Music recs: 10,000 Maniacs, Enya, Loreena McKennitt

…so it turns out I hit the end of my alphabetical “underappreciated music artists I should rec” list. Which means I get to close the tab I’ve had open for (*checks*) more than a year now. Yowza.

Just in time to avoid migrating it to the new computer, too!

But there’s this separate folder of Soft Songs by Soft Female Vocalists that I skipped over, so I’m circling back and doing one last post.

10,000 Maniacs: The softest of alt-rock, with Natalie Merchant as the lead singer. Their peak years happened back when I was a toddler, but their songs give me college feelings anyway. (10,000 Maniacs playlist.)

Enya: Irish singer-songwriter; occasionally gets close enough to “mainstream pop” to have a mainstream hit, but most of her stuff is dreamier, stranger, slow and wistful. Inspiration from mythology, astronomy, and natural scenes around the globe; lyrics in English and Gaelic, and, at least once, in Quenya. (Enya playlist.)

Loreena McKennitt: Canadian composer-harpist-accordionist-pianist-soprano. Lots of influence from Celtic and Middle Eastern myth/legend. First choice if you need a soundtrack for being kidnapped by faeries. (Loreena McKennitt playlist.)

Almost-all-OTPober works roundup, 10/20

Leif & Thorn
Comfy Sweater Book Club (art | Pascentia/Violet | worksafe)
Cross-Cultural Wedding Twirl (art | Leif/Thorn | worksafe)
No fair, Dad’s cheating! (art | Laceleaf/Bramble, Bram’s kids | worksafe)
Secret Ocean Sunset (art | Kale/Delphinium | worksafe)
Rose-Colored Gazing (art | Archie/Rowan | worksafe)
Vampire Sunset (wallpaper | Stanczia/Imri | worksafe)
We Are Also Here (art | Lepida/Quince | worksafe)
Autumn Snacks in Style (art | Archie/Rowan/Violet | worksafe)
Probably a vampire novel (art | Hyacinth/Hazel | worksafe)
Big WHEEEE energy (art | Ivy/Kallie | worksafe)

She-Ra/Johnny Bravo
Strength is stored in the puff (sketch | Adora, Johnny | worksafe)

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
Ragnild tries to learn a Life Lesson…although it’s tough when Leif can’t actually teach.

First post from the new laptop

Last month I had a computer scare, and figured it was time to finally suck it up and get a Windows 10 machine. So I’ve been setting that up for…the past week.

(To be fair, most of that is the inchingly-slow process of “uploading mountains of data to my new cloud backup.” Which…I probably should’ve gotten years ago.)

New machine on the left, old machine on the right. I’ve had the old one for almost 9 years — it’s a tank, it’s been hauled around on interstate journeys in planes, trains, and automobiles. New one is breezily light. Screen is only about an inch narrower, but the chassis is so thin I feel like I’m going to snap it in half:

Process being supervised by my Executive Assistant. His only opinion so far is that he really wants to chew on the new power cord.


  • Program migration has gotten buttery-smooth. I auto-synced a heap of settings with individual cloud accounts for Clip Studio, Firefox, and Torch. Manually copied and imported the same for Photoshop. Followed my own 9-year-old notes for “if program X doesn’t install right, use hack Y,” and they still hold up.
  • Better speakers! The old ones were fine, but I actively looked for better ones when comparison-shopping, and yeah, the sound is noticeably richer.
  • More horsepower, more RAM, better graphics card. I haven’t switched to making art over here, and that’ll be the real test, but some little things are noticeably smoother already.
  • Yeah, OneDrive is gonna be really convenient. Lovely boost to the ol’ peace of mind. Had to wrestle with Windows over the default settings it desperately wanted to shove me into (especially when it tried to upload 7 GB on a wireless connection), but I think I’ve got it sorted.


  • It has 4 USB-C ports…and that’s it. The product description promised USB Classic ports, but apparently that’s not part of the machine, it’s a separate USB-to-USB-C dongle that hangs off the side. Gonna need to buy more gear just to have my mouse and my scanner connected at the same time.
  • No ethernet connection port, either. The wireless isn’t bad, but sometimes — say, when you have a heap of files to sync — you want the alternative.
  • Not sure I’ll feel comfortable traveling with this thing unless I buy it a whole solid protective casing to carry it in. (You know, whenever travel becomes an option again…)
  • Still trying to get a few things to sync right. Clip Studio materials haven’t shown up. Firefox tabs appeared briefly, then all went poof.

The old computer still does everything just fine, which is…unusual. All my previous laptops have needed replacing for urgent, non-fixable reasons. This one — well, maybe the next time it shuts down will be the last, where I can’t convince it to reboot no matter what I do? Or maybe it’ll keep working smoothly for years. I have no idea.

Trying to be proactive, though, and switch as much work as possible to the new machine. Which is looking like it’ll be almost everything. Even my ancient copy of Paint Shop Pro has installed just fine.

Then the old computer can stay around as, basically, “an unnecessarily powerful DVD player.”

(The new one doesn’t even have an optical drive…which, okay, that’s more forgivable than the lack of classic USB ports, but I did watch one DVD earlier this year.)

Music recs: We The Kings, Wendy Matthews, Within Temptation

We The Kings: American alt-pop, full of earnest feelings, with just the lightest shiny glaze of fantastical imagery. (We The Kings playlist.)

Wendy Matthews: Clear, soulful, ’80s pop. The playlist gets pretty samey part of the way down, but there’s good stuff at the top. (Wendy Matthews playlist.)

Within Temptation: Gorgeous, epic, symphonic goth rock. (Plus some of those growly male vocals they love in goth-metal. Those tracks, I skip.) The soundtrack for your tormented hero’s fall into anguish, or your fantasy team-up’s desperate last-stand battle. (Within Temptation playlist.)

This first track is another of my Top Favorite Songs, Period:

Monday works roundup, 10/5

Leif & Thorn
Volume 3 Cast Banner (art | Leif/Thorn, Bram, Cedar, Hedge/Grassie, Future Thorn, Violet | worksafe)
Bi, And (wallpaper | ensemble | worksafe)
Embassy Gems – Hedge and Grassie (art | Hedge/Grassie | worksafe)
Baby Ivy Family Portrait (art | Ivy, parents | worksafe)
Starry Night Masquerade (art | Delphinium/Stanczia | worksafe)

Burns & Allen
Gracie Catraz (art | Gracie, Meredith Wilson | worksafe)

Cuddly SakuKomo (sketch | Sakusa/Komori | worksafe)

Revolutionary Girl Utena
Heartswords – Utena and Anthy (art | Anthy, Utena, Chuchu | worksafe)

Stand Still Stay Silent/Leif & Thorn
Sigrun-SigrĂșn Uniform Swap (art | SSSS!Captain Sigrun, L&T!Captain Sigrun | worksafe)

Cat video starring Marshmallow Fluff which doubles as a Leif & Thorn video trailer
Underwater Mage (art, worksafe)

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
Ragnild and Iona read some troubling news about a favorite author, and set out to get some explanation.