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Jan. 13th, 2012

File Under: Bad Ideas

Iron Man v. Magneto Marvel poster, art by Adi Granov

No, Tony!  Don't do it! This is a BAD IDEA. LOL.

(Marvel Comics Event: Avengers vs. X-Men poster by Adi Granov)

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Nov. 22nd, 2011

The Legacy of Pern

Anne McCaffrey has died. It's a sad day for the science fiction and fantasy community. She was a powerhouse of the genre, helping to pave the way for generations of women creators after her. She also created some very popular worlds, including the Dragonriders of Pern.

I started playing Pern rpgs online in MOOs in 1997, when I was in college. Through those games, I met some of my closest friends, friends I now consider family. I cannot thank Anne enough for not only creating that world, but for encouraging people to populate it themselves, through rpgs like I played, or cosplay.

I probably can't finish these tonight, but since I was in a Pern mood, reminiscing, I went back and looked at some old log files, and sketched the first two characters I played at Dragonsfire MOO.

Calandra, a Weaver of Pern, with her gold firelizard, Vashti )

Zephre, rider of green Miyoth )

I played some other great characters, some of whom I've already drawn. Perhaps one day I'll have a whole portfolio of alter egos from Pern.

Seriously, Dragonsfire MOO people (you know who you are), I am so so so thankful everyday to have you in my life, even long-distance. You've all made a big difference, and I'm really happy that we all liked Anne's world so much we tried to live in it.

Fly high and free, Anne. Thanks.

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Oct. 20th, 2011

Awesome Ladies of Science Progress!

Last night's productivity party was awesome. I took my graphite lines for the Awesome Ladies of Science Series #1: Astrid Farnsworth, and did this:

Awesome Ladies of Science #1, in progress part 2At work on Awesome Ladies of Science #1

Obviously the background needs more work, but I'm pretty pleased. The lettering will hopefully look like embossed brass, so it'll be a nice goldenrod contrast to the purple-black room and pink lightning. If you can't see, the text quotes XKCD: "Stand back, I'm going to try science."

I'd like this to be only the first of a series that includes both fictional and nonfictional awesome ladies of science. I've got quite a line-up now thanks to helpful fans and friends.

The other one is me, working in a coffeehouse with wonky lighting, thus the awkward posture.

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Oct. 15th, 2011

Bradley James, you amaze me

So, Bradley James was so impressive in this latest episode of Merlin. (Colin was, too. And Tony. Good grief.) But man, Bradley. Amazing.
spoilers )

Also, I made art for it, speed painting for the [ profile] camelot_fleet spoiler party.
It's rated PG, mostly for angst.
header and art )

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Oct. 1st, 2011

reactions: Doctor Who and Merlin

Doctor Who: not quite sure what that was.
spoilers )

Merlin: SO EPIC. Loved it.
spoilers )

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Sep. 9th, 2011

quick hits

My twitter account is full of randomness today, but at least it's moved from trauma to humor. Sort of. After discussing the inevitability of flashbacks due to a combination of 9/11 Anniversary coverage and the FIRES that are filling the sky with smoke, raining ash on homes, and making the air smell of burning (yeah, no flashback potential there AT ALL), we decided that the best solution would be for TX to send truckloads of shamwows to the flooded areas. They mop up the water, send them back, and we wring them out over the fires.
Now, we will address the deficit and jobs crisis. Ok, no we won't. We'll actually address Hollywood and it's crazy crazy remakes.

me: Russell Crowe as Javert. Hugh Jackman as Valjean. I may need to sit down.
Jaye: wow. is Hollywood making a movie just for you?
Man, they might be. They really, really might be. I'll have to take my dad! (Les Miz is one of our shared musical interests!)

And today's moment of Latin Zen: [This is full of Classics snark, and if you aren't familiar with at least I, Claudius it may make no sense.]
We were discussing historiography, Livy, and Livy's presumed friendship with Augustus. Livy produced an incredible body of work, a complete history of Rome from its founding to his present day in 142 books, writing an average of 3 books per year for forty years. The problem: only thirty-something books survived to modern day, and none of them about Livy's own time. Certain hints from later historians writing about Livy, as well as textual interpretations by modern historians, create a belief that Livy and Augustus got along very well, shared some opinions and values, and were quite possibly friends. One item that is cited as evidence is the fact that Livy was a tutor to young Claudius.
So one of the young things in my class (possibly stalling for time, I admit), asked whether there was any possibility that Livy could have known at the time of his teaching that Claudius would one day be the emperor.
I thought to myself, "NO WAY."
And then the prof said, "ABSOLUTELY NOT," making big negative arm motions.
It made me laugh.
I have to keep reminding myself, unformed larvae, unformed larvae, unformed larvae*. Some of them may be up to their ears in classical civ at that age, after all, I was, but the prof made a good point when he said that he didn't want to assume too much about the class's knowledge of the Augustan Age. (Not that I could really be considered an expert or anything, geez. It just feels like I've been pickling in random classical trivia from that general period for most of my life.)
[*For all that I snark at them, they're actually quite good at Latin. Better than I am, most days!]

