Saturday, December 28, 2013


(edit: this image courtesy of my dad, who occasionally likes to sneak in and do things to my blog when I'm not looking. I can only assume it came from Google Images)

I saw Sharknado last night.

If you haven't seen it, you should sometime, especially if you can see it for free or watch it on Netflix. I hesitate to recommend that you pay a whole lot to watch it, because it really is a terrible movie, but it's terrible in that it's funny, like a bad horror movie.

Like, seriously. The premise is that sharks are flying through the air. You know nothing good can come of that.

But if you haven't seen it, know that there will be spoilers (SPOOOOIIIIILLLLEEEERRRSSSS!!!!) ahead.


Honestly... What can I say about Sharknado that hasn't already been said? There is site after site on the Internet that lists all its flaws. The goofs section on its IMDb page is stuffed with notes.

A guy gets swallowed whole by a shark that fell out of the sky conveniently right on top of him. But it's okay- he was holding a chainsaw at the time, so he was able to cut his way out. But wait, there's more! While he was in the shark, he found his friend who had just recently fallen out of a helicopter and been swallowed up by the same shark! And she was still alive! What luck!

Yeah, it's just ridiculous, and I laughed at a lot of things. But there's really not a lot for me to say that hasn't already been said by just about everyone else, so I'll spare you the repetition and just hit a few points.

Do they get points for creativity?

Ahhh... Hmm. I think that you really have to draw the line somewhere between creativity and complete, utter, total implausibility.

For example, you'd have to have a really good explanation as to how a shark could survive being in a tornado for as long as those sharks did. Especially since sharks need to be under water, and you can't be under water in a tornado. So... they need a bit more creativity.

The writing was more than a bit flawed. My dad and I discussed how they must have had a checklist of tropes and crossed them off one by one (here's the TV Tropes page so you can decide for yourself: Some moments were very awkward, forced. But I'm not sure it's really worth talking about the writing when we have sharks falling out of the sky and seemingly targeting people as they fall to their death. And sharks that just happen to snap at helicopters while they're twisting around in a tornado.

The acting was fine, I guess, considering what the actors had to work with. Nothing really memorable. The drunk guy in the beginning wasn't bad. We kinda went back and forth on whether he would survive to the end. At first we thought he was going to die just because he seemed inept and stupid, but then we thought he was going to be the token funny guy. It kinda surprised us when he actually did die pretty quickly.

The one thing that bothered me the most... That's a hard decision, right there. This movie is full of awful, awful stuff. But the thing that I think bothered me the most was all the nonsense with the helicopter and the tornado.

You can't fly a helicopter in a tornado. You can't fly a helicopter right next to a tornado. It doesn't work that way. The air isn't still around a tornado. The helicopter would get sucked in or blown off course.

But the most ridiculous idea this movie came up with (and yes, I'm going to say this even more ludicrous than a tornado full of live, attacking sharks) is that you can stop a tornado by throwing a bomb into it.

I live in an area that experiences tornadoes quite frequently. I'm not an expert on tornadoes, but I know that you can't defuse them with a bomb. It just doesn't work that way. Frankly, it's a bit insulting that the movie is basically saying, "Hey, people, why are you letting all your homes get destroyed and all your neighbors get killed? Don't you know that you can just make a tornado disappear by throwing a bomb into it?"

And you know the worst part? Some yahoo is probably going to try it now.

Aside from the tornado idiocy, it really is kind of enjoyable to watch the movie just because of how bad it is. I would definitely recommend watching it, although I would never actually buy a copy of it. I can't wait for the RiffTrax guys to get their hands on it.

And there's going to be a sequel! What joy!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope the year has treated you well and that you're enjoying the holiday season with friends and family! I hope next year is even better!

Santa Claus brought me Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 for Christmas! I was playing around on it, and I thought I'd whip up a little Christmas card to thank everyone for reading my blog! I really appreciate your readership and support.

Did you know that this Christmas marks my one-year anniversary of owning this site? One year ago today, my dad gave me a framed screenshot of my blog to let me know that I was the new owner of I was so excited! I didn't post until New Year's Eve, though, because I couldn't decide what to write about!

I'll have to think of something special to do for the anniversary of my first post!

Until then, Merry Christmas! May your new year be full of comfort and joy!

Gingerbread Cookies

Making and decorating gingerbread cookies is a beloved Christmastime tradition in my family. I really love to go all out with the frosting and candy. This year, my supplies were a little limited, but I was able to come up with a few fun things...

The Dark Cookie Rises

For some odd reason, we had black frosting... So why not?

Look up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Supercookie!

I love his hair!!!

Team-up: World's Finest Cookies

(My dad poked Supercookie's hair. You probably couldn't tell, though.)

Maybe next year I'll make the entire Justice League!

Here are all the cookies that my sister Mikayla, my friend Angi, and I made. Some were more successful than others.  

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Random Fact #20

Random Fact #20: If the rice package says to let the rice simmer for 20 minutes or until all water is absorbed, that doesn't mean you can set a timer for 20 minutes and leave. "Until all water is absorbed" might happen sooner than 20 minutes can pass.

In other words, I should not be allowed to cook.

Look at all that burned rice stuck to the bottom of the pot. I am not looking forward to cleaning that up.

"But Rebecca, why would you leave something cooking on the stove unattended?"

Well, I mean, I was only in the next room... I had a clear line of sight to the pot and everything... *mumblemumble*

"But why wouldn't you check on your food every couple of minutes?"

Because... Because I am just not a good cook.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Dreamlocked Is Now Online

Ladies and gentlebloggers, I'm proud to announce that my graphic novel is now on this site for your perusal! To find it, simply go to the tab that says "Online Portfolio." There, you'll be able to read Dreamlocked, the graphic novel that Sawyer Traver and I spent months working on. Even if it looks like it took five minutes, I swear we spent months doing it. Making a graphic novel is exceedingly hard work, and I have a newfound respect for graphic novel and comic book artists.

