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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Halloween Party Pictures, THE Storm, Canatics

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet




"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Halloween Party Pictures, THE Storm, Canatics

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halloween dawn
Yesterday was our annual Halloween party, much scaled back from prior years due to a number of reasons, not least of which was that Bobby and I didn't get ourselves organized till mid-month. There was only family in attendance, but we had a good time and served a good meal (always one of the major reasons why Bobby and I host parties!) We had potato-leek soup for the first course; barbecue chicken (with barbecue sauce made during Tropical Storm Irene last year), potatoes and green apples smothered in cheddar cheese, and spinach salads for the second course; and an assortment of desserts brought by the family for the final course. Dad made cookies and a delicious pumpkin cheesecake; my mother-in-law brought a "dirt cake." And, of course, we had hot buttered rum! Despite my abstaining from alcohol this week, I did have one cup. :^|

Mom, the sinful angel.

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Mom and I did not intend to both wear costumes with wings, nor did we intend to dress as complete opposites of each other. Mom was an angel; I was a Raven death goddess (I completely made that up if you're wondering, "Where the hell did she get that from?!") We made numerous jokes/comments through the night about who would win in a fight. (Me, obviously. ;)

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If we make it back to school by Wednesday, I will be wearing my costume but no corset because that would be a decidedly bad idea at an all-boys school. :^|


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Mom and Dad.

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Me and Bobby, my vampire servant. >:^)

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The party was also overshadowed somewhat by the impending Storm of Doom. Bobby and I are prepared; he got up early this morning to make some minor repairs to the roof in preparation of massive amounts of rainfall; hopefully, this will mean no roof leaks. Our roof is actually relatively new and sound, but we have an ancient ridge cap that once came halfway off of the roof! We really need to get that replaced. In the meantime, it needs a lot of TLC or we get leaks when we get a lot of rain. We packed up all of the outdoor stuff, both summer stuff and Halloween decorations. Bobby tied down the beehive and removed the wire roof from the chicken run because it was collecting leaves, and he was worried it would collapse/blow away. Of course, we're good on food and firewood. Times like this--when everyone else is fighting the supermarket--the efforts we make to stockpile over the summer seem really worth it.

We also have a small generator, just big enough to run the freezer, fridge, and sump pump, so we shouldn't lose a lot of food this year. Bobby stocked up on gas for that on Friday.

Now it's just waiting. School is already closed for tomorrow. It was bleak and windy this morning, and the air has a wicked feel to it that Bobby says it probably the falling pressure but is just as likely my imagination. I asked Bobby this morning what the prediction of the moment was for the storm, and he sighed and said there is still a lot of uncertainty with various models showing different trajectories. So we'll just have to play it as it comes, it seems. It does seem like it's not going to come on land at Ocean City, which is good for us--bad for our friends to the north :(--although Ocean City was evacuated again this morning, and Annapolis was evacuated last night. In the middle of the night last night, the weather radio went off and announced a high wind warning for Monday 8 AM through Tuesday 8 PM--that's a long time! *cries*--for as far west as Frederick County, our neighbor to the west. So it seems we'll be somewhat on the outskirts, at least according to whatever model(s) were used to generate that warning. I don't even know why I'm saying that, as it's very little comfort with a storm as uncertain as this one.

So ... I might suddenly disappear from Teh Interwebz. Not to worry! I am probably holed up in my basement, still using my laptop, possibly writing something kewl (i.e., not related to school, teaching, or any of my official roles in any groups) or maybe reading (probably school-related *cough*), with the woodstove roaring and the wind doing it's worst outside, with the Goldens and my vampire servant Bobby at my side.

