I loathe smart quotes

I really, really, really do. Although admittedly it's straight quotes that are harder to deal with. If you like smart quotes, but have to convert them all to straight quotes, it's easy. However trying to convert the other way around is always a bitch. Libreoffice, whyyyyyyyyyy must you be this way?

Anyhow! This is a familiar rant that happens every time I have to format something. I hate formatting. I don't really like editing. I despise basically everything about the process of publishing and selling published things. I want to just write stories! I am a writer! I am not an editor! I am not a... uh... formatter? That's not a thing, but whatever. I'm also not a publisher, blurb writer, cover artist, cover art designer, social media expert, or salesman!

This all goes to say that I spent today both formatting and giving a final proof-read to Blood and Fire. I still need to write a synopsis, and I might buckle down and try to actually fix the straight quotes thing and the weird paragraph tab thing, too. I swapped to a different version of Scrivener half way through writing this one, and there were some hiccups in the process, let's say, so this manuscript is buggier than usual.

Should manage to get it sent out tomorrow, though. Blood and Fire will make three paperback novels, and nine total "books" for sale in e-book format from me. :3 Though some of those are not novel length. Still! Slowly the catalog grows. The sales also seem to grow, though also very, very slowly, and hell if I know what current events will do to that! I get everything quarterly, and for most things at the end of the quarter following the quarter it sold in, so I'll know what April's sales were like some time in November. :P

Still living in a pit of despair and depression, but every now and then I manage to push something through it. I've got lots of experience doing that, sadly.

Hopefully everybody else is still hanging in there too.

This entry was originally posted at https://bladespark.dreamwidth.org/1594487.html.

Literally Nothing Better To Do

I mean, actually a million things, but do I have the energy and focus to do them? No! Can I do a dumbass question meme? Hell yes.

1. Do you like blue cheese? Eh.  Take it or leave it.  I don't hate it, but I never seek it out.  And I love cheese. But I'm more a brie person.
2. Coke or Pepsi? Neither. Ew.  No cola.  No soda in general, really.  Not a fan of carbonated drinks.
3. Do you own a gun? Nope!
4. Whisky, Tequila, vodka? Whisky.  Though a good vodka is nice too.  Never gotten into tequila?
5. Hot dogs or cheeseburger? Cheeseburger all the way.  Hotdogs are fine too, though.  I'll eat most things.
6. What do you drink in the morning? Coffee with lots of cream.
7. Can you do 100 push ups? I can barely do ten.  No upper body strength at all these days. :(
8. Summer, Winter, Spring, Autumn. Spring.  So very spring.
9. Favourite hobby? Cannot possibly pick one. Also the line between hobby and career is weird for me, since I'll do most hobby things for money now and again.  Thing I really wish I could do right now: painting miniatures and/or figurines.
10. Tattoos? Someday soon, I hope.
11. Do you wear glasses? Yup. Blind as a bat (blinder than many) without them.
12. Phobias? Sigh.  So many.  Not all are crippling, but: heights, too open spaces, being in the ocean, cars/driving, the holes thing, and sorta spiders, but only if they touch me.
13. Nicknames? Too many!  :D But don't call me sparky, that one kinda annoys me.
14. Three drinks you drink? Whisky sour, old fashioned, painkiller.  (Dunno if they meant alcoholic, but my brain parsed it that way.)
15. Do you believe in ghosts? Nope!  I don't specifically disbelieve, but I've never seen anything that convinced me otherwise.
16. Biggest downfall? There is no way I can answer this. >.<
17. Rain or snow? Rain.  But only if it has thunder and lightning.  I'm so incredibly sick of bland, drizzly western Oregon rain.
18. Piercings? Never!  And never will.
19. Age? Old. :D (Turning 42 this year.  I was going to throw a huge Life, The Universe, and Everything party, but I dunno where I'll be or where the world will be come June.)
20. French fries or onion rings? OMG, the cruelest question.  I mean, most of the time, french fries.  Onion rings are the best, best, BEST thing ever, but I'm also intolerant of onions, so I will suffer later. :(
21. Will 6 friends do this? Ha hahaha.  No.
22: Kids? One.  Can I ship her to Australia?
23. Favourite colour? All gem tones.  Today peacock blue.  Tomorrow it'll be different.
24. Favourite crisp flavour? I see somebody is British.  Salt and vinegar.  (I'm not British, but I lived in Ireland for a year and a half, and it made an impression.)
25. Can you whistle? Three different ways!
26. Do you have brothers or sisters? Two of each.
27. Ever had surgeries? Not yet.  Unless wisdom teeth count.
28. Religion? Eeeeeeeh.  I attend the Unitarian Universalists, and that suits me.  But it's complicated and I'd have to write a novel to really cover it.  Not sure I'm kidding about that. At least a novella.
29. Shower or bath? It'd be bath if I had a bathtub where I could get my whole body under the water.  I do not.  So shower.
30. Like gambling? Nope.
31. Are you a good friend? This is an impossible thing to answer.  I don't know.  I have some friends, so I guess?  Or they wouldn't put up with me?  I don't know.
32. Broken bones? Both arms, the right at the elbow, the left at the wrist.  On the same day, too!  That was a fun six weeks or so.
33. How many TVs in your house? One, but we don't really use it.
34. Worst pain ever? Childbirth.  I suspect this will be my answer forever.  Ouch.
35. Do you like to dance? Sorta.  Get me a little buzzed and in a club environment where it doesn't matter WTF you do, and sure.  In any formal way?  Nooooooope.  I am not good at it or confident about it, and I went to so many awful, awkward school dances when younger, so it takes a situation distinctly different from that for me to have fun.
36. Are your parents still alive? 50%.  My mom has passed, my dad is still around.
37. Do you like camping? I'm not as wild about it as my partner is, but I don't mind tagging along when he goes.  We have a very cushy camp setup with a full kitchen including oven that's kinda fun.
38. Are you weird? Oh yes.
This entry was originally posted at https://bladespark.dreamwidth.org/1594334.html.