I walked back to my office from class and it was, alas, still really hot even with the "cool snap" we're getting. 90-something is no joke when you're walking across campus in blue jeans.

And I just took some time explaining to someone the difference between block level and in-line tags in XHTML, but I don't think I did it very well. I should work on that. Yay for validating her markup for class, though.

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Jun. 9th, 2011

oh, dear

So I just finished Cryoburn, the latest in the Vorkosigan saga from Lois McMaster Bujold, and I just have to say, WHAT? WHAT WAS THAT?? O.M.G.!!!

Even having been spoiled, the end still took my breath away. Good grief.

p.s. My friend E has discovered Merlin and now professes to understand. Muahahahaha. :D

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Jun. 7th, 2011


So, for those playing along at home, that's one major work presentation down, and a grand success it was. The prezi went over very well, and I fielded questions with pretty good off-the-cuff answers, I think.
My boss gave me a York Peppermint Patty afterwards. ♥

I do love my job.

I keep telling myself to post more, but then stuff comes up and I skip it. I have photos from Nashville, not to mention some funny stories, but they never make it in here. Plus thoughts on art and fests and fanwork.
And Doctor Who! OMIGODYAY!
Plus I just started watching Veronica Mars on Netflix. Talk about addictive.

Ok, back to work, plus happy visions of Madam Vastra and Jenny having adventures through Victorian Earth.

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Mar. 26th, 2011

feeling good

So, I finished my glomp_fest entry (the one that got eaten by my Painter crash) today, then did my laundry while introducing my parents to the Star Wars prequels (my brother wails, "How could you do that to them?" but we really enjoyed them), and made some significant progress on my portrait of Amidala and Leia.

I came home and put all my laundry away first thing, too - I feel like such a grown-up.

I'm not entirely happy with the color so far - as Dad pointed out, I lost a bit of likeness when I transferred to the new paper and took it to color, so I'm going to cue up some Natalie Portman photos and try to recover that with the pencils in a bit. [ETA: Recovered a pretty decent likeness this evening, yay! Replaced the photo above with the new one. The other is still on Flickr, for comparison.]

But I really love to be working with them again, and I have my dancer to finish, too. Plus I have my workspace cleaned off so I can draw at my drafting table, instead of just using it for storage.


Tomorrow, mixed birthday shenanigans with the Scion and girlfriend and parents, at the Menil Collection. Awesome!

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Mar. 25th, 2011

rediscovering creativity

OK, so I stole the subject line from the title of a course we run at work, whatever.
In light of yesterday's epic software fail (and to keep myself from buying Painter 11 just because Corel sent me a coupon), I am cleaning up my bedroom and clearing my drafting table at last. I hope to finish either my Amidala art or another Star Wars piece in Prismacolor, for display at the art show.

Now, keeping in mind my love of Sith and my general disdain for Jedi (Qui-Gon excepted!), and the fact that I am a much bigger fan of muppets than of CGI, what should I draw? I thought about doing something with the doomed romance between Padme and Anakin, or perhaps something to parallel the Amidala & Leia art featuring Obi Wan and infant Luke? Or maybe I need to skip ahead to the Expanded Universe and draw Luke as a husband and father? Maybe there should be a duel between an unnamed Sith person and a Jedi who is a secondary or extra character in one of the films. (Maybe I should watch the Clone Wars animated stuff so I have new characters to play with...)

I am not totally committed to Star Wars to fill out my panel, either. There are many broadly appealing fandoms I could try. And I do intend to display as many of my Avatar: The Last Airbender pieces as I can. Hmmm. Perhaps a poll.

