11 April 2017


by Cecily
Because of my unrealistically rare disease, I spend a lot of days in bed. I look at the ceiling a lot. I read a lot. I watch a lot of things on Netflix. I find many, many YouTube videos of people dancing and of Sesame Street covers of songs.

But lately I've also been wasting many hours playing Thimbleweed Park, which is a new point-and-click adventure puzzle game pretending to be an early 90s point-and-click adventure puzzle game, set in 1987. My brother gave it to me for my birthday. I recommend it. It is full of many ridiculous jokes and tasks and references to other video games and pop culture in general.

Whenever I spend a lot of time doing something on a computer, I start expecting real life to be similar. Like, writing a lot of papers and spreadsheets, I kept thinking "control F" when I lost my keys and "control Z" when I spilled coffee.

The adventure game effect is weirder. For one, in Thimbleweed Park one of the ongoing  jokes is picking up specks of dust wherever you see them. Then if you "look at" them, the character says "It's my specks of dust." They're randomly distributed all over, on the floors and streets, little tiny white squares (they're "pixels", from the olden days when you could see pixels.")

Recently I noticed that I've been subconsciously keeping an eye out for specks of dust to pick up, as I go about my daily life. (So far I haven't found any.)

And when I'm about to do something irrevocable with an uncertain outcome (resetting the stereo on my car was a recent example) I have a deep internal urge to save the game, so I can come back and do this part over if everything goes to shit.

I really wish we had saved the game last summer.

28 February 2017

The naming of things

by Cecily
Everyone said I should name the monsters, and put their names on their Etsy listings and make little name tags for them. I said I didn't want to, because half the fun of getting a new stuffed animal is naming it, and it's stupid when they come with names, and then I learned that this is an area in which my preferences are outliers.

Anyway THEN I said, fine, but I need some like 3-year-olds or something to help me think of crazy names. I got some participation from some 3-year-olds and a 6-year-old, but then I made more monsters. So eventually I gave in and made up some names myself. I've been spending a lot of time looking up cryptids on Wikipedia.

And in addition to Zombie Jamboree, singing songs to myself that are about names, and making things, including that very nice Andrew Bird one I just put the video to, but more often and more persistently this one:

Which has many lines that are compatible with monster-making.  "We can make him tall, or we can make him not-so-tall!" "We can name him Bob, or we can name him Beowulf!".

Expect to see some monsters named Bob and Beowulf, is what I'm saying. Also email me if you think of any good monster names.

20 February 2017

drink the koolaid

by Cecily
What with the end times being so nigh and all, I've been reconsidering and revising my old idea about how to rule the world (or whatever is left of it) as the leader of a new and innovative cult.

I learned how to design a cult in college: my year, the Junior Sem for Religion majors was all about cults and sects and evangelicals and schismatic groups, and what makes some of them turn into world-dominating religions and others of them retire to middle chapters of obscure textbooks. It turns out there are several things one needs to consider, when designing a cult. You need some ideology, first of all, and the ideology should be carefully positioned so that it is in a fair amount of tension with the mainstream world, so you can create a strong us-vs.-them atmosphere, but not TOO much tension or you'll never get off the ground. Same thing for some ritual practices and observances; you want some obvious visual and behavioral signals for the cult members to identify each other and be ostracized by everyone else, but they can't be so crazy that no one is willing to do them.

Then you recruit some lonely people who are far away from, or don't have, any strong support networks, and you give them lots of attention and love and tell them a program about how to advance higher and higher through the levels of the cult (did I mention you should have some levels? Your cult needs different levels of power and enlightenment.) and find a house or a compound or something, for everyone to congregate in, and boom. Cult!

Anyway MY cult is gonna be based around diet. I got this idea from two sources: the first was my roommate Alyssa who was eating vegan at the time, and the second is those Manichean Gnostics who contributed to the sorting of matter back into Lightness and Darkness by eating shiny things (like fruit) to absorb (or breathe out) the light and excrete the dark.

