shoebox_dw: (hello my name is inigo montoya)
I've been frolicking happily over on LJ layout site [community profile] thefulcrum for the last day or so, and have finally settled on this one because I feel like it's my perfect balance between functional and decorative. Also I adore the colours and hug them and squeeze them and call them George.

Seriously, if you're in the mood for a fun, sophisticated premade layout,
[personal profile] grrliz is your designer. She's also got a comm going in Dreamwidth, which is even cooler.

shoebox_dw: (hummingbird puzzled)
I recently discovered I have remote access to my work email. Meaning I can check it here at home, anytime.

Let me repeat that: I can check it here at home. This is bad. This is very bad, because I am a compulsive Checker of Things. The instant I make what I suspect is a particularly chuffy post I spend the next hour on Statcounter, refreshing madly to see if anyone's noticed it yet. I slip checks of my TVTropes watchlist between sales report results.
And now I have insta-checkable work email. While I admit the novelty of poring over vendor issues at my own pace and place, where NONE OF THEM CAN GET AT ME HA HA HA, isn't liable to fade soon...I dread the day I start feeling the guilt. As in 'Y'know, you really should review those ex-factory dates, you never got a chance to do it today,' or 'It never hurts to check and see if you've missed any urgent marketing deadlines!' If I ever announce that I've decided to renounce the Internet and go do good works amongst the poor or something,you will know the reason why.

Apropos of all this, I am hoping that I have convinced spilleta42's stalker - who gifted me with a visit from the 36-Point Red Font Fairy the other night - that my mighty Check-Fu means I am a lousy spamming prospect. Trust me, kiddo: I can find & delete 'em just as fast as you can post 'em. Besides which I have younger sisters, which means I can recognise immature cattiness at forty paces, minimum.

About the only thing you've accomplished is to deepen my sympathy for your target. Being the victim of this kind of smear campaign is bad enough; that it's driven by this kind of obsessive malice must be hellish.

shoebox_dw: (hp snape get off me)
OK! So now that we've established that I vanish from people's thoughts the instant they take their eyes off the page...

Seriously, I'm not particularly bothered. The first and only question was probably going to be 'why do you keep asking for feedback when you manifestly aren't doing anything lately to deserve it?' and then I'd have to pull out the  'awww, pity poor me, I got a cold on my vacation and am sitting here sniffling as we type' card, and nahhh..

So, moving on now.

I did just get back from a weekend in Montreal. Sniffling all the way, but it was still so totally worth it. It was originally supposed to be a four-girls-together deal with Shoemom and the -sisses, but - as usual with our plans - things started crumbling with all the uncanny precision of a mathematical formula. Do we all want to go? Well, if we can't decide on that, maybe we should all stay around here and do something exciting - get tickets to a show, and dinner afterward? Whoops, we've been dithering about seat prices too long, show's out. How about we make appointments for a manicure? Oh, maybe that should happen a bit closer to the assembly...

The rewards of experience: very early on in this process I grabbed my stake and held on to it, through accusations of selfishness, unreasonableness and being anti-family, and the net result was that I spent a fab weekend roaming around drinking mochas in open-air cafes, visiting art museums and eating filet-mignon panini sandwiches, while everybody else...visited the local zoo with the nephews. I'm still debating whether to tell the one sister what a find the cheap little hotel she discovered turned out to be.

Not that I realised this while hiking up to it with my pack on my back, reading the billboard on the club down the way: Hommage a Metallica Aux Alcoholica. Rough translation: Oh, man, what the Hell have I got myself into?

It got better, though. A lot better. If Toronto is the civic equivalent of a marriage - quiet, conscientious, dignified - then Montreal is the random fling; life lived right out to the hilt, scruffy and exuberant and quite incredibly sophisticated. To the Quebecois mind there are just so many more interesting things ahead of caring about details like...oh...wearing a bra, for instance. Beautiful black woman coming down the street towards me at one point, tall, angular, dressed impeccably in a blue business suit with the jacket open to show her tight something out of Matisse by way of Gauguin.

