25 December 2005

And a Merry Xmas it Was!

Or still is, really.

And boy, did I get some great prezzies this year! Let's see . . .

  • some really gorgeous Asian plates and sauce dishes from Mum--perfect for a sushi feast
  • a nice, fat Futureshop gift card from Dad and Cat
  • fancy chopsticks and chopstick rests from Santa
  • a book on the languages of Middle Earth from Sue
  • a big stuffed Vitalstatistix (from Asterix) from Sue
  • Star Wars Episode 3 on dvd from Ryan and Selena (now I just need eps 1 & 2)
  • money from Gramma Staniforth
  • a whole bunch of candles, candle holders, soap, fragrance sachets, choclolate and other stockingish goodies
  • a book on pirates from Deva
  • a Tanith Lee novel (also with pirates) from Deva
  • Samurai Jack: The Shadow of Aku PS2 game from Ryan
  • a box of sewing and crafty treasure (like silk thread, bits of antique fabric, glass beads and other beautiful things) from Judy
  • scratch and win tickets from Randy
  • lots of chocolate, girly bath things, a piratey treasure chest, and other cool stockingy goodies

I might have missed some, but I think that's most of it. Now I am full of yummy turkey dinner and ready to settle down and read for a while. Aaaah.

Tomorrow there may be boxing day shopping. There may also be The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe movie (finally saw the latest Harry Potter last weekend). Yup. It's a good holiday, even if I am away from home.

24 December 2005

Tis the Night Before Christmas

Or the day, anyway.

And if you haven't seen the Lord of the Rings MTV Acceptance Speech yet, go watch it right now. (You'll need Quicktime, which you should have if you're using a Mac; if not, you can download it here for Windows.)

21 December 2005

Happy Solstice!

Yep, it's that time of year again. The winter solstice. Hope everyone has a great holiday.

(I will be blogging more, once the holiday rush is over.)

17 December 2005

Happy Birthday Dad!

You know the song . . .

Have a great day!

15 December 2005

Looking Ahead

So, if anyone wants to start birthday shopping early (really early), I'd rather like this book (purty please).

13 December 2005

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy birthday to you . . .

I can't do the rest because it would be copyright infrigement, but you get the idea. Have a great day!

11 December 2005

What Naruto Guy is For You?

Quiz Result Provided By: theOtaku.com.

What Naruto Guy is For You?

Hosted by theOtaku.com: Anime. Done right.

26 November 2005

What I Really Want for Christmas Is . . .

. . . this camera. (Hey, Sue, can you pass this idea on to Mum? She was asking what I'd most like.)

25 November 2005

All I Want for Christmas . . .

... is The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne on dvd. Alas, it does not exist on dvd. But if somebody were to say, dub the copies they'd taped off tv onto a fresh vhs tape and send it to me, I would be ever so happy. Hint, hint.

24 November 2005

Body Parts

I just started reading From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne, and it's already made me laugh several times. Here's a funny quote from page 4:
Crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc jaws, silver craniums, platinum noses, were all to be found in the collection; and it was calculated by the great statistician Pitcairn that througout the Gun Club there was not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six.
. Heh.

22 November 2005

Not Dead

Just very busy with end-of-term projects.

15 November 2005


Things I learned in drawing class:

  • I like figure drawing better than still lifes
  • naked women are easier to draw than naked men
  • nipple piercing on a man = very sexy
  • genital piercing on a man = kind of creepy
That's not all I learned, of course, just what comes to mind after today's class.

Carrying Weight

Warning: Before reading the following quote, ensure that you have swallowed whatever might be in your mouth, and put down anything you are holding (especially if you happen to be a woman).
A pair of D-cup breasts weighs between 15 and 23 pounds--the equivalent of carrying around two small turkeys.
(From "The Physics of . . . Bras," Discover 26.11 (November 2005): 18-19)

There was also something about the momentum generated by running and the possibility of generating enough force to break a clavicle. So next time some guy says how wonderful boobs are, strap a couple of turkeys to his chest and make him run on a treadmill (or just do the turkeys and see how long he lasts).

11 November 2005


It's been a long time since I've been on this side of a crush with no idea of how the other person feels. It's strange, and alternately wonderful and very, very horrible.

08 November 2005

Well . . .

I have absoutely no enthusiasm for my NaNoWriMo novel. Bleah. I haven't entirely given up--I'm one-fifth of the way through, after all. But I'm not going to kill myself. I have to do my homework first after all (and maybe play the odd video game and read--gotta de-stress, you know).

Now, back to my regularly scheduled homework.

07 November 2005

Words, Words, Words

Saturday, for no particular reason other than that I was having fun and forgot and then when I remembered I was too tired, no words got written on the new NaNovel. Alas. I'm not too worried about catching up, except that I'm starting to wonder if this novel is a steaming pile of . . .. Anyway, I like bits of it so far, but other bits are not very good (and those, mostly, are the ones re-creating bits I'd already written long, long ago). I very nearly said "Sod it" and gave up yesterday, thinking I could more productively spend my time revising already-written stories and sending them off to pubishers. But, I decided to give it another go. I am, as you may know, stubborn as all get-out. (Must remember to look that up and see where it came from--"x as all get-out"; is it even hyphenated?)

Yesterday, despite a very fun trip to a craft/antiques fair with my surrogate family, I managed to write. I didn't make the 2000-word goal, but I did exceed the 1,667-word minimum, so that's okay. I wrote 1,834 words, mostly in one big rush of frantic typing right before bed, and have now cracked the 10,000-word mark by a whopping 84 words. Yeah. Now I just have to catch up for Saturday.

05 November 2005

More NaNo

So I managed 2013 words today (well, yesterday technically), and now have 8250 words of crap. Yee haw!

04 November 2005

I'm an Allosaurus

See here.

Find out what dinosaur you are here.

(Links to the Natural History Museum (London) website.)

03 November 2005

NaNoWriMo: So Far, So Good

Well, day 3 and I'm still in the game. I wrote 2,104 words today, for a total of 6,237. I don't anticipate too much trouble keeping up with it until Monday. Mondays and Wednesdays are going to be the hardest.

Victory is Mine!

(And also the name of the main character in my NaNoWriMo story.) (And also my name, if you translate Nicole somewhat loosely.)

But victory is truly mine, despite only getting 94.5 percent on my Visual Culture midterm and merely 98.5 percent on my Computer quiz (one reason for this abysmally low score can be found here; another reason, I discovered, is that I completely missed one blank even though I went over my test before handing it in--and it was the crop tool, too!! I know the *&^%$ crop tool; I use it all the time!) . . .

Where was I? Oh, yes. Victory is mine for I have attained a goal I thought unreachable! I got 10 out of 10 on my Illustrator assignment! Yes, I have achieved a perfect mark. Yay!

Click for big, as usual. It is, in case you are wondering, an Illustrator re-creation of "Orpheus and Eurydice" by Edmund Dulac--you can see the original here (you have to scroll waaay down, and it's a graphics intensive site, but a cool one).

02 November 2005

NaNo Update

So far I'm hanging in there. Only 28 days to go . . .

I did 2015 words today (the last 750 of them in approximately the last half hour) for a total so far of 4133 words. Yay, me!

01 November 2005

Woo Hoo!

Okay, I'm doing NaNoWriMo. For now, at least. I wrote the first 2118 words of The Stolen Child (that's including the title and chapter headings). And I discovered that the latest version of Word now has a running word count right at the bottom of the page (you used to have to go to Tools --> Word Count). So. That's all I was going to say. 2118 words. Not a bad start (in case you have forgotten from last year, to write 50,000 words in 30 days, one needs to write at least 1667 words every day).

Not Sure About NaNo

For the last two years, I've successfully participated in National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo). I'm not sure I'll make it this year. I'm not even sure I'll try. With part-time work and full-time school, I've done almost no writing. It would be good to get back into it, but I'm not sure I should. Anyway, I'm really sleepy right now, which may be affecting my decision-making brain functions. I'll see how I feel a little later. Maybe I'll try to have a nap, though I also need to get some essay research done, and get ready for Wednesday's classes.

28 October 2005

How Much Is My Blog Worth?

My blog is worth $1,129.08.
How much is your blog worth?

Looking Your Age

I knew I don't really look my age, but I didn't know I looked quite as young as I do (it could be the green hair and nose ring). I was talking to one of the young women in my Intro Studio class, and somehow we got talking about age. She thought I was 25 at the most, and maybe younger. Yes, I am 25. Plus 8. Heh. Then when I told her I'm 33, and she said, "Wow, I hope I look that good when I'm in my 30s."

Most of the time I don't really care how young or old people think I am, but there are times when it's nice to look one's age (such as when one has a crush on someone, and doesn't want them to think one is as young as most of one's classmates). Maybe I've just stopped aging and will live indefinately and will thus have time to read everything.

On Grades and Registration

I should perhaps mention that I'm not actually stressing or worried about grades. Those of you who know me well know I rarely stress or worry about anything. I just really want to do the best I'm capable of (maybe I need to prove to myself that I can do well). Anyway.

I stood in line to get registered today. I think both UVic and U of C had telephone registration by the early 90s. NSCAD has pieces of paper you fill out and stand in line with. At the end of the line, they look over your courses in case any sections have been cancelled (my Studio: Design section may not be offered, so I had to take my alternate choice, which is an 8:30 class twice a week--yuck; they did say that if there are too many people wanting that course, they may re-open the section, and I can switch into it in December, so I'll keep my fingers crossed). Then they make sure you've paid your registration deposit (mine came out of my student loan when I paid the first semester's tuition), then they take your sheet of paper, put it in a pile with all the other sheets of paper and send you on your way. So I don't actually know if I got into any of the sections of the courses I want.

