katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
Well, one video. But definitely more than one book.

This week's video is a bit of a catch-up on my week. Which is rather logical. Why not spare a couple of minutes and catch up on said weekness?



Unfortunately, I've finished reading House of Many Ways by now. I really didn't want to. I tried my hardest to avoid it, but it happened eventually. This book definitely felt like a return to Diana Wynne Jones's inventively magical best, especially after I failed to be blown away by The Pinhoe Egg. If you've read Howl's Moving Castle, then you need to read House of Many Ways. And if you haven't read Howl... why on earth not? It's all fairytales and sarcasm and vanity and confusion. And yes, it's much better than the movie version, although the adaptation certainly has its charms. I just prefer my Howl to be a jerk, not a misunderstood anti-hero.

One of the things I like about Diana Wynne Jones is the way her characters develop in a very understated way. I was just sitting here thinking that Charmain never really grew or changed throughout House... but she did, in much the same way Sophie does in Howl's Moving Castle.

So read it. And then you can read Company of Liars, for it is similarly addictive. It's set in the time of the plague in England, but it might as well be a fantasty realm. Superstitions are upheld and mythical creatures are believed in - even a man with a wing for an arm is accepted as something that just happens. It's fascinating and beautifully written and packed full of fascinating characters. And yes, it's another book that really shouldn't have to end, but inevitably does.

Since I seem to be developing a trend here, I'm going to ask you all to recommend me your latest book-you-can't-put-down. Please?

(Also, I saw Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and now believe that Luna Lovegood is made of some sort of crazy awesome. She was seriously the best thing about that movie and she was only in about three scenes or something.)
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
It's writing week at fivedotnerds! Again! I have no idea how it manages to roll around so quickly. How can three weeks pass by without my noticing them? It doesn't seem right.

It is also:
  1. The last day of term

  2. Practically the first day of my holidays

  3. A dress-up day at work, therefore I am dressed up

  4. Only a week until I'm in Sydney with LOOOOOOOOONS!!


More on that later. For now, please accept this video with numerous, vaguely-entertaining background noises, as well as my thoughts on world-building:



When it comes to world-building, I suffer from a sense of mis-placed achievement. If I were to sit there and map out the world and write pieces about the history and the culture, then my brain would decide that this is it. Hooray! We have done the work and the work is good.

Pity it's not a story, but you can't have everything. Or so they say.

Damn them.

Tell me all about your world-building. Or when you think it goes over-board. Or doesn't go far enough. You can throw in your plans for world-domination, if you wish - provided it's your own world you plan to dominate and not this one.
katiefoolery: (Olivier is peerless)
Or it could not. I would, of course, be referring to over-thinking. I do it all the time. No seriously, All. The. Time. To offer a case in point: the reason I haven't written in this journal for the last week and a bit is because I keep over-thinking the process. Where normal people would just sit down and blog about things, I have to turn them over and examine them from all angles and ask them questions.

By which point, it's about two days later and the news, she is old.

The reason for most of this thinking? Oh, that would be the new blog I'm putting together for my work. Not to mention browsing through other writers' blogs. It's making me want to work out what should go on here, or if I should get a domain again... I don't know. And I still want to incorporate more videos into this thing, as a sort of complementary thing.

But I know I'll just end up over-thinking it, by which time it'll be a decade later and the internet will be, like, sooooooo passé.

Anyway, in news that isn't old and hasn't been over-thought (but does most definitely involve brains), I should mention that the fivedotnerds channel is under seige... by the undead.



Any tips on what we should do to survive the onslaught? I'm not sure I prepared myself well enough, really...
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
Ever wondered what a beta does? Ever wondered how a beta lives their life? Is it all parts of speech and punctuation, or do we actually have fun?

To the last question, I say: Parts of speech and punctuation are fun. Punctuation especially.

This week, I thought I'd allow you all a glimpse into the world of a beta. And here it is: the very first episode of the Secret Beta Chronicles.

katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
Yes, genre, despite the fact that I kept referring to this video as "my thoughts on grammar". I have no idea why. It's not as though I'm obsessively interested in grammar or anything.

It's writing week again! The fact that this has rolled around so quickly disturbs me somewhat, mostly because it seems like the previous writing week was just a couple of days ago. Which leads to the further conclusion that the year is passing far too quickly.