On a completely different topic, I got a canatic review on ff.net this morning. An anonymous one. I'd disabled anonymous reviews but, apparently, ff.net has since introduced the ability to moderate anonymous reviews, so I assume I was reset to that option by default, which actually would have been my preference, so that's fine. It was the usual canatic review: Oh your writing's good but Tolkien wouldn't have wanted ... your characters aren't what's in the book ... blah blah blah. I did approve it. Then I did a bad thing and replied to it in the reviews for my own story, since I couldn't reply directly to the person. It was not a nice reply. I was rather harsher than I usually am. Bad me. I guess I'm just getting tired, after all these years, of answering the same stupid complaints from the endless rotation of small-minded people who manage to read a 350,000-word character-based story and then claim not to like the characters. What's up with that?? How/why does a person even do that?

Anyway, a while back, while I was making test cards for last year's B2MeM, I made a Canatic Review BINGO card. So let's see how this review measures up!

First, here is a blank card; do feel free to use it to measure the canatic reviews on your own stories. ;)

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Okay, so let's analyze this particular review ...

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No BINGO. Meh. But an awful lot of stamps!



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/304762.html
  • Those damned Bingo cards! I must have filled 60 prompts and did not get a single Bingo. I had cards that were absolutely as filled as they could be without one. Bah! Humbug on challenges! I am so unlucky with them.

    and the air has a wicked feel to it that Bobby says it probably the falling pressure but is just as likely my imagination

    It's real, because I feel it also. I felt like a chicken or a dog predicting an earthquake when I woke up this morning. And I have very little imagination when it comes to things like this and a tenuous hold on physical reality (I am trying to get Laura out of the house to get some groceries before the stores close or run out of food). So if I feel it, the pressure is real!

    Bad news if it is worse than the last big storm which missed us largely and was still scary as hell. I walked to the corner once today and it is already windy and I could see the hills of New Jersey which reminds me how close we are to the water, although very high. The highest point in New York City (the big hill in Sunset Park proper) is just a few blocks from us.

    Edited at 2012-10-28 07:40 pm (UTC)
    • Those damned Bingo cards!

      Tell me about it! Although my complaint is of a different nature than yours, though bingo-related. I was having mild anxiety attacks just at seeing firehouse bingo games advertised!

      I never win anything either.

      It's real, because I feel it also. I felt like a chicken or a dog predicting an earthquake when I woke up this morning.

      Lol. Exactly. Even now, the wind is still kicking up and it sounds ... weird. Like it has bass in its voice. Like it does right before a thunderstorm, only then it's over and done with fast. It's been going since morning and we're nowhere near the supposed start of this thing.

      The highest point in New York City (the big hill in Sunset Park proper) is just a few blocks from us.

      That's a relief. We have very high elevation here (at least compared to our surroundings--1040 feet) and no nearness to water; it is the volume of rain and wind and the possibility of snow while the trees are still leafed out that scares me. Before Irene, I had a nightmare that we lost all of the trees in our maple grove.
  • It was bleak and windy this morning, and the air has a wicked feel to it that Bobby says it probably the falling pressure but is just as likely my imagination.

    Oh dear; it seems I have a lot of LJ friends in the path of this monster. Is it supposed to hit a mass of cold air?

    Some people are sensitive to drops in barometric pressure. My Mum and I get heavy heads, tired eyes, but a friend gets laid out with migraine. I hope it is not as horrible as they say.

    I LOVE the pictures, by the way.

    I guess I'm just getting tired, after all these years, of answering the same stupid complaints from the endless rotation of small-minded people who manage to read a 350,000-word character-based story and then claim not to like the characters. What's up with that?? How/why does a person even do that?

    They must be masochists; I think they are fascinated, but don't like that they are, so they have to blame some-one for their inability to tear themselves away, and that is the writer. I think they're bitter, narrow minded fools, myself. There must be kudos due to you for getting so many, since they obviously can't help reading. :D Hugs!

    • Is it supposed to hit a mass of cold air?

      Yes, that's part of what is making this storm so interesting, scary, and unprecedented. A local meteorologist went back through weather records into the 1800s and could find nothing like this one. A mass of Arctic air is also coming down from the north, which could result in a dumping of snow, as well as the tropical storm. We occasionally get both here--tropical systems and blizzards--but never both simultaneously, and it's very "out of season" for both.