So obviously I can't use either of those specifically, because a successful cult needs to be a new and weird idea. So my cult is based on an anti-vegan diet, where you are only allowed to eat things that are animal-based. No plants. I haven't finished working out the ideology behind this, but I think something about consolidating animal energy? Or protecting and venerating plants? Or maybe just separating animal matter from plant matter. Like, when all the animal energy has been concentrated and separated from the plant energy, that's when the work of the physical realm will be complete and our spirits will released back into the garden. Or something. Like I said I haven't finished thinking about this part.

The part I like thinking about is the actual diet. It is so, so gross! The only kind of alcohol you are allowed to drink is mead. Bacon-infused vodka is not allowed, because the animal matter has to be an intrinsic part of the food. No putting a slice of cheese on a slice of apple. Throw that apple away! Instead, you would be allowed to have an apple-flavored, apple-shaped piece of jello, if you like. You can have a hamburger but the buns have to be pieces of fried chicken. (I'm expecting several American-based fast food joints to get on board with me relatively quickly.) No lettuce, though, and no pickles, and the ketchup has to have a beef stock base.

As you move up in the hierarchy of this thrilling new religion, you will gain some privileges related to vegetable consumption. It's mainly the entry-level neophytes who have to do the hard-core digestive work. Later there'd be a point system or something, like when the Pope used to let you buy indulgences.

Obviously the #1 position is taken, by me, but I prefer to work as the power behind the throne, and not necessarily as the object of any adulation myself. I envision myself more like Bannon, you know, less like Trump. So there are a number of high-level bishopric-level slots available, and I really think this is going to go places. In times of turmoil, people turn to leaders who have a reassuring list of What To Do Next for them. You and I, we can be those leaders. I'm almost done with the list, and the times of turmoil are upon us.

06 February 2017

It's not Monster Mash

by Cecily
I've been making a lot more of these ridiculous monsters.
I'm learning a lot of things about which kinds of fake fur are the most annoying to sew with, and which kinds of eyes are the cutest, and how to make teeth. Et cetera. Also I am fiddling around with some different patterns, trying to figure out a few that work consistently and don't make me too crazy.

It took me a while to realize that I have been singing this blast from the past to myself regularly for a few weeks. Pretty much since I started working on the patterns, actually.

Huh. That's weird. I wonder why?

02 February 2017

Metaphorical interpretation is left as an exercise for the reader

by Cecily
Here's what I've learned from having a [mysterious, undiagnosed] debilitating chronic illness: When you have a system that's in failure, and you don't know what's wrong with it, you have to keep going. You have to keep trying to fix it, even though you lose hope, each time, that a new remedy will have any effect. You have to keep making plans for next week even though you might be too sick to show up. You have to pretend, to everyone else and to yourself, that there is a possibility that things will get better. You have to pretend to believe that someday soon somebody is going to identify the source of the problem and they will know how to fix it and your insurance will pay for the fixing and everything will go back to normal. You have to keep behaving like you believe this, even when you're sure it's just going to get worse and worse. You have to say to yourself "if there WERE a possibility that things would get better, what would I need to be doing with my time?" And then you keep going to see more doctors, and you keep trying new cures, and you keep alleviating the symptoms as much as you can, and you keep behaving as though you believe there is a chance  that it will get better soon. You have to, because no matter how doomed and hopeless you think the situation is, what if you're wrong?

13 January 2017

Happy New Year!

by Cecily
I waited two weeks before posting a Happy New Year post because I didn't want MY post to get lost in the ocean of Happy New Year posts I know everyone nearly drowned in. That and also I didn't think of it until just now. Here we are anyway! Good job surviving the holidays, everyone.

New year, new state: Montana. Which isn't actually a new state, or even new to me. Gently used, though. In far better shape than your average state. I'll take it!

