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Prose | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Poetry | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">ASCII art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Pixel art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Fractal art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Vector art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Digital paintings | Traditional art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Photography | Artisan crafts | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Emoticons | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Wallpapers | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Contest entries | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Seamless textures | Designs |<a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Tutorials | DeviantART Related | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">The rest

Yep, my debut novel Marian ilmestyskirja (Maria's Book of Revelations) was supposed to come out in the spring, but due to various delays it has only been released now. It's in Finnish, but there is an info page in English, too, and a book trailer which is Finnish only, but very visual, so it's worth watching even if you don't know Finnish. It has gathered many positive, even glowing reviews and has been featured in several Finnish magazines, small ones, but still. I was also interviewed on DA.

I also got a grant for my next novel Häpeämätön (Shameless), the third (and probably last) novel of my cripfic trilogy, which I'm starting to write tomorrow for NaNoWriMo. A lovely surprise. I've applied for three grants in the last year and got two, the other for my new medical textbook, which will be out next month. If nothing else can be deduced from this, it is that I am good at writing grant applications - a very useful skill for someone who writes books for a living. I'd also like to see it as a signal that my work, writing both fiction and non-fiction about chronic illnesses, is seen as important.

Other than writing life has been pretty nice (but my life is mostly writing). It's nice not to have to be in Finland, and to have a doctor I don't have to advise and train any more. I'm on some new meds, like an antiviral drug (which isn't even sold in Finland) and some hormones. I haven't really had the time for visual art and my photography has mostly been focused on the food book that will be out next year. Not much time for poetry either, I'm afraid, but I have written some short fiction and several new stories are underway. When it comes to short fiction I almost exclusively write scifi and cripfic these days.

P.S. How is it possible, that every time I log on DA after a few months, it's even buggier than before? Besides breaking everything else, thanks for doing it to my header, too.

Current works

Works in progress
:bulletblue: novel #8
:bulletblue: four short stories
:bulletblue: four haiku
:bulletblue: some other poems
:bulletblue: my sociomedical essay series

Works finished but not yet submitted
:bulletblue: a haiku
:bulletblue: three scifi drabbles
:bulletblue: five pieces of 55-word fiction
:bulletblue: four longer short stories
:bulletblue: ten ASCII pictures
:bulletblue: an acrylic painting
:bulletblue: a digital painting
:bulletblue: a whole bunch of photos

Works I wish to start in the near future
:bulletblue: several poems
:bulletblue: some crafts
:bulletblue: henna tattooing
:bulletblue: molding clay sculpture

Non-art/DA TODO (inconclusive)
:bulletblue: promoting my novel
:bulletblue: a food book
:bulletblue: medical articles
:bulletblue: studying Dutch
:bulletblue: studying Spanish
:bulletblue: an LDN brochure
:bulletblue: some query letters and pitches
:bulletblue: some guest blogs
:bulletblue: content for my Finnish CFS/ME site

My preliminary schedule for the following months


15th October Occupy Amsterdam
21st October my novel's release date

31st October NaNoWriMo meeting
1st-30th November NaNoWriMo
3rd November dance show
7th November NaNoWriMo meeting
14th November NaNoWriMo meeting
21st November NaNoWriMo meeting
28th November NaNoWriMo meeting
1st December husband's birthday

I was interviewed by :iconmattgallan:, read the interview in <a  href="radicalpuppy4.deviantart.com/j…">his journal.

:iconobenson: wrote a poem dedicated to my ASCII art. It's quite good too!

I've set up a discussion thread for my sociomedical essay series on my forum, please read it and contribute if you have any  opinions.

My stock diamondie-stock
Member of critiqueme fi
Supporting photo-class suture onewordatatime Lit-Source poeticks Reporters Activists ArtistsForCharity fotoFRIDAY WordCount LineCount litNEWS DisabilityArt fm-me-club

Website :bulletblue: My CFS/ME/FM book :bulletblue: Flickr :bulletblue: YouTube :bulletblue: Wishlist :bulletblue: Articles on Suite 101 :bulletblue: My novel: The Atlas Moth :bulletblue: Vegventures food blog
  • Reading: Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book
  • Eating: saag tofu
  • Drinking: hemp protein smoothie
Prose | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Poetry | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">ASCII art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Pixel art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Fractal art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Vector art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Digital paintings | Traditional art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Photography | Artisan crafts | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Emoticons | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Wallpapers | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Contest entries | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Seamless textures | Designs |<a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Tutorials | DeviantART Related | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">The rest

So my first novel Marian ilmestyskirja will be coming out from Muruja next month. The taboo-breaking cripfic has already got about 10 reviews in book blogs, including a few absolutely glowing ones (I couldn't have come up with better ones if I tried!). I made an English info page about the book which includes a sample. Still hoping to find an international publisher for it! Disabled people deserve a voice in fiction outside of Finland, too. The amazing cover artwork is by another Deviant, the amazingly talented anubis46. Thanks to the book I also scored a paid blogging gig at a Finnish disability magazine (I've done paid blogging before, as early as 2005, but never about a subject I feel so passionate about).

I have just finished writing my next novel, another cripfic titled Makuuhaavoja (Bedsores). It's a very different book - while Marian ilmestyskirja is quite shocking and many have said it left them speechless, this is a more subtle story playing more on nuances and especially with parallels/mirroring/contrast. It's a story about bedbound Kai whose imagination is spurred by his severe hyperacusis (sensitivity to sound) and a lot of it happens in his imagination.

I am working on my second medical textbook now, for which I got a grant. I never got the letter about it for some reason and hence assumed I didn't, but turns out I did. The book is about misunderstood chronic illnesses and should be out by the end of the year. I have been reading source material like crazy, still got more than a dozen books to read. I am also working on a food-related book, which will be published next year. Yeah, sadly both of these are in Finnish only. :-/

We have now been living in Amsterdam for almost seven months. To be honest, it's been better than I expected. The only real problems have involved doctors and getting medications I have already been on for four years, without which I cannot function at all. So far I have already made six doctor visits (in Finland I'd make 1-2 a year). I have had to make two seven-hour trips to see a doctor (which is pretty much the maximum amount of travel you can even make in a country of this size). Frustrating, but not entirely in vain, as he diagnosed me with whiplash (two misaligned vertebrae) which I may have had since childhood(!) and fixed it. It will take a few more months to fully heal, so only then will I know if it has helped.

The spring is well underway here (in Finland it's still very much winter). My birthday is on Sunday and and on Saturday we'll be going to Den Bosch for Sencity, a multi-sense techno party also visited by loads of deaf people. My first party in 1.5 years! I'm also hoping to attend some demoparties, still not sure about Easter party aka Revision, but at least Outline in June.

Not much time for short fiction/poetry/visual art recently, but now that my novel is done, hopefully I will get to focus on that, too. My first fiction publication (since it should be out before my novel) will the cripfic short story Timeless in the Breath & Shadow magazine in a few weeks.

Current works

Works in progress
:bulletblue: six short stories
:bulletblue: four haiku
:bulletblue: some other poems
:bulletblue: my sociomedical essay series

Works finished but not yet submitted
:bulletblue: a haiku
:bulletblue: three scifi drabbles
:bulletblue: four pieces of 55-word fiction
:bulletblue: four longer short stories
:bulletblue: nine ASCII pictures
:bulletblue: an acrylic painting
:bulletblue: a digital painting
:bulletblue: a whole bunch of photos

Works I wish to start in the near future
:bulletblue: several poems
:bulletblue: some crafts
:bulletblue: henna tattooing
:bulletblue: molding clay sculpture

Non-art/DA TODO (inconclusive)
:bulletblue: promoting my novel
:bulletblue: translation/transcription
:bulletblue: a food-related article
:bulletblue: a medical textbook
:bulletblue: a food book
:bulletblue: medical articles
:bulletblue: studying Dutch
:bulletblue: studying Spanish
:bulletblue: an LDN brochure
:bulletblue: some query letters and pitches
:bulletblue: some guest blogs
:bulletblue: content for my Finnish CFS/ME site

My preliminary schedule for the following months

15th April work deadline
16th April my book release party
22nd April friend's birthday party
22nd-25th April Revision demoparty
30th April Queen's day
1st-9th May friends visiting
5th May doctor visit
12th May CFS/ME awareness day

1st June-31st July blogging gig
2nd-5th June Outline demoparty
11th-12th June family visiting

I was interviewed by :iconmattgallan:, read the interview in <a  href="radicalpuppy4.deviantart.com/j…">his journal.

:iconobenson: wrote a poem dedicated to my ASCII art. It's quite good too!

I've set up a discussion thread for my sociomedical essay series on my forum, please read it and contribute if you have any  opinions.

My stock diamondie-stock
Member of critiqueme fi
Supporting photo-class suture onewordatatime Lit-Source poeticks Reporters Activists ArtistsForCharity fotoFRIDAY WordCount LineCount litNEWS DisabilityArt fm-me-club

Website :bulletblue: My CFS/ME/FM book :bulletblue: Flickr :bulletblue: YouTube :bulletblue: Wishlist :bulletblue: Articles on Suite 101 :bulletblue: My novel: The Atlas Moth :bulletblue: Vegventures food blog
  • Reading: The Encyclopedia of Autoimmune Diseases
  • Eating: roasted asparagus and okra
  • Drinking: herbal tea
Prose | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Poetry | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">ASCII art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Pixel art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Fractal art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Vector art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Digital paintings | Traditional art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Photography | Artisan crafts | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Emoticons | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Wallpapers | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Contest entries | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Seamless textures | Designs |<a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Tutorials | DeviantART Related | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">The rest

2010 was an interesting and wonderful year, one of my best. I accomplished and experienced many things, both things I expected, things I only dreamed about and things I really didn't expect. The most important ones were of course moving to the Netherlands, and signing a contract for a novel, something I had been dreaming about for 21 years.

NaNoWriMo was both easier and harder, mostly easier, than the previous years, though the resulting manuscript was more rough than my previous ones. After some developmental editing it's now at my beta reader's (yikes).

Christmas went fairly uneventfully, at home with my husband. I cooked for several days to produce a delicious vegan feast. We opened presents on the 24th as Finns usually do. Besides loads of books I got a Lensbaby Composer from my husband! Quite unexpected, even though he knows I'm fond of them. Another lovely present that I actually concretely wished for was a bunch of colorful origami cranes from my little sister, for wall decoration.

I'm more looking forward to tomorrow, as my dad and little sister will come from Finland to visit for a few days. Planning to take my sister to Chinatown, Lapjesmarkt (outdoor market for fabrics on Mondays) and of course to eat rijsttafel.