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Mar. 12th, 2011

let me sum up

I wrote this at Con-Jour in Clear Lake, but as they did not have wifi available for the public at the University facility (???), I had to wait until I got home to actually post it. Here it is:

Well, the last few days have been super busy. So busy that I have a precarious stack of dishes overtaking my kitchen. It's all been great fun, though.
Let me 'splain... No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

I've been writing )

and drawing )

and pondering costumes )

and engaging in a brief, fruitless studio search )

and attending a lecture by Dr. Jane Goodall )

and attending Con-Jour 2011 as an ApolloCon rep. )

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Mar. 5th, 2011

Sean Bean made me do it

Oh, lordy, I started reading A Game of Thrones again, and this time it took. I am having trouble putting it down, in fact, to do other things like, you know, eat.
Amie said I would like it, but I was stubborn because I didn't get into it years ago when it first came out. Now, though, I may have given it another chance because the "Winter is Coming" web presence is just that compelling.
Hello, Sean Bean in another book adapted to film. Perhaps I should read that book, too, just like I did with the others.
Dammit, I am really really into it!
(And only, like, a quarter of the way through it.) At least the newest volume is supposed to come out soon. I have a nice fresh volume awaiting me once I slog through the previous four. Then I can join the rest of the folks waiting for the last one. (Something my parents and I are quite familiar with - I remember when they were waiting on tenterhooks for the last volume of Niccolo (Gemini (The House of Niccolo, 8)) and hoping that Dorothy Dunnett would finish it before she died. It's not an unfamiliar position for any fan of series or epic fiction.)
Is it terrible that I also can't wait to get through the books so I can see what the fandom looks like? :D

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Feb. 8th, 2011

Meme on Fandom

Ganked from [personal profile] such_heights, with an addition by me:

Name a fandom (fictional characters only please), and I will tell you:

+ my favourite male character
+ my favourite female character
+ my least favourite character:
+ the character who resembles me:
+ the character I find most attractive:
+ three more characters that I like:
+ a favorite canon moment

(If anybody cares to know!)
ETA: There are TONS of fandoms you could pick, if you offer one I don't know I'll just pass! ;)

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Jan. 28th, 2011

Card of the Day: Three of Cups

Yesterday I got the Two of Water again - Deck, I love you, but I seriously can't have a pet in my current apartment.

Today, The draw is the Three of Cups.
Three of Cups, Hanson-Roberts Tarot )
This seems especially appropriate given that today I went out for a very lovely social lunch with four other ladies from the office, and we ate outside in the sunshine at a sidewalk cafe serving crepes. Delicious!
I am making good progress with my various illustration projects, but not so great progress on my crafty ones. Time to get on that.
Work continues to be crazy busy but fun, and I am thankful all the time that my new boss and my team make going to work such a great experience.
I've been super busy the last few nights with meetings and classes - I'm working on a great new random art project that's turning into a vaguely Avatar: The Last Airbender inspired dancer / bender figure in watercolor and colored pencils.
I've also blown through most of Season 1 of Fringe. I think I'm on the last three episodes, now, then Season 2 will start arriving in my mailbox. I am really enjoying it! I can see why the show is so popular, and I don't know how I will ever catch up when I run out of DVDs.

In other news, I am officially visiting the NYC-Philly area in April. [ profile] minimerlin is happening April 8-10, and I'll be in NYC the week before, then in Philly for a couple days after. Yay!

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Jan. 23rd, 2011

Weekend adventures - photos!

So, it was a pretty epic weekend.
Saturday, we left early to go to the country where my cousin was hosting a surprise 75th birthday party for my aunt. It was a very successful surprise, and my aunt was suitably astonished to see so many faces. Some of the folks who came out I hadn't seen since I was a small child, and some I had never met. I got to connect with relatives I hadn't seen in a while, too.
Happy Birthday, Aunt Marlene! )

When the party wound down a bit, many folks headed home, but a few of my cousins stuck around, as did my parents and I. We ended up sitting around discussing various topics, and somehow got onto the topic of this scarf that Nicole had seen on a blog that you made out of cutting and creatively re-assembling t-shirts. Suddenly, Nicole and Kristen found themselves working on just such a scarf, with intermittent "help" and help from various other folks. It was pretty fun. Then when the person scarf was finished, there was enough leftover fabric bits that I tied them together to make a matching "scarf" for their dog. Cute! Kristen vogued it up alone and with the pup.
scarf-making )
(More photos at Flickr)
After the epic family craft session, we headed home and I lingered for a bit at the ancestral homestead before heading back to my place, where with the help of some Sudafed PM I actually managed to sleep. w00t!
Today after a mostly lazy morning and lunch, I went with my parents to the MFAH to see Sanjay Patel give a presentation about his book Ramayana: Divine Loophole. It was a really great talk - Sanjay was really funny, and had an eclectic set of slides about his childhood and the motivation behind his reinterpretation of myths. He asked regular quiz questions and gave out prizes to keep the audience engaged, favoring especially any kids in the audience. I think all the kids went home with prizes by the end. Toward the end he did an in-depth process talk about one particular spread in the book, which I found fascinating and wonderful. He covered a lot of technique, layout, roughing in Illustrator, and finding the right color palette. Great stuff.
At the reception later he signed copies, and in every book he did a drawing of Hanuman. I was amazed - he must have been tired by the end. While I was in line, I met a lovely woman who was in town visiting from New York, and we had a wide-ranging discussion about museums, art, music, books, sci-fi, mythology, etc. It was really great, and I do regret now that I did not stop her to get her name, or give her my card, because those sorts of random connections are awesome, and can be more than just random if you let them. I've got to learn to do that.
When I got up to Sanjay, he spotted the rather battered Bubbles keychain on my belt, and asked me about it. He went to school with the guys who did the Powerpuff Girls, and we chatted a bit about that, and then about art. He asked if I was an artist, we exchanged a few names of portrait folks that we liked (I hadn't heard of his favorite, he hadn't heard of mine). I mentioned that I was trying to move from portraiture to drawing people in motion, and he agreed that it was a tough transition. It was great, and I am amazed that he was able to keep up that level of energy for all the folks in line. (I was near, but not too near, the end.) Then he handed me my book with his signature, a drawing of Hanuman, and my name in fun text.
book signing )
After we left the museum my folks took me to dinner to wind up the day. Now I should really try to get some writing done before I crash for the night.

