So, I have decided to enter the world of My Little Pony modding.

Yes, this is weird. I was never that interested in My Little Ponies, or any sort of pony, for that matter, and I have no artistic skill to speak of, so naturally, I'm experimenting with a hobby requiring a certain affection for ponies and competence with paint.

I bought a pony at Toys-R-Us for roughly five bucks. Her name is Royal Bouquet. This is her:

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As you can see, she has a little pink clothes hanger on one hoof, which apparently means she can wear My Little Pony clothes. The idea of My Little Pony clothes strikes me as something of an abomination -- they're ponies, they're SUPPOSED to be naked. I threw away her awful hat immediately.

I studied a bunch of pony-modding tutorials, particularly those by Aikarin, and decided the first thing I should do was rough out my design. Luckily, I was able to find a coloring-book-type outline; if I'd had to draw my own pony, I might have given up right then. Here's my rough design. The people who do this as a serious hobby all use Photoshop or other expensive graphics programs.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Naturally, I used MS Paint. Compare:

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I'm an artistic genius, right?

So far, I have beheaded my pony (I felt kind of uncomfortable about this step), removed her tail, ordered new hair (black, white, and silver), made a shopping list, and started removing her painted-on symbols (the flower on her tush and the little clothes hanger). Oh, and spilled nail-polish remover all over my left leg in the process. Further updates as I make progress.
I still exist.

I periodically manage to come up with sort of half a sentence of an LJ entry, but it never actually gets posted, because I never actually have anything to say. I have class every morning; I have lunch; I work three afternoons a week, and spend the other two doing homework and reading and fucking about on the internet; I spend the weekends mostly gaming. Nothing much interesting happens.

At least I have Pride & Prejudice, tonight and the next two Sunday nights, on PBS. During tonight's two-hour episode my mom and I called each other three times: I called her to express my URGENT DESIRE for the giant apricot satiny cape that Jane Bennet was wearing on her way into one of the dances (and also to discuss the question of, why did PBS air a warning before this telling us that it might contain material inappropriate for some viewers, which we'll get to in a moment); she called me about a minute later while Lizzie and Mr. Darcy were dancing to shout "Oh, the sexual tension!" in my ear; and then I called her again when Mr. Collins proposed to Lizzie to shriek "RUN! RUN!", because if I just shrieked it at the TV I wouldn't get anywhere near the entertaining reaction I got from her.

I still don't know what the inappropriate material was. In the first two hours, there is a scene of Mr. Darcy bathing, in which the viewer is exposed to -- SHOCK! HORROR! -- Colin Firth's nude shoulderblades, which are, okay, mildly titillating to a certain kind of mind (mine, for instance, I freely confess), but not really the sort of thing that provokes a "COVER THE CHILDREN'S EYES! CALL THE FCC! MY GOD! WHAT MANIAC ALLOWED SUCH FILTH ON MY TELEVISION?" sort of reaction. There is also a moment in which Lydia Bennet runs out into the hall in her Regency undergarments, but again, not exactly super-titillating, because they are Regency undergarments. She is covered from shoulders to calves. PBS, I ask you: is this Inappropriate Content Warning material, really?
But first: miscellanea.

Right now my cheeks are tingling unpleasantly. This would alarm me, except that I know it's a side effect of a medication I started taking a few weeks ago -- skin sensations, like pins-and-needles or tingling, that don't have any actual explanation (in case you ever need to know, this effect is called paresthesia; also, it is really annoying). I've almost exclusively gotten pins-and-needles feelings in my fingertips. The cheeks-tingling is new. In short: shut up, medication.

I started working at an after-school tutoring center; did I mention that? On Thursday I got to tutor Batman in math. (He was so much better-behaved than usual that I thought about sending a note home to his parents. "Dear Parents: Please send [kid] in his Batman costume every day.")

The other night I had an elaborately staged dream in which I appeared in Pride & Prejudice: The Musical Extravaganza (mostly recognizable as Pride and Prejudice, although for added excitement Mrs. Bennett had been accused of murder). I was mildly disappointed, when I woke up and thought about it a little more clear-headedly, to realize that I had been playing Mary.

