Tag Archives: pinterest

Painted Ladies, the Pinboard

painted ladiesI have stumbled over a couple terrific art boards lately and have begun gathering up portraits of women as a result.
Many of the women on my Painted Ladies pinboard may be familiar to you–a lot of them are celebrity paintings by celebrity painters. Others, though, are newer or more obscure.

It has been fascinating collecting these, and what I’ve realized is that there’s a real difference between a photographic portrait–even if it’s fanciful–and something painted from scratch. The element of imagination is different: the painter imbues their subject with personality in a way that seems less about capturing reality and more about creating or amplifying it.

(From this you can tell I am not versed at all in art criticism.)

What was most exciting, though, was to stumble over Kneeling Girl, by Thomas Saliot. This is as perfect a picture of the protagonist of my next novel, a woman named Sophie Opal Hansa, as I could ever have wished to discover.

Today’s moving-related discovery: Revenue Canada will let us write off a ton of our moving expenses this year.

Photography, the pinboard

Back around the same time digital photography was beginning to dawn, my grandfather sent Kelly his old SLR 35-mm camera. It was in perfect condition and took beautiful pictures, and she spent a lot of time roaming around Vancouver making very cool black and white images.

A lot of them were of me, and this was entirely to my benefit. Before Grandpa’s Camera, I was awkward before the lens and hated almost every image taken of me. While K was learning to take better pictures, I invested some time and attention both in becoming a better subject and in appreciating a wider range of me-pictures. Here’s a random portrait:

Cruise portraits

Now, as more than one of you probably knows, I’m obnoxious on this topic–I did it, and I liked the result, so in the typical way of humans I can easily be led into preaching about how everyone else should do the same.

(But really! You should! Because people take more pictures than ever of you. And they put them on the Internet without asking. And this is the age of the selfie! And other reasons as well!)

I brought home books from the library. Hundreds and hundreds of books on photography for K to read. Ansel Adams and Henri Cartier-Bresson and history of this and collections of that. And while I didn’t absorb more than a minute fraction of the content, I looked at all the pictures. Knowledge soaked in: I can tell a good photo from a bad one now, even if I can’t always articulate why. And I loooove good pictures.

That was 1997ish. Dad was alive (we obliged him to build a darkroom in our bathroom and our cat Obi clawed the living crap out of his hand by way of thanks) and I had just started writing fulltime. In 2001 I was toting a Polaroid around, because by then I’d found that, occasionally, I wanted a picture of something for writing purposes. It suited me to have the picture that very second, dammit, so I could write down why I thought it was important.

This didn’t work out so well, so in 2003, I bought my first digital. I’ve taken well over 15,000 images since then, with four different cameras. The further back you go in time on my Flickr account, the less impressive they are.

So, with that long wind-up, I offer you my photo pinboard. This is for pictures by other photographers, images I think are wonderful, interspersed with the occasional infographic on technique.

Writing, the Pinboard

writing pinboardOne of the things I do as part of my teaching practice is keep an eye on links about writing and, when they seem right for a given class, post them in my classroom at UCLA. What I’ve taken to doing as of this quarter is pinning the links on a single board called, not surprisingly, Writing. This way all of my classes can access all of the links, new and old, that I’ve posted.

As I’ve begun to do this, I’ve realized that posts without graphics (the text-heavy stuff we writers naturally tend to favor) don’t pin well. I was always aware that essays with at least a few pictures were more readable–giving the eyes a break, yadda yadda–but there’s this extra element of ‘need a picture’ now that is part of the reason you’re seeing all these little meme-y things and screengrabs popping up on my site.

Visuals aside, this board has some great writing essays on it. Go, read, enjoy!

Giving the gift of me me meme…

write memeI am trying to increase the functionality of my web site’s “Shop Planetalyx” page. Upgrade here would mean any improvement from the site’s previous state of “not all that useful, thanks very much.” So I’m updating the links to the various versions of my books and e-books, and also seeing which of my various short stories are still available for free online.