I sneaked my online portfolio onto my site a few months ago, since I was applying for an internship that required one. I didn't make an announcement about it because I was still trying to work out a few kinks, but consider this my formal announcement!

My online portfolio is comprised of works I've written for my creative writing and English courses at the University of Alabama. These are the works of which I feel most proud, and the works I think are most fit for internet viewing.

If you were interested in Blue Justice, the poetry chapbook about the butt-kicking policewoman that I created last spring, I also uploaded that. I tried so very hard to include the cover in the file, but when I included the image in the PDF, the image always came out distorted and discolored when I uploaded it to Google Drive. I'll be working on that with my technicians, but in the meantime, I've provided a link to the blog post in which I uploaded the cover.

Enjoy! And if you run into any problems while browsing, let me know in a comment. I'm sure there are probably a few kinks that I haven't yet worked out...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

It's Done

It's done.

Dreamlocked is finally complete.



I finished the art last night, and my partner finished all the InDesign work today. We met at the library to print it all out, and of course something was messed up that we had to scramble to fix at the last minute, because nothing is ever easy, but we managed to fix it and get it turned in with time to spare.

And if I ever stop being mad at it, I'll put the pages in order and put a copy in my online portfolio so y'all can see the finished project.

But for real. In order to finish on time, I penciled and inked six pages in five days, on top of all the other final exams and essays I had going on. Considering an average page with pencil and ink took me 3-4 hours to complete... Yeah, it was not fun, and I did not sleep very much. And THIS, kids, is why you should NEVER leave projects to the last minute.

And with that, ladies and gents, I am a free woman. I am completely done with finals! Woohoo! Time for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Non-Shenanigans Art Post

I'm taking a break from my paper and working on some penciling. I drew an expression on the main character that I'm extremely happy with, and since I'll probably destroy it when I ink it, I wanted to share it here for the world to see.

The character has an encountered a sphinx in a labyrinth and has struck a deal with it: an answer for an answer. If Darcy can solve the sphinx's riddle, the sphinx will tell her where to find the lost queen. If Darcy answers incorrectly, however, the sphinx will kill her.

In this panel, Darcy has just heard the riddle and is thinking something along the lines of "Oh #$@&, I have no idea!"

Good luck, Darcy.

The weird hands may or may not be fixed when I ink the panel. 

Lost Thumb Drive: Finals Shenanigans Part 4

Somebody left a thumb drive in the computer I'm working on right now, and I'm really tempted to see what's on it. I don't think I will, though. I wouldn't want somebody rooting around on my thumb drive if I happened to leave it plugged into a public computer (that is, if I used a thumb drive, which I don't). Leaving it alone just seems like the polite thing to do.

See?! I can behave well! I still belong on the nice list!

I feel really bad for the person to whom this thumb drive belongs, though. I hope they're not desperately looking for it right now, with five minutes until their paper is due...

"Slaying" Song: Finals Shenanigans Part 3

Have you ever considered that the word "sleighing" sounds a lot like the word "slaying"? They're practically the same word.

So there's that line in "Jingle Bells" that goes "What fun it is to ride and sing a sleighing song tonight!"

Sometimes I imagine a big, huge, warrior-type guy, maybe like Thor or Beowulf, skipping across a battlefield, whacking people at random, singing, "What fun it is to ride and sing a slaying song tonight!"

That's not Christmas-y at all. I'm definitely going to be on the naughty list this year.

You guys, I promise I have Christmas spirit! Lots of it!

$1 Coffee: Finals Shenanigans Part 2

I was sitting with two friends in the computer lab earlier, but they both just left. How rude!

Before they left, we discussed the free hot chocolate and coffee provided by the Honors College for people working in this lab. My friends told me I should prepare cups of coffee for everyone. I agreed, saying that I would deliver cups of coffee to everybody who walked in.

Then one of my friends told me I should sell the coffee and make a profit.

I think that would definitely get me kicked out of the Honors College, but it does sound funny.

A few more ideas like that, and I'll end up on Santa's naughty list. How terrible to go the entire year with good behavior and mess up at the last minute...

Sometimes when I'm writing papers, I get bored and lonely, and I start posting on Facebook every five minutes. I decided that I'm going to post all my random thoughts here instead. I'll keep it going throughout finals week and see what other shenanigans I get up to.

Finals week, man. Anything goes!

Fleece Navidad: Finals Shenanigans Part 1

I'm pretty sure someone's already made this joke. Sorry, not trying to be a copycat!

But I'm listening to Christmas music on YouTube while writing this paper and doing other finals things, and I came across a version of "Feliz Navidad" in which the singer literally sounded like he was singing "Fleece Navidad." So I had to do this.

Oh, I'm up to no good. I'm getting into all kinds of shenanigans in this computer lab. For example, I just discovered that my spinny chair has a lever thingy that makes the seat go up and down.

If they wanted me to be serious, they shouldn't have provided me with unlimited hot chocolate.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dreamlocked Page 2: Before and After

Good news- I was able to fix up the first page of my graphic novel project. That means I didn't have to start over from scratch. Starting over from scratch is something I really don't have time for.

In fact, I almost don't have time to write this blog post, but I thought I might as well take a short, short, short break while switching gears. After this, I gotta study Shakespeare. That final's tomorrow morning- yikes!

Unfortunately, my first draft of the second page was unsalvageable. I had to start over again from the beginning. It was kind of nice that I didn't have to think about the layout- I put all the panels where they were originally, except for the new margins and gutter space, although I did change a few things. Sometimes the changes were necessary in order to fit the new panel sizes better, and sometimes I just tried to save myself some time by not drawing an extra person or an entire new body. Unfortunately, time is short, and I can't afford to make each panel a masterpiece.

But here are the two pages, the before and after.  You're really gonna have to squint to see the first one because it's only in pencil and I don't have time to darken it right now, but I think you can see the important stuff pretty easily. Enjoy!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Shakespeare Memes

I made five Shakespeare memes for a bit of extra credit in my Shakespeare class. Here they are, with just a bit of explanation! Slight spoilers ahead.