2010 goals, status

[X] get the hell out of Finland (of #1 importance) done!
[X] finish my CFS/ME/FM book
[/] painting, doing other kinds of art finished one pop art piece
[X] write some non-drabble short stories I have written five longer (at least 300 words) short stories and started a new one this week
[X] set up my new blog actually started two new blogs, a food blog in English and a writing/book/disability/society blog in Finnish
[/] get on TV to talk about my book/Twitter I did get on national radio
[/] more articles published in print magazines one article in a health magazine
[/] have a paper published in a medical journal wrote an excellent review article on myofascial trigger points for a pain journal which had never had anything on trigger points, despite them being the most common cause of pain - they sat on it for months and then decided they can't publish it since I'm not a doctor
[X] speak at the LDN conference in Scotland ended up speaking at two LDN conferences
[_] write another medical textbook (and get it published) postponed to next year
[X] get novel #6 published contract signed
[X] write novel #7 (or at least the first draft) version 1.1 done
[X] learn more Dutch admittedly could have been more active on this front after the spring, but doing okay
[_] learn the basics of Spanish and perhaps French postponed to next year
[/] become a magazine/newspaper/web columnist have sent dozens of pitches, but no luck yet, will pitch more next year

Best things in 2010

:bulletred: moving to the Netherlands
:bulletred: getting a contract for novel #6
:bulletred: winning NaNoWriMo for the third time
:bulletred: finishing the Finnish versio of my CFS/ME/FM book and having it published
:bulletred: getting a contract for my next medical textbook
:bulletred: getting married
:bulletred: speaking at two LDN conferences
:bulletred: a lot of interesting new translation work and other great new clients
:bulletred: trips to our summer cabin
:bulletred: taking some utterly awesome photos
:bulletred: getting some glowing reviews/feedback of my medical textbook (two more ones, not necessarily glowing but at least positive ones, should be coming up very soon)

Worst things in 2010

:bulletred: hormonal problems again getting worse, resulting in e.g. massive weight gain and edema and barely sleeping for months (nothing can be done about that, except possibly for hormone replacement) and severe hypoglycemia is still a constant problem
:bulletred: some other traumatic health problems
:bulletred: hate crime exploding in Finland
:bulletred: not getting a grant I applied for (uncharacteristically for grants odds were definitely on my side)

Best novels I read in 2010

:bulletred: Nasim Marie Jafry: State of Me (a novel about CFS/ME, and a superb one at that!)
:bulletred: Margaret Atwood: The Year of the Flood
:bulletred: Albert Camus: The Plague

Plans for 2011

:bulletred: get my hormonal problems sorted out (or at least find a decent doctor)
:bulletred: get publicity for novel #6
:bulletred: finish novel #7 and get a contract for it
:bulletred: finish first draft of novel #8
:bulletred: write a new medical textbook
:bulletred: continue writing more short fiction and finish poetry
:bulletred: finally finish my sociomedical essay collection, in the works since 2004
:bulletred: learn the basics of Spanish, perhaps French
:bulletred: go to Spain, perhaps Germany (for a demoparty, I wouldn't go to Germany otherwise!) and Italy, visit several Dutch towns I haven't been to before
:bulletred: be invited to speak at the Helsinki book fair (I was promised chocolate for this...)
:bulletred: submit to more writing contests and several literary journals (I'm thinking at least Vestal Review, FuseLit and more stuff for Brain Harvest and Breath & Shadow)
:bulletred: stay alive the whole year

Happy new year to everyone and may your goals become reality and resolutions keep!

Current works

Works in progress
:bulletblue: novel #7
:bulletblue: a short story
:bulletblue: four haiku
:bulletblue: some other poems
:bulletblue: my sociomedical essay series

Works finished but not yet submitted
:bulletblue: a haiku
:bulletblue: two scifi drabbles
:bulletblue: four pieces of 55-word fiction
:bulletblue: four longer short stories
:bulletblue: nine ASCII pictures
:bulletblue: an acrylic painting
:bulletblue: a digital painting
:bulletblue: a whole bunch of photos

Works I wish to start in the near future
:bulletblue: some short stories
:bulletblue: several poems
:bulletblue: some crafts
:bulletblue: henna tattooing
:bulletblue: molding clay sculpture

Non-art/DA TODO (inconclusive)
:bulletblue: a new medical textbook
:bulletblue: medical articles
:bulletblue: articles about consumer electronics
:bulletblue: studying Dutch
:bulletblue: an eBook
:bulletblue: an LDN brochure
:bulletblue: some query letters and pitches
:bulletblue: content for my Finnish CFS/ME site

My preliminary schedule for the following months

1st-30th November NaNoWriMo
15th November NaNoWriMo meeting
22nd November work deadline
22nd November NaNoWriMo meeting
26th November work deadline
26th November doctor appointment
29th November NaNoWriMo meeting
1st December husband's birthday
3rd December work deadline
6th December NaNoWriMo meeting
8th December MRI scan
10th December work deadline
11th December NaNoWriMo finishing party
12th December Christmas market
17th December work deadline
19th December Christmas market
21st December work deadline
23rd December work deadline
23rd December Christmas parade
31st December writing contest deadline

24th December-4th January Christmas holiday
1st-4th January family visiting
4th January NaNoWriMo meeting
18th January doctor appointment

I was interviewed by :iconmattgallan:, read the interview in <a  href="radicalpuppy4.deviantart.com/j…">his journal.

:iconobenson: wrote a poem dedicated to my ASCII art. It's quite good too!

I've set up a discussion thread for my sociomedical essay series on my forum, please read it and contribute if you have any  opinions.

My stock diamondie-stock
Member of critiqueme fi
Supporting photo-class suture onewordatatime Lit-Source poeticks Reporters Activists ArtistsForCharity fotoFRIDAY WordCount LineCount litNEWS DisabilityArt fm-me-club

Website :bulletblue: My CFS/ME/FM book :bulletblue: Flickr :bulletblue: YouTube :bulletblue: Wishlist :bulletblue: Articles on Suite 101 :bulletblue: My novel: The Atlas Moth :bulletblue: Vegventures food blog
  • Listening to: CMX - I&auml;ti
  • Reading: Douglas Coupland: Player One
  • Eating: lentil carrot soup with red curry
  • Drinking: honeybush
Prose | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Poetry | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">ASCII art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Pixel art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Fractal art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Vector art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Digital paintings | Traditional art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Photography | Artisan crafts | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Emoticons | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Wallpapers | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Contest entries | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Seamless textures | Designs |<a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Tutorials | DeviantART Related | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">The rest

It definitely seems like dreams can come true, if you fight for them hard enough. In the last few months I got married, moved to Amsterdam and signed a contract for my newest novel (a cripfic, no less). Moving away from Finland was not merely a dream though, it was a necessity. But getting a contract for a novel is something I've dreamed about for no less 21 years. Writing a highly taboo-breaking novel about a girl in wheelchair is definitely not the easiest way to get published, but in my case I had as many as three small publishers interested in my manuscript. Wow. Marian ilmestyskirja/Maria's Book of Revelations has a blog/website too, though just in Finnish. If you can think of any publishers who might be interested in purchasing translation rights, I'm all ears. ;->

Living in Amsterdam has been really nice so far. We spent the first month in a huge and luxurious apartment near the Dam and now we have been living in our own place in Slotervaart (near Station Lelylaan, just six minutes from the Schiphol airport) for another month. I really like this part of the city. Everything you could need is nearby and it feels quiet and safe without being dead. I still have trouble grasping the fact that here I can eat high-quality fresh food every day, with prices often 1/2 to 1/10 of those in Finland.

NaNoWriMo starts again tomorrow and I'm writing another cripfic. I only have a contract for my previous novel, so there is no guarantee that this one will be published, but I think it's reasonable to expect that it probably will be. I've got a fairly decent amount of prose written compared to my usual pace. I've participated in seven writing contests this year, four with a longer piece (as in, hundreds of words) and three with a shorter one.  So far I haven't won anything but a honorary mention, but at least I can say that I am submitting something. I've even sent stuff to literary magazines, even if so far I've only got rejections (but I'm quite hopeful about one short story).

Recently I was a speaker at a medical conference again, at the Birmingham LDN conference. Terrible city, but the conference was fascinating and full of wonderful people. I also got a preliminary go-ahead for my next medical textbook, which I'll be writing next year. I've applied for a grant for it too, and chances are fairly good that I will get it. My CFS/ME/fibromyalgia book was recently reviewed (quite positively) in the journal of the Finnish society of anesthesiologists. Great to finally be able to help a large number of people!

Our wedding was at the end of August and was quite lovely. The ceremony was a civil one, of course, only attended by my little sister and some of our friends. After that all of us drove to a small town in the coast of Southern Finland and had dinner in the restaurant of a famous hotel (sadly their vegetarian food was not nearly as impressive as is claimed). We spent the night at the hotel and then took the bus home, where my little sister helped me cook and bake food for the actual wedding. We had about 20 friends attending (no family aside from my sister, as I had requested). The invitation said you didn't need to bring presents , but we did get a few, mostly chocolates and tea, and a pasta maker which I've been wanting for a long time.

The food was all vegan (obviously) and cooked by me, except for the blueberry pies which I had my grandma make because she makes better pies than anyone else. She was very suspicious of how they'd turn out with margarine and egg replacement, but they turned out just as delicious as usual. I think the savoury dishes, especially the caramelized onion pie and sesame green beans, might have even overshadowed the baked goods, though the wedding cake (chocolate and raspberry) was much praised - one guest even said it was the best chocolate cake he ever had. We had no special programme except for a short speech I gave, but I think everyone still had a great time. Luckily we had managed to find giraffe-printed paper plates and a giraffe guestbook, as a wedding without giraffes would be a sad thing.

Of course many things have gone wrong too, or failed. I had a health catastrophe the very next day after arriving in Amsterdam. My cooking show, filmed for an international TV channel, could not be aired due to production issues. They were hoping to reshoot it, but unfortunately that did not work out before my move. Sad, but one can't always win. I'm just damn happy to get to live here with my husband and to get to do what I love the most.

Current works

Works in progress
:bulletblue: novel #7
:bulletblue: a short story
:bulletblue: four haiku
:bulletblue: some other poems
:bulletblue: my sociomedical essay series

Works finished but not yet submitted
:bulletblue: a haiku
:bulletblue: two scifi drabbles
:bulletblue: four pieces of 55-word fiction
:bulletblue: four longer short stories
:bulletblue: nine ASCII pictures
:bulletblue: an acrylic painting
:bulletblue: a digital painting
:bulletblue: a whole bunch of photos

Works I wish to start in the near future
:bulletblue: some short stories
:bulletblue: several poems
:bulletblue: some crafts
:bulletblue: henna tattooing
:bulletblue: molding clay sculpture

Non-art/DA TODO (inconclusive)
:bulletblue: a new medical textbook
:bulletblue: medical articles
:bulletblue: articles about consumer electronics
:bulletblue: studying Dutch
:bulletblue: an eBook
:bulletblue: an LDN brochure
:bulletblue: some query letters and pitches
:bulletblue: content for my Finnish CFS/ME site

My preliminary schedule for the following months
1st-30th November NaNoWriMo
8th November NaNoWriMo meeting
11th November doctor appointment
15th November NaNoWriMo meeting
22nd November work deadline
22nd November NaNoWriMo meeting
26th November work deadline
26th November doctor appointment
29th November NaNoWriMo meeting
1st December husband's birthday
3rd December work deadline
6th December NaNoWriMo meeting
8th December MRI scan
10th December work deadline
11th December NaNoWriMo finishing party
12th December Christmas market
17th December work deadline
19th December Christmas market
21st December work deadline

23rd December work deadline
23rd December Christmas parade
24th December-4th January Christmas holiday
31st December writing contest deadline
1st-4th January family visiting
4th January NaNoWriMo meeting
18th January doctor appointment

I was interviewed by :iconmattgallan:, read the interview in <a  href="radicalpuppy4.deviantart.com/j…">his journal.

:iconobenson: wrote a poem dedicated to my ASCII art. It's quite good too!

I've set up a discussion thread for my sociomedical essay series on my forum, please read it and contribute if you have any  opinions.

My stock diamondie-stock
Member of critiqueme fi
Supporting photo-class suture onewordatatime Lit-Source poeticks Reporters Activists ArtistsForCharity fotoFRIDAY WordCount LineCount litNEWS DisabilityArt fm-me-club

Website :bulletblue: My CFS/ME/FM book :bulletblue: Flickr :bulletblue: YouTube :bulletblue: Wishlist :bulletblue: Articles on Suite 101 :bulletblue: My novel: The Atlas Moth :bulletblue: Vegventures food blog
  • Reading: Nasim Marie Jafry: The State of Me
  • Watching: The Aviator
  • Eating: &quot;pho&quot; with noodles, seaweed, lemongrass
  • Drinking: vanilla apple tea
Prose | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Poetry | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">ASCII art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Pixel art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Fractal art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Vector art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Digital paintings | Traditional art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Photography | Artisan crafts | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Emoticons | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Wallpapers | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Contest entries | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Seamless textures | Designs |<a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Tutorials | DeviantART Related | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">The rest

Life has been weird recently. I have been photographed and interviewed for a magazine, I have been talking about my book in radio (sadly it was my Twitter book, not my CFS/ME/fibromyalgia book), I have been cooking for an international TV channel (sadly the show will have to be reshot due to production issues). My new CFS/ME/FM book, out in May from Finn Lectura, received rave reviews from the #1 health blogger in Finland and the magazine of the Finnish anesthesiologist society has requested a review copy (anesthesiologists also treat chronic pain). I feel like a celebrity - just a celebrity that no one knows yet.

