Monday, January 19, 2015

Ghost Pictures

I can hardly believe that this is the Feather and the Rose's last semester in college. Susan and I are wrapping up our various majors and minors so that we can graduate in May like we're supposed to. I am both unbelievably excited and seriously terrified. This may get worse as the Day Itself draws near.

To finish out my Graphic Design minor which I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm taking a Digital Photography class. Because of this, I have recently acquired a fancy camera that captures more pixels than I ever knew I wanted.

To be honest, I was sort of nonplussed about having to buy such an expensive piece of equipment for ONE class. Especially when the professor warned us that the pictures we take on our phones will probably look better than the ones we take on our new cameras for at least a few weeks if not a month or more. How encouraging.

I was fairly wary of it and rather timid in my picture-taking the first few days, but now I've had it for almost a week and I think you might have to pry it out of my cold, dead fingers if you want to get it away from me.

I've had rather a lot of fun playing with different shutter speeds and aperture openings to get different cool effects. Turns out, if you make the aperture small enough, leave the shutter open long enough, and either have a timer or are pretty light on your feet, you can take ghost pictures.


I got up about a half hour before sun rise and had fun moving our living room furniture all around as quietly as possible so I wouldn't wake up my sleeping suite-mates. I think all three of these were taken with my camera balanced precariously on top of the Oxford Latin Dictionary and a stack of magazines consisting mostly of old issues of RealSimple, Cosmo, and Esquire.

I think I need a tripod.
Blogger Tricks

Monday, January 12, 2015

Shenanigans with the Original "Hamlet"

So, I really need to be working on my senior thesis right now.  I'm writing a commentary of the original "Hamlet" story, which was written down in Latin in the middle ages by a funny man named Saxo Grammaticus.

Yes, you heard that right.  Things written in Latin can be funny. 

So, in an effort both to entertain and to warm myself up for an evening of work on this thing, I present to you:

What Shakespeare Didn't Tell You:  The Original "Hamlet" and His Original Shenanigans

1. In which Hamlet keeps people from detecting his sanity and also inspires an Old Spice commercial:  "Having been ordered to mount his horse, he arranged himself with cunning, so that his own back was turned to the horse's neck, and so that he was facing its tail.  He then proceeded to encircle the tail with the reins, as if he were going to check the speed of the rushing horse with that part. In this exceedingly clever way he evaded his uncle's tricks." 

2.  In which the Horatio-character harnesses the full potential of stinging insects:  "(In an attempt to warn Hamlet that he is being spied upon) he found a piece of straw on the ground and carefully tied it to the tail of a wasp that was flying past.  Then he herded that particular wasp into the place where he knew Hamlet was.  And by this feat he did the prince a great favor.... When Hamlet saw the wasp and the piece of straw it carried on its tail, having watched it with curiosity, he understood that it was a silent warning to beware of some trickery." 

3.  In which Hamlet is kind enough to cook Polonius before feeding him to the pigs:  "After cutting the body up into little parts, he cooked it in boiling water, and tossed them through the mouth of the sewer for the pigs to eat." 

4. In which we learn about a mysterious Danish mourning ritual:  "When he was leaving, he secretly ordered his mother to decorate the court with woven knots, and to carry out funerary rites for him for a year."  (What????) 

5.  In which Hamlet is an enterprising little trickster:  "Not content to escape execution himself and transfer the death sentence onto others, he added to the letter a request that the king of England marry his daughter to the exceedingly sensible youth who was being sent to him." 

6.  Did I mention that Hamlet's daddy was a pirate?  No word yet on whether this is as interesting as it sounds or if it's simply the case that everybody who was anybody in Scandanavia at this time was into piracy.


7.  In which Hamlet fills some sticks with gold for No Discernible Reason.   

8.  In which Hamlet gets half the nobles of Denmark to fall into a drunken stupor, ties up the other half in a blanket, locks them all inside the castle, and burns them alive.