On the up side, this means Winter may not drag out for as long as I fear it will. However, I'm not entirely sure I want the year to pass quite this quickly.

But to return to writing week and genre-not-grammar. In this video, I talk about genre, tropes, the prejudices of my university lecturers and... well, what more could you want, actually?



I'd love to know about everyone's favourite or most influential genres, too. Are there genres you love to read but would never write, for example? Tell me all. :D
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
So my cold has gone from "Oh, how inconvenient to have a sniffly sort of thing right now" to "GAH am going to curl up in a corner and hope for imminent death". Hooray. However, it's not all bad, as I won't actually be returning to work until Monday, a fact that has led me to develop a cunning plan whereby I get over this thing by Friday, just in time to enjoy a sickness-free weekend.

Bonus points if I get over it by tonight, thus giving myself a three-day weekend. :D

Unsurprisingly, my sickliness made its way into my video this week thusly:



I actually managed to sound vaguely healthy while I was recording that.

Please feel free to share your tips for making yourself feel better when you're sick. There must be better ideas out there than just sitting on the couch eating junk food...
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
Oh, I did a very crazy thing. Very crazy indeed. It goes a little like this:

* The school at which I work puts on an annual revue-type thing.

* There's always a staff item in said revue-type thing.

* I am a member of staff.

And this year, for some insanity-driven reason, I decided that I should take those last two points and draw some sort of logical conclusion from them. Oh yes, the shy, self-conscious person decided it would be an idea of sorts to stand on a stage in front of actual people and perform a dance routine. Not on my own, admittedly; I haven't quite reached that level of crazy.

Opening night was last night. And you know what? Some sort of miracle occurred in which the only part of me that was nervous was my knees. It was quite annoying, really, considering I rather rely on them to stand up and move about and so on. But I went and had a firm chat with them and they got over it, which is convenient when you understand that I was put in the very front row and needed to look at least partially co-ordinated.

I still can't believe I wasn't nervous. Seriously, I used to have panic attacks before doing two minute oral presentations at school. But no - there I was, standing in the wings as we waited for our cue and I wasn't afflicted by nervousness at all. Not even in my knees.

Speaking of crazy things I've done recently, why not have a look at this video in which I confess to another?



I promise never to do that again. Ever.
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
Fanfiction: what is it good for?

Well, lots of things, really. It is all things to all people. And to some people, it's nothing at all. It's so odd to think there are people out there who have no idea fanfiction even exists... or that it can be fodder for the most cracktastic events and debates. Oh, fanfic, you're like a microcosm of crazy.

More coherent thoughts on fanfic and its value can be found in this week's video, seen here:

What does everyone else think? Do you read or write fanfic? Do you think it has merit? Would you allow it if you were a published author?

I think I can safely say I'd allow it. I'd encourage it. Voraciously.

Voraciously isn't quite the right word, but that's still how I'd do it.
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
We're all guilty of reading popcorn fiction.  All of us.  Yes, even you.  And especially you.  Sometimes you need a break; a little snack in between meals.

Strangely, this is the exact subject of my vlog this week!  I'll bet you've never seen a smoother, more subtle segue in your life...  And now, with all the gentleness and sophistication of a sledgehammer, let me point you in the direction of this week's vlog and all its vloggish goodness.  Watch, as I reveal my popcorn fiction of the moment... then become distracted by the pretty sky:



I've told you mine; now it's your turn to tell me yours.  What do you read when you need a break in your reading?
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
To state that I am insanely happy with this week's video would be a slight exaggeration. I am happy with the majority of it, but please, let me list the things that bug me about it.

1. I had to shoot it on one of the cruddiest days we've had so far this year. Actually, now that I think about it, the title of "Cruddiest Day" may actually go to any of those that fell during the heatwave and/or the horrendous bushfires... So let me revise that: I had to shoot it on the coldest, windiest, rainiest, darkest day of the year so far. So the quality's grainier than I'd like it to be (which is "not at all").

2. My camera was so obsessed with the sound of my central heating that it decided it should CONSTANTLY BE IN THE BACKGROUND.

3. So much footage had to be tossed so cruelly away, even when it begged to be included on bended knee and subsequently sent me chocolates and fruit hampers in the hopes of tempting me to give in.