Success Kid Horatio (Hamlet)

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOI- well, if you know anything about Shakespeare and/or tragedy, then the fact that people die in Hamlet is probably not news to you. But the last scene of Hamlet is especially bloody. There are only a few characters (I mean characters important enough to have names) left alive onstage at the end because everyone else has died in various ways, and someone comes in to let everyone know that two other characters died offstage. So surviving Hamlet is pretty impressive. I was thinking mostly of Hamlet's friend Horatio when I made the meme.

Yo Dawg Shakespeare (The Taming of the Shrew)

The Taming of the Shrew is set up with a frame story- a noble finds a commoner passed out drunk and decides it would be great fun to take him back to his home and convince him that he's a noble when he wakes up. They bring in some actors to entertain the "noble," and the play that they perform for him is the main action of The Taming of the Shrew.

Challenge Accepted Petruccio (The Taming of the Shrew)

In The Taming of the Shrew, a bunch of men want to court a young lady named Bianca. However, Bianca's father refuses to let anyone court her until her older sister Katherine is married. The problem is that Katherine is a shrew- she's argumentative and hard to get along with, she doesn't behave like a proper young woman should, and no man is able to woo her. Desperate to court Bianca, Hortensio asks Petruccio to woo and marry Katherine, mentioning that there's a considerable amount of money involved. Petruccio's response? "Challenge accepted."

Bad Luck Antigonus (The Winter's Tale)

In The Winter's Tale, King Leontes completely flips out because he thinks his wife and his best friend, who is a king of another land, are having an affair and that his newborn daughter isn't really his. Therefore he forces Antigonus to take the baby out to the woods and abandon her there. Antigonus doesn't have much of a choice, so he follows orders. But no sooner does he put the baby down than he spies his own personal doom and we get one of the most famous stage directions in all of Shakespeare: "Exit, pursued by a bear."

Stare Dad Leontes (The Winter's Tale)

The aforementioned King Leontes just wants his buddy King Polixenes to stay with him for a bit longer, but Polixenes has been away from home for nine months and is determined to go. Leontes asks his wife Hermione to convince Polixenes to stay, and when she does, he agrees to stay a bit longer. Because Hermione did exactly what he told her to do (gasp!) and Polixenes finally broke down and agreed to stay (scandal!), Leontes jumps to the entirely logical conclusion that Polixenes and Hermione are having an affair.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Finals and Frisbee

I took the oral half of my French Pronunciation and Phonetics final today.

People always tell me that, since I studied in France for a month and I've been taking French classes for years, the oral exams should be a piece of cake for me. And I would be inclined to agree, except for that the exams don't just include talking.

There are way too many rules about how to pronounce things in the French language. I mean no offense-- I love French a lot, but I'm getting rather exasperated with all this nitpicking.

Like, the rules for liaison. In some instances, you're supposed to squish two or more words together so that there's no break between them and the sentence flows more smoothly. In other instances, you are absolutely forbidden to squish two words together and you must let a break exist between them. And in still other instances, the squishing together of words is completely optional.

That part bothers me the most. Why is it optional? If you're going have all these rules, why not just have a right and wrong way to say things? At least I can't get the optional ones wrong on the exam, right?

Wrong. We have to read most sentences twice, once with the maximum number of liaisons possible and once with the minimum.

There are plenty of detailed rules about when the liaison is obligatory, forbidden, and optional, and naturally, there are exceptions to the rules. The rules are hard enough to remember when I'm scrutinizing sentences with a pencil in my hand, marking all the different types of liaison. They're much harder to remember when I'm reading aloud.

I feel like my oral midterm was kind of disastrous (I don't know because I'm too afraid to look up my grade). My problem, aside from having not memorized all the liaison rules, was that I launched into each sentence without looking at it first. It's like sight reading a piece of music for an audition without taking your given time to look through it first- not a good idea.

This time I forced myself to slow down and think about each sentence before I read it aloud. There's really no room for error because I was speaking into a microphone and my professor will be able to listen to the recording as many times as he wants. I'm not sure if I did any better than I did in the midterm. I felt okay as I left the office, but you never know.

It was a fantastic day. The weather was between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit all day, which is definitely NOT supposed to happen in December. I wore shorts and a t-shirt. It was awesome. As I exited the foreign language building and let the beautiful outside air wash over me again, I felt a sense of complete freedom, and I suddenly knew exactly what I wanted to do next.

I wanted to play Frisbee on the quad.

If you've followed this blog for a while, that probably doesn't surprise you. If you're a newcomer, then suffice it to say that Frisbee is one of my favorite pastimes ever. We have a big, treeless area on our quad that's perfect for tossing the old Frisbee around, and I take advantage of that perfection pretty frequently. I have a light-up Frisbee so that I don't have to stop playing when night falls. I brought a Frisbee with me to Europe and played at least once in both France and Ireland. It all started in high school, where there was always a Frisbee flying around the band room. It just makes me happy.

You know how they say "It takes two to tango"? Well, it also takes two to play Frisbee, and the combination of my busy schedule and my friends' busy schedules has led to very little Frisbee this semester, which is a crying shame. I'm so glad I found someone to play with me today. It was such a good way to unwind from my final exam, and it was good exercise, too!

Maybe I'll have Frisbee therapy sessions on the quad next week so people can unwind after their finals.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Grammar Cartoon: Affect and Effect

One of my friends texted me today with some questions about what seemed to be a paper she was writing, and of course I dropped everything to discuss the difference between "affect" and "effect" with her and to describe the different ways those two words can be used.

"Affect" is a verb- if you "affect" something, you have an "effect" on it.

"Effect" is usually a noun. An "effect" is what happens when somebody "affects" something.

("effect" can also be a verb, like to start or to initiate, but this definition was irrelevant to our conversation and I hardly ever see it outside of the phrase "to effect change," so I'm not going into that here)

In the world of cause-and-effect, "affect" is the action someone takes- coincidentally, "affect" and "action" both start with the letter A. Another way to remember it is that somebody must "affect" something in order to have an "effect" on it, so in a way the word "affect" comes first, and A is the first letter of the alphabet.

