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I had a long post typed up, but Frank ate it, I guess.

Looooong story very short is that Mum has been and continues to be absolutely infuriated with me. Much of it likely has to do with how she is feeling about the dialysis situation, but she's taking it out on me, in ways that are both immature and abusive. For instance, right now, I'm not permitted to be in the same room as her. Since we're sharing a room here at Compassion House, that means... uh? I'm still sitting in my coat, I have no way to get the cable for my laptop, I have no access to a bathroom, nor do I have kleenex and my face is reacting to all the pollen in the worst possible way. ...I don't expect her gratitude or anything, but being treated as a human being and/or another adult would be nice.

In other news, my uni has cut off my library access. As part of their new cost-saving measures, students lose summer access to resources (unless they're teaching or enrolled in credit hours), and students on Leave lose all access. So given that I'm now unable to keep up with the literature, and unable to work on any of my papers... Yeah, I can't really see myself going back, even if I could scrounge up the fees to re-enroll. Chalk it up as another failure.

I swear to god, on days like today, if it weren't that I'm loathe to break my promise to actually finish my fiction, I'd totally walk into traffic. You have no idea.

01:39 Mum has spent the past eight hours detailing my transgressions and inadequacies. Reducing me to tears and self harm wasn't sufficient this time, so I expect a continuation tomorrow. My head aches something fierce.
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The Writer, Tom Gauld (website)
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I've been seeing a lot of vanity press and pay-to-play adverts on FFN lately; since they're not showing up in other places, it seems likely that FFN is still selling their ad banners themselves, as opposed to letting the google machine target the ads we see. Live, let live, and internet billboards are just that. Except that FFN is the kind of place predatory publishers could easily phish for new stock -- so, some words of wisdom for writerly folk who happen across my corner of the internet: you should be aware of the brilliant resources available to you via Victoria Strauss and AC Crispin's blog, Writer Beware. Be informed, when you make decisions about publishing.

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I have made the executive decision to consign my friend's undrinkable home-brewed wine to an Ethiopian chicken stew, Doro wat. I haven't done any Ethiopian cooking in forever, and of course I don't have niter kibbeh prepared, nor do I have berbere... But hell, I'm in EDMONTON again. These are not insurmountable problems. *whistles cheerily to self*

So instead of scribbling dialogue (which is still boring in my head), I'm off on a hunt for ingredients, and a pleasant afternoon in the massive kitchen here at the House. No one's desperate for the next chapter, anyhow -- especially since we've come to the perfectly reasonable and evidence-based conclusion that Snapey sells or designs office supplies.

17:00 Ethiopian delicious-ness accomplished. Recipe(s), if you care:

Niter kibbeh ("spiced fat")
In a deep saucepan, simmer together:
1 lb unsalted butter
1 med onion, diced
3-4 chopped cloves of garlic
2 tbsp chopped ginger
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
7 pods of green cardamom
1 pod black cardamom
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp fenugreek (methi seeds), lightly pan-toasted and cracked with mortar and pestle
1 cinnamon stick
5 whole cloves
10-12 peppercorns
2 tsp cumin seeds

When butter has clarified (i.e., milk solids have boiled off, ~20 min), strain through mesh, discarding spices. Store in the fridge up to two months.

Beri-beri (also 'berbere') spice mix
In a small glass jar combine:
1/2 cup chili powder
1/4 cup ground dried chiles (can omit if you're a wuss)
1/4 cup smoked paprika (or sweet paprika if you're a wuss)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground fenugreek
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice

Mekellesha spice mix
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice

Doro wat
Marinate 1 lb of chopped chicken thighs in juice of two limes for 30 minutes. Also hard-boil 8 eggs (bring eggs to boil, then leave to stand on back burner for 13-14 minutes; less time i.e. ~12 minutes at lower altitude. Cool in changes of cold water and peel.)

In a large, deep saucepan, sauté until soft:
2-3 tbsp nitre kibbeh
3 large onions, diced
6-7 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 tbsp fresh ginger, grated

Add, cooking 5-10 minutes to 'heat' spices:
1/3 cup berbere
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp cardamom
1 tsp dried mustard
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp sacred basil (oregano can be substituted, but the flavour will be a little different)
½ tsp turmeric

Add to saucepan and cook 5 minutes:
2 cups of red wine (I like merlots, but even shitty, vinegar-y reds work just fine)

Add marinated chicken and lime, cook until chicken is well done (~15-20 minutes). Prick eggs with a fork, add to saucepan. Simmer all until it forms a thin sauce (add water as needed), adding 1 tbsp mekellesha during last five minutes of cooking time.
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Well, okay, not at Good Earth Cafe, where I'm now enjoying a pint of bitter. But that's not a long-term strategy for posting, or seeing/responding to reader comments. Anyone know how to get around an ISP block? If it were my own network, I'd just use Google's OpenDNS, but I can't (or should not) reconfig the network for the entire House. So.

