2012 in Review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 20,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 5 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Happy New Year, everyone! Be safe.

Post-Christmas Reveal!

I hope you all had a fantastic winter holiday of your choosing.

Us Sniders (past, present, and honorary) gathered at my in-laws’ yesterday for Christmas dinner. C and I brought gifts for the kids — “kids” in this sense including his 15-year-old little sister. Which worked out well, considering that when I saw a certain pattern I knew I had to knit it for her.


She’s a Harry Potter nut — she knows everything, and I mean everything about the series. Her favourite House is Gryffindor, hence the colours. But she’s not 100% pro-good-guy: she mentioned a while ago that she wanted a Dark Mark tattoo.

Which brings us to the best part:



Illusion knitting uses strategic knits and purls to create peaks and valleys that, when viewed on an angle, reveal a picture. It was a ton of fun to knit, and I think she really liked it (“You could knit for me next Christmas” is probably the most enthusiasm you’ll get from a teenager).

The pattern information is here; it’s free with a free Ravelry membership. If you make one, let me know! I’d love to see other versions.

Oh, and of course I made my father-in-law’s favourite ginger-molasses cookies, because there is nothing worse than seeing a grown man cry.


Have a great day everyone!

Happy Festivus!

Tonight I attended my first Festivus party. We feasted upon tacos, spaghetti, and chicken wings; we drowned our grievances in margaritas. There was a pole, of course, drug out of our co-host’s backyard (he assured me it hadn’t been supporting anything, but really…who has a pile of aluminum poles just “laying around”?). We played a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity, though sadly C and I had to leave before the Feats of Strength.

We were given a wonderful parting gift, though:


(PS – the party was given by a friend’s girlfriend, who has quite possibly the dreamiest horror apartment EVER. Life-sized Pinhead, signed Friday the 13th poster… She had a death mask of Vincent Price! I wanted to steal everything.)

Super-Last-Minute Holiday Knitting Patterns


Ohhhhh yeahhhh, that feels nice.

It’s a tradition of mine to make presents that are much more complicated/time-consuming/difficult than they ought to be, and then to procrastinate, which usually means panicked Christmas Eve crafting and cursing. I always pull it out at the end, but there’s always that awful feeling of what if.

Not this year.

I can’t talk about it yet, or post pictures, because my family reads my blog, but trust me: IT RULES. Pics to follow after Christmas.

In the meantime, if you’re panicked and looking for something last-minute to knit, check out these patterns:





And if you’re really pressed for time:



I made a tiny sweater once. It only took an afternoon, and came out really cute:

You’ve got two full days to finish your shit. You got this.

Ya Gotsta Get Paid: E-Book Sales in America, For Non-Americans

If you’ve found your way here, you just might be a writer. You might be thinking of joining the glamorous world of e-book publishing.

If you wanna make this easy, make sure you’re from the States. Sell stories. Get paid. File your taxes. Boom! You’re done.

If you wanna make it interesting, be from anywhere else.

Welcome to the wild world of cross-border taxes. Exciting, no?

When I first started publishing, I knew I’d have to pay the Tax Man. No problem, I’ll worry about it later, it’s no big deal. But what I didn’t know, and you may not either, is that unless you file the correct paperwork with American-based publishers (Amazon, Smashwords, and the like), they’ll be withholding taxes from your sales right off the top. How does 30% sound? That’s money going to the IRS before you’ve ever seen it. Then, when you get your cheque, guess what? You’ll be paying MORE tax, this time to your own country.

The good news? If you’re in a country that has a tax treaty with the US, you can reduce or even eliminate withholding.

Now, you might be writing “for yourself”, with nary a thought of filthy lucre tainting your artistic dreams. How lovely. But if you don’t want any of your money, why are you selling in the first place?

Let’s be real.

So, what do you need? You’ll need to send a W-8BEN form to your publishers. And before you can file that, you’ll need an ITIN (takes up to ten weeks to get your number). And before you can file that, you’re gonna need a notarized copy of your identification: a passport works well here. Expect that to take another ten days. And the kicker is that the government doesn’t really walk you through the forms. (Though I remember reading that you can call a long-distance number for help, or contact your embassy…)

Luckily, I found someone who’s written up some great instructions, but before I tell you where to find them you need to know that neither she nor I are legal-types in any way. If you’re filing these forms yourself and you need more help, I’m afraid you’re on your own. Sorry ’bout that.

Good? Good.

Go here for ITIN instructions, and here for help with the W-8BEN. Again, I can’t promise anything definitive, but I can say that I used Angela’s instructions successfully.

E-publishing can be tough; don’t make it any tougher by giving away your hard-earned dollars.