Jun. 19th, 2011

Back from exhausting trip

A brief recap:
Last Sunday, at Mom's birthday dinner, we received the phone call telling us that Dad's Aunt Irma, age 94, had died. We had been told she was doing poorly, but expected some more time. So we had to fly up at the last minute. Making the flight and hotel and car reservations was exciting (whee!), but we got it done.
This is the first time in ages that the four of us (Mom, Dad, Peter and me) had traveled together as a family. We took advantage of that while we could. We had hoped to get some time in with our Connecticut family, but the surviving sister, Dad's Aunt Aida, was feeling poorly herself (at 91? 92? I wasn't clear on how old she was.) so we had a smaller window of opportunity for visiting. Still, it was a lovely chance to see her, and the cousins we had never met.
We ended up with Saturday free, and headed into Manhattan for a few hours, most of which we spent at the American Museum of Natural History with Jaye.
On Thursday, we were also able to go into Brooklyn after the family dinner had broken up, and attended the Pub Quiz at Rocky Sullivan's. Both occasions were quite fun. I'm glad we managed them.

Peter and Me with Dinosaurs
Peter and me with dinosaurs.

Dad and his Aunt Aida
Dad and his Aunt Aida

Calverton National Cemetery
Calverton National Cemetery

Click the photos to see more at my Flickr set.
Now I'm back at the ancestral homestead, and have all sorts of work to catch up on. Work for my regular job, work for ApolloCon (this weekend! Come on down!), work for my apartment, work for the family.
Good grief I'm tired.
Sleep sounds really, really good right now. Once my laundry is done, I am totally going home to get some.

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Mar. 27th, 2011

a change in plans...

Well, our Menil Collection field trip will have to wait for another day. This time, tragic circumstances forced a shift: a death in Hillary's family caused all activity to move to getting her packed up to be picked up by her parents to fly to Chicago for the services.

I went over the ancestral homestead to give out hugs and generally be on hand, and brought with me the third Star Wars prequel, which we finished shortly before Hillary's parents arrived. I like it, but as I told Hillary, I tend to root for the Sith. So.

While I was there watching the movie I made some progress on Amidala:
More details

I'm still working tonight, too.
After we sent Hillary off, Peter joined us for dinner, which was fun. We talked of many things (including Peter's sending us all into hysterics with a randomly inserted line from M*A*S*H), and ate delicious things. So, the weekend was different from expected, but still ok.

ETA: this is the current version:
More work on the veil

What color do you think for the background and blanket, flist? My initial plan was to have purples and reds in the background (that's the pre-cursor to the Rebellion insignia on the wall), and a dark teal/blue blanket. But perhaps I should keep with the limited palette I've established, make the blanket something in the warmer range, and make the back wall a sun-ray effect, except for the red emblem.

Ponder ponder ponder. Perhaps I'll play with photoshop later to compare ideas.

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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.

IMG_5417
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.

Yay!

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

This entry was originally posted at http://zephre.dreamwidth.org/484882.html. comment count unavailable comments posted to original post.

Mar. 20th, 2011

Wackiness

So, briefly:

- Went to the MFAH to see the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists on loan from Washington, DC. It was pretty neat, but to be honest I was museum-ed out by the end of the exhibit and it wasn't even that big. The parental units were equally done so we went for dinner. Once again, I was denied carrot cake - Boo. I'm starting to think that it's something Barnaby's puts on the menu to taunt unwary diners.

- I'm working on some non-Merlin, non-HP art. I know, weird. I've got an expanded piece based on a ConceptArt.org Character of the Week assignment: fantasy races employed in the modern world. I am drawing D&D style gnomes as mechanics. Punk mechanics. With a Vespa. I've also now got a Star Wars Prequel Fix-it piece coming along of Padme and baby Leia.

- I am exploring the idea of using my Tumblr as a vehicle for my art. We'll see how that works out.

Other stuff is happening, but it's all in meatspace so far, and it's pretty good. Maybe I'll get into it in another post.

This entry was originally posted at http://zephre.dreamwidth.org/483676.html. comment count unavailable comments posted to original post.

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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Nov. 18th, 2010

life imitates art

I just got home from a very enjoyable evening at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston with my Continuing Studies Advanced Visual Arts classmates and our teacher. We stormed the European Galleries building and saw lots of cool stuff, but more importantly discussed the lives and times of many artists, the tragedies and joys and physical hardships that influenced their work. We also did a lot of interesting technical discussion, on media and material, the function and meaning of art in its various times, and the nature of aesthetics. It was great.
I love visiting museums with people, although I admit I am not always a good co-museum-visitor. I tend to bounce from place to place without rhyme or reason, only occasionally reading the signs, or I will systematically go through a gallery in such a way as to hit every single piece in the least number of steps. Or sometimes I'll just sit on a bench and slowly rotate my view until I've taken it all in.
So now I want to paint. I have paints, even, but not much time. I need to get my workspace set up so that I can leave my in-progress stuff on the drafting table and not have to do an elaborate song-and-dance every time I want to paint.

In other news, photos have been posted from the epic week of Jaye, including some nice ones of Houston sights, but nothing from the Observatory because I left my camera at home. Besides, it was dark. Still, our tours of the various small telescopes on the terrace and the two big research domes at the George Observatory were excellent. We did a lot of running around in the dark with our hands in the air squeeing, "Space! It's really big!" Seriously. I mean, people who know us will just know that we did exactly that, but it's not a cute text message code or something. We jumped up and down and waved our arms in the "touchdown" manner.
It was awesome.

