Snark Infested Waters

Because sometimes I like to be snarky, but it's a tone that doesn't mesh well with this blog, and because I've been encouraged to let my dark side out to play a bit, I've started yet another blog. LiveJournal folk will notice that as of yesterday, it's the new blog that is feeding to , which means that hey, you're not getting duplicates of this stuff!

Whether you read LJ or NOT, however, I invite you to take a dip into Snark Infested Waters. Eventually, as I become more comfortable with the tone, the content will become darker and more sardonic, and after the Blogathon (by the way, have you pledged? I'm only $85 from making my goal!) I'll be playing with podcasts as well.

And on that note, I'm off to church. Happy Sunday.
Happy Last Day of July.
Tomorrow, my month begins.

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Out of Season

Saturdays, the Sci-Fi channel runs “b” movies, monster movies that are just as cheesy, as anything my parents might have grown up with, and while the monsters sport cgi blurs instead of zippers, at least the underbellies of tumbled trucks no longer read “Tonka.”

Today the theme is “vampires.” I love a good vampire story, but it's JULY – high summer â“ and vampire movies are best suited for dreary drizzly autumn and winter days, when your imagination works with the weather to turn windown leaves skittering across the pavement into the scratching of someone clawing their way from the grave.

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In one corner there is the mosquito, buzzing annoyingly, constantly being batted away from the tender flesh it seeks. In the other corner, a yellow and black argiope spider, beckoning from her zigzag web. What ensues is not a prize-fight, but a duel to the death.

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Web Spinner

“The difference between utility and utility plus beauty is the difference between telephone wires and the spider web.â — Edwin Way Teale

Writing Spider

I am the first to admit that my relationship with spiders goes beyond mere sqickishness to full-blown phobia, but even so, when this latest guest arrived in my back yard my first thought wasn't to kill it, but to identify it.

Rana helped me with that â“ it's a black and yellow argiope, an orb-weaver also known as a “writing spider,â and I can't help but wonder if she's here to remind me to write more and angst less.

In any case, research has told me that she'll likely stick around as long as we let her, feasting on ants and mosquitoes, and that she isn't venomous. And yes, she IS a she, the males are apparently tiny.

Legend says that if a name is written in such a spider's web, the person so named will die, but so far, all she's spelled is ZZZZZZZZ. Perhaps this is a reference to the sound of buzzing insects? We can only hope.

It should be noted that I took this picture from about seven feet away. Getting closer would have required stepping on an ant hill, and I'm not inclined to do that. We will, however, attempt some night shots so the flash will illuminate the rest of the web.

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Picture Request

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses front doors, please?

I'd really like to be able to include a different front door (they won't be identified) with each of my posts for the upcoming blogathon, so please, take a picture of your front door (or any front door on a house on your street) and send it to, ASAP.

(I won't be doing anything but saving the doors to my hard drive, before the actual 'thon.)

And hey! Pledging is still open!

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4AM Thoughts

I can't sleep, despite the fact that I took medicine which should have knocked me out, but I'm not really entirely coherent either. At least I can babble from bed, when I have moods like this. And you – you're the lucky folks who are being subjected to my recumbent ramblings.

– There needs to be 4AM pizza delivery. I always get hungry when I'm up at odd hours, and pizza is elegant food. If you've never had pizza in bed, you've never truly lived. Or at least, you've never been a somewhat eccentric, caffeine-addicted wannabe writer with nocturnal tendencies.

– With all the genre-specific cable channels in existance, there should be one devoted entirely to musicals. And not just old MGM movies either. Videos of Broadway shows (tapes of “Live from Lincoln Center” and “Great Performances” and such) should be included as well. Between shows, chorus dancers would teach basic dance steps – because we all want to learn how to do time steps at three in the morning, right? Or vocal exercises. And a feature at least one day a week would be a sing-along version of a favorite musical, complete with subtitled lyrics and a bouncing dot to follow. Come on, it's gotta be better than the GOLF channel.

– Few things are more comforting when you don't feel well, then a small dog resting his head on your lap. (Or in this case, my foot.) Zorro is doing this right now, and he looks like a stuffed toy – fluffy and tiny and still. (Cleo, lest she feel ignored, is lying on her back like the hussy she is.) Both dogs have feet that smell like corn chips.

– In lieu of 4AM pizza delivery, home delivery of macchiatos and butter croissants would be acceptable.

Um, yeah, bed now.

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Michele and Ginger both mentioned love letters in recent blog posts, and it's made me sit and think about the last time I really wrote a letter.

I used to be a prolific letter writer. I have a drawer full of interesting, pretty and artsy stationery, more pens than I care to count, pretty stamps, and colorful sealing wax, but do I use any of it? Hardly ever.

And I miss it.

I mean, I love the immediacy of email, the quick and breezy way we shoot text and pictures back and forth across the ether, but a tangible paper letter is a gift as much as anything made or purchased, and there's something magic about capturing a moment of time with paper and ink.

So why don't I write?

Well, first, it's really not fun unless someone writes back. As in all writing, feedback is better than chocolate. And second, well, I no longer have pretty handwriting. Years of computer use and wrist issues have combined to make my penmanship more like a doctor's scrawl than a calligrapher's script. It's embarrassing, really, because I've always felt that one's handwriting marks one, as much as how one speaks.

Sometimes I think it would be fun to recreate the experiment from my school days where we stuffed notes into helium balloons, and then released them to the winds, waiting with breathless anticipation for people to write back and tell us where they landed. Sadly, in our current state of paranoia, I fear such balloons would be shot to the ground with pellet guns, and tossed aside like so much trash.

If you found a helium ballon with READ ME written on it, would you react like Alice with her magic mushrooms, or would you go hunting for a set of sharp, pointy darts?

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WordPress +Livepress = A Happy Xenobia

I haven't been posting to this actual account very often since making the move to my own site, and an external blog, two years ago. But I've missed the interaction with all you LJ-ers – I know I have RSS feeds, but the thing is – if you comment on the RSS feeds I don't see them unless I login and go LOOK.

Which is why I'm thrilled that there's a plugin for WordPress (my blogging software) that adds a box at the bottom of the “write” screen, so I can post directly to LJ, and set moods and icons and everything. That last post, “French Press” was the test post for that feature – and it seemed to work, which is always a good thing.

So, here's the deal:
Posts from ALL my sites will be synched to this account.
If you want ONLY blog posts, just read the RSS feed
If you want ONLY book reviews, the RSS feed is
I don't have RSS set up for posts to my fiction blog.

Any questions?

(You can all flee now.)