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I'm not even sure how this happened, but I've spent a few days spending time on YouTube listening to interviews and discussion programs with Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Bill Maher and Penn Jillette. Basically a rotating mish mash of delightfully smarmy atheism, and sometimes some very interesting and impressive discussions with people of faith.

I was especially impressed with an Australian show called Q and A.

I think the most impressive thing about it was the lack of yelling and the fact that they seemed, for the most part, to be genuinely having civil discourse. On Television. I had forgotten that was possible. I mean, I knew it was possible as a sort of hazy theory. Of course it could happen. But it was a bit like seeing an albino alligator in the wild when I actually saw it happening.

It filled me with longing, and an almost bone-deep weariness.


Spent the day today visiting with pals from the homeschool group. The weather was fabulous. The rain had left some temporary swampy areas in the green of the park, and many water birds had moved over from the lagoon to reap the surprised insects from the waterlogged areas. It was just lovely.

I spoke a bit with the lady whom I always liked, but who went a tad crazy on me on Facebook before I left, and found it very easy to be nice and positive and loving toward her. She's been trying to conceive for six years, and just found out she's pregnant, so it was easy to share her joy. Also, I had read and copy-edited her daughter's submission to the NOCCA Creative Writing program, and I was very anxious to encourage her. (The daughter had approached me independently of her mom.) She writes well. Incredibly well for a twelve year old, and she has the disposition to write and read quite a lot. I get that fluttery feeling from her work that I got in the past from writers I worked with who have become really successful. All the elements are there, and I'm really quite antsy to support and nurture them in her, in any way I can. But I'll let her come to me, if she wants.

If I have a superpower, it might be that I can see the greatness in others. That is, at least, the superpower I hope I have. :D


Visiting with another one of the moms was also great fun. She was always very encouraging to me, and always remarks on how nice I am to everyone, and how diplomatic she's seen me be under stress. That's encouraging, because that is who I want to be, surely.

I ended up speaking with her very passionately about some things, without even realizing it until she pointed it out. I'm usually a thinker, a muller-over-of-things, but for the first time in a great while I spoke out loud of things that are very important to me.

Which kind of gave me an idea about something I might just have to do.
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So, I basically told them I would move to Inquiry if they offered it to me, and spent the weekend regretting it. I LIKE only going to the office once every two weeks, and going in almost every day would effectively be hefty pay cut, in gas and time spent just getting there that I would not be paid for.

So, I was much relieved to get the email this morning saying that they thought I would make a good Inquiry specialist (I would) but they decided to give it to the newest hire who basically doesn't audit much yet. I audit a BUNCH of stuff, and they need me. So, yay. I don't have to give up my walking desk or anything.

So I'm quite relieved. :)


In other news, I am in New Orleans with my family. This is great. I got to go for a run in my favorite park in the world, and eat at one of my favorite restaurants. Also, we went to see The Hunger Games, which I really enjoyed (despite not being able to tell the white blond boys apart unless Katniss was actively kissing/saving one of them).

Tomorrow, we go to lunch with one of my favorite moms from the homeschool group (and her kids, whom my kids love), so that will be fun. Thursday we're going to visit with another family and then Friday we're going to the West Bank (sometimes called The Wank) to play Nerf War with a entire old gang. (Including Crazy Woman, but she's pregnant now, so either she'll have mellowed or she'll have a better excuse.)

I love this stupid city. I do. My buddy the folk artist has some work in an installation at the Jazz and Heritage... place. I must go see it and also go by her home and get some video of her work. I've been wanting to get it on video in a very specific way so that I can use it (with her credit and permission, in something I want to make.

I have the one she made me, but it isn't as creepy as the ones I want to use. )

The bad news is, there is not a lot of time for the writing I wanted to do, but even that has been going well up to spring break. So, I can't complain, really.

At some point I'm going to meet a bunch of my Beloved's new friends from work, too. He says things like, "We need to go for drinks with Bob and his Horrible Wife. She will glare at you disapprovingly for not having accomplished as much as she thinks you could have." This is hi way of encouraging me. LOL. Oddly enough, it works. :D
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posted by [personal profile] asato_muraki at 05:43pm on 05/08/2011 under , , , ,
We were lucky -- it was overcast and not too hot when we first got there. The sun didn't come out until after about an hour and a half, and even the most stalwart of us could only stand that for about half an hour. (87*F with 100% humidity was totally do-able, with ice water and frozen fruit pops to go with the fruit and snacks everyone brought. But 95*F and 100% humidity... was tough.)

It was absolutely great to see everyone again, one last time. A few people couldn't make it, but it was fun for the boys, and I got to talk to my homeschool moms (and dads!) again. I brought my camera, but I was too busy chatting to *think* about taking pictures. :(

The HS dad who is a book seller gave us books! Comics for the boys (one DC and one Marvel, since he wasn't sure which way the family swung, heh) and a collection of Andrei Codrescu stories about New Orleans. It was the most thoughtful gift he could have possibly given us. He and Ron always got on, so I bet he knew that Ron really likes Codrescu.

