29 March 2005

Friends of Lulu Annual Lulu Awards!

I don't suppose anyone out there who reads Fey is also a member of Friends of Lulu? 'Cause if they were, they could nominate me for the Kim Yale Award for the best new female talent. (Yeah, okay, very unlikely, but you never know.)

26 March 2005

Fey Friday, Again

Yup, it's that time of the week. Time for a new page of Fey: page 37. Be warned: I used the word "snooty." Twice.

23 March 2005

What!? Mid-Week Fey?

Yeah, well, I finally finished the cover for part two (only . . . about 14 pages late . . .). It's not perfect, but I think it turned out better than part one's cover. Quite a bit better, actually.

Recent Distractions (Reading and Playing)

I think I'm becoming a non-fiction junkie. There are so many interesting things to learn about (my goal since childhood has been to learn everything--unattainable, perhaps, but I'll always have something to strive for).

  1. Alpha and Omega: The Search for the Beginning and End of the Universe by Charles Seife. So continues my quest to better understand the universe I live in. I've read about many of the topics covered in this book before, but reading about them again made them clearer--helped, no doubt, by Seife's clear prose and ability to explain complicated stuff like quantum mechanics. I'm not sure I quite believe that scientists know exactly how the universe will end, but this book did go a long way towards convincing me that they've got a pretty good idea (or maybe, some pretty good ideas).
  2. Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky. Yup, a book about fish. But, like the best "creative non-fiction" (in quotes because it's one of those things that have to be defined more by what they are not than by what they are--for my attempt, go here). Erm, where was I? Like the best creative non-fiction, this book uses its topic as a centrepoint, a focus, around which to look at other things. Kurlansky covers a lot of history--both European and North American--the politics of environmentalism, biology, and assorted other things, all as they relate to the lowly cod (mmm . . . tasty fried fish). The result is a very readable, interesting book, and it made me . . . there should be a word that means "homesick" but for someplace that isn't technically "home." It made me want to go back to Newfoundland. or the east coast, at least.
  3. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. I reviewed this one for work. It's very good. I was expecting something rather wishy-washy and nice, I suppose (I might have had even lower expectations if I'd noticed the publisher before I read it--not that they publish bad books, but they do publish New Age). Anyway, it was beautifully written and actually quite helpful.

Now it's on to a huge book on codes, another marionette book (oops, nope, turns out someone else wants it, so I have to take it back to the library today), something on Celtic Archaeology . . .


And now for some more YA fiction, because grown-up books are making me tired.

  1. The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman. This books is sooo good. I first saw it at Chapters (aka The Evil Empire) weeks and weeks ago, along with two others in the same series. I finally picked it up at a small discount at my niece's school's book fair. It's one of the few really well-done YA mysteries I've encountered. Usually mystery novels aimed at teens are either too obvious or too simplistic (or, sometimes both). Or too improbable. This one is sophisticated enough that most adults would enjoy it, but not too intricate for younger readers. And it has lots of adventure. Pullman's having fun with the Victorian mystery genre. I will absolutley be getting the rest of this series.
  2. Grim Tuesday by Garth Nix. Nix is always a good bet. I don't like this series quite as much as the Sabriel books, but they're still good. There's a seriously whimsical, slightly twisted imagination at work in these books, which is just exactly what I needed when I sat down to read.

Now I have to get back to that Hindenberg novel. It's quite good, but requires more concentration than I've had lately.

Sequential Art:

As usual, I've read more comics than anything else. No French books this time, though. (I did get another Schuiten/Peeters Cities of the Fantastic volume off eBay, but it's part 2, so I have to get part 1 before I read it.)