But, if all goes well, I'll be taking Foundation Photography, Foundation Drawing 2, Studio: Design, and Survey of 19th Century Art (I get a head start on my next year's courses because I have transfer credit for writing).

Then on the way home I traded in a couple of PS2 games that I'd finished and got a new one (Devil May Cry). With the trade-in and the Hallowe'en discount on supernatural-themed games, it cost me a whole $2.50 or so. I was only a little bummed because they didn't have Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, which I wanted to get to after The Sands of Time. Oh well. And that's what I did today.

27 October 2005


I am so annoyed with myself. I just had a computer quiz, on which I shall not be getting 100%, partly on account of not being able to remember what the burn tool in Photoshop is called or what it does. There I was, staring at the little icon, thinking, "I should know this. I was just looking at this last night." Then I wrote something stupid that I knew was wrong as soon as I wrote it, but I couldn't think of anything else to write. Luckily, it wasn't worth many points on its own. Unluckily, I also forgot a few other things, like what resolution to scan at for printing in a magazine (I guessed, but I really don't feel like checking to see if my guess was correct).

On the other hand, I got my last Photoshop assignment back (the dragon one I posted about below), and I got 9.5/10. While I'm a little annoyed at myself about that--I just can't seem to push myself far enough to get that extra half point--9.5 is really not a bad grade, especially considering how much other homework I've had.

This weekend, though, will be a rare weekend of relatively little stress. I have no drawing homework (she gave us the week off because we just had midterm evaluations--I'm at a B right now, but she said she expects I'll end up with a higher grade by the end of the course) (yay!). I have no computer homework because we just finished Macs and Illustrator and began Windows and will soon begin web design. There is my essay still to do, of course, but that isn't new homework (I'l be getting at it in earnest this week, though). So that just leaves some reading for Visual Culture, and finishing one project and starting a new one for Studio. The new projet will involve some kind of evolutionary sequence (I'm leaning towards theropod dinosaur --> bird), and pages from Genesis (anyone got a Bible I can cut up?).

Anyway, that means I will be going to a movie this weekend for sure. Probably Serenity, if it's still playing. There may also be a visit to Chapters involved, seeing as it's across the parking lot from the movie theatre. And maybe Futureshop, too, depending on how much time I have. And not only that, I will be going to the art gallery to see the Asian ceramics exhibit (before it goes away) and the Mediterranean art exhibit. Yup. So it'll be a busy weekend, even with much, much less homework. And I'm going to try to squeeze in a bit of Clocktower 3 on the PS2 (good game for Hallowe'en).

And that is exactly how exciting my life is. Yup.

26 October 2005

10 Years!

I just realized the other day that this year is my ten-year anniversary of being on the web. I had an email address the year before, I think, but didn't know how to use it (and, for whatever reason, wasn't that interested in figuring out how). But in 1995 a friend introduced me to the web (we used Lynx back then, though Netscape followed not too long after). It wasn't long before I was spending way too much time surfing and reading newsgroups (and using web documents as references for homework). By the next year, I had my own website (The Swordsmithy--it had a bibliography, a glossary, and links, and it was the first place besides the APALA conference proceedings that "From Rapier to Langsax" appeared; that article is the one that seems to be all over the place on the web now, though only one site ever asked permission to use it).

Anyway. Ten years. Now I can't imagine trying to do research or collect things or keep up to date on all the various things I'm interested in without the web. Which isn't to say I couldn't live without it (I can, after all, make an arrowhead out of a beer bottle bottom), it would just be a very different world.

25 October 2005

More Google Vanity

Yeah, yeah. So apparently I have big feet:
There's a woman called Niko Silvester who seems to have left articles in absolutely every website I've visited. Eclectic ain't the word. She also wrote an extremely useful article on sword development that I drew upon for my BSc Archaeology lecture last summer. It would be nice to have that kind of an online footprint, and be active in some many e-locations (and yes, she has a blog)...

(Quote from here.) I knew I had crap all over the web--most of which is copies of my sword article . . . And, even better, said article was "extremely useful." Hee hee. Okay, back to work before my head gets so big it explodes. I need my brain for thinking with, and it's so hard to pick grey matter out from between the keys.

(And OMG, someone referenced me in a research paper!! Here. Watch out for skull shrapnel and flying brains!)

(Okay, only one more thing, if you google "Nico Silvester" nothing relevant comes up, but it asks you, "did you mean Niko Silvester? Heh. So anyone who knows me as Nico and decides to google me--not that anyone would, but you never know--might get very confused. Must remember to add alternate spellings of my name (ones I actually use, I mean) to the meta tags of all my various pages . . .)

Erm . . . Who Submitted My Article?

Okay, I have to confess, sometimes I google myself. Today, while taking a break from my latest computer assignment, I did just that, and I found this page: BC Rockhounder magazine (scroll down to about halfway through Spring 2005). Now, as cool as it is to see an old article of mine (I wrote it way back when I was in grad school in St John's, and Tim was setting up Knappers Anonymous) in a rockhounding magazine, I did not submit it. As far as I can tell from the website, they don't go around taking articles, but they do take electronic subs. This means someone else submitted my article (but kept my name on). I'm not mad, really, but I am really curious about who sent it in (yes, yes, I will email the editor, as soon as I figure out how such an email should be worded).

So, any one of you Vancouver Island folks want to stop by the Rockhound Shop and see if you can get me a copy?

23 October 2005

Looking for References

Have any of you, my educated and intelligent friends, family and others, come across any comments (preferably thoughtful and insightful) on Umberto Eco's IBM vs. Mac blurby? I'm going to be writing an essay on it and, while the excerpt itself is all over the web, there aren't too many useful comments (at least, I coudn't find many, but then I only spent an hour or so looking). Obviously, most of the essay will be my own thoughts about what he meant, etc, but it woud be nice to have a few outside sources. Print sources are good, too (Niko like library).

Address Oops

So, apparently my postal code is B3L 3Z7, not whatever it is I told everyone it was. All my mail has been getting here just fine, though.

20 October 2005

I Still Rule the World (sort of)

I just got back from computer class and am soon to eat and have a very long nap on account of being up till all hours finishing my homework (don't ask). Anyway, I was right about not getting 10/10 on my last assignment (about which you can read here). I got 9.5/10.

I also handed in an assignment--the one I mentioned before where we had to choose an artist, and I was going to do Botticelli, but then decided to do Hokusai. Here's the sketch I started with (it's my own drawing, but based on Hokusai's prints and paintings--click for bigger version):

I really didn't like what I had managed to get done on Tuesday, but by then it was too late to start again, so I kept at it last night (hence the need for nap). I ended up changing almost everything I had already done. Except the sketch, of course. I'm actually pretty happy with how things turned out. There are a few things I could still fix--and I might do some more work on it later, when I actually have free time--and a few things don't look quite the same on the printed version (specifically, the blue on the foam is brighter --which I don't like--and the blues on the waves are more similar and darker--which looks better).

I had originally thought to just use the sketch as a reference layer, and then delete it, but I liked how it looked layered over top of everything else. Also, the graphite smudges and noise actually made it look more like a print than a printout on the hardcopy (if that makes any sense).

16 October 2005

Changes, Movies, and Weather

Hey, look, my fourth post in only three days! No, I'm not less busy, I'm just sqeezing in some blogging by wasting less time. Or something.

Changes: Well, only one change, really. I've decided not to do Botticelli for my next Photoshop assignment, but to do Katsushika Hokusai instead. Yeah, the guy who did the print of the big wave. He did lots of other scenes of the Japanese countryside and Japanese daily life.

Movies: Yet again, I did not make it to the movies this weekend. I so want to see Serenity. Anyway, we had tacos and rented movies last night instead. We watched Shaun of the Dead, which is one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. If you haven't seen it, and aren't too squeamish about zombies, go rent it immediately. I mean it. You will laugh. Then we watched Bubba Ho-tep, which I was dubious about, but which actually turned out to be pretty good. Not as hilarious as Shaun of the Dead, but worth seeing nonetheless.

Weather: It got really rainy and windy last night--a brief power outage of a few seconds interrupted a rather climactic part of Shaun of the Dead. It's less rainy now, but still windy. Deva's work (NS Power) has called several times for her. We can feel the building move. It's kind of cool, but I'm very glad I don't have to carry my portfolio in to school tomorrow. It makes a dandy sail, but steering is awkward.

Other things: I'm quite sure it took me more than the recommended five hours to do my drawing homework. I worked on it all yesterday afternoon and part of the evening, and still had to take a couple of hours to finish it today. Bleah. Consequently, I am way behind where I wanted to be. I wanted to be done my Studio homework yesterday, too, so I could devote today to figuring out next semester's cources and starting on my computer homework.

Oh well.

15 October 2005

Not More Books!

So yesterday I went out to the mall to pick up a book I'd seen on sale (not at the bookstore, though--it was one of those things where someone sets up tables selling remaindered books). My plan was to go to the sale, buy the book, and then swing by EB Games to trade in Ico and buy (probably) Devil May Cry. Then, on the way home, I would stop at Sobey's for instant rice noodle soup, a case of pop (for the making of wings--more on that later), and a few other odds and ends. I shoud have known better than to plan. Things never come out right when I plan.

