I hope to hang out with people and do a little stalking of Amy Acker, Karl Urban, and Manu Bennett. I have come to terms with the fact that I'm not going to make it through all of Arrow season 2 in time and spoilers are an inevitability if I go to Arrow panels.
I use the DragonCon app if you are also going and want to add me there.
And now I need to process the roasted sweet corn and let the roasted broccoli cool while I figure out what the hell I'm going to make with all this kale. And, you know, pack. At some point.
* The family stuff came up on Saturday of VividCon weekend, so if I seemed off at all it probably was because early morning phone calls from the hospital do that to a person. Dad + second heart attack = he's doing okay but these are stressy times, my friends.
And finally, the Rest Principle, the tenet that gave me particular solace. To make fitness gains, whether in strength, speed, stamina or whatever your aim (see Principle of Specificity), you must take ample time to recover.It's not a long piece, and I found it thought-provoking given my own state of constant writing. I write for work and then I come home and write for fun, and whenever I'm not spending my free time writing, I feel vaguely guilty about it. That said, I think I spend enough time breaking away, since I have a fairly active social life, but there's always that feeling in the back of my head. Maybe, it's just that I have two looming deadlines for fic right now, but I'm definitely feeling the need for a break from it all.
I had been working out as long as I had been writing, so this last principle was not new to me. Overtraining without taking days off can lead to injuries, chronic fatigue and, frankly, pain. But I had never observed this rule very strictly when it came to working on a piece of writing. Just as the body needs time to rest, so too does an essay, story, chapter, poem, book or a single page.
In some cases, it is not just the writing that needs a breather but the writer, too. On this matter, I quote from a National Council on Strength and Fitness training manual, one of the textbooks we used in our personal training course. Here, fatigue is defined as “an inability to contract despite continued neural stimulation” (what a bodybuilder might call a failure to flex, you and I might call writer’s block, in other words).
We Rule the World
Fandom: Happy Endings
Summary: Let's pretend that we rule the world.
HQ DL here at my vids site.
Here's a terrific h/c oneshot from one of my favorite writers in AOS fandom :)
The White Silence by Matarreyes
Gen with Skyeward subtext; chars: Ward, Skye, team; hypothermia, h/c; G; 6835 words
Summary: After they crash in the Canadian mountains, Ward must get an injured Skye to Providence. The fact that he is an enemy of SHIELD is of little importance in the face of hypothermia threatening to set in.
5.9 x 5.9 inch / Oil on MDF board / 15cm x 15cm / Öl auf MDF Bord
If you would like to purchase this daily painting, please send your bid by email. Startprice 150 Euro. End of sale August 27th, 2014 at 6.00 pm (local time Berlin Germany). Terms of Sale and Right of Withdrawal.
Wenn Sie dieses Tagesbild erwerben möchten, senden Sie bitte Ihr Gebot per email . Mindestpreis 150 Euro. Ende des Verkaufs gegen Höchstgebot am 27. August 2014 um 18 Uhr. Beachten Sie bitte die Informationen zu den Verkaufsbedingungen sowie die Widerrufsbelehrung.
© Edward B. Gordon, all rights reserved.
I deinstalled the newly added dropbox because that seemed to cause all kinds of problems, but I can't imagine that to be the sole cause, especially since it's had occasional problems waking up from standby for weeks. It's almost five years old... none of my previous computers reached that age.
Of course I'm tempted to tell the guy at the show I won't need a new computer for the time being, since it's running again and all, but the mere fact that I had to kick it so it would boot can't be a good sign.
Characters/Pairing/Other Subject: Gen Masho Rajura (Dais, Dark Warlord of Illusion in the dub)
Content Notes/Warnings: n/a
Artist on DW/LJ: n/a
Artist Website/Gallery: wintersknight
Why this piece is awesome: This is a great portrait of Rajura. I love his slightly crazy expression and how the grey-green background sets off the brilliant colour of his armour. The subtle webbing is another great detail.
Link: Gen Masho
Niroot Puttapipat is a London-based illustrator who uses the handle “Himmapaan”.
Puttapipat works with a nice balance between detailed rendering and graphic shapes, particular in his series of illustrations for classics like Aladdin, and modern novels like Salman Rushdie’s Luka and the Fire of Life (images above, second and third from bottom).
As continuing Lines and Colors readers will not find surprising, I particularly enjoy his fanciful takes on dinosaurs and related subjects. Sometimes Puttapipat’s fondness for classic literature and paleontological art collide, as in his hilarious and wonderful “Brontesausus” (above, bottom).