You cannot be shocked - or rather you can, but there's no point, because caring about your shock is even further down on the list. So your best bet is to just go with it, to learn to appreciate the myriad ways that joie de vivre is worked into everyday living. I don't know if I could handle it on a continual basis, what with being a deep-dyed Anglo-Saxon and all, but as a weekend fantasia it was splendid. How is it possible that we should ever want to lose a place in which, having purchased a box of chocolates, the salesgirl casually mentions that the boxes are all hand-painted by 'the artist we're currently showing'  - gesturing at the walls, whose abstract prints do indeed match the one on your box?

Thus the weekend, and also some really great chocolate. Thing is, here I am now at home, the last day of the hols, meant to be a space in which I regroup and gear up for the eleventy-billion emails I'm facing tomorrow (at least ten billion of which will be 'Why didn't you handle this incredibly important thing before you left?!?)...and I'm feeling more like I could use another week. I just can't get untracked, somehow. I'm still sniffling, it's gray and drizzly outside, and the apartment's still a bare disorganised mess, and...and...grumblemopegrrrmuffleschmff.

I think I need some more chocolate.

shoebox_dw: (gf enlightened)
Gacked from [personal profile] lizbee , because I'm kind of blocked re: posting ideas just now:

The problem with LiveJournal is that we think we're close, but really, we know nothing about each other.

So I want you to ask me something you think you should know about me, something that should be obvious, but you have no idea about, or something you've always been curious about but have never asked, or something completely silly that you'd like me to answer for kicks. No limits on the range of questions, either: ask me anything you want to know about, whether it's a fannish opinion or a question about a fic of mine or trivia about my real life or my thoughts on events in the offline world.

shoebox_dw: (Default)

Yes, they've given me two more. Which makes three, if you're paying attention, 'cause apparently everyone on my flist really is that well-connected.

At any rate, on the off chance you haven't got in with the cool kids yet, here's your big date with destiny. Leave a note in the comments below - which I just realised I can't screen from my iPod app, so don't include your email addy just yet - and we will make suitable arrangements.

Posted via

shoebox_dw: (oh the irony)
I mean, seriously; I just get (mostly) finished setting up with a friend's invitation and guess what lands into my inbox.

So I now have a spare, free to good home. Drop off your email addy via screened comment below and I'll turn over the code shortly thereafter, or as soon as I get home from work tomorrow evening, and you can join in the fun. Still a bit graphically primitive over there, but all the features work a treat so far - including the importing* and crossposting - and it really does seem like they've given the LJ concept  a few genuine upgrades.

*For text and images, at least. Users with Youtube-heavy posts might have to do some serious initial backtracking.

shoebox_dw: (hello my name is inigo montoya)
I hadn't initially thought of setting up over there, but clearly all the cool kids were doing it - including the very kind [info]tree_and_leaf , who gave me this invite - to the point where I was starting to seriously worry about my entire flist migrating over and leaving me babbling to myself. (More than usual, that is.)

So here I am, and it's a nice place. I need to tweak a few cosmetic details, and add some links, but that's easily enough handled. *sits back comfily and waits for the revolution to roll in*

shoebox_dw: (kitty wheee)
I hadn't initially thought of setting up over here, but clearly all the cool kids were doing it - including the very kind [personal profile] tree_and_leaf , who gave me this invite - to the point where I was starting to seriously worry about my entire flist migrating over and leaving me babbling to myself. (More than usual, that is.)

So here I am, and it's a nice place. I need to tweak a few cosmetic details, and add some links, but that's easily enough handled. *sits back comfily and waits for the revolution to roll in*

shoebox_dw: (butterfly gold)
[ahem]. Consider this latest layout switch a sort of tone poem on the theme of I Have Had It Up To Here With Trying To Find One That Has All The Stuff I Want. The last time I thought I'd finally nailed it, but *sigh* no, got restless after a few weeks as usual. So until the day I become a CSS master, it's minimalism or bust here @ Shoe Central.