Here is what happened: I went to the book sale and couldn't find the book I went there for on the table I thought I'd seen it on (it was the Adobe InDesign CS2 Bible). However, I found instead a book called Pixel Perfect, which was all about digital art. Very cool. Around then I heard one of the people working at the sale tell someone that all the books were 25% off the marked prices (which were aready remaindered-book low). So Pixel Perfect stayed in my hands, quickly joined by The Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience. Many of you probably know that pseudoscience and crackpot stuff is one of my fascinations. How could I pass that up--in hardcover and everything?

So then I moved on to another table, where I found the book I'd gone there for (pubished this year, about the latest version of the software, and not damaged in any way I coud see, so I don't even know why it was remaindered in the first place, but I'm not going to complain about getting a $58 book for less than $10). I also found The History of Graphic Design, a big heavy hardcover on very nice paper with gorgeous pictures starting from cave art and going on into the late 90s. Into the pile it went. And then I found a copy of Abhorsen, the third book in Garth Nix's Sabriel trilogy, and it matched the copy of Sabriel that Sue got me for Christmas (so now I only need book 2, Lirael). I must have looked overburdened by then, as the lady working the checkout came over and asked if I'd like her to put my pile of books on the checkout table while I finished browsing. I let her carry them off.

By then I was about done, and wondering if I'd be able to carry this bounty home along with a case of pop, but there wasn't one book I was willing to leave behind. Books! Cheap! And they all had something to do with school (well, except Abhorsen) (and the pseudoscience one) (okay, most of them had to do with school). So I finished looking quickly, and managed to come away with ony two more, both novels and both under $3.

So, hauling two double-bagged parcels of books, I made my way to EB Games. They didn't have Devil May Cry, and I still have a couple of games to work on at home, so I decided not to get anything.

On to Sobey's. Got the noodles, some GF bread, and Honey Bars (yummy snacks for late classes). I didn't like their selection of pop (what kind of store has Diet Dr Pepper but no regular?). I decided to see what WalMart had, since I have to walk right past there to get home.

I decided on root beer (am I boring you yet?) and then decided to buy the winter warm things I've been meaning to get. I ended up with a new pair of flannel jammies (in a muted blue and green plaid), some fat winter socks, and nice underwear (with red and black piratey stripes--arr!). Okay, now I'm boring myself with the too-much-detail.

I did manage to carry it all home. Five bags of stuff when I only meant to buy a couple of things. But it's all useful and/or necessary (well, most of it). Getting great books for cheap always makes me happy. The good mood will last for days. And now I have to go draw some things. (And I keep forgetting that I attached a mouse so roomie-Ryan can use Paint, and I keep trying to use the touchpad and wondering why nothing happens. I really need a router so I can do everything but work on the Mac without haing to unplug the cable and plug it into the other machine.)

14 October 2005

Foundation Computer

I expect some of you reading this are eager to know what school is like this time around, especially since I haven't been blogging much lately. I thought I'd go through and describe my classes one at a time, and since the class I had most recently (yesterday morning) was Foundation Computer, I'll start there.

The official description for the class (from the Guide to Undergraduate Programs; read it online here if you really want to--it's in .pdf format) is this:
This course is a hands-on introduction to computer graphics using several standard operating systems. Stuents taking this course are expected to have prior experience with the use of computers, including desktop and directory navigation, file management, basic word processing, e-mailing, and internet browsing.

Doesn't really say much, does it? Essentially, we're learning the basics of Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign (a bitmap graphics editor, a vector graphics editor, and a page layout editor, respectively) on Macintosh and Windows. Our class started in the Mac lab, which mostly has eMacs running OSX, and we started with Photoshop. Most of the class had already used Photoshop at least a little bit, so we went through it pretty fast--we just started on Illustrator yesterday.

Although I have used Photoshop quite a lot, and it's one of those programs you can pick up quite a lot of just by playing around with it, I did learn lots of little things I hadn't figured out yet, and learned how to do some things I did know properly (and usually in a much simpler way). I managed to get 100% on the first quiz (yay!) which was on Mac basics, and 9/10 on the first big(ish) assignment. Deva and Ryan laughed when I pouted that I really wanted 10/10. "What, 90% isn't good enough for you?" Hell, no, I should have done better (meaning I should have done a better job, not that I should have got a better mark for the job I did do). (Yeah, I'm sure you're all rolling your eyes.)

I'm pretty sure I won't be getting 100% on the assignment I handed in yesterday, either, as much as I'd like to. I do have the excuses that I was sick and that I had a lot of other homework and ran out of time, but really, those are just excuses. The image I had in my head was of a cool Dave McKean-esque piece of art (see his website for many cool examples). What I ended up with was this (click image for bigger version):

The title is "Wrong Answer" (think Oedipus and the Sphinx), and yes, that is parts of me and parts of Bast (I think I ought to get extra credit for getting the Goddess and Supreme Ruler of Everything to sit still long enough to get a good picture of her--and the blurriness is her *fur* not bad focus, in case you were wondering). I *really* wanted to get the joins between the cat parts and the human parts looking right, but I got to the point where everything I did just seemed to make it worse, so I stopped. Technically, I still had a day to work on it since I finished on Tuesday and class wasn't until Thursday morning, but I had to print it and there isn't time to print at the lab before class, which meant I had to take the finished file with me on Wednesday (yeah, another meaningless excuse).

Anyway. The next assignment is to choose an artist born before 1800 and create a Photoshop image in their style. This is when I discovered that most--no, all--of my favourite non-contemporary artists were born around the mid-1800s. Sigh. So I've chosen Botticelli. We (flatmates and I) were joking around last evening and came up with the ideas "Kangaroo in the Style of Botticelli" and "The Birth of Venus as a Monkey." The kangaroo came from Ryan's (that's Deva's sone Ryan, not my nephew Ryan) joke theory that el Niño is caused by a fanatical cult of flatulent kangaroos (you probably don't want to know the details). The other one is because monkeys make anything better (or at least more amusing--you try looking at a happy monkey and not laughing).

So that's Foundation Computer. It's actually turned out to be my favourite class, I think, though the homework for Introduction to Studio Practice is often more fun. I guess I just like fiddling with computer graphics and learning cool new things. Now I'm going to run out and buy a computer book and probably a Playstation game (I'm trading in Ico, which was really good, and will probably get Devil May Cry because the brand-new games I want are still too expensive and DMC is supposed to be excellent. We shall see.) Then I must begin my homework, starting, I think, with building some wings for Intro Studio, about which I will write more later. Also, I need to look at some more Botticelli paintings, read some Umberto Eco for an essay, and figure out what classes to take next semester (actually, I just have to figure out what to take instead of Writing, since I have transfer credit, and whether to take photography or video for my other Foundation course; I already know I need to take Design for my second semester Studio course). Then there's my drawing homework . . .


[Edit: I managed to post this in my NaNo Blog by accident. Now here it is in the proper place.]

Apparently, thin and waifish is the in look for young men these days (or at least young men in art school). Can't say I'm especially draw to thin and waifish men (especially since most of the ones I see every day are so very much younger than I am), but it does make for a nice visual atmosphere.

10 October 2005

I'd Blog But . . .

Nasty cold + much homework = very tired non-blogger. (nasty cold also = no movie this weekend. Grrr!)

More soon, I promise. At least the homework was (mostly) fun. Also good turkey dinners.

01 October 2005

A Week in the Life

Monday 7:00 am: Alarm clock goes off. I crawl groggily out of bed, get dressed, eat, and get ready to go.

8:00 am: I leave the house and walk across the train tracks and the WalMart parking lot to the bus exchange. Bus comes a few minutes later and I arrive downtown sometime between 20 and 40 minutes after that, depending on which bus I get.

9:00 am: Introduction to Visual Culture begins. Lots of stuff I learned in assorted popular culture classes, with an art history slant. Is it me or is art history still rather enamoured of Postmodernism? Not that there's anything wrong with postmodernism, just that's it not the only way to look at things. Also, the archaeologist part of me is annoyed with all the ancient art shown pretty much devoid of context and always with it's similarities to other art pointed out, and never its differences. Still, a fairly interesting class, if only it weren't so early in the day.

10:30 am: Class ends. Now is the time for running errands downtown, if I have any (things like bank, library, art supplies, used books). If there are no errands, I catch the bus and make my way home.

12 pm or somewhere thereabouts: Once lunch is consumed, I do some work (the kind I get paid for). If there's any time left, I might start on homework or read for a while, then eat again.

4:30 or 5:00 pm: time to catch the bus downtown again.

6:00 pm: Introduction to Studio Practice begins. This is a class that introduces all sorts of different ways of making art and gets us to try them out. So far we've done drawing and painting (pics to follow, whenever I get some time). I think collage might be next.

10:00 pm: Class ends. I usually manage to catch the bus a few minutes later. (And, in case anyone worries, there are quite a few people from my class who catch the bus at the same stop, and at least one who catches the same bus).

10:30 pm: I arrive home, have the fastest shower humanly possible, and crawl into bed.

Tuesday 6:30 am: Alarm goes off. Getting ready follows.

7:30 am: Leave the house.

8:30 am: Foundation Drawing 1 begins. So far we've done gestural drawing, line drawing, and "mark making."