That's not the main reason for the weirdness yet. I'm currently waiting for the outcome of three separate things that, depending on the result, can change my future. If I luck out on all three, that fulfills two very long-standing dreams (and the third one means I hopefully won't die anytime in the near future). One of them has well over 50% odds for a good outcome; the rest are uncertain. Could I really be lucky enough to get these things? I certainly hope so. Do I feel like I deserve 3/3 good outcomes? Definitely! But life does not work like that.

Whatever happens with those three, my plans for the future include writing my novel #7, probably for NaNoWriMo, and a new medical textbook, this time a less technical one and for a larger audience. My publisher has already given it a preliminary approval, but I might also send a proposal to some larger publisher. I'm even going to apply for a grant this time and I am pretty hopeful I can get it (last year the institution I have in mind approved about 75% of grant requests).

In April I was a speaker at the low dose naltrexone conference in Glasgow. Great trip and a lot of interesting stuff learned.Currently I am working on my largest paid translation project so far: a somali learning textbook. Challenging but interesting. I also got a post at one of the largest translation agencies in the world, which has yielded some nice technical, medical and copywriting assignments.  I have got a new client for my medical articles, in Finnish, which is nice. I am also working on some ASCII pictures, which are turning out nicely, even if there's nothing really ground-breaking in them. Though I did win the ASCII compo at Blockparty with a picture that was quite creative, even if it turned out nothing like I wanted it. I've been writing some short stories, mostly scifi/speculative fiction.

On the downside, the hormonal problems are worsening pretty much fulminantly. My body deteriorates from week to week (from outwards; luckily my functionality is still good, despite a combination of shin splints, plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis, all complications of the hormonal issues) and an urgent referral for an endocrinologist to evaluate my hypopituitarism written by my doctor was turned into a non-urgent referral to an internist with a five-month waiting time (very reasonable with a problem with significant deterioration in just a week's time, don't you think?). This is how Finnish "health" "care" works.

Despite the health setbacks, I have my focus on my dreams and goals. One can always dream. This is how it looks like for this year so far, from a concrete viewpoint:

[/] get the hell out of Finland (of #1 importance) working on it
[X] finish my CFS/ME/FM book
[/] painting, doing other kinds of art
[/] write some non-drabble short stories wrote a ~500 word scifi piece, working on another scifi piece of a similar length, and a horror short story
[X] set up my new blog see Vegventures
[/] get on TV to talk about my book/Twitter nope, but I did get on the radio (and on a cooking show)
[/] more articles published in print magazines working on one assignment, more hopefully to come
[/] have a paper published in a medical journal wrote an excellent review article on myofascial trigger points for a pain journal which had never had anything on trigger points, despite them being the most common cause of pain - they sat on it for months and then decided they can't publish it since I'm not a doctor
[X] speak at the LDN conference in Scotland
[/] write another medical textbook (and get it published) will probably do this next year, but have to write a proposal and a grant application soon
[/] get novel #6 published working on it
[/] write novel #7 (or at least the first draft) I've got some notes jotted down, but nothing much yet
[/] learn more Dutch studied quite actively during the spring, but since April have lapsed
[_] learn the basics of Spanish and perhaps French haven't got the time yet
[/] become a magazine/newspaper/web columnist sent ~30 pitches, got a few maybe laters, will repitch in the fall

Current works

Works in progress
:bulletblue: plans for novel #7
:bulletblue: a horror short story
:bulletblue: four haiku
:bulletblue: some other poems
:bulletblue: my sociomedical essay series

Works finished but not yet submitted
:bulletblue: two scifi drabbles
:bulletblue: two pieces of 55-word fiction
:bulletblue: four longer short stories
:bulletblue: nine ASCII pictures
:bulletblue: some fractals
:bulletblue: an acrylic painting
:bulletblue: a digital painting
:bulletblue: a whole bunch of photos

Works I wish to start in the near future
:bulletblue: several poems
:bulletblue: some crafts
:bulletblue: henna tattooing
:bulletblue: molding clay sculpture

Non-art/DA TODO (inconclusive)
:bulletblue: a new blog
:bulletblue: a conference presentation
:bulletblue: a grant application
:bulletblue: some guest blog posts
:bulletblue: promoting my Finnish CFS/ME/fibromyalgia book
:bulletblue: Finnish translation of a language textbook
:bulletblue: blog posts for my Twitter book's website
:bulletblue: studying Dutch
:bulletblue: some query letters and pitches
:bulletblue: articles for several different websites and online publications
:bulletblue: content for my Finnish CFS/ME site
:bulletblue: some stuff for my website

My preliminary schedule for the following months
18th-19th September Jordaan festival
19th September Festival Amsterdam Duurzaam
23rd-29th September friend visiting
25th September de Craftymarkt
31st September work deadline
31st September grant application deadline
7th October work deadline
8th October moving house
14th October Het Grootste Sneeuwballengevecht van Nederland
23rd October Birmingham LDN conference

30th October Diwali in Amstelveen
31st October NaNoWriMo kickoff
1st-30th November NaNoWriMo
1st November NaNoWriMo meeting
8th November NaNoWriMo meeting
15th November NaNoWriMo meeting
22nd November NaNoWriMo meeting
29th November NaNoWriMo meeting
1st December husband's birthday

I was interviewed by :iconmattgallan:, read the interview in <a  href="radicalpuppy4.deviantart.com/j…">his journal.

:iconobenson: wrote a poem dedicated to my ASCII art. It's quite good too!

I've set up a discussion thread for my sociomedical essay series on my forum, please read it and contribute if you have any  opinions.

My stock diamondie-stock
Member of critiqueme fi
Supporting photo-class suture onewordatatime Lit-Source poeticks Reporters Activists ArtistsForCharity fotoFRIDAY WordCount LineCount litNEWS DisabilityArt fm-me-club

Website :bulletblue: My CFS/ME/FM book :bulletblue: Flickr :bulletblue: YouTube :bulletblue: Wishlist :bulletblue: Articles on Suite 101 :bulletblue: My novel: The Atlas Moth :bulletblue: Vegventures food blog
  • Listening to: Ismo Alanko - Onnellisuus
  • Reading: Albert Camus: The Plague
  • Eating: edamame burgers and sweet potato ginger salad
  • Drinking: green tea with lemongrass
Prose | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Poetry | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">ASCII art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Pixel art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Fractal art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Vector art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Digital paintings | Traditional art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Photography | Artisan crafts | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Emoticons | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Wallpapers | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Contest entries | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Seamless textures | Designs |<a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Tutorials | DeviantART Related | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">The rest

Yep, still stuck in Finland. unfortunately. This winter has been very harsh, resulting in a lot of houseboundness, for most of the last three months. Aas if living in Finland wasn't already traumatizing enough without being a prisoner in your own home. Luckily the winter seems to be mostly over now, and even with a few risky forays into cold weather for short periods I did not get gastroparesis once this winter. I really hope to be able to move soon, for this nightmare to be over. And I know I simply cannot tolerate another winter here, so I will have to go somewhere before the end of the year, whether I have a place to go to or not.

I'll turn 26 on Saturday. Still a bit hard to believe I've made it so far (well, considering how badly I've been doing I'm still not fully convinced I will see my 26th birthday, but at this point it is fairly likely). I haven't really slept for weeks, thanks to hypopituitarism. Currently my body thinks 5 AM is the optimal time to get up. As I'm severely hypoglycemic most of the time and often also severely dehydrated (both also due to deficiencies of pituitary hormones), my body is deprived of pretty much everything it needs, and it's hinting more and more strongly about impending resignation. :-P

I've mostly finished my novel #6, Marian ilmestyskirja or Maria's Book of Revelations and it should be off to the publishers next week. It is about otherness, both caused by disability and other things, experienced by a girl who is in wheelchair because of a chronic illness.  I am just worried that the theme is too offbeat - luckily I don't have to query agents nor do any elevator pitches, I can actually send a whole manuscript (this is how it works in Finland), but it doesn't guarantee it will be read, let alone bought.

I just checked the edited version of my CFS/ME/fibromyalgia treatment book today and it should be in the hands of typesetting/layout department later this week. However, I am still waiting for the foreword, which is a month late by now. Professors are very busy, but I hope he will finish it in time so that it can be included in the book. My Twitter book has been selling quite nicely and the first print run has almost sold out.

I haven't done any Twitter trainings since January and I've been underworked, but then again I've been very busy with these book projects. I haven't had any translation work for a while, but I got accepted into a British translation agency, so hopefully that will soon change. At the end of April I will be speaking at the low dose naltrexone conference in Glasgow, Scotland. I'm quite excited, as you can guess. I will probably also visit Aberdeen on this trip, so if you live in or nearby Glasgow or Aberdeen and want to meet, please get in touch!

As for other new projects, I've launched my food blog Vegventures, which ambitiously aims to cook vegan food from pretty much all cuisines of the world - not just the better-known ones like Mexican, Thai or Ethiopian. So far there have been dishes from e.g. Belize, Austria and Uruguay. I've also amassed loads of ideas for short stories, mostly scifi and mostly drabbles, but also some other stuff, which I'll be writing as soon as I get some other stuff underway. I recently submitted probably my best scifi drabble so far to a writing contest, the results will be out in a few weeks.

...Damn, that was the most boring and most boringly written journal entry ever, but will have to do.

Current works

Works in progress
:bulletblue: several ASCII pictures
:bulletblue: plans for novel #7
:bulletblue: a scifi short story
:bulletblue: a drabble
:bulletblue: a horror short story
:bulletblue: four haiku
:bulletblue: some other poems
:bulletblue: my sociomedical essay series

Works finished but not yet submitted
:bulletblue: a scifi short story
:bulletblue: two scifi drabbles
:bulletblue: 55-word fiction
:bulletblue: five ASCII pictures
:bulletblue: some fractals
:bulletblue: an acrylic painting
:bulletblue: a digital painting
:bulletblue: a whole bunch of photos

Works I wish to start in the near future
:bulletblue: several poems
:bulletblue: several short stories
:bulletblue: some crafts
:bulletblue: henna tattooing
:bulletblue: molding clay sculpture

Non-art/DA TODO (inconclusive)
:bulletblue: an article for a Finnish fitness magazine
:bulletblue: a book proposal
:bulletblue: a grant application
:bulletblue: some guest blog posts
:bulletblue: music reviews
:bulletblue: promoting my Finnish CFS/ME/fibromyalgia book
:bulletblue: Finnish translation of a language textbook
:bulletblue: blog posts for my Twitter book's website
:bulletblue: studying Dutch
:bulletblue: some query letters and pitches
:bulletblue: articles for several different websites and online publications
:bulletblue: content for my Finnish CFS/ME site
:bulletblue: some stuff for my website

My preliminary schedule for the following months
18th May publication date of my Finnish CFS/ME/FM book
19th May work deadline
21st May my book release party
22nd May Finnish social media meeting/conference
24th May magazine photoshoot
25th May meeting with my publicist
26th May meeting with a TV producer
27th May work deadline
28th May a graduation party
29th-30th May World Village festival
29th May theatre visit
30th May meeting with TV producers
31st May writing contest deadline
1st June work deadline
4th June work deadline
5th June forest party
6th June writing contest deadline
6th June shooting my cooking show
8th June work deadline
12nd June Reclaim The Streets
12nd June friend's birthday party
15th June work deadline

19th June party at friend's
30th June Altmag deadline
30th June social media meeting
3rd July Helsinki pride
9th July-8th August summer holiday
10th July friends' wedding
6th August work deadline
15th August writing contest deadline
20th August doctor appointment

I was interviewed by :iconmattgallan:, read the interview in <a  href="radicalpuppy4.deviantart.com/j…">his journal.

:iconobenson: wrote a poem dedicated to my ASCII art. It's quite good too!

I've set up a discussion thread for my sociomedical essay series on my forum, please read it and contribute if you have any  opinions.