But that aside, there are so many things that worked exactly as I wanted them to and I couldn't be happier. I mean, seriously, exactly as I wanted them to. It's not often that things come together like that and behave. There were points during the editing process where I was actually squeeing because it was working so well.

I had so much fun making it; I really hope you all have just as much fun watching it. Here, for your enjoyment, is Cupcake Wednesday:





And yes, I would like to know which style of cooking best equates to your writing style. I wouldn't recommend making a video to illustrate your answer, although I'd love to see one. The painful truth of the matter is that I had to winnow through thirty-six minutes of footage to bring you the four you see before you today.

Painful.

But ultimately rewarding.

So tell me: is your writing style a lovely pasta, or is it a delicious pie?
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
Indeed I am coming to you in glorious HD this week.  This is in complete defiance of the fact that my camera only records in SD.  However, YouTube insists it's HD, so I guess that's good enough for us.  Although it's entirely up to you whether you choose the HD option or just stick with ordinary plain quality.  I won't be offended either way, I swear.

Something occurred to me over the weekend: there's one particular location that appeals to me above all others.  I've read books purely because they were set in said location.  Can't resist them.  They very rarely live up to my expectations, though, mostly because they're raised so high.  Find out (slightly) more in this week's video:



But what about everyone else?  Is there a setting you can't resist?  A location you've always wanted to work into a story somehow?  I'd love to know all about them.
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
The LorF revolution continues!  I know I already said that in my title, but I felt it bore repeating.  Viva!

It's such a lovely day outside, too; I should probably be out there in the backyard (while we still have it), sitting on the fresh green grass... and writing LorF.

First, however, I will have to dislodge the furry, cat-like thing that has seen fit to plant herself upon my lap.  Oh wait, she's just dislodged herself.  How very considerate of her.

LorF, my friends, continues unabated here.  It's in my every thought and every deed.  I eat, speak and breathe LorF.  And we have Plans.  None will escape said Plans.  So please, don't bother trying - you'll just wear yourself out and the LorF will find you anyway.

LorF even invaded my fivedotnerds video for this week.  Witness it for yourself:



I was wondering, though: would you non-LorFers like to know more about the whole business?  Do you have questions?  Such as, When are you going to shut up about this whole LorF thing?  If you do, please feel free to ask them.

It may turn out that I will have some for you in a few months' time...

OK, this could just be me being ridiculously lazy, but can I just shorten "LorF Revolution" to "LorFolution" and be done with it?
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
It's writing week!  Yes,you had no idea this was the case, did you?  It's all true, though.  It's writing week and we are discussing firsts.  All of your firsts, from your first first to your last first.  To date.

I must admit, I'm a huge fan of writing week.  It's not surprising, really.  After all, it means I get to ramble on about writing and I may have mentioned once or twice how much I like doing this.  The only problem with rambling on about writing is that I'm excessively capable at it.  This makes it very difficult to fit my thoughts into the space of four minutes, but I managed somehow.  And as a bonus (coming, as they do, at no extra cost), I even included sun-flare and video saved at the wrong resolution!  It's not my fault; it played in perfect widescreen on my computer.  How was I to know YouTube wouldn't approve?  The good news is that I have learnt how to appease said website and my next video will be absolutely perfect, resolution-wise.  As opposed to this week's squishedness and last week's tininess.

So I believe a small, anticipatory yay is in order: YAY.

But to return to the firsts.  This week, we fivedotnerds are discussing our writing firsts.  When did you write your first story?  What was your first publication?  And so on.  I decided to talk about some slightly different firsts in my video, as you will see for yourselves. :D



And as a bonus, LJ-only feature, I'll list another couple of firsts here.

The first character to take over a story without permission was Chaque.  She was meant to be a nothing character with a couple of backstory-advancing lines.  Then she "dropped a reluctant curtsey" and suddenly she had a personality, attitude... and an overwhelming desire to steal the story.  Which she did.  Quite successfully.  She's single-minded, slightly psychotic and has a tendency to burn things... and I love her.

Although, it's a little worrying to have her in my head sometimes.  You never know what may inexplicably go up in smoke when you're not looking.

The first time I ever won a prize in a writing competition was when I was in year eleven.  It was third prize and it was worth thirty dollars and I can't even tell you how excited I was when I opened the envelope with the certificate and prize inside.

