joreth: (being wise)
The latest chapter in my Street Cat Saga: Some of you may remember that I posted recently about now feeding the original 4 feral cats (one of whom was pregnant), an orange tabby, a new black cat, a possum baby, and a raccoon?

For those who missed it, I have a family of 4 feral cats living under my house - 2 black males and 2 tortoiseshell-tabby females. Both the females have these tabby facial markings that result in exaggerated eye stripes and remind me of old Hollywood "Egyptian" makeup, so I've named the cat with the true tortie markings Nefertiti and the pregnant cat with the tortie patches and tabby stripes Cleopatra. The two black cats are Mark Anthony and Julias Caesar - Titi, Cleo, Tony, & Julias for short.

I planted catnip under the house to attract ferals in order to keep the mice away, now that I finally got rid of all the mice in the house. And it seemed to work because these 4 hang around all the time. But they're very skittish about people and won't let me touch them. So I started leaving a bowl of cat food out on the back steps. Tony is the bravest and will wander into the house when I leave the door open. Occasionally he will convince one of the two females to investigate with him, but they are uncomfortable and will dart out again as soon as they see me. But Tony will now allow me to touch him.

Occasionally, a very large orange tabby will come up to the steps to eat, and if any of the other 4 are there, they will arch, hiss, and run away. He doesn't seem aggressive, but he also seems confident that he will eat the food. He is obviously not part of their pack.

One night, I left the back door open and a possum wandered in. These don't run out when they get scared, they back into corners. So I spent half an hour chasing it out of the house while trying not to hurt it. A few nights later, I heard loud crunching, which is unusual for the cats. So I peeked, and found the possum eating out of the food bowl. A few nights after that, I heard the crunching again and went to peek, but this time I found the teeniest little baby possum scooping food out and eating it! Around this same time, a fairly large raccoon had started making late night appearances at my back door when I had food out too.

Recently, I was on my front porch doing laundry and saw a black cat shape and reflective eyes. Thinking it was Tony, I clicked at it as I usually do. But this time, the cat immediately ran towards me and cautiously up the porch stairs to meet me. This was a totally new black cat.

The new black cat is clearly not a feral, but possibly abandoned. She has a rabies tag and ratty collar but no other ID, and she's REALLY friendly. She has no problem coming when I click at her and she loves being petted. She also has no hesitation investigating the house and doesn't freak out if I wander around the house, even if I block her path. She is clearly used to human companionship.

So today she wandered in while the back door was open. So I sat down in the living room and she came right up for lots of love, even resting her paws on my leg and kneading (which was very painful, given that she's a street cat with sharp claws).

My food was in the microwave so I got up when it was done and sat back down on the floor to eat and pet her. I haven't been pestered by a cat while I was eating in a long time, so what used to annoy the crap out of me was quite amusing as I tried to eat and fend off a nosy cat. She managed to knock her head into my bowl, spilling some food on the floor, so I let her eat it. Normally I don't feed people food to pets, as it's bad for them, but I imagine it can't be much worse than whatever street cats manage to scavenge normally.

Now she's wandering around the house again, and even took some time to sit on my lap while I typed for more pets. She's more anxious than house cats - hardly able to sit still in any one place for more than a few seconds, but totally comfortable in my presence and in my house.

Well, that was a close call. Tony and the new black cat officially "met". The new one is hanging out on my front porch and the door is propped open so she can come and go. Tony wandered in from the back door, as is his usual entry. He made it all the way to the front of the house and into my front bedroom. I followed him around, because he's an intact male so I usually watch him to make sure he doesn't spray.

Well the new cat saw me and came back in looking for attention. Eventually Tony wandered back out of the room and they came face to face. The new cat seemed curious, but Tony's tail started swishing. So I nudged her back towards the front door and Tony darted towards the back door.

But then they both turned back around to face each other. She moved closer, but Tony arched and hissed, so I stepped between them and they both ran out their respective doors. Tony slowed down when he reached the porch steps and seemed to no longer be agitated, but he didn't stop to eat from the bowl at the top of the steps and went straight for under the house, where he often hangs out.

Tony does seem willing to come back. He has since wandered into the house a couple of times. But because of the weather, I keep my doors closed and the air conditioning on more often now, so I don't see any of the cats as often as I used to.

The new black cat (whom I haven't named yet) has come in and spent the night with me 2 or 3 times. The first night she slept on my bed with me, but the next couple of times, she slept on the floor in the living room. I'm apparently going to need to get a litter box so that I can shut the door while I sleep and not have her damage the house.

She often spends her time cuddled up to me on the couch while I'm crafting, or on the floor at my feet when she comes in. But since the weather has turned and I keep my doors shut, I haven't seen her in a few days. I appear to have been adopted, though.

joreth: (Bad Computer!)
PSA: Turn your fucking phones sideways when taking video! There's a reason why, when we moved away from a mostly square screen for moving pictures, we moved towards a landscape orientation (there are several, but this is one of them).  For still photos, a portrait orientation (that's the tall, skinny frame shape) works fine with the appropriate composition because it's a static image. But for dynamic images like video, because things move horizontally more often than vertically, you need that extra space on the sides for things to move into.

When you record stuff vertically, there's a lot of moving side to side to get all the action in the frame. It's dizzying and annoying. You end up missing parts of the action because it moves off-camera quicker than you can follow it. You cut off more than you show. Yes, people are vertical and taller than they are wide, but the orientation isn't for the shape of the subject, it's for the MOTION of the subject.

Your videos look like shit. They're shaky and blurry and annoying. Please, take it from a professional camera operator - someone who people pay a lot of money to make pretty moving pictures - turn your phones to the side when you take a video. I guarantee that your videos will automatically look a hundred times better for doing this one thing alone, even if you never learn another thing about framing or composition or any movie tricks at all.
joreth: (Nude Drawing)
I wish developing actual film photographs hadn't been so economically prohibitive to my 14-year-old self 25 years ago. I'd love to bombard all those "back in my day, girls dressed like children as in the image on one side, not like sluts as in the image on the other side" posts with hundreds of selfies that I would have taken of myself in my crop tops and micro mini skirts and my bikini swim suit and the jeans with the ass half-ripped out of them (which I still have, btw) had I come of age in the kind of culture that has basically unlimited picture-taking and -storing capabilities.

"Selfies" were not a thing when I was a kid because film cameras didn't have digital screens you could look at while aiming the lens back at yourself. Cameras were big and heavy, even snapshot cameras. You needed a well-paying job to afford regular photo prints and negative development which, as a teenager, I did not have. I had a job, but photography was not a top priority for my spending habits.

Most of my photos from my early teen years were school portraits or big events that included family (because someone else had to take the picture, and most kids didn't have their own cameras so it was the grown-ups taking all our pictures), so I was dressed fairly conservatively. If I took photos of events that were free of my familial influences, my mom still would have demanded to see the photos when she drove me to pick them up from the developing station. Plus, there were all kinds of cautionary tales about film developers making illegal double prints for their own private spank banks, so we just *did not* put most of the shit that we did on film.

If you go back and look at those few photos of me that exist from that time period, you might not have guessed that, at age 14, I had thigh-high stockings and lacy underwear and a mini skirt that didn't cover my ass when I bent over (still have that one too) or that most of the time I walked around with the flannel shirt I left the house in tied low around my waist to show off my awesome abs highlighted by the barely-more-than-a-bra crop top I was wearing in some neon color.

Just because photographic evidence of the past is low, it doesn't mean we weren't still doing the exact same things that teens have always done - rebel against authority, swear, eat food we're not supposed to, and explore our sexuality.

This picture, btw, is of me at age 11. I still have that bikini and wrap too.
joreth: (Nude Drawing)
Lately on Facebook and Twitter and G+, I've been supporting the opening of a new store called Revelations in Fit. Although there are similar local stores in select large cities, the concept for this store is still a revolutionary idea - that women are a lot of different sizes and shapes, that American bras are terribly designed for that variety and American sizing and fitting systems are completely wrong, and that every woman deserves a bra that fits. This new store came about from the author of the blog Adventures in Bra Fitting, who saw this problem and tried to help by sharing with women the correct way to fit a bra. As a professional costumer and corsetier and a full-figured woman with a small frame, she is more than qualified to help.

Poorly fitting bras cause a lot of problems. They contribute to back pain, bad posture, fatigue, poorly fitting clothing, and low self-esteem when women don't like how they look in the mirror. It is very disheartening to not have well-fitting clothing. Yes, I realize this is a first-world problem, and even a class problem in first worlds, but it's still a problem. They may also be associated with other health concerns (although the idea that underwire causes breast cancer is a complete myth, so just drop that one right there).

tl:dr I finally found bras that fit and I solved the problem of having only ugly white or beige bras. I share some advice on getting pretty bras that, if you're like me, may never have occurred to you to try before. The MUCH longer story and a picture of my efforts are behind the cut. Also included behind the cut is a lot of personal information about my physiology. )
joreth: (Purple Mobius)

Dude! Claire's, that costume jewelry store in most US malls, is selling poly jewelry! Quick, go out and get some before they figure out what it is they're selling!

The earrings and rings were $6.50 and the necklaces were $5.50 each. They seem to be marketed as "best friends" jewelry, I suppose because their target audience is tweens and teens, so they don't want to encourage The One Twue Wove that early, but BFF (best friends forever) is an acceptable trope for that age.

