Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay...

I guess I'm about 80 miles shy of any kind of dock of the Bay, but I am wasting time. I had the best of intentions and various interesting ideas for blogging over the past few days, but just couldn't make time to post...I did write a rather lengthy entry for Finding Wonderland as part of Under the Radar Recommendations week--a week (roughly) of blog posts about overlooked or underappreciated children's and YA books. And I just realized today is Thursday, which means I should be working on a cartoon for Toon Thursday but maybe I should use Under Radar week as an excuse to go on hiatus for today, since I haven't actually done a cartoon yet. I always seem to find myself doing them on Thursday evenings, so that it's barely still Thursday by the time I post them.

What I'd rather start working on, though, is...well, it's twofold: Firstly, I want to start taking a final look at my current novel-in-progress, The Latte Rebellion, and add a few visual elements that need to go with the text (there are a couple of cartoons and faux web pages that go at the beginnings of chapters). Once that's done--and once I feel like I can actually call the whole thing DONE--it'll be time to send out proposals. I'm excited about that. I feel like this manuscript is a lot more marketable, and just plain better (and, frankly, I would hope that I've improved over time...).

Secondly, I want to continue the redesign of our website, which will look nothing like either the alleged "new" design that's currently on the front page, or the old one. That first page was created when I was experimenting with Adobe Illustrator, but unfortunately, Illustrator still baffles me, and I decided I don't like that design anyway, so I'm working on a new one. The plan is to have pop-up windows with my art and design samples instead of cluttering the main web page with a bunch of images or a thumbnail gallery. I'm still debating how exactly to do that, so I might have to go look at other people's websites and steal some ideas...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Smack My Ass and Call Me Judy

I don't have a huge amount to say today, and in fact I wasn't going to post anything, except that I was randomly browsing blogs and blog links and found this. Imagine my surprise to find out I'm a finalist in not only one, but TWO categories for the Welsh Blog Awards 2007--Best Welsh American Blog and Best Welsh Learner Blog. (This, of course, is for my Welsh-language blog, Castell Tywod--that's "sand castle" for those not Welsh-literate). I remember hearing about the Welsh Blog Awards some time ago--I think I was e-mailed a notice letting me know I could nominate people--and then I promptly forgot all about it (as often happens when I get e-mailed things that aren't work-related. And sometimes things that ARE work-related). Next thing I know, it's August and I'm looking at a link someone sent to a mailing list I subscribe to, linking to the post about the final round, and I'm browsing the list thinking, jeez, I don't feel right about voting in the final round since I haven't been very good about reading other people's blogs lately and I haven't heard of half of the finalists, and then I get halfway down the post and go "errrrrr?"

Sunday, August 19, 2007

From New York to...New Modesto.

Inside the MoMAI finally uploaded some of our photos from NYC to Flickr. There are more pictures from the New York trip on a disposable camera (our digital one was acting up) which I have yet to take in to be developed, but when I do, rest assured I will upload those, too. That set has pictures of Albany and the Hudson River, and a few photos from the Welsh course. I have no idea what the quality will be like. They all looked like crap through the viewfinder. Seriously. And I can't really take credit for these digital ones, since Rob took the majority of them, while I was a slacker with the disposable and didn't take any in NYC.

The trip was amazing, though. I enjoyed Albany and the Welsh course, and met some really cool new people as well as seeing the course "regulars." I got to step down as Board President, which is so awesome I lack words to describe it adequately. I'm still on the Board, doing committee stuff and advising the new Prez, but I'm happy not to feel like I'm the spokesperson for the group. I dreaded giving administrative announcements every morning at the plenary session, I disliked being the focus of innumerable questions and having to be nice to everyone all the time, and I really disliked having to preside over the daily lunchtime Board meetings. Nope, I've known for quite some time that management is not for me.

On an unrelated note, I just got back from a party at the house of one of Rob's co-workers, and now I've totally seen how the other half of Modesto lives. Now, the "other half" is actually divided into two quarters--one quarter that's the sort of old-money, old Craftsman or Victorian or fakie-Tudor houses set; and the other quarter that's the nouveau-riche, gated community, McMansion set. It was the latter we were introduced to tonight, and believe me, I had no idea that we had a gated community in Modesto that has a man-made lake in it.

There is a lighted fountain in the middle of said lake, and all the houses with lakefront property seem to come with their own little paddle-boats, including the house we were visiting. Every place was immaculately landscaped, and when we were in the backyard looking out at the fountain in the miniature lake, and the fancy, box-like houses all around, it didn't feel like we were in Modesto. The weird part to me was that it didn't feel like anywhere. It just felt like generic upscale-tract-house-land. I can't imagine one would feel like they were part of their town, their community, living in a sterile place like that. Even the gated community in SoCal where my dad lives (a place I really hate) has some character and some actual nature in it. This place ("Sundance Lake," I think) was like a designer community. There was something twilight-zone-like about it--the perfect houses, the perfectly landscaped yards, the perfectly trendy olive-green-painted walls and glossy wood floors and curving backyard terraces leading down to the lake.

I found myself wondering if I would even want a place like that if somebody offered it to me for free. At first, I thought, yeah, of course, who wouldn't take it? And then I thought, God, no, I could never live in a place like this. And then just now I thought, of course I'd say yes, so I could turn around and sell it and buy a really cool house with some history and character. Possibly in the UK. (Yeah, I've been daydreaming about that again.)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Nothing to say but it's okay...

I really ought to post something more substantial (and I sincerely intend to do so before long) as I've been absent for so long, but I'm feeling a little rebellious about that. Too many "have to do" and "supposed to do" items. In the meantime, though, I have pictures and stuff for you to look at. None of our New York photos are up yet, but you can look at pictures of this year's Welsh course (both official and unofficial--and more of the unofficial here).

I was also recently interviewed about my blogging habits for a fabulous book blog called Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. That was definitely interesting, as I don't think I've been interviewed for any purpose other than one or two nerdy things in high school. (A memorable mis-quote in my senior yearbook: "I don't study hard, I just study smart." I did not say it like that, I swear.) Anyway, Jules and Eisha over at 7-Imp did a great job of making me sound much more fascinating than I actually am; also, don't miss the excellent interview with my co-blogger TadMack.

More soon.