The Holiday Card Post 2014

(I’m totally recycling this holiday post. Like I do with the decorations!)

SITHMAS IS COMING! SITHMAS IS COMING!

Dina's Sithmas Tree

My Sithmas Tree. It’s a black tree with red lights and a Darth Vader nightlight for a topper.

Okay, yes…I’m one of those people who started humming Christmas songs back in October. I know, I know. But I really love the holidays. Halloween used to be my favorite holiday until I came out of my Goth closet and could dress how I wanted to every day of the year and not care about being seen as a freak (for the record, I was 25), but now Christmas is my favorite.

Thanksgiving, however, is not to be overlooked. I mean, a foodie like me ignore a holiday that’s all about FOOD? PIE? LOTS AND LOTS OF PIE?! (Not to mention leftover pie!)

Anyway, what was I writing about? I mean, before my stomach started doing the writing? Oh, yeah! The holiday spirit!

Here’s the deal: I’m making my holiday card list, and lo and behold, I’m actually managing to do this in a timely manner for once in the last *mumblemumble* years! (I blame all the DeGothening I had to endure this year.) Hopefully by the time I get the list done and cards mailed, I’ll be right on time!

In order to make sure of that, I’m setting a deadline for you all.

If you want to be on my holiday card list, post a comment on this entry (on my website, not the mirrors) by Wednesday, December 3rd with your snail mail addy (don’t worry, these will be screened!) or e-mail dina [at] dinajames [dot] com with it and I’ll send you a holiday card. International is okay!

If you got a card from me last year, you’re likely still on my list, but if you’ve moved, don’t want one this year, or otherwise changed your address, let me know! I keep the list for subsequent use year to year (like this post!), but I realize people move about and change names and such.

If you’re feeling in the holiday spirit yourself and would like to return the favor, here’s my address:

Dina James
5 N Hwy 101 #360
Warrenton, OR 97146
USA

Bite Me: A Stranger Things Story (Free)

As promised, one man-wolf (not wolf-man), free for your viewing pleasure.

It’s hard not to be resentful when someone comes along and takes everything over, and Billy has had enough. Just because someone saved your life doesn’t mean they own it.

Set between Time Heals and the unpublished Death Knell, this story focuses on Billy the man-wolf (not wolf-man) and his uneasy relationship with Noth, the young hellhound with whom he must now share all that’s dear to him.

BiteMeST

Bite Me: A Stranger Things Story
(Note: This story is only available in PDF format for the foreseeable future. If you would like another format, I’m sorry. You’ll have to make do.)

Here is the promised story I wrote for the Dina Wants A Shiny Thing “fundraiser.” I put “fundraiser” in quotation marks because this isn’t really about raising funds. Raising funds is a side effect of this story. Why a side effect?

Because it’s completely up to you to toss some pennies my way for this story.

This story is for you. Absolutely and totally free. Go on. Open it. Download it. Save a copy to your hard drive for your reading pleasure. All I ask is that you not upload it to pirate sites/torrent it. Why not? Because pirates are assholes and THIS IS ALREADY HERE FOR FREE. Also, you can’t upload the “donate” button to a torrent site, and it’s right here on this page with the story for everyone to see. Pirates don’t pay for things. Because they’re pirates. You get it. However, if you want to sacrifice your daily latte to the Shiny Thing fund today, I’d be appreciative.

Now, I’m not going to suggest an amount – I’m going to leave that up to you. I would remind you that the average price of an entire paperback novel is somewhere around $8.00US while a hardcover runs about $25.00US, and this is a short story. This is maybe a tenth of a novel here. When I talk about donating pennies, that’s exactly what I mean. However, your pennies are exactly that – yours. I’m not going to tell you how to spend them.

Here’s the button to do that:

Now, what’s the shiny thing I want? This. I want this:

Image by Design Toscano

Image by Design Toscano

You expected it to be yarn, didn’t you? I can understand that. Tell you what. If this little story makes enough, I’ll get the statue AND some yarn. Hell, I may go wild and buy yarn AND tea with my newfound riches. You never know what no-goodness I’ll get up to with cash in hand.

But I don’t expect something for nothing, so here’s your story. If you want to read it before you dig through the couch cushions for loose change (no old M&Ms, please – they are not accepted currency in my country. Don’t ask how I know this.), go right ahead. This story is free to everyone. Should you decide at some point that you wish to fund the Shiny Thing, click on the “donate” button you see up there and put a few coins in my tip jar. And hey, if you can’t or don’t want to fund the shiny, that’s cool. The story is there for you to read for free.