Meanwhile. Am heading out tomorrow with friend [ profile] shing to attend other friend [personal profile] rj_anderson 's book launch party in Stratford. (The book is called Knife in the UK and Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter in North America, and if it isn't sitting on your preteen daughter/sister/friend/random acquaintance's shelf yet, what are you waiting for? Another glass unicorn? Please.)
I love this. Besides being all excited for RJ I mean. I have been going around all week announcing to friends and co-workers that 'Oh, yes, I have a friend's launch party to attend this weekend...' and secretly feeling all smug. Except around the co-worker who's a published poet, that didn't work so well. I do have the promise of an invite to her next party, though, so it's all good. My career as a socialite is well and truly launched.

Besides, I also love road trips, and at two hours or so from the big city, Stratford qualifies. It was named quite deliberately after Shakespeare, complete with a River Avon, and swans. This is all I remember from my last trip aged nine, the swans. Because as it turns out, mute swans - you know, the ones with the cute orange beaks, right next to the unicorns on the shelf - happen to be just about as tall as a nine-year-old. And they really aren't mute at all, except that instead of honking, or any other normal waterfowl sound, they make this incredibly creepy hissing noise. Really really softly, so you don't actually hear it until they're bearing down on you wings outstretched and it distracts you just enough that WHOMP! right into the ornamental hedge. The next time I ran across a sonnet, I had great difficulty in restraining a bitter chuckle.

So that's about it, as far as a status update...what? Fiction? What fiction? *eyedart*
shoebox_dw: (hello my name is inigo montoya)
Well, that's gotta be some kind of land speed record for getting tired of a theme. I don't know how it is, exactly; I get these ultra-feminine spasms, and then just as violently fall out of them. Even tried ensuring the colour was rose rather than pink, this time, but no dice. All at once it was either go minimalist or upchuck.

In other upgrading news, I've finally gotten around to purchasing extra iconspace. Largely because I had been going around gacking various pics that'd caught my eye and/or my funnybone for so long now it was making me all wistful every time I looked in the folder. Seriously, the need to display Gromit to the world at just the right ironic moment was getting physical.

Credit where credit is due:

--Adorably pithy Austen and other texts courtesy [ profile] kalquessa - closest I can get to having her way with words.
--New Peanuts and Calvin & Hobbes come from here. I bow before their sense of moment.
--New Two Lumps (the b/w kitties) thanks to [ profile] minirth @ the generally excellent [ profile] comicstripicons .
--New PBS courtesy the gang @ [ profile] pearlswine .
--[ profile] musesrealm is responsible for the arty stuff, also some butterflies.

The rest involve random people, names now lost to the mists, with really good icon taste -- also (I'm hoping) kind forgiving hearts. At any rate, if you see your icon here, please feel free to ensure it's credited and/or demand it be removed altogether.
shoebox_dw: (pbs surprise)
As mentioned once or twice, I use a basic statcounter to track visitors to this blog. Partly to check numbers, and partly because I like to see where they've come from. This is generally a minor pleasure at best, but every so often...

"Referring link: Google search string giraffe-comes-through-door-cary-grant"

...For the record, it led the searcher to my review of the movie Holiday, which amazingly enough does indeed contain both those elements, albeit probably not in the order they were expecting. I really hope they enjoyed it anyway, though.
shoebox_dw: (gf amazing talents)
...well, actually the best way involves cozy-fresh jammies, some crackers and ginger-ale and a new Jane Austen DVD. Once that gets old, however, there's always changing your LiveJournal theme.

Nice, no? It's part of my ongoing 'go bold or go home' plan. I wanted something a bit more sophisticated, as translated largely to: not pastel. Plus, with this particular theme ('Smooth Sailing' if you're interested), you can play around with stuff like fonts and colours. There's a nifty colour scheme over on my old message board that I'm thinking of importing eventually.

[yawn] Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to see if there are any crackers left...

shoebox_dw: (mythbusters problem)
Really, lemme work this for a bit, this is a very big moment for me. I am still quoting Barenaked Ladies lyrics, that is how behind-the-memes I traditionally am. We won't even get into how the only cute guys in my icon collection date back to the Eisenhower era, and frankly weren't all that cute even then (unless we're still counting Dork Cute...are we?)