Naturally, when I tried texting all this to my friend, she got majorly confused, because what the heck did I just say in all that? (and why am I so gleeful to be discussing grammar?) So I scribbled out a quick picture.

My friend is in the band with me, so she knows about our band director, who often requests that we "hustle" to our spots in between each run. He claims that, if we move quickly, we will positively affect the band. He always pronounces the word "affect" like "ay-fect," with a long A sound, emphasizing that the word he is saying starts with the letter A.

So I drew this cartoon:

It's sort of a before-and-after thing. Before the band was positively impacted, the clarinet player had to hustle. By hustling, she affected the band. After she hustled, she could see the positive effect that her hustling had on the band.

I actually think about grammar like this a lot.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Two New Pages - Inked!

Hey, y'all! Guess what- I'm alive! And to make up for my prolonged radio silence, I've got two new pages of my graphic novel project to show you.

The resolution looks really crummy, for some sad reason. Just pretend it's really pretty.

A lot of things went wrong with the inking on these two pages. Shaky hands, globby ink, pens that wouldn't work on downstrokes, tracing the wrong lines, smudged ink, failed attempts to draw people in profile, attempts to be artistic that just looked dumb...

Like I said, just pretend it's really pretty! It looked really, really awesome before I inked it, I promise. All things considered, the art doesn't look too bad.

The new character who appears in the bottom-right panel is the Scarlet Pimpernel, a character from Baroness Orczy's novel of the same name. I based his design off of Douglas Sills' portrayal of the character in the 1997 musical based on the book.

I just noticed that the backgrounds got much less detailed on the second page. Whoops!

My partner was having to crop the panels in order to make them fit on the page in InDesign, so I started using roughly the same margins she does. Margins are important. 

Yeah, in the middle of the uppermost page, I drew a rectangle and wrote "just put a black rectangle here." Because... come on. Much more easily done on a computer.

Hope you enjoyed! I made the awful realization today that this week is Dead Week and finals start next week. Actually, my finals start on Thursday because my French final is split over two days. I am still sort of freaking out about this realization. I'll try to keep posting (I mean, I'll definitely be working on this graphic novel project, so I ought to have something to show you every day), but if this post is followed by more radio silence, you'll know why.

Also, NaNoWriMo is over. I gave up on finishing my novel within the month, because November is just too busy a month for your average college student, but I do plan to finish it when I can. I really can't wait to get back to it. For now, I'll just celebrate breaking my record for number of words written! I'll get it next year!

And if not, I'll definitely get it the year after that, because then I'll be out of college and hopefully working at a grownup job and hopefully it won't have homework.

Oh, look! It appears I'm rambling again, as I often do on this blog. I had intended to end the post with the paragraph that started "Hope you enjoyed!" but then I just kept remembering things I wanted to tell you all. It's been a while since my last post, and I have things to share!

For example, I'm twenty-one now! Yaaaayyyy!

The reason I'm sitting here in the library writing this right now is that the fire alarm went off in my dorm about quarter past midnight and I decided that, if I was going to not be allowed to go to bed, I would try to get some work done. And I did. A little. I was going to get more work done, but then I decided I should write a blog post instead. It is this kind of reasoning that gets me behind on every single project I ever do.

Okay. Wrapping it up now. For real. Thanks for reading! Signing off.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Just a short post, since I'm trying to get some work done on my NaNoWriMo project, but here are the three pages of the graphic novel that I've inked so far. My partner arranged the panels in InDesign and added the text, but I'll just show you the art for now.

The inking went a lot better than I expected it to.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Dreamlocked Rough Pages 5 and 6

Hey, everybody! Because I'm just soooo proud of them, here are the rough drafts of pages 5 and 6 of my graphic novel project.

I originally drew the pages in pencil, but as is evident from other posts on this blog, pencil doesn't show up very well once it's been scanned, so I doctored these pages up just a little bit. When I scanned the pages in, I lowered the brightness and increased the contrast of the scans just a leetle bit. Then I opened them up in a free photo editing program called PhotoFiltre (because I'm not a real artist or anything like that and I can't afford to have Photoshop just for the fun of it). I applied a filter called Comic Book, which made the lines show up darker, and then I bumped the contrast up just a little bit more. I don't like to mess with the contrast too much, because it just makes the art look awful and weird when I do. I think the filter helps a lot.

Page 5 is my favorite page of everything I've penciled so far.

I'm going to begin inking tonight so my partner can get the pages into InDesign. I'm completely terrified. Usually, if I'm going to screw up any given piece of art, it'll be when I'm inking it. I've got scans of everything, so hopefully all will not be lost if I make a major boo-boo, but there's still a ton of potential for this stage of the process to go horribly wrong. That's why I've been putting it off, but I don't have time to do that anymore.

Wish me luck! Hopefully I'll be able to show you some nice inked scans soon!


...except it's actually over ten thousand, and I didn't think to use this joke until it was too late.

I hit ten thousand words on my NaNoWriMo project! Yaaaay!

That's well and good, but I really need to be approaching 30,000 words right now... Anybody for a writing marathon?

I've been working on the Great Graphic Novel Project of '13, too, and I've got two more pages penciled. If I can stop messing with the scanning settings, I'll try to upload them for y'all to see.

My laptop's been having Internet issues lately, which is part of the reason the blog's been quiet for a few days, but I seem to be making a little headway in that department, so hopefully the radio silence will end here.

A happy NaNoWriMo to all, and to all a good night!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Leetle Problem

I'm about to start a heavy-duty penciling session for my graphic novel project, and I was planning on doing so while listening to some good drawing music, but I ran into a leetle problem.

The cover's been popping off for months. I don't know how I didn't manage to lose it in Europe. Usually I just stick it back on, and it'll stay put for another week or two. I guess I was always too cheap or lazy to buy new headphones.