And many more, but now it's time for me to go try my hand at elucidating this crazy tale.  Wish me luck! 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Mostly Chickens

Sorry I missed yesterday, but the last two weeks have actually been spent having terrible, terrible, TERRIBLE* computer trouble. In fact, this blog post was written on my mom's computer which I am borrowing until she gets home from work. Needless to say, not much novel has been done since the file is on a little portable hard drive which I am keeping in a deep box of packing peanuts behind bullet-proof glass.

I have been reading a lot though and have had a glorious time writing journal entries in the beautiful empty books I received for Christmas.**

I do have a little belated Christmas present for you all today, though. My uncle showed this to me when we were at my mother's family for Christmas festivities and I laughed so hard my abs were sore the next day. It's a Monty Python Skit which explores the idea of novel writing as a spectator sport. Oh, my goodness, am I glad this isn't how it really works. Enjoy!


* So terrible, I gave up and returned it. If you're looking out for a new computer, I would encourage you not to get an HP. Both Susan and I have had a wretched time recently with new HP computers not working properly and then, to top it off, their customer service is quite awful.

** If this was a homesteading blog instead of a writing blog, this would have been an extra long blog post. A raccoon got into our chicken coop a couple of times over the last week and ate four of our laying hens. This terrified the remaining six so badly that they started refusing to go back in the coop at night and instead were hiding in bizarre places.

I had to go out and find each of them and carry them individually back to their coop. I didn't let them out for several days hoping to solve the problem, and they seem to be back to normal as far as coming back. However, they have decided they want to sleep in their nesting boxes not on their roost, which means that I've been going out to personally remove them from their nesting boxes and set them on their roost.^

This is Speckled Chicken #2 trying to roost
in our orange tree.

Red Chicken decided the only place to be was in the rafters of the shed.
My brother had to stand on a garbage can to get her down.

^This is actually harder than it sounds because chickens are some of the most oddly political animals we have ever kept. It's called a "pecking order" for a reason. The first night I put them on what I would later learn was the Wrong Roost, facing the Wrong Direction, in the Wrong Order.

There was fighting. Someone lost a couple of tail feathers. Someone else got shoved off the end of the roost and ended up in an inelegant heap on the coop floor.

After a few nights, though, I figured it out and last night everyone was quiet as could be and settled down right away.

Would you like to know the Perfect Chicken Order since I now have it memorized? Never mind, I'm telling you anyway. It goes like this: Red Chicken, Blond Chicken, Wimpy Chicken, Speckled Chicken #1, Speckled Chicken #2, and Mrs. Bennet on the end. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas "Break"

If I write a blog post about my own life right now, it's going to be one huge complaint about all the school work I find myself doing in the space between Christmas and New Year's.  I'm going to spare you (Whoever you are.  Who are you, blog reader?  Leave a comment and tell me.) and talk about other people and the things they're doing: 

First of all, my beloved sister (herself a lurker here at The Feather and the Rose) has opened an Etsy shop!  Right now she has her beautiful magic wands up for sale.  If you follow the link and check out the pictures, you can see that I finally got to follow my calling as a hand model. 

She also throws pots and weaves on a loom, so look for pottery and textiles in the future!!  I myself have ambitions to make something out of the many, many, manyyyyy Lindt truffle wrappers I have accumulated this season and have her sell it on there.  (Suggestions of what, exactly, I should make with these wrappers are welcome.  You could also leave that in the comments if you are in fact a human being and not a spambot.) 

These are not the highest quality pictures ever, but: 

A scarf  my sister wove and gave me for Christmas--a preview of PurplePeacockTongues weaving.

Also gifted to me, a preview of PurplePeacockTongues pottery!
The shop name, "PurplePeacockTongues," is tangentially related to my WiP, so that's obviously just another reason to go check it out and buy stuff. 

Second, some music I discovered recently:  She's called Eurielle, she has some cool stuff, and her album is coming out sometime in 2015!  Check it out at SoundCloud!  My favorite song is called "City of the Dead," but she has some cheerier songs, too. study break has expired!  Have a happy New Year, blogland!  Tyler-Rose and I will be here in 2015, writing, reading, writing, reading, and questing on after adventure, true love, book deals, and scones!  ;)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Excuses and Patricia McKillip

Life's been pretty crazy the last couple of weeks. This Hell Week* and Finals Week were probably the worse I've ever had just for the amount of work done and the number of hours of sleep lost throughout the experience. By the end of those two weeks, my eyes were completely bloodshot and weeping constantly. It hurt more to take my contacts out than to leave them in and I really didn't have any emotions left.

