Sunday 29 August 2010

How Not To Not Hire An Artist

A fantastic take down of a short-sighted article about hiring artists. I should write my own thoughts up some time...

Eh. Or now, so I don't forget completely.
In brief? Art takes ages, selling too cheap destroys art as a career, and if anyone has any question about my prices for any particular piece (not that I do many commissions, but hey) I can explain in great detail how I got to that result. And I know I usually under-charge. And artists can get very very attached to their artworks.

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Top Five Most Popular Disney Femslash Images of the Month

It's interesting keeping an eye on the traffic through my Squidoo lenses - and the one that's really taken off lately, in a scary way (Google is finally bringing it up in search results) is the Disney Femslash lens.

So I thought I'd just post up the most popular clickouts of the last month.

Unsurprisingly, the comics were waaaay up there with ~120 clicks each. X-Arielle is pretty much the definitive Disney femslash artist on DA and Nana-51 is right up there with her.

I'll just post them in order here - first two on the left are the original comics from Nana-51, in which Megara decides to try an online... sorry, a magic mirror dating service and calls up Ariel for ...well, some fun. The third is X-Arielle's rather fun response, in which Meg teases Melody (Ariel's daughter in the sequel)

Mum's Friends by ~X-Arielle (response/fan comic)

The final two were much less popular with 69 and 52 respectively. They BOTH feature Snow White and the Evil Queen, interestingly.

Number four is a short manga comic about apples, wishes and tricks turning out to be treats...

Snow White - Mini Manga Yuri

...while Number five pairs up the Evil Queen with Snow White in chains at her feet, in a nicely contrasting sombre theme (compared to the generally very happy and Disney-bright fan art)

The real happy ending by piccolaria

Looking For Disney Femslash? Head on over to Fandom Femslash!

The Guild Music Videos

I knew of the existence of a show called The Guild, vaguely, but it has finally infected my online sphere. First ArchMage was watching an episode, then the Do You Wanna Date My Avatar video pops up on Facebook, and a thread about The Guild emerges on the GITP forums. Fate was against me, it seems, and a new time-suck is reeling me in.... (I write this partway through the final episode of Season four of Angel). Worse, not only is Felicia Day rather very hot, the songs are actually quite listenable.

And so began my quest to discover the various music videos (avoiding the series for the sake of finishing Angel ...for now).

Do You Wanna Date My Avatar is catchy and very... well, let's just say it appeals a lot to anyone who plays any kind of RPG.

And Game On is a full-on Bollywood geekextravaganza, complete with gaming puns, backing dancers and a lot of brightly coloured costumes. And an elephant.

And I don't think I want to watch the Christmas Carol one again. Early attempts and all but it was kinda depressing.

Monday 23 August 2010

Return to Sender: Going Postal Videos

I'm dying down here in New Zealand - the latest Discworld film, Going Postal, seems to have gone straight to DVD (or something) and I can't get at it!

EDIT: STILL only available as a UK Import

So instead I'm watching excerpts and trailers online... the music video is awesome. The actors look like they embody the characters almost perfectly (... with the exception of the Angua-as-werewolf bit. Someone just wanted to have a wolf onscreen)

"he's a bit... 'return to sender' if you know what I mean"

SPOILERS: Short bits from the film

In which Terry Pratchett has a cameo:

In which Albert Spangler attempts to make a joke without warning Lord Vetinari

Scary moral parole officer golem is scary.

In which Adora Belle Dearheart stops a runaway horse.

The 'sacrificial sausages' discussion

In which Terry Pratchett talks about the film, and the Victorian Postal System

I waaaaaant. But I'm not sure I'm quite desperate enough to pay US$50 to ship to NZ (that's twice the normal cost of a DVD here... hmmm. Time for UK relatives to step in, perhaps?)

Sunday 22 August 2010

The Best Geeky California Gurls Parodies

Okay, I'll admit to a certain fondness for Katy perry's "I Kissed A Girl" - without it, I'd never have discovered Jill Sobule's original version, and a myriad of disney femslash videos would not have been spawned.

The "California Gurls" song mostly just makes me cringe. And squint. However, there are at least two three awesome geeky parodies out there.

The latest one from Team Unicorn has Stan Lee, Seth Green, and Battlestar Galactica’s Katee Sackhoff! And even better - quotes!

