Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What's Up Wednesday: Blog Hiatus

I've seen this thing around, thanks to Jaime Morrow, and I like the idea, so I'm jumping on the bandwagon. Mostly I just needed an excuse to update people during my little blog break. I'm not sure when it's officially over, but I'm going to take as much time as I need.

What I've Been Up To:

I'm recovering from my chiropractor putting my dislocated floating rib back into place, which has been out of place for many months. (I don't even know how the rib got out of place to begin with.) He basically had to twist me in half, turning the top half one way and the bottom half the other. Then he taped me up to relieve the pressure on the rib. I'm hoping this means that after this there will be no more rib trouble.

All I wanted to do the past week was lie down, which I couldn't do because I had to work. (Being on my feet after an adjustment like that isn't the best way to recuperate.) After a few days, I wasn't in much pain, but I did feel tremendously exhausted as if my whole back was trying to go on strike. I had to keep sitting down at work (I couldn't curl up in a ball because people would stare) and the pain medication didn't have much effect. Anyone who has dealt with this kind of thing might know what I'm talking about, but for me it was a first. I've never had back trouble and I can almost always explain why I feel tired. Except for now. I guess I'll just have to blame the rib.

What I've Been Watching:

So, rather than writing on my MS, I've been lying down as much as possible and watching a ton of television. This means catching up on Season 2 of Grimm and introducing myself to Red Dwarf, which I just can't seem to stop watching.

As far as Grimm goes, I love the show but there are some things I don't like about it. I wish it was a lot less gory than it is and I wish Nick's girlfriend didn't make me want to kill her. (Mini rant warning.) She's too closed-minded to realize what she asks of him and when he finally gives her the thing she asks for she freaks out and total drama ensues. And then it's all about her. Personally, I think he could do a lot better. (Am I weird to think it'd be interesting to see him with a Wesen?)

I wouldn't want someone who would ditch me as soon as things got a little unusual or hairy. I'd want someone who would support me even if I told him little blue men live in my clothes drier and take one sock a month as payment for their services. I tell you, the woman just has no imagination and she's far too easily spooked.

Red Dwarf is cracked out and also highly addictive. I'm developing the theory that the creators of both Farscape and Futurama watched Red Dwarf to get ideas. I'd really love to know if this theory is valid.

What I've Been Reading:

As far as reading goes, it's been The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett. Then it'll probably be The Scorch Trials by James Dashner. I read The Maze Runner and all I can say is that it was just what I needed after something like Matched which was a female-centric romance (that I also liked, go figure). The Maze Runner is full of adventure, made-up slang, and testosterone, in the form of a large group of boys trapped in the middle of a giant maze they have to find a way out of. There is no romance, but possibly the hint of something like it to come. The end of the first book definitely leads you to read the second, but it thankfully gives some closure to book's plot. So it's not exactly a cliffhanger.

What Inspires Me Right Now:

Um... food? Over the weekend we had a church carry-in dinner and I got to relax and enjoy a plate of various desserts as well as one of various side-dishes that I didn't have to cook. I'm still working on the desserts.

I also bought myself one of those big, all-day lolipops as a reward for making it through a work day without keeling over. That lolipop gave me the strength to go on.

So, what about you? What's up with you this week?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Cake and Brainstorming

Last weekend I added 734 new words to my current WIP, the sequel to A Shadow Story. Writing this story is so much fun, made even better by pantsing it. When I write my MC into a predicament, I take a break and think of a way to write her out of it. It often brings more exciting results than planning the whole thing ahead of time. Of course there will be major plot points I'll have to plan, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I'm just glad that after months of neglecting it, I'm finally working on this story again.

Last night I brainstormed on Skype with a good friend who opened my eyes to so many possibilities with my villain's backstory I hadn't thought of. But that's the point of brainstorming. As she said, when you're too close to your story, sometimes you don't see the most obvious things.

While I was brainstorming I had cake, which greatly enhanced the experience. Is there a snack you munch on when you're brainstorming?

I didn't listen to music, but if I had, it would've been this:

Monday, May 13, 2013

If Like It You Do, Do It You Must

my friend Larry
I've always been fascinated by the things people like and what those things say about them. Everything from their taste in music to their taste in food, clothes, and especially stories. It all says something about what they value, admire, and pursue. Hobbies, obsessions, and fascinations people have tell the story of what draws them and what they need/lack in their lives. For instance, a fisherman might fish for the peace it brings, the natural communion, the skill and patience involved, while another person might be completely turned off by fishing because they can't stand waiting for fish to bite.

Hobbies, interests, and our tastes reveal personality traits that help us match with friends, peers and husbands/wives. They help us decide the path our lives should take. Job applications use them to determine if we'll fit among our coworkers. We often use them to teach ourselves how to handle life situations - like a shy artististic child using drawing to help socialization. 

Our differing interests and tastes are pretty amazing things. There are as many different interests as their are individuals. No one will share all of yours, but you'll find those who will share many. I've been blessed to have friends who share my values and my interests, but sometimes they share more values than interest and I have to look elsewhere for geek fellowship. With the internet, this is pretty easy to do.