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Jan. 4th, 2011

new year, new germs

Well, I'm sick. Had a pretty miserable night last night, but I feel a lot better today. Flying with head congestion really, really sucked, even after taking meds. Blah.
But now I'm home, and hopefully I will sleep better tonight than last night, and be able to go in to work tomorrow.
Mom and I ran a few errands today, and that was good because it meant I got out of bed and did stuff.
Of course, today was supposed to be a day off to clean and organize my house for the New Year, and after a week of holiday parties and chaotic trip prep, then a week away, my house is messy, my fridge is mostly empty, and my bedroom is piled high with bags that need to be unpacked and sorted. Whee!
So probably shortly I will take my next dose of meds, make some more tea, put on a movie, and get to the unpacking / organizing.

In other news, Pete Postlethwaite died over the weekend. What a loss. He's been a household favorite here since the Sharpe series, but his other roles were all awesome, too. I was possibly the only person in the theater for Inception who clapped her hands and squealed, "It's Pete Postlethwaite," when he was first on screen. Yeah, I did that. He was too young, and I'm sad for his family and friends, and for all his fans.

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Dec. 4th, 2010

Epic Love

WOW. That was incredible. A few points of argh and idiocy in the usual Merlin vein, but mostly I found it grand and hugely entertaining.

Merlin 3x13: The Coming of Arthur, Part 2 )

I think perhaps my readings about the culture and history of the Arthurian legends has made me slightly less cranky about the gender problems in the show, esp. regarding That Interview, not that it in any way excuses them from a show produced in 2010. They choose to follow "creative" impulses that reduce, ridicule, or mutate so much of the legendary material, but are unwilling to push the boundaries of their female characters in the same way, self-limited by some strange idea of "fantasy realism". Actual historical reality has more intrigue and gender daring than their "fantasy realism". It's a shame, but I look to fandom to ease the sting, and will continue to read other alternative tellings of the legend that play in a more daring way with gender and class (and magic).

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Dec. 2nd, 2010

ART: Tiye and the Lotus (R)

Title: Tiye and the Lotus
Artist: [personal profile] zephre
Rating: R (for artistic nudity, NSFW)
Character/Subject: Tiye, queen of Egypt
Artists' Notes: Tiye was the Great Royal Wife of Pharaoh Amenhotep III, and mother of Pharaoh Akhenaten. This is based on portrait statues of Tiye and artifacts of the New Kingdom in Egypt, which was my obsession when I was a kid. Also, the lotus may be my favorite flower ever. The pose is based on stock reference photography, as usual.
I was taking a break from all the fandom stuff and decided to do one of the items on my long "to draw, when I have time" list.

full image under cut )

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Nov. 23rd, 2010

Happy Doctor Who Day!

at the UK party
Jaye and I encounter the TARDIS at Anticipation 2009.

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Nov. 10th, 2010

Latin for fun and profit

LOL, the medieval story we got to translate in class was HILARIOUS: guy kills enemy, makes a cup out of enemy's skull, marries enemy's daughter, delights in giving daughter the cup and inviting her to have a drink with dear ole dad, daughter plots and kills the guy. Fun times with barbarians!
And now, guess what?

We're reading GEOFFREY OF MONMOUTH, you guys. A story about HENGIST.  LOLZ forever.

Ahem. Yeah, I can be serious.  Someday. There are tales of SPACE: IT'S REALLY BIG! \o/ plus cute baby elephants, the biker invasion of Galveston Island, airport delays with bonus beagle action, and an XTREME QUILT SHOW experience to be blogged, maybe.  Eventually.  Some of the photos are on Flickr already.


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