When the shiny thing comes, I will remove the donate link and print out every donor’s name on a sticker and affix it to the bottom of the statue, so that I will always remember those who made it possible. It will rest in a place of honor by my desk and inspire me to write more.

Thank you all in advance for your pennies. I very much appreciate each and every one of you.

Something Shiny This Way Comes

So, remember this post from last year where I talk about how Dina Wants A Shiny Thing and I did a poll to see if there was any interest in a Billy short?

Yeah, that.

Well, stuff and things happened, and the short got pushed to the side, and more stuff and things happened, and now, well….

Let’s just say Something Shiny is on the way. I don’t have an exact date yet, but it shouldn’t be long now!

Why am I posting this here?

Because I feed on your sweet, sweet torment, that’s why!

The De-Gothening – Kill Shot

It is done.

The de-Gothening is complete. There are no more rooms in my house left to makeover to the mundane. We’re planning a house-mourning party to bid the Gothdom farewell.

Warning – this post is very long and picture heavy.

The last three rooms are featured in this post, because we did one right after the other. Continue reading

Good With Ketchup

We interrupt the de-Gothening posts to bring you a special bulletin….

I want to give a disclaimer/warning here: this post is going to talk about abuse and other graphic things. There will be language and other disturbing imagery, so if you’re sensitive to that kind of thing, this post isn’t for you. Go read a webcomic or watch cute kitten videos on YouTube. This post is also going to talk about self-publishing, so if you have Strong Opinions on the subject, might want to skip it. This is your only warning. Continue reading

The De-Gothening Part Sept

THE END IS NIGH!

No, really, it is. At least, I hope it is. I’m pretty sure it is. We’ll see. Anyway, here’s the story so far:

Part Un
Part Deux
Part Trois
Part Quatre
Part Cinq
and Part Six (Same in English and French)

You can also click on the “adventures in remodeling” tag to see the collection of horrors on the same page. In case you’ve forgotten, here’s why I label these posts in French.

This week’s adventure is my office!

Remember once upon a time I told you that the office was previously wallpapered and its removal had revealed a terrifying shade of yellow? Yeah. Here you go:
Office-Before

The floor in here was carpeted when we first moved in, and the people who lived here before didn’t bother putting down dropcloths when they painted (as they were going to carpet), so it’s covered in old paint splatter.

My friend S. and I spent days removing the wallpaper earlier this spring, and despite our best efforts, there was still a lot of glue and other nastiness on the walls in here, so before I could paint, the walls needed another good scraping/scrubbing. That took an entire evening in itself to finish. Next up, the taping around the windowsills and so on (you can see that in the pic above). Removal of the outlet covers, and onto the first cover-up coat.

We were a little short on paint here for this. I had an entire gallon of Glidden Ultra-Hide white, which the ceiling, trim, and baseboards stay, but there was a little accident with the paint can and a great deal of paint ended up being taken from the dropcloth instead of the can. Fortunately we had just enough to cover the ceiling and trim for the first coat. I ended up going to Home Depot for more paint and tape the following morning. You can see the results and the fact that it’s now nightfall here:
Office-Cut-In-Taped

After this, it was still technically early, and we had enough beige paint for at least two coats, which – this room being lighter than the others we’ve previously painted – we thought should be plenty for this room. So, we got to work on the first coat and called it for the evening.

The next day while I went to Home Depot to pick up more paint, He Who Enables My Crazy knocked out the second coat of Fucking Beige (hereafter abbreviated “FBOMGIC” – pronounced “effbombgick” for “Fucking Beige OMG I Can’t”). I forgot to take a picture of the first coat before I left, so here’s one of what it looked like after he finished the second coat:
Office-Second-Beige-Coat

We let his second coat dry for an hour or so, then I went back in, taped off the windows so I wouldn’t ruin his new paint around the trim, opened the new can of white I picked up and got to work on the second coat around the windows. I let that dry the rest of the day, then later that evening pulled all the tape off and that was that. The office was complete:
Office-After

For those following along at home, the completion of the office brings the upstairs to 90% complete.
Office-Checked-Off
All that’s left is our bedroom and the Last Remaining Bastion of Gothdom in the hallway. I NEED THAT BASTION. It’s my only sanity in this Mundane Makeover.