Expect updates to be on AO3 in a timely fashion, with FFN lagging.

Oh, and haha, something changed deep in the bowels of LJ, and it now denies me access if I attempt to login from inside my VPN. *rolls eyes*
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Guys, your good wishes must be working: Mum had a really good day yesterday (some nausea, but also some solid food and 4 little walks around the ward), and slept most of the night through. My relief is boundless, and my mood is vastly improved by a shower, some sleep of my own, and reading comments on fic (I'm soooo far behind responding to people!)
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Hey folks. This is just a fast little note to let you know what's happening on my end. In short, Mum got the call for surgery, as there was a cancellation. She goes under sometime Friday, after which it's life on dialysis. I'm hopeful that the process towards home hemodialysis can be expedited, so that we'll not have to travel to Peace River every day (150 km). Anyway, if you've any good karma or thoughts to spare, we'd surely appreciate them over here.

ETA: for the minor amusement of [livejournal.com profile] traverse and [livejournal.com profile] mundungus42, I've begun All Things Bright and Beautiful, by James Herriot. The two of you know why I'm suppressing a decided smirk whilst reading.
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I finally found a few minutes to run down to the post box this afternoon. Having unproductively waited half an hour for ProfBoss to return from his lunch, I figured, "What's a few more minutes?" [Much like Hermione does,] I discovered flyers, adverts, bills, some lovely holiday cards from [livejournal.com profile] candamira and [livejournal.com profile] goddess47:

and a mysterious parcel:
"Read me first" eh? Alright.

Properly Slytherin, of course:

Ahah! It's the wonderful [livejournal.com profile] mywitch up to tricks! (No, lovey, I don't think you're stalker-y. On the contrary, I'm overwhelmed by your generosity and thoughtfulness. It's a privilege to count myself among your friends.)

Now, what are all these teeny, tiny envelopes, and how many house-elves were cajoled into this exercise in amazing-ness? ([livejournal.com profile] mywitch did all of these by hand -- is that not the most crazy-awesome level of astounding you can imagine?)

Why, they're love-letters, from all of you! I've not had time to open every one of them, but I have every suspicion that these envelopes contain every nice thing anyone's said about my work. I'm overwhelmed, honestly, to see them all physically represented. I'm going to pack this in one of the 'Zigadenus' boxes: the stuff I'm keeping close to hand, so that I can continue to create wordy things for you guys! ~hugs to all~

ETA: OMG!!!! *Flails, dies* THERE ARE LITTLE SNAPEY NOTES!!!!!!!! (With Slytherin seals, because of course.) *flails some more*

And Hermione too!
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And because I'm procrastinating for a few minutes (whee, LJ!), here's my contribution to the

Fandom Snowflake Challenge banner

I'm just going to collate everything here, under cuts, and keep 'advancing' the post by changing the date (I think that will work). I'm persnickety, and hate having to clutter up my journal with multiple entries for the same topic. So!

Day 1: In your own space, post a rec for at least three fanworks that you have created. It can be your favorite fanworks that you've created, or fanworks you feel no one ever saw, or fanworks you say would define you as a creator.
Day 1 )

Day 2: In your own space, share a book/song/movie/tv show/fanwork/etc that changed your life. Something that impacted on your consciousness in a way that left its mark on your soul.
Day 2 )

Day 3: In your own space, set some goals for the coming year. They can be fannish or not, public or private.
Day 3 )

Day 4: Comment to someone you haven't ever interacted with before or introduce yourself to someone you've interacted with and friend/follow them.
Day 4 )

Day 5: In your own space, post recs for at least three fanworks that you did not create.
Day 5 )

Day 6: In your own space, create a list of at least three fannish things you'd love to receive, something you've wanted but were afraid to ask for - a fannish wish-list of sorts. Maybe someone will grant a wish. Check out other people's posts. Maybe you will grant a wish.
Day 6 )

Day 7: In your own space, create a fanwork. Make a drabble, a ficlet, a podfic, or an icon, art or meta or a rec list. Arts and crafts. Draft a critical essay about a particular media. Put together a picspam or a fanmix. Write a review of a Broadway show, a movie, a concert, a poetry reading, a museum trip, a you-should-be-listening-to-this-band essay. Compose some limericks, haikus, free-form poetry, 5-word stories. Document a particular bit of real person canon. Take some pictures. Draw a stick-figure comic. Create something.