12:30 pm: Class ends. I head home, unless there are errands. When I get home, I do some work (again, the paid kind), then start on any homework I might still have for Wednesday. Whatever time is left is for reading and playing games (currently, I'm working on Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time for PS2). Or, I might do some of my own writing or drawing.

10 pm or thereabouts: Bed.

Wednesday: Basically, a repeat of Monday.

Thursday 7:00 am: Alarm, getting ready.

8:00 am: Leave.

9:00 am: Foundation Computer begins. We're beginning with Mac and Photoshop. The second half of the semester will be Windows and Illustrator. And guess who got 100% on her first computer quiz? Go on, guess.

12 pm: Class ends, and so does my school week. Sort of. Once home, I do work, and then get started on the next week's homework. I like to at least get my reading done. The rest of the day goes pretty much like any other day.

Friday some time after 9:00 am: I get up. The day is mostly spent on homework--usually whatever I need to get done for Intro Studio. I also like to play video games, read, and maybe get some work done on Fey.

10:00 pm: TV night begins, starting with InuYasha.

2:00 am: TV night ends. I crawl into bed.

Saturday sometime around 10:00 am: I crawl out of bed. This is another homework (usually I have a 5-hour drawing to do) and general stuff day.

Sometime after 10:00 pm: Bed.

Sunday 9ish: Get up. This day tends to be a mix of work, housework, and finishing up homework. Plus a bit of fun stuff. If there's time, we might go see a movie (this has so far only happened once).

Repeat. Over and over.

At the orientation, the president of the school (or some other important functionary) said it was difficult to get into NSCAD (pronounced as if there were an "a" between the "n" and the "s"), and even harder to stay in. I'm beginning to see why. Lotsa homework. There was also a joke involving taxis and a taxi driver saying about NSCAD students. but I can't remember what it was. Sigh.

29 September 2005


I won a contest! I won a MirrorMask contest! See. Here's the post I commented on in order to win (btw, The Mumpsimus is a good pace to go for commentary, reviews and other good things about SF).


From Neil Gaiman:
. . . I got a note from the publicists at Sony asking me to stress that the first weekend's attendance will seriously affect what happens next. So if you are in a town that isn't showing it, and you want to see it, getting your friends who are in a town where it's showing to go and see it as soon as it's come out will increase the chances of it getting to you.

Therefore, I hereby command (or else very humbly beg) everyone I know who lives somewhere MirrorMask is playing to go see it as soon as possible. Even if you have no idea what MirrorMask is. You won't regret it.

Edit to add: The annoying thing is, even though the movie opens tomorrow, I don't actually know where it'll be playing because Cinema Clock only lists movies through today. Perhaps this is a good time to look for a new movie listings site . . .

28 September 2005

They Got Architeuthis!

This is really cool: Japanese scientists have captured the first-ever photographs of a live giant squid! There have been a bunch of dead ones, but this one's swimming around in it's natural habitat. Sea monsters are cool! (Link via Gadgetopia.)

18 September 2005


Yeah, so I've been here three weeks and hardly blogged at all. I've had homework and work and er . . . the playing of video games, and . . .

Well, I've been busy. I will write a proper blog entry soon. There are lots of wonderful things to say about the city and the school.

Oh, yes, and Tropical Storm Ophelia made her way through these parts yesterday. We had a lot of rain and a bit of windyness. They had predicted a lot more wind and many, many blackouts. Alas, not a blackout in sight. Or out of sight. Or . . . you know what I mean. It was actually kind of disappointing.

06 September 2005

Fathead and Smelly (and the Colour of Apples)

I went to the "New Student Orientation" at NSCAD today. What a very long, very dull day it was. Normally, I avoid orientation-type things, but NSCAD is such a small school, in such a strange building (well, buildings) that I thought it might be a good idea to attend the presentation and go on the tour. I won't go into all the boring details, but, though I did actually collect quite a bit of vital info, I feel like I was flattened by a steam locomotive. Or maybe several of them in a row. The AC wasn't working in the (very small) auditorium, and with all those people in there it was soon very hot and stuffy. And there was a large-headed man sitting in front of me, so I couldn't see any of the speakers unless I tilted my head at an awkward angle. And then a guy sat next to me who had a very strong . . . er . . . odour. I tried not to lean too far over towards the woman on my other side.

And then there was much standing in line, which I had to abandon in order to go on my tour (I actually considered blowing off the tour so I could get my student i.d. quicker). I think I would have enjoyed the tour a lot more if I hadn't already been worn out by boring speakers, stuffyness and heat. And standing in line. NSCAD is a truly bizarre and wonderful place, as a physical place. I won't try to describe it now, 'cause I'm actually really wiped (see locomotive note, above). And, as luck would have it, My Smelly ended up in the same tour group as me. And he kept standing next to me. Not being able to breathe made everything that much worse.

And after that, there was more standing in line, but not for as long and at the end of it, I had a shiny new i.d. (in the photo of which I look somewhat less dead than I felt). There was a small mixup when they thought I was Justin Sylvestre--um . . . I may have appeared to be something that recently crawled out of a shallow grave, but I'm fairly certain I didn't look like a boy. My t-shirt was on the snug side, and while I may not have huge boobs, they're kind of hard to miss. Not to mention I'm rather hippy (that is, I have sizable hips). Even baggy combat pants could not hide that.

But I wasn't going to go into all the boring details, was I? Oh well, too late. I survived, and I love the school's physical incarnation; now I just have to see how I fare in classes. We were told that NSCAD is very hard to get into, and very hard to stay in. And yet, they let me in. I'm still scratching my head over that, but not complaining.

So. Apples. Jerome Russell "apple green" hair dye is a colour I have never seen on any apple, but I rather like it. It's darker and quite a bit bluer that my old "spring green," and I think it's actually more striking. In a good way. And, incidentally, I am only the basest of amateur freaks compared to many of the people in my new school. There were a lot of very ordinary-looking people there, but then there were all sorts of interesting colours of hair, styles of dress and intensities of body adorment and modification. I think I shall like this place very much indeed.

05 September 2005

Of Hair and Noses

But not hairy noses.

I went downtown on Friday, only to discover that the piercer had called in sick (they apparenty tried to call me to cancel), so I still have no extra nose holes. I have a new appointment for Thursday afternoon. I also stopped in at another tattoo place, one which I had seen highly reccommended online by quite a few people, and they gave me an estimate that was $150 dollars less than the first place. So I'll probably go back when I have things sorted out and am sure I'll have enough money for everything, and make an appointment to get that done. And maybe I'll see if they can touch up my celtic knot and my raven, too, sometime.

And as for hair, I asked a purple-haired girl in the comic shop where a good place to buy hair dye was, and she told me about a hairdresser's supply place (also open to the public). My green bits are looking pretty pale--like grass that's been under a board too long. I picked up some bleach (though I don't need more bleaching yet) and a jar of "apple green," which is a little less electric than the "spring green" I had before. Yes, I am metamorphosing into a freak. But I'm going to art school, and I'm a writer, so that's okay.


So yesterday I sent out emails with my new address to four people I hadn't connected with in ages (forgetting, of course, to send it to people I have seen recently--don't worry, I'll remember eventually . . . or you can get it from Sue). I was curious to see if any of these people would respond, but it's been so long I didn't want to assume I could just pick up the conversation as if no time had passed (this seems to happen to me a fair bit; this is why I am World's Worst Correspondent). Anyway, to my delight, there was a new email waiting for me this morning, from Heinz Insu Fenkl, who was the prof of the writing workshop/seminar I did in New Paltz, NY a few years ago, and a very fine writer (also a very good teacher). He said he keeps looking for my name on books on the YA racks. Erk. Now I feel vaguely guilty for not making a greater effort to send out those mss. Anyway, now I am happy. Well, happier, as I've been pretty happy in general since I got here, despite the airline and aiport crises, student loan hassle and all that.

02 September 2005

Which Witch Hunter Robin Character Are You?

You are Amon - the brooding leader
You are Amon! Prone to silence and not one to
smile easily, you never the less get the job

Which Witch Hunter Robin Character Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

What Inuyasha Character are you?

Your Kagome! you like to hang out with your friends
and are always the first person to volunteer to
show a new student around, you are kind and
giving and enjoy having a occasional sleep-over
with the girls!

What Inuyasha Character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

01 September 2005

More Email and Stuff

So, I got my work email working, and I'm now using webmail for shaw, so I should be able to get anything anyone sends me. We have a cable connection here now (for a couple of days now), though I'm not checking my mail as often as I used to. I'm getting caught up on work, but my stats pretty much sucked this past week.

What else? I'm wokring on Fey again, and might even have something to post by the time my computer arrives.

I've made an appointment for tomorrow afternoon to get my nostril pierced, and the tattoo I want will cost more than I was expecting, so I'll wait on that a while (it's gonna be cool though--a slightly modified version of the fairy on this page of Fey on my upper back.

I encountered a sale at an art supply store yesterday, when I was downtown doing bank stuff. How could I not go in? I managed to escape with only a handful of Letraset markers and a Moleskine notebook--this one with storyboards printed on the pages, for roughing out my comic. I'd seen a sample of this notebook in Paper-Ya in Vancouver and was going to buy one there, but they were sold out. So I was pleased.