Um... I seem to have run out of miscellanea.

I'm trying to convince my mom that she should do NaNoWriMo this year. She should really do Script Frenzy -- her interest lies more toward writing screenplays -- but that isn't until June, and I like the idea of doing NaNoWriMo as a Group Activity with her. (And I'm thinking about doing Script Frenzy myself, too.)

It's taken me a while sorting out the various Ooh, Hey, That Would Be A Neat Story business floating about in my head, but I've figured out where my NaNo novel is actually going this year. I am hesitant to give too much away, not least because then people might ask detail-oriented questions and I'll be woefully unable to answer them, but in general: Boys' Adventure Story! Accidental Time Travel! Pirate Who Has Sold His Soul To Satan! &c.!
Okay, EVERYTHING IS OKAY and now it is time for a non-capslocky entry. Specifically, a meme-y non-capslocky entry. Book meme taken from [livejournal.com profile] amanuensis1.

Name...

* Three books that marked your childhood:
Book Meme Continues... )

Also, has the font in the Update Journal form changed? I think it has, and I don't like it.
Hi, internets.

Here's the deal: starting with my next post, anything I post here is also posted at http://elsajeni.insanejournal.com/. I also have posted the few fics I've ever posted on LJ over there.

I don't want to say "I AM LEAVING LJ FOREVERS OMG". It makes me feel a little bit like a crazy person, and anyway, I'm still going to be reading my LJ friendslist, at the very least until I can figure out how to syndicate it over to my InsaneJournal friendslist (there's a way! I have instructions!). But LJ/6A has now:
-- suspended fandom journals without notice
-- claimed they didn't mean to
-- said "Hey, anyone wanna buy a permanent account, we swear we're not banning fandom stuff at all"
-- waited until after the permanent account sale was over to post ridiculously vague new "rules" that could threaten fandom activities and refused to clarify them
-- permanently banned a couple of fandom journals without notice, with no possibility of appeal, for things that weren't even in the vague new "rules"
-- (made a change to the way suspended users show up; this is kind of minor, hence the parentheses, but it makes it harder to see what's going on and bothers me)
-- not responded to any comments or questions
-- and been seen, using the same journals with which they've been interacting with people in an official capacity (you can't even make a sockpuppet, guys?), mocking the users who became (I feel quite reasonably) irate.


Throughout this mess, LJ/6A has given the impression that they have no idea what they're doing in terms of either the law or PR.

If LJ doesn't want fanfic or fanart, or if LJ doesn't want smut of any kind, or whatever, that's their business. But they need to say so. Banning people for breaking the rules after refusing to tell them what the rules are is unacceptable. And that's why I no longer feel comfortable having things I care about posted only on LJ, where they would be gone forever if LJ suddenly decided they didn't want me around.

So. I'm not leaving, but I'm packing my things. How about you guys?
Bad Teenaged Novel update: Finished reading through it. A lot of it is bad, embarrassingly bad -- most of it, actually -- but I'm starting to think once again that it might kind of be salvageable. Writing it during NaNoWriMo kind of took a toll on the continuity -- for instance, there's one chapter that, in the first paragraph, takes place in March and by the end has moved to November -- but it did get it written, and I'm glad of that. Finishing the first draft (January 10, 2004) was some kind of magic.

The death scene (yes, of course there is a death scene, because I am a Serious Author ((I ARE SERIOUS AUTHOR THIS ARE SERIOUS BAD TEENAGED NOVEL))) is remarkably bad. Dialogue in later chapters indicates that the death happened very differently from what's depicted in the death scene, so apparently I realized early on how much that bit sucked but didn't feel I had time to revise it (it was NaNoWriMo, I was in a hurry). On the other hand, some of the other scenes are actually pretty good. (I think I was really at my best in the scene where the narrator, who is definitely in no way similar to me, figures out from an overheard comment that her boyfriend, who is definitely in no way similar to any boys I may have had a crush on in high school, is cheating on her with their stoner friend, who is definitely in no way similar to any stoners I may have known in high school. I know it doesn't sound like I was at my best, but trust me. It was great.)

Also, note to 16-year-old self, in case of some kind of time travel paradox in which my 16-year-old self is able to read the LiveJournal of my 21-year-old self:

That is just not how sex scenes go. Stop it. No, stop it right now. No more writing sex scenes until you've read a lot more smut, missy.


(On the whole, though, I am surprised and pleased. It is less bad than I thought.)
Tonight, for some reason, I was seized with the urge to read through my Horrible Teenaged Novel, the product of my first National Novel Writing Month, at which time I was 16.

My God, it is bad. It's hopelessly bad. I had fantasies of making it into something publishable; I recognize now that it will never reach that state.

But I still love it. I love it, I think, more than anything else I've ever written. I love it fiercely. It was the first piece of writing I ever cared about, and it was goddamn miraculous.
Boy, I am out of it like you would not believe today. My one significant accomplishment so far today has been finding, and buying, a cute eyeglasses case at Target for fifty cents (attn. Target $1 section: LOVE YOU SO MUCH). And even that I did in a spacey and absentminded manner.

Okay. Must do stuff now. Productive, focusy stuff.

(In other news, my dad has been preparing for expert witness testimony with his friend and colleague Pete; Pete likes to script out what he expects to be asked and what he's planning to say, because he is maybe a little neurotic. He sent this script to my dad for input. One section of it, approximated:

Q: Who did you talk to about this?

A: [Various people, including] Dr. My Dad.

Q: Who is Dr. My Dad?

A: An asshole.

My dad pointing this out to me is the high point of my day so far.)
Zack keeps asking me questions about who's going to die in the last Harry Potter book, with the minor complication that he doesn't actually know who any of the characters are.

"Snape?"
"I kind of think so."

"Harry? Harry's going to die."
"Almost certainly not."

"What about Ron?"
"People are worried."

"Hermione?"
"I... actually don't think I've heard anyone express concern about her."

"That rat guy."
"Peter Pettigrew."
"Him."
"Maybe. Maybe we'll get a big scene where he dies to redeem himself."

"... Botany?"
"... Sorry?"
"Botany. Um... Nigel."
"Neville. You know, I haven't heard any worrying about him, either."
So, I've been working on a fic with an upcoming deadline. It's been going poorly; I wasn't getting any ideas I liked, even though I loved the prompt I got, and I eventually just threw my hands up and started writing a story that I didn't enjoy, and that I fully recognized wasn't much good, but that at least would meet the requirements and be done on time.

Then last night I went to bed, dozed off for a little while, and then suddenly woke up with an almost-fully-formed plot in my head. A good plot, meeting the prompt perfectly.

So of course I leapt out of bed, scribbled in a frenzied manner on some Post-It notes, stuck them on the door, started back to bed, stopped, wrote another Post-It saying "ZACK - THIS IS A FIC PLOT - DO NOT BE ALARMED" (since it was, you know, two Post-Its full of notes that were both incoherent and pornographic) and stuck it over them, and then went back to bed. (Only to discover that, of course, I couldn't get to sleep, so instead I got up and watched American Gladiators ((I LOVE ESPN CLASSIC IT IS THE BEST CHANNEL EVER)) and played Pokemon for a couple of hours. And fuck the accent over that e, it takes too much effort to look up.)

In other news, my cousin Alex is in town for Weather Camp this week. So far I have eaten dinner with him twice, both times accompanied by a more or less endless discussion of how [insert item here] is awesome (Alex is a chatty and positive-minded sort of guy). Apparently he got home from a hard day at Weather Camp on Monday and promptly requested that the VHS of Titanic that apparently is still at my mom's house be put on, which, when I heard about it on the phone, really cracked my shit up. And tonight I'm taking him out to see the Nancy Drew movie, which he's really fired up about. And then we get to have a pizza party, probably on Friday, and he's coming to the Zrubek family reunion on Saturday, even though that's my mom's family and he's my cousin on my dad's side. (Key attraction of taking Alex to family reunion, from Alex's perspective: A HUNDRED PEOPLE WHO ENJOY CHATTING oh and I guess also there's cake and stuff. His perspective on plane rides, since infancy, has been pretty much, "Hey, a captive audience!")