The first character to wake me up at unwelcome times of the night with story ideas that MUST BE WRITTEN DOWN NOW was Jane.  That girl had serious issues with letting me sleep at times.  Lucky for her it's impossible to dislike her... even when you're crawling out of bed at 2am to type up notes so she'll shut up and LET ME SLEEP, dammit.

What are your writing firsts?  What are the most significant things that have happened to you as a writer?  Tell me all about it.  :)
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
Well, not really.  But I do like those odes, especially if they can be completely silly.  Thus, this week's video was a lot of fun for me, as I was finally able to compose and perform my ode.  A good time was had by all!

...Except the subject of the ode itself.  Watch to find out why! :D



One of the best things about setting this challenge was the way so many people responded with odes of their own.  That was fantastic. :)  This means you will all need to be watching out for more challenges like this in the future... and it's your own fault!
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
Oh yes, it's finally Friday.  Friday, after a blah-tastic week. 

Unfortunately, it's only Friday morning, so I still need to go through the entire day before I can throw myself down on the couch and just sleep for the entire weekend.  Or something.

Before I wander off to work in an endless parade of enthusiasm and excitement, please have my vlog for this week:



And yes, that question does apply to my flist too: What are the five things you'd do if you became a famous author?

Next week: some actual entries!
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
There are two main problems with the Samsung MX-20.  Firstly, it claims to film in genuine 16:9 widescreen; secondly, it declares itself to be YouTube friendly.  It is neither.  It is so, so neither.  It's so neither that it almost makes me laugh out of slightly-crazed frustration.

It does film in 16:9 widescreen.  Unfortunately, it doesn't export in said aspect ratio.  In fact, this is a common problem with the camera, as I found out much later.

I wasn't even game to introduce it to YouTube.

Actually, there are three problems with the Samsung MX-20 and the third would be the TYPO ON THE BOX.  Hassle is not spelt "hassel".  No, really it's not.

I was going to purchase the Canon mini-DV cam, but the Samsung was sitting there, all red and shiny and designed to record on memory cards, rather than mini-DV tape...  And then I got around $50 off, due to its being on special and being the display stock (and the last one in red).  So even though I had intended to buy the Canon - on my dad's expert advice, no less - I went ahead and followed the shiny.

And tonight, it's going back to the store, to be replaced for the Canon.

So while I thought I was going to shoot this week's vlog on my shiny new camera, I ended up with my webcam again.  And all of the footage I took over the weekend?  In useless, squished-up 4:3 instead of widescreen.  GAH.  I wanted my writing week video to be extra special, dammit.

Anyway, here it is for you all.  Writing week: Why do we write?  Watch the video to find out!



Incidentally, why do you write?
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
There may be some sort of destiny thing involved when it comes to this vlogging business.  But that's not for now; that's for later.  And possibly for later in video format.

For now, I'm going to complain about the way I have to sacrifice so much footage on the altar of the four minute rule.  We decided the videos should be no longer than four minutes waaaaaay back, a fact I subsequently forgot in my second video, which went for almost six mintues, and which resulted in my being punished.  Four minutes is an abundance of time, really it is.  And yet it's not enough.

It turns out I ramble on quite a lot for someone who believes she doesn't talk very much.  Apparently that not-talking thing goes right out of the window when I sit in front of a camera.  Which is strange, because I was very keen on the not-talking thing when I first sat in front of a camera.  Feeling like an idiot.  Staring at the camera in defiant silence.  And then talking too quietly for human ears to catch a single word of what I said.

No longer, it seems.  Right now, it feels as though I had to discard about twenty minutes of footage in order to come up with a four minute video.  And it's not easy to do.  I want to put it all in.  For a while there, I was tempted to risk another punishment and just make this latest video as long as I wanted it to be.  But no.

It's fun, though.  It's so much fun.  Yes, it took over half an hour to film.  Yes, at one point my stupid HP touchpad didn't quite register when I hit the "end record" button, resulting in two lost takes before I realised what was going on.  And yes, it did take almost two hours to edit.  But damn, it's worth it.  I love the process so much.

And I still want to get better.  To that end, I'm issuing a challenge to my lovely flist: find something you don't like in this latest video and tell me about it.  Deadly serious.  No compliments.  No positives.  Just the thing (or things!) you didn't like.  (There are at least two things I already want to change.)  You can even comment anonymously if you prefer.