No, for once I managed to align my stars correctly with the Net fairies' goodwill, or whatever it takes. While all about me is woe and anxious scrambling to avoid a looming LiveJournal meltdown, I find myself sitting prettily avast a WordPress mirror blog, started a couple months ago. What's more, in order to create the WP site, I had to find a quick and simple way to import my LJ posts, thus ljarchive already installed and ready to queue up at a moment's notice. For this brief, shining moment, I am a preparation goddess.

I wish I could say all this was the result of shrewd intuition. The truth is, as noted at the time, I just wanted to play around a bit with 'real blogging', with the focus on content rather than the comments. Mind, I do like the community aspect inasmuch as it allows you to more or less instantly access new and fresh worldviews, without losing control over your own individuality. While I don't have a lot of LJ-friends, they've all been carefully chosen, and I'd miss every one.

So in the event it all does go crash, I've been carefully gathering up contact notes, and provided my own above. On the off chance you like what you've been reading, please do c'mon over. I may even watch a couple Futurama eps for inspiration...uh, or is it Heroes, now?

shoebox_dw: (garfield rabid moth)
In the "Hi there! Duh calling!" dept, I do get my share of spam.

Most of it I can trace back either to the source, as for instance the ones that keep promising me A NEW JOB IN MY AREA, or to the general belief among direct marketers that the human race has the collective IQ of dead trout (dead transgendered trout at that, judging by the number of offers I get for discount Viagra. Uh, y'know, the email addy does begin with 'Scarlett'...?)

But none of this quite explains why, recently, my Junk Mail file has been jammed gillward with offers to help me stop snoring.
shoebox_dw: (self discovery)
I have very good friends.

This became evident during this past four-day stay-cation weekend. I had some paid days to burn off and decided to spend them questing a little further in search of feedback. It having occurred to me during that last fit of whining about it that I hadn't ever actually just, y'know, asked people for some.

My first foray involved an LJ review site. After checking out some of their previous reviews, I applied with the pleasant assurance that they'd find me a step above the herd, at the least. No emo poetry on this journal!

Ah, yeah. I'm still pretty proud of the 'no emo poetry' thing, no question, but - well, if you're reading this, chances are you know where we go from here. The general gist involved too much rambling, also a 'lack of interesting or engaging content', specifically the personal touch. I needed to take chances, to 'spill my guts'...or at least, something like the 'story of how you once almost got a tattoo on your right breast'.

(The best thing about the whole experience was actually Shoemom's failure to pick up the hypothetical there, when I asked her to read the review. "You did WHAT? On WHERE?")

Didn't help much in dealing with the criticism, though. The ensuing crisis of confidence, here @ Shoe Central, is when I developed a new theory of true friendship: it's what causes the people you run panicking to over bad reviews, instead of merely patting your hand and going "Mean ol'critic!', to instead take the time to gently-but-firmly point out that yes, you have flaws, but no, it's by no means the end of the world, let alone your writing career. Although you're right, nobody else cares about the damn comedy team already.

Look, the reason I don't get deep into the personal around here is pretty simple: The Shoe story is just really, really boring, with a side order of unpleasant. There is verbal abuse and depression and struggles with weight and nerdiness, and occasional existential crises, and that one nagging incident where memory tells me I saw an episode of a favourite TV series, I discovered later, about a year before it was actually frelling made. (No, it doesn't hurt much, but it does make the Matrix flicks rather uncomfortable viewing.) 

Outside the immediate region of my navel, there's also the part where the one Shoesis is a gorgeous slender blonde chick with so little self-esteem Shoemom and I have had to rescue her from no less than five total losers over the past few years... Eventually we'll have to get into the story of the one paternal uncle who's contrived to drive three wives to nervous breakdowns while accumulating five kids, and trust me, neither of us wants that.

Put bluntly, I am inclined both by nature and nurture to suck it up, princess. Even listing the above broad outlines gives me an uncomfortable sense of over-reaching both peoples' interest and sympathy. Thus - not un-naturally I'd thought - I've been treating my online life as a distraction from all that, trying to find topics much more interesting and engaging while treating of my personal life in a gentle, inconsequential fashion to avoid it intruding. I do believe this qualifies for both the orthodox and Alanis definitions of irony.

