Saturday, August 23, 2014

It's not you, it's me

You may have noticed that I haven't been posting much lately. I just don't feel like I have much to say right now, and selfies would be laughable since I wear shorts and T-shirts every day. Add the bike helmet and a sweaty head, and my hair doesn't look like much, either. Sometimes I force myself to wear make-up and earrings, but mostly I look like a kid on summer vacation!

So I'm going to make it official and "take a break from blogging" although I may be checking in and commenting a bit. I get tired of the techno-life sometimes - don't you?

Before I go, let me get these pictures out there and tell you what I've been doing.

Best thing - I've got a cool freelance gig, copy editing and proofreading an academic book on aesthetics and creative spaces in Asian cities. It's exactly the kind of work I like to do, although the theoretical jargon can be a little challenging. Anyway, it'll keep me busy for a couple of weeks, and I've got more potential work in the pipeline. So, whew, I'm earning money!

We've been having a hot summer here - sunny every day for the foreseeable future, so there'll be no change from the shorts and T-shirt and bike helmet!

Last week we went to see a printmaking demonstration - in a parking lot.


Plywood was used for the printing "plates"...


 ...and the prints were made on sheets.


The "press" was a steam-roller!



Voila!

It was very cool, except it was very hot. They did a lot of these prints that day - this one was done for one of the sponsors.

A couple of weeks ago we went on a hike in the hills not too far from here. It's quite a climb to a gorgeous spot with amazing views!







Mt. Jefferson, I think
the Three Sisters peaks are just barely visible in the background


So, that's all for now. I'll see you anon!

Val

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Where do you stand on the End Times?




Remember when this was sort of a personal style blog? Remember when I sort of had some personal style? Well, I don’t get out much anymore, and I just like to be comfortable, and I love having bare legs while the weather is good.


Things have been kind of weird around here lately. It seems like we just got back on course after the Mercury Retrograde situation, and we’re having a sort of apocalypse-lite. Partly it’s the weather – thunderstorms and colored skies like this.




The trees were red!


The evening these were taken, we were out for a walk when frogs jumped across our feet on the path. A couple minutes later there was a snake wriggling by at high speed as if the devil was chasing him. I expected to see flying monkeys next, and sky writing that said “Surrender, Dorothy.”


Last night I was reading when I saw a hint of movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked down at the brownish carpet and didn’t see anything – except a little shadow. Was it just the nap, or was it...? I looked closer and saw a spider with a leg-span of at least three inches! It tried to get away (and my husband would have preferred if I had got a jar to catch it put it outside), but I grabbed a slipper and whomped the spider. It bounced a bit, and I whomped it again just to make sure. I’m sorry, but it had to be done. I felt kind of bad, but mostly I'm scared of a spider ghost coming to haunt me.

THEN - the phone rang in the middle of the night, which can’t be good news. It was a recording telling us to turn ourselves in to the police! It was obviously urgent, and probably had to do with tearing the tag off a mattress in 1997. We were given a phone number to call, an officer’s name, and told that this was the District of Columbia State Police. (The District of Columbia is not even a state, so WTF?) The call ended with, “Have a blessed day.”  Again, I say, WTF?!

So, what have we learned about frogs, snakes, spiders and scam phone calls? To always put your best foot forward. Okay, a bit of a non sequitur, but it’ll do.


I’ve been wearing these shoes a lot lately for walks and bike rides. They’re suede, they’re by Born, and I got them on sale last year (previously seen here). What’s not to love? They may not be shiny, but they’re going to Sheila’s Shoe Shine!



fresh tomatoes and basil!

 Are you still enjoying your summer, or has it reached its End Time?

Val

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Lowest Common Denominator



What have I been up to? Lots of trawling the web and various “talent exchanges” looking for freelance work. It’s dire.


I had no idea what the working world had come to. I joined an online freelance network where jobs are posted and freelancers bid on them. There are lots of these networks, and they mostly pay in miniscule amounts that make you wonder if it’s worth the time to write the proposal and submit a bid. Here are some real ads (paraphrased):

“Write two to three articles per hour... strict $3 per hour budget.”

“Looking for quality writers - 100 original articles, 500 words - $1 each.  Also add two pictures and a video to each article.”

“Need a proofreader for a three books, each is 90,000 words. $200 for all three.”

Yikes! The thing is, people are bidding on these jobs! Some of the bids are in countries with lower costs of living, but a recent ebook job went to an editor in the US who is only charging $7.65 an hour, and she has to cover her own overhead as a freelancer.

I just did an editing test for another online agency where they advise you to change words to contractions, because otherwise the content writers are guilty of "word padding." Heaven forbid a writer might earn an extra three cents!

However, some of the editors and writers in the forums on LinkedIn exemplify this new standard of quantity vs. quality. This was posted by someone who claims to be a writer and editor, and I copied it verbatim:

 “its nice to know there is more then me that loves text and improving it.”

AAAAAAAACCCCKKKKK!!!!!!! 

These must be the people who are writing for how-the-heck-do-I-do-that.com and suck-my-wiki.net and your-Q-my-A.crp

Using the term "content mill" is apt - it's like the old industrial days where people worked 72 hours a week just to earn enough money for a crust of bread. I’m shocked, I’m stunned, I’m depressed.

So let's change the subject and I'll show you what I’ve done in my spare time.

I had a large metal frame that I bought at a second-hand store, and it was hanging on my fence with nothing in it. When I cleaned up my Craft Cave, I found a stack of used CDs (leftovers from multimedia work that my husband did - these are all tests). So I glued some together and added other pieces of junk, and voila!


 The way they catch the light is pretty cool, but the back is colorful, too.


 Now it hangs outside my window.



I also did some more work on a little diorama that I started months ago. It's a decaying French salon. Sort of like Miss Havisham's place in Great Expectations.


The book on the shelf is made with pieces of an old French encyclopedia.


I still need to add cobwebs and do the exterior. And let it sit and get dusty. Ooooo, I need to add some drips of candle wax, too!

Okay, I'm feeling better now. I might even take this to Creative Mondays at Claire Justine.

One more thing - this is my husband's band, with the amazing Beth Milton on vocals. Also check out "Under Your Spell." I couldn't get the YouTube link to work for that one.





Val