Since they're costume jewelry, I expect the silver and gold patinas to rub off over time so I'm also going to buy enough to pack away for when the others wear out.

You can order the accidentally polyamorous jewelry from Claire's online & have it shipped to you!

I can't find the rings online (apparently called best friends rings), but I did find a set of bracelets with the infinity heart that I did not see in the store! I might order a set of those. Also part of the "best friends" collection, you get a bracelet set with one silver & one gold just like the rings.

The silver & gold pendants:
The silver post earrings:
The gold post stud earrings:
Gold & silver bracelets:
I can't find those infinity heart "best friends" rings on their site anywhere. This is the closest I can find, a "Love Knot" ring.

*Meh* I've bought other jewelry that have a heart and an infinity but not in the usual poly configuration just to have *something* even a little bit related that matched an outfit, so y'all might be interested in this. But knowing that they have a real infinity heart ring set at the stores in person, I'm less inclined to settle for this one, personally.

I made some modifications to the ones I bought, so here's my new Poly By Claire's Collection:

I went back and got a second silver pendant to store in a ziploc jewelry baggie in anticipation of the day that mine would tarnish and the finish would peel off (they are costume jewelry, after all), assuming I wouldn't be able to find these again when I needed to replace them.

I also bought a second pair of silver earrings to turn into dangly earrings. I had this pretty silver chain made up of curved links, so I attached a fishhook earring to the middle of a short length and attached each end to the humps of the heart with a very small jump ring. I would have made it a single strand but there was nothing in the middle of the infinity heart to attach it to, so it would have tilted to one side and I didn't want that. With two points of connection, it hangs straight.  I also didn't want to have to buy two more silver pendents to make the earrings (which would have that hanging point in the center), so instead I cut the posts off a pair of earrings to get them cheaper.

Then I took the silver pendent off the silver chain because I rarely ever wear anything but chokers when I dress up, and I already have my favorite silver & copper one from Abzu Emporium that I wear daily on a standard length ball-chain.

I made 3 new chokers - a red suede, a purple suede, and a silver fine-weave chain - that the new all-silver pendent can be switched to, to match whatever color outfit I'm wearing. I already have a silver pendent that looks like it's made of ball-chain (but it's not, it's solid silver) on a black choker and that's my go-to "dressy" necklace now. But I wanted a few colors so that I could have jewelry that matched my outfits, not just standard black (especially for the few red, purple or light colored outfits I have that don't have any black in them.)

Then, of course, I still have the gold pendent & gold earrings for the very rare occasions when I want to wear gold jewelry, and silver and gold rings for those costumed occasions when poly jewelry wouldn't work for the character and some other theme jewelry would work better.

I'm hoping to get the silver and gold bracelets that I saw online as well, but they were not in the stores when I went back to get my duplicate silver earrings & pendent, and the sales clerks seemed so confused when I asked for them that I'm sure that they never carried them in-store.

Now I have daily poly jewelry, gold poly jewelry, dressy poly jewelry to match any color outfit, and very large poly jewelry (got some for xmas that I haven't posted pics of yet), and birthstone poly family jewelry.

I think I'm good on the poly jewelry now!

joreth: (Purple Mobius)

I can't tell you how many times I've tried to correct people on the "protect the existing relationship" that once you introduce someone(s) new, there is no longer any "existing" relationship - it's a whole new thing that has a whole new dynamic with (perhaps only slightly, perhaps massively) different needs and priorities.

New partners are not patches to be slapped onto an old pair of jeans - intended to add onto and improve, but not otherwise significantly change the original garment. They are a completely unique element unto themselves that changes the entire ensemble - sometimes in complimentary ways, sometimes in unflattering ways, sometimes merely altering the tone but sometimes changing the whole look and feel of the outfit.

Like my black slashed t-shirt that I made for a 7 Deadly Sins party one year, where I dressed as Wrath. With the leather pants and chain mail skirt and creepy fire eye contacts, I looked like Wrath. But paired with a black fedora and short flirty skirt and hi-top Converse, the black slashed t-shirt looked totally '80s hip hop dancer. Vastly different outfits because I swapped out other elements.

Then, for my Victorian ballgown, that's clearly a historical looking outfit. But I can take off the outer blouse and skirt, and just wear the corset and underskirt, and I get a Victorian-themed ballroom dancing outfit or add a mask and I got a kink-appropriate Masquerade outfit. Leave the whole thing put together and add some jewelry made of gears and I get a Steampunk Victorian outfit. Leave the fantail down and I get an extravagant gown that needs an assistant to move around or pin the fantail up and I get a much more practical gown that I can walk around in. Same outfit, different tones and feelings with different elements.


So stop trying to "protect the existing relationship" and start asking "exactly what kind of team is this anyway, and what will it be with me as part of it?"
joreth: (Silent Bob Headbang)

These are awesome.  I've done several of these (like using binder clips on the edge of my desk to organize my cords), but now I have a whole bunch that I'm anxious to try out!

Visit the link for the whole list.  Under the cut, I've put the ones that I want to remember to try, just so I'll have a convenient place to find them again.  But I recommend just following the link.

The pictures here are just to remind me of what I want to try )
joreth: (Misty in Box)
I've always called my cat, Misty, a grey tabby, because she's mostly grey with faint grey stripes & spots, and because I didn't know what else to call her. She wasn't one of the obvious, well-known breeds, like a Siamese or Persian. She just looked a little like a monochrome Garfield.  In fact, her full name is Small Tiger In The Mist because of the grey on grey coloring.

But as I flipped through an issue of Cat Fancy while waiting in the vet office the other day, as Misty was getting her vitamin B shots*, I came across an article about the Egyptian Mau. The description fits Misty exactly - every single trait. Sure, some of the traits, especially the personality traits, could fit other breeds, and especially individual cats regardless of breed trend, and personality traits are tricky things - much like horoscopes, people tend to think that description fits them no matter what it says. But every single trait including those distinctive of the breed matches Misty. I wouldn't doubt that she's a mix, but I'm about as sure as I can get without DNA results that she is, indeed, at least partly an Egyptian Mau.

Egyptian Mau (


For instance, "Maus often possess very musical voices. They are known to chirp, chortle and emit other distinctly unusual vocalizations when stimulated". Misty has a wide range of vocalizations, but her trademark sound is a chirruping chitter sound. In fact, years ago, she got nicknamed "chitter" because of the sound she made. When she was a kitten, I called her "squeak" because she didn't meow so much as squeak at me. Of course, when she's stressed, she doesn't sound nearly as adorable. No, she has an ear-piercing, rich, tonal meow that can drive me to want to jam something sharp into my ears just so I won't have to hear it anymore.

"Another behavior, quite common in happy Maus, has been described as 'wiggle-tail.'" This has been sometimes described as "dog-like" in the wiggle since happy tail-wiggles are not a typical cat behaviour, which Misty also does.

"their legs are slightly shorter in the front than in the back".  Misty's legs are noticeably different lengths.

""The Egyptian Mau is the fastest of the domestic cats, with its longer hind legs, and unique flap of skin extending from the flank to the back knee, provides for greater agility and length of stride. Maus have been clocked running over 36 mph". "The longer hind legs are another reason for the breed's startling speed. The Mau also has a loose flap of skin on the lower abdomen, similar to the cheetah, which allows a longer stride while running". They are sometimes called the greyhound of cats, for their speed & agility and have been known to jump as high as 6 feet. Misty also has that extra flap and has always been a jumper. I measured her at about 5 feet straight up, and that wasn't her highest ever. Her big hind feet earned her the nickname "Bunny Feet" by a former boyfriend.  The unusually large feet tend to make them look like they're on tiptoe when they stand up, especially when combined with their shortened forelegs, and, of course, Misty does look like she's on tiptoe.

Maus are known to bond strongly with their owners. "Such owners typically report their Maus eagerly greet them at the door at the end of a long day at work". I have always described Misty as my shadow, since she has to be at least in the same room I am in all the time. She often prefers to walk either between my feet or just behind me, and hates to leave the room unless I accompany her.  Since getting sick, she's even more clingy, and being within sight isn't enough - she has to be within touching range, preferably on my lap, hanging over my forearms so that I can't type.  "The typical Mau is not social with strangers of any species, other cats in particular." I have also joked that Misty is Monogamous Kitty. In addition to being clingy, she jealously guards my time, inserting herself between me & whatever friend or lover is spending time with me, choosing the spot on the bed closest to my head & warning off my other cat, Onyx, from encroaching.

Maus also, apparently, have very sensitive immune systems.  They prefer warm temperatures, are sensitive to medicines & anesthesia, and are prone to asthma.  Misty has had asthma her entire life, but it was worse when she was overweight.

"Eye color is a light green described as gooseberry green ... The forehead is marked with the characteristic tabby M and frown marks, forming lines between the ears that continue down the back of the neck, ideally breaking into elongated spots along the spine. The tail is heavily banded and has a dark tip." Yep, yep, and yep. Misty's eyes are a distinctive shade of green, so much so that when looking up options for memorials of pets, I found one of those places that uses the carbon from pet's ashes or fur to make diamonds, & decided that if I ever have enough money to get one, I'm getting the green diamond to match her eyes. They are often described as having a "worried expression" or "expressive eyes" because of their roundness. She has the forehead M and a heavily banded tail.