I will say, though, that the beige in here – though not a color I would ever choose to live with – is vastly more endurable than the terrifying shade of yellow this room used to be. That yellow was so garish, the FBOMGIC is almost bearable.

Almost.

What’s next? Well, it’s going to be a busy couple weeks. Lots going on. Shout-out here to Awesome Friend R. for her help in organizing the chaos in the garage. I’d have no idea what to do with that giant mess if it weren’t for her expertise in the realm of re-homing items, and I am grateful she made the time to come and sort things out with me.

As you can see from the schematic, the Cat Room/Library is nearly complete. There’s just a few totes to go through and some cleaning to do down there before we can prep it to be painted. We also repainted the stairwell FBOMGIC because reasons, and I’ll give you pics of that later. The utility room is done and now serves as something of a staging area for Things To Go To The Storage Unit. The workshop is coming along at a nice clip, too, so I can now see light at the end of the de-Gothening tunnel.
Floor-Plan-Downstairs-Perce

Oh, I promised you photos of the twenty-plus totes of books I’ve taken to the storage unit. I kept forgetting, but the last time we took a load over, I snapped one. Here you go:
Books-In-Storage

Now, not all of those totes are full of books. (And there are some totes not pictured.) The majority of them are, and there are still a few downstairs to take over. We’re still working down there, and sorting out the “keep” books versus the “Powell’s tote” versus the “donation” ones, so I have no doubt that once we’re finished (soon, now), there will be more to go over. I’m guessing by the time we’re done, there will be at least thirty totes full of books over in the storage unit. DON’T JUDGE ME. WE LOVE OUR BOOKS. WE’VE GOTTEN RID OF SOME. (SOME!) We’re also going to keep some books here because reasons.

So that’s all I have for you right now on the de-Gothening front. I am so sick of boxes and totes and papers and everything that’s accumulated in this house the last *mumblemumble* years. I’m angry at myself for letting it get this bad. I’m trying hard not to slip into a malaise of mundane, but every room that joins the Mundane Makeover pierces my dark and evil soul. Fortunately my friends and family are keeping me sane with movies and Vaders and tea and chocolate (thank you, D.!) and pretty Goth things, like these awesome handmade tiaras made by my friend Valtinen. He’s taking commissions, too, so if you’ve got a wedding coming up or anything else (Halloween is around the corner, so if you need anything cool like this for your costume or just everyday wear, get your order in now!), drop him a line. His prices are excellent and the workmanship brilliant. Go. Give him money. Get something beautiful. If flowered tiaras aren’t your thing, he has other awesome stuff for sale. If you have an idea in mind for something Gothy you want and you don’t see it, mail him!

It’s almost over. I keep telling myself that – it’s almost over. I’m planning to list the house in a couple weeks, and we’ll see what happens then. I’m really proud of all we’ve done over the summer, and I’m actually really glad that the things we put in totes and boxes to “go through later” are being dealt with, but holy hell am I tired of it.

But every time I want to quit, the neighbor’s little yappy rat-dog starts barking, or the neighborhood hellions scream by on their skateboards and motorcycles, or I hear someone setting off illegal fireworks and scaring my animals, or sirens start blaring, or some idiot cruises down the street with their bass turned up so loud it rattles my windows and deregulates my heart rhythm, and I want to go get another paintbrush and start on something else. Because every room finished brings me one step closer to getting the fuck out of this place, and that’s what all this is about.

Soon, now.

De-Gothening Update (Also, Asshats)

No pics, but here’s a quick update on what’s been going on with the Mundane Makeover:

– Utility room is 98% done. It’s been decluttered and cleaned. The only thing left to do in there is clear a high shelf, and that just involves a stepladder and a hand-broom.

– Workshop is at 50%. Decluttering is in progress. Dump runs have been made. So much stuff has been sorted.

– I am so fucking sick of totes and papers I could scream. I thought the beige paint was the worst of this de-Gothening thing. I was wrong. It’s the papers. Apparently our method of dealing with junk mail and anything that needed shredding over the last *mumblemumble* years was to shove it all in a tote or box and put it downstairs where we would “go through it later.” Well, guess what? “Later” is “now,” and I have vowed that THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN. EVER. NEVER. I have put the shredder by the front door (under the entryway desk so the cats don’t play on it, in theory) and am shredding the junk mail AS IT COMES IN. Every time I get one box or tote finished and think that’s the last of it, we come across another one. Talk about demoralizing. That battle rages on. (There’s a tote full of papers waiting for me in the living room as I type. I am cheerfully ignoring it for the moment. It will die soon enough.)

