Sunday, July 30, 2017

Newly Relisted: Black and Red Fibonacci Necklace

This is a Kokoba alpha release that I've always been pretty happy with. All credit for this design idea goes to my longtime Internet buddy (and occasional real-life hang-out buddy) Melissa. I was still thinking in series on strands when she suggested this idea with dangles instead.

A beaded statement necklace featuring round and rectangular black glass beads and red Swarovski crystals counting out Fibonacci numbers. It's Harley Quinn mathart!
Fibonacci statement necklace by Kokoba

This is one of the first ones I made after she tossed that idea out on a blog post or in a chat, and I still love it. A lot. Looking at it now, it also has a very Harley Quinn vibe to it (more like The Animated Series Harley Quinn than Suicide Squad, of course) and that was definitely unintentional when I made it but now I can't unsee it? All the more reason to love it! It's been in Etsy limbo for a while because I didn't like the photos I had originally taken; these aren't prefect but they're a step in the right direction, at least!

Chain and clasp detail

That chain looks large, maybe even oversized, but it's aluminum, so it has virtually no weight to it. The lobster claw and jump rings are a zinc/nickel/copper alloy, so they have a little heft to them, but the whole thing is pretty lightweight and comfortable.

A beaded statement necklace featuring round and rectangular black glass beads and red Swarovski crystals counting out Fibonacci numbers. It's Harley Quinn mathart!

This is a longer piece. Each section of chain is 10 inches long, and the focal point is probably another 2 inches, so it it hangs like a longer piece. Just the kind of thing to layer over a t-shirt or, though it pains me to say it, a bulky sweater? (#WinterIsComing)

Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday 5: Shape of Things to Come

What shape is your mood today?

Swings and roundabouts. Is that a shape? The replacement for my cracked smartphone screen is in sooner than I expected and I have work to help me pay for it, so that's good. But our bed broke and there's no way getting a new one is worth it, so that's not so good. But our mattress is in fine shape, as are the wooden slats it was resting on, and have "pillow tops" as well (I think in Swedish they're the parts that people call mattresses), so we can just live without a bed frame, I guess?

Back when I was a wee thing and my bed was upgraded in order to give my brother a "big kid" bed, I got to sleep on a mattress on the floor for a few days and I thought it was way better than sleeping on a mattress on a proper bed. The novelty hasn't worn off entirely, so I could be in much worse mood about it than I am. It just sucks that we lose a bit of under-the-bed storage, but oh well.

What snack comes in a fun shape?

I guess those cone-shaped chips you can put on your fingers. Bugles? Yeah, Bugles.

Image courtesy Glane23

Someone’s building your dream house, but it has to be in the shape of a letter of the alphabet.  Which letter do you choose?

For architectural purposes, something like H or I seems the smartest. I'm not vain enough to have my house be in the shape of my initials, definitely (and K seems like not a great shape for a house). C might be nice: you'd a mostly-enclose courtyard that you could still enter and exit easily.

What’s a great song with a shape in its title or lyrics?



Don't judge me. Only Gunde can judge me.

And I guess I'm stretching with this one, but "Pentagram":

What’s something in your line of sight that can reasonably be called blob-shaped?

I have a couple burnt-down candles on the windowsill.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Talky Tuesday: Summer Solstice on the Lake

One of Teacher Dad's coworkers (from back when he was Engineer Dad, not Teacher Dad) had hunting cabin out in the mountains, which he alternated summering at and renting out to people to summer at. Every couple of years we drove up to New England and spent a week in the mountains, right up until Teacher Dad bought Disney timeshares. I wish he would have skipped the timeshares and just kept taking us to the lake, but oh well.

Not "my" lake, but close enough. // Image courtesy earl53 on MorgueFile

For the summer solstice this year, a friend of mine invited me to join a picnic at a lake. That's the thing about Stockholm: there's so much nature and water right within the city limits, or just outside the city limits. I've been remiss about taking advantage of that.

We grabbed a bus from city center, and after a surprisingly short ride (and, to be fair, a longer-than-expected walk), I could have cried, y'all. For a second I was back in the mountains on family trips before the onset of puberty and stress that was high school. A throwback to a more innocent time: lots of jigsaw puzzles and games of Clue (Lawyer Mom taught us how to play Clue incorrectly, and I didn't learn how to actually play until I was in 20s, but we still had fun) and taking bizarre artiste-y Dutch-angled photos in my Crayola camera.

I realize they're not actually much alike—where we vacationed in the US is much more mountainous than most of Sweden—but somehow my brain connected the two.

We had a guest during our lunch by the lake. :)
I had been advised to bring a bathing suit, and I was glad I did. I hadn't been for a proper swim in years, so I gladly jumped in and went for a paddle. If I hadn't been on other people's time table, I would have definitely done some laps back and forth across the short length. The heated pool in our basement is great in the winter, but nothing beats swimming in proper bodies of water when it's summer.