As for the challenge in the video itself, that's open to my flist too.  Bonus points if you do it in video format! :D
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
Because I needed a new addiction. I needed something to distract me from writing. I needed another obsession.

Personally, I blame [livejournal.com profile] surferartchick. After all, she was the one who said, "Hey, Katie, come vlog with us! It'll be fun! You don't really need your soul, do you? No? That's handy."

I'm paraphrasing a little, but I'm pretty sure that's what she said.

Once upon a time, I thought YouTube was for AMVs and for watching subbed anime that you couldn't get anywhere else. Sometimes, on special occasions, it was for looking at old ads with friends and laughing at them. Laughing at the ads, that is, not my friends.

Although I do laugh at them... and they laugh at me in turn.

But no - YouTube is actually a place full of interesting, fun-type people who make videos and vlogs and are intoxicatingly entertaining at times. It's a bit like LJ, except you get to hear and see people instead of getting to know them through their written words. And I'm not saying I prefer one over the other, but the whole vlog thing is still a novelty to me. It's shiny and I love it.

And it's infecting me. Lately, when I'm contemplating ideas for future LJ posts, a little voice at the back of my mind will be gleefully pointing out what good vlogs these ideas would make. And I'm a sucker for it, because I love mixing media. So don't be surprised if some of my posts in the future are actually videos.

Hey, is it horribly obvious and unsubtle segue time? You know what, I believe it is. Here we go...

Speaking of videos, here's my fivedotnerds video for this week:



This one includes a bonus short (short short) film at the end, which involves me acting like unto an idiot, supported in my efforts by my cat, who was seriously trying to steal the entire show. You know you want to see me acting like an idiot. Everyone needs a good laugh every now and then. :D
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
I am sunburnt in interesting ways. Not for me the effortless tan. Oh no. And for some reason, I can't even manage an all-over burn.

No.

Instead, I have funny burnt patches and equally funny unburnt patches. And I was wearing sunscreen, too, so I'm not entirely sure how this burning occurred. Nevertheless, it did and I'm vaguely irritated by it. Not to worry, though; it will all have faded back to my standard scary white by next week.

Today was the day of the swimming carnival at my work and I was one of the photographers. It was quite a fun day, really. And usually the photographer manages to escape most of the photos, but people kept taking my camera away and turning it directly on me. Ack.

Still, I'm sure I looked fetching in my bright red singlet top, not-quite-matching skirt, Coke cap and red cape.

Yes, red cape.

Well hey - I'm in red house, so I might as well support it by dressing strangely. In public. Even my sunburn ensured I was completely co-ordinated with my red outfit. And a bonus, I have sunburn on my feet that follows the pattern of my cute red shoes.

Before I go to find some more aloe vera, I shall leave you all with my fivedotnerds video for this week. Enjoy!

Frinesday

Feb. 13th, 2009 07:34 am
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
I got up early on Thursday morning to post my vlog, after staying up far too late the night before, editing the thing. Did you know Windows Movie Maker really doesn’t like it when you add narration to a movie? Up until the point you do that, it behaves just fine. Once you begin narrating things, it sulks.

And crashes.

Surely my voice isn’t that bad? You know, Movie Maker isn’t exactly doing great things for my confidence here...

So, I could tell you a great big long sob story about how I got up early just to upload this video, only to have YouTube jerk me around and refuse to process it for ten hours. Oh, the angst. Basically, I could have slept in instead, since I ended up having to re-upload the cursed thing when I got home after work.

Stupid best-laid plans...

Anyway, here’s my vlog for this week. I hope you all enjoy it, or let it make you think, or otherwise derive something from it. I’m always open to constructive criticism, too.



Oh, still on the constructive criticism thing: if you have any suggestions for things you’d like to see us do or cover as a channel, please shout out! At the moment, we’re trying to work out exactly what we’d like to do with this channel, so more suggestions are entirely welcome.

And talking about bushfire appeals (which I now am), don't forget to shop at Coles today! And if you're feeling like some new clothes, go to Jeanswest tomorrow, as they're donating all profits from sales on Saturday to a bushfire appeal. If anyone knows of any other places doing this, please comment.

And finally, I hope you all stay safe and have a lovely, lazy weekend. :)

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