When Solar Goes Bad: A Case Study

Apparently someone reposted an old 2015 story and gave it new legs, and my news feed has been full of reports regarding a rural town voting a moratorium on solar energy because the panels would, among other terrible effects, suck up all the sun and stop photosynthesis.

I think you guys are being unfair and are just following the critical mainstream media on this, without paying attention to the evidence which is right in front of you.

In September, I unwisely had solar panels installed on my house, believing the environmental propaganda that they would provide me clean energy without nasty side effects. And sure, by my calculations we’ve produced over 3.4 megawatt-hours of power so far even in a rainy October, the equivalent of more than 4 NYC-LA flights and saving over 60 trees’ worth of CO2.

But. You know there’s a but.

My trees were full and green when those panels were installed. And look at them now. Brown leaves or even bare branches — it’s true. I installed the solar panels, and the trees stopped photosynthesizing. YOU CAN’T ARGUE THE EVIDENCE.

Roof with solar panels beside leafless branches and trees with dead leaves.

You can’t argue the evidence, people.

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NaNoWriMo 2017 Kickoff

1993 words this session

It has begun. Our local NaNoWriMo group has an annual NaNoWeen kickoff party. Anyone else start at midnight? It’s a fun way to jumpstart with a lot of communal enthusiasm. I changed my mind last minute (Oct 31) from a new project to continuing a project I’d started four years ago and set aside. It would be great to finish it. The (temporary working) title is The Poet’s Eye.

First hour, 1993 words. I AM THE AWESOME.

Tomorrow afternoon: How do words what are plot?

This year, I have a friend to keep me motivated and on task. Meet the NaNoRhino. Continue reading

Celebrating 2017 — With Loot

list of handwritten creative ideas

I need a bigger fire for all my  irons.

We need to step back sometimes to be able to see the bigger picture.

I had been a little down on myself for not publishing as much as I’d wanted and being behind on my idea list. I have a beefy project list that feels like I’ll never catch up. (I wrote it out as an Idea Debt Inventory for a productivity lesson. Lemme tell ya, that’s simultaneously inspiring — look how much I can create! — and super-depressing.)

But then I started doing the math for this year, and wow, I’ve had a more productive year than I thought. No wonder I felt busy. Continue reading

Wrap-up for #Inktober 2017

Today is October 31st! That means two things:

  1. At midnight tonight, #NaNoWriMo starts.
  2. At midnight tonight, #Inktober ends.

This is the first year I’ve done Inktober, and I’m happy with the experiment. I had fun, I made some skill progress, I pushed myself, and apparently I pushed a few other people too, in a good way, as a couple of people have told me privately that they were inspired to try something new because of my Inktober posts — and I think that’s fantastic. Being authentic and trying to improve a non-existent skill was the original goal. Continue reading

A Bit More About #Inktober (Part 2)

So about two weeks ago I blogged about attempting #Inktober despite having pretty much no art skill. If you didn’t catch that post, you probably should, because it’s about a lot more than just drawing badly, but here’s what you need to know for today’s post: I have pretty much no art skill, I’m doing Inktober (drawing in ink and sharing online) anyway, and I can only improve with practice.

Laura as Mara Jade with R2-D2

my Mara Jade made a friend at the con.

This past weekend I was teaching cosplay and mythology/folklore (Japanese and Norse) sessions at Quest Con, and between sessions I joined a one-hour art lesson, taught by artist Steven Moore. I figured I would learn something useful, and at worst I’d make someone else at my table feel better about their own work. Continue reading

#WIPjoy for Shard & Shield: Music and Playlists

Today’s #WIPjoy topic is “songs on your MCs’ playlists,” which is frankly too big to answer effectively on social media (sorry, Twitter), so we’re doing it here on the blog.

I have a bonus to this post, too. First I have my own playlists for primary characters, and then I have a guest DJ Kayla, who beta-read Shard & Shield last week and told me then she had made character playlists, which of course meant I had to ask her to chime in on today’s #WIPjoy topic.

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What is up with #Inktober?

Drawing a sword from the book, not stabbing the book. In case it was unclear.

Drawing a sword from the book, not stabbing the book. In case it was unclear.

If you follow my social media, you might have noticed that I’ve been posting ink drawings for #Inktober, and that they’re generally awful. You might have asked yourself why I would do that. Do I know how bad they are, or do I see my work through a blissfully ignorant filter? Is it some sort of prank?

So here’s what’s up with Inktober.

First, in case you aren’t familiar with it, #Inktober is a month for doing one drawing — in ink — and sharing it per day. You can find the brief background and this year’s optional prompt list from the creator Jake Parker. It’s something like National Novel Writing Month, but for visual artists.

Now, let’s recognize that I’m bad at drawing. No, I’m really bad at drawing. The local catchphrase for referring to truly hideous visual design is, “It looks like Laura drew it.” (Don’t feel bad. I’m often the one saying it. It’s not wrong to acknowledge my skills are in other sets.) So why on earth would I do Inktober, which unlike NaNoWriMo specifically requires publicly sharing one’s work?

I’m doing Inktober for several reasons: Continue reading

Youkai Charms

youkai phone charmsOkay, lemme be honest: I have never liked phone charms. I don’t like dangling things which catch and snag and serve no useful purpose (I rarely wear bracelets) and frankly most charms just aren’t that, well, charming.

So you know that these charms have to be adorable, because I kind of want one. Or two. Or a set.

There are five of these available now, and I’m thrilled to see some variation on the usual youkai offerings. Not that I don’t love kitsune and kappa, because I do (especially the older, scarier versions), but because there are more youkai than just the kitsune and kappa, okay?

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A Marathon Legend

I posted this on my Facebook page and got more reaction than I expected. So here’s an expanded version for your reading pleasure.

For most of my life, I’ve believed the story I read in my 5th grade schoolbook about Pheidippides running 25 miles from the Battle of Marathon to Athens to declare “We won!” before promptly dropping dead, and that’s the origin of the marathon.

Today I learned that’s not at all true. Continue reading