Tuesday 30 November 2010

The Great Zazzle Overseas Shipping Rip-Off: Which domain should you order from?

Long Tailed Field Mouse keychainBah. I posted about this in the Zazzle forums and it was promptly deleted, by which I assume my calculations are accurate, and my concerns valid, as if I was mistaken it would have been easier to correct me. If they'd left it up, I wouldn't have bothered posting here, but now they've deleted it - and I was hoping for an actual response - I'm writing it up for the world.

Black Moons: keychainThere's a free shipping deal running on the Zazzle.co.nz site until December 6th; I was planning to take rampant advantage. There are also a LOT of deals - often up to 50% - running on the main .com site

I just checked the differences on a keychain to take advantage of the free shipping - turns out that the total cost including shipping to NZ costs nearly twice as much.

Here are my calculations (I had two tabs open, and was testing on one off my own keychains, so default price; conversions are rounded and exact exchange rate varies anyway so pfft)

keychain = $5.54 (US$4.12)
Shipping = $9.35 (US$6.95 )
Total= $14.89 ($11.07 USD)

keychain = $2.95 ($3.97 NZD)
Shipping = $3.99 ($5.36 NZD)
Total= $6.94 ($9.34 NZD)

Cat in Autumn - Autumneve keychain

The actual product is almost the same price, allowing for slight variations in conversion rate. The difference gets a lot more marked at higher prices (a $42 iPhone = $54ish NZ, while on the NZ site, it's $63) by the shipping is very different.

The total cost is $6.94 on the US site, and $11.07 on the NZ site.
Purple Cat keychain
There is NO REASON for the shipping to be marked up like that! The item itself is marked up, allegedly to cover import taxes and local market value, which is partly bull, depending on where you live and how much you order. And the internet is global now - creating artificial country divisions doesn't work with anyone halfway internet savvy.

After playing around a bit more, I found that I could use one of the coupons that was active at the moment - 50% off keychains, hence my experiment - to Mystic keychainplace an order for $23 NZ, that would have cost $49.86 NZ, with the free shipping. The US deals are way better, frankly.

I also found that the point at which the bulk discount on products kicks in is the point it jumps up to the next tier in shipping, so it's worth playing around with your cart, and possibly placing two orders (e.g. 2x9 keychains at $3.99 shipping, rather than 18 keychains, with a 17% discount, and $12.99 shipping).
Colours of the Imagination - Rainbow keychain keychain
The bulk shipping is probably one reason for the 'high' shipping prices - you are much better off shipping in bulk than singly. The fact that different products ship separately is real pain, though. That's the one place where the free shipping would be worth it. That, or just stalking the deals and placing separate orders.

What does it mean? It means be really careful, doublecheck what you are about to pay, don't be afraid to order from overseas - and check if there's a Yin Yang Black White keychainbetter deal on that site.

And if you're selling... well, take the time to go through and find out what shipping will cost and how many you can buy before the shipping increases. Have a look at the exchange rates, and remember that the .com site usually has the best and the most. Having to faff around figuring out what would cost what is one of the things that's put me off so long.

I did order some keychains, though. From the US domain, with the 50% off code. I'll order some more stuff, probably, Red and White Rose keychainwhile the deals are going. The NZ free shipping doesn't expire until Monday, after all... and it came out of my pending Zazzle earnings for this month anyway, so it would only have sat in my Paypal until I spent it.

Update: my keychains arrived, and my cat approved.

Autumn Art, A Sale and A New Bujold Book!

I actually sold an iPhone case on Zazzle! I am very surprised, as I was just making them for fun - it was this one ^_^ I remember painting this in the UK after visiting lots of art galleries in France and Germany. And it was the first time in a month I'd been able to sit at a computer and play with ArtRage (I carried my tablet with me. A possible addiction?). And I was looking forward to visiting Dartmoor again, which is probably my most favourite place in the world.

So, a mix of Der Blaue Reiter and impressionism (I actually got to see the Kandinsky exhibition in Munich) and cats, because I like cats. And the moors.

I've been getting all ambitious, with the release of iphone/iPad cases on Zazzle, and trying to make cases of all the pictures in my gallery. It's... did I say ambitious already? Oh, I did. Well, it's ambitious! I've been compiling them into a Squidoo lens - mostly only the iPhone 4 section has much to look at.
And I've been setting my mother up on Zazzle with her photography of Barcelona. So far I've done all the work, but she's very pleased with it ^_^ And adding slowly to the lens about Eyam I started for her.

