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AI Internet Takeover: What does it really mean?

 In the past year, AI generation has come to the forefront of the public's attention. It first came to my attention when listening to an art podcast where they brought up Midjourney and frequently discussed its implications and followed its progression and other sprouting AI offerings. Artists were enraged by duplicitous online artwork made in their styles and appalled to realize their art was no longer only being knocked off for a quick profit by cheap online POD merch stores, but now also by apparently anyone who wanted to. Now artists are not only losing rightful income due to copyright infringement, they are at high risk of artistic identity theft. The current climate of visual artists for hire depends on projecting a style, a self-image, online via social media. The danger of that style, that self-identity , being hijacked by anyone who could then possibly compete with the actual artist online or in the market is more than a little unsettling. It i

My Zucchini Patch Adventure


Today I want to tell you about my book project! 

My children's book is about Derice and Wade, who are best friends and neighbors! When the zucchini plants in Derice's mom's garden explode with the long green vegetable, their interest in the wide variety of new zucchini foods quickly wanes and they must find some way to get rid of the produce that no one else wants either!

The story grew from my love of zucchini and the delicious zucchini foods I adore.

I ate Zucchini Au Gratin for the first time at my friend's house in France after I graduated from high school in 2017. It was the most delicious thing I had ever put in my mouth and instantly became my favorite vegetable. (if you have never had this magical food, here is a recipe link. I made this recipe with Boursin cracker cheese on top and it was extra nice, but the zucchini, cream, and bread crumbs are the main thing.)

My mother never really cooked with zucchini, so I had never really experienced it before I visited France... But even after that, I didn't cook with zucchini much until I got married and had someone to cook for. Now the only thing that keeps me from cooking with zucchini is the fear that if I use it now I won't have any more until our big shopping trip at the beginning of the month... however, there is a garden space in the back of the apartment/house we are renting! So I'm starting a garden! And boy oh boy, I hope zucchini plants really do produce as much as everyone says! 

I started learning about gardening when I checked out a book on year-round gardening from my digital library because I was looking for visual reference and information background on zucchini so my illustrations would be correct and bring a feeling of truth to my story. After the snow began to melt in our backyard I decided I would start a garden for more reference and hands-on experience for my book. I also was very excited about the idea of having access to more veggies than I usually grow. 

The book recommended asking the 'neighbor with the beautiful garden down the street' any location-specific questions, and luckily I met someone at church who gardens on a large scale who has helped me out tremendously in setting up my garden and encouraging me through the various setup stages.

I planned to grow zucchini, cucumbers, watermelon, lettuce, and kale. My friend donated some tomato plants, a variety of peppers, onions, and cantaloupe plants. I started my lettuce, kale, and cucumber seed plants inside on Easter weekend (April 2nd), and within two weeks everything had sprouted and looked happy. However, the lettuce soon died from overwatering. I started zucchini and watermelon seeds towards the end of April, and they sprouted after about two weeks after being left in full sun for a few days. At about the same time I got my husband's help updating my garden soil and preparing to plant. We removed old leaves and weed sprouts, turned in new soil and 'slow-release fertilizer granules', and covered everything with a black plastic tarp to help warm up the soil.

The Thursday before Mother's Day (early May) my friend and I planted everything in the garden. I later moved some things around so they got a bit more sun, and had to buy some cucumber seedlings because mine died... and I didn't want to wait for more to sprout.

At this point, I am trying to be good about watering my plant babies and trying to find some time to weed. I still have a few seedlings I haven't planted and am trying to decide where to put them. I am very excited for the produce of the garden and I hope it all grows well, and we don't get any late frosts.

I'll keep you posted!


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