Anyway! So I mentioned that Saturday I went out to MCU* Park in Coney Island for the Cyclones game, which means around 90 minutes (or up to two hours, depending on wait times/delays etc.) on various bits of public transportation. This is prime reading time for me, and I was looking forward to starting a new book. The one I chose was A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin, which I had picked up because it was recommended in the same breath as the Rivers of London and Felix Castor series, both of which I enjoyed (though admittedly, the former more than the latter).
The story opens with about 35 pages of the narrator - who doesn't quite know what's going on - describing things. Now, he has his reasons for being so disoriented (and they are pretty good), but good lord, it's page upon page of overwritten descriptions of things without any meaningful interaction with other characters (except for an interaction with something trying to kill him, i.e., ( spoiler ), which was clever and should have been entertaining, but the writing was so bogged down in endless metaphors and neither the writer nor the narrator seemed to have any sense of whimsy or humor in dealing with it), and I realized that unless your narrator is super charming, like Peter Grant, whose personality pops off the page right on page 2, or your writing is both enjoyable to read on a sentence level and moves the story along, I'm just going to get bored.
I realize that this is at least 75% about me and my reading taste (and my very limited attention span for scenic description) and only 25% about the writing, but I'm begging you, as an avid reader: don't waste a promising start like your main character waking up from being dead for two years on endless, overextended metaphors about garbage (um, that's not me being judgy; he spends a lot of time talking about the trash littering the street where he is) without ever giving a sense of who the character is. I mean, I guess this was a guy who thought up a lot of ways to describe garbage? IDEK. It just went on and on and on, and there I was on the D train thinking, "I can't with much more of this." And I was kind of a captive audience, you know? (Had I had a paper book and not my iPad, I would have been a captive audience and I'd have been much more pissed off about it.) And yet it went on for another five pages. And then he finally does meet up with another person and he's a huge asshole about it and I was like, "I am so not here for this jackass," so I closed out of it, opened up Lords and Ladies and enjoyed the rest of my epic train ride.
And it's not that I can't or don't enjoy asshole characters (I can, and do), it's that having spent 40 pages on my own with this guy, I had no desire to go further. And even when I do like a character, if you send them off on their own to have an epic internal monologue for fifteen or twenty pages, I am probably going to get bored.
This was also my main issue with the third Steerswoman book. I really like Rowan a lot! But I did not want to read a whole section of her on her own observing creatures doing the same things over and over again. It is boring! This is also why I tend not to enjoy reading solo Batman adventures. He's going to investigate broodily. Then he's going to narrate broodily. He's going to brood a bit - broodily. Then he's going to punch some guys broodily. And then there's going to be more broody narration because he's a noir hero and his parents are DEAD and wah wah wah please talk to someone soon before I claw my own face off, Bruce. And no, Jason's case doesn't count.
To get back to this book in particular, then there's the part where there was no frisson of delight - the metaphors were lugubrious and landed like wet blats of used paper towels on the floor of a public restroom. Like, with Kraken, last week I said I wasn't getting the same sense of glee that I have from other writers, who seem to really enjoy what their writing in a way that comes through to me as a reader, but in the end, I did feel like Mieville was pretty pleased with the crazy shit he put in the book, if in a gloomier and more subdued manner. And it certainly had a sense of wryness, a deadpan that permeated the gloom. (And it was entertaining even if it wasn't particularly emotionally engaging.)
This book did not have that, not in the small bit I read, anyway, and it needs to come through to leaven both the ponderous narration and the character's unpleasantness. Someone needs to be having a good time somewhere, even if it's just the writer enjoying putting the characters and the reader through the wringer! And this book did not have that spark at all and I just didn't like it.
(Interestingly enough, I did finish another book this week that I also didn't like very much, but which I found much more compelling and interesting to read. I'll talk about that tomorrow though.)
Anyway, like I said, this is in large part a matter of taste - I also can't stand most of Dickens or Theodore Dreiser, which has gotten me the side-eye more than once - so if you enjoyed this book, or books in this style, um, mileage obviously varies! And my mileage is much more interested in books that don't do this.
*it stands for Municipal Credit Union, not Marvel Cinematic Universe OR Major Crimes Unit
New one might be ready by Saturday, in the meantime I'll have to see if I can get my ancient laptop to work again so I don't have to do my research for the new job on my tablet.
I’m delighted to say that after a hiatus of three years, painter/blogger/illustrator Mick McGinty is back to posting his small paintings on his blog Twice a Week, and offering them at auction.
Presumably, McGitnty has been busy in his other role as an illustrator, but it’s great to see him once again posting his plain air paintings and other small works on his blog, which I have been following since early 2007.
