4 of Clubs: Rearranging the Diamonds and making collages.

4 of Clubs: Rearranging the Diamonds and making collages.

I’ve not been updating this much, partially due to a lack of time, partially due to laziness, and partially because I’ve not been doing small posts in between some big drafts: I have two face card posts in the works at the moment. I’m going to try to do some smaller posts, but I’m not going to promise anything.

What I am doing however is a slight rearrangement to the card suit system. I’m going to move posts primarily discussing works of fiction from being classed as Heart posts to being under Diamonds, leaving Hearts solely for non-fiction. This is partially because I don’t want every post to be Hearts, and partially for another reason.

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BOOSTER Talisman: Collage made using pictures from Physics World Magazine.

One of the things I’ve always  wanted to do for the blog is add artwork for the posts, preferably original. However, my art skills are generally lacking (see the previous post’s artwork), and I can’t afford to pay people to make it.

I was inspired by the cover of Sam Keeper’s most recent book, Who Killed The World, a series of essays on various X-punk genres (cyberpunk, steampunk, solarpunk), which has a fantastic collage as it’s cover, the focal piece being the winged porcupine that serves as the book’s mascot. The book itself is great, but the collage cover is most relevant to this post.

WhoKilledTheWorld

Essentially, when I can, I’m going to making collage covers for these posts. You can see one up above as an example. I’ve made two so far for upcoming posts, as well as BOOSTER Talisman up there, and they have been a lot of fun.

These collages have a couple of rules. First of all, I can’t just look for “the perfect picture”. When making them, I set myself a particular source of images, whether a particular group of magazines, junk mail, leaflets that I’ve collected up for free, ect. There is one exception to this rule, which is that I am allowed one image directly relevant to the topic at hand; e.g. in a Harry Potter post I am allowed one Harry Potter picture.

Secondly, I cannot buy new things for the collages (other than backing paper, scissors, glue and other tools). Everything I use must be either something I already own, something I got for free, or at most something I found in one of my town’s many charity shops.

Rule three is a simple one; I need to be able to explain how the collage represents the post. Not necessarily in the post itself, unless people want that, but I need to have an idea for how it works. In this case, the periodic table represents organisation, the gears are me actually posting something, the Booster in the middle represents my hopes I will obtain a boost to posting here, the talisman is there to represent me moving where I put discussions of fiction, and the hands are me putting this new thing together. The collages will all have the post’s respective card in them as well, as seen here with the four of clubs. This is the other reason I am moving fiction discussions from Hearts to Diamonds: I don’t want to run out of Hearts too quickly.

Finally, all collages in this first wave will be A4 landscape. There is a reason for this that I will discuss later on.

Note that not all posts will have a collage. Sometimes, like in the previous post, I will use a different medium. I would like to get better at all forms of arts and crafts, not just collages, so I’ll be branching out sometimes. They will still always involve the post’s card however. And sometimes I will just not have time; the low the card value of the post, the less likely I am to do a picture for it.

Additionally, I will be doing live streams of me making these collages. These will be held at the weekend in the evening, hopefully both Saturday and Sunday, using a camera looking down at my desk. It will be on my twitch, Heartofaquamarine.twitch.tv, and I’ll post on various places such as twitter to say what time it will be. Please, feel free to come and join!

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4 of Clubs: Patreon and Tumblr reposts.

Starting in May 2019, the crowd-funding site Patreon will be increasing how much it takes from pledges it processes, in return for some features I’m not particularly interested in. However, existing creator accounts will be grandfathered out of this, so…I have no reason not to make a Patreon account now.

There’s a link in the sidebar, but currently I’m not doing anything serious with it. I have it set to charge per creation, but I think I am, for now, only going to charge for high effort posts; that is, posts that in the code of this blog, I would give one of the royal cards or an ace. This will likely include any videos I do, since they take more effort, but not streams or other low effort work.

I am currently in the middle of my last year of my PhD, so for now I don’t feel I can do much Patreon only extra-stuff. Once my PhD is done I’ll reconsider this, and work out what I can do. At the moment, as noted above, the account is mainly to avoid the changes being made, but I thought I should note this. This is, incidentally, why I have stopped doing the themed months; I just couldn’t keep up with them while doing my PhD work, and that made me stop working on the blog in general.