My stock diamondie-stock
Member of critiqueme fi
Supporting photo-class suture onewordatatime Lit-Source poeticks Reporters Activists ArtistsForCharity fotoFRIDAY WordCount LineCount litNEWS DisabilityArt fm-me-club

Website :bulletblue: My CFS/ME/FM book :bulletblue: Flickr :bulletblue: YouTube :bulletblue: Wishlist :bulletblue: Articles on Suite 101 :bulletblue: My novel: The Atlas Moth :bulletblue: Vegventures food blog
  • Listening to: 123456780: Messiah
  • Reading: 1001 Ways To Market Your Book
  • Watching: Magneettimies
  • Eating: vegan sushi
  • Drinking: mead
Prose | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Poetry | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">ASCII art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Pixel art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Fractal art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Vector art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Digital paintings | Traditional art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Photography | Artisan crafts | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Emoticons | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Wallpapers | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Contest entries | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Seamless textures | Designs |<a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Tutorials | DeviantART Related | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">The rest

2009 has been a very difficult year, mostly because of new health problems. CFS/ME wise I'm doing well, but the hypopituitarism/adrenal insufficiency and the resulting trigger points have made life extremely difficult, resulting in immense pain, often not sleeping much at all for weeks (and problems resulting from that), muscle wasting and other, even worse forms of deformation - and of course being a prisoner in my home. There has been a lot of grieving for lost quality of life, lost function, lost abilities - things I will no longer be able to do. Sometimes coping has been very, very difficult. Already having a serious life-threatening and functionality-restricting illness doesn't make it easier to get additional ones. And I'm still being stuck in this hellhole of Finland, which in itself is equivalent of slow, painful death.

Luckily some good things have happened too, although fewer than in 2008. I failed to reach most of my goals for this year, but I don't feel like I really failed (much), except for my novel (after 20 years you tend to get a bit impatient). It's more like life threw me stuff I couldn't really foresee, so I still achieved many things that weren't on my list. Career-wise quite a lot of good things happened. Having my first book published by a proper (and well-respected) publisher was nice, as was signing the contract to have the Finnish version of my CFS/ME book published next year. A dream come true after years of work on that project.

2009 plans/goals

Original plans

[X] learning Dutch Could have made more progress on this front, but still it's going pretty OK.
[_] finishing my sociomedical essay collection Uh, not quite. I had planned to work on it in the fall, but the Twitter book screwed up my plans.
[/] a new awesome writing job (in the negotiation phases) Got it, but sadly it hasn't yielded me any after the first half of the year.
[_] get CFS/ME articles published in Finland Didn't succeed, but should have much better chance next year when my book comes out.
[/] paid photography gigs (bands, decoration etc) I had some photos published, including some photos of famous bands and artists, but by bands I had originally meant photographing bands for their websites or CD covers.
[/] self-publishing the English version of my novel #4 Done.
[X] writing novel #6 Still editing it, but yeah, I count this one as accomplished
[/] financial independency (one can always dream?) Not quite there, but got close, and could say I achieved this in May and December, if it makes sense.
[_] getting a publication deal for novel #5 (-"-) Judging from some of the non-form rejection letters I got it was very close, but sadly "very close" isn't enough.
[_] traveling to Great Britain Had to cancel this plan pretty early in the year.
[_] moving to the Netherlands Held out hope all the way until November, but no such luck.

Additional goals (from July)

[X] getting a book contract for the next Finnish version of my CFS/ME/FM book Succeeded.
[_] more medical copywriting assignments No, though ironically I did get an offer less than 24 hours after posting this - but I was on holiday so missed the opportunity.
[_] finish a few dozen poems Well, I almost finished one.
[X] avoid the swine flu Success.

Highlights of 2009

:bulletblue: the trip to the Netherlands (even though it further worsened my homesickness)
:bulletblue: publication of my Twitter book
:bulletblue: signing a publication deal for the Finnish version for my CFS/ME/FM treatment book
:bulletblue: winning NaNoWriMo for the second time
:bulletblue: new kinds of awesome job opportunities (e.g. medical copywriting and Twitter training - both for major impactful companies)
:bulletblue: my Italian friend fogbank visited Finland for the first time in three years
:bulletblue: trips to our summer cabin
:bulletblue: Altparty
:bulletblue: getting to interview my favorite band
:bulletblue: inosine and tyrosine (improved functionality on some fronts)

Bad things

:bulletblue: not getting the hell out of Finland
:bulletblue: myofascial trigger points
:bulletblue: adrenal insufficiency worsening
:bulletblue: other complications of hypopituitarism
:bulletblue: not getting a publication deal for novel #5
:bulletblue: not getting a great job I really could have used, was qualified for and thought I'd get (openings like this crop up once in 3-5 years at most)
:bulletblue: friends being very ill (e.g. one of my very few friends who wasn't disabled got epilepsy and lost his job as a result, another one who had previously only had mild CFS/ME got gravely ill and spent weeks in a hospital, still very ill despite tens of thousands of euros spent on various intravenous medications and therapies - luckily he's still alive, at least)

2010 plans/goals

:bulletblue: get the hell out of Finland (of #1 importance)
:bulletblue: finish my CFS/ME/FM book
:bulletblue: finish my essay collection (I've been working on it since 2004, so it really should be actually finished some time)
:bulletblue: painting, doing other kinds of art (I don't think I did any acrylic painting in 2009, whoops)
:bulletblue: write some non-drabble short stories
:bulletblue: set up my new blog (was supposed to do this at the end of 2009, but ran out of time)
:bulletblue: get on TV to talk about my book/Twitter
:bulletblue: more articles published in print magazines
:bulletblue: have a paper published in a medical journal
:bulletblue: speak at the LDN conference in Scotland (pretty much confirmed)
:bulletblue: write another medical textbook (and get it published)
:bulletblue: get novel #6 published
:bulletblue: write novel #7 (or at least the first draft)
:bulletblue: get a column in a newspaper, magazine or a major website
:bulletblue: learn more Dutch
:bulletblue: learn the basics of Spanish and perhaps French

Of course, solving the hypopituitarism/trigger points problem would be quite nice, but not a realistic goal and the former list only contains realistic goals.

Hope everyone (out of the about three people reading this) has/had great holidays and a great new year!

P.S. Fuckings to DA admins who still haven't fixed the bugs in journal HTML. Considering the speed at which they usually fix bugs it might just be finished by 2015.

EDIT: P.P.S. More fuckings to DA admins for introducing even more spectacular bugs into the journal code parser, forcing me to stop using HTML tags.

Current works

Works in progress
:bulletblue: a painting
:bulletblue: editing novel #6
:bulletblue: a scifi drabble
:bulletblue: a horror short story
:bulletblue: four haiku
:bulletblue: my sociomedical essay series
:bulletblue: some poems

Works finished but not yet submitted
:bulletblue: a scifi drabble
:bulletblue: 55-word fiction
:bulletblue: five ASCII pictures
:bulletblue: some fractals
:bulletblue: an acrylic painting
:bulletblue: a digital painting
:bulletblue: a whole bunch of photos

Works I wish to start in the near future
:bulletblue: plans for novel #7
:bulletblue: an ASCII picture
:bulletblue: some poems
:bulletblue: some crafts
:bulletblue: henna tattooing
:bulletblue: molding clay sculpture

Non-art/DA TODO (inconclusive)
:bulletblue: a musician interview
:bulletblue: blog posts for my book's website
:bulletblue: the new Finnish version of my CFS/ME/FM book
:bulletblue: a new blog
:bulletblue: studying Dutch
:bulletblue: a medical study/presentation
:bulletblue: some query letters and pitches
:bulletblue: articles for several different websites and online publications
:bulletblue: content for my Finnish CFS/ME site
:bulletblue: some stuff for my website

My preliminary schedule for the following months
31st January medical paper deadline
5th February interview gig
8th February tweetup
8th February record release party
28th February book manuscript deadline
7th March friend's birthday party
9th March freelancer meeting

25th March Twestival Helsinki
3rd April my birthday
23rd-24th April LDN conference



I was interviewed by :iconmattgallan:, read the interview in <a  href="radicalpuppy4.deviantart.com/j…">his journal.

:iconobenson: wrote a poem dedicated to my ASCII art. It's quite good too!

I've set up a discussion thread for my sociomedical essay series on my forum, please read it and contribute if you have any  opinions.



My stock diamondie-stock
Member of critiqueme fi
Supporting photo-class suture onewordatatime Lit-Source poeticks Reporters Activists ArtistsForCharity fotoFRIDAY WordCount LineCount litNEWS DisabilityArt fm-me-club

Website :bulletblue: My CFS/ME/FM book :bulletblue: Flickr :bulletblue: YouTube :bulletblue: Wishlist :bulletblue: Articles on Suite 101 :bulletblue: My novel: The Atlas Moth :bulletblue: Vegventures food blog
  • Listening to: Tori Amos - Midwinter Graces
  • Reading: Albert Camus - The Stranger
  • Playing: Wii Fit Plus
  • Eating: pomegranate-roasted tempeh
  • Drinking: white tea
Prose | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Poetry | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">ASCII art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Pixel art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Fractal art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Vector art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Digital paintings | Traditional art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Photography | Artisan crafts | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Emoticons | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Wallpapers | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Contest entries | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Seamless textures | Designs |<a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Tutorials | DeviantART Related | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">The rest

Our trip to the Netherlands was splendid. If you want to see some pictures, go here. Now we are still stuck in Finland, unfortunately, though we are working hard to change that as soon as possible. It is already so cold that in a few weeks I may be housebound for up to five months, provided that we can't get out of here before that (a truly terrifying thought - being a prisoner despite having committed no crimes sucks). My Dutch studies are going pretty well: it seems that despite the brain damage and learning disabilities I have from CFS/ME I can learn pretty much as well as anyone with proper pedagogic.



My Twitter book is currently being printed and is going to be out some time early November from the Finnish academic publisher Finn Lectura. It is titled "Näin käytät Twitteriä" (How to use Twitter) and is the first Finnish book about Twitter. It's not only a technical guide to using Twitter and the related web services and applications, but also has a lot of information on why to do it and how to do it for different groups of people, such as companies, non-profits, journalists, teachers, travelers, hobbyists etc. The company has also preliminarily agreed to publish the next Finnish version of my CFS/ME and fibromyalgia treatment book next year. This will hopefully mean much more media attention for CFS/ME in Finland where it is almost completely unknown and officially does not even exist.

Alas, I haven't had success in getting my novel Elinkelpoinen (Viable) published, although rejection letters are still trickling in, so a little hope remains. One publisher even sent me a non-form rejection letter saying they had read the manuscript several times and really like it, but the theme of the book would be too difficult to market especially in the recession. Obviously I've had my fair share of rejection letters in my life, but that was a pretty tough one, realizing how close I came to fulfilling the dream I've been working towards for 20 years now. I made my first submission to a literary journal this week. If you wonder why I haven't done that earlier, it's because I rarely write fiction that isn't ultrashort or a novel, and there are very few Finnish literary magazines (that aren't devoted to scifi and fantasy). I probably should try to submit to haiku journals some time.

After completing NaNoWriMo last year I promised myself I'd never do it again unless a) I'd write in English (in Finnish the task is up to 50% bigger) and/or b) I was in a better shape health-wise. Now it looks like I will be doing NaNo again, blaming b). Thanks to inosine I tell myself I'm in a better shape than last year. Regarding CFS/ME that is true, though in the past year my adrenal insufficiency has got much worse and probably as a result of the former I've also developed myofascial pain syndrome (which is supposedly a "regional" problem, but in my case I have hundreds of trigger points all over my body - and they can do much more than just cause pain). Together these two illnesses create even more problems than the CFS/ME, but in a way I am still healthier than last year.

Later this week I will be going to Altparty, my favorite demoparty. This year's theme is Cyberpunk and they have some really cool stuff this year, including awesome music, so if you are in Finland or nearby you should definitely consider participating. I am also participating in the art exhibition, which will be my third one. I have two loosely cyberpunk-themed artworks: a traditional collage sculpture and an ASCII art/traditional art mixed media piece. :->

This week is also low dose naltrexone (LDN) awareness week. If you don't know what LDN is, you should look into it. This inexpensive and safe prescription drug saved my life by stopping the progression of my CFS/ME 2.5 years ago and letting me regain quite a bit of previously lost function. And why should it matter to you? Because LDN can help a lot more than just CFS/ME, including (but not limited to) autoimmune, neurodegenerative and gynecological conditions, most cancers, HIV/AIDS and other chronic infections (from Lyme to hepatitis C), fibromyalgia, IBS and migraines. If that sounds too good to be true and you're willing to to label it as yet another "altie" hoax panacea, see the large list of scientific references I've collected related to LDN treatment.