      My Mum and I get heavy heads, tired eyes, but a friend gets laid out with migraine.

      My TA at work gets migraines from weather changes. Interesting that it's possibly the pressure causing it; I'll have to bring this up to her. I've never thought of myself as particularly sensitive, except that I get nonspecific aches in my legs when a low is coming in. I'll get achy and ask Bobby, "There's a low coming in, isn't there?" and I'm usually right. No aches yet ... but the air just feels wrong.

      They must be masochists; I think they are fascinated, but don't like that they are, so they have to blame some-one for their inability to tear themselves away, and that is the writer.

      Yes! Exactly! I can understand disgruntled comments on a short piece that takes one sitting, tops, to read. But AMC?? AMC is 350,000 words; it is no leisurely afternoon read. It takes continued, sustained effort to come in day after day, find it, click on it, and read it. On ff.net, it's not like it's popping into Recent Stories as I update it; it takes hunting down to find it. I absolutely fail to understand why someone would exert that kind of effort on a piece of fanfic that they dislike/disagree with as much as this person apparently did.

      I commented to the person exactly what you said: You're either a masochist or you lack understanding of what makes a story tick for you. "Good writing," meaning wordsmithery alone, cannot sustain 350,000 words worth of a reader's attention. If I were to take these people's advice and make my characters and ideas canatic-friendly, I think they'd find they couldn't sustain attention for the length of a monster epic like AMC. Such a stunning lack of self-awareness is really boggling to me.
  • Haha, yours and your mom's costumes. =D Love your mask.

    Oh fiddlesticks, you nearly got bingo! And yes, it does seem strange to read such a long story and then complain about it. I've seen so many entitled, snotty reviews on ff.net that I highly doubt I'll ever post anything there (unless it be crack!fic I'm not attached to).
    • Thank you! Halloween is my favorite holiday. I found the mask at a local Halloween store and fell in love with it; the rest of the costume fell into place around it. I don't know that this can be a one-year-only costume ... I'm really in love with it. :)

      I've seen so many entitled, snotty reviews on ff.net that I highly doubt I'll ever post anything there

      I dislike posting there. I really don't anymore at all. The last thing I posted was an intentionally challenging story to see if I could get any canatics to bite, which I couldn't. (I got one nice review from a person I know from the SWG.) Most of the commenters there are narrow-minded and big-mouthed and stunningly ignorant. Every now and then, I'll get a comment that is smart and insightful, but that's rare. And the ignorant comments get me fired up, which is not a good use of my limited time! :)

      Y'all here on LJ and the SWG have me totally spoiled as far as good comments go. ;)
  • That's an awesome costume. :D

    *hugs* I hope the storm doesn't hit you all too badly, though II'm glad you both are so well prepared. These types of storms terrify me.

    And I'm going to use that card and see how many stories it takes to get a Bingo. Two already from last night's little one-shot, so I'm on my way! Though, most of my regular readers know better than to assume I haven't read the texts by now (there was a really, really big blow up last year.) I've had most of these in the past though. Never sure whether I should be more amused by them ("Hi! Please note the whole "Maedhros' Bastard Love Child theme", don't assume this is perfectly canon, and stop insisting that instead I should write a story about Nerdanel's sibling to explain red-haired background elf") or angry.

    How did someone manage to read a 350,000 word story and then say that kind of stuff? I get someone reading a 500 to 3000 word story and being like that, but 350,000? That's ridiculous. Of course, the FFN reviewers tend to be so. Some of the people on there...
    • Let me know if you get a bingo! :D I could probably go back through my old reviews for AMC and try again. The card was, in a large part, inspired by that.

      I've had most of these in the past though.

      What amazes me is I've been around in fandom for ... eight years now? (Good lord, has it been that long?!) And these are the same dumb comments I was hearing when I first started posting my work. It's frustrating because I feel people aren't coming to my stories with the right frame of mind to enjoy them at all. I generally don't agree with pulling one's work from a site, but the constant plague of dumb ff.net comments sometimes tempts me.

