Thursday, October 28

I made some friends! Out of pixels.

This blog is still alive. I feel like I haven't posted in ages.

Varsity-work wise, I'm incredibly, gloriously behind. I've got at least 2 assignments to hand in for each course and 2 exams next week. Fuck. This would be a great time for the braingels (brain-angels) to kick in. Any day now.

I'm done tutoring for the year and a part of me will miss it. A little part. The other 95% of me will just be happy to sleep in on Monday mornings.

I've tweaked a few things about this blog, the biggest change will be a reduction in ads. There will be half as many and only text, no sexy flashing images. Sorry for those who relied on this blog for those irresistible offers to create a Zwinky avatar of themselves. Now you'll just have to scavenge the rest of the internet for that rare and valuable opportunity.

Speaking of avatars -- no, not the movie. Yes, I enjoyed it and the special fx were amazing. No, I don't think it was so amazing otherwise that it's cool to quote N'avi in everyday life. Anyway, back to actual avatars,  I was thinking about my NaNo plans and hit the old brick wall: that all my characters look the same. Namely, the female lead being a thinner version of me and the male lead being a manlier version of Jared Leto (don't ask, because I don't know why.)

So I found a cute little doll-maker site which I used to brainstorm. I may have gotten a tad carried away since I ended up with about ten different characters -- a preview:

Looking back at these, I have to admit in all-caps that I AM A TOTAL DORK. Yes, they're at high school, and yes, they each have a different adorable pet. And yes, these were really fun to make :D

Sunday, October 10

Pigfarts you are not running -- it's Mars!

The title is the Translation Party result of the quote "You can't just go to Pigfarts -- it's ON MARS!" (from AVPM! Which I totally did not watch last night instead of sleeping / writing past due essays / planning my escape from academia to sunny Mexico.)

I discovered Translation Party about half an hour ago and have been obsessed with it ever since. You give it any sentence and it translates from English to Japanese and back, until it finds 'equilibrium' (the English sentence goes into Japanese and comes out exactly the same. I don't know how else to explain it. I've been writing past due essays all day!)

So the sentence "I discovered Translation Party about half an hour ago and have been obsessed with it ever since" went through a couple of incarnations and morphed into "Before it is to find a hook for 30 minutes, I need to translate official." 

My favourite translation was the line "Life is too important to be taken seriously," which only took 3 morphs to get to "It is important that life too seriously." It's like seeing the intimate crevices of an Engrish mind at work.

And remember kids, whenever you're having an existential crisis, solve it the same way Happy Rotter does...

Get it?

Saturday, October 9

Loving Dasia

You know when you get so bored that you google your own name?
*crickets chirping*
Well anyway, turns out there's a book out there called Loving Dasia. At first I was like "Yay! Not only do I have a real name, but other people in the world think it's cool enough to name a book after! Weeeee!"
And then I saw Dasia's dark, handsome, secret-agent lover's name is...
Grimarious. For realsies.

That's Grimmy for short, then?  Lovely.

(For the record, I just linked the Amazon page here to prove this book exists. On no account do I think you should buy it. Need any more proof that you should stay away? Grimmy's last name is Gautraux. Apparently Ana Gia Wright's hobby is to mash fun-sounding syllables together and pretend the result isn't ridiculous. Kind of like fanfic writers who introduce Harry Potter's long lost - totally hot - sister Qi'bnoby into canon.)

Sigh. I wish I had a real name.

Monday, October 4

"Snowflake" is my middle name, bitch!

When I get all sad and angsty about life [coughEXAMScough], I like to distract myself by planning what tattoo to get next. What symbol, design, size, placement, and colouring? (I usually go for plain black silhouettes. Binaries FTW!) These plans shift so often that finances can't really keep up with my changes of heart. Which I guess is a good thing. If I had the money, I'd probably be covered in impulsive ink.

The tattoo flavour of the week in my mind is a single snowflake, either on my left wrist or left ankle. This morning I taught Elizabeth I's "I grieve and dare not show my discontent," which (while Renaissance poetry usually leaves me cold) is a totally fucking awesome poem. I was struck by the lines "Some gentler passion slide into my mind, / for I am soft and made of melting snow." I can't express how this makes me feel without reverting to the words 'totally fucking awesome,' but I guess that's just the ever-eloquent English Lit postgrad in me.

This got me thinking about snow; I have a book I bought in my first year at varsity called "The Encyclopaedia of Snow," which I got for exactly R1 at a library purging sale. I'm ashamed to say I've never read the whole thing; I was put off by the apparently factual but super confusing layout of the thing (I didn't know what PoMo was back then. The days of innocence!) But apparently it's a fancy novel which takes the form of an apparently random collection of extracts about snow... which turn out to weave into a (probably cheesy or pretentiously deep) love story.

The point is that - superficial as it is - this book has the loveliest cover and frontispiece (say wha'? Fun fact: a frontispiece is an illustration that isn't within the book itself, but precedes the title of the book.) The cover has very minimalist, fading snowflakes, while the frontispiece is a collection of photographs created by Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley, a 19th century farmer who was frackin obsessed with snowflakes. How hardcore of a nickname is "Snowflake"? Mad props to Bentley for living up to the hype. He's actually the guy who, through years of photographing them, discovered that no two snowflakes are alike.

What fascinates me is the devotion and passion Bentley showed to his collection: in his lifetime, he collected over 5000 images of snow crystals, and it was no picnic to get a decent photo. Not only does one run the risk of melting the little thing with one's breath, but also be careful not to crack the little bugger while you get it onto a slide. And in a few moments the beauty of it was gone forever.

I'm on the official website of the collection now and I can't stop staring at these photos. Only a few of them are up, but they're mesmerizing. The above is number 13. There's something quite (for lack of a better word) inspiring about Snowflake Bentley. I can't think of anyone these days who would be so devoted simply to the idea of preserving and sharing the beauty of something so miniscule and precious. I'm quite keen to get the book of selected photographs published by Bentley in the 1930's, which is still available in paperback today.

I like number 13 for my imaginary tattoo, but now I've got 500 or so other images to study before I make a decision. And by then, my enthusiasm may very well have melted away.