Basically, I was a weeping Photoshop zombie who spent her time eating her weight in candy and carbs in the few moments when she wasn't working.

Needless to say, it's taken me a bit longer than usual to get back to feeling normal. Having lost so much sleep isn't really helping me get over my jet lag any faster. I still don't feel normal.

I also just got a new computer, so I've spent the last several days getting that set up and now it's Christmas and I will be on my feet cooking for the next three days.

So, I haven't really had many thoughts about writing recently.

However, I've made up for that by reading some excellent books! I love Patricia McKillip and recommended her Winter Rose to Susan, but Susan was allergic to the copy she acquired** so I gave her my copy in exchange for her cat-tainted one, but then I had it in my hands so I read on the plane home.*** Then, when I got home I realized that I had two other Patricia McKillip books that I hadn't read yet. I am now happily enthralled by The Bell at Sealey Head which is turning out to be everything I want in a fairy story.

McKillip's books are always delightful intricate and twisting full of beautiful language like old rose vines. Things drawn in small beautiful detail so that her magical world comes alive in radiant color. But despite the intricacy and elegance of her word-smithing and the magic that infuses all her stories, her characters remain warmly human.

Kinuko Y. Craft is the illustrator who makes all my favorite book covers. She did both the covers of Winter Rose and The Bell at Sealey Head as well as some of Juliet Marillier's covers. She also illustrated my favorite version of Cinderella. 

Her illustrations are always stunningly beautiful and minutely detailed. They give up their secrets slowly. I've owned and admired both these books for years and yet noticed something new about Sealey Head only this morning. Craft's illustrations perfectly capture for me the feeling of McKillip's books. Beautiful. Finely detailed. Magical. Secretive.

That's how I want the books I write to be. I would love to be worthy of a Kinuko Craft cover.

In other news, I've acquired a Pinterest account and have started filling it with pretty things. Please, come follow me if you care to! Or just lurk. The more the merrier. So far, I've mostly pinned a bunch of braiding tutorials, a whole lot of quotes about writing, and a picture of a hot guy reading in the snow.

In fact, I think he's so special I'm going to include him here.

You can thank me later.


* This is what our school calls the week before Finals when you are called to account for everything you have done during the semester and are generally found lacking. All papers are due during this time and this is week when the most all-nighters get pulled.

** Apparently, the nice lady had cats.

*** For the third time.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Break TBR

I have enough school work to do over Christmas that I'm contemplating calling it "Winter Term" instead of "Christmas Break."  But I'm determined to make time for some reading (AND WRITING.) or else I will no longer have a soul after these four weeks.  So, here's what's on the TBR list:

Books that I am partway through and intend to finish:  

Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini

Winter Rose by Patricia McKillip

The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

Books I haven't started yet that I want to start and maybe finish:  

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin  (probably won't finish this one...)


Purgatorio by Dante Alighieri (probably just selections, unless I get on a roll)

*maybe* The Once and Future King by T. H. White

Books to read for college-related reasons:  

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare

King Lear by the same

sections of Historia Regum Brittaniae by Geoffrey of Monmouth

sections of Gesta Danorum by Saxo Grammaticus

^all secondary sources related to the above four items^

the (utterly useless, btw) CLEP Chemistry study guide

selected sentences and passages in ancient Greek

I'll make it.  And I will make time for the lists at the top of this post as well as the one at the bottom. I promise. 

Thomas the flash drive owl, aka Thomas Archimedes Flashdrive, believes in me.

And now, I'm off to make myself a schedule! 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Launch Party: The Sun's Rival

It was our first day of finals today, so we are arriving fashionably late to the party, but here we are at last!

So, let me introduce you to the newest addition to our beloved Danielle E. Shipley's wonderful Wilderhark Tales:

The Sun's Rival


Check out her fabulous blog at Ever On Word.