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Networking: the Dark Side of Freelancing

Freelancers work in isolation. I’m not in a studio, or an office block. I’m not rubbing shoulders with other designers. There’s just me. Usually, I love it that way. It’s comfortable. But it does leave me short-resourced — I need to ‘network’ to find collaborators with complementary skills, like...

To Blog or Not to Blog? (My Examination of Motive)

I might quit blogging. It might be a good thing. A healthy thing. There have been a variety of reasons for my blogging, across the timeline, but right now there’s no other reason than this: I’ve published a blog post every week since June last year. That’s not even a...

The appeal behind Apocalypse and Dystopia in fiction

Dystopian worlds are braced within a malevolent system, apocalyptic worlds are breaking apart, and post-apocalyptic ones are picking up the pieces. They’re all hell on earth. And they’re all spectacular. I hadn’t examined the reasons why I like to read novels set in apocalyptic and/or dystopian environments. It simply...

How to read what a job ad’s not saying

Most people understand that when a real-estate advertisement promotes a property as ‘ideal for first-home owners’, they mean ‘nobody would live here if they could afford somewhere else’. And when those ads label a house a ‘DIY dream’, they mean ‘the roof is currently held on by duct tape’....

Poem: Without a Name (A Response to Angsty Heartbreak Poems)

I don’t always agree with with Past-Me. She made some stupid choices, and she thought some stupid things. (Like 5ive being better than the Backstreet Boys. She probably based that opinion more on her own hormonal response than on musical acumen.) But she seemed just as unmoved by angsty...

Your Memories are Lying to You

The grass, apparently, is always greener wherever we’re not. I haven’t lived in Queensland, Australia, for almost 10 years now. But I remember it fondly. Especially when winter hits, and in New Zealand everybody stops ageing for several months. Unfortunately, memories often lie, and if I wasn’t such an...

Book Review: Lexicon by Max Barry

A thrilling novel has to have the right balance of plausibility. If it tips too far in either direction, the thrill is replaced with either revulsion or ridicule. Too much plausibility, and it becomes a novelisation of horrific evening news reports. (I don’t know anyone who watches those for...

What is Christian Fiction?

Every public library I know of has a designation of ‘Christian Fiction’ among their genre sets. Yet ‘Christian Fiction’ seems to be a collection of characteristics that are vague and varying. And a term that can mean several different things isn’t a helpful term at all. For the purpose of...

Learning to Cook by Watching People Who Know

I have many skills. I know how to dance the chorus choreography to 5ive’s ‘Baby, When the Lights Go Out’. I know how to take a blood sample from a Rhodesian Ridgeback. I know how to burp on command. But I can’t cook. I’ve blogged about this frustration before....

Learning NZSL in a real live classroom

I finally did one of the things I’d scheduled for the elusive ‘One Day’: I went to a New Zealand Sign Language class. A real one. With a real live teacher and real live people. People who looked just as fidgety and unsure as I did. I’d already concluded...

The Unboxing of my new Wacom Intuos Pro drawing tablet with Paper Kit

In this digital age, getting a real tangible parcel is exciting. Usually. I’m sure I would have been excited to get my nondescript brown box, if I hadn’t been distracted writing an email at the time its presence was announced. Husband came to stand next to my desk, holding...

Testing Timmy’s Emotional Empathy

I’m not instinctively compassionate, by nature.  That’s not to say I’m mean, let’s be fair. My Cognitive Empathy is good. I can intellectually put my mindset into the values of another person, wearing their worldview like a Mardi Gras mask. But my Emotional Empathy is much weaker. When I...

How does a Thinker teach a Doer?

I can parse linguistic etymologies, but apparently I can’t teach the alphabet. It’s a tough reality for me to face. I don’t know how to enable information to reach my 3-year-old, Daniel. He doesn’t think how I think. How can I make myself think like I don’t think? I...

Kinetic Solar System (Photomanipulation)

It started when I saw a shiny picture of a Newton’s Cradle, and all thoughts of finishing the day with a hot drink and going to bed early got shunted aside by my photo-manipulation drive kicking in. Initially, I’d just wanted to superimpose planetary appearances onto the balls. I’d...

My Not-New-Year’s Resolution: Write a Novel

Conversations with preschoolers can be hilarious. Perhaps it’s because after you reach a certain age, the simplistic becomes the ridiculous. But whether by naivety or wit, Timmy put a great spin on an otherwise blasé question put to him at the end of last year: “What’s your New Year’s...

I’m Back! Working as a Graphic Designer & Answering your Questions

I was almost ready to be ready. It’s how most people are, when going into business for themselves, I’m told. We convince ourselves that we’ll be confident and ready to start after reading just one more advisory article, one more blog post, one more case study. It all amounts...

A Guide to Sportsmanship by a 4-year-old

The game of Snakes and Ladders has a simple premise. Dice-rolling, space-moving…all while being bored at the beginning and breathless at the end as you race to the be first to space number 100, so you can throw your hands in the air and yell victoriously, “I win!” If...

How to Not Hate Cooking (Apparently)

I hate cooking. I hate that I have to do it every day. I hate that it takes much longer to cook it than it does to eat it. I hate that by the time I have it on plates in front of my family, I’m so sour about...

How to Acquire New Tastes (by force)

Taste is a fickle thing. It makes critics of us all. I knew a guy who’d make fun of me for talking about the different flavours I could detect across a range of coffee beans. He thought I was making it all up. But the same guy would then...

The Self-Restraint Test 2

Six months ago I put the boys through the Stanford marshmallow experiment, using a biscuit. (Perhaps my recurring readers will remember it, from a post I made in June.) It seemed an appropriate time for a sequel. Not just because watching such things is fun, but because I was...