      I get someone reading a 500 to 3000 word story and being like that, but 350,000?

      Exactly. A story as long as AMC requires multiple returns. It requires devoting days of one's life to reading it. Why bother if you can't even agree with the basic interpretative premise or if you hate the characters in a character-driven story? It seems to me that a person either has to be extremely masochistic, extremely bored, or actually does like the characters more than s/he realizes.
  • Yay, your dad wearing his kilt LOL :) I love the mask, what is it made of?

    As for Sandy... as I already said: I hope she's going to be very gentle. Here winter no longer is coming: it has arrived. Jeez, I really sound like a Stark now. Hehehe.

    And ah, the review. I read it and I don't think its harsh, just straight forward and to the point.

    it says: Maglor was hailed as the second-greatest singer in Aman and/or Middle-earth

    Wuut????

    Now that is a fangirlish reaction ;c)

    But you know, sometimes you stumble upon something, that piece everyone has been reading and this person probably stuck around as a rite of passage, with the culmination of leaving the author a canatic review. *snort* I do have 90 shades of grey, but I haven't even started with it, GRRM first.
    • I love the mask, what is it made of?

      It's just plain ol' plastic. It was relatively inexpensive and acquired at one of the Halloween stores that crop up around this time of year in vacant retail space.

      I read it and I don't think its harsh, just straight forward and to the point.

      It hurt Anonymous's witty-bitty feelings apparently!

      Now that is a fangirlish reaction ;c)

      :^D Part of me was thinking, "If *any* of the characterizations deserve serious critique, it is Maglor for relying too heavily on the Maglor-as-a-wimp trope." But, of course, that's fanon, so it's okay. >.<

      And, like Maedhros, Maglor-as-a-wimp is just him at the very beginning of his long evolution through my verse. But it is one of the decisions about that story that I regret in retrospect. I just didn't want his #1 fangirl coming after me like Maglor after Uldor. ;)

      The "fangirl" comment pissed me off because I felt like that preconception immediately barred Anonymous from considering the reason for decisions I made in that story. As a young female writer, I must obviously be blinded by a [fictional] pretty face into committing all sorts of writing faux pas. *eyeroll*

      GRRM first.

      Oh, good luck with it! I've read through Book 3. His writing drives me crazy (the second book, in particular, I thought really needed a little love from an editor), but he is very good at spinning a story, and I enjoy his books, even though I wish they were written by a fantasy author with more writing chops.
  • I love your mask. Is it leather?

    Your Mom looks marvelous as an angel, your Dad really rocks in his kilt, and I love Bobby as your vampire servant. I noticed that he wears the same hammer pendant that my husband wears. Very nice.

    I find it amusing that someone would read through an entire long spiel just to leave a negative review, but it happens. Too bad you didn't get a Bingo out of it :-)

    - Erulisse (one L)
    • I love your mask. Is it leather?

      It's just plain old dumb plastic, from a Spirit Halloween Superstore. :D

      I would love a leather one as this one becomes uncomfortable fast, and I can see this being a costume I wear for years to come. A better corset too, as this one bulges too much on the sides.

      I noticed that he wears the same hammer pendant that my husband wears.

      His Thor's hammer was a gift from our friend hrymfaxe, the first time she visited us from Denmark. I'm pretty sure he wore it as a nod to our favorite character from the show True Blood that we're both hooked on, the Viking-vampire Eric Northman. *points to icon*

      Too bad you didn't get a Bingo out of it :-)

      I've had fun writing to this person! I feel like, with a public platform at last, I'm unleashing eight years of pent-up frustration at the canatic establishment.
  • I love all of your costumes! :)))
    And good luck with the weather... *fingers crossed*
    • Thank you. :) We're looking at hurricane conditions by tonight, so keep your fingers crossed for us. :)
  • Great mask! Your guys at school will love it (I understand that the corset is out of bounds ;-D)

    I was wondering about the bees in the storm but they seem to be well taken care of. These big big storms are really scary. I remember the day before the biggest hail storm ever here (apple size stones falling during half an hour) was unseasonably hot in the middle of winter, the sky was a yellowish grey and you could feel that something out of the ordinary was coming.

