Thursday, September 26, 2013

Practicing Foxes

I practiced drawing foxes last night.

I used to doodle during class all the time in middle school, and cartoony foxes became one of my specialties. Last night, I tried to summon that ancient fox drawing power in order to work on some concept art for my big final graphic novel project. It took me a few tries to get to where I wanted to be. I started out just trying to draw foxes like I used to in seventh grade, but that particular talent seems to have gotten pretty rusty. I decided to try drawing a model.

Using this adorable stuffed animal as a model helped me to get going in the right direction. After a while, I combined my realistic-as-possible drawings of the plushie with my fox style from way-back-when and eventually got the two foxes at the bottom-center of the page. That will probably be what the fox character looks like in the final project.

I wish I had a fox drawing from eighth grade to compare with the new design. If I happen to find one when I go home in a few weeks, I'll post a side-by-side comparison just for the funsies.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Journey to the Center of the Library

I'm at the library again because this is my third home (my first being my dorm room and my second being the marching band field), and tonight I thought I'd be responsible and try to do some research earlier than I absolutely had to for a deadline. So I logged onto a library computer, plugged "World War I" into the catalog search engine, and scrolled through the results until I came to an interesting-looking diary of a solider in World War I.

See, normally I just do my research on the Internet, but my professor's encouraging us to use books, and I'm already at the library, so why not? Books are easier to cite than websites are, anyway.

I snapped a pic of the book's location using my iPhone and then strolled over to the chart by the elevator that tells which floor contains which section of books. My book was located on LL.

"LL?" I thought to myself. "Lower Level? The basement?"

In my two years and two months at this university, I'd never descended into the basement of the library. I knew it was where people went to hide during tornadoes. I'd heard rumors that it was where the Satanist books were kept. I'd never seen it for myself, though. In fact, I wasn't even entirely sure how to get there.

After poking around a few doors and stairwells, I finally found a staircase leading down from the first floor. There were no signs, and the stairs looked quite... well...

A picture's worth a thousand words, isn't it?

...gross. That's not at all what I'm accustomed to seeing at our library. Most areas of our library are clean and quite attractive, often with comfy or cool-looking furniture.

But in the spirit of adventure (and finding my book), I descended. And I was quite alarmed by what I found when I opened the door at the bottom.

The basement is... dismal, to say the least. Dark, dingy, even a bit creepy, and with lots of personal work spaces. I guess the basement is where you go if you really don't want to be disturbed. There were two people down there when I entered. One of them looked up at me as if he were shocked to see another human being.

One thing that interested me very much about the basement was this:

We have these emergency phones scattered across campus, always marked with a blue light so one can find it at night. However, they're typically located on the streets and in parking garages... not in the library. I also kept seeing signs stating that this area was under surveillance and that any inappropriate behavior would be reported to the campus police. Now, I didn't actually see any cameras, but the signs and emergency phone made me wonder exactly what has gone on down in the basement in years past. Couples on a study break? Satanic rituals?

The other floors of the library are similar to the basement in that they have aisle after aisle of books, but the floors are actually tiled, there aren't so many clunky ducts (there could have been a spy hanging out in those things for all I knew), there are actually ceilings and bright lights, and the shelves aren't so dull and depressing.

I walked down one aisle that was so dark I couldn't read the titles of the books. I had to whip out my phone and use the new flashlight feature in the control center. Good thing I updated to iOS 7, eh?

Once I turned a corner and found this:


I didn't actually see any Satanist literature while I was down there. I did, however, see books from just about every religion known to man. Also all the British history books. And the Russian history books. Philosophy, psychology...

Of course, there are some books that will probably never, ever be read-- not because they look boring, but because of this:

Did that really seem like the best place to put a bookshelf?

I never actually found the book I was looking for. I went to the shelf on which it should have been waiting for me, but it was strangely absent. I didn't find any helpful books down there, unfortunately. Feeling that I had wasted enough time, I ascended back to the civilized world, feeling a little unsettled but definitely more enlightened for having finally seen the library's basement.

During my ascent, I ran into this:

I very much approve of decoration on the walls, and I can't wait to see how the art students responsible for the designs finish their project.

I wasn't, however, quite prepared for this:

The air smelled like whatever it is that makes painter's tape sticky. I'm not sure if it's better or worse than the smell of lonely basement books.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Photo Fun

I waited a few days for everyone else to update their iPhones before doing it myself. I thought maybe I would save myself some time that way. Sadly, this process is still taking forever, and one of the biggest reasons is that I had too many photos taking up all the space on my phone.

My first step in remedying this situation was to go through a delete a bunch of pictures off my phone- pictures I had only taken to text to a friend or to post on Facebook, pictures of which I had multiple shots, pictures of things I don't care about anymore...

Examples of pictures I deleted:
-pictures of the Eiffel Tower
-pictures of Sun Life Stadium
-pictures of Cowboys Stadium
-embarrassing pirate costume selfies
-pictures of hot chocolate and frozen yogurt
-selfies my sister took when she stole my phone
-"I got a flu shot!" stickers
-selfies of me with various clothing articles wrapped around my head

I went from 800-something photos to 600. Not bad. And now I won't feel as embarrassed if somebody breaks into my phone and goes through my pics.

While I was at it, I decided to move all my photos from Europe over to my laptop. Because there were a ton of them. So now I'm down to 336 photos, and in total, I've cleared up almost two gigs on my phone. Yay!