"Its lustrous, dense coat can be silver, bronze, or smoke, and is distinguished by a marvelous mixture of striping and spotting," which Misty does, indeed, have. But the clincher is this: "They are the only naturally spotted breed of domesticated cat. The spots on an Egyptian Mau are not only on the coat; a shaved Mau has spots on its skin." ("natural" means that they acquired their spots on their own, with no human intervention to breed the trait into them - they came to us spotted). Misty has spots on her skin exactly where her spots on her fur are. I knew this about her, but she was recently shaved for a procedure and it was quite obvious that her spots are on her skin.

Misty exhibits all the classic personality traits of being loyal, closely bonded, and jealous, and all the physical traits including rounded "gooseberry green eyes", a "worried expression" because of the eye shape, wide-spaced, delicate ears, a rounded face with no harsh planes, an evenly-wide nose, asthma, forehead M stripe, mascara stripe, cheek stripes, banded tail, extra stomach flap, unusually large hind feet, shorter forelegs, excellent jumper, happy tail-wag, a combination of stripes & spots, and spotted skin - the latter of which is a distinctly Egyptian Mau trait.  Her markings are not as distinct as purebred Maus, and she has a white bib & socks, so she is most likely a mix, and I'm pretty sure there's some orange tabby in her history somewhere.  But it's nice to know the breed, and especially pleasing to hear the specifics of her breed.

For a bit of history about the breed: "Ranked as one of the oldest domesticated breeds, the Egyptian Mau is thought to be related to a spotted subspecies of the African Wild Cat. Held in high esteem, this breed was worshipped as deities, protected by laws, and mummified upon death in ancient Egypt. The matriarch of this breed was silver spotted female named Baba. According to historical records, a female Egyptian Mau kitten was scheduled to accompany exiled Russian princess Nathalie Troubetskoy from Rome to the United States. However, they missed getting on a huge luxury ship, the ill-fated Andrea Dorian that sank after being rammed a Swedish liner. In 1956, the princess successfully arrived in the United States and brought the first Mau to this country. Today, the Egyptian Van is ranked 20th in popularity among the breeds listed by the Cat Fanciers Association, which granted it championship status in 1977." (  

If the Egyptian Mau really does come from the cats depicted in ancient Egyptian artwork that they resemble, the Mau is probably the oldest domestic cat, the first breed to choose to align its fate to humans.  The species is endangered, with less than 7,000 Maus officially registered.  A combination of outcrossing & inbreeding saved the species from complete extinction, due to war in Europe, in 1953 when Nathalie Troubetskoy brought 3 Egyptian Maus to the US (Baba, her son Jojo, & an unrelated female named Liza), founded the Fatima Egyptian Mau cattery, bred them, and then enhanced the bloodline with Maus imported from Egypt to strengthen the breed.  Without the Russian princess' efforts, this breed might now be extinct, or so diluted as to be unrecognizable as a distinct breed.  It is estimated that most of the Egyptian Maus today can trace their bloodline back to Baba.

Misty's loyalty, charm, and bonding, that are so characteristic of her possible breed, have given me an incredibly valuable relationship for the last almost-11 years.  Her distinctive physical traits have always stimulated the photographer/artist in me and inspired me to pursue animal photography, which has resulted in a stock photo business involving mostly animals.  She is my joy and delight.

*For those who are who don't follow me on Twitter, or are otherwise unaware, Misty sick, but all tests keep coming up inconclusive.  The most likely culprit is cancer, in which case, I can't afford chemo so the next option is to give her vitamin B shots & steroid pills to slow the deterioration by a few months, or the second possible cause is inflammatory bowl disease, in which case the vitamin B shots & steroid pills are actually the cure. The vet gives her 3-4 months with the vitamin B & steroids if it's cancer (which she believes it is), so we're taking this one day at a time. I'm monitoring her weight, waste, and activity level, and hoping that the end will come suddenly once the pills run out their effectiveness, and preferably not during the weekend I'll be in CA (which is right smack in the expected time limit range). If I can avoid watching her waste away to nothing, and I can be there when she goes, I'll be profoundly grateful.

joreth: (Xmas Kitties)
 So, it's the holidays, and being a member of several minority groups, everyone wants to know how I handle the traditional holiday season as a non-traditional person.  I was interviewed for a UK magazine about how polys spend the holidays, because apparently the idea that we spend them pretty much the same way monogamous people do is an unusual concept.  I'm also reading The Atheist's Guide To Christmas, a book I have been curious about for some time.  I know it's difficult to imagine, but atheists, and polys, are actually made up of more than one person, and sometimes we actually have different thoughts, ideas, wants, likes, and dislikes!  Shocking, but true.  So that means that there isn't a single way to exist during the holiday season, for either polys or atheists.  But with everyone reminding me that I'm "different", it got me to thinking ... how does a skeptical polyamorous atheist deal with a holiday that is more or less seen as a religious family holiday?  Apparently, people want to know.

I can only answer for myself.  Everyone else will have a different story, just like every monogamist and every religious person will have a different story.  Because, and here's another shock, they're not all the same person either!

How do Polys spend the Holidays? )

Shouldn't I be out in the trenches, fighting the War On Christmas? )

So, Happy Holidays everyone, whichever holiday you celebrate!  And if you refuse to accept my wishes for a good holiday because I didn't specify *your* holiday, then you don't deserve my wishes for a good holiday anyway.
joreth: (Xmas Kitties)
December, 2010

This was another packed year! I made another gingerbread house for the holidays last year. It was a scale model of the Haunted Mansion at Disney Paris, complete with lighting behind the sugar-glass windows. I took it to a New Year’s Eve party to be devoured. I have the whole story on my website. I will do another one this year, but I haven’t decided what yet.

For my birthday, I went to see my one of my favorite musicians, Jonathan Coulton, and I also went with a group of friends to Rebounderz, a building lined with trampolines, including the walls! A good time was had by all.

This summer saw the opening of The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter at Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure theme park. It is probably my favorite park anywhere. Islands of Adventure has all my favorite rides anyway, but WWOHP went out if its way in immersive realism. The same guy who designed and built all the movie sets built the theme park too, so it really feels like you walked right into Hogsmeade Village. More pictures are on the website.

As usual, the FLAN (Florida Local Area Network branch of the Squiggle - my romantic network) all went to Dragon*Con again, but no new costumes this time. I wore Laurie Jupiter again, since I put so much effort into making her, and I wore a bunch of t-shirts from one of my online t-shirt stores (I have three now) as advertising.  [ profile] datan0de  and I celebrated one of our first anniversaries (we have several anniversary dates) together by riding a giant slingshot at a local carnival to symbolize falling, since it was the day we told each other we were "falling in love". Pictures and the video of our slingshot ride are up on my website.  [ profile] tacit  and I had to celebrate our 6th year together online again, now that he lives in Oregon and couldn’t make it to Dragon*Con.

For Halloween, I had 4 parties to attend and had to turn down 2 more. One was a Dexter/serial-killer themed party, so I modified my old Mad Scientist costume since it had a butcher’s apron and added lots of knives. Another was western/Firefly/steampunk themed, so I just pulled out my old boots, hat, Wranglers, & denim duster for that. The other two were on the same night, so I dressed again in Laurie Jupiter for both of those. I even got to swing dance with one of the party guests.

In October, [ profile] datan0de[ profile] femetal  and I went to the Bahamas since I had such a good time last time. We went shopping, sat around on the beach, watched the sunset over the Caribbean Sea, and went snorkeling with a barracuda. I got some great underwater pictures, and several underwater videos!

Work this year has been really slow, much slower than anticipated. But I’m still working behind the scenes for live events, still operating a camera, and staying afloat. Onyx’s flea problem is almost completely cleared up and she has put on a lot of healthy weight. Misty, however, is not doing as well. She has lost a lot of weight but the vet can’t find anything wrong with her. She just doesn’t want to eat. She’s also really cranky, so I’m worried about her.

In December, I was interviewed for a UK magazine about how polyamorous people spend the holidays, and I expect to receive my copy of the magazine any day now. The answer, for me, is that I will be spending the holidays with [ profile] datan0de[ profile] femetal[ profile] zensidhe , and [ profile] redheadlass , just like last year, sleeping under the Christmas tree in the living room. I also plan to watch my nephews open their presents over Skype, just like last year.

More pictures and videos of my adventures throughout the year are on my website at (in the Imagery section).  Hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season!


joreth: (personal)
On Thursday, [ profile] datan0de , [ profile] femetal , and I drove from Orlando to Ft. Lauderdale to sleep in town before arising at the gods-be-damned unholy hour of 4:00 AM to board the cruise ship/ferry to the island of the Grand Bahamas. Our hotel was walking distance from the port, as our very friendly night-desk clerk explained to us while he pointed out the view of the largest cruise ship in existence, which will make Port Everglades its home port. The Allure Of The Seas is 4 football fields long, has a tree-lined park & 3D movie theatre, and is nearly 50% bigger than the next-largest cruise ship.  Unfortunately, this would not be our cruise ship.  [ profile] datan0de and I wandered over as close as we could to get a peek, and maybe take some photos. They came out like crap, but it was fun anyway. We wandered into an empty lot that bordered the chain link & barbed wire fence that surrounds the port, and played on the bobcats a bit before heading back to the hotel.

