Friday, November 29, 2013

Saying Things I Shouldn't: On BLACKFISH

First of all, right off the bat, I would like to openly state that all opinions expressed in all posts on this blog are my own. But especially this post. I would also like to state that while I have researched the film thoroughly, I have not watched it. 

Now. I know what you're thinking. But I don't want to spend an hour and a half of my time pissed off, so there's that. It's my choice.

I also don't have network television and refuse to support the filmmakers by seeking other avenues. 

Being a zookeeper myself as well as a former employee of a large, well-known aquarium (in fact an aquarium that is EXTREMELY relevant to this topic), I have a lot that I WANT to say about BLACKFISH, and a lot that I won't. I also want to say that I don't personally, on a moral level, 100% support SeaWorld. But I have come to terms with it because of what I'll say below.

I will say that every documentary has an agenda, and this one is no different. This documentary's agenda is an attack on SeaWorld and all aquariums that keep cetaceans in their pools. BUT.

You would probably not even know what a killer whale was if SeaWorld didn't exist.

Our ocean, our planet, is changing at an alarming rate. Since I'm already being controversial I'll just go ahead and close the soap box loop and say that climate change is a really big freaking deal, whether we want to admit it or not. Without zoos and aquariums it would be so much easier to not care about these animals, about what we as humans are doing and have done to them and their homes. 

If you didn't know what a killer whale was, you probably wouldn't have bothered to watch BLACKFISH. 

Zoos and aquariums do a lot of good. We expose people to new things, educate them about things they thought they already knew, get them to care. And it's so, so important that you care MORE about the animals in the wild than the ones in the zoo.

Animals living in responsible, accredited zoos have it made-- they live longer, are healthier, and suffer less than their wild counterparts. They have a steady food source, plenty of mental stimulation, lots of personal space and choices, and, in a good zoo, are never "forced" to do anything. They also have personal nutritionists and doctors, something that most humans don't even have. 

I'm keeping comments closed on this post. No offense, my lovely Google visitors. But I don't want this to turn into a debate. These are my thoughts, take them or leave them. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Craft Fair(s) 2013! And some random art updates

Tis the season, my lovelies! Instead of giving you a huge long narrative about this year's craft fair(s), I'm going to let the pictures (mostly) speak for themselves.

This is a picture-heavy post (obviously), focusing on the work that I've done over the last year and the things I took to the first of several craft fairs I'll be attending this holiday season.

All images in this blog post are of my original art work and belong to me. Click on any of the photos to view them larger.

This is a (very poor, sorry!) picture of a steampunk desk clock I made for Husband's cousin last year. I'm currently working on some more of these, including a wall-clock sized version. I've gotten a lot of ideas and grown as a builder over the last year so I'm really excited to see how they turn out!

I've also really been into tiny paintings, especially, for some reason, animal eyes. The first is my boy kitty's face, and the second is an arctic fox.

Tiny trees in a bottle!

Paper flower wreath made from recycled book pages

Cinnamon dough and quilled paper ornaments. There's a couple tiny top hats in there, too.

A wedding present I painted for a good friend

Paper flower arrangement with burlap petals.

Cartoon animal painting series!

80's gator!

Hand-painted and glitter-bombed glass ornaments

Melted snowmen in glass ornaments

A better picture of the cinnamon dough ornaments. These smell SO GOOD.

Smaller (7") paper flower wreath, again made from recycled book pages.

And finally, the paper bunting I made for a baby shower earlier this year. I kind of love it!

What do you think? I think I've improved a lot. I'm especially proud of my paintings, as up until late last year, I was MOST CERTAINLY NOT a painter. I guess I just needed to find my style!

PS-- if you love something you see here, I take orders! Email me at the email on my contact page for prices and shipping. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

A review: FATE FORGOTTEN by Amalia Dillin!

So the lovely Amalia Dillin recently gifted me with an e-ARC of FATE FORGOTTEN, the 2nd book in the Fate of the Gods series. Her first book, FORGED BY FATE, was a great read, and I'm so excited to share my thoughts on book 2!

Book 2 picks up where Book 1 left off. Eve is perfectly content in the present with Garritt, and baby Alex. Except Adam is still very much in the picture, and to make matters both better and worse, so is Thor, coming to the DeLeons this time as Lars. The other main threads follow Eve's past after her life with Thorgrim, and even venture into the future, where the archangel Michael has even more to worry about from the two destined lovers. In the future, there might not be anything strong enough to keep Adam and Eve apart.

The thing I love about Amalia's writing is  that she has such a versatile voice. Both the first and the second book span literal millennia of history, with the second book even dabbling in the future. Split timelines, split POVs, and split narratives all would be completely unwieldy in the wrong hands, but Amalia handles all of these masterfully. She seamlessly blends time periods, cultures, mythologies (PLURAL), and on top of that, a huge cast of characters.

I also loved that this book didn't feel like a transition between books 1 and 2. It was a complete story, with threads from the first book carrying through (so read book 1 first... You won't regret it anyway!) but it also left a major opening for book 3.

One of my favorite parts of the series is how Dillin handles the mythos. She finds a way to juggle thousands of years of religion and main characters that reincarnate.

The characters, despite being mainly immortal, are relatable and human. The settings are sweeping and beautifully described. There are several surprises in store, too!

Don't forget to check out the novellas in the series, too. Don't miss a moment :)

FATE FORGOTTEN is out in print and e-book from World Weaver Press. Pick it up on Amazon.

Edit: hyperlinks don't seem to be working for some reason, sorry folks! I'll fix them tonight.