I have this painting by McGinty, which I managed to snag at a low auction price back in 2008 (while everyone else was apparently sleeping), hanging in my living room.
When viewing his blog, bear in mind that it’s one of the older Blogger layouts, in which there are no “Previous Posts” links at the bottom of the page. Use the monthly links in the right column to browse back through McGinty’s work from past years. Also, be sure to click on the images to see the large versions of his work, the painterly nature of which is not always evident in the smaller reproductions.
For more, see my previous posts on Mick McGinty, listed below.
Plus de Vin, Carlos Reis
On Google Art Project; downloadable large file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Dionísio Pinheiro And Alice Cardoso Pinheiro Foundation.
In this loosely rendered and fascinatingly dark composition, it’s evident that the wine was more in demand than the fruit.
Characters/Pairing/Other Subject: Raleigh Becket
Content Notes/Warnings: Naked torso, otherwise SFW
Medium: digital painting
Artist on DW/LJ: n/a
Artist Website/Gallery: art tag on tumblr
Why this piece is awesome: Reversebang illustrations for an Aussie surfing AU. I love the minimalist, near-monochrome palette and Raleigh's physique, stance and likeness are captured perfectly.
Link: Playing Hooky
Here's a piece I did not too long ago, for a book called "Charlie Hardin'. It's written by esteemed SF author, Dean Ing, and is semi-autobiographical. It tells the story of a young boy growing up in Texas post WWII.
The painting itself is a little unusual for me. I painted it much larger and looser than I normally do, and also painted it on canvas (which lends itself well to both large and loose paintings).
Above are some alternate concepts. You can see how all of my concepts revolved around the sense of a vast sky. Even early on, I felt it was prudent to explore the way type treatment affected it.
Aside from being a strong compositional element, the moon was intended as a nod to the Science Fiction books the author would later grow up to write.
I will be displaying this painting, along with several other originals, this weekend at Dragon Con. Come visit me in the Art Show Room. I will have Originals, giclees, posters, books and DVDs.
I use the new tubes for refilling empty pans. If the semi-dry ones are still squeezable, they can work even better for refilling, because they don't drip liquid. You can cut open the dried out tubes with a sharp knife. The pigment is often tar-like in consistency and can usually be scraped out with a palette knife. A little water pressed in with an old spoon is usually enough to reactivate them. If you're handling toxic pigments with your fingers, remember to wear gloves.
My jar of pans is a graveyard of colors I've dumped from sets because I wasn't interested in them. Sometimes I change my mind and give those refusés another try. Every six months or so, I change my palette selection to keep myself off balance.
If I'm sure I don't want an old pan color, I pry out the color so that I can fill the empty pan with a new tube color. After refilling it, I put it on the sill of a sunny window and let it dry out for a week or two. If it cracks after drying, just fill in the cracks with more liquid color and let it dry again (thanks Jobot).
To cure the pigment from drying too crumbly, add a little gum arabic to it. Gum arabic is the binder or gluey stuff that holds watercolor together. You can get it in powdered form and it's non-toxic. It's also used for gluing cigars and making royal icing more shiny. You can even use gum arabic to make your own watercolors out of your dry eye shadow or dry pigments. (thanks, DKVision and Jobot).
Check out my video:Watercolor in the Wild by James Gurney
Big post about materials
And of course I'm very happy about Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn and Aaron Paul getting a leading team of actors win. No offense to anyone else nominated. But that was such a great final run and the acting so sublime. Who knows whether they'll ever get such good tv roles again?
It's time for our regular reccer recruiting post, and to look ahead to the next month. So far we have three volunteer reccers who signed up for September with these fandoms:
* Doctor Who (turlough)
* Marvel Movieverse (dirty_diana)
* Sailor Moon (reflectedeve)
So we already have a few recs too look forward to in September, but it would of course be awesome if we had more recs. There is still plenty of opportunity for you to jump in and volunteer to rec next month (or to convince your friends to do some reccing). And many cheers for all of our members who volunteer to rec, especially if you rec regularly. Your valiant repeat efforts keep the comm alive.
Looking even further ahead so far only ONE reccer has volunteered for October, so that month definitely still needs some love (and recs! *g*) too. So please consider reccing in a fandom of your choice, whether small or huge, and comment on the sign-up post and volunteer for September, October or even further ahead if you are so well organized, that you know your fannish interests and time commitments in advance. It's only four recs as a minimum, and you can rec any genre or rating. Or promote us to your friends or in your favorite communities so others do the work.