I also found one of the local comic shops--Strange Adventures Comic Bookshop--where I picked up a few books, including an on-sale copy of the first volume of the 2001 Nights manga. They have a "free with purchase box" too, from which I snagged a hardcover copy of the last 2001 Nights. So now I need only the middle volume. I'd read the second and third books from the library a while ago and really liked them.

I had to break down and buy my next pair of Doc Martens new, since I've had no luck at Value Village. They look so pristine! I grabbed a few more bits and pieces at WalMart (which is between home and the bus stop), and have most of my for-school shopping done. Just need a little tv to play PS2 games on (very essential for de-stressing; nothing smooths away the cares of the day like fragging monsters), and a monitor for my Mac when it gets here. And maybe some sort of thing for holding toiletries. But anyway. I am settling in. Earplugs, I discovered, make even better snore-filters than pillows, so I slept more soundly last night (though I hadn't been seeping too badly, considering the upheaval).

Anyway. Once the Mac gets here, I'll put up some pics. I'm especially anxious to share photos of the boykittens, Poe-the-aptly-named and Sam-who-has-thumbs. And Queen-of-the-Universe Bast is actually getting along with them. More or less.

29 August 2005


I seem to be having some problems receiving my shawmail (and sending my work mail). So for now, please email me at nikosilvester at hotmail dot com (if you aren't already).

27 August 2005

I Am Here

I'm writing this on a public access terminal at the Halifax Library, where I have just been trying to log onto the student loans site to re-print the form I need to send (because the other times I sent it, my printer apparently cut off the bottom of the form--if they'd told me that when they sent the letter saying I needed to send it, this would have been sorted out ages ago, but what the letter actually said was that they hadn't received it. Now, of course, I can't remember my username or password (and none of usual usernames seem to be the right one). And I can't recover that info, because I don't have my student loan number. Argh. If only I could just plug in my laptop, where password manager has all that for me (I tried to get it offline last night, but it won't even load the page). Anyway. I will ask Deva later how soon she can re-connect internet access at her (or rather, our) place. Then I can just plug in my laptop and do it from there (assuming she has a printer--if not, I guess I'll be going out Monday to buy a laser printer, which I wanted anyway).

So basically, it's one thing after another on this trip. Maybe it's some kind of test, to see how badly I really want this graphic design school thing. First one of my flights was an hour and a half late (this I discovered before I ever left Victoria, fortunately), and everything had to be rescheduled. I ended up flying Victoria-Calgary-Ottawa-Halifax instead of Victoria-Vancouver-Toronto-Halifax. I had to spend the night in the Ottawa airport which is, I must say, the least welcoming airport I've ever been in. And it was cold. And then I almost missed my flight to Halifax, because I had to check Bast in at the last minute (that's what they tell you to do) and the agent who had her tag was really busy trying to reschedule some family's flights and didn't get to me until it was nearly time for my plane to leave. I got to security as they were calling general boarding, but then they had to test my laptop. I zoomed off to my gate, only to discover that it was no longer my gate. There was no plane there. For a long, horrible moment, I thought that it left without me. Then I finally thought to check the monitor, and found out where my plane really was. I got there just as the agent was about to page me for final boarding. Phew! And now this student loan thing.

Oh well. I'll get through it. I've seen the NSCAD building (from the outside) and it's gorgeous. It's a pretty quick bus ride from home (no transfers). And speaking of home, Deva's place should have enough room for me--for now, anyway. Once I start getting more of my stuff, it could become very cramped very quickly. I'll just have to only get the essentials sent out. Really only two problems with the place and they are both things I can deal with. One is that Deva smokes (which I already knew) and the other is that Deva snores (and I discovered that a pillow over my head muffles the sound enough that it becomes almost like white noise, which then drowns out any other sounds that might wake me up). Anyway, I should be off. So far Halifax is lovely, despite all the annoying things. And despite the fact that I am still more than half asleep.

Also, I have located the piercing studio that I researched before I left, and if they are not busy, I'll probably get my nose pierced before heading home today. Then I must shop for assorted toiletries, extra litter box (so far Bast is dealing with the new place, and is even tolerating Deva's boy kittens as long as they keep their distance), and other necessities. There is a WalMart right close to the apartment--we walked across its parking lot to get to the bus stop (which is actually, conveniently, a bus terminal/exchange, so lots of buses go there). Right. I was going to log off.

25 August 2005

I'm Off!

Or I will be in an hour and a half, heading downisland for the airport and a long, long day of flying (made longer by the fact that I had to stay up all night to finish everything that needed finishing). Ah, well. This time tomorrow I'll be in Halifax. Probably asleep.

22 August 2005


I have to admit, I love technology. I don't know as much about how it all works as I'd like, but I adore cool stuff. In between packing boxes and organizing yesterday, I suddenly decided to import all my cds into iTunes on my Mac. I'll be playing them off the computer anyway, since I won't be taking my stereo when I move, so why not just store them on the harddrive? The actual cds will go in a box to be sent out much, much later. That means, then, that I won't need my discman (unless I decide to burn cds from iTunes). So then I started to think I should buy an MP3 player or iPod. An iPod makes most sense, in a way, since I have a Mac, and it uses the same audio format. On the other hand, a PSP can play music, games, movies, and display pictures and all kinds of stuff. But the music has to be in MP3 format (I think). I checked, though, and iTunes can import into MP3 format, too, or convert exisiting files. And there's a nifty bit of software from PocketMac that makes sync between Mac and PSP easy (and it's cheap). So this is all a very long way of saying that I spent most of the money I made on eBay selling my precious, precious toys to buy an even more precious, and very, very cool PSP. And a bigger memory card to put songs on. Yep. I love cool stuff. (Like I really needed another game system. I am a geek. Truly.)

ps I managed to close the Netscape window by accident, and said "argh, there goes my post!" (or something like that). But then I remembered something about Blogger I'd never tried--I calmly opened a new window, logged back in to Blogger, clicked on "create post" and then clicked an intriguing little link right above the text window that says "recover post." Lo and behold! it filled the box with the post I'd just typed but not saved. Only the title was missing. Did I mention that I like technology? (When it works, anyway.)

21 August 2005

Makin' Stuff

So I spent the entire day yesterday, working on my piece for the new student Postcard Exhibition as NSCAD. Fortunately, I knew what I wanted to do, and aready had some sketches to use. I made a . . . i never did figure out what the proper term for it is . You know those pictures in pop-up books that you pull the tab and the overlapping bits slide and a new picture slides into pace over the old one? Anyway, I made one of those. The top picture is a more-or-less realistic white raven holding a fountain pen surrounded by the text (in a sort of messy, hand-drawn old-stye serifed font--I don't know the name of the actual font I copied, I'll have to look it up someday) "Quoth the Raven." Then you pull the tab (which instead of saying "pull" has a raven footprint on it), and the second picture has a very stylized, Celtic-y black raven holding a quill pen (and it has its beak open), and has the text "Nevermore!" around it in a warped sort of Celtic calligraphy hand. The border of the whole thing is a grey background with what look like abstract red shapes, but which are bits of the word "tap" (as in "tap tap tapping at my chamber door") zoomed in close (in something resembling a Celtic half-uncial script).

I think the NSCAD student union keeps all the pieces after, but I scanned it at pretty much every step (except the finished piece, alas). My intent is to make a few of them to send out to people, since I never got around to a holiday chapbook this year. But I need to work on the engineering a bit more, because the original tends to stick a little bit. Anyway.

If, by some chance, you happen to be in Halifax on the 9th of September (it's a Friday), you can go see the show in the evening. The info I have doesn't specify a time (it just says "evening"), or even a place (presumably somewhere on the NSCAD campus, maybe even the Anna Leonowens gallery).

Probably no one I know will get to see it (except Deva and Ryan, of course, who live in Halifax), but it'd be cool.

19 August 2005

Friday Things

Er, yeah, haven't been posting much. Very busy getting ready to move and all.

1. Got my hair cut. It's now quite short. About jaw length. It's been shorter, but I keep startling myself when I walk by the mirror. I don't look quite the same, but I like it.

2. Today's Fey might be the last for a little while. It's the last I have done, and I don't know how long it'll be before I have time to do more and get my computer delivered and set up and all that. I'll try to get a few sketches and filler bits up before I go, but don't be alarmed if there's a hiatus.

3. And speaking of Fey, the latest page is here. And I'm going to try the Blogger photo thing and put it up right here (but don't click on the image if you want to go to the actual Fey page; use the link above for that).

Oh, yeah, and I did notice that I forgot to put the page number on. I'll fix it later.


I've been meaning to post these for a while . . .

Here's the arctic tern photo I was going to enter in the Animal Planet contest, but it was too blurry. Imagine what a cool photo this would be if it had turned out.

And here's one that came out better. Except I forgot to enter the contest. Sigh.

Both of those were from when I went to do archaeology in the arctic, in the summer of 1995. Wow, that was a long time ago. Here's something more recent:

I took that when I went out for an afternoon walk the day after my birthday, using my brand-new digital camera. Much as I love my manual-everything SLR, it's big and heavy and I'd never even have thought to take it along. The digital is teeny, and I happened to have stuck it in my pocket.

Here's another owl from earlier this month:

We often hear owls around here, but we rarely see them.

12 August 2005

Friday Again!

These weeks are going by waaay too fast!

And here is page 48 of Fey. (Yes, sorry, more gargoyles. We're almost done with gargoyles for now.)

Now, I have to walk down to get the mail, and get back to packing. It looks like a war zone in here (without the dead bodies, I'm happy to say), but things are getting done.