As for the Zoo, I may need to go back one day just to sit around the elephant enclosure for a while because, OMG BABY ELEPHANTS! So adorable.
One of them tried very hard to escape from the stalls where they were being bathed, and the tiny one kept poking his trunk through the bars at his slightly bigger friend as if to say, "Hey, Baylor? Wanna play? Huh? Huh? Huh?"

Latin continues to be hilarious in the way that it can be for me since my grade is just so much happy funtimes. We're reading about the martyrdom of St Alban in Bede's Ecclesiastical History of Britain. It's funny, but the medieval stuff really is easier, despite the way that it warps the Classical grammar and conventions. Medieval Latin syntax starts to resemble English syntax, so it's amazingly simple to connect concepts. Sometimes there are things that are just weird, but so far it's been very straightforward and also quite fascinating. I may ask about auditing next semester after all - if the professor doesn't mind a tourist.

I had my first of four dental visits this afternoon, and spent the latter half of my workday with a Novocain-induced numb jaw. I had to hold a napkin to my mouth for part of it because I was drooling all over my desk. Very professional. Still, at least it's done, and I can get all of it done now before I need any major surgical work. I am thankful that it's a relatively straightforward couple of procedures.
Although I do have to say, contrary to the conversation I had at lunch with coworkers, those needles they used to numb my jaw were HUGE! HUUUUGE!

Now I am going to do some translating, and mourn the fact that I haven't been able to draw all week. Perhaps this weekend.

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Nov. 4th, 2010

Fun times with Jaye and the world

So after my brief Twitter encounter with Jaye trying to figure out how to say "Fuck you, bitch!" in Latin, I mentioned it to the guy sitting next to me in class - right when one of those brilliant silences fell upon the classroom.
So my prof ended up taking the first few minutes of class discussing how one might figure out "Fuck you, bitch!" in Latin, given that it was a difficult structure in English in the first place. (Is it actually an imperative? Is it, in fact, more indicative? How do you deal with 'bitch' when the Latin for dog is identical in both male and female genders?) And it turns out that sexual insults in Latin are heavily gendered, so there are special ones for men based on twisted Roman ideas of masculinity and the place of the "real man" in sexual encounters, and others for women based on the typical property rights issues. The prof also gave us all a reference to The Latin Sexual Vocabulary.
In conclusion, "Vae te, scorte!"
Thank you, Latin 201.

On Tuesday, I worked the morning at the polls since one of Mom's regular workers had to go to a meeting, then went home and cuddled Gabi, then went to pick Jaye up from the airport. We had a lovely dinner at the Red Lion pub with strange but delicious British-Indian-TexMex fusion, and hung out a bit watching the returns.
Yesterday, Jaye and I ran out to the grocery store and the drug store (because of course I got terribly congested the day before she arrived - argh, it's just like our trip to London!) and to drop off my rent and to take a tour of the neighborhood. Then we grabbed lunch on the Rice campus and I went to class, then we tried to hit the science museum, but they close at 5 and it was already almost 4, so we went to the gift shop instead.
Then we went to Rothko Chapel and the Byzantine Fresco Museum, which are both part of the Menil Collection.
We picked up Kim to have some excellent BBQ in the cold and rainy night. Goode Company is a mostly outdoor joint, but they have plastic tenting around the perimeter and heaters running the length of the patio roof, so we ate outside. The BBQ was delicious as always. Nom.
Post-BBQ we scored a table at Inversion Coffee, which was a bit more crowded than usual since another local coffeehouse, Agora, burned to the ground over Halloween weekend. Their crowd has been looked for replacement hang-outs, apparently, and bringing business to other locally owned joints around the neighborhood.

I have done no writing and very little drawing in this time, as expected. Maybe I might get a bit done during our downtime, but I'm not fussed over it, really.

This entry was originally posted at http://zephre.dreamwidth.org/463599.html. comment count unavailable comments posted to original post.

Jul. 23rd, 2010

Lois the Corpse Flower

She's gorgeous, she ginormous, she stinks!  It's Lois! The Houston Museum of Natural Science's corpse flower is blooming now and the museum is open extended hours (24 hours sometimes) for the event. Apparently, they get slightly listing drunk clubbers at 3am and then at 5am it rolls over into upright business people on their way to work. 
They've started issuing filtration masks to employees now that she's opening, and one lady wondered if they'd start offering barf bags to visitors as they came through. 
Did I mention she's seriously HUGE?  It's wacky.
Also, apparently Mom was watching the webcam when I visited and saw us taking photos. Hilarious - living in the future is fun! 
Also also, the Butterfly Center has an adorable giant iguana that I just want to hug and squeeze and cuddle all day long!  OMG, he is SO CUTE! (Except he would probably not want to be cuddled, and would take a chunk out of my arm for trying or something. Oh, well. It is my fate to love large, dangerous animals. Oh, hippos, you have ruined me for pets forever. LOL.)

Lois

Life goes on otherwise - I haven't been blogging much, mostly because I think of something to say but then life intervenes and by the time I'm at a computer I've forgotten what it was.
I have art to post and my master list to update, plus I'm going on a trip next month which will be lovely. Hopefully I will sleep!  Work is starting to settle down, too, thank goodness.

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