Still not productive

But I gardened a little? Weeded most of a tomato bed, which was nearly a lawn it had so much grass. Prairie? It wasn't mowed. We don't mow the back yard. It's partly laziness, but also a little bit deep enjoyment of the *great* micro ecosystem we've got back there. It's all invertebrates, since we've never gotten around to the bird feeder idea, but it's seriously alive in the way a mowed lawn just isn't, and it's pretty nice. We do mow the front to a bare minimum standard, just to not look like a total wreck, but the back is three raised beds, and then the rest just runs wild, with grass, native plants, and the remnants of some flowers some past owner planted. And also onions, for some weird reason. Dunno what's up with that! I guess there was a non-raised, non-edged garden at some point or something?

We also have the neighbor on one side refusing to deal with the remnants of a past blackberry hedge where it's behind an apple tree from their point of view, so we have to trim back attempts at those taking over, and the neighbor on the other side has honeysuckle, which has kinda eaten the area around the fence between us and which I probably should fight too?

It's a quite small yard, but it's got some things going on. :D

This entry was originally posted at https://bladespark.dreamwidth.org/1594037.html.

Brains are so weird.

I've been reading about the mask shortage for weeks now, of course. And it's always come with a little thought that goes something like "Damn, I really don't want to take masks that somebody else might need more, and I don't want to deal with price gouging, so I guess I won't even try to get a mask, but it'd be nice to have one."

In all that time, it never crossed my mind that I might already have a mask on hand. Thought never entered my head.

But all this has been text, or if there are photos of a mask, it's on a person.

Then somebody happened to link me to a meme that showed just the mask, and on seeing the image, my brain went "Hey, pattern matching time! Here is a vivid visual memory of seeing that exact object in a supplies drawer in your studio!" And suddenly I remembered that when I did a bunch of resin dremmeling years ago, I got an N95 mask to keep from breathing resin dust, and I still had it. A quick rummage through the misc. supply cabinet, and there it was!

