also seem to hold a little bit of magic in them, ready to tell a story.

That idea is worth fighting for, so the next step is find a full-time job. So today I am researching the job fair to see what all I should bring (a folder with copies of my resume, of course, and a bottle of water, but maybe something else?), get a sense of what companies will be represented there, and prepare for tomorrow, when I will haul out some business casual dress clothes, hop on the bus and head for a job fair.
ravens_quill: (My name is Agent)
I pretty much lost this week to being sick. I tried to do a few small tasks, but I've learned from far too many past experiences that if I -can- rest when I'm sick, I need to take advantage of that.

I've had too many occasions when I would say, "Well, I've got this test, I've got this project. I'm scheduled for work, I gotta go," and I push through--take some DayQuil, pack a bunch of tissues, maybe some juice, a pack of lozenges, then I get to work. But that's the sort of attitude that also led to a 3-day cold turning into 3 weeks my senior year of high school.

I used to only get one, maybe two colds a year. I didn't get sick much, and the worst of it was over after three days. I'm not sure when that changed. If teaching, thus being in an AC'ed building five days a week for five years with its recycled air, was part of it. Or if it's more recent than that.

I definitely have had plenty of health issues since December, more in a small space than usual.

I don't like it.

It makes my head fuzzy, which makes me grumpy and feeling unproductive.

Today I am in the dry congestion phase, so hopefully, with enough rest and medication today, I will better by tomorrow. But that doesn't stop from getting on the computer and seeing how much I can do before I feel too crummy to keep going.


My 2017 motivation, so far: Even a little step forward is a step forward.
ravens_quill: (Overthinking-B99)
Heh. Not really. But I have been thinking about my life and how to make it more productive, more organized.

Maybe that desire for organization is linked to my (recovering) perfectionism. But I figure it couldn't hurt. 'Control the things I can control' and all that.

So this week, I've been doing just a few simple things to reconnect with my own thinking process.

1. Writing notes longhand. I always have notebooks near at hand, and I find that writing something down, more than just copying and pasting it into a Word doc, or even typing it up somewhere, helps me to remember whatever the information is, and also cements it as a plan a little more, maybe because I remember it better.

2. Drawing a line on social media, especially Twitter. It's so easy to spend the day scrolling through and refreshing Twitter when I'm on my laptop, but eventually, I need to draw the line and say, "Okay, I'm getting offline/off the computer now." And then follow through. Yesterday I did that and got some work organizing my bedroom space in the afternoon. Today, my plan is to wrap p with the social media stuff then switch to writing. But saying it and putting it out there helps hold me accountable. Because even if I turn on my phone and check the Twitter app there, I am less inclined to RT and tweet a bunch.

The real trick is maintaining the habits that are most useful.
ravens_quill: (Default)
That subject line is paraphrased from a comment I left on someone else's DW. Perhaps a bit of hubris, but I liked the sound of it.

And frankly, it's a little too apropo today.

On the surface, my life hasn't changed much in recent months--I am still on the job hunt, still writing albeit in fits and starts (partially due to finishing the first draft of a novel and coming down from that last big push, and partially due to just being stuck in my current WIPs), and still crafting when the mood strikes me (I -want- to craft more than I actually -do-, because sometimes desire doesn't coincide with motivation and energy).

But below the surface is a roiling undercurrent of emotion. Frustrations with family members, turmoil with friends, and dissatisfaction with life in general (to say nothing of the horror of our current political climate). I don't know how to push past it, and it's hard to move forward when the other people involved are seemingly content to keep things as they are. Saying something just tends to be brushed off or misinterpreted.

It makes me feel small, quiet, invisible.

I don't like it.

Sometimes saying that is enough to mentally gird my loins and push through to productivity, doing something hands-on or creative, a bit of a work I can be proud of or happy to have completed, at least. But the times it doesn't work, I find myself going in circles.

Today is a circle day. I'm spiraling a little bit. But trying to crawl out of it and break the loop by relishing the happiness of others. Seeing someone else enjoy a thing or (re)discover joy is a good feeling, too.

~deep breath~ Yeah, gonna hold onto that thought for today, and break the cycle.

Also, it's now raining. Pouring, really. I love the rain.

Have a good weekend, everyone.
ravens_quill: (Default)
Like many, I am making the move from Livejournal to Dreamwidth. It was perhaps a long-time coming, but the site isn't what it once was, both with regards to its user terms as well as the overall feel of community. So many had already left and now more were doing the same, and I knew my time there was limited.

I first joined LJ because my best friend was on it and using it for role-playing, and they wanted me to be able to read the rpg posts because we were both story-tellers and readers. But it didn't stay that way, a place where I was but the observer of others.

It became a home for me online, a place where I could control who saw what, so I could feel comfortable sharing things there that I'd be hesitant to share elsewhere, where the options were making the platform totally private or totally public. But I could also shares things there that were hard to talk about "in real life". I've always been an introvert, but online, I used to be very shy, too, and wary of saying anything personal. When I first started posting there, it was surface sharing, things about my days, school and the like. I was an undergraduate, a freshman at that, and it was the friends I made online (one in particular) who helped me open up on LJ and begin to find my voice.

I'm still an introvert, but some of the shyness melted away. I can speak up more about how I'm feeling and what I want, and it was that community which helped me get there.

But people grow, things change, and we move on and forward.

Like many, I can be found in numerous places online, going by many names. I have a writing/hobbies blog and an editing blog on blogspot, I'm on twitter, tumblr, facebook and instagram. I am looking to make DW my main blogging platform.

Expect to do lists, analytical rants about TV and comic books and movies, the occasional art or craft post, and a look into the processes of job-hunting, writing books, and editing.

I'm Sabrina. Nice to meet you.
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