But a quick dip is better than no dip at all! We had sandwiches and fruits and things, and set up a little fire by the edge of the lake (just because) and sang and talked about our goals for the rest of the year. Someone in the area was playing a flute or panpipe or something, so once in a while we heard some plaintive music drift over on the breeze.

Life goals: be able to rent a cabin out in the archipelago for a week during the summer. I don't understand the national obsession with taking off right when Sweden hits, like, peak gorgeousness, but there you have it. July rolls around and people jetset off to the Mediterranean or to Spain or something. (And I guess the rest of Europe comes up here? Maybe that's why Swedes all get out!)

It was a lovely time and I hope I'm invited to participate again next year. :)

Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday 5: Don't Go There

Where were you forbidden (or too frightened) to go when you were growing up, and why?

There was nothing I was ever expressly forbidden from going, but I was always obsessed with a local paper mill that had stood abandoned my entire life. I can't find a photo to share here, even though it's prime urban exploration fodder, so I'll have to make do with photos of a sister plant across the river in New Jersey.

What’s the naughtiest thing you’ve done in the past couple of years?

I totally bought a reduced fare SL ticket when I wasn't eligible for it! More than once!

Under what circumstances have you gone into a place you knew you weren’t supposed to enter?

I can't think of any, actually?

Which aisle in your supermarket do you just about never go down?

The pet food aisle. The baby food aisle. The canned-fruits-for-baking aisle.

Here's one for the "little differences" department: canned fruits and vegetables were pretty normal for me growing up in the US. A couple of Green Giant cans of vegetables were always a side for dinner (unless our own vegetable garden was in season) and the little Del Monte tins of diced pears and peaches were a common packed lunch accessory. I didn't realize that frozen vegetables were a thing until, well, probably older than I should have been. But in Sweden, the canned fruits live in exile with pie crusts and chocolate chips, and I don't think canned vegetables even exist?

Not counting traffic situations, when did you last willfully disobey something you read on a sign?

Like property demarcations, signs are something I'm pretty good at obeying signs. Apologies to the Five Man Electrical Band.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Newly Relisted: Yellow Flower Speed of Light Physics Sciart Bracelet

We are in the middle of summer and I am JUST. LOVING. IT. I'm a night owl but also a sun worshiper. (Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes.) I should absolutely write up about how I spent summer solstice, but that's another post. Today I want to share this cheerful summertime bracelet with you:

Yellow beaded sciart bracelet with floral accents that features the speed of light in meters per second squared.
Speed of Light Bracelet by Kokoba

These are some old, old beads from what could easily be ten years ago, now? Have I really been at this for that long? Yikes! I'm pretty sure I gutted a Kokoba alpha release for this one, and I like how it turned out.

Yellow beaded sciart bracelet with floral accents that features the speed of light in meters per second squared.

I'm always disappointed when a memory wire bracelet turns out on the short side—it's like, "Well, I should just make it a regular bracelet with a clasp, then!" And I like the multistrand look of chunkier memory wire bracelets that make it through multiple wraps. This one passes the test!

Yellow beaded sciart bracelet with floral accents that features the speed of light in meters per second squared.

The yellow beads spell out the digits of c (in meters per second), while the floral beads act as spacers between each digit.

Bracelet available for sale here! You can also pick up other STEM-inspired bracelets or browse other physics-related wares.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday 5: Questions Created Very Quickly Late Friday Morning

Image from NinoAndonis on

What are you reading?

I'm reading Karen Memory for an upcoming feminist science fiction book club meeting, as I mentioned earlier. Other, not-as-high-priority reading includes:
  • The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, a graphic novel (possibly adapted web comic?) that recounts the fictional adventures of Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage in a pocket steampunk universe
  • Kris, my regular allotment of Swedish reading.
  • The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide for my own local critique group
  • The Origins of Totalitarianism, because it's relevant
  • The Copyeditor's Handbook for my own edification
  • Foxlowe, which I originally heard about via a book blogger I found via ArmchairBEA a couple years ago (speaking of ArmchairBEA...)

What are you listening to?

During my #scicomm day job, I typically listen to classical. I favor the Romantics and have listened through all of Beethoven's symphonies a bunch of times by now, but I hop around the musical timeline a lot: Bach, Mozart, Copland, Alice Mary Smith . . .

When I'm working on jewelry or playing Diablo III, I like to get in my podcast listening: SawbonesThe Adventure ZoneThe History of the English LanguageAdam Ruins Everything, Dirt Nap, and Red Skirts are all good.

