Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Introspection Intraspection

© SYL, 2006

Any given Sunday the garlic stakes twist
Around your heart
Your vampire heart – your life sucked dry
By its feeding.
And dreams, like leeches
Drift through thoughts
White, dead
Bloated hope.

Your cracked voice swells.

There is nothing but a husk of shell
No sound but these withered bones.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Sittin' On the Dock of the Sushi Bar

You know you've been going to a restaurant long enough to be considered 'family' when the waitresses try to steal your sketch book to get a peek inside.

There's a wonderful little Japanese restaurant opposite the hospital where I have lunch once a week. The ambience is wonderful; I did and still do a lot of my sketching there because it always inspires me to do something artistic over lunch. I've been going there for over a year or more now; the staff there know me so well they feed me -extra- food sometimes. Considering their portions are already huge, this often provides me with dinner from the leftovers.

The sushi chefs and the waitresses there have always found it amusing to watch me plug away at the sketch book while waiting for food to be served. But since the sushi chefs are often kind of shy about being sketched, I have to be sneaky about it. The waitresses just find it the biggest joke ever. Today two of them caught me at it, and demanded to see what I was drawing --me being shy, I declined. One of them tried to distract me, and the other tried to steal the sketch pad off my place, and we had a splendid friendly sibling-like scuffle (which bemused a lot of the patrons.)

But I -did- manage to steal a really crooked sketch of the chap preparing a Japanese salad. It was difficult, because every few seconds I had to sort of look somewhere else and pretend I wasn't drawing at all, since he kept turning around. And every time I looked back up someone had moved something on the counter so I couldn't get a good sketch of anything, even the pots! Still...I tried.

On a different note, I'd have to say that even if I'm not famous (except maybe for a phenomenal bad temper), my life is definitely not -dull-. Tonight it rained and I tried to hail a cab to take me around the corner to my apartment, since I didn't want to get thoroughly drenched with water and rival an ark. Normally, the cab fare would run to about 3RM since base fare starts at 2RM. Mr. Taxi Driver Sir wanted to charge me TEN. TEN! For that amount, just to put things in perspective, I could get to the monorail station 15-20 minutes away!

Fortunately it was raining hard enough or else the people at the bus stop nearby would have heard 'Ah moi(standard term for 'girl' here), go there need 10RM ahhh...' and 'WHAT??? DROP DEAD!' *door slam as Ah Moi with umbrella stalks off*.

Not -all- Ah Moi's loaded with umbrellas, bulky bags and who look a little like stout, short barrels melt in the rain. This Ah Moi regularly walks the 45 minutes back home when the bus doesn't come, thank you very much.

I really wasn't very accomodating to that poor man, come to think of it.

Anyway, that being said, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates it! Here in my culture we don't, so I don't have any turkey pictures to put up but err....will a sushi chef chopping salad do?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Cthulhu Bell and Other Random Thoughts

...So if 'taco' is 'octopus' in Japanese, does that make Taco Bell Cthulhu's own personal insidious project to lure all into the Great Deep with Nyarlahotep by disguising tentacle mind-altering goodness as the things we know as tacos?

Ahem. This image courtesy of my beloved brother who reminded me of the Japanese meaning when talking about music. All blame solely attached there.

In other news: I have picked out a shiny, new, custom-built computer system and I am happily drooling at the thought of it. Yes, after 8 years or more, I will have a -new- computer that is not a hand-me-down! I might even be able to get a tablet to go with it, like I've wanted for ages and ages...

I've been working on a piece quiet-like for about 2 weeks now, and haven't quite decided what to do with her yet. I was curious to see if I could do shading, because I never felt comfortable with it, so I did an exercise for practice.

And here she is!

Any suggestions most welcome! I want to keep a fairly stark aesthetic with her, and thought of maybe just detail on her face and shadow on the rest of her dress but my ideas are like sieves and many times don't hold water artistically that way.

And now to let Cthulhu devour my brain --err, I mean, work on a piece that's deadlined for next week. I'll post some of those studies later!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Whelks, Slow Food and Time

Whenever I'm stressed, I buy a bowl of whelks to eat with lunch.

I bought some today.

There is a little cafe near the hospital where I work, called the Bawang Merah (Red Onion) which sells the most delicious whelks in curry sauce I've ever tasted. I usually wind up with my mouth on fire after eating them, but it's worth it.

These tiny little shellfish, usually no bigger than half my thumb or a little longer, take some skill to eat because basically we have to suck them out of the shell without the aid of pins or forks - the tines are too big to go through the small hole at the end of the shell anyway. As the process involves generally a minute amount of rather strange sucking noises reminiscent of tentacle monsters sucking out eyeballs, a reasonable amount of tolerance amongst the diners in the cafe is usually a good thing, plus the ability to be thick-skinned and pretend to not notice when a particularly loud slurp brings all eyes in your direction.