In other news, as you might have noticed with the “Am I being lazy” post, I am reposting some of my old tumblr posts here. Some of them will be edited a bit, but I’m mostly happy with the long form posts I wrote on there. I’ve basically left tumblr, and I want to preserve the bits I like. If you want to have a look at my tumblr, which is mainly just me reblogging dumb stuff, you can find it here, or the side blog Blue Sky Self Help I ran with my friend Packbat here.

4 of Clubs: 2019, Theme Months, and Realistic Goals

It’s the final day of the year of 2018, a traditional time for some reflection and to make some plans for the future.

I tend not to make new year resolutions. Plans on the timescale of a year or longer tend to need to be broken up into a series of steps that I find easier to work on piece by piece, and any resolution that involves setting up some kind of regular routine, such as exercising or dedicating time to learning something, tends to break down because I don’t make suitable changes to the rest of my routine, or at some points in my life don’t have a routine at all for them to slot into.

In my personal and professional lives, I do actually have two things going on this year that would actually work fairly well as a resolution. The first is the long term plan type; I am entering my final year of my PhD study, and so I need to finish my project and hand it in before end of 2019. This is doable but it is going to be pretty difficult, and one of the major ways I am going to try and handle this is the second resolution. This is not really a new years resolution, rather it is a continuation of something I’ve been working on for a while now, which is to reconstruct my daily routine. Part of my current lack of one is my own fault but a large part due to mental illness (something I will almost certainly be commenting on) disrupting me, particularly my sleep cycle. I am hoping to fix this by trying to, one piece at a time, reconstruct my own daily routine, with regular sleeping times, exercising times and work times.

One of the things I often find helpful is accountability, so I will be posting my progress on this, or at least an edited version for internet consumption with important identifying details removed, in a weekly round up on this blog, which will also have links to that week’s posts, and if I do end up with a commentating community, possibly some discussion prompts or an open thread for people to talk in.

While my PhD is obviously going to take a fair amount of my time, it is important to have a separation between work and the rest of your life. I have really enjoyed writing my posts here so far, and I want to continue doing so. This will require some trade offs, obviously, but I think this, along with some other distractions, will serve as a good counterpoint to the life swallowing nature of a PhD; although as we get towards the deadline posts may slow down somewhat.

As I noted above, making long term plans, such as planning the future of this blog, usually requires them to be tackled as a series of smaller plans. At the same time, I would also like a framework for what I am going to write about; have something I can hang things off of and to focus down my range of choices from “anything and everything” to “something related to this topic”. I choose the theme of this blog, the idea of it being a deck of cards, because it allowed me to have a very wide range of topics to discuss, but the trade off there is that, when given infinite options, we tend to return to well worn paths of thought and creation. For me, the greatest weapon I have to focus thought and foster creativity is to give myself parameters that I must be contained in, both to active the problem solving parts of my brain and just to avoid being swamped by choice.

My idea for this is doing themed months, each with a series of posts roughly planned and laid out at the beginning of the month in a spade video. Similarly, I am going to focus my streaming each month on a particular game. I haven’t really linked my streaming to this blog yet, and honestly it is probably not going to directly crossover; I’m not going to be trying to do streaming based on what I am going to write here, although it will be nice when I can.

I have enough theme ideas to fill the year, but I don’t really want to put them out in an explicit order now since I’m not sure what the order will be, and whether I might want to change them, so I will announce the next month’s theme at the end of the previous month. Ideally I will be able to link the posts of one month to the next, to have a bridge, but again, I don’t want to make a promise I can’t keep.

So. That is the plan for this blog going forward, and the plan for my life going forward. With all that, in the short term, what are we going to be looking at in January 2019?

Well, in terms of streaming, I have long been curious about the Dark Souls series of games, so we are going to pick one up and start playing.

For the actual blog…well, I have just written a 3000 word discussion on the recent adaption of a work by her and still have plenty to say so…we’re doing an Agatha Christie month.

See you in the new year.

Mattilda.