Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Today I had the last seminar on Language Acqusition. We had two presentations during the seminar, and one of them managed to keep me amazed for the whole day. It was on English as an International Language, and it included 1337 5p33k as a variety of English online. As an example the student who gave the presentation showed us a short message written in 1337, which contained something like "I learned leet from Megatokyo". The student said Megatokyo is another forum poster, but I concluded it would rather be the online comic, since one of the characters speaks 1337 occasionally. And this opened a whole trail of thoughts for me.
Megatokyo's readership is huge. It's not particularly deep or philosophical, but a good comic and an enjoyable read. Still, I wouldn't have imagined anybody would start learning a new sign system, or even a new language, because of an online comic - until I remembered people discussing subtle linguistic differences in Japanese on the MT forums. Just imagine what comic creators could achieve with that in mind. It's a completely different approach to bridging cultural gaps and making people aware of what is going on in other countries and their cultures. What bigger compliment can exist for a comic artist than to have people start a learning process that might take years because of their work?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Remember, remember...

I have more fond memories of my early time online than I have of my schoollife. Some years ago I was part of a mailing list on the German author Wolfgang Hohlbein. It was grand. We wrote up to 2000 messages a month on all sorts of topics, from books to philosphy and society to roleplaying (discussing and actually doing it). The average age was 16-18, I think - when the people in our surroundings were at the height of their puberty and we complained about the unfairness of life and the stupidity of the world (justly, I believe). The group was a crazy bunch of people from all sorts of backgrounds with all sorts of opinions, which always spawned discussion. I loved it. I still think fondly of a lot of these people, and they have influenced an important part of my life a lot. Gotika666 stems from some of the popular ideas that were thrown around in this group, albeit that stereotypical twist that I gave her.
Every now and then I remember this time, and I wonder what happened to them. Today the mailing list has more members than ever, but it is dead. The discussions have been reduced to "How did you like this book?", and the Old Ones have left the list. I wonder where they've gone. I probably couldn't take 100 emails per day any more, being busier than I was five years ago, but I do miss their wonderful emails. We're all older now, and we've moved on. I wonder if they're still as crazy, if there could still be discussions like the ones we had if everybody was brought together again. I wonder what Toran, Salid, Aeon, Dago and all the others are busy doing today and why they seem to have disappeared completely off the public side of the internet. Loved reading their short stories, too. I still have a whole folder with printouts of them, somewhere. I once read the beginning of a longer story by Toran, "Khel", and I was sure he'd become a famous author within a few years. God, I'd have loved to read the whole story.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Medieval Festival in Salzburg

Last weekend there was a small medieval festival in Salzburg on the Festung Hohensalzburg. I went there on Sunday, unfortunately not in medieval clothes, since I thought it was even smaller than it turned out to be. It was loads of fun, even though I went alone. The best part was the music this time (by Saltarello). I loved how the musicians made the people interact - some even got up to dance. It made me feel like joining them and dancing as well, but this would have been kinda hard with two bottles of mead in my bag.

Somebody dumped a helicopter on one of the main places of Salzburg and called it art:

And pictures from the festival:

Next Saturday there will also be a medieval market in Linz to which I'm going. I believe it will be bigger than the one in Salzburg and the programs looks nice. Salzburg basically had only two music groups and one sword-fighting group, plus some sellers. The program in Linz is packed from 10am to 11pm with several activities going on at different places at the same time. I also hope there will be more sellers.
So I started sewing another medieval dress today - more colourful and more fit for dancing. I hope I'll have time to finish it, as I'll only return to Linz Friday late evening.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


I'm very impressed with Fred's work on Megatokyo right now. The last part of the story arc was simply amazing, concerning both the expressiveness of the art and the simplicity and, similarly, the expressiveness of the dialogue. Within the last two weeks I got really hooked on the story arc.

So I decided to buy his comic books as well, since he's giving the world an excellent, free webcomic which updates regularly three times a week, which really should be supported as much as possible.
Plus, I want to reread the comic to understand the overall story better, and I really won't reread 800 pages on the web.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Folding Shirts for the Lazy and Talented

How to fold a shirt

It looks very impressive and apparently it works, too. Gotta try it next time I need to fold a shirt (usually they just end up getting stuffed into the wardrobe somehow). Allegedly it only works with shirts, though, not with jumpers.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Coloured Gotika666

And here she is.

Nobody knows her real name, she simply calls herself Gotika666 - because, really, to get a name by somebody else and not be able to name oneself and have a name that fits one's personality is one of the prime examples of life's unfairness. She fancies Alucard, reads black books because they match her eyecolour and after a hard day's work she writes depressive poetry (which shows stunning similarities to Vogon poetry). When a feeling of needing to be social overcomes her, she visits black forums with red fonts, posts her poems and writes some comments.
Thankfully, nobody knows that when she was 15 (a year ago), she was normal, blonde and listened to boy-bands.