P.S. You can still buy The Atlas Moth!



Current works

Works in progress
  • editing novel #6
    • a horror short story
      • three haiku
        • my sociomedical essay series
          • a few poems


          Works finished but not yet submitted
          • an ASCII/mixed media piece
            • a scifi drabble
              • a typographic picture
                • 55-word fiction
                  • five ASCII pictures
                    • some fractals
                      • an acrylic painting
                        • a digital painting
                          • a whole bunch of photos


                          Works I wish to start in the near future
                          • some poems
                            • some crafts
                              • henna tattooing
                                • molding clay sculpture


                                Non-art/DA TODO (inconclusive)
  • Listening to: Cleaning Women - U
  • Reading: Erlend Loe: Muleum
  • Watching: Skagerrak
  • Playing: Wii Fit Plus
  • Eating: vegetarian ajam pangang
  • Drinking: honeybush tea
Prose | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Poetry | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">ASCII art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Pixel art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Fractal art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Vector art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Digital paintings | Traditional art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Photography | Artisan crafts | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Emoticons | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Wallpapers | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Contest entries | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Seamless textures | Designs |<a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Tutorials | DeviantART Related | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">The rest

I've signed a book contract with a Finnish academic publisher. The book should be out later this year. Sadly it's not for a novel nor a medical textbook, but it's a subject pretty close to my heart (which I'll reveal in a few months). Also, the publisher is possibly interested in publishing the next Finnish version of my CFS/ME/fibromyalgia treatment book, which would of course be great. In general I believe I will probably be writing other books for them. Writing books - especially in Finnish - is not something to get rich with, but I think there are worse ways to spend your time. I still plan to write novel #6 this year. It might be NaNoWriMo or it might not. I promised myself I'll never do NaNo again unless a) I do it in English (about 1/3 less work) or b) I'm in a better shape. Now I seem to be in a better shape thanks to inosine, but who knows how I'll be come November.

In other good news, I'll be traveling to the Netherlands tomorrow. It's great to be going home - I just hope our housesitter won't kill off too many of our 75+ plants. Sadly it's not yet permanent, but hopefully we will move there later this year. It mostly depends on whether my boyfriend can find a job there. He has already started applying. It's funny - when I was finishing Reviving the Broken Marionette I was also moving house at the same time. Not a good idea and probably a prime reason why my adrenal insufficiency soon later got much worse. I swore to never do it again. Now I might be moving to another country while finishing a book. Heh. Hope the move won't happen until slightly later.

The summer has been pretty decent. My Italian BFF fogbank was here for ten days and we did all kinds of fun stuff, like going to our summer cabin. Sadly I haven't been able to go to any forest parties yet. A few park parties but nothing special. Reclaim the Streets was great as always, although it probably triggered my median tibial syndrome (shin splints), which is a complication of my adrenal insufficiency and will probably never heal as long as I have that (read: for at least many more years). I've finished quite a lot of artworks recently: two ASCII pictures (for Evoke and Buenzli), a digital painting and a pixel picture (for Assembly) and two mixed media pieces (collage sculpture and ASCII art/traditional art mixed media) which will hopefully be accepted into the exhibition at Altparty. How have I got so productive? Well, deadlines help a lot with that...

Now that over half of the year is already gone, let's take a look at the plans I jotted down at the end of last year.

  • learning Dutch Uh, working on this. I started studying a few months ago, but had to keep a pause and considering the neurological problems I have, I have already forgotten most of what I learned. I do wish I'd have had the chance to study more before this trip.
    • finishing my sociomedical essay collection Kind of working on this. At least in thinking... Haven't got much writing done. Have to get it done by the end of the year - the project was started in 2004, after all.
      • a new awesome writing job (in the negotiation phases) Got this, though it hasn't yielded as much work as I wished. However, it seems I didn't get another, much more awesome job, even though they were very impressed with my application (especially my versatility) and the interview went well.
        • get CFS/ME articles published in Finland Still working on this... If I get the contract for my CFS/ME/FM book it would greatly improve my chances.
          • paid photography gigs (bands, decoration etc) Not yet, though I've had some band photos published in the Qstock magazine (as far as I know, still haven't got my copy). Was hoping to start doing wedding photography this summer, but the worsening adrenal insufficiency made it necessary to cancel this plan. Would have paid very well. :-|
            • self-publishing the English version of my novel #4 Done.
              • writing novel #6 Plans are underway and I've already done quite a bit of research.
                • financial independency (one can always dream?) Well, I've earned enough money for that in two months this year. Better than nothing.
                  • getting a publication deal for novel #5 (-"-) Still waiting to hear from about 20 publishers.
                    • traveling to Great Britain Had to cancel this plan. Hopefully next year. I may be speaking at the LDN conference in Scotland next spring.
                      • moving to the Netherlands Working on this.


                      New plans:

                      • getting a book contract for the next Finnish version of my CFS/ME/FM book
                        • more medical copywriting assignments Did two in the spring and while it is a bit like wh*ring, it pays well, is interesting and offers a good match to my skills and experience
                          • finish a few dozen poems I haven't actually finished a non-haiku poem for years, but I have almost 50 poem ideas drafted up. Just have to refigure out how to write poetry, like I've been trying to do for a few years. Or alternatively, I'll just have to publish a DYI poem anthology...
                            • avoid the swine flu Might sound like a joke, but I'm serious. Even the ordinary flu is life-threatening to me due to my immune deficiencies, adrenal insufficiency and other problems, so I'd rather not experience H1N1. Hopefully Siberian ginseng and plentiful doses of vitamin D will keep me safe.

                              P.S. 18 people in my DA poll said that they'd consider buying The Atlas Moth and 10 said "it depends on what it's about". However, I haven't sold that many copies yet, so maybe you should consider it again if you're among those people! ;->

                              Current works

                              Works in progress
                              • three haiku
                                • plans for novel #6
                                  • my sociomedical essay series
                                    • a few poems


                                    Works finished but not yet submitted
                                    • an ASCII/mixed media piece
                                      • a collage sculpture
                                        • two scifi drabbles
                                          • a typographic picture
                                            • 55-word fiction
                                              • five ASCII pictures
                                                • some fractals
                                                  • an acrylic painting
                                                    • a digital painting
                                                      • three pixel pictures
                                                        • a whole bunch of photos


                                                        Works I wish to start in the near future
                                                        • some poems
                                                          • novel #6
                                                            • some crafts
                                                              • henna tattooing
                                                                • molding clay sculpture


                                                                Non-art/DA TODO (inconclusive)
  • Listening to: Keramick &amp; Lobo - The Braille
  • Reading: Every Patient Tells A Story
  • Watching: Anklaget (Accused)
  • Eating: pasta with asparagus pesto
  • Drinking: honeybush tea
diamondie's novel The Atlas Moth is out as of today, May 18th. The book is somewhat of a "joint effort" between different DA members, as it was edited by obenson and the cover design is by Shurakai-Zero. So what is it about? As the back cover describes it: "Infused with black humor, The Atlas Moth is an unsurvival story about death, Chinese checkers and butterfly collections and how they all tie together."

"There is no reason to put things off for any longer. Everything feels so natural. In fact I can hardly wait. I should learn patience, it's a shame there's no time for that."

Compared to other twenty-somethings Piia's life is centered on quite different matters. She is only interested in death and the closest you get to it is by sleeping without dreams. On the other hand Piia's best friend Venla wants to live until one hundred. There's only a year left until that, but Piia doesn't plan to be around that long.

On online forums Piia gets to discuss her favorite topic. She finds new friends all over the world, even a few in her home country, Finland. These very different people are united by one thing: their desire to die. Piia's old friends' affairs make her even more convinced that life is not for her. Sometimes, things just don't work out the way they were planned.

:thumb120390015:

The Atlas Moth
written by Maija Haavisto
release date 5/18/2009
price €11.90/$14.97
paperback, 5.83" x 8.26" (A5)
133 pages
Cover design: Stephen Caissie
ISBN: 978-1-4092-7281-6

:bulletblue: The Atlas Moth website
Prose | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Poetry | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">ASCII art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Pixel art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Fractal art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Vector art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Digital paintings | Traditional art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Photography | Artisan crafts | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Emoticons | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Wallpapers | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Contest entries | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Seamless textures | Designs |<a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Tutorials | DeviantART Related | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">The rest

Today is again the CFS/ME/fibromyalgia awareness day. I'll ramble on for a while and the CFS/ME awareness journal starts below the blue ribbon, as usual.

So far this year really has been the suckiest one in many years. First the myofascial pain syndrome, which means that I cannot spend another winter in Finland, unless I want to spend up to five months mostly housebound, which isn't my idea of fun. Then in late March my adrenal insufficiency flared up. Normally these flares last 1-2 weeks, but this one is still on ...which probably means it is not a flare but the permanent new state of my life. I've had a really hard time adjusting to it, the constant ravenous hunger, muscles being so tense that even my toes cramp up (despite several muscle relaxants) and the idea that any stress can kill me. It's funny how you can be theoretically adjusted to one chronic condition, yet a new one puts you through the same process of not willing to accept your life. Yet life must go on, somehow, even if it's now a life of suckiness.

At least one front keeps on going well, which is writing. I'm still waiting to hear from Finnish publishers about my new novel manuscript (only got one rejection so far, about 30 submissions altogether) and I haven't got much other creative writing done lately, but that will hopefully change. I've been doing some medical copywriting work for overseas ad agencies, which is quite exciting. Recently I translated a movie and have been working on my first SEO gig. Work is pretty much all the excitement there currently is to my life, sadly, which is why I try to focus on it unnecessarily heavily. I have no plans for the summer, except for trying not to die of the heat, which is fairly boring as far as plans go. Hopefully fogbank will come to visit me, otherwise I have no idea what I'll do. At some point I'll hopefully start writing my next novel, but not sure when.

Today is also the launch date of the Creative for a Second Art Tour in Australia, an art exhibition for spreading CFS/ME awareness. It's the second art exhibition I'm participating in. It's a shame I can't attend it in person, but maybe some of you can?

My novel The Atlas Moth will be available on the 18th of May.



25 things you didn't know about CFS/ME(or at least some of you didn't)

See also my newest CFS/ME interview: Wash it away.

1. The proper scientific name of CFS/ME, myalgic encephalomyelitis, means inflammation of the brain and spinal cord causing pain. This name has been in use since the 1950s.

2. There have been dozens of CFS/ME epidemics on at least four different continents - some of them affecting hundreds of people in a single hospital. The most famous ones have been in the United States, the United Kingdom and Iceland. The CDC was called to inspect the Lake Tahoe epidemic in the 1980s, but the inspectors were more interested in the local casinos and skiing resorts (this is all very well documented in the book Osler's Web). The CDC has since classified CFS/ME as a "number one priority infectious illness", yet in practice this has had very little effect.

3. Former/older names for CFS/ME include atypical polio, epidemic neuromyasthenia (myasthenia = muscle weakness) and low natural killer cell disease (LNKS, in Japan). There are dozens of other, now obsolete names, mostly based on locations where epidemics have taken place (e.g. Tapanui flu, Akureyri disease and Royal Free disease).

4. CFS/ME can affect children. The youngest reported CFS/ME patient has been a six-month old baby. It is thought that animals (e.g. cats, dogs and horses) can also get CFS/ME.

5. In fact, CFS/ME has been found to be the most common reason for long-term school absences in children in the UK (likely also elsewhere, but it hasn't been studied).

6. Laura Hillenbrand, author of the bestselling book Seabiscuit, has CFS/ME. She wrote the book mostly lying down in bed and relapsed badly afterwards. She has written an excellent article sharing her story.

7. Naomi Weisstein is a neuroscientist, author, professor of psychology and feminist. She fell ill with CFS/ME in 1980 and overexhausted herself, trying to get over the illness with exercise. She's been bedbound for 25 years.