  1. Girl Genius: Agatha Heterodyne and the Airship City (volume 2) by Phil and Kaja Foglio. This time, Girl Genius is in full colour, which looks nice, but means the book cost something like twice as much as book one. Not that I'm really complaining. This is a fun story (with airships!) done in a cartoony, high-energy art style that I find really appealing. The main character is volatile, but likeable, and won't let anyone push her around. If you have any interest in steampunk, you really oughtta read this book.
  2. Cardcaptor Sakura: Master of the Clow volume 2 (aka Cardcaptor Sakura volume 8) by CLAMP.
  3. xxxHolic volume 4 by CLAMP.
  4. Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle volume 4 by CLAMP.

All CLAMP, all the time! OK, not really, but I do seem to read an awful lot of their work. Also, read, but not actually a "book": Swamp Thing #2. This time around, they're trying to bring Swampy back to his horror orgins. It's pretty good so far (but keep in mind I have an awful lot of campy old Swamp Thing comics, and I love them all). Plus, it's got John Constantine in (which reminds me, I need to read more Hellblazer).


I'm still trying to play through all my pc games before I make The Switch. I've got a disconcertingly large stack to get through still, but I'm making a good effort.

  1. The Cameron Files: Secret at Loch Ness (pc). The graphics are pretty dated, but the game came out in 2001, so you can't really hold that against it. I really had a good time playing this. Even the timed sequences (bane of true adventure gamers) were all right, once I realized there were going to be some. I rarely felt at a loss about what I was supposed to be doing, and the puzzles were logical (illogical puzzles are my personal bane). If anything, the puzzles were maybe too easy, and the end was rather anticlimactic. Still, a good game, and well worth the money (especially considering I got both Cameron Files games in one box for $12.99--or maybe it was $19.99).
  2. The Cameron Files: Pharaoh's Curse (aka The Cameron Files 2) (pc). The graphics were better than the first game, though still not fabulous. There was more humour and slightly harder puzzles. Otherwise, the second Cameron Files was much like the first: a solid game, though not the best game ever. I liked wandering around an empty museum taking stuff and picking locks and looking for clues (it's one of the reasons Shivers appealed to me, too). And a certain Dr. Jones was staying in your (or rather, your character, Alan P.Cameron's) hotel just before you got there, and he seems to have left his hat and whip behind in the museum storeroom.
  3. Dark Fall: The Journal (pc). Where whole development companies can fail miserably to produce a decent adventure game, one inspired person can create something pretty amazing. The graphics were a bit uneven--on the simplistic side in places, intricate in others--but always gorgeous, and once I got into this game, I hardly noticed the uneveness. You get to explore an abandoned train station and hotel, trying to figure out what happened to the people who disappeared there. There might be something evil lurking nearby, and you're the only one who can stop it. While there's not any danger of you actually dying (except maybe at the end), this is one truly spooky, creepy, eerie game. I loved it. Too bad the sequel isn't likely to be available for Macintosh. I'd pay full price right now.

I'm now trying to get Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill working properly. It used to work brilliantly, before I got a new video card and mouse. Now the audio skips and the mouse control is annoyingly jumpy. Argh! Updating DirectX and video drivers didn't help (also didn't help me get Broken Sword: Sleeping Dragon working, which is the game I most want to play next, and I don't know if it's affected the tendency of Jekyll and Hyde to freeze up as soon as the intro sequence is over--we'll see). If I can't get them to work, it'll be back to the pile for something else (LotR, perhaps).

18 March 2005

Fey: Now With Fewer Crashes

Page 36, and I finally get to use that headline! I worked out a way to avoid freezing up Photoshop by immediately flattening and saving each new layer. It means I can't keep a bunch of layers open, which means I lose flexibility, and have to make absolutely sure I'm done everything I needed to do with each layer, but it also means (this time, anyway) only having to reboot once. Woo hoo!

15 March 2005

Maybe Sooner Than I Thought

I happened to flip through the latest London Drugs "Computer Savings Guide" (aka "flyer"), and whaddayaknow, there's a whole page of Macintoshes, including the Mini. Nothing says they have limited quantities, or that you have to preorder--though nothing says they actually have them in stock, either. But there's hope. Of course, there isn't a London Drugs in Duncan, so it's either Victoria or Nanaimo. Hmmm . . . wonder when I can get there . . .

Edit: Looks like CompuSmart is shipping them within 3 days, while the Apple Canada store still says 3-4 weeks. Interesting.

12 March 2005

Fey page 35

Right here.

10 March 2005

One Box to Rule Them All

Today's mail brought my free (except for the $4 shipping, that is) Lord of the Rings DVD trilogy slipcase. As I'd hoped, the slipcases of the individual sets fit inside the One Slipcase. Hwah ha! Now I rule the world (or at least my DVDs will be protected from dust).

07 March 2005

Haunted . . .

Thing which is haunting me #1: robin's eggs. I was at the grocery store yesterday, eyeing the candy in the bulk food section, when I spotted robin's eggs. I couldn't remember what sort of candy they actually are, but they were such gorgeous colours that I couldn't resist buying a few to put with whatever I decide to do for the kids (that is, my sister's kids) for Easter. Of course, when I got home, I had to try one. I had some vague notion that they were maybe candy-covered chocolate. Actually, they are candy-covered-chocolate-covered malt balls (you know, like Whoppers). I bit one in half and looked at the crispy inside. Hmmm, I thought. I can't eat this. (Malt = barley, plus the crunchy bit is probably mostly wheat flour = poison to Celiac sufferers like me.) So what did I do? Did I spit it out? Hell, no. I ate it. And then I ate the half that was still in my hand. Very, very bad. But if I only eat one, ever, I'll be fine. And it was sooo good! Now I am haunted by the malty deliciousness of something I'm not allowed to eat. (Maybe, I thought, if I only ate one a week, it'd be okay. And probably it would, but that's a very, very bad habit to pick up.) Sigh.

Thing which is haunting me #2 (still): marionettes. I was working on my cloth doll marionette yesterday after supper. There I sat, cross-legged on the bed (where I often work, despite the bedroom being the darkest room in my house), stuffing the little black cotton arms and legs that I'd sewed up the day before, and the weirdest thing happened. I was working on the legs--they were done up to the knees and I was putting stuffing in the thighs--when I looked down at what I'd done so far. Imagine two little shapely legs, bent neatly at the knee where they lay across my lower leg (remember, I am cross-legged, so the working surface of my lap is made up of bits of my own bent legs). Two little legs bent at the knee, feet turned slightly inward at the ankle, exactly as if there was a little artificial person sitting in my lap (except, of course, the legs weren't attached to anything yet). Every time I looked at the legs as a whole (rather than just the immediate part I was working on) they looked exactly like they might start to move on their own. It was very peculiar. I've made cloth dolls before, but they never seemed about to move on their own. (I'm not saying I thought they actually would, only that they looked as if they could.) Maybe it's just that I was taken to see Coppelia at a very young age, and that first impression of toys coming to life has stayed with me ever since. Or maybe it's that in every puppet book I read, it's emphasized that marionettes are not dolls. They are actors. I can kind of see where that comes from now. I only hope this little fabric person retains that much character when it's finished. Oh, and it (possibly she, but more likely androgynous) has a name now. Iris. After the Greek goddess of the rainbow. It will make sense, I hope, when it's done.

I was surfing around eBay (bad idea, really, but fun), and decided to look at marionettes. There are some really gorgeous ones, like knights in real metal armour (Italian, I think), and the ones by Czech Marionettes. I really could imagine these as actors rather than dolls or toys. And then there were the ones that looked like cheap toys, and probably wouldn't come to life no matter how carefully you twitched their strings. Or maybe I'm just imagining things. A skilled puppeteer could probably make just about anything seem alive.

And speaking of which, my bedtime reading last night was a short (40-page) biography of Jim Henson written for kids. One of the things that struck me was how the human co-stars of the Muppet Show quickly began to see their Muppet coworkers as individuals, and how they found it disappointing that they couldn't go out for coffee with them after the show. Even the puppeteers who played the Muppets tended to think of them as real characters. Perhaps it's much the same as how writers think of their characters. They're not "real" in the sense that they're a part of the "real world," but they are somehow their own people who have pasts and opinions.

Anyway, time to get back to stuffing and sewing.

05 March 2005

Need More French Comics (Recent Reading)

I've only been working my way slowly through some fiction and non-fiction (a novel about the Hindenburg and a science book about the beginning and end of the universe), but I have read lots of words&pictures. And some puppet books (I had to work puppets in there somehow).


  1. Marionettes by Edith Flack Ackley. Puppets! This is another book mostly meant for kids and people working with kids, but it also has good basic information, plus patterns for making cloth doll marionettes. I've temporarily set aside my paper mache marionette project and now have a sewn-but-not-yet-stuffed cloth one. It's black cotton and will have hair of this wonderful hand-spun, hand-dyed, multicoloured wool I bought at a craft fair last year. I don't know what the rest of it will look like, but I'm thinking of getting a round compact mirror and using it for a mask.

Sequential Art:

  1. Morgana Volume 1: Heaven's Gate by Alberti and Enoch. I kept looking at this book every time I went into the local comic shop. The cover art is truly gorgeous (and so, as it turns out, is the interior art). Finally, I decided to buy it. This is what I was referring to in the title of this blogpost--it's translated from French. Now, I haven't read a lot of French comics, but every one I have read has been pretty amazing. The art is just beautiful and the writing seems to tend to the weird-but-really-good. Morgana is a sort of science-fantasy with occasional Arthurian echoes. It's short, but damn do I want to read more. Alas, I'll have to order it online, probably, as this was the only volume Collector's Choice had, and more than likely the only one they'll ever have. I'm rather suprised they had it at all. They tend to only get in stuff that will sell quickly, which is why it's a good place to find the latest InuYasha but not a good place to look for the latest Girl Genius. So yeah, I'll be looking for more of this, and more French comics in general. In fact, I may attempt to dust off and upgrade my highschool French, and have a go at reading some in its original language.
  2. Cardcaptor Sakura: Master of the Clow volume 1 (aka Cardcaptor Sakura volume 7) by CLAMP. I've been waiting for the local shop to get this in for months. I actually asked them to order it for me, but I guess they forgot (I don't have a file there, so maybe I'm not a priority). So at last I get to find out what happens next (well, I have seen the entire Card Captors anime series, but it was pretty heavily edited and changed around when it was brought to North American television, so it's almost like getting a new story).
  3. Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle volume 3 by CLAMP. I am quite enjoying this alternate-universe-Cardcaptors (sort of) story. It's pretty girly at times, but I'm old enough that being girly isn't the horror it used to be (no, I was definitely not a girly girl--"girly-girl" was the highest of insults when I was young thing--I was a tree-climbing, snake-handling tomboy, though I've never wanted to be an actual boy).
  4. Eerie Queerie! volume 2 by Shuri Shiozu. I had to go to the comic shop in Nanaimo to find this. I suspect Duncan isn't really a gay-friendly town, though they did have copies of Fake (a title I haven't read yet) at the local shop. I still think they should have kept the Japanese title (Ghost!), but for some reason, I really like this series.
  5. Until the Full Moon by Sanami Matoh. Another one I had to get in Nanaimo (for possibly the same reason). I'd really been looking forward to it (that whole werewolf obsession, maybe), so I was a bit disappointed. It's not bad, and I probably will read volume 2, but it seemed pretty shallow. It was much more like the standard romance novel, plotwise, than I'd thought it would be (you know: main character is madly attracted to love interest, but also detests him, various things happen--possibly including a rescue--and in the end they fall in love and live happily ever after). (Er, yes, I have read a few romance novels, because I don't want to be accused of berating a genre I've never read. It's possible that there are good genre romance novels out there . . . I guess.) Anyway, the "boy who turns into a girl during the full moon" thing doesn't really seem to be used as well as it could have, or hardly at all, really. And the two characters admit right from the beginning that they're mad for each other. There just seems to be a series of trivial things coming between them. I'd rather have seen Marlo's gender confusion explored in greater depth than have him get kidnapped and wait around to be rescued (and that story was resolved way too easily, in my opinion; I mean, why not explore the idea of two non-blood-related people raised as siblings, who fall in love?). I guess the point I'm trying to make (and using too many words to do it) is that this book had a lot of potential that was wasted in favour of fairly trivial episodes. But still, I did like it enough to read the next book. I don't know if I'd bother if it was going to be more than two volumes, though.

Once I actually get my NSCAD application and portfolio done and sent off, I may actually have more time for reading (er . . . maybe when I get as far ahead on Fey as I'd like to be). I really don't enjoy having only minimal reading time. Sometimes I think I could actually live without writing as long as I could still read lots. Of course, if I hadn't bought a Gameboy and got hooked on The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, I'd have a little more time. It's probably a very good thing I'm only a casual gamer, and not a total game geek.

And something totally unrelated to anything: I wish the folks who designed the standard qwerty keyboard hadn't put "o" and "0" so close together. It confuses the spellchecker when I make a typ0. Heh.

Not More Books!

Yes, more books! I found out Thursday that today was the annual Times Colonist (that's the Victoria newspaper) booksale, proceeds going to support literacy programs. So this morning (not very early) Sue, Mum, and I set out for downtown Victoria, and spent a couple of hours looking at books. Alas, no comics, though I almost bought The Encyclopedia of Superheroes (think that's what it was called), becuase it had all kinds of obscure old heroes I'd never heard of. I kind of wish I had bought it. Oh well, I found plenty of other things.

  • The Wailing Wind by Tony Hillerman. Hillerman's mysteries are addictive. I saw quite a few of them (mostly copies of The Thief of Time, oddly enough), but this was the only one I was sure I hadn't read. My goal is to get them all, read them in chronological order, then trade them in at the used book store.
  • The Gray Wolf and Other Fantasy Stories by George Macdonald. Wonderful, magical, fairy-tale-like stories. And it even matches my copy of The Light Princess.
  • The Fox Woman by Kij Johnson. Shapechangers. Fox shapechangers. I've been wanting to read this for ages.
  • Inez by Carlos Fuentes. I'm not sure why I got this one. It has a nice cover and it sounded good. Do I need any more reason?

  • The Amateur Magician's Handbook by Henry Hay. I don't know if I'll ever actually learn to do any of these tricks (I still haven't managed to juggle, after all), but it'll be useful if (no, not if, when) I get around to writing my Victorian magic ghost-busting psychic-debunking novel Bunk. I'll need to at least know the theory for that. Plus, I think I'll need to go to Vegas and watch a bunch of magic shows. Anyone wanna go? It's for research, of course.
  • A Guide to the Prehistoric and Roman Monuments in England and Wales by Jacqetta Hawkes. I seem to be getting quite a collection of books like this--guides to the prehistory of England. I'm really going to have to actually go there one day. (Hey, I need to do some research in Aberfoyle and Skye . . .)
  • The Science of Jurassic Park and The Lost World, or, How to Build a Dinosaur by Rob DeSalle and David Lindley. Caitlín Kiernan mentioned this one in her blog, saying it was a good one to consult "for more on Crichton's bad science." Heh. So of course I had to buy it.
  • A Rum Affair: The True Story of a Botanical Fraud by Karl Sabbagh. Here's another one with a nice cover that sounded good. Scientific hoaxes are always fun.
  • Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky. This one was recommended as a good example of creative non-fiction in a workshop I took in my last year of the most recent degree (the BFA). It's been on my to-read list for quite a while. Ugly fish, but quite yummy. If you're ever in Newfoundland, see if you can't find someplace to eat cod cheeks (you could have cod tongues--not actually the tongue, but the meat from under the chin--which is more popular with locals, but I liked cheeks better). Mmmm. Now I'm hungry.
  • Dinosaur Plots and Other Intrigues in Natural History by Leonard Krishtalka. Dinosaurs, palaeontology, conflicts and hoaxes in science. Looks very good.
  • Fads & Fallacies in the Name of Science by Martin Gardner. I suspect there's a new(er) edition of this out, but it was only $2, so I can't complain. I have something else of Gardner's (can't remember what, and I too lazy to go look at the shelf). It was good, I do remember that, and this one's also a favourite topic of mine.
  • Sir Henry Morgan: Pirate and Pioneer by Rosita Forbes. I like reading about pirates. This book's pretty old and so could be rather outdated, but it's got endpaper maps. Endpaper maps are cool.
  • The Pirates by Douglas Botting and the editors of Time-Life Books. Yeah, it's a Time-Life book, part of the "Seafarers" series, But it has pictures of the different kinds of ships pirates used (showing rigging and sails and how many masts) and pictures of piratey weapons, and portraits of different pirates. Time-Life books can be surprisingly useful, sometimes.
  • The Codebreakers: The Story of Secret Writing by David Kahn. I think this may be the fattest book I own that isn't a dictionary. It's 1164 pages (including the notes and index). That's not why I bought it, though. I'm not that sort of a freak. I got it because secret codes are cool. I have a secret decoder wheel on my keychain (it's the simplest code of all, but it's still cool). Hee hee.

I think I am giddy from the smell of books. Now I just have to find the time to read them all, plus all the other ones I already own. It is time for a book purge, though, as painful as it will be. I have a lot of fiction I'll be weeding out. The non-fiction will be harder, because how can I know for sure I won't need it again? I have a lot of somewhat obscure books. Not obscure enough that I can sell them on eBay for pots of money, but enough that finding them again could be awkward, especially if I need them in a hurry. So I shall have to be careful. And just to show that I am actually reading, and not just acquiring volumes in a bibliophiliac frenzy, my very next post will be about my recent reading. Or puppets, but probably reading.

Alas, I found not a single puppet book at the sale.

04 March 2005

Fey page 34

Done, done, done. And with somewhat less hassle than usual.

You may have noticed the overall greyer look of the last couple of pages. That's due to the new scanner, which is much better than the old one (even though I'm still scanning at the same resolution)--it picks up the translucency of the drafting vellum I've been drawing on, so the pages look grey (even though I put a blank white sheet behind them). One more good reason to switch to bristol (which I should have been using all along) once this batch of paper runs out (don't want to waste it, and it comes already in the right size).

01 March 2005

This is Cool (and Something Not So)

I was reading through my regular blogs this afternoon, and to my surprise found Anagram for Ink (which, in case you haven't a clue, you are reading right now) linked on The Johnny Bacardi Show sidebar. That's pretty cool. (It's in the "full-and-semi Comics Bloggers" section, waaay down near the bottom.) And, while there, I discovered the link to this story. A Firefly comic could be good, or it could be not good. I'll have to wait and see. And the movie's out in September! Yay. (Now if only I could get Fey linked in the Johnny Bacardi "Creators/Webcomics" section . . . ) (After it's moved to the new server and domain, preferably, as Geocities won't take much traffic.)

In not-so-cool news, I went to work on the annotated bibliography of fairy books I've been doing to lead up to a book proposal (ie. I'm gonna write one), and discovered I deleted it last week when I was madly deleting things to make enough room on the hard drive for Photoshop to consent to open. Crap! Fortunately, it won't be too hard to reconstruct, as I copied and pasted some of it from my thesis bibliography and from The Faery Bibliography, but I had added some recent books and written at least something for each book (much in need of editing, but still something). I was going to start typing/revising the summaries of the different book ideas I have, but when I discovered I'd deleted the bibliography, I suddenly felt very, very tired. Maybe I'll have a nap first. Bleah.