This time, however, I don't know if I'll ever find the cover. It's lost in the pigsty that is my room. Maybe I'd find it if I cleaned up... Or maybe the cover actually did fall into the trash can like I hoped it didn't. Who knows? Not me.

Yes, I could clean, but I think that instead I'll just consider this a sign that it's time to buy new headphones.

In the meantime, I found a set of headphones that one of the airlines gave me last summer in my backpack. I knew there was a reason to keep them!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Trip Back In Time

I had a pretty neat thought just now. What if I could go back in time and visit myself when I was eight years old? I would do some major showing off to impress my younger self.

I would definitely have to show eight-year-old Rebecca my iPhone. For all intents and purposes, let's just assume that, if I have technology that can send me back in time, I also have technology that allows me to connect to the phone service and WiFi of the future.

Because how impressed would someone from 2001 be with an iPhone 4S? The first version of the iPhone didn't even come out until 2007 (thank you, Wikipedia). I think the eight-year-old version of myself would freak out over the sheer awesomeness. In 2001, the cell phone was still a relatively new gadget in my house. I think my mom was still using her Nokia brick. If not, then my parents had upgraded to the not-much-more-impressive proto-flip phones. Only half of the phone flipped; it was the part that covered the number pad, and it was also the part you talked into.

But I really do think Mom was using the Nokia phone at that point. It was a box with some number keys and a sort of black-and-white screen (we didn't get cell phones with a color display until 2006). I think it had a game or two. That was the only part I would have been interested in, anyway.

It was a while ago, but I don't really remember being too excited about Mom's Nokia. I think that was mostly because cell phones were pretty much just portable telephones back in the day, and I didn't like talking to people on the phone (I still don't). I guess it was an improvement over the pager she had for work, though.

The main technology in my life was the PC that sat on a computer desk in our family's library/living room. If memory serves me right, we had three computers then: the desktop computer in the library, the desktop computer in my parents' bedroom, and the laptop in my dad's den. It would be another year or two (or three?) until the "community" computer got moved into the bedroom I shared with my sister.

Since my parents had their own computers to do their parent-y things on, the one in the living room/library was designated mostly for the computer games that my sister and I played. We played all kinds of computer games, although I don't remember ever actually using the Internet on that computer. The Internet was slowly growing on me (at some point between the ages of 5 and 9, my dad taught me how to use a search engine), but I think at that point I was still mostly concerned with playing computer games.

So imagine if eight-year-old Rebecca was just hanging around the house one day, deciding whether to play with Barbies or to go outside and play in the backyard, when all of a sudden almost-twenty-one-year-old Rebecca walks in and whips out an entire computer that is roughly the size of a chocolate bar.

I would be like a character from Star Trek or something! Compared to the desktop computer I was familiar with at the time, my iPhone would definitely seem like something out of a sci-fi movie. At that point in my life, I had seen a computer with a touch screen apparatus before, although I don't know how I managed that, because touch screens were not common AT ALL. The closest thing I would have seen to an iPhone would have been my mom's Palm Pilot or my dad's Jornada (totally forgot about those until this very second), and I didn't even care about those because they were boring.

So I guess that raises the question... If I wasn't interested in cell phones or personal data assistants when I was eight, would I care at all about an iPhone 4S?

My prediction: Yes.


The games.

Because cell phones today are more than just phones. They're, like, everything. And I think my younger self would be astounded by the fun things my iPhone has to offer. I think she would also consider my iPhone way cooler than my best friend's brother's Game Boy Color, because even an eight-year-old would be able to tell there's a huge difference between the graphics on a GBC and the graphics on my iPhone 4S.

Also, I think she'd find it super awesome that I can talk to my phone and it'll talk back.

So basically, I would be the coolest person she'd ever met.

Although she would probably wonder why the heck I haven't published a book and become a millionaire yet and what the heck I'm doing with my life.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Graphic Novel Update

Hey! I thought I'd post about something other than NaNoWriMo. I haven't written about non-NaNoWriMo stuff in a while.

My other big, huge project is the graphic novel, of course, and I actually met with my partner today. We discovered that the library has a scanner that is better than mine, and she found a good way to set up panels in InDesign. We decided that I'm going to go ahead and ink the panels and scan them, and then she'll arrange them in InDesign and digitally letter them.

In the meantime, I have to draw two more rough draft pages for Thursday, and I'm not looking forward to it. At all. I need to not wait until Wednesday night to start that...

And there's your update! Yay!

Now I'm going to work on my NaNoWriMo project, because I haven't written anything yet today and I have less than an hour for my words to count for today. So... toodles!

NaNoWriMo Word Count: 5735
Graphic Novel Page Count: 4 rough

Thursday, November 7, 2013

NaNoWriMo Crisis AVERTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!!


For those of you just tuning in, I posted a rant only a few minutes ago about how I lost a good chunk of my NaNoWriMo project. To read it, either go to the previous post or click this helpful link.

Before resorting to foamy-mouthed ranting on the Internet, I searched the Internet for a way to recover my lost work. As you might conclude from the blog post with all the capital letters, I did not succeed.


As soon as I published the post, I had a sudden burst of inspiration. What do you do to autosaved files you don't want? You delete them. And where do deleted files go?


Ah, glorious day! I found the autosaved file in the Recycle Bin where I hoped it would be. I restored it, feeling my life return to its normal happy place.

But then I realized I had no idea where the restored file had gone.

I tried searching for it on my computer... No results. But I was not ready to give up, not when I was so close to recovering my work! So I went back to the website I had been using earlier, which you can find here:

By somewhat following these instructions and somewhat clicking buttons until something worked, I managed to save all the work I did yesterday.

I think the basic gist of it was:
1) Recover the AutoRecovery save of the document
2) Don't panic when you can't find it
3) Open up a new Word Document
4) Go to File > Open and open up the autosaved file (.asd?) from there (that's where the website helped out).





:) And now I can get back to work.

NaNoWriMo Word Count: 3270, BABY!!!!!!!


IT'S GONE!!!!!!!!!! MY NOVEL IS GONE!!!!!!