JJ is out grocery shopping while wearing it right now. :D

(And yes, I know people are arguing about how much good N95s do. I continue to think that they're better than nothing, and people putting out things about the virus size do not understand the difference between airborne in droplets and fully airborne. Ebola was fully airborne, the corona virus is not. So long as you take other reasonable precautions, continue to not touch your face, and sterilize the mask after wearing, they're going to be useful. And if nothing else, they keep you from breathing out as much junk, in case you're an asymptomatic carrier, which also matters!)

This entry was originally posted at https://bladespark.dreamwidth.org/1593788.html.

We are getting a farm share!

Under normal circumstances we hit up the farmer's market basically every week it's open, but although they say they're opening as scheduled in a little less than two weeks, I don't really trust that they'll manage business as usual. Business as usual is jammed with people, and even if crowds are now much less, I just don't trust people to keep their goddamn six feet.

So we'll probably be skipping it for at least the next couple of months.

But how, then, do I get delicious produce? And how do I support our favorite farm, where we usually buy far too many strawberries every year? Well, I was looking them up to see if there were other options, and saw that they had a "Community Supported Agriculture" section on their website. Aka a farm share, aka a box of random produce every week. Or in this case every other week, since with just three of us, one with some food issues and one being four, there's no way we could eat a box every week.

I'm honestly pretty excited. It'll be an excuse to cook more veggie-centered meals, and have salads more often, both things I kinda want to do, but getting the motivation to is hard when pasta is so easy... This should help, since it cuts out the entire "shopping" step. :3

It was kinda spendy, it ended up being $33.75 per box, but then again that's about $17 a week, which feels high but not crazy for a produce budget. There's weeks I've spent that much, certainly, just not consistently.

This entry was originally posted at https://bladespark.dreamwidth.org/1593480.html.

I left the house today.

Other than walks around the neighborhood, the last time I went out the door was a little over two weeks ago, when I went to my mother in law's and left the goober there for an hour so I could get therapy'd uninterrupted. (Which didn't happen this week, I had to lock myself in a room and ask JJ to take time from work-at-home to deal with the kid melting down about that. Bleh.)

My last trip where I went somewhere I might encounter somebody outside my bubble was grocery shopping nearly three weeks ago, I think?

Today's trip out wasn't strictly necessary, but I'd finally had enough of being inside, and my therapy visit yesterday we discussed things I could do to have something in my life that was a.) not just sitting on my duff, and b.) something I could feel in control of, unlike the course of the nation and my idiot relatives. We landed on my picking up piano again, and doing some indoor herb sprouting to later put outside, both of which are goober friendly too.

So I went and bought seeds and dirt. I looked at little seed planters, but none of them fit the windowsill, they were all too deep, so I'm just using an egg carton. The home improvement store was being *way* diligent about social distancing, they actually had a setup where not only could I stay six feet away from fellow customers, I could stay six feet away from the cashier *and* they had plastic sneeze guards. Somebody thought it through fairly well, it seemed like. It still felt weirdly scary. I didn't touch anything I didn't buy, but still...

Got catnip, majoram, sage, and parsley. I already have rosemary and thyme, and I've given up on growing basil, it's way easier to get at the farmer's market, though God only knows if that will happen at all this year. :( Hopefully, but it's supposed to start in two weeks, and let's say that's not looking likely.

But yeah, gonna plant herbs!

This entry was originally posted at https://bladespark.dreamwidth.org/1593157.html.

Strange times

To be honest, most of the news about the current crisis has lowered my already low opinion of the human race (people are still having beach parties in Florida! Still! Fetlife has listings for current, active, swingers parties! Some of them are Covid-themed! WTF people! Why are you all so stupid? And the hoarding and the price-gouging, and Trump and just... ugh. Ugh.)