Open Rec Posting
The monthly open reccing period for all members starts now and lasts until the end of August. If you are looking for something to inspire you, the prompt for this (not quite a) week is "School", but that's totally optional for the recs. However they do still have to conform to the usual rec format and follow the rules for what is allowed to be recced here.
(Comments here are disabled, because I want to bundle volunteering in the sign-up post so that nothing gets lost, and you can see the list of claimed slots there too.)
Characters/Pairing/Subject: Dean Winchester, Benny Lafitte, Castiel
Content Notes/Warnings: none
Medium: digital fancomic
Artist on DW/LJ: unknown
Artist Website/Gallery: cashands
Why this piece is awesome: delightfully silly & excellently framed. Really well done with amazingly expressive faces.
Link: Fancomic (tumblr)
1600 words | PG | Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, Clint Barton, Bruce Banner
( Steve's a little perplexed why nobody's challenging him. Nobody else is. )
The Mighty Asgardians
QB1: Peyton Manning
RB1: Ben Tate
RB2: Trent Richardson
WR1: Dez Bryant
WR2: TY Hilton
TE: Vernon Davis
FLEX: Joique Bell
K: Mason Crosby
D/ST: Broncos D/ST
Bench-QB2: Jay Cutler
Bench-TE: Zach Ertz
Bench-RB: Khiry Robinson
Bench-WR: James Jones
Bench-WR: Jarrett Boykin
Bench-K: Jay Feely
Bench-D/ST: Ravens D/ST
Now I plan to pay little or no actual attention to anything until I have to...submit a roster for Sunday's game? I don't even know how it works. I'm sure my niece will let me know if there's something I need to do.
Before the draft, I made dinner, but I completely misread the recipe and though it needed fresh cherry tomatoes, not a can of cherry tomatoes (I have never seen them in a can!). It said you could substitute a can of diced tomatoes instead, but I didn't have that, so I just used the tomatoes I roasted last week and the fresh tomatoes and sadly, it did not coalesce into a sauce when baked. But I still have 3/4 of the pasta so I'm just going to mix up some ricotta/mozzarella and add some actual sauce and bake the whole thing as ziti (well, it's actually shells, so... you know what I mean). But that'll teach me not to read a recipe before I set out to make it.
I also made lemon cake again, and this time I added some raspberries to it, which meant it took a little longer to cook, but oh, it's still so good.
Joseph Todorovitch is a California painter who works primarily with figurative subjects, though these often include elements of interiors, still life or landscape.
Todorovitch has a refined, restrained approach to value and color, as well as a subtle sense of the use of edges; elements that together give his paintings both a quiet power and a contemplative feeling not always present in figurative works.
Unfortunately, the gallery on his website presents his work in rather small images, particularly as the surface quality of his technique often appears quite interesting in larger reproductions. You can see larger examples on this Arcadia Fine Arts Flickr set, and the website of the Maxwell Alexander Gallery.
[Note: some of the images on the sites linked here should be considered NSFW (depending, of course, on where you work).]
(Direct link to YouTube video)
How does your body move when you breathe? Well, of course the rib cage expands and contracts, but surprisingly the movement is more up and down than it is in and out, says Michael Black, co-author of a computer graphics study presented at the recent Siggraph.
There are many more small but observable movements going on. The arms push out, the head goes back and forth, and the spine flexes. The movements are slightly different for "stomach breathing" compared to "chest breathing," something that singers are very conscious of. One possible flaw in the methodology of this study is that subjects were asked to "breathe normally," a sure way to make them breathe unnaturally.
Once you learn to recognize the subtle body changes that accompany breathing, you won't look at a posed model the same way, and you'll notice actors in movies controlling their breathing as part of their performance.
Animators will be able to input this breathing data with simple controls, including a spirometer, which records breathing volume. In the future, when actors record their voice parts for CG animated films, they'll be able to record their breath acting as well. That information will yield a more believable and lifelike performance, whether the character they're playing is a realistic human or a talking turnip.
The authors are: Tsoli, A., Mahmood, N. and Black, M.J.,
The paper is entitled: "Breathing Life into Shape: Capturing, Modeling and Animating 3D Human Breathing"
For the last week or so, I have had the unfamiliar experience of being so deep in dreams that when Mr. Kid climbs into our bed (usually at 6:30; today closer to 7) I shudder out of deep sleep and can still barely manage to climb to the surface of consciousness.
I think this is my body trying to deal with the accumulated sleep debt of the last hectic month.
That said, I am on the treadmill for the first time in days, because it's time to restore ordinary rhythms and remember how much I like them. My (dw) Zoe icon is here to inspire me. Excelsior!