The other problem draws on from that one - I've been treating this blog as a writing project. Which is fine as far as it goes, but does leave me alarmingly dependent on the goodwill of audiences; as was gently-but-constructively brought home to me this weekend, you can't just leave your rough drafts lying around without people coming to the conclusion that they might as well wait until things get sorted out.

Especially when you're in as dire need of a firm-handed editor as I am. I do ramble hopelessly, I know that; albeit you'd be amazed at what I manage to take out. It doesn't help that my first taste of online writing success came in an environment (ie, TWoP-style Idol recaps) in which I was not only praised but encouraged to be clever at length on multiple obscure topics. I came away from it with perhaps rather an inflated sense of myself as too precious for words.

So...I have some things to work on, and more to think about. I have to find a more suitable place for my essay-style pop-culture pieces, is what I think first of all. I do have some decent ideas in that direction. In the meanwhile...well, the people that have stuck around in some cases since the beginning, thanks. I now have a much clearer idea of how not to try your patience, as much. Although the comedy team may still be making occasional appearances...look, I don't get on your case about Dr Who, you leave me to Bob & Ray. And somehow we'll figure it all out.

Huh. Well.

Nov. 4th, 2008 08:20 pm
shoebox_dw: (pbs surprise)
So the Gender Tracker thinks I'm a man. This is not particularly unexpected, as wherever I post online, people routinely identify me as male. It bugged a bit at first, but I've long since learned to think of it as a compliment.

Kind of a weird compliment in this case, though. I mean, didn't the fascination with Kalan Porter tip anybody off?

...wait, don't answer that.
shoebox_dw: (pbs aaaaaaahhhhh)
OK, an excellent way to kill any possible writing ambitions you may ever have plus experience shame and regret over any you ever had?

How about exporting an entire - as in 125 posts - LiveJournal over to Wordpress, which has categories along with tags and different formatting that causes posts to go all randomly wonky, so you have to spend a whole weekend going into each and every frelling post to make sure it's organised all nice and neat (it helps if you're a raging perfectionist about this stuff) plus remove the whacky HTML by hand so you end up rereading every paragraph of every post you ever made in your entire online life and oh God I am the most longwinded fatuous pretentious procrastinating no-talent in the HISTORY OF BLOGGING AND PLEASE SOMEBODY JUST MAKE IT STOP...

...kthxbai. [collapses]

shoebox_dw: (Default)
First off, I must thank those who've been participating in the poll. Your comments have been taken to heart, I do assure you.

The rest of you, well, it's either speak now or...uh...well, stop reading, I guess. Which is not at all the direction I envisioned that sentence going in. Let's just skip to the part about it's still open, link in post below, and move right along, shall we?

So this is the Quest for Interesting, Part II: the post that should've happened on the weekend, except the weather coated me in a deep thick blanket of meh. The extra time actually worked out pretty well, inasmuch as it gave me more time to mull the question...also, more time to mentally edit the Bob & Ray article, hence need distraction PDQ.

The process of sitting down and trying to quantify what makes a person interesting is kind of thought-provoking in and of itself, actually. Especially given the wide audience you face on the Net. Either you settle down happily to become a legend in one small corner of cyberspace, or you go absolutely bonkers trying to be all things to all people, only to discover you've left out...well, I dunno what 'furry fandom' is exactly, but that's what finally tipped my dreams of being a Super-Popular Cyber-Presence over the edge. Niches forever!

Therefore, new readers, this is it. Herewith and henceforth I present the official List of Interesting Things About Shoebox, and will accept the consequences regardless:

Read more... ).
shoebox_dw: (self discovery)
--Er...owing to tech difficulties with the poll that was originally in this entry - as detailed in the next entry up - the poll in question is currently located in the next entry past that. Would it be possible to blame this whole thing on cabin fever, do you think?

The muse works in strange ways. Merely walking home from the subway this evening, for instance, I was moved to present Winter in Southern Ontario, a drama in one act:

Snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow freezing rain snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow rain snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow...