My running playlist is probably utterly unremarkable and predictable. The more standout selections are from the now-defunct Music Alliance Pact, a monthly round-up of international indie music. My playlist also tilts a little heavily towards Korean music, specifically artists discussed on the Indieful ROK blog (Say Sue Me) or that I learned about while I lived there (Drunken Tiger/MFBTY/Tiger JK).

Anything amusing or strange happen to you recently?

Working with children is always amusing, though in small and unremarkable ways. It's a good counterbalance to the almost-always private, solitary work that is copyediting. I don't miss the stress of a classroom and the management that entails, but working with kids in small groups or one-on-one is the dream. Of course, working with adults has own its own set of rewards as well. But adults don't have the same sideways perspective on things that lead to "kids say the darndest things" aphorisms or puns.

What’s cookin’?

So much instant chicken soup. Guess who caught a cold during peak summer season. :(

What was your contribution to your most recent potluck?

I tried for stewed tomatoes but they didn't turn out. (Protip: start making food a little earlier than 5 minutes before you're due to eat.) (Other protip: learn to actually cook.)

My last successful contribution was a vegetarian version of turos csusza. It went over okay, but I think I skimped a bit on the roasted onion.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

What I Read: The Dispossessed

Almost every time I talk about science fiction on this blog, I bring up my brother's gorgeous Easton Press collection of leather-bound science fiction classics. Fortunately, he was cool about sharing, so I got to enjoy the collection as much as he did (maybe even more?) and my first experience with a lot of classics of the genre came out of it: Neuromancer, She, Dying Inside, The Doomsday Book, and Dune, to name a few. (Aside: the ideal form of Dune is in a leather-bound hardcover edition with metallic trim. Somehow that elevates it from space opera into grand epic.)

But sometimes those books fell a little flat. The Diamond Age was one of those. The Dispossessed was another. I must have been 13 or 14 when I tried reading it, maybe a bit older, and it just couldn't stick. I had this problem with LeGuin generally—A Wizard of Earthsea was on a semi-required reading list a few years before I tried to tackle The Dispossessed, but again I couldn't seem to get into it. Since then I just wrote LeGuin off as one of the great and admirable giants of science fiction who just wasn't for me. 

Fast forward to 2017, and I'm getting ready to visit one of my best friends; my visit will coincide with the August meeting of his feminist science fiction book club. This is the same feminist science fiction book club that brought The Fifth Season to his attention, and then subsequently mine when he gave me a copy as a gift back in October. 

Their scheduled book is Karen Memory, but he let me know that:

 "[w]e also might be discussing The Dispossessed, which was this month's book but most people couldn't make it to this month's discussion (and I really want to discuss The Dispossessed again, there's so much to talk about)" 
"man i tried reading the dispossessed in high school and couldn't get into it, but maybe i'm a better reader now" 
"The Dispossessed is sooooooooooooo good. Le Guin is hard to get into (especially in high school, yeesh, I can't imagine), but this is one of the best books we've read so far"

Good news, everyone! I am a better reader now, because I finished The Dispossessed in record time! How many years late to the game am I with this one?

First of all, I'm proud of myself for finishing a book I DNF'd years ago. My own book club tackled The Invisible Bridge for April? May? and despite picking at it for two months I just couldn't get into it, and finally I returned it to the library, DNF'd. It's not fault of the book's; the writing is actually fluid and snappy, and the rather large cast of characters are unique and well-sketched. I guess a novel about Hungarian Jews during World War II is a little too real, right now? Whatever the reason, it slowed down my reading and I went from being 5 books ahead of my GoodReads goal to being a book behind. Madonna in a Fur Coat was the shot in the arm I needed to get back to reading again, and The Dispossessed  was the self-esteem boost I needed after the first DNF I've had in a long, long while.

But while I can see why teenage me couldn't get into The Dispossessed, adult me really liked it. I liked the little grammatical nuances of Pravic (like the total absence of possessive pronouns), I liked the world-building, I liked how Urras was a whole planet full of nations at cross-purposes instead of a single monoculture. I liked how neither Urras nor Anarres were all-good or all-bad, but both oppressive and less than ideal in their own way, though maybe that's pessimism on Le Guin's part. (Or maybe it's just realism. #bleak)

But I think the most pertinent part of The Dispossessed is actually connected to some complaints leveraged at the March for Science: science shouldn't be political! science doesn't have an agenda except the truth! and so on. But Shevek's presence on Urras (and specifically, within the nation-state of Io) is entirely political, as is the knowledge Io hopes to gain from him. Knowledge doesn't exist in a vacuum, and scientists have an obligation to be clear-eyed about the impact of their science beyond the narrow scope of academia. If scientists are only willing to engage in politics to the extent that politics interferes with their ability to do science, rather than to ensure the responsible application and dissemination of the work they do, then we're boned.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Talky Tuesday: Overdue Like Whoa 101 in 1001 Check-In

This blog has been quiet for a while now (is that why my Etsy shop is so dead, too?) (#thingsthatmakeyougohmmm). I hate that, though. While other work has picked up (yay!), the truth is that the reason I've been quiet here is because I suck at time management, not because I've been busy in any meaningful way. So let's come back to 2016's word of the year and reintegrate that into my life or however the heck frou-frou life coaches would put it.