8. Many viruses have been connected to CFS/ME, including parvovirus B19, herpesviruses, enteroviruses and retroviruses (the group of viruses that also includes HIV). Antiherpesvirals can be very helpful, even curative, but enteroviruses are difficult to treat. Some doctors have had success with interferons. Parvovirus B19 appears to respond well to intravenous immunoglobulin.

9. The symptoms of CFS/ME can resemble those of MS, AIDS and many other conditions. "I have treated more than 2,000 AIDS and CFS patients in my career. And the CFS patients are MORE sick and MORE disabled every single day than my AIDS patients are, except for the last two months of life!" is a famous quote from Dr. Marc Loveless, an infectious disease specialist. "We've documented, as have others, that the level of functional impairment in people who suffer from CFS is comparable to multiple sclerosis, AIDS, end-stage renal failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease", CDC's William Reeves has said. "I've seen patients paralysed, dying Aids victims, starving children... but I've never seen anyone as ill as Lynn" is what journalist Gill Swain said about Lynn, a woman with CFS/ME who spent 16 years bedbound and recently died.

10. CFS/ME is about three times more common than MS (with an estimated prevalence of about 0.5%), but equally severe (or even more so, because it can affect any organ system). Yet CFS/ME gets only a tiny fraction of the research money that MS gets (this year CFS research gets $4 million from the CDC and MS gets $173 million - over 40 times as much, even though MS has been well treatable with LDN for a long time) and there are no high-profile fundraising events (like walks or races).

11. Some doctors think CFS/ME is a viral infection of the heart. Others believe the cardiac problems are caused by mitochondrial dysfunction. What is known is that cardiac problems are extremely common (I have valvular damage and suspected myocarditis from CFS/ME).

12. There are no FDA-approved drugs (or EMEA-approved for that matter) for CFS/ME, even though there are hundreds of drugs that can be helpful in the treatment of the illness (my book features over 250 options). The first official one, an immunostimulant/antiviral called Ampligen which is given intravenously, may receive FDA approval in a few weeks. It has been studied in CFS/ME since the 1980s.

13. Fatigue is a poor descriptor for the experience of CFS/ME patients (and "tiredness" has nothing to do it - even though some patients also suffer from excessive tiredness). It is more like weakness and can be so severe as to essentially be a form of paralysis. It is only one of dozens of possible symptoms and may not even be the worst one.

14. About 25% of patients are thought to have severe CFS/ME. Some of the most severe patients are completely bedbound and may be unable to eat or speak or even recognize their family members. Most of them are in constant agonizing pain and usually have problems tolerating any sensory input.

15. In many countries it is impossible to get on disability for CFS/ME - even if you're completely immobile and have hundreds of abnormal test results. Even in those countries where it is possible, it is often extremely difficult.

16. Many prestigious medical journals refuse to publish any studies about CFS/ME - unless the study attempts to show it is a psychiatric/psychosomatic illness (or "psychosocial construct").

17. CFS/ME can begin very suddenly - one day you're fine, the next day you're so sick you're unable to do anything at all, and it's not going away. Sometimes the onset is almost like a lightning strike, as in Laura Hillenbrand's case (see #6).

18. The most universally effective treatment for CFS/ME is rest.

19. CFS/ME causes brain damage visible in MRI scans in about half of the patients (yep, yours truly included), yet this evidence is often dismissed, even when the locations of the lesions correlate with the symptoms. SPECT scans of the brain show even more staggering abnormalities, often suggestive of stroke.

20. It is often assumed that CFS/ME only affects people who "can afford to get sick". Yet a study done in Nigeria found that CFS/ME actually appears to be more common in that developing country than the United States.

21. The most common thing that worsens CFS/ME is exercise. It can worsen symptoms for days, weeks or even months, and often the relapse is delayed by 24 hours or more. Mental exertion can also cause significant relapses.

22. Despite this, exercise is commonly recommended as a therapy for CFS/ME, even though it has killed people and put patients in wheelchairs. How would you feel if you were chronically ill and the most commonly recommended treatment was not only deleterious, but could kill you? (The same doctor who first diagnosed my likely myocarditis - but didn't tell me about it - told me to exercise more. Usually patients with an infection of the heart muscle are not advised to exercise.)

23. Of the two most commonly recommended treatments for CFS/ME, one (cognitive psychotherapy or CBT) is pretty much useless and the other one (graded exercise therapy or GET) is dangerous. There are no official recommendations for other treatments despite many studies supporting their efficacy.

24. Other things that can cause relapses (mild or severe, depending on the person) include heat, cold, noise, light, electromagnetic fields, infections, anaesthesia, medications, dehydration, standing upright (sometimes even sitting), many foods (some patients become intolerant to most or all even foods), alcohol, chemical exposure, changes in weather, allergies and altitudes. A relapse can last days, weeks, months or even years.

25. CFS/ME can kill by several ways, such as opportunistic infections, cancer, organ failure and sudden cardiac death. With some types of B cell lymphomas CFS/ME can increase the risk 1,000-fold.

:bulletblue: CFS awareness day journal 2005
:bulletblue: CFS awareness day journal 2006
:bulletblue: CFS awareness day journal 2007
:bulletblue: CFS/ME awareness day journal 2008

Current works

Works in progress
  • three ASCII pictures
    • a pixel picture
      • a digital painting
        • plans for novel #6
          • a short story
            • my sociomedical essay series
              • editing some old poems
                • a few poems


                Works finished but not yet submitted
                • two scifi drabbles
                  • a typographic picture
                    • 55-word fiction
  • Listening to: CMX - Kiusaajien kiusaaja
  • Reading: Elizabeth McClung: Zed
  • Eating: pecan walnut balls, roasted eggplant and marinara
  • Drinking: homemade herbal ice tea
Prose | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Poetry | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">ASCII art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Pixel art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Fractal art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Vector art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Digital paintings | Traditional art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Photography | Artisan crafts | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Emoticons | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Wallpapers | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Contest entries | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Seamless textures | Designs |<a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Tutorials | DeviantART Related | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">The rest

Yep, I have finally started studying Dutch to prepare for the plans to hopefully move to the Netherlands. The brain damage from CFS/ME makes it very difficult to learn new things, but I can still learn stuff if it's based on something I already know (which has enabled me to study medicine, as well). The fact that I studied German for two years a very long time ago helps tremendously - even before my studies I could read Dutch and understand most of it, even without a dictionary. The Dutch grammar is very similar to German, but much less insane, because they deliberately simplified it. Thanks, Dutch. :-> Now, if I could learn to understand spoken Dutch and speak it myself...

I turn 25 today. I'm trying to make it into a bigger deal than it really is. I'm happy that I don't have to spend my birthday alone and sick in bed, as I've spent most of my last ten birthdays, but it could be better. I was supposed to go to a psy party today, but unfortunately my adrenal insufficiency flared up badly last weekend. The smallest stress (including exertion and heat) could kill me. Adrenal insufficiency really sucks. It makes me hungry all the time and when my cortisol goes too low, I feel depressed, anxious and like crying about the smallest things. Those of you who have PMS know how it feels (in fact PMS symptoms are most likely also caused by low cortisol).

It's like I can never get on top of my illness(es). At the beginning of the year I got a new companion called myofascial pain syndrome (MPS). I went out not wearing enough clothes and froze my back (it wasn't frostbite or anything, I was only slightly underclothed). This resulted in extreme back and stomach pain for several weeks. At times the pain was so bad I couldn't do anything but cry. No, painkillers don't help. I tried acupuncture, which is pretty much the only effective treatment for MPS, and it didn't help much. The muscle relaxant I use, baclofen, helps a bit, but it still takes up to a week for the pain to clear up if I get cold. No matter how many clothes I wear, I can no longer go out if it's below -0C (even that requires five layers of warm clothing), except for extremely short periods, a few minutes at most. We have a bus stop in the front of the house so I've been able to gamble a bit, but mostly I've been "grounded" for the past three months. I can tell you that it sucks.

So, staying in Finland would mean, besides all the other nightmareish aspects of which there are loads, that I may be "grounded" for up to five months of the year. It's already bad enough to live here, now it's a real hell. I really hope we can move to the Netherlands before next winter. If not, I'll have to come up with other plans, like staying abroad on my own. As I only make about 200-400 euros a month, there's no way I can pay rent anywhere in Europe. So, any takers for a temporary housemate next winter? I am a very good cook. ;-P My boyfriend (who works for Nokia Siemens) was actually asked to move to China. My first thought was "Why not?" but unfortunately it wouldn't solve the climate problem and it would be extremely polluted there. I'd also be worried about getting all my meds and supplements. So sadly, no moving to China.

So, there's been a lot of suckiness, as living with a disability (and living in Finland) and of course life in general often entails, but at least on the work front I'm still going upwards. I posted my resume on my website in February and didn't think much would come out of it, but I've in fact got several great job offers thanks to it. For a while I've been moving towards more and more copywriting. The media is doing poorly, but copywriting is still thriving. Medical copywriting might just be my own "niche" - I won't be dropping scientific writing any time soon, but have to think about money as well. The music magazine I work for is also presenting some cool opportunities. Last year I got to interview Front 242 and this year I'll probably get to talk to Ismo Alanko and CMX. If you're not a Finn you probably don't know those names, but they're very well-known in Finland and CMX is also my favorite band.

As for my other writing, I've pretty much finished my fifth novel manuscript Meioosi (Meiosis) which I originally wrote for NaNoWriMo last year. It will be sent to publishers next week (we don't use agents in Finlands and we actually send full manuscripts straight to publishers). It's a story about life extension, living to your full potential and living many different lives during one lifetime. I've grown very fond of it and its characters and obviously I'm hoping it will find a publisher. If not, well, that sucks, but then I'll just have to devote my energy to my next novel, which I'm already planning. If it goes according to my plans, it will have a heavy focus on disability.

My previous novel The Atlas Moth will be available in English in May. obenson has helped me edit and polish it. As the back cover puts it, "Infused with black humor, The Atlas Moth is an unsurvival story about death, Chinese checkers and butterfly collections and how they all tie together." The book will have its own website some time very soon, where you will find more information about it. I will also be posting a news article.

P.S. One thing that has kept me out of DA recently is the quality (or the lack of it) of DDs. Sure, there are still some amazing masterpieces featured, but also a lot of mediocre pieces, junk, blatant rips and stuff that's featured for  very wrong reasons. E.g. some months ago there was a mediocre stamp featured simply because of its disgusting anti-human right message. I wouldn't be surprised if the same bigoted admin featured a stamp saying "I don't support gays and lesbians". Recently the joke of a Text Art GD who doesn't know what ASCII art is featured a piece (probably more than just one) from the ASCII gallery which had nothing to do with ASCII art. It's really sad that the DA admins have turned this beautiful form of fine art into a joke. The only requirement for becoming a GD for Text Art seems to be breathing (and approval of the DA core admins' policy of being anti human rights but pro lies, abuse and libel). I'm getting more and more sure there'll soon be a Photography GD who has never taken a photo in his/her life and who'll feature webcam snapshots and drawings of stickmen miscategorized to the photography gallery?

Current works

Works in progress
  • content for CFS/ME awareness day
    • a digital painting
      • the English translation of my novel #4
        • editing novel #5
          • a short story
            • my sociomedical essay series
              • editing some old poems
                • a few poems


                Works finished but not yet submitted
                • a typographic picture
                  • 55-word fiction
                    • four ASCII pictures
                      • some fractals
                        • an acrylic painting
                          • a digital painting
                            • two pixel pictures
                              • a whole bunch of photos


                              Works I wish to start in the near future
  • Listening to: Grendel - Harsh Generation
  • Reading: Vladimir Nabokov: Lolita
  • Watching: Madventures
  • Eating: pasta with walnut sauce
  • Drinking: green tea with ginger syrup
Prose | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Poetry | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">ASCII art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Pixel art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Fractal art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Vector art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Digital paintings | Traditional art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Photography | Artisan crafts | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Emoticons | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Wallpapers | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Contest entries | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Seamless textures | Designs |<a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Tutorials | DeviantART Related | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">The rest

First, My Christmas Plea

Most of you are probably buying or have already bought truckloads of stuff to give as gifts. The truth is that most of us have way too much stuff as it is (I know I do), and most of us get gifts that have been bought for the sake of giving a gift, which will be left to collect dust somewhere in the shelf.