By the way, I highly recommend staying the night in town before taking a cruise, and the night after you get back, before heading back home or wherever you're going afterwards. It really lets up the pressure of arriving so early, particularly since you're already traveling to make it to the port town, or of leaving so late. If you happen to sail out of Ft. Lauderdale, I recommend America's Best Inn. The rooms are standard motel rooms - nothing great but nothing bad - but the service is excellent. The desk clerk when I called to make the reservations was very friendly, the night clerk when we checked in was great, and they offer everyone a complimentary beverage upon check-in. None of us wanted the alcohol, but they had soda available. Plus, they had a happy hour for the guests earlier that evening, with wine and other drinks (for which we arrived too late). They offer a standard continental breakfast in the morning, early enough for us to make it to the ship, and parking is free for the nights you stay there, and only $5 a night while you're on the cruise, compared to the $15 a night the port parking garage charged us.

We woke up the next morning and boarded the Discovery Sun - the only "ferry" ship left that takes passengers from Ft. Lauderdale to the Grand Bahamas Island in a single day (and returns that evening for day-trippers), ever since the "Cat" closed, which, apparently, only took about 2.5 hours. The trip on the Discovery Sun is about 4 or 5 hours long, and features all the usual amenities of cruise travel, including a buffet meal, entertainment, and free booze, minus a stateroom. Since we're not sleeping on the ship, there's no need to pay for a room, although you can upgrade to one if you want. We chose to rent a locker instead, for our 1-apiece carry-on backpacks.

We got to the island, went through a swift and mostly painless Customs line, boarded a taxi, and headed out for the hotel. It was the same hotel I stayed in the last time, which is more of a condo than a hotel, since they run a timeshare operation out of it. It comes complete with living room, dining room, full kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and balcony with a view of the canals. It's really an incredibly lovely room. We checked in, unpacked, ate dinner at the Friday Night All You Can Eat Italian special meal served there at the hotel, and went to bed relatively early (for us).


The next day, I had to get up to attend a timeshare lecture as part of the contract for getting such a low rate on the rooms ($198 for all 3 of us for 3 nights instead of $219 per night for their off-season price). I showed up, irritated the sales girl for my insistence on wearing sunglasses while sitting on a Bahamas balcony overlooking the very sparkly pool at 9 in the freakin' morning, had eggs and grits on their tab, and then proceeded to get into an argument that got me thrown out.

Here's the thing ... you're not allowed to attend more than one of these sales lectures within 2 years. OK, no problem, I attended one in Tampa back in Spring or Summer of 2008. That's how I went on the first Bahamas trip. As payment for attending that lecture, I was given a *free* trip to the bahamas. I went in January, 2009. I was supposed to attend another lecture once I got there, but all the tours we booked while still on the ship started at the same time as those lectures did. So I never attended any lectures while on the island in January. I lost my $10 deposit that I was required to put down for the sales presentation (as incentive to get us to show up), but that was worth the price to avoid the stupid lecture. Because we missed the lecture that first morning, the sales people called us later that day, and early the next morning, and later *that* day, and we finally just unplugged the phone and avoided the front lobby. So I never went on a stupid sales presentation in January.

But this time, I went. It had been more than 2 years, after all, since the one in Tampa. So I showed up, but I must have been really frustrating for the sales girl, since I gave her no opening for how to sell me on a timeshare. What good are vacation packages to people who get to travel all over the world for work with all expenses paid and a per diem? OK, I don't, but technically, my work *does* do that, just not for me. What good is a vacation package when you ask someone what they like to do to get away from work, and the reply is "since my work is all travel and people, getting away from work means getting away from travel and people. I just like to sit at home and read when I'm off work."?

Finally, the girl said she was at a loss and went to get her manager. She came back and said "Joreth, why did you lie to me?" "Excuse me?" I asked. "You lied to me." "No I didn't!" I said. "You said you didn't attend a sales presentation within 2 years," she said. "I haven't," I said. "Well, I put your name in the computer and it says you did in January," she accused. "Well I didn't. I was here in January, I told you that, but I never attended any presentation," I said. "Well the computer says you did," she said. We went 'round like this for a few times, each of us getting angrier, before she finally told me she wanted me to come and look at the computer.

So I stood up, fully intending to leave right then and there, and said "I don't care what your computer says, I didn't attend any presentations in January and I'm not going to stand here and be accused of being a liar!" As I started to stomp towards the door, she said, over her shoulder to me "well you know the way out, you can leave!"

Fortunately, I had already gotten my $10 deposit, plus a free breakfast. But it put me in a pissy mood for the rest of the day.

I got back to the room, and [ profile] datan0de and [ profile] femetal were awake (barely), so we got ready for our day. We took the shuttle to Port Lucaya, that island's bustling metropolis, er, I mean, tourist village. We wandered around the stalls of "local" (made in Texas and China) knick-knacks and doo-dads for souveniers, and had lunch at the After Deck.

Let me tell you about the After Deck Bar & Grill. We stopped there for lunch, as it was the first restaurant we found that had something everyone could eat. I don't mind casual attitudes in service personnel, but really, the Bahamas takes it too far. Eventually someone noticed us waiting to be seated and waved vaguely around and said "take a seat anywhere". So we did. Eventually, someone came to take our order. And eventually, our food was brought out.

I asked for the kid's hamburger, not because I wanted the cheaper price (it was only $1 or $2 cheaper than the adult cheeseburger), but because it was the only regular hamburger on the menu. I was prepared for the server to say they couldn't sell it to me because I wasn't a kid, and had my speech "fine, then I'll take the super cheeseburger, with no cheese, no lettuce, no tomato, and no sauce, just the burger and the bun" all ready to go. But she looked at me and said "you're not a kid". I said "no, I'm not", starting to look forward to my prepared speech. [ profile] datan0de said "no, but she's tiny like a kid". She frowned at me and then said "OK, I'll do it for you" and went on with the order-taking.

The food wasn't bad. It wasn't anything to write an LJ post about either, but I didn't hate it. I had a burger, and it was ... a burger. After all our glasses had been empty for some time, eventually a server asked us how we were, so we asked for refills.

"We don't usually give refills, but I guess I can this time", she said, sounding like it was a huge imposition (even though she charged for the refills). Not realizing that the islands didn't adhere to the free-refill custom of the States, this was an annoying revelation, and we discussed buying some of the powdered drink mix in the hotel convenient store to bring with us to restaurants to avoid the $2 per glass of soda with every meal.

Eventually, as our plates sat mostly empty and gathering flies, we gave up waiting for our server, and [ profile] datan0de flagged down a busboy and handed him 3 $20 bills and a $1 bill. Then we waited for the change. And waited ... and waited.

Finally, [ profile] datan0de flagged down yet another person to find out where the change had gone. Our server came back to pointedly frown at us and announce that she had only been given exactly $51, the exact amount of the bill (for lunch for 3 people). We argued back that we didn't, and she argued more that we did. She left, then came back for another round of arguing. She left and came back a third time and handed [ profile] datan0de a $10 bill, but continued to yell after us that we only paid $51. We stomped out of there distinctly unhappy, which is not the mindset 2 strongly anti-social introverts should be in when about to engage in shopping.

And the shopping! The Bahamian culture is very odd. It's simultaneously more friendly and less friendly than anywhere I've been in the States. Everyone is an extrovert, everyone wants to strike up a conversation with you, but it takes nothing to turn the conversation hostile. We'd walk past the door to a shop, and the shop owner would be sitting outside and yell at us "C'mon in! It doesn't cost to look!" or "Don't you want a t-shirt to take back with you?" or "What pretty hair! Don't you want it braided?" Any attempt to politely indicate non-interest is immediately attacked: "What's the matter with that shirt? Don't you like it?" No lady, it's your attitude and high-pressure sales I don't like. Penalty: I'm taking my business elsewhere even if I *did* like your damned t-shirt! At least no one tried to touch me.

Most of the shops lost our business that day because of their pressure. The shops were really just stalls, about as big as a flea market stall here in the US, only you walk inside to see stuff hanging from the walls, instead of walking around the outside to look at tables like in a flea market. We'd walk about halfway in, have the proprietor follow us in, crowding us and preventing our escape, and keeping up a steady stream of "Whatcha interested in now? How about a nice t-shirt? Those shot glasses are on sale, 2 for $5 or 1 for $3! What size are ya lookin' for? How about some pretty jewelry for the pretty lady?" Most of the time, we either looked in only and kept walking because of the chatter, or we'd get halfway in only to turn around and leave immediately when we said we were just looking and the sales person wouldn't back off. [ profile] femetal even bought something from a particular shop just to reward the lady for not being pushy.  I discovered the benefit to "splitting up".  Anytime someone started pestering us, they'd ask "whatcha lookin' for?" and we could say "her!" and rush over to whichever of us wasn't nearby.  This came in handy on more than one occasion.

We finished our shopping in record time and walked around the marina for a while before deciding to have dinner in town rather than head back to the hotel.