    • Hail like that is one of the scariest things I can imagine. So destructive!

      The bees will be okay or won't. :) It's one of those things that we do the best we can for them and then hope. Luckily, they are located against our evergreen grove--we did that intentionally--to provide a windbreak. Now if one of the trees falls over ... but given the size of those trees, if one of them goes, the bees will be the least of our worries.

      It's looking like I won't get to wear my costume to school at all. Tropical storm-force winds are supposed to stick around Carroll County through Wednesday morning, according to the map I just saw.

      The feeling that precedes a vicious storm is really indescribable, isn't it? When we get the occasional tornado here, we get that weird-looking sky (more greenish than yellow), and things just feel ... wrong.
  • I love seeing the costumes -- they all look great! Thank you for sharing them with us.

    I am hoping that The Storm is not too bad for you; it looks pretty nasty from the reports I am seeing. Take care!

    *hugs*
    • Thank you, Sam! Things are ramping up here now. We'll be into hurricane-force winds by tonight; that's when things will get their worst. But, ultimately, we're lucky here in the foothills; it is the folks in the coastal areas and in the cities/towns taking a direct hit--the Jersey shore, NYC--that I have my fingers crossed for. The reports and predictions are really scary. :(
  • Canatic incantations

    Well, from a few similar instances I've had I suspect that these folks simply MUST find something to fault due to their lack if insight and imagination. If it doesn't fit in their little gray world then it can only be wrong...somehow. Best not to waste much time on them. As a friend of mine has said on numerous occasions..."not worth the angst".
  • "Canatic"? *confused*
  • I hope you stay safe!

    I love your costume! That mask is awesome.

    I downloaded the bingo card. I'm seriously tempted to go through the reviews to RAFA to see which ones I've forgotten about. But I'm not that masocistic… I think. Either way, it'll be useful in the future. Well, maybe not, because I don't post on ff.net anymore, partly because I'm sick of those reviews. I really don't understand why people can't use the back button, or failing that, to just keep their mouths shut. Sometimes I want to blame age. Most of the time, I'm a bit harsher.
    • The mask was the spark of inspiration for the whole costume. :) Bobby and I went to our local Spirit Halloween Superstore, just to peruse and gather ideas, and I found this raven mask and just fell in love with it. I love the carnival vibe and the subtle creepiness to it.

      I downloaded the bingo card. I'm seriously tempted to go through the reviews to RAFA to see which ones I've forgotten about. But I'm not that masocistic… I think.

      Lol! I thought about doing the same on ff.net for AMC. I'm pretty sure I'll get those last few squares I need to a BINGO.

      I don't post on ff.net anymore, partly because I'm sick of those reviews. I really don't understand why people can't use the back button, or failing that, to just keep their mouths shut. Sometimes I want to blame age. Most of the time, I'm a bit harsher.

      I've been harsh. I hurt Anonymous's feelings, apparently; s/he wrote back to me, missing the point largely (of course), defending that postage-stamp-sized piece of canatic ground with all she had left. (I'm exaggerating. But it was one of those funny-sad comments.)

      It blows my mind to imagine spending the time it takes to read a long story like AMC or RAFA and come out of it with hardly nothing good to say. I think I'd throw in the towel, personally, having better things to do with my time than read fanfic I don't like or agree with.
  • That bingo

    It's funny, because i've half-forgotten about Sandy, aside from my increasing worrying about how this week will play out (i'm supposed to have my first solo show this week, &, er, yeah, worrying if it's going to happen). Maybe it's because i've felt gross all day, but it still feels vague & unreal to me, despite the storm being on our doorstep by now. Have you seen any pictures from OC of the flooding?

    And your costume looks awesome (a la [The] Morrigan?), & your parents look so goofily awesome together. c:
    • I did see the OC pics. *cries* The fishing pier is gone, well up to the shack at least. The ocean and the bay have met.

