Saturday, December 31, 2005

My three favorite new sites for 2006

There are three things I discovered this last year that I absolutely love.

The first is DAZ (, a site dedicated to digital 3D art. Daz Studio (a Poser-like program) is free, and so are some of the models. The store is addictive, but I was lucky in that I joined the Platinum Club early (back when we had money) so that I can pick up things for a couple dollars every now and then.

This site has allowed me to explore an artistic side otherwise lost to those of us who cannot draw or paint. It's really, as the site explains somewhere, like setting up a studio session. You get to choose the models, setting, lighting, clothing, makeup... and no one argues when you put them into awkward positions and leave them there for a few days while you work on background material. Science fiction and fantasy scenes are as easy to do as historical or modern day work. There are anime-like settings, and even animation for those interested in going that far. Daz also bought the Bryce system from Corel, and have offered some very nice items to go with it as well. Bryce is still a bit over my head, though, and I haven’t had the time to really sit and play with it the way I would like.

There is also the forums, the contests, the challenges.... A person could devote quite a lot of time to this if they had it!

The second site is LibraryThing (, which is another very addictive site, especially for anyone who loves books. I hardly entered half my own collection before I had to go back to real life for a while, but I'm going to be back at it in 2006. You can find my library here:

LibraryThing includes all kinds of fun stuff like ratings, reviews, and tags for your websites. There are profiles of users, lists of books broken down by most popular, highest rated, most reviewed -- as well as lists of the largest libraries. You can search through other people's libraries and if you find things that you have, you can just drop it into your own collection. Or you can enter your books yourself. I found that ISBN works best, and the site goes off and finds all the info it can, including cover art. A new feature allows you to upload book covers of your own.

You can view libraries in many styles and orders. You can download the data (good for an Excel file!) and you can print out your library, including cover art.

There is one last site to mention: PreClick ( This is a photo organizing program. If you have a big collection (like say, some 20,000 pictures just from the last camera, never mind the stuff that needs to be scanned in, or the disks from the old camera....), this is a really great way to organize. But it takes time -- something I just don't have a lot of these days. You can copy sets of organized work off to cds, though, and I'm really looking forward to getting to that part. Eventually.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Working toward the end of the year....

I haven't been doing many posts lately, which you obviously can tell. Part of it is that I just have too much to do, and this is the bottom of the list -- that point I never actually reach. But today I decided to just leap over here and write a little anyway.

Things are somewhat better here at the house, though we are still looking for those checks that people owe us. My camera has virtually died -- it won't turn on more often than not. I'm getting my 'picture fix' by playing more with Daz Studio and doing pictures like the one above. I'm going to try and work on the camera myself and see if a good cleaning will help. Hey, it can't hurt! If I can keep it going for another few months, I might have a chance at a new camera.

I took the first picture with the trusty old Sony CD1000 on March 6, 2001. It's produced over 20,000 pictures since that time. I've absolutely no regrets with this camera. In fact, I kind of fear that a new one won't hold up as well as it has.

Yes, I am still obsessing over cameras. It's always been an important part of my life, and until recently I had made more money in photography than in writing. It's hard to not grab the camera every time I look outside and see a squirrel doing something silly.

In other news....

I have put up the post to sign up for the third round of the two year novel class. The first group is just one week from completion, and the second group is half way through their first year. There seems to be a good turn out. Russ thought I was going to take this year off, but this is really going to be the first relatively simple year since I will have both parts already written. That's over 200,000 words for the combined two years.

I'm trying to get Such Gifts as These done (and maybe come up with another title). I need to finish it up this week and get it into the mail next week.

Other than that... nothing.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Ah. Umm... Well....

First, I checked out the astrology link from Holly's current page:

pisces: Instead of blowing with the next creative breeze, try and establish some structure, even if it is around the holiday parties. Routine and boundaries can be useful, especially now, so set it up and see how insanely productive you become.

How insanely productive I become? Are you JOKING? I just wrote over 200k in November and I've gone over a million new words again this year. I don't think I need to be any more insanely productive, do I? Of course I could probably turn that to something other than writing... but still. I laughed.

The car is still in the shop. It's too cold to go anywhere anyway, so I don't mind. And I'll continue to feel that way right up until we run out of Diet Pepsi. I'm drinking tea today, so that should help.

My poor trusty digital camera is dying. About half the time it develops an error when it turns on, and I know that one of these times it's going to be permanent. The idea of being without a digital camera bothers me a great deal. I have film cameras, but I really can't afford to go back to film again. As expensive as the digital camera seems up front, it pays for itself quickly when you start looking at film processing. I take a lot of pictures. I love it, and I'm going to be very sorry when I lose that ability.

I can't afford a new camera, of course. But I keep looking at THIS ONE, which would be my camera of choice. I have several lenses and two film bodies that I could use with it. It would probably need about a gig storage compact flash card, which just means more money, of course. But... I long for this camera. I go and look at it once every couple of weeks. The price has dropped quite a bit over the year, but it's now farther out of my reach than it was earlier this year.

Well, I just keep hoping my lovely old Sony CD1000 holds up!

Friday, December 02, 2005


So, it's one of those days...

First was the email from the SBWC. Asking me to take part on a panel. Me. ah. Eek! Great honor and all.. But me?

So... That can kind of warp your day. I really didn't get much done after that. Estand update and found that I couldn't upload it. Web work for a friend and screwed up something and now have to redo the Index page, which is graphics intensive and I'm not really certain I'm up to it right now.

We went to a NaNo meeting tonight. Unfortunately, the woman had canceled right before we left and I hadn't checked the NaNo board. Russ had his computer with him and found the note posted on the NaNo boards. So we packed up to head back out... And the car wouldn't start. I'm back inside. Russ has gone to meet someone to take us home. Tomorrow we'll have the car towed to our repair shop. Don't know how long it will be there because none of the people who owe us money has paid us. Not one of them. The only money we could even count on over the next week requires the car tomorrow night. Not going to happen.


I could use a break from reality. No hold it -- I just had that. It was called NaNo. I don't think I could take another break like that.

Of course this could have been much worse. We'd been talking about going down to DeSoto to see the geese. Far better to have the car break down here than 100 miles from home.

But still....

I'm back home now. I think I'm just going to go hide myself in some writing for the rest of the night and not think about anything too drastic....

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Yes, that is the total number of words I wrote in November. It was an interesting month! I don't quite know how I managed that much, but there it is -- one long novel and two short ones over 50k each.

Now I'm back to the real world again. I've posted material and updated the links for FM for this month.

December already. I'm having trouble with that concept. This year has gone too quickly in many ways. It's not been my favorite year for a number of reasons, but we're getting through it.

But NaNo is over and now I have to re-order my life again and get the last few things done for the year. It's always such a shock to suddenly hit 12:00 am December 1 and realize that you're not really racing to get anything done. Suddenly you have free time again. Well, maybe not, really. I know there are a number of htings I need to get done. In fact, I'm going to write out my nice little list now and start working my way through them.

We have snow, by the way. A lot of snow, in fact. We haven't had this much snow this early in the year in a long time, and it doesn't look like it will go away any time soon. I expect a warm up before Christmas -- we almost always get one -- but right now we have knee deep snow and a very happy dog. She loves it.