Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Halloween memories (and a Halloween cat)

I have rather unusual Halloween memories because my dad became a big health nut after finding out his cholesterol was really high when I was a kid. He wanted us to be healthy too, so he made a deal with us on Halloween--we could go out and trick or treat like everyone else, but we had to pick out our ten favorite treats and give the rest of the bag of candy to him when we got home--and in exchange we got to go to Toys R Us and pick out a board game or stuffed animal the next day.
Of course, my sister and I were kind of sneaky and we'd stuff our face with as many treats as we could snatch while trick or treating to break the ten treat rule... [chuckle].

What about you - what are your favorite Halloween memories?

(Also, a quick announcement - Dexter the Fat Black Cat is now finally available in my etsy shop. Since he's an all black cat I figured he fit the Halloween vibe, so I picked him to decorate this post :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fun find Friday: Designs by Vanessa

Isn't that a gorgeous necklace? It's from this month's featured EtsyBlogger, DesignsbyVanessa. I've been coveting this necklace since I first saw it a while back. She also has a delightful blog (and is the type to comment back when you comment, which I always appreciate).

Friday, September 18, 2009

Zorro comes back from the vet

Are we finally home? Oh thank goodness!

Ugh...I'm not feeling so well...What did they give me at that place anyway?

Will you hold me mom? I still can't walk straight...

(Zorro had to have a rotten tooth extracted, poor thing)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday's miscellany: Whizzer and his "lightsaber"

I thought I'd post a little video of Whizzer, our African Gray parrot, since he only had a background role in the last video. He likes to wave pens around like he's fighting with them--to me it almost looks like a kid playing at Star Wars, except he's fighting himself. The funniest bit begins around the 40 second mark.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Stubborn Snacker

We usually refer to our cat Snacker as a dog. He comes when you call him, begs, does tricks, like being pet like a dog (with those hard side-thwacking whaps, rather than light and smooth, like most cats), and is desperate for human affection while chasing the other cats around like prey. So we thought we'd get one of his favorite and most dog like tricks on camera, one I call meerkat manor because he stands up and balances on his hind legs.

But instead, as soon as the camera went on, he started acting like...well, a cat...generally refusing to follow directions, looking at me like he was perfectly innocent, investigating the camera, and rolling around on the floor. I guess there are some things genetics don't lie about, and refusing to be predictable--especially in front of a camera--is definitely a feline trait. (By the way, my parrot chimes in a couple times in the background calling out Snacker's name.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back on topic: Cute kitties

A friend of mine who's been living in Japan the last few years teaching english sent me a link to a silly little cat video that features two cats and a stuffed animal version of a popular Japanese animated figure, Domo-Kun. If you're in the mood for a bit of kitty fun, you can check it out here.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday's miscellany: Anyone else like urban fantasy?

Okay, so a while back I warned I might start hitting more of the "randomness" part of my blog subtitle ("art, cats and randomness") more frequently. This post falls under that category.

I've always been a voracious reader. You'd think, what with my pursuing a Ph.D. in English, that my reading tastes would turn to the uber-literary, right? Nope. While I can certainly appreciate some of the literary classics (I'm a big fan of Dostoevsky, for instance), most of the time I'd rather be curled up with a good fantasy novel. For the last ten months, my particular focus has been urban fantasy, especially anything with werewolves, vampires, and/or plenty of irony (for the fellow ironically minded, I suggest The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar, by the way). Patricia Briggs and Kim Harrison are currently my fave authors in this genre.

Anyway, earlier this summer I got the itch to write my own urban fantasy novel. So I did.

I say this like it was that matter of fact. Don't worry, it's an act. I paced, sweated, told myself I was being totally foolish to be writing about vampires when I had a perfectly serious dissertation I was being paid (albeit very poorly) to work on. I also ranted at myself about how unlikely it would be that I'd write anything publishable, find an agent, find readers, yadda yadda yadda. In other words, picture the stereotype of the neurotic writer, add curly hair, an ignored dissertation, a love of cats, a patient husband, and you'd come up with me. But last week, all mental self-inflicted torture aside, I managed to finish the final words of my first draft.


I danced an absurd jig of joy--you know, the one where you're glad it's only your cats watching your rhythm-less hopping and swinging-of-arms? Yeah, that one. Then my writing-instructor self jumped in to remind me that revision is often 9/10ths of writing, and my rhythm-less state faltered even further. (No, I've never been good at letting myself celebrate, in case you were wondering--fits in with that whole neurotic thing.)

Anyway, now I'm alternating my time between coding transcripts for my dissertation, doing PurrPrints things, and looking over my manuscript. I'm also combing through my friends to see if any of them also read urban fantasy--but so far, I haven't found a one. They either stick with the literary stuff, or they don't tend to read fiction at all. Some of them are still being extremely kind enough to read through it and give me feedback anyway--but I'm still hoping to find at least one fellow urban-fantasy reader to give me feedback.

Hence the question in my title--do any of you happen to be big-time urban-fantasy fanatics like me? And, if so, do you perhaps feel like reading a not-yet-published book in that genre and giving me some honest feedback about it? Unfortunately I can't offer any reward beyond a great big thank you (both immediately and, should it get published, in the acknowledgements page), so I completely understand if there are no takers. But I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask, right?

Alright, this excessively long off-topic rant is now officially over :)

(p.s. - in a search on allposters.com for interesting vampire posters, the above image came up--you can find it here if you want to know more about it. It seemed suited to my topic and mood, so I thought I'd share)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Why I'm a giveaway kinda gal (or, Thank you, you rock)

I hadn't held a giveaway of my own stuff in a while--long enough to have forgotten that one of the major perks of doing them has nothing at all to do with marketing or sales and everything to do with being a far better (and significantly cheaper!) self-esteem booster than therapy or a bottle of wine.

I just went to check out the comments on the giveaway of my Kitty Love print on the Bluegrass Etsy Team blog (where there are, by the way, giveaways going on every month from different team members) in order to get an idea of what items are worth keeping in my shop and which may not be worth renewing. My practical purpose was quickly drowned by the butterflies that swarmed my insides when I read all the nice things y'all had to say about my art, however.

So I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who enjoys my work--half the joy, maybe even more, of making it comes from other people enjoying it, and I just wanted everyone to know that.

Plus, you all may have inspired me to pick up on doing giveaways more often again--like I said, way cheaper than therapy, and I'm a practical person ;)