This Christmas (or Chanukkah or Kwanzaah), do something different. Volunteer somewhere if you can, but if you can't, at least do something. Bake a pie for the neighbour who lost his job, or for the teacher whose wife has cancer. Donate blood (it always runs short during the holidays!) add yourself to a bone marrow donation register, buy a goat for a developing country through the website of a charity organization, or donate food to a local shelter or gift a stranger - I'd recommend this extraordinary woman who makes a difference to many others herself. Of course you can do all of this whether it's Christmas or not, but the holiday is a good excuse.

I would greatly appreciate it if you could donate a little to the National CFIDS Foundation, which performs the most groundbreaking CFS/ME research. Currently CFS/ME only gets a small fraction of the research money that e.g. MS gets, despite being equally serious, up to five times as common, sometimes infectious and affecting many small children, sometimes even entire families. We, the millions of people with CFS/ME (of which an estimated 25% is too sick to leave their homes and as many as 10% die of the illness), would be very grateful.

Highlights of my year

  • moving together with my boyfriend (only had to wait over 8 years...)
    • finishing my 346-page medical textbook
      • self-publishing a novel for the first time
        • participating in my first art exhibition
          • Front 242, CMX and Bon Jovi gigs
            • my first ASCII animated short film
              • my art featured in a book
                • some new regular writing jobs
                  • my first translation gigs
                    • my first international freelancing gigs
                      • boyfriend's graduation (he's now a MSc)
                        • interviewing Front 242
                          • finishing NaNoWriMo
                            • getting to know some cool people, like a Tibetan diviner
                              • recontacting with some people I hadn't seen in years
                                • our housewarming party
                                  • nimodipine (which restored my brain almost to its previous glory)
                                    • my new wonderful website (designed by jSepia)
                                      • joining Twitter
                                        • the first Finnish CFS/ME meetings

                                          Bad stuff

                                          • adrenal insufficiency worsening
                                            • Raynaud's phenomenon
                                              • some friends getting very ill
                                                • making very little money

                                                  Plans for next year

                                                  (some of these are pretty much guaranteed to happen, but some of them are mostly just dreams)

                                                  • learning Dutch
                                                    • finishing my sociomedical essay collection
                                                      • a new awesome writing job (in the negotiation phases)
                                                        • get CFS/ME articles published in Finland
                                                          • paid photography gigs (bands, decoration etc)
                                                            • self-publishing the English version of my novel #4
                                                              • writing novel #6
                                                                • financial independency (one can always dream?)
                                                                  • getting a publication deal for novel #5 (-"-)
                                                                    • traveling to Great Britain
                                                                      • moving to the Netherlands

                                                                        Yes, I won NaNoWriMo. I'm the kind of a person who would have finished it from her deathbed, if need be (I only finished with a migraine aura, about 1.5 hours before the deadline). For many people it seemed to be trivial (some people I know wrote over 100K words), but for me it was damn hard, I cursed myself for deciding to write in Finnish. I was also in much worse shape than during October, not sure why, but it made things a lot harder. If I'm ever going to do NaNo again, I will not do it in Finnish, at least not until I'm in a significantly better shape.

                                                                        I've had a pretty good year despite some sudden setbacks. I listed all the good stuff that happened this year and it's quite a long list. The list of bad things that happened is much shorter, though unfortunately some of the stuff is quite bad. One of my best friends, fogbank is waiting for complex neurosurgery. Hopefully it will all go well, but there are always risks that keep me frightened. Also, Riikka is doing very poorly. She has to lie down in a darkened room in tremendous pain for most of the time. The doctors who were supposed to treat her pain just stalked, abused, ridiculed and blackmailed her, doing their best to make sure she suffers as much as possible. It is a nightmare of the worst kind.

                                                                        I got an adrenal crisis a while ago, just because I was so angry about the way the monsters treat her. It is very scary to wake up in the middle of the night, feel very ill, pop some hydrocortisone and just lie there hoping you don't have to go to the hospital (where the doctors could just laugh at you and leave you to die - I know people who have had that happen to them). It is just so fucked up to literally be worried _sick_, to not be able to have normal emotions without getting very ill. My body is telling me I must take things very easy. It is not saying this subtly, it is screaming it out loud. Besides the adrenal problems I've developed another new symptom this year, quite recently, which is Raynaud's phenomenon. I never knew how bothersome it could be. So now I cannot tolerate either cold or heat, at all, which is not very nice. And on top of that, I'm supposed to not worry my friends or it could kill me. What do you make out of this, Alanis Morrissette?

                                                                        P.S. The wonderful lovetodeviate made this interview of me: news.deviantart.com/article/65…

                                                                        Works in progress
                                                                        • a digital painting
                                                                          • an ASCII picture
                                                                            • the English translation of my novel #4
                                                                              • editing novel #5
                                                                                • a short story
                                                                                  • my sociomedical essay series
                                                                                    • editing some old poems
                                                                                      • a few poems


                                                                                      Works finished but not yet submitted
                                                                                      • a typographic picture
                                                                                        • a collage sculpture
                                                                                          • 55-word fiction
                                                                                            • four ASCII pictures
                                                                                              • an acrylic painting
                                                                                                • a digital painting
                                                                                                  • two pixel pictures
                                                                                                    • a whole bunch of photos


                                                                                                    Works I wish to start in the near future
  • Listening to: Niko Skorpio - Psilocybe necrophila
  • Reading: Johanna Sinisalo - Lasisilm&auml;
  • Watching: E.R.
  • Playing: Wii Fit
  • Eating: tempeh casserole
  • Drinking: mango pineapple juice
Prose | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Poetry | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">ASCII art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Pixel art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Fractal art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Vector art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Digital paintings | Traditional paintings | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Photography | Artisan crafts | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Emoticons | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Wallpapers | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Contest entries | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Seamless textures | Designs |<a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Tutorials | DeviantART Related | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">The rest

...that's right, I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year, already ranked in 1,216 words. For the past five years I've been actively spreading NaNo awareness via my websites, news articles etc, but I haven't been able to do it myself because of cognitive problems. But as you know, I got that problem mostly solved at the beginning of this year. I've had my novel idea brewing for about a year now, during which it has changed from scifi to literary fiction with some slight scifi elements. It's going to be my first new novel in over six years. My latest two were both written in two months, respectively, which makes me confident that I can pull through.

I'm going to have two particular challenges, however. Being sick, of course - if I sleep less than 10 hours I may not be at all functional, and stress tends to wreck my sleep. I'm also going to write in Finnish, because I really aim to get this novel published. Finnish is a very different language from English, resulting in much fewer words. My past four novel manuscripts have been about 35k words, which would translate to about 50k words in English, but now I have to write a novel almost 50% longer than anything I've written before!

Life has been pretty good lately, including work. I'm still far from a decent income, but I'm confident I'll get that part sorted out soon. At least I get to what I really enjoy. It's been nice writing for Suite101. I've got four editor's choice awards so far, one of which went to my NaNo article and one for the review of A Life Transparent, alienhead's fantastic novel. I also got a job at a Finnish music magazine. I've never written music reviews before, but it's a great exercise in style and vocabulary. I also got to interview Patrick Codenys of Front 242, probably the highest point of my eight-year career as a journalist, not just because Front 242 is insanely famous (and a band I really like), but because he was a very interesting person. The interview should be out in November, but it will be in Finnish, sorry.

I've been doing some other writing jobs too. I got some freelance translation/copywriting work from a British company, which I quite enjoyed. It made me realize I wouldn't mind being a copywriter. It's a job not so dissimilar from writing poetry, because in both every single word is extremely important and you have to evoke a certain emotional response in the reader. I was offered an amazing medical writing job by a Finnish company, but I haven't heard back from them after my response, which makes me wonder. I also applied for another great medical writing job, which would involve neuropharmacology, my specialty, but I don't know if I'll get that one. I do believe that sooner or later I'll latch on the real gem, which is a match for my skills and knowledge.

In December I will be self-publishing my first novel (my first novel to be published in any fashion, though it's the fourth manuscript I've written). It was written back in 2002, but I dug it up in the summer and edited it for several months. It's called Atlaskehrääjä (The Atlas Moth) and features cover art by the awesome Shurakai-Zero. I'm still undecided whether there will be an English version. December will be a busy month in general, including my boyfriend's graduation if all goes well. I get to bake loads in December and late November and baking is what I like the most, besides writing. :->

Last weekend I visited Altparty, which was the best demoparty I've ever been to (out of the 30 or so). There were fantastic live shows, including the first ever gig in Finland by Front 242. Loads of other great stuff, too, and many friends I hadn't seen for years. There was an art exhibition, which featured ASCII art and a painting of mine (neither of which are yet on DA, but will probably be some day). I was in really good and interesting company there: the other pieces included everything from comics to video installations and from textile art to radioactive Pong. I also did pretty well in the compos: I placed #2 in the Romantic graphics compo and won the technology video compo with my ASCII animated short film, yielding me a bunch of hardware.

Now, I just have to write 50,000 words in the next 30 days ...and get through the Finnish winter, urgh. With luck I could be relocating away from this hellhole in the near future, but the recession stuff may complicate it.

Current works

Works in progress
  • an English translation of my novel #4
    • a short story
      • editing some videos
        • my sociomedical essay series
          • editing some old poems
            • a few poems


            Works finished but not yet submitted
            • a typographic picture
              • a collage sculpture
                • a haiku
                  • 55-word fiction
                    • five ASCII pictures
                      • two acrylic paintings
                        • a digital painting
                          • two pixel pictures
                            • a whole bunch of photos


                            Works I wish to start in the near future
                            • editing novel #5
                              • henna tattooing
                                • molding clay sculpture


                                Non-art/DA TODO (inconclusive)
  • Listening to: Negative Format - Gradients
  • Reading: My Sweet Vegan
  • Watching: jPod
  • Playing: Geometry Wars
  • Eating: asparagus lemongrass risotto
  • Drinking: gl&ouml;gg
The Alternative Party is a Finnish demoparty which has been held almost every year since 1998, so it celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. The recent parties have featured a theme from love to corporations and this year the theme is steampunk. There are many cool compos (competitions) to participate in, such as dynamic demo competition, 1 channel tracker music competition, CSS graphics competition, steampunk costume contest and even a FogScreen interactive demo competition.

This year the party will also feature a special music guest - none other than Front 242, the pioneers of EBM! This is also their first ever gig in Finland. There will be other DJs and artists as well. Traditionally there is also a special guest speaker and this year it is Brad Templeton, a chairman of the board of directors of EFF and the founder of ClariNet and the Usenet newsgroup rec.humor.funny. This is a nice coincidence that proves that geeks can be funny - last year's special guest Al Lowe maintains a large humor website.

New additions to the party include a computer exhibition showing classic computers from Amiga to C64, also featuring some more eccentric ones like the Vectrex and Atari Lynx, and an art exhibition which is open to proposals until the 22nd of September. There are also workshops and presentations about some geeky subjects.

The party is held in the Cable Factory, Helsinki, Finland, 24th-26th October 2008 and is expected to gather about 1,000 attendees. Many international visitors are expected and the party place is easy to access whether you're travelling by plane or by boat. The event is 24/7 and there is a sleeping corner, so you don't need to book a hotel.

The tickets cost 30-150 euros - 950 euros for a special "imperial ticket" which includes limo transportation and other goodies - and it's a good idea to buy them in advance, because they might sell out. Day tickets are just 20 euros, but are not sold in advance. Children under 12 can get in for free when accompanied by an adult with a ticket.

The Alternative Party
Helsinki, Finland
24th-26th October 2008

www.altparty.org/</b>
Prose | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Poetry | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">ASCII art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Pixel art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Fractal art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Vector art | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Digital paintings | Traditional paintings | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Photography | Artisan crafts | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Emoticons | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Wallpapers | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Contest entries | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Seamless textures | Designs |<a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">Tutorials | DeviantART Related | <a  href="diamondie.deviantart.com/galle…">The rest

Sorry for being so late, but here are the winners of my fourth ASCII contest, judged by jSepia and yours truly. There were seven entries in total.