Geek and Gamer girls
We’re unbelievable (Tri-force!)
We all know
That Han shot first (It’s a trap!)
No dubs
We want originals
Ooooooh oh ooooooh
Geek and Gamer girls (Level up!)
We’re undefeatable
Achievement Unlocked
Browncoats represent (Shiny!)
We aim to misbehave
Oooooooh oh ooooooh

Geek and Gamer Girls Song - Watch more Funny Videos

" skin so white we're indoor only types"

Comic Con Girls
We're incredible
Slave girl
Leia bikinis on top
Star Wars chicks
So hot
We'll melt your lightsaber
Oh no! Oh no! Oh no!

Rapunzel's Revenge and other Rapunzel Links

You all know the story of Rapunzel, I hope? Well, did you ever think about making a lasso out of all that hair? Or reins for a wild warthog? Then you might want to check out the graphic novel, Rapunzel's Revenge.

Rapunzel's Revenge is a whip-cracking lively and colourful graphic novel that takes the old passive princess in a tower and throws her away in favour of a fiery, moral and stubborn redhead who gets out of her tower and goes to save the world from evil Mother Gothel. It's one of my favourites out of the various books retelling Rapunzel.

If you like the Rapunzel fairytale, you may be interested in browsing the Rapunzel-related posters on this lens. They're mostly from Zazzle - Rapunzel herself, Mother Gothel, and her tower - but there's some on Amazon for the new Tangled movie already.

I also discovered a new song by Emilie Autumn when researching for that lens and this rather funny little short film

tangled disney rapunzel pink cosplay dress costumeLastly, if you're actually interested in Tangled, and/or cosplay, Bria Silivren has written up an analysis of Rapunzel's costume complete with giant pictures from the upcoming Disney film. Bria's a semi-professional (...she doesn't make any money at it!) cosplayer who's already made one of the previewed (and, I think, rejected) costumes from the film (photo on left) and I strongly suspect is gathering pink silks and researching blonde wigs already for a second run.

Image link: Rapunzel 1 on DeviantART

featured lens
And finally, now the film's out, I've written a page about Mother Gothel herself.

The (Real) Cat Returns

The real, furry, purring cat, that is.

I brought my cat back to my flat again this evening - she seems to remember it, which is good, and is following me around and lying on the floor everywhere. She just climbed up on the chest of drawers, until blocked by the large box of paints, and wriggled her head under the curtain so she could sit and look out into the dark...

She's a good cat, and a very good natured one - she's nearly thirteen now! Unfortunately, she's very, very, very furry and sheds a lot.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to having a cat on my bed again, to keep me warm, and to come and say hello when I get home. I'll have to pick up some nice catfood for her though. Before she decides to do more than just nibble my fingers...

Saturday 21 August 2010

The Problem With Cupcakes

A few months ago, Squidoo started up some 'clubs' - you find the homepage (headquarters) and make a lens using their template, and are included in that category. One of the most successful, apparently, is the Cupcake club, which ran a competition for the best cupcake lens, in a drive to get some attention.

Now, cupcakes scare me. Admittedly, when I think 'cupcake' what I'm thinking about are the little fairy cakes, so when I see some of the monster cakes that are basically muffins with icing, creeping over from the US, it worries me in a nervous, primeval, 'I'm about to be eaten by a giant lump of icing' way.

The problem with cupcakes is... you can make a lot of different decorations, add sweets and sculpt icing and sprinkle sugar and tint artistically or garishly at will. But what you end up with is a little tasteless cake covered in sugar. At least muffins are allowed to be carrot or raisin or date or ginger or chocolate!
Cupcakes are not. If they deviate from the rule of sugar and appearance in favour of taste or health, then they are shunned from tea parties! Expurged from recipe books! And worst of all, thrown in the oven, with a little ceremonial witch's hat. Such is the fate of those who dare too much with baked goods.

(This does remind me of the little lemon and chocolate vodka cupcakes my brother made. Not a good combination at all.)

No. Cupcakes enforce a strict code of conformity. You can deviate in appearance as much as you wish - in fact, it appears to be encouraged- as long as you do not commit the henious crime of adding substance or altering the soul of the cupcake. There is a drive towards purity - sugar, air, lightness!

It seems that the perfect cupcakes are the soulless, the substanceless - pure illusions. In fact, the best cupcakes of all are probably invisible cupcakes.

