Sunday, February 25, 2007

Meeting the Mightly Beast

While my mother apparently needs to tell sect people that she doesn't have time for them, it seems I have an aura that makes them willing to leave without a word from me.

Nearing midday, the bell rings and I find an elderly gentleman and a younger guy in a suit in front of our door. "They're either from our church and want money, or they're fanatics from some sect" I think. Their very first sentence revealed the truth.

Old Guy: Morning.
Me: Morning.
Young Guy: We won't bother you for long. I just have this ... a question for you. Don't you also think that it's always of advantage to tell the truth?
Me: (thinking for a second) Well, no, actually not always.
YG: But ... you'd certainly wish people would.
Me: Yeah, but it's not always an advantage.
YG: Uh, okay. We just have a little leavlet here for you to read.
Me: Thanks. Goodbye.

It probably would have been more fun if they had tried to defend their point. But since they made their opinion so clear, I don't have to read that leaflet titled "Do we always have to tell the truth?" since I already know what will be written in there.

(I bet they walk in pairs like that so the person opening the door can get talked to by the Witness who is closest to their age.)


After stumbling over this little gem from a English book for Japanese people I suddenly much less concerned about my own use of inappropriate words during lessons at school and also about my actual teaching of inappropriate words at school when planning a lesson on British slang.

(Yeah, yeah, it does involve a lot of cussing, but people really underestimate the importance of slang. Until I planned that lesson I never really understood the Orange "Bob's your uncle" ads. Slang is vital and everybody should learn slang words in SLL.)

And here is an entertaining explanation from a Russion book for English learners on how modern English even came into existence.


Been playing some Final Fantasy V the last few days. Nice game, and the first Final Fantasy game that made me care quite a bit about the characters.

The sisters rock. Presenting to you, Reina and Faris:

Monday, February 19, 2007


So, Amazon did get its copies of Tad Williams' Rite, by Subterranean Press, and shortly later, it gave one to me. Since the book is a short story collection, I had intended to read it in pieces. Instead, it turned out, I rather gulped it down it big chunks - and how delicious it was!

It is really a beautiful book. Nice, cloth-bound hardcover (although I like the image of the protective cover quite a lot) and an illustration that goes with every short story. The illustrations are beautiful, too, black-and-white drawings (ink, I suppose) of which I like the compositions best. Anatomy and everything else it top-notch, too, but it's really the composition and the little details that made me look at every illustration twice (or thrice, or ...). The stories themselves are a pleasure to read, as well. Probably more down-to-earth than Tad Williams' novels (read: more bordering on the SF and F genre than delving straight into the middle of it), and also more humorous. I like it. It is rare that I find a short story collection that I like throughout, but with this book, this is the case. There's something I can get out of every story. It was comforting to find out that there are other people in the world who are somewhat uncomfortable using planes and revisiting Otherland was a joy, as well.
There are a few printing errors (e.g. italicized v's are barely visible), but I didn't mind them that much. The v's were actually intriguing, and at first I wasn't even sure if it was intentional or not. I can imagine a book having a letter that's not used very often in its title (in some special rendition, like the v's) and have that letter, when it crops up in the stories, look like the cover-letter. It could look nice and give the book a special touch, I think.

All in all, Rite is a book well worth reading. The fact that SP already ran out of copies should prove this, too.


Come Hither

Little butterfly,
won't you come and sit with me for a while?
I will tell you about loneliness,
and you will show me how to make it go away.

Of course, little butterfly is not coming. He is flying away, because that is what pretty butterflies do when they have had enough of your garden. And she does not even have a garden, so there is nothing for him to find here.

It's a bit of a style experiment, this one. Trying to learn to do lineart. Every ten months I get a bit crazy and do a manga picture, so this is it for a while then. I have no idea how you're supposed to colorize it properly; didn't know how to paint a mouth like that (so I, err, just didn't, as you can see). I prefer semi-realism, that seems a bit easier.

So have a little preview of a proper illustration I'm working on right now:

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Cooking Goodness

It is somewhat comforting to know that the headlines in Austrian newspapers also reach the news in other countries. At school you always have some lessons in which you take newspaper articles of different newspapers and compare them. I never found much interest in it, but I (occasionally) like comparing articles from different countries. It shows how facts change when crossing borders and how different facts get highlighted.
I never read in any of the Austrian articles that they lived in an upper-middleclass suburb. Maybe the newspapers just assume that, as a local, I know what social class people living in that part of town belong to (I don't. I'm also fairly sure people living further away don't.). I wouldn't even know how to translate "upper middleclass" - not in the context in which English people use it. Funny thing.

In relation to that, I'm currently reading "Watching the English" by Kate Fox, an anthropology book on English behaviour. I've only read the first few chapters so far, but I can already tell that the book is awesome. It's intelligent, funny, cleverly written and insightful. It's also very helpful when looking back in retrospect on experiences in England and helps explain stuff that seemed strange in my time in Oxford, i.e. when you meet your boyfriend's friends and offer them your hand as a greeting, and they look at you as if you're barking mad; after reading the chapter on greetings you know that you are not the one who is mad.
It's such a shame that you can't study anthropology in Austria. I first got in contact with anthropology in Oxford, where I took a lecture on pop culture and a seminar on Japanese art. Loved it. It seems like a wonderful thing to delve into.


Last weekend I made Paella for the whole family (without the mussels). Christine used the opportunity to try out her new camera (which is way superior to mine, as it can do videos with sound, as opposed to mine, which is restricted to videos without sound).

A small part of the ingredients. Not visible are peas, chicken wings and all the liquid parts.

Prawns in the pan (after getting some colour). I was glad that I didn't have to behead them and rid them of their intestines. That sounded a bit gross and violent.

After some time Markus decided to take over the pan and pretend to be important, so he could get all the fame, while I was left with spicing the chicken wings. After some evil glares I took over the pan again.


Here we again fought over who was allowed to put the finishing touches on everything (and also who got to eat some of the sausage while decorating the rice stuff). We managed a more or less peaceful solution after neither of us had won another glaring contest.

Here is the almost finished meal, before it was shoved into the oven and forgotten.

Check out this awesome natural lighting. The blue comes from the window (no artificial lightsource responsible for that). Who'd have thought midday could produce such a saturated metallic blue?

Aaaand here's the result of the 2h cooking marathon as presented on Christine's dish.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Over at DAF the second Zoomquilt, to which I contributed a tile, got finished. It's very (long? deep? extensive?) ... there are lots and lots of tiles and worlds to discover in it; quite amazing.
(You can change the zoom-in/out speed through the bar on the left.)


Over at Youtube Randis Albion uploaded some videos showing him paint. He makes painting look easy and effortless, which is impressive.


It seems that in response to Get a First Life the legal department of Linden Lab has sent a not-quite cease-and-desist letter to the website owner. It's funny as hell and a quite clever move of LL. Kudos to them, also for allowing the creator the use of the altered logo on his sellable goods.


Not sure if I have posted this image yet. I started it months ago but didn't find the time to finish it during the semester. Some weeks ago I took it up ago and finished it. Not quite happy with it, with the light situation and the guy's anatomy.

It's an illustration of The Story of Brutus and Diana's Prophecy from "The History of the Kings of Britain" by Geoffrey of Monmouth (12th century).