I tried to go to Portland this week, but, having neglected to sufficiently appease the weather gods with burnt (or other) offerings, I only made it halfway. I lazed around my aunt and uncle's house in Kennewick and read all their books and drank all their wine, all week, and then finally gave up and drove back to Missoula today. I'll try again in February.

Meanwhile, I arrived home to an even larger pile of fake fur and glitter than I left behind me, so I have some work to do.

08 October 2016

Double gauze baby quilt

by Cecily
I tried really hard to think of a double dactyl to write about quilts, or quilting, or fabric, but it didn't happen. I'm sorry.

21 August 2016

Tiny Circus

by Cecily
The giraffe is about an inch tall.

05 August 2016

I finished making some things.

by Cecily
1. That quilt I just made the fancy gif about:

2. Some ridiculous(ly) fancy soft blocks:

Baby presents!

31 July 2016

More circles

by Cecily
It's not done yet. Also I don't really know how to make gifs.


13 July 2016

Hearing people are such crybabies

by Cecily
"It's too loud! Tell me later!" Yeah, trying to have a conversation using spoken language when you can barely hear anything is a lot of work. Suck it up, whiners. Pay closer attention! Use more of your energy trying to figure out what words might make sense there! Think harder about cues like facial expressions and prosody! WORK HARDER, you spoiled, lazy brats! Oh, I'm sorry, are you tired? Does the baby need a nap?

I swear I'm a nice person most of the time.

27 June 2016

The cathedrals of our time

by Cecily
Texas is real serious about its highways and interchanges. I knew this, of course, from having studied the very informative documentary David Byrne made about this state years ago. However, as is the case with other sorts of cathedrals from other times, actually visiting the highways in person is a very different experience than just looking at pictures.

Not that the pictures are anything to be sneezed at, either.

I will admit that driving under and/or over them has its own brand of numinosity.

The system of frontage roads is also at a highly advanced level. There's a learning curve. I'm on it.

"Well, I suppose these freeways made this town and a lot of others like it possible.  'They're the cathedrals of our time,' someone said.  Not me."

15 June 2016

Lies the children tell us

by Cecily
Seven: "That's not what I said!" (alternate version: "You didn't let me finish!") On being told that she said something mistaken, incomplete, or incorrect.

Five: "It was an accident!" Response to being reprimanded for kicking, hitting, punching, biting, or throwing whatever object or sibling got in his way.

Three: "I already did!" About whatever you have just asked her to do, with doe-like eyes and a blatant disregard for colorability.

One: "All done!"  Every single night, at dinner, right before angrily demanding more food. How dare we try to take away his plate! It is an outrageous insult, and he cannot fathom why it keeps happening.

13 June 2016


by Cecily
I've been starting a bunch of projects and thinking about another bunch of different projects, but I haven't actually completed anything in a while, or taken any interesting pictures of anything, or thought about any interesting ideas that I feel like sharing.

Instead of completing things I've just been sort of reading and making dinner and petting the cats and mending/altering things.  And swimming in the river. And sleeping. My life is very hard.

Here's what I've been reading:
1. Detective stories. As usual. Margery Allingham, currently, and before that Edmund Crispin.
2. The Count of Monte Cristo. This is such a great story if you sort of let your eyes glaze over during the long boring descriptions of things and skip forward to where the revenge starts up again. I am constantly forgetting about it and then remembering it and binge reading the whole thing.
3. Bring Up the Bodies. I've been reading this (the sequel to Wolf Hall) for 8 or 9 months now. For some reason I cannot keep it up for more than an hour or so every... well, month, I guess. Then I have to re-read a bunch because I forgot what was happening before.
4. Kelly Link.  (this one.) The creepiest story, Catskin, is where Small got her name.

Here's what I've been mending/altering:
1. shirts
2. Batman outfits
3. disintigrating flaxseed pillows
4. paper boxes
5. Abe's quilt

Here's what I've been making for dinner: Rice noodles and roast pork. Even the 7-year-old eats it! Highly recommended.