Flash forward in time:

I have now finished updating both my iTunes and my iPhone. Nothing exploded. And then I also finally redeemed a bunch of gift cards I found in my bedroom at home over the summer and I bought a bunch of songs. It's a great day for iTunes!

I wasn't feeling very creative today.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Random Fact #17

Random Fact #17: If you normally use amazon.comto buy things online but use to buy something one time, you will receive emails about deals and sales from Amazon in both English and French.

Source: Personal Experience

The story: Once upon a time, I was in France and I needed to buy a copy of James Joyce's Ulyssesbefore I left for Ireland. I went to and found that priority shipping the book to my host mother's home in France would 1) take forever 2) be reeeeeeally expensive.

So I thought to myself, "Self, you've been in this country for a while and you've really gotten the hang of this whole French thing. Why don't you try the French version of the website?" So I tried it. And I found that ordering my book from the French website would 1) get me the book a leeeetle bit faster 2) be WAY less expensive.

So I clicked the button to finalize the deal, and a few days later, my book arrived. All good.

But then I started getting emails from Amazon in French. I was used to getting them in English and usually just ignored them. But getting French emails really caught me off guard. I had used my normal login information and account on the French website, so I didn't think it would consider me a new user or anything, but for whatever reason, I now get emails from Amazon in both English and French.

The novelty wore off pretty fast and now I just ignore the French emails, too.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

ALL The Colored Pencils!!!

Earlier this semester I had a teeny little whine-fest about not having any colored pencils.As much as I love my Wacom tablet, I'm not ready to completely leave behind real pencil and paper. On top of that, I need to be able to color things quickly for my graphic novel class, and I can't always do that on my computer.

So I strolled on down to the student store and browsed their art supplies section. There is a ton of cool artsy stuff in that department. Paintbrushes, markers, easels, canvas, glue... the kind of stuff that makes me wish I were an art major sometimes. As fun as the art major supplies were to look at, I'm not exactly a professional and I don't need professional tools, so I just skipped over to the familiar-looking yellow boxes.

Crayola all the way, man.

I quickly located a nice box of 12 colored pencils, but just before I could pick it up off the shelf, I saw something that made me pause.

BIGGER boxes of colored pencils.

The internal debate began. Did I really need so many colored pencils?Wasn't I already spending too much money by buying pencils at the student store instead of Walmart? But what if I needed more colors for my comic book projects?

I settled for the box of 24 colored pencils and I have not regretted it. I'm moving up in the world, my friends.


Random Fact #16

Random Fact #16: If you put a package of gum through a cycle in the dryer, the sticks of gum will curl up into a U shape and turn hard as rock.

Source: Personal Observation

Note: NO, I didn't accidentally put gum in the dryer with my clothes! I actually opened up a dryer and found it there one day. It was quite odd. I'm not sure why the gum got left in there... I bet the person's clothes smell minty fresh now. Unfortunately, I didn't think to take a picture until after I'd thrown the gum away.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Self Portrait Sequence

Hi, all! As you may or may not know, I'm taking a graphic novel creative writing class this semester. For homework last week we had to draw a series of self portraits, starting out very realistic but getting more cartoon-y. Since it turned out pretty cool, I thought I'd share it!

Panel 1: This is me, drawing myself as realistically as I possibly can. I drew this while looking at a photo of myself. I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out, seeing as I really only ever draw cartoons. I decided to do sort of a grayscale thing with this panel since I can't color something and keep it looking realistic.

Panel 2: This is me... as some kind of marching band superhero. Because... why not? I tried to use sort of a comic book style like I've been trying to learn from my Stan Lee book. I especially tried to use heroic proportions (that is, I eyeballed it and tried to make the character taller than a normal human being).

Panel 3: I tried several times to draw a super-cartoonish, almost chibi-looking portrait of myself, but couldn't get it to work right. I ended up watching a few Avatar: The Last Airbender shorts and sort of trying to use those characters as an example. Here's a link to the video:

I think my favorite panel is the second one. For the record, my professor thought the idea of a marching band superhero was really cool. I might have to play around with that a bit...

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Moussaka Strikes Again

Those of you who followed along with my adventures abroad over the summer will know that I developed a slight obsession with moussaka while I was in France. I mean, moussaka is a miracle. It takes something that looks as unappetizing as eggplant and makes it delicious.

But did you know that moussaka can also help you beat Disney villains?

I was reading the Oh My Disney blog because it is fantastic (as you will see if you go to and take a look) and I stumbled across an article which showed that the character Hades mentions moussaka at the beginning of Disney's Hercules. Specifically, that he once choked on it.

Not believing my eyes, I went to YouTube and found this clip:

So it turns out moussaka has been in my life since I was very young and I didn't even know it. Holy cow. The things you find when you re-watch old Disney movies...

But this really brings to light an interesting point: Hades, the ruler of the Underworld, has gotten moussaka stuck in his throat at least once. It could happen again! If Hades ever starts causing trouble again (and Disney, don't you dare make a sequel about that), Hercules could just arrange for him to eat some moussaka and then take him out while he was busy choking. Day saved.

Well... it would have to be a much more sophisticated plan than that, but you get the idea. You always have to capitalize on your opponent's weakness, and one of Hades' weaknesses is apparently moussaka.

Moussaka: What can't it do?