:trophy: 1st place Size of by Faux-Pseudo Size of by Faux-Pseudo

:trophy: 2nd place :thumb89946274: Tea Party by juansrx

:trophy: 3rd place: Tentacle :monochrome: by ansi86 Tentacle :monochrome: by ansi86

Faux-Pseudo wins a copy of the Dark Domain DVD and a bonus DVD also somewhat related to the artscene! And now, to my usual ramblings.

The summer has been quite rainy and bleak. I don't mind rain, but it has meant that I haven't been able to attend any decent outdoor parties since May (except for one party held in a cave), which sucks. I did go to the Bon Jovi gig, but the Björk gig was unfortunately cancelled just two days prior. :-(  A trip to our summer cabin has been the highlight of the summer so far. Last year we weren't able to go at all thanks to my mother's egoism. My grandma has a wonderful garden and we were also able to photograph many animals: bees, bumble bees, spider, ladybug, ants, fleas, butterflies, birds and squirrels. Our own indoor/balcony garden is doing very well, too. I've also greatly enjoyed our newest toy: the Wii Fit. I greatly recommend this for everyone who has a Wii or is considering getting one.

I visited Assembly last weekend for the 11th time, but it sucked even more than last year. In fact it was the worst demoparty I've ever been to, if it can even be called a demoparty any more. The only nice thing was meeting some friends whom I see very rarely, like nystep whom I hadn't seen since 2006 and raynoa whom I had never met before - he won the graphics compo, by the way. I participated in all of the graphics compos as usual, but as usual didn't get to the screen in anything but oldskool/extreme graphics, even though entries much inferior to mine were still shown.

On the bad side, my adrenal insufficiency suddenly relapsed. Before I've managed with licorice root and salt water during some mild crises, but now I'd have ended up in the E.R. without viper packs (luckily we have OTC hydrocortisone here, meant for viper bites and bee stings, just quite pricey compared to the Rx stuff). This really sucks. I have to be extremely careful, because stress, trauma and effort can multiply my cortisol requirements and even cause a life-threatening adrenal crisis. I feel like a diabetic who can't measure their blood sugar (heh, actually, low cortisol causes me to be constantly hypoglycemic). I should probably have a medical bracelet. Blah. Like I need any more health issues. Riikka is also doing very poorly. Her illness has progressed again and now all sound and touch can cause her excruciating pain. She was hospitalized for "depression". I still haven't got her to start the LDN. I'm afraid she will die.

I've been writing a lot lately (at least a lot compared to my usual pace). I dug up my fourth novel manuscript, written back in 2002, which turned out to be much better than I expected/remembered. I'm trying to work it into publication now - but the piece is so offbeat that I don't know if I stand a chance at selling it. I'm also working on the outline of my fifth novel now (might be doing NaNoWriMo this year), as well as two short stories, a dozen medical articles and of course my essay collection. Already finished two haiku and two short stories. After years of severe cognitive disability it seems to be coming back - though I still can't re-figure out lyrical poetry. I got a haiku published in Japan, hopefully more will follow. I participated in a 55-fiction contest, but I assume I didn't win anything as I haven't heard back from them.

At the same time I've been having a bit of a career blues, knowing that I had a better (at least better paying) career as a writer at the age of 16. I'm trying to query myself some properly paid work, but it's hard to fit my mindset into the very small and conservative media of Finland. I am working for Suite101, but it's mostly for the opportunity, because the pay is not likely be anywhere near the level I'm used to. The good side is that I can write about anything, including book reviews, so I can get review copies of many great books (already reading the first one). I will primarily be writing about medicine, but also travel, electronic music, tech, food and other things.

I've had some disappointments regarding the marketing of my book, the worst one being that both of the two medical journals that could have reviewed my book (Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain) have apparently been discontinued. Just my luck! Nancy Klimas, a prominent and respected researcher has agreed to review my book for CFIDS Association's research review, but the association seems to be on a holiday. It certainly doesn't help that Amazon has the worst customer service on the planet - they never reply to anything or do what they promise to do, and I've been waiting for weeks.

P.S. It's funny how DA just gets more broken every year. And now the Daily Deviations are getting so ridiculous that I don't know if I should laugh or cry (well, it was the same with lonnietaylor, but apparently he's not the only person who has been made a gallery director without so much of a clue of what he's doing - though he's probably the only one who has been made a GD without showing any previous interest towards his gallery).

Current works

Works in progress
  • a typographic picture
    • an animated short film
      • some fabric designs
        • outlining and researching my fifth novel
          • a short story
            • editing some videos
              • my sociomedical essay series
                • editing some old poems
                  • a few poems


                  Works finished but not yet submitted
                  • a collage sculpture
                    • a haiku
                      • 55-word fiction
                        • four ASCII pictures
  • Listening to: Puissance - Hail the Mushroom Cloud
  • Reading: Ray Kurzweil: The Singularity Is Near
  • Playing: Geometry Wars
  • Eating: homemade Italian raspberry ice cream
  • Drinking: pineapple juice
Winners of my fourth and last ASCII art contest have now been announced. There was a total of seven entries and here are the winners:

:trophy: 1st place Size of by Faux-Pseudo Size of by Faux-Pseudo

:trophy: 2nd place :thumb89946274: Tea Party by juansrx

:trophy: 3rd place: Tentacle :monochrome: by ansi86 Tentacle :monochrome: by ansi86

Faux-Pseudo wins a copy of the Dark Domain DVD and a bonus DVD also somewhat related to the artscene! He is not a very well-known artist on DA, but he is an active poster on alt.ascii-art.

The rest of the entries:

:thumb87854083: Old Man Time
LSDJ Gameboy by naknak LSDJ Gameboy

Mature Content

Fem Warrior by Faux-Pseudo
Fem Warrior
Rat family

If you wonder about some of the placements, we stressed originality/creativity as one of the judging criteria, as per the original contest announcement.
Creative For A Second is a book containing art from people with CFS/ME (chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis). This infectious neurological illness affects an estimated 0.5% of the population, including many young people. Its severity varies widely, with some of the affected able to work/study and others so sick that they have to be fed by a tube. Some sufferers even die.

Many people with CFS/ME find creativity an important outlet and continue working on visual art and written work despite symptoms such as fatigue, muscle weakness, vertigo, chronic pain, vision disturbances and cognitive impairment, even through being bedridden. Art can make it easier to communicate and explore feelings of disability, isolation and loneliness - but also to maintain an identity which isn't just based on being ill and to enjoy those parts of life one can still participate in.

The project was started in late 2006 by Kirrily Anderson (kirrily), a talented designer and artist who got CFS/ME in 2005. A variety of art and writing is featured, including drawings, photography, paintings, calligraphy, photo manipulation, space art, jewelry, quilts, and poetry. E.g. from me the book contains a poem, an acrylic painting and an ASCII picture. Some other featured Deviants include Mournsong and VelvetMist. For each artist a short biography is also included.

The beautifully laid out book can be viewed online in its entirety at www.creativeforasecond.com. Printed copies can be purchased in a few months.
There's only a few weeks left until Assembly 2008, the biggest demoparty in the world now held for the 17th time. The event will take place in Helsinki, Finland from the 31st July to the 3rd of August. Like in the previous years over 5,000 visitors are expected to attend the event, including plenty of foreigners, likely from every continent. Of course this will also include Deviants from many countries. I've met people from the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia and even South Africa at Assembly.

Demoparties are gatherings of the demoscene, a digital art community focused on the creation of demos, realtime animated presentations originally intended to showcase programming skills. The medium has developed vastly since its birth in the eighties and modern demos often look like commercial animations or music videos, but demos are still executable files and the program code remains an essential part of them. For an example of a demo you can watch Assembly invitation by EvoFlash (it's in Flash, unlike most demos).

The biggest competition or "compo" at Assembly is the combined demo competition, but there are also dozens of other compos for graphics, music, demos and short film. You can even compete in some outdoor sports, such as floppy and CD throwing and street basketball. Several computer games also have their own contests. The total prize money will value at least 39,000 euros (over $60,000).

Besides participating and watching compos, there is a lot to do at Assembly. The ARTtech  seminars include speakers from a wide variety of top IT companies, some movie directors as well as demoscene legends. Most of the previous instances of Assembly have also included concerts and techno raves, so we will likely be seeing (and hearing) those this year, as well. Keep in mind that Assembly is not just about competitions and computers, it's about the people. This is your chance to meet digital artists and find new friends from all over the world.

Entrance tickets to Assembly cost 35 euros (about $54, thanks to the weak dollar), but if you want a seated place for your computer (and other belongings), you need to purchase a computer ticket instead for 65/75 euros. Even if you don't have a computer place you can still attend the seminars and participate and vote in all competitions and use your laptop and WLAN. Oldskool demosceners can apply for oldskool tickets for a reduced price (20/40 euros). Foreign visitors need not worry about hotel bookings, as the event will run 24/7 and there's a dedicated sleeping area. Showers are available as well and the venue has several food outlets.

If you can't attend Assembly this year, be sure to check out the AssemblyTV broadcast. It can be watched as a live stream on the AssemblyTV website. After the party is over you can download all the stunning productions and videos of the ARTtech seminars at Scene.org.


Assembly 2008
Hartwall Areena, Helsinki, Finland, 31st July-3rd August 2008
Tickets 20-75 euros


:bulletblue: Assembly 2008
:bulletblue: AssemblyTV
:bulletblue: Scene.org
DA's ASCII and ANSI galleries are dead and buried thanks to completely incompetent admins, but I know there are still some great ASCII artists here who are frustrated about the lack of attention their community receives.

I've held three ASCII/textmode art contests on DA before (in 2004, 2005 and 2007), the last of which was an official DA contest. I had already decided not to ever hold one again but ha, I changed my mind. What provoked this was me winning a second copy of the Dark Domain DVD by ACiD Productions, which contains over four megabytes of demoscene/artscene artpacks, diskmags and other stuff. As I don't need two of them, I decided that it would be fun to hold another contest. So, this one has just one prize:

1. Dark Domain DVD (mailed to your home anywhere in the world). I might add some surprise stuff to the parcel, but it's not guaranteed. Please note that you must give me your address in order to receive the prize!

Of course I accept prize donations, with one exception: no DA subs. If I do get prize donations, I will announce them in comments of this news article (because AFAIK one still can't edit news articles).

The objective of the contest is similar to my ASCII art revolutions contest: draw something in ASCII that I haven't seen before, something creative in technique, style, concept and/or subject matter. So no kittens, Pikachus, roses or Santa Claus, unless you can make them stand out somehow. You could make something surreal, abstract, political, dadaistic or otherwise strange. No pornographic entries or anything that would violate the U.S. law, pretty much everything else goes.

Limitations:

:bulletblue: The entry must be an ASCII picture, of at least 10x10 and at most 80x200 characters (that's 80 characters per line and 200 lines). The entry must be drawn in a fixed-width font. Sorry, no extended characters (8-bit), colored ASCII or ANSI this time. If you don't know what this means, make sure you only use characters included in the green part of this table.

:bulletblue: The entry must be original and created by hand. Entries made with an image to ASCII converter are not taken into account. If your image looks converted or ripped, you will need to present a proof that you made it (ie. so called "step files", save the picture into several different files while drawing it).

:bulletblue: You can enter at most three pictures. You don't have to be a DA member to enter. I will also post about this contest on alt.ascii-art, for example.

Please submit a link to your entry via note or email. Don't post the picture in the email but a link to a web page/text file. If you don't have a DA account or any web space, you may post the actual picture as an attachment and I will put it on the web so that I can show it to others when the contest is finished.

The deadline of the contest is 7/7/2008 (easy to remember, huh?). If you get the entry to me when it's stil 7th of July in some part of the world, it will be accepted.

The entries will be judged by me and possibly jSepia. The winners will be announced some time afterwards in my DA journal, in a DA newsarticle, on my website and on alt.ascii-art. Depending on the number of entries I will showcase all the entries or just the winners.

You are free to post this announcement and the results announcement (or summarize it in your own words) in your blog, journal, website, suicide note or any other place.

P.S. Even if you have never drawn ASCII art before, don't be discouraged. Many of the winners of my previous contests were complete novices to the genre. See also my tutorial.