There are three of my “Proxy War” stories, for example. The Sweet Spot is the most recent to appear and yet the earliest, in chronological terms, of the squid stories. In it, a teenaged girl named Ruthie Gerrickle and her brother Matt try to survive the Battle of Kauai. Five Good Things about Meghan Sheedy falls quite a bit later. This time the fight is the Siege of Seattle. It’s one of two published by Strange Horizons. The third, of course, is “The Town on Blighted Sea.” The girl who was Ruthie has long since become Ruthless, but the war is over. Her side did not win. But life, strangely enough, goes on.

You may have also noticed I have figured out how to generate Pinterest memes. This may or may not be a phase I’m going through.

Been There, the Pinboard

My Been There board on Pinterest is exactly what you’d expect: a bunch of images of places, be they museums, countries, parks or landmarks that I have actually seen with my own eyes.

Infographics, the Pinboard

I know I’m not alone in this, but I just love infographics. Knowledge! Packed into memorable pictures! Beautifully designed and all laid out in color! What’s not to love?

I decided when I began my infographics pinboard that if it looked good and the basic facts on any given topic weren’t deeply stupid or obvious lies, I’d pin them without further digging. The general idea is that if I ever choose to make use of the info, in a story for example, I’ll fact-check it then. So when the “psychology of color” graphic claims that blue is the most productive color for an office, I’m giving myself permission to go Mmmm, really? Says who? and still hoard the image.

This board is, in its way, cousin to photos like this one:
Anaconda Copper Mine

Not checking the info immediately is a strategy to keep me from deciding whether to exclude some lovely but silly stuff, and risk losing the potentially useful. I’ll never want to pause long enough in the pinning moment to do the truth-checking. Save now, research later is a way of ensuring I don’t end up with a brain full of “Wasn’t there a picture of this I could have used now? I wonder where on the intertubes that got to?”

It also means the range of info on this particular board is rather eclectic. There’s everything from stats on Kickstarter projects to facts about coffee and a few things that don’t exist in the world, like the Geek Tube Map.

The unifying thread, I suppose, is “This Might Be Knowledge.”

Funny, the PinBoard

It may actually be required by law in some jurisdictions that if you pin, you have a funny board.

In other news, this cormorant is also funny.

Remember when many many people were new to the Internet? Every now and then someone in your life would go through that phase of passing along every single e-mail that came their way that made them giggle. Not to mention hoax virus warnings and the one about how Canada Post was going to start charging us a dime every time we had a naughty thought? And it wasn’t horrible. You like a good laugh as much as anyone else, right? But the four people you’d had to kindly dissuade before this particular mad mailer started hitting SEND had also forwarded all of these exact same silly things when they discovered them, six months and a year and two years and three years ago?

Now this niche has been filled by Tweeting and posting teh funnies to Facebook, and we can set our filters to pay a lot of attention, if we wish, or dial it down to none. I like Pinterest for this, for the simple reason that it keeps everything I find amusing in one easily clickable place.

Church Photos and Eternal Sky – the Pinboards

My thousands of pictures from Italy of church domes and interiors is probably a big clue that I love church architecture. So, for the 99.9% of the time when I can’t be in Italy snapping every square inch of something like the Capella Palatina at the Palazzo Reale in Palermo. . .

Last Import-25

. . . instead I have a pinboard of Church pictures. Naturally, this is really just a subset of my ever-growing “I want to go there” list. (And do feel free to stoke my lust for travel still further, if you have favorite pictures of spiritually-themed architecture you want to post in the comments.)

Speaking of places I want to go–imaginary ones, in this case–I’ve been completely loving Elizabeth Bear’s Eternal Sky pinboard. It is a source of stunning visuals tied to her Eternal Sky “Silk Road Fantasies,” the first of which is the utterly awesome Range of Ghosts, Shattered Pillars and Steles of the Sky.

Here’s a wee tiny shot of the Shattered Pillars cover. It will be out on March 19th. I am extremely excited.