However, there is a small slice of the news that just delights me. Pomplamoose pledging to spend all their Patreon income for a month on hiring other musicians to do from-home recording gigs, so that they can keep people whose concerts and studio gigs have been cancelled in work. 3-D printing groups finding ways to print useful things (though some of those are unfortunately over-ambitious, I have a friend who keeps saying that medical regulations are written in blood, and untested designs *will* kill people, and he's probably right. But they're at least trying, and some of those projects are printing tested designs, thankfully.)

Today I found out about distilleries pivoting to make hand sanitizer. Some of that is just good business, of course. There's a demand, and they can meet it. But it's not just that. One local place is giving 4oz away to anybody who turns up with a bottle, and their first wave of bulk orders were all for hospitals and other vital industries, not just for random people. I am considering dropping by there while I'm out today, since I need to leave the house for once, and I finally have a working car again. Might pick up my free 4oz, and might also spend some funds on one of their more traditional products, if they have any in stock. :3

Edit: Of course my trip out has been cancelled. Oh well, I don't really need booze. Just... Sigh. :(

This entry was originally posted at https://bladespark.dreamwidth.org/1592855.html.


Did church via zoom again. It's honestly really nice! Coffee hour after is better in person, but I kinda like the virtual meeting otherwise. If I could send the kiddo off to childcare during the service, I might prefer it! But given that, I will be glad when things go back to normal and we're meeting in person again, though that isn't likely to be for a good long while. They're not planning on any dumbass "back for Easter" nonsense, thank god.

This entry was originally posted at https://bladespark.dreamwidth.org/1592367.html.

I've resigned myself, or something.

Honestly feeling okay today. Mostly. I mean, I'm depressed, my uterus is still in full rebellion, I haven't had a day off from the goober in... er... I have also lost all sense of time? Several weeks, at least. I did have two hours off Tuesday before last so I could do therapy. Before that I'm not sure.

But like, we're having little to no trouble getting food, our pantry is actually stocked to the point where I'm starting to have mild "But what if we can't eat the perishables and waste some?" anxiety, because my food issues are...weird, put it that way. (I was never personally aware of being food insecure, my parents always got us plenty to eat, but I was raised by parents who were intensely food insecure and literally traumatized by the difficulty of feeding us kids when they were young and poor, so I was taught that to waste food is a literal sin that I should feel immense guilt over. I've gotten much better about being able to, I no longer eat things that taste awful just to not waste them, but I do still fret over the idea of needing to throw out large amounts of food. It's a talent in hard times, I guess, but still...)

Anyway! We're doing fine, JJ got us filet mignons (filets mignon?) to have tomorrow, I just had sushi, I'm steaming an artichoke tonight, all favorites, so it's not like I'm not eating well. Cats are fine, kid is driving me bananas but is fine, everything's fine.

I just feel low-key depressed 100% of the time, and it swings into being outright anxious, fearful, angry, and sometimes totally unable to move. I can't really focus. I haven't written a word in days, haven't written anything like my usual output in weeks and weeks. I keep going through a litany of everything wrong with the world and everything wrong with my life in specific, and it feels so damn unfair that I should have a personally traumatic health crisis, lose my mother and have to deal with family bullshit, and then have the whole damn world melt down all in the space of like six weeks.

And yet actually I'm fine? I'm surrounded by people who have lost their income, can't make ends meet, can't get out to get food even if they could afford it, genuinely fear for their lives if they catch C-19, etc. and I'm not dealing with any of that, not really. I mean, I know people my age (41) aren't completely safe, but I'm still in a very low risk group and my immediate family is even lower. I worry some for friends in their 70s and for my mother in law. I stress about the world some. I'm bored and I can't manage to accomplish shit between depression and no time off from the kid. I'm drinking a little too much again, though that's not spiraled out of control the way it did over my family issues last year.

Everything's just...eh. Not the worst. Not great. Things will be shit for a long time. The world will get much worse before it gets better. I won't get time off from the kiddo for weeks to come, maybe months. It is. I'm resigned. That's as positive as I can manage to feel, resigned.

This entry was originally posted at https://bladespark.dreamwidth.org/1592183.html.