My geek interests are all over the board - from asian ball-jointed dolls and anime, to comic books, videogames, and geeky tv shows (Doctor Who, Once Upon a Time, The Big Bang Theory). I also admire Shakespeare, English poetry, small glass bottles and boxes, tea, and gems and minerals.

When it comes to music, my tastes are eclectic, but I've noticed they linger in the positive mood category. I don't like sad songs. They bring me down too easily.

I had a friend at grad school who would listen to playlists of melancholy songs while she worked on her projects. After only a couple I was ready to climb the walls. When I asked her how she could listen to sad songs without being affected she told me that to her they were beautiful and relaxing. She was always very laid-back, but her major was highly competitive and stressful. Mine wasn't. In fact, the whole Illustration department at SCAD is easygoing, focused on development of personal style and creating gorgeous images rather than grinding out design after design of commercial product.

Suddenly, I understood, even though I didn't share her interest. I also realized music affects us differently. I'm glad for the sharing, since she introduced me to a lot of beautiful (and not sad) music, including Vitas the opera singer. And I introduced her to all my favorite upbeat songs.

Speaking of which, here's a little something that combines two of my interests - music by Awolnation (my favorite band for the moment), and the movie Peter Pan starring Jason Isaacs which I recently rewatched because it rocks that hard. The video's a little choppy due to my low-tech editing software, but it's the first fanvid to a complete song I've made, so I'm proud of it.

I'm not going to guess what it says about me that I'm so fan-mad over a villain from a british children's story, but it's definitely inspired a lot of creativity.

Do you have something you can't help but fangirl/fanboy over? What do you think it says about you?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sketch-a-Week: Give Us the Hook!

I'm a big fan of the show Once Upon a Time, so I was really excited when I saw that they put Captain Hook in it. I was excited... until I saw what they did to Hook. He became a pretty-boy with a sleezy attitude and a dumb sense of humor. Forget the elegant, somewhat homicidal, gentleman pirate captain you're familiar with. They renamed him, made him much younger, cut his hair, and took all the menacing crazy out of him. This is like Hook Light, and I'm not happy. But would you be if one of your favorite storybook villains became a watered-down, womanizing lackey?

Perhaps one of the reasons I had trouble with Once Upon a Time's version of Hook was that I'd already seen this:

Jason Isaacs fit the role of the slippery, devilish, handsome, maniacal pirate like no other. And no other followed until the role was adapted later in the miniseries Neverland. It's a prequel to the story of Peter Pan that won me over completely.

Neverland's Hook, played by Rhys Ifaan, was surly, half-cocked and brilliantly low-down. I would call that man captain, for sure - especially with two guns pointed at me.

And who could forget Dustin Hoffman in the movie with the wonderfully succinct title (Hook)? Poncy, vain, and comically sinister, much like Disney's Captain Hook. As Hook, I thought he was spot-on.

These varied portrayals of Captain Hook prove two things to me: he doesn't need to be pretty to be charismatic and appealing, but he does need to be himself. I guess there just wasn't room for Hook's real personality in Once Upon a Time. His role took a backseat to the evil queens and Rumplestiltskin, leaving only one male villain for me to admire.

I've since resigned myself to the fact that the Hook in Once Upon a Time isn't the same Captain Hook from J.M. Barrie's novel. But I can't stop imagining what it would look like if the real James T. Hook did show up as a younger version of himself.

Yep, that's about what it would look like.

I even found a perfect soundtrack to listen to while drawing his piratey badness. Nox Arcana's album Phantoms of the High Seas, specifically this song:

Does anyone else feel the same way I do about this particular pirate captain?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Good Fridays: Sketch-A-Week

I've set a goal for myself to do a sketch-a-week to post on the blog and keep myself motivated. However, once I start drawing I have trouble stopping. So my sketch-a-week turned out to be three sketches.

I've seen so many artists on Deviantart draw themselves as racers from the game Sugar Rush in the movie Wreck-It Ralph. So I decided to try it. I came up with Berianne Crumpet, a racer who's polite and sweet as teatime until she gets behind the wheel. Then you'll eat her steam. Her candy theme is based on gingersnaps and cinnamon sticks (with tea). When I color her, I'll post her on the blog. Maybe I should draw her kart too.

After my Sugar-Rush Self, I fulfilled my promise to my SCAD friend to draw our two characters together. Hers is Absenth on the right and mine is Silvan on the left. They have a kind of sibling relationship and I wanted to draw them in a funny situation. I don't know why she decided to wash his hair, but he doesn't look too happy about it.

My sketch session couldn't be complete without drawing Lividia and her Boogeyman. I just love these two, and the more I draw them, the more I love them. This time I tried a new style with Lividia, inspired by Monster High dolls - big head, tiny waist, long legs. She pulls it off, I think.

I'm happy to have succeeded in my sketch-a-week goal. Hopefully I'll be just as motivated next week.
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