– We decided to paint the stairwell Fucking Beige Navajo Sand. It just makes a nicer transition and covers up this one area that just WOULD NOT take the white paint, despite the sanding and everything we did to prep it. So that’s done.

– The outside trim around the windows is painted, as is the garage door. It needed a couple spots touched up, and we had the paint, and one thing led to another…it looks nicer, now.

– Many runs to the storage unit have been made. I have some pics to share with you later on that.

– The yard sale plans are in full swing. The pile of sale crap is vast. I have price stickers and new fine-point Sharpies to battle it later this week.

Now for the asshats.

Apparently there have been more than a few attempts to hack this website. Why? I have no idea. People are just bored, I guess? I don’t know. Anyway, I’ve been notified that this is going on, and so I just want to say to the asshat(s) doing this – I SEE YOU THERE. YOU ARE A DOUCHEBAG. FIND SOMETHING BETTER TO DO WITH YOUR TIME. GO THE FUCK AWAY. THIS IS A WRITING BLOG, YOU FUCKHEAD. I’M A PARANORMAL WRITER. THERE IS NOTHING IMPORTANT OR LIFE-ALTERING HERE. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO FIND THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE HIDDEN IN THE GENERIC THEME CODE OF MY LITTLE CORNER OF THE INTERNET. LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE, YOU FUCKING FUCKWAD. IF THIS IS HOW YOU ENTERTAIN YOURSELF, I SUGGEST FINDING ANOTHER HOBBY TO DEVOTE YOUR TIME TO, SUCH AS KNITTING OR BASKET-WEAVING.

Seriously? Why? I mean, I know there’s a great amount of fun for some people in wrecking things other people make (because they’re douchebags and it gives them some sort of jolly to watch people clean up their mess, and these people are THE REASON WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS), but seriously? Dude. Go play in the freeway, or with a blender. The fuck is wrong with you?

And that’s all I have for now.

Mini De-Gothening – Touch-ups

So remember the whats-its in Part Trois?

This thing:
Second-Coat-Trim

Remember how the kitchen trim (all of it – around the windows, doorway, everywhere) just wouldn’t cover that well and needed a third maybe even fourth coat?

Well, I have things waiting to go back on the whats-its and a valance to hang and a blind to install…but all that was waiting on the trim getting that touch-up coat. So, tonight I did that. I didn’t take any pics, because I’m lazy and didn’t remember to until just now writing this post, but rest assured it looks much nicer, and tomorrow when it dries (maybe Wednesday, as we have stuff to do tomorrow) I’ll install that blind and put the curtain rod and valance back up. That window has never had a blind – we’ve never bothered. It’s the kitchen window and looks out into the neighbor’s yard, and their house is several yards away, so privacy wasn’t ever an issue. Now, though, we’re trying to sell, and people like privacy. A blind can be opened or shut, lowered or retracted depending on the person’s preference, and that’s just helpful all around. Plus the neighbors (who bought the house next door last summer after a long time on the market after the previous owner died) put up a little horse-trough-thing filled with bamboo plants and stuck it right in front of our kitchen window, so I’m thinking they might have an issue with my window facing their house. I hope they like the blind I’m about to install, and it gives them some kind of peace that I’m not standing at my kitchen sink watching their huge-ass TV through their picture window. (Seriously, why would I do that? I’d have to actually give a shit what they’re doing/watching/eating first, and I’m one of those people who not only hates reality TV, I pretty much hate reality in general, so…yeah. It’s part of the reason I’m a writer, for fuck’s sake! Reality sucks ass!)

Also today we took another load of things to the storage unit, all of it from my office. This room is next in line to be painted, (or maybe the cat room/library – it will depend on which space gets cleared first, and at the moment they’re pretty much neck-and-neck) so the decluttering is in full swing.

Speaking of, I’d better get back to that. These totes ain’t gonna pack themselves, despite my wishes.

The De-Gothening Part Six

No, really. “Six” in French is spelled exactly the same as it is in English, only it’s pronounced “sees.” So this is part six.

Click their names to see parts Un, Deux, Trois, Quatre, and Cinq. You can also click on the “adventures in remodeling” tag to see the collection of horrors on the same page. Also why I label these posts in French.

Got all that? Onward to Part Six, then! Continue reading