So we chose another restaurant called Zorbas, which featured Greek food, and for which we had a coupon. This was a nice, air conditioned building with good food, but again with the slow service. I knew as soon as we decided to eat in town that we would not make the last shuttle back to the hotel (which was scheduled to leave in a little less than an hour from our decision to eat there). So when we finished eating with about 10 minutes to spare, I was shocked. Then we waited 15 minutes for our check. Then we waited another several minutes for the reciept to sign. Naturally, we missed the shuttle and had to pay for a cab. Since I had assumed we would before dinner, it wasn't that big of a deal, but the frustrating part was that we *could* have made the shuttle, if it weren't for the damned slow service.

On the way back to our room, we were besieged by 4 pitiful cats, who turned their Kryptonite-like powers on me, and I was helpless to escape.  [ profile] datan0de had to impliment an extraction-and-rescue operation (#DamnParasite), which was eventually successful, although one persistant kitty actually followed us up the 3 flights of stairs and sat at our door. We discovered this when [ profile] femetal left the room to hit the wi-fi hotspot at the outdoor bar, only to have to defend the opening from invasion before making her escape. Fortunately, the invader followed her back down the steps, and she lost him as she crossed the parking lot towards the bar.

Finally, we made it back to the hotel, where I sat around watching TV and working on the day's pictures, and [ profile] femetal and [ profile] datan0de went into the outdoor bar to get online, since that was the only place on the grounds that the wi-fi reached. [ profile] datan0de and I tried out the hotel hot tub, and chatted about our time on the island so far. We decided that part of our general annoyance with the vacation was that we weren't really *doing* anything vacation-ey. I mean, we went shopping, but we were there in the Bahamas and we hadn't done anything that couldn't have been done at home, and for cheaper. [ profile] femetal's only goal was to get lots of sleep and not use an alarm, so that kind of eliminated several of the touristy activities already, since most of them started early in the morning and the town rolled up its sidewalks around 9 or 10 at night.

We decided to check out what the snorkel/jet ski/parasailing/car/scooter/boat rental place next door had going for it, and if they had anything at all that didn't leave at 9 AM. We thought that maybe if we just did *something*, we'd have a better time. Turns out, that was a great idea!

The next day was supposed to be a hang-around-the-beach-and-pool day, but since I wanted to do something, I set my alarm and got up around 10 to check out the options next door. It turned out that they had a snorkel/glass bottom boat option that would work perfectly for us! For $40 a person, we could take a glass bottom boat out into the sea, and when we got out far enough, we could go snorkeling off the boat. Anyone who wanted to go on the boat but not snorkel could pay $30 for the glass-bottom boat tour by itself. Since [ profile] femetal didn't want to go in the water but also didn't want to be left out, this was a great option for us. Plus, it didn't leave until 2 PM, so no waking early for everyone else.

I woke up [ profile] datan0de , told him about the tour, and we decided to go ahead and make the reservation. Then, when [ profile] femetal woke up, we'd tell her about it, and she could decide to join us or not. Fortunately, she did. So at 1:45, Paradise Watersports called us to say they did indeed have enough people to give the glass-bottom boat/snorkeling tour and they'd be leaving in 15 minutes. So we hurriedly dressed and arrived only 5 minutes late, filled out the paperwork, paid, and boarded the boat.

Our boat captain, Captian Kirk (yes, really), was friendly, amusing, and knowledgeable. We left the canals, drifted over 2 shipwrecks - 1 accident and 1 on purpose to provide an "artificial environment" for the sealife - and then he handed out the snorkeling equipment for those of us doing so. There were only 3 of us: me, [ profile] datan0de , and another shipmate, and I was the first one in the water. Told there was a barracuda in the water who had never attacked a person and preferred to snack on the multitudes of fish that were attracted to the bread thrown over the boat sides, the three of us tracked down the 'cuda and followed him a while to get pictures. We swam and took pictures and swam and took more pictures.  I even got a couple of underwater videos!  Finally, we were told we had to get back on board and head to shore. It was a great time, and we emerged in a much better mood than the day before.


We finished with our tour in enough time to run back to the room, grab some essentials, and head for the beach. Our hotel was actually right on the beach, so we just walked out onto the sand and went swimming. When it got cold and the sun started to drop, we got out and went walking along the beach at sunset, until we found the same bar I had found last time: Bikini Bottom - with the swing seats at the bar. Since it was Sunday, it was closed, but we got to sit and swing for a bit before heading back.


We walked back to our hotel in the dark, followed by a trio of playful dogs who disagreed with us on the matter of whether or not they were "ours", rinsed off, and headed to the hotel restaurant for dinner. The service was the same slow service as every other place, but it was at least friendly, and our food was both good and large. I brought half of mine back to the hotel.

I spent the evening working on more pictures, and we turned in relatively early so we could wake up to check out.

Checking out was fairly uneventful, and we stowed our luggage with the porter, and camped out in the hotel outdoor bar to commandeer the only power outlet within reach of guests. First, though, we managed to snap a couple of pictures of us in front of the picturesque pool with waterfall, and on the beach itself. There, we wiled away the time until we had to leave for the port.

We collected our luggage, the porter hailed a cab, and we drove off. When we arrived, the cabbie informed us that the $5 per person that we had been charged all weekend, was only if there were 6 people in the cab (which was not what the cabbie told us the night we took the taxi from Port Lucaya back to the hotel after missing the last shuttle after dinner). Rather than argue, we paid the extra fee, went back through the lax customs office, and boarded the ship. The breeze was much softer this time than on Friday, and the temperature was much warmer. We wandered the ship until sunset, and then watched the sun set into the watery horizon before heading to dinner, where we attacked the buffet line again. Then we split up - I went into the Game Room to snag a power outlet and work on more pictures, [ profile] femetal went to "her spot" on the fore deck, and [ profile] datan0de went back to the complimentary bar.

Several hours later, we gathered again at the foredeck to take pictures of coming into port, then piled into the Starlight Lounge, where all passengers are herded until our color-coded ticket is called to debark, then ushered into the US customs line, which was much longer and much slower. They had only 1 officer to check all US residents and 1 officer to check non-residents, as opposed to the Bahamas customs, which had several people and several lines to hurry things along. [ profile] datan0de was told that he wasn't allowed to use his cell phone, on which he was playing video games to pass the time.

Finally, it was my turn. The officer asked me questions about my trip without seeming too interested in the answers, stamped my paperwork, and motioned me aside. I scooted over and waited for my companions, but was quickly approached by a frowning uniformed officer who told me I could not stand there and wait for my party. So I went outside where she insisted I had to wait, only to be yelled at by the officer guarding the door that I couldn't block it. So I moved my bags over the foot required to not block the 9-foot sliding door, when the officer said "no, you have to wait over there", pointing towards the other side of the door where all the other passengers were currently waiting for shuttles, cabs, or their rides. [ profile] datan0de and [ profile] femetal were about 10 yards behind the officer, and I had had enough by then, so I stood there and argued with him about how the people I was waiting for were "right there" and getting closer (since, y'know, they were *also* leaving the customs area). I figured I could argue with him long enough to let the others catch up, and it would take so little time that we'd be done arguing before the cop got tired enough to do something about me. I was right.

So we found the car in the parking garage and started the long drive back to Central Florida, since [ profile] datan0de had to work the next morning. By this time, it was around 11 PM. I nodded off in the car, like I tend to do, but we arrived back at my place around 2-ish. [ profile] femetal made great time! I got my stuff unloaded and into the house without incident, kissed [ profile] datan0de goodbye, and was just about to flop into bed without unpacking, when my cat chose that moment to most clearly explain how she felt about my vacation ... by pissing on my memory-foam pillow.

So I had to throw her out of the room, strip the bed (since it dripped onto the sheets when I threw the pillow off), and do some laundry before the stain and smell set. Cleaning pillows that can't be put in the washing machine SUCKS, and takes a day or two to dry.  I got one of my guest pillows out, drenched my good pillow in urine-removing (supposedly) spray, and collapsed on the bare mattress.

All in all, I'd say I had a good vacation, other than the slow service. I had a good *enough* time that I'd be willing to go back again, but next time I think I'd rather try Nassau. Maybe, in the capital city, the people there will be more accustomed to Americans, and our hurry-hurry-rush-rush attitude and penchent for nightlife that just gets started around 10 PM instead of closing down at 10 PM. Since I overheard one of the locals telling another local how she had just gotten back from Nassau, and it was a "crazy town, it's the Wild Wild West over t'ere!", I have hopes for a better experience of the culture while still getting to enjoy the sun, sand, and water that the Caribbean is known for.

More pictures at
joreth: (Default)
 It's time for me to order new checks (yes, I still have one more bill that will only allow me to pay with check, not online, not credit card) and since I need to change my address on them anyway, I decided to get some "designer" checks.

In my search, I found a place that lets the user upload his own pictures for his checks!  There is no limit to the number of photos (other than the total number of checks) that they will rotate through the checkbook, but only the first image is included in the price.

So, I considered uploading some of my photography, because photo checks are pretty common, but then realized I'd have to choose among them to a limited number if I didn't want to pay more for the checks than I'd ever pay USING the checks.  Then I thought about the PolyDragon, but immediately felt the Scarlet A was left out, and quickly added more and more images to the list of "symbols" that represent "me" or make a statement about who I am and what I believe in.  Pretty soon, that list became almost as daunting (and expensive) as the photography list.

