March Wildflowers

I visited the Santa Margarita Wildflower Festival, a small to-do in a semi-local town. I’ve now got several packets of California-native flower seeds, which will be lovely additions to the existing collection on the property. Thus inspired, I took a few photos of what’s blooming at home right now. (Click to embiggen.)

California Poppy

California poppies

Red Stemmed Filaree (an invasive non-native species, actually, but their seeds form spirals, and the green seed pods can be made into a pair of scissors for one’s pointless amusement, so I’m fond of them)

Red Stemmed Filaree

Freesia (okay, it’s not a wildflower, but it was blooming in the backyard when I went to head inside, so it got included)

purple freesia bloom

Bonus points to me for remembering this time: camera settings! They’re a thing that exists! So I futzed about with my f-stops to get more interesting results in my depth of field. I’m so rusty at doing Proper Photography ™, but I got some decent shots this time, yeah?

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Butterflies for My Birthday

Yesterday was my 30th birthday. (More on that later, probably.) To celebrate, Mum and I went to the Pismo Beach monarch butterfly grove.

I enjoyed taking a ludicrous number of photos: well over 100 shots. (Not counting the full roll of film Mum took as well; gotta wait to have that developed.) A lot of them turned out mediocre. I don’t have a long lens for my camera, so it just flat couldn’t get close enough at times. Also I, uh, forgot to switch to the action setting when I really could have used it, so I’ve got some lovely blurs of butterflies in flight.

Here are a few of the best shots! (Click to embiggen.)

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And one blooper:

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Unexpected Uses for Ordinary Things: January Poetry Fishbowl

Over on LiveJournal, ysabetwordsmith is doing her monthly poetry fishbowl. The theme this month is unexpected uses for ordinary things. You can leave prompts and donate to unlock the poems. (There’s still a little time left!) There’s also a freebie up.

Over on the Dreamwidth mirror, I left the following prompt:

If you stay alive long enough, everything ends up being useful at some point. Packrats and people with a knack for anticipating future usefulness, hanging on to seemingly useless objects until the critical moment. I would particularly love to see this in the Frankenstein’s Family verse, but anywhere would be lovely.

Which turned into the poem “Life Is an Improvisation,” so if you feel like tossing a few coins to the bard to help unlock it for everyone, I’ll be extra happy!

For a full explanation of the fishbowl concept, see Ysabet’s post. The short version is indie publishing at its best: readers want stuff, writers make it, money (or linkbacks like this post) support the writer so they post the materials.

Ysabet’s poetry is swell: diverse cast, smart science and magic, wicked sense of humor. Go. Read. Support.

Feminism in Studio Ghibli

This video from The Mary Sue gets into some of the reasons why I adore Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli’s films. In particular, the way their films handle villains is something I both love to watch and struggle to emulate in my own stories.

A good villain is hard to make, and the nuanced characters who need to be outsmarted and won over, rather than killed, have become my (often out of reach) ideal.

Listen to the Epic of Gilgamesh

I’ve been listening to these readings of fragments from the Epic of Gilgamesh. I enjoy listening to mellow recordings while going to sleep. (It’s the best solution I’ve found for my insomnia.) These were pretty pleasant last night. I haven’t listening to any of the other hymns and poems yet.

What I love most is that transcripts and translations are provided with most of the recordings. Putting meaning, sound, and visual together at once makes for a more engaging experience. Of course, that’s not exactly the best trait in something meant to put me to sleep!