Signal Boost: People looking for prompts

If you like helping creative folks out with ideas what to write (or draw), I've got some tips for you this weekend:

Lyn Thorne-Alder's Giraffe Call is looking for prompts to the theme "In the City" and will write flash fiction based on them. (mirror at Dreamwidth)

The Torn World Muse Fusion is looking for prompts for a bunch of people to create fiction, poetry or art for the Torn World setting. You don't need to be familiar with it; general prompts are welcome. If you'd like a theme as a springboard, the current and upcoming contest themes are "Fashions and Fads" and "Critters of Land and Sea".

And the Crowdfunding community on LJ is having a Creative Jam to the theme "Disabled People (visibly and invisibly disabled)". It's mirrored on Dreamwidth, too.

And if that's not enough, upcoming:

The next EMG Sketch Fest will be next weekend, for 48 hours, Jan 20-22 noon to noon Alaskan time.

(And I've got tentative plans for another Flash Fiction Fishbowl, themed "Law and Order", starting the weekend after that.)

Blog tags: Links

Some things to read

A True Gift has a fairy tale flair. It was written by Lyn Thorne-Alder based on a prompt of mine. As of this writing she's still open to more prompts to the theme of Gifts, gifts, and the gifted.

I also finally managed to read a good deal of Friday Flash submissions again, and pick out a few of my favourites:
Aeon by John Xero (fantasy, 101 words)
Belemnite by Gail Aldwin (slive of life)
Cause for Complaint by Emma Newman (fantasy, a bit longer)
Pine Needles & Sherry – A Christmas Ghost Story by Helen A. Howell

Blog tags: Links
tagged Plants

Greenery, or why Spring is Awesome

a pair of buds at the end of a twig two new twigs on a Japanese maple, each about 25 cm (10 inches), with a dozen light green, feathered leaves

On the left is a pair of buds at the end of a twig of my green feathered Japanese maple.
On the right is what it's grown into a bit over amonth later. I put my index finger where the buds from the picture on the left were. (Both images link to bigger versions.)

Echo Bazaar At The Races

Echo Bazaar is a browser game I've been playing for a while. It's a bit of a choose-your-own-adventure thing with a dark-fantasy-victorian atmosphere. Refreshingly, one of the gender options is "it's none of your business", and "romance" themed thread are not limited or changed depending on gender.

Playing requires either a Twitter or a Facebook account. Most content is free, though there are some extra plots you can unlock with real money.

For the people involved already, a little spoiler regarding the Day at the Races option that costs Fate:

Blog tags: Links

Some fiction by Ursula Vernon

Ursula Vernon, an artist, webcomic-creator and writer I admire, had posted some excerpts of writing projects in the past. Before I lose the links again, I thought I'd collect them

"The one with the Barbarian Gynaecologist" (just a start/fragments)
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

"The one with the Ninja Accountant and the Possessed Paladin" (just a start/fragments)
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

And a random bit of flashfiction

Other things she has also uploaded mirrored. Have a link to the literature she posted on deviantart.

Random found stuff

Thought I'd dump a bunch of links here I found funny or otherwise worth sharing. People who follow me on twitter will probably have seen most of those already.

Airline pickpocket strikes as passengers sleep - My mental picture was a pickpocket declaring he was on strike because his job was too easy this way.

Swandog in reply to a poll, about the roads in winter in Norway: "the main danger is running into moose licking salt off the road".

Oil spill photo

A German student "mooned" a group of Hell's Angels and hurled a puppy at them before escaping on a stolen bulldozer

Broccoli looks like fireworks if you take an MRI-picture. (From a blog dedicated to MRI-pics of food. Note that their main page (not the individual post linked to) can take a while to load, since it has a lot of those animated images.)

Recently there was an exhibition of various Elvis memorabilia at the shopping centre in Koblenz, so I got to see his last car, among other things. As far as memorabilia go, tools used in Elvis' autopsy are pretty weird, though.

Counter-protest against Westboro Babtist Church picketing at Comic-Con

You heard about the Octopus predicting FIFA World Cup results? Here's an explanation. (Link via drhoz)

The Difference Between a Door-to-door Sales Orc and a Door-to-door Sales Elf

Blog tags: Found things Links

Useful stuff for digital photos and other image files

Thought I'd share/make note of a few (Windows [Vista]) tools I use for my image files.

Bulk Rename Utility
Exactly what it says on the box: It lets you rename files in bulk. It doesn't look particularly pretty, and the load of form fields/options at the bottom may be intimidating at first glance, but I found them pretty self-explanatory when reading them one by one.
I use the "File" field on "fixed" setting together with Numbering to change the filenames of photos I take from IMGXXXXXXXXX.jpg to 2009-07-21_XXX.jpg, which helps a lot with sorting them.

With this program I can add titles, descriptions and keywords to jpg files. This is not only useful because the Windows Explorer can search these fields, but also because various websites and scripts pull that information out when you upload them, including Flickr, Picasa, and Menalto Gallery2. Saves some work if you upload your images to several places.
iTag is my favourite among the tools I tried so far because it lets you include linebreaks in the description (unlike Picasa or the function built into Windows Explorer), and ladjust the size of the form where you enter things - particularly the fact that the latter enables you to view all keywords you entered on an image.

SyncToy not only useful for images, but all kinds of documents, but here goes: A very basic program to synch up different folders. I'm sure there are better ones, but this works for me.

Blog tags: Links Resources

Three blogs more interesting and regular than mine

BibliOdyssey - illustrations from old books. 's awsome. I warn you though, it's VERY image heavy - the number of (500pixels wide) images per post approaching, sometimes surpassing 20 means even on a broadband connection you need to wait a bit.

Old Picture of the Day - An American collector of old photos posts, well, one a day. The newest ones date from the 1940s, the oldest I could find in a quick check now from the 1860s - and there seem rather more of the latter than the former.
one choice picture for my friend Mutt

Dark Roasted Blend - Blog with lots and lots of different topics. Just have a look around... er, and don't let the weird format put you off.
It's better than I make it sound here, really <_<

Blog tags: Found things Links

2 "Odd News" from Germany

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