In case it isn't absolutely clear by now, this piece expresses the following deep and resonant theme: I should not be wiping frozen ice crystals off my eyebrows in frelling MARCH, people!

December, yes, I can see that. What is falling out there now - ie., March - is by family tradition 'Charlie Brown snow', a reference to the easily-animated fat little round flakes from the Christmas special...which, do I even have to point out, is all-December, all the time. Not once is March even mentioned, not even in passing. It is times like these that make me think we need a new special: You Lied to Me, Charlie Brown.

Sure, you laugh and tell me to relax and enjoy the cozy time indoors. Well, I have news for you, cupcake: more time indoors @ Shoe Central means more time to spend on this blog. Seeing as how we're ten days into the reinvention project and the only thing we've established so far is  that I need serious help in the Person I Most Want to Be Cooped Up With For a Long Time dept...

...Oh good, I was wondering how we were going to segue into the actual topic of the week. You see, in the course of thinking about ways to be more interesting the other day - or any day - it occurred to me that I hadn't actually stopped and taken inventory of my current level of engaging.
I mean, sure, I'm a middle-ish-aged woman who lives with her mother and two cats (roughly in that order), working as an admin assistant...but there must be something here I can build on. Other than random comedy teams, that is. I think we can all agree that that one is about ready for the Dave Barry gag. ("I hereby sentence you to read three pages of Shoebox blathering on about the subtle-yet-pervasive use of irony by Stiller and Meara." "Nooooooooo!!")

At any rate, this snowy weekend is going to be devoted to finding out, in two parts this time.

Part one has to do with something I've noticed while reading the readership stats on my last couple entries...yes, smart person, that I have a readership in the first place, hardy-har-har. Actually, what I was about to say is that I've discovered I have something of a repeat readership; ie. a small-but-apparently-growing cadre of people who keep coming back for more blather. Of course, thanks to my own smart-Alec tendencies, I have no idea why. Kalan Porter fans, for instance, tend to be a kind patient lot, at least most of them.

Now, right about here is where the people who know me well will be expecting the desperate plea for comments. Well, the good news is I'm not quite that foolish. It does not surprise me in the least that this journal hasn't been a hotbed of lively backchat; despite every effort to figure out why, this is baseline for everything text-based I participate in, from peer reviews in grade nine English onward. I think I must give off some sort of response-repellent field, is my last best guess.

So I've moved on...with the help of another recent discovery: the poll function in LiveJournal. Writing out a full-scale comment may be work, but in my experience very few people can resist the urge to just clik a little button.
With that in mind, I present the first (and if this works out, the last!) butterfly mind Reader Survey. Be bold! Be truthful! Be...uh...maybe just a wee little bit forgiving? And if you do feel like commenting after all, I've enabled the screening thingy again, so feel free to nag away in anonymity.
shoebox_dw: (holly hare)

So I've spent the past few days (when not curled up in the foetal position, whining and wheezing) exploring one of the bigger problems you encounter writing a weekly column - or at least, a weekly conglomeration of thoughts you're pleased to call a column. Namely, coming up with things to conglom about.

It's not a shortage of ideas, per se; I've started up any number of promisingly thoughful trains...only to have them fizzle and die not much further down the tracks. Clearly I need to come up with more interesting concepts, or possibly just be more interesting period. The quest to find out which it was naturally led me back around to my many and varied influences.

Didn't work. Or rather, worked all too well. By the time I was half-way through the list of workaday idols, it became clear that all of them had either had or were in the process of having really interesting-/exciting-/amusing-incident-filled lives, to the point where my own random irritation with movie posters in the subway was starting to make even Arthur Black look like a raconteur on par with Twain. The only major exception was Dave Barry, but I'm really not into either booger jokes or beer, strong indulgence in the latter I suspect is necessary to make the former that funny anyhow.

I found myself spiralling down through the depths of recall, calling forth every random regular bit of newsprint I'd ever read, finally landing up back in my pre-teen-hood. We had a subscription to the Toronto Sun for a few years...

That's when it hit me. Potpourri Guy.


shoebox_dw: (Default)

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