I thought "if only I had a single image that covered all of the symbols that represent me, that way I could avoid the extra image charges & still not have to choose between them."  Oh, wait, if I had a personal crest, I could!

Years ago, I toyed with the idea of a personal "crest".  I had once dated someone whose family retained ties to their original Scottish bloodline and had their family crest on several keepsakes.  And at the time I was thinking of a crest, I had just built my first, real, poly family.  In that fuzzy space between NRE and the idea that *this* family might be long-term, people often start thinking up family names or household names or other identifying features that announces to others that "we are a tribe".  Throw all that in together with the fact that one of the people in the family was a graphic artist, and I am constantly trying to come up with ideas to summarize or symbolize who I am, and I was ripe for the idea of a personal crest.

What really put the idea into the "I should do this!" category was my then-partner (the graphic designer) decided to come up with the PolyDragon.  He started looking at dragon art for ideas, and he came across a tribal dragon tattoo where the dragon's wings came together and formed the same basic shape as a shield.  I thought that would be a perfect foundation for a crest.  

Unfortunately, we broke up before I got more than halfway through my design, and then my harddrive crashed and I lost the files, and his computer got stolen in a break-in of our house.  I had always intended to get back to that, but never got around to it.  One of the things I was stuck on was that I either had too many or too few symbols to fill the traditional 4 quadrants of a British Isles shield-based crest, depending upon which symbols I wouldn't compromise on and which symbols actually fit me at the time I was considering them.

So, fast forward to this check  purchase dilemma, and that prompted me to sit down and open up Photoshop.  Here's what I came up with:

The heart/infinity pretty obviously symbolizes polyamory, and the A is the Scarlet A for Atheism symbol from Richard Dawkins, both of which are integral parts of my self-identity.  The upper right quadrant is the type of camera used in television and live events, so I have my job, which is also my passion in life.  In the lower left quadrant is a pair of dance shoes & music notes - both dancing and music are also great passions in my life.  My job, dancing, and music are the non-living elements of my life that make life worth living, to me.

Rather than using the checkerboard pattern so common in separating shields into their quadrants, I went with two more symbols in a cross in the middle.  The c-wrench ("Crescent" is a brand name, like Kleenex vs. tissue, so we call them c-wrenches, not crescents) is the main tool of an electrician or lighting technician in the entertainment industry.  If camera work is my primary job function or skill, lighting is my secondary.  I got started in the industry by doing lighting, it's what sparked my passion for it in the first place, and the thing I've been doing the longest.  

The knife is another mandatory tool for an entertainment technician, but the knife also symbolizes strength, freedom, independence, and protection to me.  With my knives, I even the playing field.  My smaller size and lesser strength is not a significant factor with the proper tool and a sharp knife.  I can do my job as well as any of the larger, stronger guys, I can defend myself when necessary, and simply displaying my tools and weapons make me a less worthy target.  My knives win me a degree of freedom in a world where the pride of size and strength would otherwise imprison me.

I liked using a dragon's wings as a shield simply to be unique, not because I feel any particular affiliation for dragons, and my journey deeper into skeptical activism tends to make me shy away from imagery traditionally associated with those things I now wish to distance myself from, even though I still enjoy a good fantasy-based novel or movie.  If I were to choose an animal symbol for any reason, it would be a female lion, not a dragon, but the dragon wings just look really cool as a shield.

However, when I first uploaded my shield and got the check proof back, it didn't have the background flames (but did have the flames coming out of its mouth), and the check looked very plain with a white background and the shield right in the middle.  So I looked for some kind of textured background to put behind the shield that would be interesting but not be so busy or dark that you can't see the writing on the check.  As I searched, it eventually occurred to me that flames would probably do the job.

So I added the flames, and after they get washed out by the printer, they do fulfill my requirement of a breakup texture for the background without compromising the visibility of the necessary check elements (the check graphic actually has more flames extending out on the sides, to accommodate the check ratio).

I was pleased with the final product, but continued to look at it.  At first, I figured I'd start using the crest as an online user icon, but with a transparent background.  But the more I looked at the flames version, the more I liked it.  So I cropped it square to better fit icon dimensions and uploaded it as my icon on Twitter.

The more I looked at it, the more appropriate I thought a Flaming Dragon Shield was for my user icon.  I may not have a strong connection to dragons, but how could I resist the symbology of a flaming anything to represent me online?  A fire-breathing dragon wielding a knife and armor - it's hard to get any more representative of my online persona than that!

So I'm very pleased with my new personal crest.  As soon as I can choose which of my LJ icons to remove, I plan to use this here on LJ too.  Unfortunately, I have a free account, which limits the number of icons I can use, and I currently use all of them, so deciding among them will be a chore.
joreth: (Xmas Kitties)
I have trouble remembering things, and I especially have trouble remembering things in temporal order, so it helps me to do a year in review every year. And since my extended family likes it when I send them a holiday letter telling them about my life in exotic Florida, it's convenient to write one in time for Christmas. I try to keep it to a single printed page, since my mother not-so-subtly hinted that she thinks it's inconsiderate to burden people with multiple pages of information about my life that people might not care about (and people online wonder why I don't give a lot of personal anecdotes in the forums!) in spite of the fact that all my relatives tell me they enjoy my letter. Mom thinks they're just being polite - I'd like to think people just wouldn't say anything at all about the letter if they're too "polite" to tell me they don't like it, rather than lie about it. Anyway, now I'm starting to rant. Here's this year's letter:

This year was quite a busy year for me! Last year I sat in on a timeshare lecture because they promised us free stuff. What I didn’t expect was for that free stuff to be a free trip to the Bahamas. So, for my birthday this year in January, I cashed in my trip and set sail for the islands. I had a great time, and the hotel and the island were just beautiful. I am planning to go back again next year. All the pictures and the story of my trip can be found on my website at

Work is slow, but I am still working, so things could be a lot worse on that front. My biggest client of this year has already confirmed me for next year, and I hear that the industry expects to improve after the New Year, so things aren’t too bad there.

Last December, [ profile] zen_shooter and I broke up only days before Christmas, and after I sent out last year’s letter. But [ profile] tacit and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary this October, and this summer saw the beginning of a new relationship with a very good friend of mine, whom I have known for as long as I’ve known [ profile] tacit. [ profile] datan0de and I met at the same poly meeting where I met [ profile] tacit, and is actually very good friends with him. So we’ve had some time to build up a solid friendship, and so far things are going wonderfully. In September, many in the network went to our annual sci-fi convention, Dragoncon, and I got to spend some quality time with [ profile] datan0de, [ profile] tacit, & many of the metamours.

I also have a new costume for Dragoncon! Meet Laurie Jupiter aka Silk Spectre II from the movie Watchmen. Once again, I decided to work with liquid latex, and this was my most ambitious project so far, having 4 separate layers & being true to the movie. I also completed the chain mail skirt for my Fire Elf costume, making that one now complete. I have several more costumes in the pipeline for next year.

The cats are doing well, & Onyx finally has her cone off. She’s still scratching herself, but the worst of it is under control. Misty is still just Misty, a big ball of grey fluff who is inquiring at this moment why I am sitting here playing with the big clacky thing & not paying attention to her.

This year I got a holiday treat - my parents and nephew came for Thanksgiving! We had quite the full week, visiting Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Disney’s Hollywood Studios & Epcot, and Kennedy Space Center. We took lots of great pictures and had a wonderful time. It was nice being able to show my family where I live. I will have all the pictures up on my website when the data from the hard drive that crashed while my family was in town gets recovered.

This year I will be spending the holidays with [ profile] datan0de and his wife [ profile] femetal and making my usual Skype video chat calls to everyone who is too far to visit.

As usual, I have more pictures up at

Happy Holidays everyone!
joreth: (Silent Bob Headbang)

So speaking of Clark Little and surf photography, check this shit out!

Meet Fin. Or is it Tofu? Boomer Hodel, a 14-year-old surfer in Hawaii, has trained his two rats how to surf. Apparently he took them to the beach one day and they loved the water so much, he decided to keep bringing them. One day, he snapped his own surf board in half and decided to make smaller boards out of the halves. This gave him the idea to make two 1-foot surfboards for his rats and to teach them to surf.

He spent weeks putting them on little boards and making tiny ripples in the water to teach them balance. Now they surf up to 4 foot waves and can even do tricks. Apparently Fin's favorite trick is to ride a tube, which is where you surf into a tunnel of a wave as it rises over your head and crashes down on you, then keep surfing through the crash as you pop out the top (most of the Clark Little photos from the previous entry).

The kid says that sometimes the rats fall off their boards and he has to go fish them out of the water and take them back to the beach to dry off, but the rats keep trying to get back into the water. They seem to be able to hang on to their boards better than most people, according to their owner.

One day, Clark Little was at the beach and happened to see these kids, two rats, and a pair of tiny surfboards, and followed them to see what was up. This is one of the pictures he took. There are a few more at the link above, along with a story about the surfing rats at Your Local Surf Blogspot.
joreth: (Self-Portrait)
When I hear people talking about surfing in Florida, or the beaches or the wave height on the Atlantic coast, I can't help but snicker a little and say "you call those waves?"

I'm from California, with the rocky majestic beaches and waves that can kill you. We have a surf that never lets you forget how fragile human existence is.