We had a long talk last night about what it would be like if squirrels were much smarter than they actually are. I realize this sounds like a conversation one could only have with a small child, but let me point out: it was pretty much identical to conversations I have had with Zack.

P.S. Suggestion from Bob: play All Flesh and Star Wars at the same time. Space zombies! Your thoughts?
Boy, the office is irritating the shit out of me today. I want to go home and read. And Complete Champion turned up yesterday, so I have something new and exciting to read! (Although I glanced through it and it actually looks kind of disappointing. All I've seen so far is elaboration of the rules for affiliation with an organization presented in PHBII, this time specialized toward churches, and the prestige classes and feats don't interest me much. I was hoping it was actually going to be, you know, kind of paladin-oriented; instead it seems to be "How To Play A Paladin-Ish Character Without Actually Having To Put Up With The Paladin Rules". I have nothing against the idea of creating a religiously-powered bard ((it provides alternate class features for several things like this)), and I recognize that, as core classes go, paladin is probably the worst-designed, but give me some support playing it. Oh well; together, Complete Warrior and Complete Divine give me something to work with, at least, and when I can afford Complete Scoundrel I'll be giving the Grey Guard prestige class a serious, evaluative look. Although, since my character has already built up the entire feat structure and in-character background and motivation for Knight Protector, I'll almost certainly be sticking with that.)

I also want to go home and play Pokémon Diamond. Which I've had for less than a week. And played for I think 17 hours so far. I can stop anytime I want. I swear. Really. (So far, the most exciting thing that has happened in Pokémonland: I found the guy who lets you rename your Pokémon. I though this was fantastic, since I had somehow caused my very first Pokémon to be nicknamed "AAA" and was not entirely happy with that name. Now instead his name is Greenie, which is not very exciting or original for a Grass-type Pokémon, but is at least better than AAA.)

(Incidentally, if you are wondering how I managed to unintentionally name a Pokémon "AAA", the answer is: I have no idea.)

I'm also getting fidgety and excited about the prospect of Zack running a game of Pirates of the Spanish Main. I already have my character all planned out: either the lost Dauphin or a con man, depending on whether you believe him or not, and Master of Sails on our ship, with as many silly swordfighting tricks as I can possibly accumulate. A key part of the attraction here is that, although I love my current D&D character and our campaign, I'm getting sick of being lawful good. Before this campaign, we played the Serenity RPG, in which the party routinely shot people mostly because they were irritating us, and that was really a lot more fun most of the time and will once again be our MO in the Pirates game.

And I hope to give the DM's side of the screen a shot before too long; I've been planning on doing a one-shot or mini-campaign of the Star Wars RPG, but recently bought a used copy of Fist Full of Zombies and might switch to All Flesh Must Be Eaten just for the excitement of using that.

I didn't intend this to be A Big Post About RPGs (With Brief Pokémon-Related Interruption), but I suppose that's fine, really.

P.S. I have high hopes that the "e" in every usage of the word "Pokémon" in this post will come out with an accent over it. If it comes out as a regular "e" or as numbery-boxy-gibberish, I will be, um, mildly annoyed.

Edited P.P.S. IT WORKED HAH. EVEN IN THE SUBJECT LINE. MY GOD I AM SO GOOD AT THE INTERNET.
All right, I have now seen Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End twice, once on Saturday night and again just now while tipsy. And let me just tell you: if there was EVER a movie that called out to be seen while tipsy... actually, Moulin Rouge is that movie. Clearly. But World's End is a close runner-up.

I have high hopes that I will at some point write a semicoherent review-type post. My efforts to do so may be hampered a little by the fact that I am still not entirely sure what happened in... let's see, about one-third to one-half of the movie. It was VERY EXCITING, though, whatever it was.