My character for the DAF Artbattle. Colouring her right now.

I made some logos today and a couple of sketches that I'm happy with, quality-wise. Right now I'm giving presentations and handing in papers at least once per week, which really adds up to stress and time pressure. So spending a couple of hours on art was a very welcome distraction for my thoughts. Very relaxing.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Long Journeys

I went to Scotland for the weekend to see my boyfriend. The most distinctive feature of the trip was the utter and complete lack of reliability that public transport showed. Of the four flights that I had to catch, three were delayed. One of them even managed a 3.5 hours delay (from Stansted to Edinburgh) in which I almost finished the book I had taken with me that was supposed to last for the journey back as well.
So the next day, after not quite enough sleep thanks to plane companies who can't deal with fog and don't offer compensation even when you're starving, we went to Holy Island, which is only really an island at certain times when the flood cuts it off from the mainland. I found that quite cute. It was less cute when, after the flood had gone away, we were waiting for the only bus that takes you off the island when you don't have a car. After 45 minutes of waiting we, and about 10 other people, figured it wouldn't come.
I feel like this was Let's-piss-off-people-who-use-public-transport-weekend.

The book was Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman and I found it quite entertaining. The ending is very good and I liked it better than the rest of the novel. Reading the semi-autobiographical parts that I knew from the interviews was fun, and thinking about the parts that sound semi-autobiographical but might or might not be as well. I think those might even have been the best parts of the book.
Since I ran out of reading material I picked up two other books. I'd have bought Good Omens too (by Terry Pratchett and Neil) if the shop had had it, but I only saw it at the airports where I didn't have the time to get it ... because of late planes an check-ins that take an hour of queueing. Still, if I had read this before leaving the airport, I'd definitely have bought it even if it had meant running all the way to the plane to not miss it. Since I had not read it, I just walked very quickly.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

New Links and Sketching

I've added a couple of new links to blogs. Check them out.

And here's a small sketch:

I've started to sketch at least an hour per day to improve my drawing skills. I hope I can keep it up no matter how much other work I have to do. For now it works quite well as I'm usually putting on some DVD feature and listening to it while I draw. I feel unproductive if some of my senses aren't occupied with doing something, so listening to extras should help here. The commentary on Buffy is very good for that. Next is the commentary and the features of the LoTR extended editions. Fun. It's usually relaxing enough so I spend more than one hour sketching.
Another good listen while sketching are Neil Gaiman's interviews. I listened to this one yesterday, when I was actually already too tired to sketch and wanted to go to bed. Worked like a charm and made me lough out loud a couple of times.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Tristan and Isolde

Watched Tristan & Isolde today. I find it interesting which parts of the original story (stories) Hollywood changed. It kinda gives an idea of how our perception of a successful narrative changed from the 12th century to today.
I heard the story some time ago, but didn't remember much of it. So did a friend of mine. We both had the feeling that the original story was changed a lot. It turned out that the stories weren't changed that much (Hollywood basically took all of the existing Tristan stories and picked out the parts they liked and merged them together). We simply perceived the story as very different because the one item that makes Tristan and Isolde stand apart from other stories of that genre - and thus makes it recognisable - was left out: the love potion.
Having a rough look at both stories, it seems to me the original story was more focused on how the king reacts to his wife's unfaithfulness and what political consequences it has, while the 2006 Tristan and Isolde has the focus on the love story. The political implications are still there, but they are only the secondary story.
The fact that Hollywood deliberately removed the love potion makes me believe they don't think a love story made of "fake" love would be commercially successful. Admittedly, it probably wouldn't be. It's still a pity the love potion was removed, since, for me, it was the one critical item that I remembered of the story. The 2006 story is just another love story now. Shame.
I think the film would have been more successful if it hadn't been promoted as the 'love story pre-Romeo&Juliet'. While the fight scenes weren't the best, they were the interesting parts for guys. Me, I went to see the film because of the medieval setting and the costumes. Lots of girls probably went to see it because of the love story. Guys, for the most part (I imagine) would only see it when being dragged into the cinema by their girlfriends. So I'd probably have given the political intrigues a bigger part and kept the love potion. The relationship between Tristan and his uncle was interesting enough to carry one of the main complications of the film. It just wouldn't have lured all the love-hungry girls into the cinema.

I also was vaguely amused by Isolde's heart-shaped earrings. I'd be very surprised if earrings like that existed in the 12th century.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Get me the Helmet of Redoran. No Killing.

(German only)

I enjoy doing small comic strips. Admittedly, I don't know jack about pacing, layout or other comic techniques and can at most analyse what techniques other artists use and how and why. Still, doing a short strip every once in a while is fun.

It's not a very great strip and probably not too understandable for people who haven't been in this situation, but, hopefully, I'll improve as I do more of them. There's already another one planned.