Whelks take time to eat. I only order then when I have a long, leisurely full lunch break because they can't be enjoyed in a hurry. Today I was able to do that, and even have enough time to do a five minute sketch with a self-inking Chinese calligraphy brush.

A bowlful of whelks reminds me that there's all the time in the world. That for one hour, life slows down just enough for me to take a breath and enjoy, moment by moment.

I need those reminders more often.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Revenge...of the LAPTOP!

First a disclaimer: the following was entirely Marcos' fault. The image his comment conjured up stayed in my head all afternoon to the point where I doodled around between patients just to see how to lay it all out.

So! Specially for you, Marcos, I present my very first comic page ever - *cue DUN DUN DUN music* The Laptop's Revenge:

Top points to anyone who can name which show and which episode, precisely, the title parodies. Because dude, you're as obscure-geekish as ME and that's SCARY.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Rain Rain Come NOW (But Only When I'm Sleeping)

I love rain, and there seems to be quite a bit of it floating around at this point. I do object to being drenched two days in a row, nevertheless. If it's going to pour, do it when I'm sleeping! That way I can definitely have an excuse to curl up under the blankets and snooze.

The Saga of the Computer continues. I replaced the network card. Computer still refuses to work. So I've started pricing new systems. The scanner refuses to work with the laptop. Yeah, I'm upholding my record for Comic Book Life *coughMarcoscough*

Given everything that's going on right now (including trying to stop reacting to dust in this place) I think I could use a little of my version of this:

Lady Luck of the Origami Fortuneteller. She was one of my first complete pieces about 2 years ago, and she's oil crayons, ink, and half-dry magic markers which I almost threw away but didn't. I discovered that those do -marvellous- things over oil crayons; adds a whole new layer of richness and texture.

Not throwing all my old art supplies -really- comes in handy sometimes!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Movie, Anyone?

All right. I give up. WAY give up.

I come back from vacation. Enough drama, right, you'd think?


Of -course- not. My desktop network card is fried. I thought it was the modem but by sheer fluke I plugged the modem into my laptop - and it worked FINE. So it looks like the network card.

Not to mention I got soaked getting ONTO the bus yesterday and today when I went to get a wireless USB port as well as a new cable in the hopes that it would fix the problem. As it turns out I didn't need the wireless port and the problem ISN'T the modem, but it'll come in handy anyway since I've been planning on getting one for a while.


Or maybe I just need a new computer altogether since 128 megs of RAM and Win 98SE is kind of obsolete. It's amazing it runs everything it needs to - Photoshop, my music stuff, the lot. But it may be time to start looking at a new machine with at least 1 gig processing speed.

So while I'm still scanning and transferring stuff, have something from the archives:

Friday, November 10, 2006

Rain. Pour. That Stuff.

Text message from my brother, 4am: Our van just burnt up. We lost everything. Please pray.

He's in a band, currently touring. All he could tell me since his phone was running out of battery, was that the van just went up in flames for no reason. There's nothing left of it, more or less. No one knows what happened. Thank GOD no one was hurt, everyone was ok. But they lost all their equipment, including the pride-of-his-heart drumset, all his snares and his cymbals. Which weren't insured. They're spending the night in Memphis right now, heading back to NY tomorrow.

Any good thoughts and prayers, I'd be grateful if you'd send it their way.

I'm just thankful he's alive.

Wonder if anyone wants a furguppy from the archives?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Life, The Soap Opera

The Great Sewage Saga ain't over yet. The plumber came on Saturday and made things -worse-. Now the entire kitchen smells like the inside of a drain. Upstairs neighbours, whose fault this entire mess is, don't want to pay compensation. Our pipes are still leaking every time someone a couple floors up turn on the water. -I- have promised to help housemate take someone apart if things aren't fixed soon because I can't -cook- or heat up stuff without being in a welter of swampland miasma.

Oh, and to add to the Soap Opera theme - I pulled a groin muscle. I've no idea HOW, other than it was too much standing and kneeling to ink yesterday's bulletin board piece, since my table's tiny and wouldn't properly hold an A3 sheet of paper. I can sit on anything with a stable centre of gravity but the minute it wobbles and I have to engage my abdominals to keep balance, OWW. Walking's also not a very fun thing to do, and any heavy lifting's out of the question. I'm hoping it goes away by tomorrow; I'm sure bumping home today on the bus for 2.5 hours didn't help.

And I forgot to bring my camera battery charger back so of course my digicam's dead as a dodo. Bah. I had a sketch on it I wanted to upload!

On the plus side however: I'm home! I'm home for five days! I'm not in a sewage infested apartment any more! (at least for a little while.) The awards ceremony on Sunday went -marvellously- well, and I made my Designing Debut with The Dress. It was a hit! (yeesh, that sounds so...self-aggrandizing. But people did like it a lot and I kept getting asked where I bought it!)