And not to far away from my hometown are the shores of Hawaii, where I visited as a child. There, you'll see all the hot and humid scenic beaches that people like to brag about here in Florida, but with the strength and power of the Pacific Ocean.

Here is some photography from a surfer. I can only dream of taking photos like this. I might have all the right equipment, but I will never be brave enough or skilled enough to take shots like this. This is one of the many reasons why I love the Pacific and why Florida pales in comparison:

Clark Little on Good Morning America (2009)
It all started in 2007 when Clark 's wife wanted a nice piece of art to decorate a wall. Voluntarily, Clark grabbed a camera, jumped in the water, and starting snapping away capturing the beauty and power of monstrous Hawaiian waves from the inside out. "Clark's view" is a unique view of the ocean that most will only be able to experience safely on land, while studying one of Clark 's photos.

Now with a camera upgrade and an itch to get that better shot, Clark has taken this on full time and has moved his office from land, to the inside of a barrel. Since the recent stir of Clark's work, his images have been run on the Today Show, ABC World News Now, Paris Match (France), Hana Hou (Hawaiian Airlines) magazine, Surfer magazine as well as multiple publishers and newspapers in the U.S. and overseas.

These incredible images of waves were taken by the #1 photographer of surf: Clark Little. He has dedicated his life to photographing the waves and has published a selection of the best images of his career. He captures magical moments inside the "tube", as surfers say

Sun glints off wave
Clark Little/SWNS

Click here to see more pictures or click on any of the pictures to go directly to his website )

joreth: (Nude Drawing)
This is one of the most fantastic sites I've seen in a long time. It's a very simple site, just a single frames web page with a collection of graphics in the sidebar and a larger image in the main frame.

What's so cool about it is that someone has created 3D images of the female reproductive system and the vulva area. As the creator points out, most images are 2D photos or drawings and don't really properly illustrate where everything is in relation to everything else.

This site not only has 3D illustrations, but also flash 3D animations where you can rotate various portions of the female anatomy to see it in 360 degrees!

So go, visit this website and check out the rest of the pictures. I even learned something about the female anatomy I didn't quite grasp before!

Momentarily Click on a Gray Arrow Button to Rotate One Frame Left or Right

Click and Hold a Gray Arrow Button to Rotate 360 Degrees

Right Click on Animation to Zoom in and Out and Control Animation


Copyright 2006 Fox Internet Services

joreth: (Silent Bob Headbang)
Dragon*Con 2009 was the best con ever! I can't state that emphatically enough to encompass just how awesome it was. It started with the drive up to Atlanta, which involved 3 group public make-out sessions along the way and just got better from there.

Plus, I debuted a new costume, once again made from liquid latex.

I attended almost every panel I had scheduled for myself. The Skeptics and Science Tracks just get better every year!

Plus, we even managed to squeeze in several instances of group sex without sacrificing panel time or costuming time!

Here's my latest costume - Laurie Jupiter, aka Silk Spectre II from Watchmen:

(visit my website for all my pics of D*C

Lots O Pics and a long description of my weekend at con )
And all of that combined to create the Best Con Evar!
joreth: (Super Tech)
Apparently I forgot to mention this at the time, but I finished my chain mail skirt for my Fire Elf. The final costume will be displayed at Dragon*con this year. This is the last update I have planned for the costume, so unless something really really cool occurs to me, I'm pretty much finished.

Now to get dress dummies made of [ profile] corpsefairy and [profile] may_dryad for the Evil Ice Elf and Evil Earth Elf respectively.

I have also begun the latexing for Laurie Jupiter, which will also hopefully be ready by Dragon*con.

So far I have my Fire Elf, Laurie Jupiter, and Sarah Connor.  I don't think I'm going to bring Baroness this year.  I finally got a hold of some old comics, and I realized just how much work I have to do on her, so, since I have 3 new ones this year (one I didn't mention) plus Sarah Connor, I think that's all I'll need.
joreth: (Default)
I totally want these!

SEX bookshelf:

Bloody Hand Shower Curtain:

joreth: (Misty in Box)
OK, not really, but damn!

How I Found Them )

I can't imagine a more uncomfortable pair of shoes than something that separates each of my toes.  I hate regular flip-flops because of that one between-toe-thingy, there's no WAY I'd wear shoes with something between all my toes!  I understand that some people like the toe-socks, but those socks are soft and flexible and don't really separate your toes (and I dislike even that minimal separation).  Yes, there's a layer of sock between them, but your toes are still just as close together as normal.  Not so with this hard rubber separation.

I've tried those toe separator things for pedicures and they freakin' hurt!  My feet are really, really, small, and my toes are quite cramped together thanks to years in dance shoes.  My pinky toes even curl under and I actually walk on the sides of those toes, not the bottom.  I've never found any toe separator that had a small enough separation to accomodate my toes - they all feel like they're stretching my toes apart and usually I can't even reach the last couple of toe slots.  I can't think of anything more uncomfortable than forcing my feet into individual toe separators that are standard distance, one-size-fits-all (or one-size-fits-none, as we like to say for the crew shirts bands give out to the local crew) and then walking around all day.

Plus, they're FUGLY and not just a little creepy looking!
joreth: (Spank)
Dude, I seriously need to stop haunting the atheist twitter feed and get some costume work done! It's amusing and all, but it's SUCKING MY WILL TO LIVE wasting my day!

joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Here's a quirky little site I just found through her YouTube channel, which I found through the #atheism hashtag on Twitter. Some of it is entertaining, some of it wasn't, but here are some of my favorite items in her store:

4 out of 5 Baptist Divorcees
4 out of 5 Baptist Divorcees
wish that gays would stop undermining marriage

Mommy, tell the the part again

Mommy, tell the the part again
where Jesus says I am a disgusting sinner who deserves to be tortured in Hell!

Here's The Deal

Here's The Deal
you don't tell me about your personal savior, I don't tell you about my personal yeast infection


That's Enough About Jesus Already
That's Enough About Jesus Already

Killing Folks Who Aren't Inside You
Being Pro-Life doesn't have to spoil the fun of killing folks who aren't inside of you!

GOP "Right to Life"
GOP "Right to Life"

My Catholic Priest is Dating Your Son
My Catholic Priest is Dating Your Son

Thomas Jefferson Quotation

Thomas Jefferson Quotation
"I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature"
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
 Awesome Atheist Bus Sign:

joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
joreth: (Rock Climbing)
A couple of weekends ago, I asked my friends to assist me in making a full-sized custom dress dummy, from neck to ankles. The pictures and instructions are now up!

joreth: (polyamory)

I'm always on the lookout for unique and simple jewelry and accessories that make a statement ... something that symbolizes who I am (or a part of who I am).  On my right wrist, I wear a black scrunchie for a simple and quick method of practical hair management and a piece of tie-line (the most common type of rope used in my business) that is tied into a bracelet using a double-fisherman's knot, which is a useful and attractive slipknot.  The tie-line, in case you haven't figured it out, symbolizes my work as an electrician and rigger in the entertainment industry.  On my left wrist is a very small and delicate, yet industrial-looking watch with a black rubber band, and a white face with plain, no-nonsense numbers and a hardy, brushed steel/silver-looking head, which just feels very "me" - small and delicate-looking but hardy and practical and no-nonsense.  Around my neck I wear a very simple poly heart/infinity pendant in silver and copper (a nice, industrial metal).  In my ears, I wear my birthstone, a dagger, a tiny pair of handcuffs, a tiny crescent wrench, and one long earring that gets changed out but is usually a chain-like design, all in silver. 

My jewelry and acessories tell a story of who I am.  They symbolize those parts of myself I most strongly identify as - polyamorous, kinky, strong, self-reliant, a technician.  The birthstone is a throwback to my woo-days, but it's still a representative stone.  It's a deep, deep red, almost black.  In fact, it usually looks black unless you get it in just the right lighting conditions, then it looks black with red highlights.  It's not a precious stone, it's not very expensive, but it's hardy and simple and dark.  I don't like expensive jewelry, and I don't like "girlie" or flashy or sparkly stuff.  I do like black and red - in fact, out of the handful of people who have even *seen* me in color, that color is almost always red, but usually, I'm very monochrome with my all black clothes and silver accents.  I no longer believe in the woo regarding birth signs and stones and such, but I still retain an emotional attachment to my birthstone.  The fact that I think the stone is pretty helps (if my birthstone were a diamond, I would have disowned it as a teenager).

I also have really, really long hair, and it often gets in the way, but I don't like wearing my hair up in clips or ponytails.  It takes a great deal of effort to get my hair looking nice in some kind of updo because of the length, and because it's very fine, I get a lot of flyaways and this horrible Florida humidity actually manages to make my straight hair friz, if you can figure that one out.  Plus, the weight of it just pulls it out of any hairstyle after a few minutes anyway.  But, occasionally, I do pull my hair back into a low ponytail with my scrunchie, and even more occasionally, I do pull it up or back for a dressy style, especially if I'm dancing, since the length of my hair actually causes me to hit my partners when I spin.