Also, been rereading the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold, and I still love them. They are brilliant, engaging and awesome. I attribute unto them my highest praise.And... OHO? There's a new book! Cryoburn just came out! I know what I want for Christmas!

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Three Postcard Paintings: Sketchblog

Painted these two days ago, to send to relatives.They're on watercolour postcards - I picked up a tin in a sale. The paints are acrylics though, because I keep forgetting that my watercolours are ancient and too solid to use. I should buy more... I recently bought some better brushes - so much worth it.

The fieldmouse is from a photograph in the book Minibeast (Hand-Made Habitats) (which is an out-of-print but very good book about setting up projects and things in schools/gardens in the UK). The whiskers are annoying - too thick, but that's too late to change. Long Tailed Field Mouse, or Wood Mouse Apodemus sylvaticus

The fish is a discus called Wanda that was swimming around over my head when I was looking around for something else to paint. It's a bully, and male,  the largest in the tank. Also my flatmate's favourite ;D

And this is a black stilt (Himantopus novaezelandiae), or Kakī (Maori name). They're delicate, graceful little birds that are also endangered, in fact they are the rarest wading bird in the world. I remember studying them at University - attempts at handraising them, and the methods of doing so. They tend to stand on one leg, and hide the other in their feathers.

The mouse is my favourite and so has gone up on DeviantArt

Wednesday 17 November 2010

First Person In The World To See Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Pt. 1

I just got back from the first midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I, and as I am in New Zealand, I am officially the first person to see it in the cinemas. Entirely thanks to my sister, who gave me her ticket as she couldn't go, and I may even pay her back for it XD

...well, fine, me and five theatres full of people at that cinema, as well as goodness knows how many over the rest of New Zealand!

I'm all awake now (it's nearly 4am) so I figured I might as well write about it. How was it? Well, I hadn't reread the book since it first came out, and I liked the last one the least (too much drama, death and whining) so I was well-placed to enjoy the film.How much did I enjoy it? Well, I never got the bar of chocolate out of my bag that I brought! (Fair trade chocolate, of course).

The teenage angst was toned down a bit, and made believable, Ron got over himself believably, Hermione was all around awesome, some of the events seem to be skipped past a bit fast early on, and the whole 'quest for the Deathly Hallows' and the Horcruxes made a lot more sense (in the book it was '...okay. So they've decided that They Must Do This Quest' whereas in the film it made slightly more sense, as they were bounced around by events, and were often very much alone and/or the only ones free to act.) The soundtrack was again very awesome and at one point there's a feature from Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds over the radio and a brief attempt at cheering up.

Definitely one of the better films in the series though, and I'd happily go watch it again. And it was long, so I wasn't too sorry when it ended, but it was good enough that I rather wish Part II was out already!

Some gory bits - lots of darkness (death of Bathilda Bagshot, and the muggle-loving teacher, George's clever catching of a curse with his head was played for both gruesome drama and laughs... ). When Bellatrix tortured Hermione was very intense as well. Dobby turned into a Deus ex Machina, but the film quickly fixed that. Also a lot of regular tension relievers and laughs. Ron getting splinched was pretty ick.

Summing up the entire series best was the ending... Voldemort hovering over (dead) Dumbledore, reaching for the elder wand... perfect moment to end the film (and lead on to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II). But no, we have to have a couple more minutes in order to have a dramatic magical lightshow, which wasn't half as impressive and creepy and as much of a 'hook'. That's what most of them have been like - something really well done, followed up by a cheesy whizbang ;D

Agreements? Disagreements?

Thursday 11 November 2010

Spider Paintings: Sketchblog

Two Spidery paintings - neither is finished, both fun, may never be finished.

This one's probably Drow inspired - a female headed giant spider. Just called Spider at the moment. The hands are definitely not staying - was having fun with the gloop pen. The only 'properly' painted bit is her face, the rest is all random sticker tools.

....and I just saved this version over the full one *headdesk* sleeping times, methinks.

