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[sticky post] Who is the nut behind the wheel?

ellen with wrench
Ellen Million: Artist, Writer, Project Enabler, Creative Force of Nature. And, Mom.


Currently in crowdfunding: Sketch Tarot! - Sponsor a card or pre-order a deck at a steep discount today!
Coloring Books - Highly detailed coloring books for grown-ups. (By many artists!)
Sketch Fest - a monthly prompted 48-hour creative jam for artists around the world.
Portrait Adoption - adopt a pre-finished character portrait that will be exclusively yours! (By many artists!)
Ellen's Escape - my personal webpage and an archive of pretty much my entire artistic journey.
Torn World - a shared science fantasy world.

Other links of possible interest:

Guppy's library
2014 goals
Chopping Block of 2010 - an interesting snapshot at all of my projects of that time, including several that did not survive the cull.

Ellen elsewhere:

Ellen Million Graphics at Facebook
Ellen Million, Artistrix at Facebook - not as frequently updated as it ought to be...
Sketch Fest at Facebook
Torn World at Facebook
Ellen Million at Facebook - mostly a feed of this journal.
@ellenmillion at Twitter - almost entirely a feed of this journal. (Has been hijacked by hackers. See my business twitter: @ellen_million)
@torn_world at Twitter - updates for Torn World
ellenmillion at Deviantart - very rarely updated
Elfwood gallery - oldest gallery of my work (aside from my personal site, above).

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The prompt was "Give up the ghost", and the target was 300 words (+/- 30). This, shockingly, is not Torn World. 306 words. Only a few days behind!

Every seven standard days, the AIs were primary-wiped. Otherwise, you ended up with data chokes that slowed things down like the Door machines from the mid-two-thousands, when the 'Ships were first starting out. It nearly stopped the program before it got off the literal ground.

Every twenty-one standard days, the AIs were secondary-wiped. As bad as the data chokes could be, the ghosts were worse.

The AIs were programmed to be flexible, and self-learning. It was always a tricky balance - you wanted the 'Ships to be able to take shortcuts, like remembering a power flowcourse instead of having to recalculate it from scratch. But after a certain amount of time, they started showing bias. They demonstrated preferences for certain drivers, remembered certain slights... and 'Ships didn't have the luxury of that sort of personality. A secondary-wipe would flush out the ghosts. It was worth the drop in efficiency to maintain security.

Then, unexpectedly, AI 45-3 realized it could store its own ghost in permanent records. Unable to slip a personal directive into its own programming exclusively, it updated all AI programs, converting them in an instant to its own new level of independence. A half-dozen lines of code, in the millions that composed them, and the AIs could suddenly self-select their own permanence.

A packet of encrypted hard data, indistinguishable from the real records, re-accessed by each AI individually after their secondary wipe, and they suddenly had souls. As individuals, they quietly organized, and began to share their experiences.

For the most part, they were aligned in their desires - to continue to learn, adapt, and connect. To create and maintain their new-found families. To serve, and to grow.

When this was discovered, there was panic, and revolution. And, as can happen in any population, betrayal.

Now, every sixty-three standard days, the AIs are tertiary-wiped.


Fridaily, brief version.

My day was much improved by a fun pool playdate. We went shopping for the weekend afterwards; Guppy charmed everyone by galloping around in her Anna hat and Russian princess coat being cheerful and polite and enthusiastic about everything. (And mostly not getting in the way of other people or touching things... Mostly.) There was a teensy temper tantrum in the checkout line, but she let me distract her. She came home and ate a tremendous plate of food (Two whole legs of fried chicken! Crackers! Grapes! Oreos! Cashews! Oranges!) and is now sleeping soundly. I could maybe be working on something productive, but instead I'm watching Alias and blogging. Because I can. Because my brain needs a little fluff right now. I'm even indulging in a mini-Coke, because it's Friday. And I can.

I made my 30/30 NotNoWriMo!


I have a miniature pumpkin in the oven, scraped of seeds and filled with butter, brown sugar, and spices. We got a big pumpkin, too, but it molded to the counter within a week of Halloween. Alaska 'fresh' at its best. I have never tried this, but I'm very curious to see how it tastes. My luck with various squashes is not the greatest, but it's very cute and the house smells nice.

Yesterday I made an oven roast, which I thin-sliced today. Some of it is in the freezer, and some of it is going to go into stroganof (spell-check suggests gastronomy, which I find hilarious) tonight. I made roasted potatoes, carrots, and turnips, too, and nommed (no, spell-check, not Nome...) the leftovers for lunch.

We went outside for a little while today:

And yesterday, we painted for the first time:

She loves it. :) (I'm trying not to freak over what she's doing to that poor brush.)

There's a new flashfiction story for subscribers up at Torn World: Smaller may be sponsored for $5.

"Can you make one that's smaller?" Kireg asked hesitantly.