      I haven't had the luxury of forgetting about Sandy, living with a weather nerd, as I do. ;) I've been getting at least daily updates for the past 2+ weeks, ever since this was a distant, almost laughable possibility showing up on a mere two weather models.

      The wind is ramping up here; when I was washing dishes and looking out the window, it looked downright scary in the backyard, and this is just the beginning.

      What is the solo? I hope it comes off for you! :) In the meantime, stay safe! *hugs*
  • Heh... I once left a somewhat canatic review (if I'm catching your drift), in error as it turned out, and immediately felt like an idiot once the author replied and pointed out my mistake. I did really like the story, though, and hope I managed to convey that sincerely... but I'm sure whatever good vibes there were got dampened for the author. (At least I learned a fact that has led to deeper thoughts and possible story ideas in my own brain.)

    Since then I keep my mouth shut unless it's to give praise. It's fiction! Authors can do whatever they like with the source material to tell the stories they want to tell.
    • I once left a somewhat canatic review

      In my early days, I left some comments I'd probably blush to read now. (I'm sure I can still find them on ff.net somewhere! :D) I think it's almost a rite of passage. I don't fault people for pointing out what they think are mistakes and then accepting if it's proved otherwise. I do get annoyed with people who claim to have a monopoly on the "correct" way to read the texts and make such stupid accusations as being "wildly imaginative," like this person did. To me, that's a compliment! :) I can't imagine advocating for boring fiction. I think it's safe to say that my writing won't be for such a person, so I can't fathom why they'd waste their time with it.

      A "canatic review," in my opinion, is someone who adheres to the idea that the "correct" way to write about the texts is the most direct route between points A and B and relies heavily on fanon established by like-minded people, without offering critique to said fanons as they do more original ideas. These are the people who pepper their stories with facts or quotes from the text as though to prove that they've read the books and who embrace endless iterations of the same boring rehashes of the text. Critical? Me?? :)

      They have a right to those stories--I am glad that they find fulfillment and enjoyment in them--but they don't have a monopoly and I get annoyed when they act like they do. I pass on their work and wish they'd learn to do the same for mine.

      Since then I keep my mouth shut unless it's to give praise.

      I don't mind concrit, even though I don't personally give it publicly or unasked myself. It's everyone's right to say publicly what they want about my stories. But I also reserve the right to bite back. ;)
  • Third attempt at commenting - darn, LJ, what's up with that?!

    Oy vey, I'm guilty of quite a few of those canaticisms myself! >_>

    Your mom and you really couldn't have chosen any more matching (contrasting) costumes! You all look like you're having a blast. And yeah, wearing that corset to school might be a bad idea!

    That storm really sounds terrifying. Hope you all get through it safely. I'm so glad we don't have storms like that here often! (Though of course, as we haven't, most people act like it's the end of the world if there's just a little bit of snow!)
    • I have trouble imagining you using any of those in a comment on a story! :)

      Your mom and you really couldn't have chosen any more matching (contrasting) costumes!

      I know! It was funny. I met them at the car and just started laughing when I saw what she'd picked to wear. The laughing kind of ruined the whole "death goddess mystique." ;) We're on the same wavelength a lot of the time, though. We saw Wicked a little over a week ago and showed up wearing basically the same dress.

      The storm ... we're supposed to be up to hurricane-force winds tonight, and it looks like tropical storm-force winds may hang around until Wednesday. (!!) Things are ramping up now; the trees were thrashing around in a very scary way while I was washing dishes a little while ago.

      Here in Carroll County, we're relatively lucky, being on the fringes of the hurricane and nowhere near water. Oshun just posted an evacuation map of NYC and the report that they could face a 10-foot wall of water. Ocean City--the seaside town in Maryland where we all vacation--is flooded, with the sea coming up from one side and the bay on the other to meet in the middle. So I'm thankful to be where I am right now and hoping for the best for people more in harm's way. :(
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