11 August 2005

I Dislike . . .

. . . seeing my own books on the shelves of used bookstores (well, books that used to be mine). It makes me unhappy, like I've betrayed them somehow, by casting them aside, unwanted. Silly, yes. I tried not to look at the shelves and the stacks of unprocessed books when I went into Ulla's Bookshop today to pick up a cheque for the books I traded in. I especially hate seeing my old books there when I'm taking money for them. It's not so bad when I get credit and take home new books to replace them.

09 August 2005

Desert Island

You truly do figure out which books you'd really want on a desert island when you have to pack up all the ones you own for storage, and organize them by which ones will be condemned to storage longest. I'm trying to keep the highest priority books to ones I'll need very soon for reference and ones I haven't read yet but really, really want to. I'm finding, though, that there are some books I just want to have with me, even though I've read them and may not read them again right away. Some are favorite novels, some are books of short stories or essays, some have lovely art, and some are more than one of the above. It's really hard. I have to keep reminding mysef that I'm not losing the books that get packed, that I'll have them back again eventually. (I'm sure to a non-book person, this is complete nonsense--if you're a book person, though, you probably know exactly what I mean.)

06 August 2005

It's Really Real Now

Yes, I just went and booked my flight through Air Canada online. The good news is, it leaves Victoria in the afternoon, so there won't be a rush to get to the airport. The bad news is, it arrives in Halifax at 1:30 am.

Of course, there's still the small chance that Visa might decide to decline my card, due to me buying the tix online (like they did when I tried to buy my computer), even though no one but me could use the tickets anyway. We shall see. Now, it's back to mad packing, so everything is ready to be either stored or shipped to me or taken away to use my family and friends.

Edit to add: That is, the flight leaves the afternoon of August 25, and arrives the morning of August 26.

05 August 2005

Friday Things

1. The newest page of Fey is up: page 47. More gargoyles. Sorry. I like drawing gargoyles.

2. The fabulous, marvelous, divine Deva--a friend I met in grad school and who lives in Halifax--has decided to make me part of her family and is helping me find a place to live when I get there. I'm going to come up with some very cool way to thank her (suggestions are welcome, as I can't think of anything grand enough). She's got Helena's old landlord's phone number and means to look into things this weekend. I think that should mean it's safe to book my plane tickets now.

3. For a while now, I've been collecting this "constructible stategy game" called Pirates of the Spanish Main. You buy little booster packs, and each one has a couple of sailing ships that you punch out of a plastic card and put together, plus a cardboard island, some treasure pieces, and crew tokens. Then any flat surface becomes the board. It's a cool idea, and to actually play, each player only needs to buy a single pack (unike some CCGs where you have to buy many, many cards to get good ones to play with). I already liked the concept and the way you don't have to buy a lot to play (not that I've actually played against anyone but myself, but I will!), but then I discovered something that made me feel that weird "brand loyalty" thing (or maybe company loyalty). WizKids (the company that makes the game) has an offer going where you can send in your empty packets and receipts and get free stuff! I like free stuff. So few companies offer it any more. I can't tell you how many "Jedi points" I saved from Star Wars stuff, only to find that you couldn't actually redeem them for anything (or if you could, it was US-only). Anyway, so I can collect Pirates packages and receipts, send them in, and get free pirate ships and little mini-busts of pirates (okay, I really only want the ships) that were originally only available as tournament prizes. The last time I got a cool mailaway was The One Box for my Lord of the Rings dvds. The time before that . . . I think it's lost in the depths of history. Maybe back in junior high when I sent away for some exclusive Transformers toys. (Yeah, okay, I am a geek and a big ol' freak, you don't have to tell me.) It's kind of a stupid thing, but it made me disproportionately happy (as you can tell from the length of this babble).

4. Packing goes. It goes slowly, but it goes.

5. Last night I made a delicious pizza. The crust was a little boring, as usual, though it did crisp up nicely around the edges. I put roasted garlic in the sauce, and onion, ham, mushrooms, roasted green peppers, monterey jack cheese and mozzarella cheese on top. Yum! And there's more left for tonight.

03 August 2005


I started the big pre-move purge a while back, with the worst garage sale ever. Then, a couple weeks later, we had another one--this time at my aunt's--and I did rather well (sold a lot of books, oddly enough). Now I'm continuing to get rid of stuff--toys, mostly--with two mammoth eBay listing efforts (see my stuff here). I don't really want to think about the hell that will ensue when the auctions end and I have to pack stuff and mail it (boxes! I need lots of little boxes!). The stuff I listed on Saturday (mostly Lord of the Rings figures) is doing quite well. Just under 1/3 of the items have bids on, some quite a bit higher than I'd expected. Another handful have watchers. Today I listed a pile more (mosty Star Wars and misc figures). I don't expect them to do as well, though I have a couple of things that might go highish. I hope. We'll see.

29 July 2005

Friday Fey Update

Happy Friday-before-the-long-weekend! I've added the latest page of Fey: page 46, in which we learn more about gargoyles. Also, I added the missing text from a word balloon on page 45. (Er, how come no one told me it was missing? Does that mean no one's reading it?)

25 July 2005

Sad Things

This is the last night my big, silly dogboy Darwin will spend at my house. Tomorrow, he's off to his new home with Heather and Badger-who-used-to-be-Viktor. I shall be very sad, but it would have been unfair to drag big D across the country to live in a tiny downtown apartment with no company but the scary, scary cat for many hours a day. I might cry. There will be ice cream after, and probably books (we're going to Hillside mall after, since we'll be downisland anyway, and I know no better way to drown my sorrows than looking at books, except maybe buying books then spending absurd amounts of time reading them while eating ice cream) (chocolate ice cream, or maybe peanut butter cup ice cream). So.

23 July 2005

Name Changes

I forgot to put this in the last post . . .

Some time ago, I wrote a YA novel that I titled Taken, 1941. I never really liked the title. My original idea was to call it In the Fairies, 1941 (the date was mainly to make it clear when the story was set; I keep changing my mind about whether it should stay or not). "In the fairies" is a Newfoundand term meaning something like "pixie-led," or lost and disoriented due to stumbling onto fairies or fairy property. I let someone (I shall not say who) convince me to change it. Since I don't think I ever used "in the fairies" in the book, but I did use "taken," it didn't seem like a big deal. But, as I said, I never much liked that title. So. Not so long ago, I decided to change the title to The Stolen Child. I had since written another YA novel called The Secret Common-wealth, and I liked the idea of using the titles of famous old fairy literature. The Secret Common-wealth has that title for a very good reason (not just because I wanted to steal something well-known to fairy enthusiasts)--it's set in Aberfoyle and is strongly connected to the events surrounding the Rev Kirk's death (Kirk being the author of the original book of that title, ca 1692).

Anyway. I've since realized that I really need the title The Stolen Child for an entirely different novel (yes, another YA with fairies in, which I will probably do for this year's NaNoWriMo). So I can't use that to retitle Taken (and, to be honest, it never felt quite right anyway, but I couldn't think of a better famous-fairy title to borrow, and nothing I thought up of my own worked, either). So. One evening while getting ready for bed, I realized what the title would be. The Coming of the Fairies. The original book was written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and concerns the Cottingly fairy incident. While Doyle's book hadn't yet been published at the time my novel takes place (the Strand articles it was assembled from were, though), the events he wrote about had happened (two decades before, if I remember correctly). And another book about Cottingley, E.L. Gardner's Fairies: A Book of Real Fairies (which I think appeared under some other title, too, but I don't feel like looking it up), figures fairly prominently in the story. I'd use that title, but it's just not as interesting.

  • Taken, 1941 is now called The Coming of the Fairies (possibly with 1941 tacked on)
  • Fairy Rings is now called The Stolen Child (and I will starting it all over from the beginning, leaving little or no of the content I've already written, except some of the plot and a few of the characters--it really wasn't working, but I still like many of the ideas)

So there you go. I guess it's a good thing I haven't been sending my mss out much--I keep changing their titles. But no more. I'm happy with the titles. Now if I could ony get the revisions done and be happy with the whole ms. Sigh.

Writing: White Foxes, etc

Last night, when Daily Planet was over and I was waiting for Friday night anime to begin, I sat down and wrote 1,157 words of chapter 17 of White Foxes, Full Moon. That makes 47, 979 so far (or 50, 751 if you count the already-written final chapter which may or may not stay once I get to the end). I'm well over halfway now, but not yet at 2/3. My original outline was for 27 chapters, but I suspect there may be 30 or so by the time I get there.

I also thumbnailed and laid out the panels for pages 50-52 of Fey. I have to get going on the pencils on those today (and see if I can finish chapter 18 of Foxes).

What else? I know there was something else I was going to say . . . Oh, yeah. I find it most interesting how you can earn about characters things you never dreamed of until there they are, in words on the page in front of you (or in pictures). I found out something about Watcher (one of the two main characters in Foxes) yesterday. He was telling Maring (the other main character) a story--a kind of origin story about the island they live on. Turns out he may be older and more powerful than even I suspected (he certainly didn't know; he doesn't remember much about his past).