P.S. I AM GOING TO SEE IT MORE TIMES. I HAVE NO SHAME. THERE ARE AN AWFUL LOT OF JOHNNY DEPP IN THIS MOVIE.
I am watching Moulin Rouge!, which makes my roommate Ryan mildly uncomfortable, I think because of all the girl cooties he's exposed to by being in the same room as it.

Boy, this movie is ridiculous. Remind me to marry Baz Luhrmann if I ever get the chance.

Edit: Even on the little TV, this movie is making me kind of dizzy. How the hell did I get through it in the theater? STOP PRANCING ABOUT, JIM BROADBENT, YOU ARE MAKING MY HEAD HURT.
Terminator is on Spike tonight. For those who perhaps do not know this, Terminator is more or less my favorite movie ever. It has pretty much everything I could ever want, and also, I semi-secretly think Arnold Schwarzenegger is adorable. (Well. Was adorable, I should say.) So I'm sitting on the sofa by myself, while all my roommates hang out in their rooms, some of them probably wishing I weren't here so they could watch something they actually want to see -- sitting here, watching Terminator and grinning maniacally, posting on LiveJournal, receiving my assignment for [livejournal.com profile] hp_summersmut and being excited about it, pondering an original writing project, and painting my toenails with glow-in-the-dark nail polish. Which is a little more multitasking than I'm normally up for at 2 AM on a Saturday night, but I took a nap in midafternoon, drank about a gallon of iced tea at dinner and some hot tea a little while ago, and am fairly wired and hardly about to want to go to bed, so why not?

Overall, I'm feeling good. Everything is going pretty well in my life at the moment. Zack and I have moved almost all of our stuff into New Apartment, have been living full-time over here for a week, and it's fantastic, I love it, I want to stay here with these roommates forever and ever and ever. I got my application in to UH; they don't have my transcript and at this rate probably won't in time for me to start in Summer I, but I should be able to start in fall.

Ooh, this scene where they're interrogating Kyle Reese is so frustrating. OH ARGH OH ARGH. I FORGOT THERE IS THIS PART WHERE ARNOLD CUTS HIS HUMAN EYEBALL OUT WHICH IS WHY HE HAS A ROBOT EYEBALL FOR THE REST OF THE MOVIE. ARGH ARGH WHY DO I LIKE THIS MOVIE THIS IS GROSS AND HORRIBLE. Okay, that's done with, I can relax. Euccch ick ick ick. Eyeball-cutting is not okay with me.

Where was I? Oh, right, "everything is going well". Apartment, school... work, too. I've been doing editing for my dad for a while now, and have posted about it before, but now one of his fellow professors has also hired me to do some writing/editing, and I'm really excited about that. (And not least because the guy who's not related to me pays considerably better than my dad, too.) I've got several fanfic writing projects going on/coming up, and am excited about all of them -- the prompts! so excited! hooray! -- and also, like I mentioned, the one original writing project. (I'm disinclined to post much about it; it stresses me out a little and makes me feel like I'm going to jinx it somehow. In general, though: ADVENTURE! ARCHAEOLOGY! READERS ABOUT AGES 9-13! DREAMS OF PUBLISHING SUCCESS!)

Wait, how did the police station catch fire? He drove a car into it and then shot everything... I guess it was one of those special movie automatically-catching-fire-when-crashed cars. DAMMIT TERMINATOR WHY MUST YOU DISTRACT ME FROM PARTS OF MY POST THAT ARE NON-TERMINATOR-RELATED.

Oof. There was something else I was going to post about, but I don't know what it was anymore. Too many cyborgs with guns.

(Note: Since Terminator came on a little over an hour ago, I have seen about 20 Girls Gone Wild commercials. That's pretty good audience targeting right there.)
All right, so, I mentioned the car catching on fire earlier this week. That was exciting enough. However, as it turns out, there is NEVER A DULL MOMENT at New Apartment.

By which I mean, yesterday one of my roommates witnessed, and foiled, an attempted serious crime on his way home from work. (Zack and I were out getting dinner and a wireless card when the police investigator came by to take his statement and got back just after she'd left; fortunately, our other roommate was available to give her the impression that we are all asses. He didn't mean to, though, at least.) I don't want to go into too much detail, but briefly: the victim was unhurt (although rather badly shaken, as one might expect), the suspect ran off but promptly got caught and arrested, and I have been banned from walking around the complex without one of my roommates' supervision even though this was an isolated incident.