Friday 20 August 2010

The cake is a lie and the poor Cube had to die for it

The Cake is a lie and the poor cube had to die for it
Sometimes you run across little moments of shared win, and you have to run out and share them. This last couple of days, it's been a little quote from an unknown Tech Support Person, that popped up on FailBlog yesterday.

I hadn't read FailBlog that day (yet) so the first I knew of it was when I started getting dozens of hits on my Weighted Companion Cube fanpage!

I do wonder though, how often they get 'the Cake is a lie' pulled on them? And I have a sneaking suspicion that the company this person works for has the initials AL.

Cats on the Trampoline

When I was younger, we had a huge trampoline and it was great fun. I also had a cat (which I still have). Appparently the site of my feet flying up and down was irrestible, she'd leap up, and throw herself at my legs, in an attempt to either capture them or love me to death, depending on her mood. I inevitably would be in midair, and come back down to send her three feet in the air.

Apparently that was fun, because it usually inspired an attempt to eat me. I had to slow down, stroke her, and persuade her that I was not a toy, and she can get off now!

In light of that memory, have some trampoling cat videos :D (happy cats only, I don't approve of the ones where the cat's only been put there to be bounced for the camera)

Thursday 19 August 2010

Murdering Childhoods: My Little Ponies

Shimmer hung his head wearily, and paused to rest his foot a moment, blood dripping down his snout... he could feel the fresh pain of his wounds with every heaving breath, lancing sharply across his hide. The more deadly pains of torn and tired muscles dragged at his movements.

Around him danced his opponent - young, fierce, bloodthirsty Moonlight. She had waited until after he had defeated two other challengers before tripping up to take her place facing him in the arena. Foolish Petal had died swiftly, a blunted horn through her eye, but Damson had been tougher and worn him down. The sturdy male had succumbed at last to Shimmer's greater stamina and surrendered gasping and broken-horned. He had been led away staggering, to have his eyes gouged out and given to the young warriors to practice on.

And now Moonlight. He should have guessed it would come to this, but when she hadn't been in the initial line-up he had dared hope. Moonlight the killer, Moonlight the careless. He could not let the herd fall into her care - she'd kill for sport once she possessed such power, and maim at whim. Bloodthirst was a prized attribute in the herd, but not to the exclusion of sanity. And how he cursed his lack of foresight, he should have slain her as a yearling - but he hadn't thought she'd be a threat so soon.

A patter of blood fell on his face, as Moonlight flicked her bloody horn, mocking him. Both ponies were bloodsoaked, hooves red and dark, their horns spraying blood with every toss. The mud was churned and red from their battle, and from the great wounds suffered by the first two challengers. Canny old Shimmer had scratched Moonlight a number of times, but she was too quick, too strong, too vicious. His battle-scarred hide was criss-crossed now with new blood. And she mocked him, by splashing in the puddles until she was as bloody as he was.

Moonlight tensed and kicked, and Shimmer flinched and jabbed, then they broke apart again, circling...

He would not survive this battle. Even if he defeated her, some other young buck would take the chance to destroy him - or he would be casually shunned to limp behind the herd, left to the wolves... No. The best he would manage would be to bring Moonlight down with him, let the fight end with their horns buried in each other's hearts - and let the herd descend into anarchy tearing itself apart over who would take power.

Shimmer staggered again, strength flowing away into the dank mud around him, and Moonlight waited, poised, graceful and murderous.

This was inspired by *nai-XaIn's sketching a My Litte Pony at Doujin Overload and *AtomicFireball's [link]

When I was little, me and my siblings collected (from fairs and garage sales) a vast herd of MLPs (well, my brother was only five so he only had about four, out of the fifty or sixty). They were all secondhand, and we didn't even know they had 'real' names, and they often came missing most of their manes. We named them all, and knew their herd relationships intimately, and spent many long hours fighting turf wars between the herds, with the successful ponies committing murder and incest and betrayal with cheerful abandon (except for my brother's ponies - he got upset if we killed his )

The unicorns were by far the most prized - partly because we couldn't ever find many, mostly because they had stabby horns.

Sometimes they would invade the lego fortresses of the toy animals and stomp everyone. Other times we got out the giant crocodile.

Blood is so much fun.

Painted in ArtRage, about an hour and a half.