And a week or so ago, I started to sketch out an drawing to enter in a scholarship (deadline is the end of August, I think). I was trying to draw something elegant and sort of intricate--a portrait of some fantasy character, perhaps. Something that would turn out well, but that I wouldn't mind sending to a contest and not getting back. I started with a face, and made him into a king. The idea of "ancient king" popped into my head, so I tried to make the costume simple, elegant, and rich. I wasn't too displeased--in fact, I kind of liked how it was turning out, even though my attempt to add a dragon didn't work (too fantasy-cliché to begin with). Anyway, I had most of the figure down when I realized who I was drawing. Adding small pointed ears clinched it. I'd just drawn a portrait of the mysterious Gannon, villain (maybe) of Fey. And I think he may have been a king, too, though now he's just high up in Faery nobility, due to various events in fey politics and the like. Weird, though. I created his character as little more than a name to oppose Robin et al's efforts to . . . well, you'll just have to read the comic. Later on, as I was pondering the bizarre pathways of literary and comic creation, it occurred to me that Gannon (Gannon ap Rhys, I think) is very probably the father of Pier (aka Rapier) and Sabre (and also Katana, their half-kitsune sister). Phew. Of course, for all I know, once I get around to telling those bits of the story (if they ever make it in to the main tale) everything might have changed, and I may have learned different things (sometimes, you see, characters can lie to their creators) (really; it's weird).

22 July 2005

Fey: Part 3 Begins for Real

While I'm still not as far ahead as I'd like, I do have the next page ready for you all to look at: page 45 (that's page 1 of part 3, if you're keeping track). I'd have had it up sooner, but I had to convince my scanner to play nice with Síog. I discovered that if I set it up so the images opened in Photoshop Elements, everything slowed down so much it might as well have frozen, on account of PE has to run in Classic and having 2 OSs running at the same time takes up a lot of memory. So now everything scans and opens in iPhoto. Once I have it all scanned, I open PE, and edit away. Probably I shouldn't scan at such high resolution (even the Mac gets a little sluggish when I cut and paste the bits together), but I like it that way. Oh well, I'll work it all out. Probably, things will improve some once I get OSX native software.

And in more scanning news, I scanned a couple of slides of arctic terns I was going to enter in this contest. Alas, they were more out of focus than I'd thought (you try focussing a manual camera on a small bird while it's divebombing you). It doesn't look as bad in a small size, so I may post it here later on (it's from my Arctic trip, way back in 1995). I'm going to see if any of my Peary caribou shots turned out any better (they weren't attacking me, but they were rather far away). Maybe I'll find something to enter in that contest yet.

Optimus Keyboard

This is so very cool. I want one. (Link via Scott McCloud.)

21 July 2005

Myth Envy

Oh, I sooo want to do this: MythBusters: Design an Experiment Application. I even have an idea that might work. Alas, you have to be a US citizen. Crap, crap, crap.


Right, so as of yesterday afternoon, I finished reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Hmmm. What to say? Really, for a 600-page book, not very much happened, until right near the end, and most of what did happen was easily achieved and without much sense of conflict or struggle. What kept the book going, I think, in the absence of any great conflict, was a general underlying sense of unease and uncertainty, mostly generated by things happening off-camera. All-in-all, I think it was tighter than the last book, even if there wasn't much action. There were a few annoying things (the all-Slytherins-are-evil thing seemed more pronounced, but was at the same time mitigated by at least one sympathetic Slytherin character). There was an interesting depiction of a "pure-blood" wizarding family after many generations of inbreeding, which was a nice contrast to the snooty Malfoys. The writing was the usual fairy mediocre -- it's the characters that are the heart of this series, and definitely not Rowling's writing. I think I am rambling.

Basically, it seemed to me that a lot of the clichés of the series were both reinforced and undermined in various ways. I'm not quite sure what to make of it yet, but it's interesting.

Ryan commented the other day about how, in the last book, Harry had become a real dick (I think those were his words, more or less). Sue said something like, "Yeah, he's become a teenage boy." (It was amusing, you see, because Ryan turned 16 recently and is, himself, very much a teenaged boy.) Harry is still a bit of a dick, but it's a little easier to see where he's coming from this time, I think.

I could have done without all the snogging, but then I'd probably have loved it when I was a teenager. Same for the toilet humour (not so much of that this time, though; the tone of the books continues to grow more serious).

My only real gripe with this book is that there is one chapter near the beginning (chapter 2, in fact) that really should have been cut (chapter one wouldn't have been missed much, either, really, but it didn't annoy me). I think Rowling needed to write it, so she knew what was going on, but I think it should have gone. The reader doesn't need it. It annoyed me to no end, knowing the information that was in it. And I think the big event at the end of the book whould have had much more power and impact -- much more emotional punch-in-the-guttedness -- if that chapter had not already tipped us off. I'd advise people who haven't read the book yet to skip chapter two the first time through, but I know you're not going to listen to me anyway.

So. Those are my first thoughts on the new Harry Potter. Anyone else got any ideas? Am I full of shit?

17 July 2005

Yee Yaw! (Fey and Síog)

So, as promised, the long-awaited Fey: Drawing Borders, Part 3 Cover. The colours turned out a wee bit muddy, because I overcompensated on account of worrying about them being too bright. But, for my first attempt to use my 6-bazillion-colour package of markers, it's not too bad (actually, I think there are 60 colours, and they only cost about ten bucks at Staples, and are guaranteed not to dry out even if you leave them with the cap off for three days) (which I have not tried; I will be happy if they don't dry out until they are actually empty of ink).

And if you are wondering "okay, so that's Fey, but what the heck is Síog?" you shall soon need wonder no more. Síog is my Mac. There is a tradition among Mac people, of naming their machines. My old LCIII was Banshee (notice a trend?). The current machine is very small, so Síog seem suitable (for some reason, I always think small when I see the word síog, though it really just means "fairy"). I tried naming my first pc, but it never really stuck (and I don't even remember what the name was), so I didn't bother with the rest.

Anyway, this (Fey cover 3) was the first page I did on me Mac that needed much editing (or any, really). And I have to say, Holy Fucking Crap, I love my Mac mini. It's not blazing fast, but it does what I ask without complaining, or crashing, or even hiccuping. And the fan is hardly audible. Yes, I am happy. Garage sale tired, but very pleased.

16 July 2005

Fey Delay

Because I don't ever seem to be quite on top of things, there will be a slight delay in today's page of Fey. Never fear, you shall soon have the cover of part 3, as promised, just probably not today. If you are pining for a Fey fix immediately, you can go read Faerie or Bust, right here. (You can look at the cover if you want to, but it's not much). This was my 24-hour comic from a few years back. It's kind of . . . odd.

I spent most of the day getting ready for our garage sale this Saturday and Sunday (at my aunt's place on Sears Road in . . . er . . . Cobble Hill, I think). I can't imagine what state I'd be in if I hadn't already been mosty ready from last time. So I am sleepy and just want to sit and watch cartoons and eat ice cream and then go to bed and sleep deeply because I have to get up too early tomorrow. And the iron supplement that is supposed to make me less sleepy doesn't seem to be working. And, though the discs I burned from my old desktop machine read just fine in my Mac, I seem to have negected to save one thing I need, so I have to send it from my laptop, where it lives as a raw tiff scan, instead of a nice touched-up file I can just copy and paste onto my pretty image for the cover and I believe I have begun to babble. The short of it is, I can't face staring at a computer screen for even the short time it should take to put the cover together (plus the time it takes for me to navigate Photoshop Elements in the Classic Environment (aka System 9, which I have to use because my PE version is so old is doesn't run in OSX), and also I have to navigate System 9 itself, which is not so different from what I remember of System 7, but is not so elegant as OSX, and I am babbling again and this is not at all short). I have to go before the nearly non-functional "l" key on this laptop causes me to throw the machine out the window, which would be okay except I need this machine for working in the time between leaving here and getting internet acess (not to mention a place to live) in Haifax. Can you see my brain dissolving through cyberspace? Urgh.

Really long story short this time, I will do my best to have Fey cover 3 done tomorrow, though I may be dead after garage sale, day 1 (this time around). Going now.

15 July 2005

Fun With Harry

So it's Harry Potter day (well, really not till tomorrow, but if you stay up till after midnight to buy the book, it's almost like it's today. Or something). The last time a new HP book came out, I wrote a couple of "top ten" articles for work:
And here (via Making Light) are some of the entries to a recent Guardian contest: The alternative Potter: Dumbledore's death, because someone important is rumoured to die in Book 6 (wasn't that the rumour for Book 5, too?). The fun continues in this Making Light post: Pushing Up Dumbedores (and especially in the comments).

I admit, I didn't read them all, but my favouite of those I did read is this one, in the style of William Carlos Williams:
This Is Just To Say

I have killed
the wizard
who was in
your novels

and whose death
you were probably
for book seven

Forgive me
he had it coming
so beardy
and so old

So, do I buy the new book tomorrow, or do I hope somebody gets it for me for Christmas?

13 July 2005

No Go

Pooh! No shuttle launch today: Return to Flight.

09 July 2005

The Meddling is Over

Or, the "Meddling Spirits" Fey short is. I just put the last page up. Next week, we'll continue with part 3 of the main story (aka Drawing Borders). Bet you're all really excited!

(Hmmm. The "l" key on my laptop seems to be sticking . . .)

07 July 2005


After waking me up way too early, one too many times--by chewing on the bars of his cage--InuYasha is now banished outside. He's well-sheltered, out of the wind and rain, and also out of range of me throwing things from bed.

Anyone want to adopt a very cute bunny? (He really is sweet, and if you happen to get up at 6 am anyway, he won't even be annoying.) He comes with a cage and everything.