And everyone who sent well-wishes to my housemate's father, I'm delighted to report that he's back from hospital and doing just fine, aside of a slight glitch with accidentally ripping off the scab on his foot. He's convalescing at home and doing very well. Thank you all so much!

So in lieu of what I -wasn't- able to post, I went back into the files looking for history and came up with:

She's from a game I used to play on a while back - Ro'sllendrin en'Vrdhatru. Initially she started out as just someone in my head called Gothic Alice..and then she sort of turned into this.

And Xinh! Xinh'duronh Shaha, originally from a Star Wars universe. The MUSH folded, but I do miss her sometimes.

Newer stuff is gonna have to wait till I get home in a couple days and by then I hope the drama's going to be over.

OH! OH! I went with my mother to see Open Season and it was -cute- as all get out...and there was Marcelo Vignali's name in the credits at the end, which was just great.

*whistles her way through Joshua Kadison's 'Cherry Bowl Drive-In as she sits very carefully to do some work*

Monday, November 06, 2006

Buns Are Nice But Not On My Head

So a couple weeks back my writers' group had a bulletin board that needed decorating, and me, being the masochist that I am, volunteered caricatures of the members to be put up. We decided to do the core team committee first - which didn't sound so bad initially because there are only four of us anyways. One of the girls created a tagline poster that was very 1950s comic-book feel, so I decided to sketch us four goons in as comic-booky type characters too.

The result, after about 45-60 minutes of inking and half an hour more of frantic colouring before group leader came to pick it up, is certainly...interesting.

We have: The Narnia Queen of snow and ice, for Jan who loves chewing on ice cubes. Gambit, for Jon, who loves staves and blades and who wanted to be Wolverine but the artist had a brain fart and did not have the cool ability to draw that character, alas. Cheryl, who just -begs- for a Disney-style look and so got Kim Possible. And me. As Chun Li. Because I hit things and like explosions. And the paper was way too big for my scanner so I had to break the entire sheet of A3 paper up into two scans.

It isn't the BEST something-whatsoever, but I'm happy it's DONE at least. Now to type out the taglines for each character and send it in for someone else to comic-book-script since I don't have time to do it before I leave...

Y'know, I really do like Chun Li, but NOT THOSE STUPID HAIR BUNS!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Anatomy of Lesser Known Things

The force [F = Ma, or, Force = Mass x acceleration] of taking (a) a plate of food (m) off a high counter will cause gravy to fly with glee in a fan-shaped pattern and splatter your clothes, ergo:

Being blindsided hard (F) by even a slow-closing lift door can cause you to stagger (a) and thus displace your innards and your ribs (m), or so it feels like for about five seconds.

Being cracked in the sternum by the bony elbow of your equally bony, tall counter nurse can feel like a kick from a really skinny mule. Especially after collision with abovementioned lift door.

I didn't even know you could get a paper cut from new dollar bills.

Light really does reflect on skin.

Directional spotlights, recessed ones too, really do cast triangular shadows. Even in broad daylight, ergo:

The day gets a trifle surreal when you're trotting back to your clinic counter bearing leftover pizza from a doctors' meeting. In a brown envelope. (Ok, fine, there weren't any available containers or plastic bags in there. It is still surreal, yes.)

I am currently engaged in taking apart a thirty-six dollar skirt and turning it into a layered samurai-style outfit for a national awards ceremony I'm helping with on Sunday. Cloud Strife style overskirt, Issey Miyake style weird folded jacket. I have an ENTIRE wardrobe of suitable stuff for the occasion. Why am I doing this? BECAUSE I'M INSANE. I think. Yeah.

...Ok. So today got just a liiiiiiiiiittle surreal. Mostly. It was probably a bad idea to walk 3 miles home in the muggy heat too.

So much disproving the idea that a certain life could be a movie script. Right?

*looks at above list* I don't think I NEED to answer that question, not after this...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Hit the Road, Jack...No, Wait, That's Water

Hey Marcos? You were not kidding when you mentioned 'all the happenings in my life right now'.


Half an hour up to the -eyeballs- in foul-smelling water left over from the Great Sewage Saga, I've come to the conclusion that I'm Real Life's alternative to John Constantine. The water's not draining out of the kitchen from when housemate hosed it down, and we didn't realize that -under- the stove was a puddle of Stygian horror. We'll have to mop it out again tomorrow after one round today - it'll require two people and neither of us are feeling well tonight after that stench.

Oh, and that means I have to clean the bathroom -again- because we had to clean crap out of the mops. The bathroom cleaning usually leaves me with lower back pains that require me to take muscle relaxants if they're bad enough.

I can't take the muscle relaxants on a week night; I won't wake up the next day.

The only thing -good- out of all this is that next week, I'm going home for five days on break again.

And on -that- note, here's what I -really- feel like doing, from another hissing session sometime ago:

Now if only I could get a BIGGER cast-iron yoyo.