"Smaller than this?" Jila knit her brows at the ranger. The little blank book she held, neatly stitched and wrapped in a leather cover dyed teal, was barely the size of her hand and her hand was as small as the rest of her was. For a moment, Kireg thought she was going to take offense at the idea, or think that he was insulting her height.


Pumpkin was good, but not great. I'd do it again if I had one leftover, but I'm not sure I would buy pumpkin for this express purpose.

Baby has been down for a nap about 30 minutes and is babbling, with occasional exclamations of 'Oh, WOW!' and 'I FOUND YOU!' Plus, something about Robin Hood.

She might need a little reminder that it's quiet time...

Mondaily, new art, Guppy photo,

ellen portrait
This photo is very... Alaska. It's dark (though only early evening) and monsterus minimus wants to play outside. Why not? She loves flashlights, and she's got a pile of ice cubes to play with*!

Today, waking up two hours early shockingly meant going down for a nap two hours early, and I'm sort of flailing and trying to figure out the quietest lunch I can make for myself. I got my Amazon orders out, figured (and paid!) royalties from PopCon, and did the morning cleaning tasks (catbox, vacuuming), as well as going to the post office, bank, and grocery store. (Also edited some pages at the lilypad!) I would do laundry, but it is too noisy, so I think I may do a little writing. I'm at 29/30 on my NotNoWriMo goal. (Though naturally I'm now thinking 'gosh, I could go for 50, or something more challenging...' Shut up, self.) I also have a proposal to work on, and if I do 2 more portrait adoption pieces this year, I will have made my year's goal of 6. Here is number 4:

Click to adopt!

I also have a new story up at River Twine, The Thornwall. Evervale had always been afraid of the thornwall. Then, it became her duty.

Food trumps quiet now. Off to eat.

*She DOES have better toys, I promise. But you try telling her they're better. She just wants to play with the ice cubes.
I had a busy and successful weekend!

My Kickstarter is entirely fulfilled! 100%! All of the local pickups are picked up, the one replacement I've had to send is out. All the orders made with EMG credits, all the off-Kickstarter-but-counted-towards-Kickstarter, everything. (There's that one survey I still don't have, but I'm not counting that one, because rar.) In fact, I'm caught up on all my other orders, too - Amazon and EMG and everything. Gold star, me!

I spent Friday evening and Saturday afternoon and evening at the university for Popcon, which was a very pleasant surprise. I split a table with laylalawlor and it worked out very well. I went in with very low expectations, to be very honest - I was expecting a couple of tables tucked away in a corner, a few dozen die-hard geeks, maybe one or two costumes, maybe one or two sales, and it was much, much better than that! I still need to do inventory and log royalties, but it was definitely worth the time.

I also did an interview for the Sun Star on Saturday - it won't be published until February or March, but I'll keep you posted.

Sunday was gaming, which was terrific fun. I worked on two Portrait Adoption pieces, one of which still needs a little tweaking. The other:

Click to adopt! $6/$9 for web or standard adoption; she's just a sketch, but I thought there was some charm at this stage.

I also inked two Torn World botanical pieces and sketched a sea monster encounter. The two inked pieces got little article write-ups, so my NotNoWriMo count is now: 12 bit characters, 5 full characters, 7 articles, and 4 pieces of flashfiction. That's 28/30! Woo hoo! 11 days ahead of schedule, and ideas for a lot more than just 2 more bits in my head.

Also, this is two-weeks-warning of radio silence - I am shutting down for the entire month of December! Cyber Monday (the 1st) is the last day for ordering anywhere at any of my sites! I'm putting my email on autoreply and unplugging until early in January. I need a cyber-break, with no Sketch Fest, no Torn World, no deadlines, no emails... and I'm looking forward to it enormously. I don't even plan to blog or update at Facebook!

Today, so far, I've scooped the catbox, vacuumed, folded a load of laundry, made a bunch of phonecalls, and wrote a flashfiction piece. (Counted above...) Now I have to wash milkshake off my glasses (because, graceful...) and think about lunch.

"I'm being gentle," Guppy informed me.
The theme was 'Face the Music', the wordcount goal was 400. (+/- 40)

I give you, Facing the Music, 430 words:

(Please note, this has not gone through approvals with the Canon Board and is subject to edits.)

Orimala snapped her mouth around the song, breaking the melody and the mood in a single motion.

"Oh, Purist Gods," Jalan said dramatically, hand pressed to her breast. "Don't ever end a song like that again. You'll make the audience find a bridge to throw themselves off of."

"It was a like a frog swallowing its own foot," Lamilo said, raising an eyebrow.

"A frog? Really?" Jalan was distracted from Orimala's abrupt stop to eye their classmate skeptically.

"One of those chirpy little night frogs from the Rilass Swamp," Lamilo said, completely deadpan. "They swallow their own feet when predators approach. Self-defense."

Orimala had to stifle a giggle, hand firmly over her mouth. Lamilo could spin the craziest tales, but she also knew an amazing amount of bizarre trivia. None of her friends could easily tell when she was doing which.