Then another mom who is a folk artist gave me a couple of things. She had been heading out to buy a gift, but remembered how much I love her artwork and stopped. She gave me two pieces. The first is a funky wall plaque with names of different notable NOLA places scattered around. It was just lovely, and I was glad to have it as a reminder of my time here:

Picture under the cut )

It's the sort of thing she'll be selling to tourists during festival season, I'm sure. :) But that wasn't all. She gave me one of her shadow boxes. She hasn't parted with any of them yet, though she has been offered a LOT of money for some of them. They tend to be evocative and creepy. The one she gave me is slightly less creepy, because it has no dolls or people figures in it. I almost cried when I saw it:

Somewhat over-exposed picture under the cut. )

You can't see the awesomeness of it well in this picture. It is full of detail and little fiddly bits. It, like most of her best boxes, seems to tell a story. It's full of mystery, history and decayed beauty. As soon as I have a writer's nook, it's going up in it.

She's grateful to me for 'talking up' her work on Facebook, but I genuinely love it. I wouldn't say I did if I didn't, really. Maybe I'm just weird and her art speaks to me in ways it doesn't to others, but I genuinely believe she could make a real name for herself.

I've often pondered whether my true gift in life is the ability to see greatness in others and in their work. I hope I have the opportunity to photograph her other work when I come back to town for the wedding. I want to use it in a project I'm working on. She has agreed to let me. :)
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posted by [personal profile] asato_muraki at 06:30pm on 04/05/2011 under , ,
Now that that's out of the way...

I had a plan for my Thing today, and I wussed out at the last second. Instead, I did something I'd been putting off forever.

Almost a year ago, my Beloved got me a Groupon deal for this famous little T-shirt shop on Oak street.


I went there a few weeks ago, and got overwhelmed by the choices. See, it's a custom t-shirt shop, you pick the shirt and whatever designs you want. There were so many choices! I had choice overload and had decided to use the Groupon to buy something for the boys. But the hubby wouldn't let me.

So, he took me back there today, and put together this shirt: More Pictures )

I love my new shirts, and teh hubby likes the way they look on. I tend to not wear form-fitting things, much. Turns out, he likes my form. ;P Go figger.
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posted by [personal profile] asato_muraki at 03:14pm on 28/04/2011 under , ,
Forward motion on teh re-write has begun again. I've almost worked my way over the sticking place. The work is much stronger than it was, and I am pleased.


The hubby has a line on a permanent job that could have been written for him. The company contacted him, which is always a good sign. It would be local, too, unlike some of the contract work he's been getting.

This is very exciting for us - no relocation! If you're the praying type, please do. If you aren't, good vibes would be appreciated.


So, I went across the river and picked up some friends of the boys yesterday, and we went to the Cool Zoo, which is a water park type of place at the Zoo. Then we walked around the Zoo, came back here and they played video games. Fun was had by all. The back seat was full of tween and teen boys talking in fake British accents and generally being awesome. They were very polite and flattering, though. My vehicle was awash in glottal stops and blarney. :P

However, one of teh boys left his swimsuit here. They are leaving tomorrow morning for a camp, so I need to take it to him. It's maybe six or seven miles away, but it feels like a great inconvenience to do this. Weird. Ron used to have to drive that far to work in Atlanta, and it felt like *nothing.* It might be the fact that it's across the river. People treat the west bank like it's a huge deal to go there, and I begin to see why.

I can walk most anywhere I want to go from here. Eight miles is like trekking to Mongolia.

I have become a city dweller. O_O
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So, I went out with my friend Mer and her friend with the Aspie-ish little girl. We went to a place called Cafe Atchafalaya, which was a tastegasm of epic proportions. I had the pan-roasted chicken with market vegetable, mashed potatoes, shiitake mushroom cognac cream sauce. It took most of my will power to not lick the plate. The bartender made us special fresh ginger martinis, and comped us a round. It was lovely.

They had live music with an as yet unnamed band (standing base, lead guitar, and computer-generated drums/electronica riffs and a fabulous singer the likes of which one finds with uncommon frequency in New Orleans). They were kind of a soul/electronica fusion, a really wonderful and unique sound. Mer talked with them and found that they had only been together two months and had not yet decided on a name. We tipsily handed over our emails for a mailing list for their band news, and made another sheet that was all crazy band names.