But I'm never satisfied with hair accessories.  They're always so girlie.  Plus, they rarey hold my hair.  I like black and I like silver, but black doesn't show up in my hair.  I hate yellow gold with my skin tone, and anything with color in it can only be worn with outfits that match that color and I don't like sparkly, sequins, or glittery.  I like simplicity in my accessories, understated elegance.  And, of course, function.  There's nothing more unattractive to me than fashion without function.

So, my aunt has very fine yet very curly hair that she says nothing will stay in.  Clips and barrettes all slip out.  But she found this one particular barrette that she says holds her hair very well, plus she likes how it looks.  So she sent me a link and I checked it out, always on the lookout for any kind of hair clip that won't slip down my very straight hair or won't fall down with the weight.

This brand, called Flexi-8, advertises that they are specially made for very straight, very fine, very thick, and/or very curly hair.  They don't slip, they hold weight, and they can even accomodate very, very long hair.  One of their video tutorials actually shows a girl with hair past her waist, as long as mine, and how to use this clip with hair that long.

So I was impressed.  Then I saw the designs.

Many of the designs are too "girlie" for my taste, and many come with colors.  But the majority of the designs have, what I call, understated elegance.  I think they are very simple and delicate looking, enough for the most dressy of occasions.  But, even better, they're poly-friendly!

As you may have guessed by the name, they use a figure 8 pattern.  Basically, imagine a figure 8 on it's side (in other words, the infinity symbol).  Now imagine bending that 8 to curve around a bun or a twist in the hair, and slipping a hairpin like a chinese chopstick through the loops but under the hair.  Now, to add fashion to the function, put a symbol at the center intersection of the figure 8.  Can you guess where I'm going with this?

That's right, there are a handful of designs that have a heart in the center of an infinity symbol.

So, we have here an accessory that combines function with fashion, and incorporates a symbol that I find very near and dear to my own heart, one that I already wear to signify who I am and would therefore wear in another form when applicable (such as my heart/infinity earrings and my polo shirt with the heart/infinity on the left breast, and my high-top converse with the heart/infinity on the ankle).  What's so great about the heart/infinity design, is that people who wish to remain "discreet" about their polyamory can still wear this symbol and those not-in-the-know won't have a clue.  It's just pretty.

I have not purchased one yet, so I can't vouch for their performance, but they do come highly recommended by my aunt, who says she wears nothing but this brand of hair clip since she discovered them.  I find several of the designs to be pleasing, and they're fairly affordable, so I plan on purchasing some soon.  So I will recommend them on their appearance and the hidden poly-meaning that I can assign to it.  Below are some pictures of some of the heart designs I found.  I think you can click on the pictures to make them bigger if you want.


**EDIT** Here's a review for the Flexi-8 hair clip by a real person, not a paid advertisement:

And since I'm sharing poly-friendly accessories, I found these earrings at Walmart.  They're a circle of linked hearts and the whole thing is plated with an irridescent, rainbow finish.  In particular, I like the queer-friendly tone with the rainbow finish, but the iridescence is a lot less cheesy than if it were painted with primary colors.  The flash really doesn't showcase the iridescence very well, but the little bit of earring on the right shows it off a little better.  In person, the heart earrings look more rainbow-ish than they do in the photo.

I'm also thinking of trying to design a series of earrings that will be a simple string of beaded birthstones for which the wearer can change out themselves, thereby keeping up with changes to the romantic network without having to buy all new jewelry.  Sort of like a DIY Mother design, y'know the type that's sold for moms to have birthstones of all their kids?  It's been remarked on in the past that these Mother rings and necklaces would make great poly jewelry because you can have a birthstone for all your partners, or everyone in the network, or whatever. 

My problem with these items is that they're usually very expensive and I haven't had a network stable enough to justify spending the amount.  My network is always changing, and it is set up intentionally to be able to change, so the last thing I want is to spend hundreds of dollars on a piece of jewelry that will symbolize something that doesn't exist in a year.  But if I come up with an earring design or a pendant design that uses birthstone beads, that somehow allows the wearer to mix and match and change out the beads him or herself, I think this would be much more practical for someone like me.  Sort of taking the charm bracelet concept and applying it to a birthstone pendant or a set of beaded earrings.  And then each wearer can add, subtract, or arrange the birthstones in whatever configuration has the most significance to the wearer.

If I get around to finishing this design, I'll post about it so anyone who is interested will be notified.

joreth: (Silent Bob Headbang)

If you haven't friended [ profile] tacit  yet, I recommed everyone on my f'list go and do that now.  That way you won't miss out on such gems as today's Unicorn Hunting Flow Chart:


If I wasn't already head over heels for this man, this would do it.  Fortunately, there are about a billion other reasons that preceed this.

joreth: (Default)
It's taken me nearly two weeks to finally edit my pictures and build the webpage, but I finally did and now, here are some pictures from the trip I took to the Bahamas for my birthday!  The whole story and many, many, many more pictures are at and even more pictures in the Photography section (spread out in among several categories).  How I ended up being able to afford a trip to the Bahamas is actually pretty interesting, so I recommend reading all about it.

Our hotel was right on the beach.  We stayed there 4 days and 3 nights.  Here's a sunset picture from the beach that our hotel was on:

(I have added an amusing story to the end, because I forgot about it when I first posted, so if you've already read this, you might want to go back and read it again)

Check out these pictures I took on the Island! )
joreth: (Self-Portrait)

I just returned from a trip to Ohio to visit my sweetie and meet his family for the first time.  I took some pictures.  Most are pictures of the most adorable barn kitten evar (poor thing had something wrong with its eyes), some are of the other barn cats, some are of a family graveyard, and some are miscellaneous other things.  Plus, some very bizarre signage:

Images behind the cut )
The rest of the pictures, for those who are interested, can be found at my website. has all the cats, has the graveyard and a bunch of other stuff, and has a couple of barn photos.
joreth: (Silent Bob Headbang)
OK, so [profile] dorklord07  just showed me the most awesome website (and will probably post about it himself very soon). 

The entire Bible as illustrated by Legos. 

Seriously, go look.
joreth: (Flogging)

I find Spongebob disturbing as it is, but tied down to a chair? That goes way beyond my comfort zone! RED! RED!

joreth: (Nude Drawing)
 Especially for [personal profile] tacit:

Oh, I think this word might mean 'Crisco'!

joreth: (Polydragon)
Convincing Pickup Line  
This is a totally good reason to get together with someone!
joreth: (Silent Bob Headbang)
I'm so excited!  So, the official U.S. Navy Web Site has a safety section, which discusses an awful lot of things about safety.  But what's really cool about this is they have a Photo Of The Week section where people send in photos of people being incredibly stupid.  And you rarely get much more stupid than my co-workers.

So I take pictures of them at work doing stupid things.  Fortunately, I'm the only one who carries a camera, so no one ever gets pictures of me doing these stupid things.

Anyway, I stumbled upon this site while researching the myth of steel-toe boots and I spent several days laughing my ass off at these stupid people.  I then promptly submitted some photos I had lying around in my Backstage Antics section.

They got accepted!
joreth: (Bad Computer!)
 and can I send them my computer?
joreth: (Silent Bob Headbang)
Woo hoo!  I sold 2 photographs this week!

I have an online stock photo agent, mainly for the prestige I get when I say I'm a published photographer and the ability to write stuff off on my taxes.  It certainly isn't for the money (stock $ is a joke at best - any potential income is made on reselling the same photo hundreds of times, which I currently am not popular enough to do)!  I sell a few photos a year for very little cash, but it makes me happy.  This is the first time I've sold two in one week and when I went to check my history, I noticed a previously sold photo wasn't bought for the usual web-sale I originally thought (they buy the lowest resolution to use on websites), but someone actually purchased an Extended RF License for my very first photograph that I took back in 1997!  That photos has been published in 3 photography anthologies so far and the current stock use of an RF license means someone buys the original resolution and can actually put it on items for resale.  So I'm excited - people actually like my work enough to pay for it!

If anyone is curious, my stock library is located here: 

**I found where one of my images was used! - It's the white flowers in the "Wellness" button.  If I find any more, I'll post them too.
joreth: (Rock Climbing)
I've made gingerbread houses for a few years, but I only have pictures of a couple of them.  I just found a gingerbread LJ group, so I decided I should finally get around to finishing the Gingerbread page of the Projects section of my website and post them.  So, here are a couple of my gingerbread houses:

Gingerbread Castle Dreamhouse

Gingerbread Fireplace

I wish I had pictures of my first gingerbread, which was a 3-storey Victorian with blue icing from an old Better Homes And Gardens Contest Winner recipe.  If I could at least find that old article, I'd post the magazine picture, but I can't even find that.  More pictures and the How To at 
joreth: (Default)
I finally got my latest work uploaded to my website

Here is my favorite:


joreth: (Xmas Kitties)
My annual Holiday Kitty portraits are up!

joreth: (Nude Drawing)
I rant a lot about the poor treatment women (me, specifically) receive online from men. I find myself in a very unusual position. Outside of the internet dating arena, I usually find myself siding with men, when it comes to debates of the genders. I don't usually take the female side because the male side of the debate tends to make more sense to me. Yet, here I am, filling my journals with "you guys suck".

I want to make it clear that I do not think men suck. All my rants are directed towards a certain type of guy. In fact, I am quite enamored of the male portion of the population. And I think it's high time I said that. To that effect, I write an essay in favor of men. 


April 2019



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