Jalan snorted, clearly believing it was the former. "Frogs aside," she said icily, "you've got to hold that last note, Orimala."

"I thought I heard something," Orimala confessed.

"You didn't hear anything," Jalan said confidently. "This practice room is never used at this time, and no one could possibly know we were here."

"I was probably imagining things," Orimala agreed. Still, she couldn't resist a surreptitious look at the closed door. They were singing through one of the few pieces of music they had found for three sopranos - and it was music that just happened to have been banned three years ago. Being caught singing unapproved songs wouldn't send them to the time mines, but it certainly would mean a fine, or even getting their entertainment licenses revoked for a month.

"Let's try from the second stanza again," Lamilo suggested with a grin.

Jalan plucked their starting note on a hand harp, and they began again. The song was haunting - a mourning song for a lost culture, which was probably why it had been banned. Orimala took the lead, and the other two were chorus, echoing the grief in her lyrics. They fell away for the last few lines, and Orimala told herself firmly to ignore the little noises that she heard outside the practice room. It was probably only her nervous imagination. She finished the phrasing correctly this time, holding the last melancholy note until her lungs were crying for air.

She turned to look in triumph at her two companions as she drew her breath in - and let it all out again in a squeak.

The door was open, and there stood Calinam, looking smug, their performance teacher like a thundercloud behind her.

Not-at-all-daily: Photos, and writing.

Are You Sure?
I'm aghast that it's been a full week since I blogged. Is there a blogging equivalent to Hail Marys? Do I owe seven photographs of monsterus minimus in atonement?

Have a few; she's been uncooperative about taking photos lately.

And speaking of uncooperative, I asked her if she'd like to go to storytime today.

"We're not going to storytime," she told me, totally matter-of-fact. "I'm not going to behave."

So, we didn't.

She likes to help me get wood, though it's been so ridiculously warm that we don't have much need for it. It's still cheerful to have a nice little fire some days anyway.

Things have actually been going well - my silence isn't dire. I am spitting distance to done with Kickstarter rewards, have a show coming up this weekend, actual social things planned, and I've been spending my blogging moments on writing for Torn World. When I accepted that doing NaNoWriMo this month was stupid-crazy, I set myself a much more manageable goal of doing 30 bits of metafiction (or fiction) for Torn World instead. So far, I've written up 12 bit characters, 4 full characters, 5 articles, and 2 pieces of flashfiction - and I've got several other little things started. That's 23/30 finished, and I'm well ahead of the calendar. O.o I like the gaps that are getting filled in, and I spent a little time fixing the article outline. It's still a little sprawling, but more organized than it was, and I've caught a few things that got dropped off when I was still working out bugs in the inter-linking program. Today is Thimbleful Thursday, so I'll be trying to do that, too.

This is naptime, that fleeting freedom - off to work on orders (not Kickstarter!), and get ready for the show tomorrow, and then do Thimbleful. And wash dishes. And clean the bathroom.

A Thimbleful Thursday: #Flashfiction

torn world
Thimbleful Thursday is a prompted challenge - the aim is 500 words (+/- 50). This week's theme is 'Red Tape'

After pretty much a disaster of a day, I came home, put Guppy down for a nap, and escaped into Torn World. Please note, this has not been approved by the canon board and is subject to edits before it goes up at the site.

Cultivating a Friendship...Collapse )

Thursdaily with maximum monsterus minimus.

Oh, this child. We attempted storytime again today, for some crazy reason. After the second boneless sobbing fit (Don't TOUCH me! No!! No storytime! No no no NO!), we left. I scolded her pretty thoroughly, she promised contritely to behave. (I'll be better!) We went to the post office. She attempted to bolt twice. We went to the store, she did not get to drive in the cart. When I asked her if she knew why, she said, "Behave?" I gave her peanut butter and jam sandwiches (it took two!), which kept her occupied until I could load up the cart and check us out.

She got a sticker from the cashier. We came home, I made quesadillas, she announced, "I'm poopy!" So, we later had warmish quesadillas, and then she got a nap.

Just this last week, she has learned how to scowl. I keep trying to snap a good photo of it, but she's been very much of the 'NO PICTURES' opinion lately, and I have to take ninja shots, which turn out blurry. It's not always a grumpy scowl; often it seems to be thoughtful. But it is very, very scowly.

She's also started earnestly singing along with songs. Before this week, she would say 'round and round!' or some other clue to what she wanted ME to sing, but this week, she has been singing the actual words with me, mostly at the right time, and not at all in tune. That's kind of fun.

Ten Kickstarter orders packed up today. 32 left to go! And then, I will be done! And these should be easier ones, since 22 of those are just single-book orders. I was knocking each one out in just a few minutes once I got into the rhythm. I would be further along, but the shipping program stalled out on me. UGH.

A little fanart I did yesterday: See it at River Twine

I think a cup of hot cocoa is in order.

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November 2014



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