Okay, not the whole thing, but everything I wrote yesterday is gone because APPARENTLY I NEVER BOTHERED TO CLICK THE SAVE BUTTON.


And it all happened because I just had to clip my fingernails while sitting at my desk...

Let me 'splain.

I was clipping my very long fingernails at my desk, in front of my open laptop. A piece of fingernail got stuck in my keyboard, under the Calculator button. The only way to get it out was to hold the button down while I fished it out with some tweezers. Naturally, this made about a million Calculator windows open up, and my laptop totally freaked out and locked up on me.

I couldn't get it to respond, so I shut it off with the power button.

Started it up- everything was working fine again.

So tonight, when I finally found the motivation to put in some time on my novel, I went and opened up the document. The usual little sidebar with all the autosaved stuff popped up on the left, and without thinking, I closed it.

A little box popped up, asking if I wanted to view these files again or if I was done with them.

I said to myself, "Meh, I've got all of this saved. I'm good." So I got rid of all them.

Only to find that my novel was missing around 1500 words.

Why?! WHY didn't I just leave the sidebar alone for a few more seconds?! WHYYYYY?!?!?!?!



Only 1500 words, you say. It could be worse.


NOW I HAVE TO WRITE IT ALL OVER AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



I am never going to finish this novel.

NaNoWriMo Word Count: 1711

NaNoWriMo Then And Now

I was looking through old Facebook statuses, and I found one that I posted exactly one year ago (give or take a few hours):

Well, seeing as I currently have 3270 words on this year's NaNoWriMo project, I can officially say I'm doing better than I did last year!

...although not by much.

Here's the graph of what my word count ought to look like this month:

I've got some serious catching up to do.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Random Fact #19

Random Fact #19: Some people call a baked potato a "jacket potato." It might just be a British thing- I'm not entirely sure. I've never heard the phrase before. But now that I think about it, it's logical...

Source: I did a Google search for "jacket potato" and perused the top few results without actually clicking on any of them.

I had to look up "jacket potato" because I came across the term while reading through the Very British Problems Twitter account. "Uh... What's a jacket potato? Are they little potatoes that people carry around in their jacket pockets?"

In my defense, the phrase was in a tweet about people wearing coats.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013



Bwaaagh burrrrghhh,

Graaaghh gurr baaghrr Tuesday grehhhh! Errrf greehh oouughaaaahh grah gurr braaaaaaiiiiiin. Aaaarrgh arrh raahh buurrrr Night brrr Elie Wiesel. Brr nnnnng grrruffff AAAAARGHHHHHH. Frrraaauughhh Tuesdays! Graaaaaahh hooooorggh First Lady Hillary Clinton rrrgh Millennium Lecture Series. Mehhh.

Raaauuughhh uuurggghhhhh murr braaaiiin errrrh raaaauuh. Rrraaauuoouughhh! Raaahhhh Lila Quintero Weaver, urrgh rooohhhhhh auuhh Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White. Buhh buhhh buhhhh grrrrrghhhhh rrrraaaAAUUURRGGHhhhh. Rrrehhh.

Rooaaaauuurrrrrr urrrghhh ohhhhhhuurrr grrr raaaahhh French. Graaaaahhrrrrr uuurr raaaaaaaar French!!!! Urrrr wooooaarrr huuururrrr French hurrrrgah, grraaaaooohhhhhhh aaaahhh. Urrrgh murr braaaiin.

Raaaugh! Urrrrfuhhhh Autumn urrrr groooaaahhhh hurrrg hrrrn. Hrrr! Hrrrr, hrrrr, hrrrr! Arrrrghrr, urrrp brrurr gwooaaahhh Target urrrr Starbucks. Rrrrrrrrr. Rrrffff graaaaghhhhhrk rrrrr spaghetti.

Grreeehhhh?!?!?! Maaauuughh... krrrt graoooohh uhhhhhh NaNoWriMo eehhhh?!?!?!!?!??! Auuuuuuughghhghghhhhhhhh.... grrf ehff aaaaoowwwww rrawwrrrr Shakespeare. Brrrffaaaguuuhhooohhhh braaaaaiiiiiinnnnnnn. Raaaaagh BRAAAAIIIIINN!!!!!!!

Hooorrrg. Grruughhhh Friday hurrr?


Monday, November 4, 2013

I kind of cheated a little bit...

So... I accidentally cheated on my NaNoWriMo a little bit. I had penned out a beginning to my novel a few weeks ago and included it in my word count. But then I read through some of the FAQs and realized that was cheating because you're supposed to only write the novel during the month of November.

I realize that there's no NaNoWriMo police that's going to bust down my door, but it's a matter of pride, you know? I took out the 200-ish words that I had written before the official start date. It set me back a little bit, but 200 words isn't going to make or break me. I want the satisfaction of knowing that I wrote 50,000 words in one month.

...if I make it, that is. I've got all kinds of academic obstacles in my way. I've got papers galore for my actual required classes, as well as that graphic novel project I keep talking about, and on top of it all, I'm also applying for internships for the spring and summer. If I don't get to 50,000 words this month, it won't be for lack of trying, but I really, really want to finish this novel. It's been forming in my brain for two or three years, now.

I'm making progress, I guess... Almost to 2000 words. That's about how much I need to write every day in order to finish on time. According to the stats on the website, if I keep up my current pace, I'll finish in February of next year. Well, that's better than October of 2016 like it used to say!

NaNoWriMo Word Count: 1711


It's November 3 (although it will probably be November 4 by the time I get this posted) and you know what that means!

-the year is almost over
-final exams are looming ever closer
-soon I will be 21
-Thanksgiving is soon
-it's getting colder
-it's National Novel Writing Month!

Yes, my friends, we are three (or four) days into National Novel Writing Month! If you're participating, I hope your novel is going better than mine, which, as of this moment, only has a smidge over 200 words. I got a late start. I only get to hang out with my family every once in a while, and one of those times just happened to fall on the first few days of November, so I got a little sidetracked.