Currently titled Spider and Bird. Going for a Dreamtime sort of feel. Had fun with the background - just threw paint at the screen then attacked it with a palette knife ^_^
A continuation from the Hanging Around quick sketch

Wednesday 10 November 2010

The Night Before Christmas/ Amazing Artist Feature

This starts off talking about The Night Before Christmas but finishes with lovely watercolour, pencil and cut-paper illustrations, so please bear with my rambling ;D

Written by Clement C Moore for his many children back in the eighteenth century, this seems to have had a hundred different books published for it - some are very jolly, and others are quite lovely picture books. I don't actually like 'jolly'.

I only vaguely knew of this poem-story, until last year I reviewed the really unique version illustrated by Himmapaan (very very amazing artist on DeviantART). It's definitely my favourite and has lots of tricky little details, such as mouses and windows in the paper.

The Amazing Popup of Santa Claus and his Reindeer

Sadly, most of the visitors last year were looking for the much less artistic, but more suitable for children, Recordable Storybook version from Hallmark (which had sold out and was selling for up to five times the original price second hand *shakes head with the disbelief of one with no grandchildren*)

So today I am both posting up the lyrics (is it lyrics for a poem? Or just words?) so that I can stop looking for them and showing off some of his fine and fancy artworks.

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

The Top Ten Unique Night Before Christmas Books

The Night Before Christmas is a classic poem that children everywhere enjoy and adults remember with nostalgia., There are hundreds of children's storybooks available (and even a few for adults!) so where do you start? From pop-ups, to cut-outs, to r...

Right, good, splendid, and now for the pretties. Niroot Puttipipat is a painstakingly detailed artist with a lot more patience than me! Recently taking Bronze in the Books category of the Association of Illustrators' annual award: Images 34 - the Best of British Contemporary Illustration 2010 for this lovely artwork:

The Frog Princess, from Myths and Legends of Russia, published by The Folio Society.

Himmapaan works in detailed and intricate watercolours:

Quatrain 70 and Quatrain 74 from the 150th anniversary edition of Edward FitzGerald's translation of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, published by The Folio Society, in a limited (sold out) edition of 1,000 copies

Very detailed pencilwork in moleskines (must dig mine out again)

and of course, the cut-paper silhouettes.

This is a greeting card based off the final spread of The Night Before Christmas: A Magical Cut-Paper Edition (more images through link)

I recently bought a few of the prints that are actually available (most are commissions so can't be sold):

(I went on a buying spree of pretties - these were by far my mother's favourites!)

Most of Himmapaan's work is now exclusively for The Folio Society, but there are some illustrated books available:

The Musicians of Bremen - a beautifully illustrated version

The Musicians of Bremen is one of those fairly well known and classic fables from the Brothers Grimm, here retold and wonderfully illustrated by Niroot Puttapipat. If you know the story, then I must emphasise the beauty of the art. If you do not know...

The Night Before Christmas: A Magical Cut-Paper Edition

I discovered this book through the artist, Niroot Puttapipat - someone I personally consider a friend,and have watched in delight since I discovered their artwork on DeviantART. I am an enormous fan of their work, which also prompted me to start tryi...

That I've seen on Amazon:

The gorgeous Red Fairy Book, published by the Folio Society in 2008, has popped up on Amazon for only $225.

You can see the illustrations here in this gallery.

There are cheaper (un-illustrated) versions of The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang around, of course! And there are a few more books illustrated by Niroot Puttapipat around - I discovered that the dragon on the cover of a fantasy book by Charles Ashton that had been sitting on my shelf for ages was by Himmapaan!

This artist is definitely one of my inspirations/influences and has set me a benchmark to try and reach one day ^_^

FFTactics Fan Art: Sketchblog

Today's painting was of two characters I don't know - Princess Ovelia from FFTactics and her bodyguard, Agrias Oaks. In a compromising position, naturally, straight fan art is no fun. Uh. Pun not intended there, but appreciated :D Apparently an awesome game but can't be shipped to New Zealand, and even if it could it's in the wrong format.

I was able to choose any of the girls, and picked these two because 1) I could get a good idea of their roles, 2) there were a lot of reference pictures, 3) they actually interact and this picture is slightly believable in canon-context (how believable I don't know, not knowing the game, only the plotline).

I like the original sketch better in some respects (Ovelia's face) and the final painting better in others (Agrias' face!) - should have remembered to compare but too sleepy to risk editing now.

I have decided that I'm better sketching things like people, where you have to draw them right, with traditional pencil first, then scanning and painting - besides, it gives me something to do in my lunchbreak, now that it's not a dash for lunch/solitary leisure period of the day.