Now, several weeks ago, I posted a link to feminist LDS article, and one of my friends (a somewhat strident atheist) posted a comment remarking that "religion is a pernicious mindfuck." I replied that "Pernicious Mind Fuck" was a great name for a band. Somehow that ended up on the list, even though I insisted that it shouldn't be because it would limit their marketing options because of the F word. Anyway, that was the one on the list that the band seemed most enamored with. Even though it would be cool to have named this awesome band, I hope they settle on something else.

The owner hugged us all when we left (and the place was packed - people wedged in every which way). Even though I spent more than I intended (we ended up dividing the tab in thirds, so J and I subsidized Mer's bill a bit, but she totally earned it *g*) it was a blast and worth it. Besides, there is a tax return wending its way to us, and it wasn't that much if you think of it as my eating-out budget for a week or so.

It was also walking distance from Mer's house, so no parking issues. It was just lovely all around, with people greeting us from their porches as we passed.


Back at Mer's, she showed me the Siren site at Bookstrand with a list of their submission requirements. Now, I still want to sell (non-erotica) books to 'real' publishers, but I do have a knack for writing the sexy stuff. It's not difficult, really, and I enjoy it. It's less work than my 'real' writing, and the pricing structure for royalties with Siren and other mainly ebook publishers is surprisingly generous. The minimum submission length is 20,000 words, which I can easily pound out and edit in a month.

Also, I need money, and there are worse ways to make it than spewing forth with wank fodder. I can't get hired at food service and retail jobs because of my education, and I really would rather not go back to working for the government because the position I held for ten years (and all positions like it) was specifically prohibited from accepting money for writing no matter what the topic. It's one of the reasons I left that job, because I could not make money as a writer while doing that work.

Which sucked.

Then there's the fact that I wrote fan fiction for years, enjoyed it and gave it away. I actually have several shortish stories I could put up under an erotica pseudonym for free (and Feedbooks lets you give away 20% of a novel before people buy it) which is a surprisingly effective strategy, if you have a enough stuff for people to buy and write well enough to get a following. Or so I'm told.


So, not a get rich quick scheme, but a possible way of developing one income stream over time. I do not have huge ego issues keeping me from from it, though my basic laziness is definitely in the "con" category. It gives me something to think about, anyway.
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I gacked [ profile] aranel_alde's New Year Meme

posted by [personal profile] asato_muraki at 08:49pm on 01/01/2011 under , , ,
Huge new Year's Meme )

Spent today taking everything out of my closet and trying it on. My closet is now organized and I have a bag of clothes to donate. That's good. I found money in some of the pockets. That is also good.

I cleaned the house a lot, too. Just had the bug, I guess.

I had a lovely night last night, writing and chatting with my BFF via Skype between my Dawning of 2011 and hers. Even so far away, it was fun to get to spend time together. I am so blessed with awesome friends!
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posted by [personal profile] asato_muraki at 04:40pm on 21/11/2010 under
...pending another round of tests. They didn't tell us what the results of the first round of tests was.

They said showering would be okay if you didn't have open wounds and didn't ingest it, so I showered. Didn't risk shaving, though.

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posted by [personal profile] asato_muraki at 08:57am on 11/05/2010 under , , ,
First off, I apparently missed [ profile] cristalia's birthday. :( So here's a belated Angry Cat:


Hope it was great!


I'm also a bazillion articles behind on My GC pimping, and the usual amount behind on my GC writing.

But here I am back in New Orleans, and today is another field trip (this one to a glass blowing studio! Woot!) So, basically, I'm going to stay behind on all that stuff, for now.

Hope you're all having a great week!
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posted by [personal profile] asato_muraki at 09:25pm on 20/04/2010 under , , ,
I'm stoked to be beating the GeekaChicas drum today, because Nightsky's new article, Doctors with Dalek Bumps: Femme Doctors well and truly kicks bootay.

You know why? I'll tell you! It's not just a typical, "Oh, look, women are cosplaying as Doctor Who, only in dresses." It goes enough beyond that, and shares enough personal experience, for it to really make me think. Cosplay and crossplay are one thing, and really not that atypical. But female fans re-imagining The Doctor in their own image is something different, if not something new, and Nightsky's take on it really had me thinking about all the BS I've put up with as a woman who digs scfi/fantasy (i.e. 'boy stuff') for pretty much my whole life.

It resonated, dudes, is all I'm saying.


I am now the proud owner of a Louisiana driver's license. The picture doesn't even suck. Go figure. Since I was 7 months pregnant when my last DL picture was taken (after standing in line in Georgia heat for two hours), almost anything would be an improvement.

The tags and things on the vehicles are all nice and legal, too. It feels odd, like my last ties to Georgia are severed. And I have to go back to Georgia Saturday, where I will mooch off friends for a place to lay my head. For a week. Oy.


In other news, my homeschooling buddy from the UK's flight was canceled, so she's here for another week. I'm crazy pleased about this, because it means we get to see her off in better form. I'm really going to miss her. She's a pip.


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