For those of you who are new to this wonderful thing, November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. This is when a bunch of people focus all their energy into writing a novel of at least 50,000 words before November ends. They log their word count into the website everyday to keep track of their progress. They can also encourage each other and read words of wisdom from successful writers on the website. It's pretty cool! Check it out:

I've tried to do NaNoWriMo the last two years. The first was such a dismal failure that I don't even remember it. I think I just signed up on the website and never got around to actually writing anything. The second year, I completely forgot about it until I was halfway through the month and decided to jump in and try to catch up. I got up to 2,429 words. Progress is progress, I guess.

This year, I'm attempting to write the same novel, but I've had another year to mull it over in my head, and now it looks (or will look) a bit different. I remember getting frustrated as I was writing last year because the words I was typing weren't doing what I wanted them to do. Even though I only have 208 words right now, I'm much happier with the way this thing is going.

I got the NaNoWriMo widget! Now my word count will show up on the sidebar to the right of what you're reading right now. If anybody had been clicking around on my site while I was adding the widget, they would have noticed it jumping all over the header and sidebar while I tried to figure out how to HTML. Probably the last time I tried to HTML was ten years ago when I was adding a background and music to my shop on Neopets.

Provided I actually figured out how to HTML correctly, the widget should keep a running total of the words I've written. I'll also stick it at the end of any blog posts I do between now and the end of the month.

Here's to actually getting to 50,000 words this year!

NaNoWriMo Word Count: 208

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Random Fact #18

Random Fact #18: When milk expires, it will eventually separate into layers.

Source: Personal Observation

And it's gross.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Writing Papers: Thinking

Warning: Brief Hamlet spoilers.

When I write papers, I often find it useful to notes and stuff. That helps me to figure out what the heck I'm going to write about.

Pro Tip: Don't wait until 9 P.M. the night before a paper's due to start working on it. Even if it is only a 300-word essay. Because then the universe will do everything it can to prevent you from finishing the paper.

Gameday Gifts and Things That Happen On Gameday That Aren't So Fun

Around here, folks sometimes replace the word "Saturday" with "Gameday." College football is king.

And me? I'm in the marching band. So even though I never liked football at all growing up (I was one of those people who watch the Super Bowl just for the commercials), football has pushed and shoved its way into my life, and now it'll probably never go away. That's okay.

Being in the marching band is very time-consuming. We practice for an hour and a half every day of the week, and then we have to get up early for a special Gameday practice. Although I love band with all my heart and soul, waking up early on Saturday mornings is sometimes very disagreeable. However, the clarinet section has a way to make it much more bearable.

We have Secret Pals. At the beginning of the semester, the organizer of the Secret Pals assigned everyone a Secret Pal to buy presents for. Everyone provided her with a list of our likes and hobbies so our assigned Pal could know what to buy for us. For every home game, we go out and spend around $10 on a gift or a bunch of little gifts for our Secret Pal. We wrap the gift and label it with our Secret Pal's name, remaining anonymous, and then on Saturday morning, we secretly slip the gift under the Clarinet Tree before rehearsal starts.

Don't get any crazy ideas about tinsel or bright lights; the Clarinet Tree is not a Christmas tree. The marching band doesn't have any kind of building or facility. We actually go to the Arby's next to our field to use the restroom. It's kind of funny, and it's actually a symbiotic relationship. They let us use their restrooms, and while we're in the restaurant, we smell the curly fries, and suddenly we want Arby's for dinner. But since we don't have a building, each section has claimed a spot around the field to leave their equipment and warm up. This often occurs under a tree (although the color guard, unfortunately, was recently forced to relocate because a huge limb fell out of their tree and almost hit someone). The Clarinet Tree is a big, tall tree on a hill. I don't know what kind it is. It's currently producing some kind of nut that's small and isn't an acorn.

Although the Clarinet Tree is not an evergreen and doesn't resemble a Christmas tree in any way, it certainly looks merry with a huge pile of wrapped presents surrounding its trunk. It's very exciting to finally finish Gameday rehearsal and run over to find our presents. The entire Secret Pal process is exciting for me, even though I have a Secret Pal who's very hard to shop for this year. Usually I get so excited about finding the perfect gift for my pal and wrapping it up just right that I forget that I'm also going to receive a present. It's twice the fun when I remember.

I really have no idea who my Secret Pal is. I think it's a girl. That narrows it down (sarcasm). She (he?) tries to give me hints so I can guess who she (he?) is, but I haven't had any luck yet. I did enjoy the gift bag that my Secret Pal left for me today. A lot of people did a Halloween theme since this is our last home game before Halloween, and my Secret Pal didn't disappoint. However, she (he?!?!?!) found a Thanksgiving gift to include, as well.

In the information I gave to the Secret Pals organizer, I listed foxes as some of my favorite animals, although I wasn't expecting anyone to find cool fox gifts. Lo and behold! It's a fox!

I got started on this after the game (and after my initial crash from sheer exhaustion).

It was fun to color! I colored while waiting for episodes of the Superman animated series to buffer and while listening to Tobuscus scream at some Happy Wheels game or other. Very relaxing. With only four colors, I didn't have a ton of options for creativity, so I basically just copied the picture on the package, but I still like it! Lookit that fox! He's so cute!

I colored this while nursing some very chapped lips. You see, I tragically forgot to bring lip balm with me to the game today, and my lips were dry before we even performed the pregame show. I've got a red mark under my lip the size and shape of a clarinet reed, and it still stings a little. I've applied three coats of ChapStick since returning home, and I'm finally getting some results. Yaaaayyyy! Hopefully I've learned my lesson about football and ChapStick. Sheesh!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Graphic Novel Project - Pages Three And Four


I've lost count of how many hours I've spent working on the rough draft (it's only the rough draft!) of these two pages (it's only two pages!) of my final project for my graphic novel class. Now it's very late, and I still have other things to do for tomorrow, and I'm getting hungry again, but at least I've got these pages done.