Nope, I'm out. Maybe eventually. Not today.

Day 8: In your own space, make a list of at least 3 things that you like about yourself.
Day 8 )
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Or, well, not so much with the thinky-thoughts, but rather an explanation of why I really really REALLY mean it when I thank you guys for reading and commenting. Those of you who are behind the friends-lock know what's been going on in my life over the past year (or thirteen, actually), and especially the past several days, so you'll appreciate, too, that in creating things that will be appreciated by others, I am also trying to create a version of 'me' that is valued, that will continue to exist (i.e., be valued by someone, live in someone else' head, have meaning to them) once my mother passes away -- because our identities are constructed, at least in part, out of how the people in our lives think about us.

ETA But also see my comment to [livejournal.com profile] gelsey -- you are definitely NOT OBLIGATED to ever comment my stuff. I just really appreciate it when people do.
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Chapter 7 is written, but it's late, and I don't trust my eye to edit it properly tonight. Look for it sometime tomorrow morning. After I've caffeinated. ...although, you guys are going to be so bloody mad about this chapter that I almost wonder if I shouldn't have the next two ready to go, first. Y'know, to dampen the flames.

*Sips Cocktail of Task Completion*
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Actually, anyone can play, but I'm assuming the writerly types may be more interested, and I'm not sure how to phrase my own interest to promote full inclusiveness (I'll try, with Question #2).

#1 a)When you are writing a canon character, to what extent do you rely on strict canon, headcanon, or fanon? b)If you have written multiple stories with a particular canon character, to what extent are they representations of your headcanon? Do you write the character differently (motivations, appearance, quirks, personality, etc) in different pieces, or are they essentially the same person?

#2 a)When you are reading fanfic, how important is it to you to recognize the characters as they occur in fanon -- and does this correlate with how close their fanon representation is with your headcanon? b)Have you ever read something that is not in accordance with your headcanon, but is written well enough that you suspend disbelief and accept the representation within that authorial universe? How common is that for you?


Jan. 1st, 2017 08:34 pm
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An entire new chapter (admittedly, only 2.2k, but still), written in a single day?!?! Don't get used to this. Seriously. Don't.

Prepare to be entirely disappointed, on: AO3 and FFN
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Scribbly updates: I've got another ~600 words or so to go on the next chapter of Inkstains, but I am a bit too depressed to finish it tonight. This story is beginning to burn me out. We have reached the dreaded Chapter 5 doldrums, wherein the amount of effort required to finish seems greater than the amount of reward anticipated at completion.
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I have been busy committing atrocities over on AO3 and FFN, so here's one just for all of you, my lovely LiveJournal friends:

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So, life smacked me around a bit this morning, but I've finally gotten caught up (mostly) over here at LJ, and with thanking everyone for all the nice things they've said about my little offerings -- to be clear, y'all don't have to be so sweet, you can offer criticism too if you think it's warranted. I appreciate both immensely.

Anyway, it's sifting down a little snow here, and that makes me happy. Winters are usually unrelieved ugly brown where I'm at. It contrasts badly with the fairyland of northern Canada, where the hoarfrost dresses all the trees in winter bridal gowns, and it's so cold on clear nights that you can hear the northern lights crackling as they dance. Where the starlight glimmers on heavy expanses of snow, and every sunset lights the sky on fire.

I posted this a while ago, but I'm of a mind to share it with you again (and not just because I'm a theremin aficionado). Take a few minutes, if you haven't already seen this, to enjoy Joanna Lurie's Le silence sous l'écorce:
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Busy working on A Thing today. More anon.

6:55pm the Thing is up at AO3.

About the title (Little Gifts Unspoken), if it interests you: I intended that the 'little gifts' are those moments of sublime connection, where he feels he is understood.
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If you have not yet done so, you MUST GO IMMEDIATELY and see the beautiful, spectacular, wonderful thing that [livejournal.com profile] mywitch has created. GO NOW
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If you're interested, my policies on friending, f-lists, and fanworks can all be found here, along with ye olde masterlist. There is also an Ask Me Anything running behind the f-lock.
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For your perusal, here's the illustration I did for my 2016 holiday card. Line art is something I'm fairly incompetent at and this is only my second or third attempt at human subjects, so here's hoping you weren't expecting anything amazing. Needless to say, if you're receiving this as a card and would like to be surprised when it arrives, don't click into the cut. If you somehow missed that I was sending cards, and you want one, PM me your details.

His Apprentice
(SFW, implied SSHG)

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