Good lord. Seriously. NEVER A DULL MOMENT.

... Well, okay, right now not much is going on. BUT I'M SURE SOMETHING HIGHLY DRAMATIC WILL HAPPEN IN THE MORNING. Although God knows how we're going to trump this.
It has been an exciting day at New Apartment. Mostly because a car caught on fire in the parking lot right outside our window. Also, right next to one of my roommates' cars.

We watched it get put out, then went inside and played Nintendo.

I ♥ New Apartment.
Hey everyone, I want you to know how talented I am. I just ran a double load of laundry through the washer... with no detergent in it.

*is tragic figure*
Note to self: You are editing marketing course materials. The word "orangutan" is unlikely to be used. That word says "organization".

Sales per outlet for your orangutan's products will be obtained from accounting records. WHY IS THIS SO FUNNY?
I have an idea for a new writing project; that specific project is YA fiction, and the more I've been thinking about writing in general, the more I've realized that, actually, YA fiction is what I'm interested in writing. (It's also what I'm interested in reading, to some extent, because I am a dork who refuses to grow up.) So, in honor of this realization and my new Dream Project, I'd like to ask you all something. (Note: these questions assume that everyone on my friendslist was a reader as a kid. If you weren't, 1) sorry, and 2) how the hell did you and I meet? It also assumes that you're already a grown-up, at least to some extent, but I'm pretty sure everyone who regularly reads this is.)

Tell me about what you read -- that is, what you liked to read -- when you were a kid (and/or teen). And tell me about what you read now, too. Specific things I'm interested in are, basically:

1) Genre. What genre did you like best as a kid/teen? What about now?

2) Type of book. This could be instead of genre, or in addition to it. If you had some kind of extremely specific preference that's not big enough to be a genre, or if you just preferred certain characteristics regardless of genre... whatever. Tell me about it.

3) What was your favorite "kids'" book as a kid/teen? If you've continued to read any "kids'" books as an adult, what's your favorite now?

4) What was your favorite "grown-up" book as a kid/teen (assuming you read grown-up books as a kid/teen)? What about now?

Really, I'm just interested in talking/hearing/thinking about this stuff, and the differences between "kid" books and "grown-up" books, and where the dividing line is where you go from reading one to reading the other, and what your average kid (average kid who eventually grows up into an adult I like, anyway) likes to read, and... all kinds of stuff. Tell me things. I want to think, and I want to use that thinking to help me figure out what the hell I'm doing, and so I'm going to make y'all think about it with me, because I like to fit in.
This morning I went outside to go to work and there was ornithology all over the place. I got to see about a dozen grackle mating displays, one mockingbird performing a territorial display because the fleeing female grackles ("PLZ STOP TRYING TO MATE WITH ME, I AM NOT INTERESTED" they were saying in grackle language) had wandered into his personal space, and a bluejay not doing jack shit, but still being given a wide berth by all the other birds, presumably because they, like me, have noticed that bluejays are vicious fuckers.

Hmm. Actually, I've just looked up mockingbirds on Wikipedia to see if I could figure out whether that was a male or a female mockingbird I saw this morning, and have discovered that
1) at least as far as Wikipedia is concerned, no, I cannot figure out whether that was a male or a female mockingbird, and
2) that display he (or she) was doing is a common behavior during foraging, and some ornithologists argue that, rather than a territorial display, it's used to startle insects and force them out of hiding.

I still say it was a territorial display. For one thing, the white patches, which are supposedly the part that scares the bugs, are on the underside of the wings, thus presumably effective only in startling insects immediately behind the mockingbird, which seems fairly useless.

In other Wikipedia-bird-related news, I think I've determined that the grackles in question were Great-Tailed Grackles, or Quiscalus mexicanus, unless they weren't. Good grief, don't I have anything more productive to do than squint evaluatively at pictures of grackles?