Giapo Organic Gelato and Ice Cream: A Must-Visit For Aucklanders

I've fairly recently discovered the fantastic delight that is Giapo gelato and ice cream. It's delicious, comes in huge cones, and is organic! It's a little shop on Queent street, just above the Civic Theatre and just below Borders - level with the public library (I do most of my navigation by the Library ^_^ ). They sell absolutely huge cones, so while it initially looks expensive, it really isn't.

I'd really like to get the word out about this place, because it is truly awesome (the actual shop is tiny and crowded and purple, and has these incredibly tall chairs outside that are hard to climb up on, but the ice cream... )

I've written a Squidoo page about Giapo (as I do about most things!) and if you're interested they're also all over the internet:


Also, their dark hot chocolate is to die for, if a bit expensive.

My Buffy Addiction

Buffy: Well, I gotta look on the bright side. Maybe I can still get kicked out of school.
Xander: Oh, yeah, that's a plan. Cause lots of schools aren't on Hellmouths.
Willow: Maybe you could blow something up. They're really strict about that.
Buffy: I was thinking of a more subtle approach, ya know, like excessive not studying.
Giles: [to himself] The Earth is doomed.

My co-worker started lending me the entire series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer last year, which led to many sleepless nights, withdrawal, hilarity, excitement, the urge to infect others with my passion, and an urge to paint fanart.

BtVS is now one of my favourite shows - up there with Firefly and Black Books. I'm now about to begin the fourth season of Angel and rewatching Buffy on YouTube and trying to buy up all the DVDs.

Anyway, in an urge to restart this blog, just a little, I figured I'd introduce everything I've written on Buffy!

Firstly, there's the Buffy Versus Edward lens: Would Buffy Stake Edward?. Sure, the whole "Slayer kicks Sparkles over the horizon and back" theme is a foregone conclusion, but Squidoo didn't seem to have figured that out. The majority (...every lens but one) of lenses were entirely pro-Twilight. Clearly a lot of the Squidooers were a) in the target audience (girls aged 13 and bored moms) and b) onto a good thing. Twilight cakes and bedding?

So enter Buffy. And the most awesome Buffy fan-video ever made.

That lens led, inevitably, to the need for a lens to showcase the spin-off t-shirt: And then Buffy staked Edward. The End

I got a little carried away with this and collected a whole bunch of funny t-shirts from Cafepress expanding on the theme, which seemed to be well appreciated by visitors - but saw no sales until I added the Amazon t-shirt up the top! To my great delight, the recent-ish release of the latest in the Twilight Series led to a huge surge in visitors - and sales!

Anyway, in celebration, as soon as I earn enough in sales from this lens, I shall bu one of the t-shirts for myself!

I was still watching through BtVS at this point, and had been hearing about the famous musical episode for a while. I pretty much rushed through the sixth season until I reached Once More With Feeling. I loved it. It really, truly is one of the best musical television episodes ever. I had to re-watch it three times in a row, and then I had to go make a Squidoo lens all about it. And I have most of the songs on my music player and listen to them rather a lot (well, whenever random spits them up!). It really is worth watching, and the songs are definitely worth listening to! The fact that all the actors sing their own songs - and some are quite musically talented! (Anthony Stewart Head (Giles), James Marsters (Spike) and Amber Benson (Tara) have all gone onto to some kind of singing career). I also enjoy the variety of songs - sweet love song, rock and roll, blues, and some swinging demon jazz!

Finally, I was awarded a Purple Star (Squidoo award for outstanding lenses) for it!

Reember how I said I was inspired to paint some fan art? Well, wouldn't you like to see it? As Buffy seems to inspire me to paint some what regularly, I'm making a project out of it. I put together a lens of my Buffy paintings for the Summer Sunshine Charity Contest on Squidoo: Buffy Fanart Portraits

I would really, really appreciate nominations (it ends next week, end of August, though!). The instructions are under the pictures, just above the Guestbook - so you've actually had a chance to have a look at it! - and only involves a brief filling out of a form. Even if not, I hope you enjoy the various paintings - Buffy, Willow and Tara, so far, plus a couple of other sketches.
If you're on DeviantART, you can find them all here

Lastly, when I began watching Angel, I created a lens asking which was the better show: Buffy Vs. Angel
This sat in my WIPs for a very long time, as I figured that I should watch a little more of Angel than I already had! Anyway, I've finally finished it off, and if YOU have an opinion on whether Angel was boring or brooding, which was the better series out of BtVS and Angel and if Buffy would beat Angel in a fight, then please come join in at: