I'm way later in posting this than I wanted to be, I got caught up in other things that really distracted me and just had me in a funk that I couldn't bring myself out of. I'm not completely out of it yet, but my head is working more coherently now, so I'm updating my blog here, on TheO, and elsewhere on the net that I frequent, I'm going to hit them all if I can manage.
Probably the biggest inhibitor to my being online in any capacity to get things done lately has been my offline friend. He's been under so much stress the past few months that his physical and mental health have been affected adversely. His personality is not what it once was, he's not nearly as cheerful as he had been up to that point. Several months ago, a lot of things hit him at once, and I don't think he's recovered. The most profound thing that seemed to affect his mood was his own kids backing out of a promise to come visit him. He's not one to really talk about feelings and such, which makes it hard for those of us who genuinely care about him to figure ths thing out.
The physical repercussions to the stress have been apparent as well, possibly induced by one of the madications he was taking, possibly related to the stress, or both. He's had some twitching in his arm which came about at the time the stress started and his meds were switched around (it happened the same week). His doctor finally set up an MRI for him, that was yesterday. He promised he'd let me and my Mom know what they find out when he gets the information from his doctor.
I'm worried for him, and I'm afraid of what might be found. I hope and pray that there's nothing serious wrong with my friend, but at the same time, I'm finding myself bracing for the worst possible news. My mom is scared too, and so is my sister. We don't know what to expect. If I take extended time away from the blogging circuit here, it's probably related to this topic. I will passs along updates as I get them. If I could ask everyone to keep my friend's good health in your thoughts and prayers, I'd really appreciate it.
As promised, the video clips of the storm in early June. There's three in all, I embedded the first one, the other two can be found here and here.
Pumpkins got attacked by bugs, and a woodchuck sadly, lost all five of the ones we had growing on the vine. If I had the back-up I was supposed to get on the garden project, it wouldn't have happened, but no sense getting irritated over what can't be amended.
The tomatoes are coming along all right, bigger than last year's and more on the vines too. In the past few weeks I've gotten over ten tomatoes so far, and there's still plenty more to come. I'll have a picture or two up next time, I kind of took up a lot of space with the vids this time, so I'll save the pics for another post. Bell peppers just started coming in also, a serendipity situation for me, I wasn't expecting them to do anything at all this year (we didn't get anything last year from our pepper plants).
I've also begun to dry my mint and basil, using something I picked up from late-night TV viewing. No, not some one-use-wonder infomercial device, I'm talking good ol' Food Network and Alton Brown's Good Eats. I've learned a lot of neat little tricks from that show, including this fan and filter herb drying trick. Why use a box fan and central AC filters to dry herbs? Cause those food dehydrators use heat to move the air, and heat, even in small doses, changes the flavor of the herbs because while drying, it essentially cooks the herbs being dried. As Alton Brown would say: "Not good eats." This is my first attempt at doing this Mr. Brown's way, and so far, I'm impressed with the results. It takes a couple days (a week or more for thicker basil leaves), but it gets the job done.
Just a note of some significance to the site as a whole, not necessarily important to individual members as much, but the long anticipated, much discussed Premium has finally launched over on TheOtaku. Since I can't afford it myself right now, and certainly get nothing out of doing it, I'm not sure why I even brought it up.
My Site Technical
I'll be changing up my theme to something more dragon, it's about time I did that really. I've been wanting to dragon up my space here. Also, expect to see some pyrography posts coming to my TheOtaku site, and I'll syndicate those posts here. The first one will be a safety overview.
Something I learned, I think it was from Alton Brown on the Food Network, if not him someone on the channel, is that the heat agent (capsaicin) in peppers stimulates the body, causing it to produce endorphines, those "feel good" hormones. With the ups and downs of the past few years weighing on me, I need all the help I can get in the "feel good" department, and I'm not about to do stupid or illegal (not to mention expensive) stuff to get it. A little fresh cayenne pepper on scrabled eggs, in chili, burgers or even stew does wonders in that department and it's perfectly legal.
I'll stop officially asking for progress updates next month, but if it takes you longer to get it done than that, I'll still link to it when it is done. I have a feeling that I'm not going to see completed works from everyone who committed to the project, but I'll cross that bridge when I get there. Take your time, don't rush the story though.
The garden has done well, the pumpkins are all ripe now, we lost one to the neighborhood woodchuck, but we got four, and with no more flowers on the vines that have taken over the backyard, I'm obliged to cut everything back to somewhat of a sane yard environment. Had one tomato ripen already, and two more are on the way this week, the only thing not doing anything are the bell peppers so I'm inclined to think that my yard isn't idela for them since they flopped last year too.
The site isn't lost that I know of yet, but I haven't talked with the main admin about it either. I know she was wanting to do other things with the site besides have the forum set-up. With as long as it's taking to get back online, I'm inclined to believe it's been put off, forgotten, or hit a snag in getting those other parts up and running. When I know for sure, I'll post info here.
Yes, I'll certainly be roaring in the coming weeks.
The garden did very well this year, like 90%, so I'm happy with what I'm getting. Tomatoes that will probably take me into October if they ripen one or two at a time, some bell peppers, not to mention the cayenne, lots of mint, parsley and basil to work with too. The only real failure was the pumpkins which started off so well. I have zero luck with potted plants myself, so I do the outdoor gardening instead.
There's a house my brother used to deliver newspapers to that had a rockscaped yard, it was quite interesting, and it looked really nice. That probably is the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly way to keep a yard. Less grass to water and cut, reduced weed issues as well, not to mention less up-keep. If I didn't have neighborhood cats and dogs to worry about, I'd have at least a section of my backyard done up into a Zen garden with the sand and rocks and stuff.
"Self Promotion" and "No commercial advertisements" aren't the same thing. I can see wanting to keep down spamming "come to my Worlds" or "Come fav/hug my art" comments, and signatures. Over the years, I've gotten my share of those "yur site iz gr8 want 2 B frenz." messages, and they're annoying. The best way to "promote" oneself with the new direction the site has gone is simply by blogging, and commenting intelligently and let people come to you. I have no problem doing that, I've done that since I began here.
"No Commercial Advertisements" becomes a totally different thing than self promotion when the core of the two ideas are compared. Commerical advertisements are about selling something to someone, about money changing hands. Any artist on the site who posts information about taking commissions is "hosting a commercial advertisement on their site" according to the broadly worded Terms of Service. When someone is disciplined for hosting a "commerical advertisement" of another sort while others are allowed to actively flaunt that they're seeking art commissions, that will create tensions.
Whether anyone on staff comes by here or not, there's a strong principle behind my choice in the commerecial advertisements matter, and I'll stick to that come [Censored] or high water. I may not like it, but I'll honor it all the same. Besides that, I can blog about the heart of the novel project here without "selling" it.
Seems like I'm finally getting a break in the weather, hope it holds out and I'm not too tired from other things to keep up around the net. Hope things settle down out your way. Wish I could send all the rain I've gotten the past few weeks to where you need it out there.