This is a partner project. I'm doing the art. My partner's doing the words. The way it's working so far is that she writes a rough script, I draw some panels to go along with the script, and then she goes and fills in the speech bubbles and narration boxes.

Ay yi yi. I've had it up to here with this drawing business. And we're only four pages in. Into the rough draft, that is. Originally I'd planned to do just a quick layout on each page to turn in as the rough draft, but then I realized how much work I'd have left to do at the end of the semester when it's time to make the final product (and I'm simultaneously writing final papers and studying for final exams). So I decided I'd put a fair amount of effort into the rough draft and just fix it up later before I ink it (or whatever the heck we decide to do as far as color and stuff. we don't know. we haven't gotten there yet).

And I think that's a good idea, but I realize now that just one page is going to take me several hours. Good thing I started last night, or I'd be in a very bad spot right now!

Here are pages three and four of Dreamlocked, in which the main character is trapped in a dream and must fix the historical inaccuracies in it (in this episode, find Marie Antoinette after she escapes from prison) or she'll never wake up.

That, by the way, sounds like exactly the kind of problem I'd like to have.

There's no text- I'm only the penciler today. If you want, you can make up captions for the panels and leave them in the comments. It'll make me smile.

If you're wondering why it's so dark, I was fiddling around with the contrast on my scanner to make the pencil lines show up more clearly. I'm making progress with technology!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday Art

Happy Sunday, all. I did a few art things.

A fox made with the crayon tool.

"Nebula." Made with the pastel tool and the palette knife.

Have a great start/end of the week!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Notebook Doodles

Just a couple o' fun doodles from my Shakespeare notebook to prove I'm still alive.

Brownie points to whoever recognizes the play.

I've got a couple of blog post drafts going, but can't seem to get around to finishing them.

Midterms, y'all.

And papers.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Practicing Foxes

I practiced drawing foxes last night.

I used to doodle during class all the time in middle school, and cartoony foxes became one of my specialties. Last night, I tried to summon that ancient fox drawing power in order to work on some concept art for my big final graphic novel project. It took me a few tries to get to where I wanted to be. I started out just trying to draw foxes like I used to in seventh grade, but that particular talent seems to have gotten pretty rusty. I decided to try drawing a model.

Using this adorable stuffed animal as a model helped me to get going in the right direction. After a while, I combined my realistic-as-possible drawings of the plushie with my fox style from way-back-when and eventually got the two foxes at the bottom-center of the page. That will probably be what the fox character looks like in the final project.

I wish I had a fox drawing from eighth grade to compare with the new design. If I happen to find one when I go home in a few weeks, I'll post a side-by-side comparison just for the funsies.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Journey to the Center of the Library

I'm at the library again because this is my third home (my first being my dorm room and my second being the marching band field), and tonight I thought I'd be responsible and try to do some research earlier than I absolutely had to for a deadline. So I logged onto a library computer, plugged "World War I" into the catalog search engine, and scrolled through the results until I came to an interesting-looking diary of a solider in World War I.

See, normally I just do my research on the Internet, but my professor's encouraging us to use books, and I'm already at the library, so why not? Books are easier to cite than websites are, anyway.

I snapped a pic of the book's location using my iPhone and then strolled over to the chart by the elevator that tells which floor contains which section of books. My book was located on LL.

"LL?" I thought to myself. "Lower Level? The basement?"

In my two years and two months at this university, I'd never descended into the basement of the library. I knew it was where people went to hide during tornadoes. I'd heard rumors that it was where the Satanist books were kept. I'd never seen it for myself, though. In fact, I wasn't even entirely sure how to get there.

After poking around a few doors and stairwells, I finally found a staircase leading down from the first floor. There were no signs, and the stairs looked quite... well...

A picture's worth a thousand words, isn't it?

...gross. That's not at all what I'm accustomed to seeing at our library. Most areas of our library are clean and quite attractive, often with comfy or cool-looking furniture.

But in the spirit of adventure (and finding my book), I descended. And I was quite alarmed by what I found when I opened the door at the bottom.

The basement is... dismal, to say the least. Dark, dingy, even a bit creepy, and with lots of personal work spaces. I guess the basement is where you go if you really don't want to be disturbed. There were two people down there when I entered. One of them looked up at me as if he were shocked to see another human being.

One thing that interested me very much about the basement was this:

We have these emergency phones scattered across campus, always marked with a blue light so one can find it at night. However, they're typically located on the streets and in parking garages... not in the library. I also kept seeing signs stating that this area was under surveillance and that any inappropriate behavior would be reported to the campus police. Now, I didn't actually see any cameras, but the signs and emergency phone made me wonder exactly what has gone on down in the basement in years past. Couples on a study break? Satanic rituals?

The other floors of the library are similar to the basement in that they have aisle after aisle of books, but the floors are actually tiled, there aren't so many clunky ducts (there could have been a spy hanging out in those things for all I knew), there are actually ceilings and bright lights, and the shelves aren't so dull and depressing.

I walked down one aisle that was so dark I couldn't read the titles of the books. I had to whip out my phone and use the new flashlight feature in the control center. Good thing I updated to iOS 7, eh?

Once I turned a corner and found this:


I didn't actually see any Satanist literature while I was down there. I did, however, see books from just about every religion known to man. Also all the British history books. And the Russian history books. Philosophy, psychology...

Of course, there are some books that will probably never, ever be read-- not because they look boring, but because of this:

Did that really seem like the best place to put a bookshelf?

I never actually found the book I was looking for. I went to the shelf on which it should have been waiting for me, but it was strangely absent. I didn't find any helpful books down there, unfortunately. Feeling that I had wasted enough time, I ascended back to the civilized world, feeling a little unsettled but definitely more enlightened for having finally seen the library's basement.

During my ascent, I ran into this:

I very much approve of decoration on the walls, and I can't wait to see how the art students responsible for the designs finish their project.

I wasn't, however, quite prepared for this:

The air smelled like whatever it is that makes painter's tape sticky. I'm not sure if it's better or worse than the smell of lonely basement books.