02 July 2005


I'm testing out Blogger's new photo feature, so here's pic I took a couple of days ago of Bast, aka Supreme Ruler and Goddess of Everything.

(Interestingly, the photo upload feature doesn't work in Netscape, so I had to do this in Explorer. Bleah! Also, I can't figure out how to get it to tell me how much of my allotted 300 megs I've used.)

Latest Reading: Quickly

I've got so very far behind in blogging my recent reading that I'm only going to put in very brief comments.


  1. Shinju by Karen Joh Rowland. A historical mystery set in Japan that completely absorbed me. Not bad for 25 cents from the library discards. I've got another in this series to read, too.
  2. The Dragon Path by Kenneth Morris. Lush, beautiful short stories by a Welsh Theosophist. I've got one of his novels on my shelves. Probably I'll get to reading it sooner, now.
  3. Mr Doyle and Dr Bell by Howard Engel. A novel about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that puts Doyle in the role of Dr Watson alongside Dr Bell (apparently the real-life inspiration for Sherlock Holmes). It was well-enough written, but just Sherlockian enough to make me wonder why I just didn't read a Sherlock Holmes novel instead.
  4. Salt Fish Girl by Larissa Lai. A strange, literate mythic-past and near-future novel. I couldn't resist the title, and now I'll be watching for more of Lai's work.
  5. The Great God Pan by Donna Jo Napoli. I started out disappointed that Napoli chose to make Pan the son of Hermes (as he is in some of the myths, though Pan himself actually pre-dates most of the Olympian gods). In the end, though, I was very pleased with the way the novel ended. Napoli's books never seem to be quite as good as I'd like them to be, but they're usually worth reading once.
  6. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit. One of those YA/children's classics I've been meaning to read for ages. Quite a lovely book, though I rather wish it didn't have a cover from the movie adaptation.
  7. The Geographer's Library by Jon Fasman. A good read, but I really wanted more of the alchemical items from the title, and their story and how they affected the present day. Still, I like the way the past narratives and ongoing present story were interleaved and intertwined.
  8. In the Forests of Serre by Patricia A. McKillip. Whenever I become disillusioned with fantasy fiction (which is often--the genre seems to have more than its share of crap), I only need to read McKillip to have my faith restored. She manages to transplant folkloric elements to fantasy settings and make them seem perfect. Plus her writing is beautiful. In this one, I especially liked the fantasy version of Baba Yaga.
  9. Sorcery and Cecelia, or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. A fun read written by the two authors exchanging letters as if they were their characters. The result is a delightful story, and really, really makes me want to try this. Anyone want to write fantasy character letters with me?
  10. Alphabet of Thorn by Patricia A. McKillip. More gorgeous McKillip writing. This one's got a huge, ancient library, which is one quick way to my heart.
  11. The Beekeeper's Pupil by Sara George. Bees! I love bees. This novel is written as a diary, and is as much about scientific discovery as about people. Go, read it. (Personally, I would have titled it The Beekeeper's Assistant, since The Beekeeper's Apprentice was already taken. "Pupil" is just sich an awkward, unlovely word. And it's a lovely book; I've already requested George's other book from the library.)


  1. At the Water's Edge: Macroevolution and the Transformation of Life by Carl Zimmer. How did mammals evolve from aquatic animals to land animals, and then back again? Cool evolutionary science in a very readable style.
  2. A Sense of the Mysterious: Science and the Human Spirit by Alan Lightman. I'd have liked to read more about the author's experiences as both a scientist and a novelist--the clash of art and science and all that. Some of the earlier essays were kind of slow, but about halfway through I was totally absorbed and finished the rest at high speed.

Sequential Art:

  1. Fruits Basket volume 1 by Natsuki Takaya. I think I'm in love with these characters, and I'll definitely be adding this title to my must-read list.
  2. Hellsing volume 2 by Kohta Hirano. More stylish occult action.
  3. 9-11: Artists Respond. A wide range of styles and themes in this fundraiser. Worth reading, but not something I need to own.
  4. Elfquest: Wolfrider by Wendy Pini et al. I used to be a big EQ reader, but eventualy drifted away. Our library is well-stocked with EQ volumes, so I thought I'd pick up a few I'd missed. Uneven art and stories when Wendy Pini isn't in control of her creation.
  5. Rurouni Kenshin volume 2 by Nobuhiro Watsuki. The usual delightful mix of fun and serious.
  6. Elfquest: Kahvi by Auklandus et al. See notes on Wolfrider.
  7. Rurouni Kenshin volume 3 by Nobuhiro Watsuki.
  8. The New Comics Anthology edited by Bob Callahan. New being the 1990s, if I remember correctly. Quite a lot of the stuff in here really didn't appeal to me, but then quite a lot did. It was worth reading, though, just to see work I'd missed when I read little other than Elfquest. A interesting mix.
  9. Rurouni Kenshin volume 4 by Nobuhiro Watsuki.
  10. Elfquest: Shadowstalker by Auklandus et al. See notes on Wolfrider.
  11. Elfquest: Wavedancers by Pini et al. See notes on Wolfrider.
  12. Rurouni Kenshin volume 5 by Nobuhiro Watsuki.
  13. Dark Shadows: The Comic Strip Book. I've never seen any of the cult-tv series, but picked this up on a whim when I saw it in the library. Fun reading in a campy sort of way.
  14. Demon Diary volume 1 by Kara (art) and Lee Chi Hyong (story). Pretty art and a not-too-bad story. It won't be at the top of my to-read list, but I'll probably pick up others in the series. Might not buy any more, though.
  15. Amphigorey Also by Edward Gorey. It's Gorey. Need I say more?
  16. PhD: Phantasy Degree volume 1 by Son Hee-Joon. I got this for Selena for her birthday, and then read it before I gave it to her. [insert evil laughter] Does my "best auntie" award get revoked? It's a cute, humorous (mostly) series. I'll probably read more, though I don't feel the need to own copies.
  17. Naruto volume 1 by Masashi Kishimoto. A high-energy shonen series about a village of ninjas and the outcast kid who is determined to be the best ninja of all and so gain the villagers respect. Well-drawn, too.
  18. B.B. Explosion volume 1 by Yasue Imai. Not really my thing (it's a bit too girly), but I did enjoy reading this story about a girl determined to make it as Japanese idol singer. I might get more from the library, if they happen to be on the shelf, but I won't go out of my way.

Also read: Book by Karen Brookfield--one of the Eyewitness series with lots of pretty pictures with explanatory captions. I might like to own this one, just because of the excellent photographs of books and book-related items; The Sandman: King of Dreams by Alisa Kwitney--short essays on each story arc of Neil Gaiman's renowned comic series. I learned a few things, and enjoyed reading about the series as a whole, but it's not really something I must have; assorted issues of Wired, Discover, Nintendo Power (yeah, sometimes I'm a game geek), and probably other magazines I've forgotten. I could go look on the finished magazine shelf, but I'm too lazy.


  1. Shivers 2: Harvest of Souls (pc). Not quite as good or absorbing as the first game, but still an excellent adventure game. There were a few really annoying puzzles that I couldn't wrap my brain around (yeah, I resorted to a walkthrough a couple of times), but all in all, it was pretty good. A good thing, though, that I'm really good at tangrams, 'cause there were a whole lot of them.

So, for once I've read more fiction than non-fiction. Hmm. Probably because I set aside the most recent dinosaur book to concentrate on the stack of libary books. Oh well.

01 July 2005

Page 7

New page of Fey here.

29 June 2005


Er, so yesterday I went down to Langford with Sue to pick up Ryan, and we went to WalMart to buy underthings. It is a necessary evil, this buying of underthings. I don't know why, exactly, but I really don't enjoy it. But I managed to pick out two sports bras and one "good bra," a package of undies, and a whole lot of black socks unscathed. Then I found a decent pair of jeans on sale, and a couple of plain tank tops (for exercising in, probably). Then I found this t-shirt. Why it appealed to me so much, I really don't know. It has a picture of Elmo (from Sesame Street, for the culturally-deficient readers out there) and says "Tickle Me" (you know, cuz that "Tickle Me Elmo" doll was so popular a few years back). And it's pink. Very, very pink. Barbie pink, in fact, with baby pink sleeves. I hate pink. Pink is my very, very least favourite colour. And yet, I love this t-shirt. I'm sure that must say something about me. Reveal some deep character flaw, maybe. So, yeah, I now own a pink t-shirt with Elmo on that says "Tickle Me."

Writing: White Foxes

Phew! Chapter 17 is, at long last, done. 2,843 words (not all of it written today, though a fair portion was). I was moping about, not feeling like doing any of the gazillion things I need to do before heading to Halifax, and on a whim I opened the chapter 17 file and started to write. And now chapter 17 is done. Only about 16 or so more to go . . .

24 June 2005

Fey: "Meddlesome Spirits" Page 6


We're all scambling around getting ready for our big TOY SALE (and yard sale) this weekend. There are gaps on my shelves. It hurts, but I know I'll be happy when it's all gone and I have some cash in my pocket instead. Anybody need some Star Wars toys? Lord of the Rings? Toy Dragons? Harry Potter? Books? Everyone needs books. Anyway, that's how I'll be spending most of my weekend.

21 June 2005

Look! Up in the Sky!

It's the summer solstice today (longest day/shortest night), and the lowest-hanging full moon in eighteen years. Read more here: