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.