I won't bore you by slapping my entire 101 in 1001 list in this entry and calling it quits. You can read it over here, if you really want to know what I'm trying to do with my life over the medium-term. I mostly want to talk about it in a big picture sense.

1. First of all, I'm almost at the end of my 1001 days and there's a whole bunch of goals that I know I'll miss, most of which constitute some kind of daily or weekly habit: checking in, #resisting, etc. The one I'm most bummed about is, I guess, my 1001 sun salutations goal. It didn't seem ambitious when I wrote the list, because that comes down to just one sun salutation every day, and that's easy, right? That's like a minimally easy goal, totally! I was already on board the yoga train when I wrote the list and that was going to continue, right?

Bzzt! Nope, guess not. And I should be doing yoga, since my running habit has stuck in a serious way. I'm fat, but probably more importantly, I am seriously deconditioned and don't have the kind of muscle strength I should if I want to keep running without fucking up my ankles or knees. (Knees, realistically: that seems to run [hah!] in the family.) I need to sit with why I've opted out of yoga, an activity I legitimately love.

2. Part of that might be that I'm actually literally sitting—meditating, that is. This wasn't a habit I had on my 101 in 1001 list, but I just picked it up (again) organically. So even though I'm not practicing yoga at the moment, I'm still getting a daily chill pill. This without actually adding it as an official goal. I might add it, just so I can have the satisfaction of crossing off something I'm already doing.

Image courtesy GarboFromHungary

3. Speaking of new habits, running is now a thing I do. And this fat kid jogged a non-stop mile for the first time in her life, maybe, just a couple of weeks ago, so I guess I get to call myself a runner now? I should make it to Mordor (FINALLY!) by the end of this list!

Copenhagen Collage2
By Dr. Blofeld [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

4. A goal that I'm going to be able to check off in a few weeks is visiting continental Europe. I have a 6-hour layover in Copenhagen en route to the US, and I fully intend to go out and see as much of the city as I can between my flights. It's arguably not a true "continental" visit, as Denmark is still part of Scandinavia, but it'll still be a new city and a new country for me, so that counts!

5. I still haven't read the handful of books left on my (altered) TIME Top 100 list. Still! But it's going to happen, This year's my year. I can feel it. The good news reason behind why I've been so pokey with the end of this list is that I've been diving into good books thanks to NetGalley, Blogging For Books, and my Facebook book club. I originally decided to tackle the TIME Top 100 list when I was fresh out of university and didn't know what to read next. Now college is far behind me and I'm pretty good at finding books, so I don't need that guiding hand as much anymore.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Friday 5: Tiny Gestures

What might you put in a small, pretty glass bottle as a romantic gift to someone?

I imagine some kind of memento from a place that's important to both of you, like some sand from the beach you went to on your honeymoon, or water from the stream you went fishing in for your first date, or a petal from their favorite flower. That kind of thing.

Image from jdurham on

Someone you care very much for is leaving for a long time but will be back. What small object (not a photo) might you give him or her to remember you by?

One of my best friends from college has a family tradition of using something white to wave goodbye to someone leaving on a trip. Anything white—when either of us have remembered to do it with each other, it's usually a receipt from a wallet, purse, or glove compartment. Who doesn't always have fifty million receipts hanging around?

But I don't think I would really gift anyone leaving on a trip a proper memento. They'll be back, right? So what's the point?

If you were to leave a small mark in your current residence, as lasting evidence that you lived there, what would you leave, and where would you leave it?

My family often vacationed at a cabin up in Danby Vermont, right on Tinmouth Pond. We always got at least one breakfast at Sugar and Spice, and my brother and I were allowed something from the gift shop. I almost always opted for a watercolor paint set. They came with maybe five or six thematic pencil sketches (kittens, natural vistas, etc.) for you to paint yourself, and one year I left one of my masterpieces propped on a beam in my loft. I hope it's still there!

What would you like to toss into the fires of Mount Doom?

Can I get really abstract here for a moment? Ignorance, or maybe greed. If it has to be a physical thing, then I have some garbage headphones that weren't all that cheap but still had garbage sound quality and broke after a few months of normal use. I have the worst luck with headphones.

Those adopt-a-star things are gimmicky rip-offs, but if they weren’t, and someone gave you one as a gift, what would you name it?

Probably after someone I care about. It would depend on who was on my mind at the moment I got the little certificate.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Fourth?

Nothing says "America" like a gay first-generation Lithuanian-American Jew!