And I've learnt how to draw fan art - draw roughly similar characters for the sketch, then tweak and redraw and paint in ArtRage with reference pictures, adding all the 'fan' bits to the art.

And the problem with bright primary colours of red and blue and yellow, is picking a background colour is really hard. And anime hair is super annoying to translate into something resembling reality. And it was interesting to draw two such completely different women.

Anyway, here's a close-up (I like the eyes >.> ) - click to go to DeviantART for the full picture.

Sunday 7 November 2010

Felicia Day: Sketchblog

Watched Dr. Horrible at last, and gave up and drew Felicia Day. And by 'gave up' I mean seized an excuse to keep drawing. I am art-starved.

This is the reference - and it's from Google Images, so I don't know if it's an official photo, or a screenshot, or what. From the quality, it's probably an official photo... and half a second with TinEye shows it's actual the main page photo on her website.

And the sketch (ArtRage 3) Not perfect, but was just doing quick practice sketch-painting.

sketch felicia day parchment artrageAaaand the final quick painting on DeviantART (click through for a larger view):

Eris x Maleficent: Sketchblog

I always think she's called Maleficient...

Been catching up and editing the Disney page again, and was drawing random sketches, so it crept into my brain enough that I decided right, I'm drawing some damn Disney.

So I did.
And I drew my two favourites - and the more I drew them, the more similar they seemed (both dark and chaotic, both purple and black, and both have weird yellow eyes), and the more likely that they should meet at some point in the summonings and meddlings and dark enchantments.

Anyway, this is the no-reference sketch... colouring the 'proper' finished picture now.

Oh crap. I'm being absorbed into fandom. I now want to write this story about how Maleficent was seduced by/called up Eris and that's how she gained her dark powers (And I know Eris isn't Disney, but animated fan art IS ALL ONE TO MOI). And now Eris is either her chaotic patron, or her partner in crime.

And I'm imagining Eris saying "There's this Kingdom and it's so terribly boring. Everything's so perfect and peaceful and good... and now they have a little princess who will grow up golden and angelic and boring, and marry the prince next door and create this dull bastion of goodness and light. Do something about it, dearest?"

And Maleficent smiles, and answers "But of course, my dear. It sounds... entertaining" and cackles. And then she gets magic dragon powers from Eris - who frankly, is entirely the epitome of shapechanging into huge things. And then they get bored and wander off after livening the place up.

Finished the painting; the full version's on DA, this is the closeup (click to go to the DA version). Pleased with Maleficent and Diablo, but there's something wrong with Eris.

eris malificent purple green black fan art raven diablo

Come to think of it, I haven't come across any Erix x Malificent art or stories. This is a terrible state of affairs.

Saturday 6 November 2010

ArtRage for iPads

Just found out that ArtRage has finally been approved as an iPad app! ($6.99)

I love, love, love ArtRage and was just settling down to catch up on soem serious painting time after a very busy year at university and now I want an iPad. It's the perfect size to carry around and sketch out ideas on everywhere.

Friday 5 November 2010

French Maids and Graphic Novels

aurora french maid beauty belle beast disney femslash lesbian fan art Another X-Arielle comic. I am seriously starting to want to draw these myself (but then, I am easily influenced and far too easily inspired :D )

Huh. I have free time. I keep forgetting that. I'm having trouble adjusting... but then, I've only been free for a couple of days.

*shakes fist at impending Semester 3 of long distance class of DOOM*

Re-read the mangas Doll and Lady Snowblood last night. I've been writing up my favourite graphic novels of all time, and wanted to reread them to make sure I'd summarised them aright (and hadn't overdone the maturity warnings I'd put into the descriptions :D )

I'd forgotten how much blood and sex was in those books. it was all very traumatising. I better reread them again and count the number of times Yuki isn't wearing clothes *innocent* - for the sake of the review! *strikes noble pose*

I've created a Recommended Graphic Novels quick-list page, and I've started up a blog to review each title properly: Good Graphic Novel Reviews

These are some of the books I'm reviewing

• Watchmen by Alan Moore
• Sandman by Neil Gaiman
• Elfquest by Wendy and Robert Pini
• V For Vendetta by Alan Moore
• Fables by Bill Willingham and Lan Medina
• A Distant Soil by Colleen Doran
• Lady Snowblood by Kazuo Koike
• Gunnerkrigg Court by Tom Siddell
• Girl Genius by Phil and Kaja Foglio
• Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon, Dean and
Nathan Hale
• Strangers In Paradise by Terry Moore
• Doll by Mitsukazu Mihara

...and I just found this awfully fun dissertation on DeviantART looking at The Kindly Ones in the Sandman books. EDIT: YUS. It got a Daily Deviation. I am confirmed in having awesome taste.

Flynn Is Flying: On Name Changing

A few people who actually return here may have noticed that I recently switched the blog name. Or did I? Maybe I didn't, and you're actually going mad.

I'll pretend I did, for the sake of your sanity, and offer up some hypothetical motivations.

That the original one wasn't really interesting and was much, much too long if I tried to share any posts. And It felt like I was tricking people if I deleted it off the front of the link title.

That it just felt weird naming the blog after my username. It is written by me, it is not me.

That I like the ease between which you can slip between The Flying Cat and Flynn the Cat. And it kinda works - hopefully. To sort of describe the kind of page you're landing on.

Also I think winged cats would be awesome.

How To Track Sales In Squidoo: I'm seeing points but no royalties!

If you sell something through one of the Squidoo sales modules,you earn a commission. The new points system now notifies you when you make a sale. But now people are starting to complain that they aren't seeing any money on their dashboard!

This hasn't actually changed from the way it always was. Sales show up in the Royalties tab in the stats pages for the individual lenses as soon as eBay or Amazon (the only reporting modules right now) notify Squidoo. So usually within a day or two (but not always).

Now you get a pop-up, points and a direct link to the sale page as soon as Squidoo gets this information. Previously, a lot people just didn't check the Royalties page very much, and so never noticed that the sales arrived there first.

I'm writing this up as a blog post because a) it's getting repetitive b) it's a fairly short article and c) Squidoo is having lens editing problems so I can't make a new one and I don't want to wait half an hour ^_^

If you're new enough not to know how the Amazon royalties work, there's probably a few other things you don't know yet. Please, please read this Squidu forum post: A Quick Guide for Newbies: The basics of actually getting paid on Squidoo

But When Does The Money Show Up?
The actual pending royalty shows up on the My Lenses tab when the item has shipped safely. Amazon usually ships and updates within a week, but eBay only sends the royalty amounts once a month [eBay pays out on the 25th of the following month].

This is because it's much easier to just not pay anyone for an order that gets cancelled than it is to tell you you're getting paid, then try and revoke it.

If it gets returned later - well, this is why it takes so long to actually get your hands on your commissions. Amazon gives buyers 45 days to change their minds (and Squidoo rounds this up to roughly two months to fit it into the normal pay schedule). But at this point you would have seen the pending money.

Another point to remember is that it is an estimate and a very conservative one. Squidoo doesn't want to over-promise the royalty you will receive, and the Squidoo-Amazon pay out varies, depending on how many items Squidoo sold in a month (and whether it made it into the top 8.5% tier - 4.25% for you).

Note: You can now check the accurate royalty in the Earnings tab of a lens - it's listed in a lump sum for each day (i.e. item 1 and 2 ship on the same day and are added together, item 3 is the next day), but is the correct amount.

Possible variations/glitches: Two copies of the same book were ordered from the same lens on the same day. I only got one notification/ set of points, so this may be a (rare) source of confusion.

So in summary:

  1. You get points as soon as Squidoo knows about the sale, which is generally two days later for Amazon.
  2. The listing also appears in the royalties tab of the lens at the same time
  3. You don't see the pending royalties until Amazon or eBay updates them
  4. Amazon updates two days after the item is safely shipped, eBay updates two months later, right before you get paid. The Amazon dashboard update is once a day - usually in the evening in New Zealand (for me).
  5. The pending Amazon royalties are usually an underestimate until Amazon actually pays Squidoo
  6. The eBay earnings cannot be calculated by Squidoo, because eBay uses a strange click-value payout
Weird bugs that can and have occurred with Amazon and eBay royalties:

1. Disappearing eBay Royalties in the second half of 2010. eBay sales were disappearing about a month later off the royalties tab. This was a display bug, and the money still got paid out.

If your sale has vanished, it has not been returned, it just isn't displaying properly. A returned item will have [RETURNED] on it (this goes for Amazon as well).
eBay sales, including one returned item

2. Mystery Amazon Sales in the same timeframe. Certain lenses aren't recording what they actually sold, they just have mystery money appear on the dashboard. These sales are valid, and the right amount of money is paid out (I ordered something myself to test), but it is very frustrating not knowing what you are selling. Submit a bug report.
There was a mass disappearance just before Christmas 2010, but this was promptly fixed, so now November sales onward show fine. However, I still don't have my September or October sales on the originally problematic lenses.

3. Mystery Money
I've seen two further mystery money situations - one mine, one someone else's - which are extremely unusual.
The first was a WIP lens getting assigned someone else's Amazon ID (they deleted their lens, apparently, just as someone bought something) and ending up with a nice commission.

The second was several months of money appearing - but it was a glitch, and they were seeing the sales from someone else's lens (similar to the first case, actually, except that they were not actually getting this money). As I recall, Squidoo let them have the royalty money anyway, because of the terrible disappointment.

What to do if you aren't seeing money or having other problems
1. Wait, as there's an inbuilt delay of up to a week with even very normal Amazon sales.

2. Check what you sold - is it weird, are there second-hand/non-Amazon sellers, is it not yet released? It's very possible that they bought it cheap second-hand, pre-ordered it, there was a one-day discount, or it's a complicated item to ship - or even that they ordered it with several other items, and the entire delivery is waiting on one item. Or perhaps everything is shipping separately, so you haven't seen all the royalties yet.

3. Check WHERE you sold it - if you get a notification via Squidoo, then it's on Squidoo's associate account and will not appear in your own Amazon Associate account. If there's nothing on Squidoo, and it has appeared in your own Amazon Associate account then Squidoo has nothing to do with it.

4. If it has been a month or more, and you can't see a reason why it wouldn't work, then you can try asking in the SquidU forums to see if there's anything you missed or if other people are having problems.

5. Submit a bug report as this is the only way Squidoo will officially know about it. The more different reports the better, as they prioritise them by the number of people affected.

More about the points:
Monsters and Points: Squidoo Just Got Fun

More about making money on Squidoo:
Top 10 ways to make money on Squidoo
A Quick Guide for Newbies: The basics of actually getting paid on Squidoo

How Mermaids Should Be Painted

Today I dropped back into DeviantART to have a quick look through the new pictures in my inbox (currently around 10,000, if you cared!). Anyway, this utterly gorgeous and enthrallingly realistic mermaid was submitted to the mermaids club I started up (for fun, mostly, I'm a very hands off moderator...). And having dissected a fair few fish in my last few years (marine biology geek ;D ) it's something that often bugs me and I really appreciate coming across.

Mind Corpses by Mariyumi deviantart realistic mermaid creepy pale nude girl hair fish boat ship fishing

This is how mermaids should be painted. This is fantastic. You can actually see how stiff and shiny the tail fin really is on a fish, and the shiny sparkling scales and the salmonid colours. I could nitpick on the lack of anal or dorsal fins, or an underbelly or ... but it would be just that. Nitpicking. (And ugh, now I'm reminded of the sealice that tend to spread via salmon farms onto the wild fish - two or three of those monsters are enough to kill a fish. I just finished my latest Aquaculture paper...)

The seaweed is also a really nice touch. I think those are trout, but they might be salmon (both migrate to and from the ocean - which way, catadromous or anadromous, depends on the actual species). They're pretty similar anyway!

Which reminds me, the results from the FDA review in America on the transgenic salmon should be out soon. I had to Research on the topic for one presentation ;D Lots of nasty environmental implications if when they escape. They bred some monsters (size of a person) but the effects of that much growth hormone had too many other negative effects - cranial and organ disformities, aggression, higher activity (and therefore higher feed costs), reduced reproductive activity and success... Yeah. Aquaculture is currently not the Way of the Future. Especially as there aren't enough fish to create enough fishmeal to feed all the farmed fish even now.

...way off topic there. I mean, NO. IT WAS FISHY. Anyway, I was disappointed in that the artist (Maryumi) didn't have a Zazzle account , so I couldn't add the painting to my mermaid posters page.

(belatedly) Also, the one thing that drives me nuts and I forget about, and this picture also didn't do - fish do not have knees. I keep seeing all these paintings that have basically taken a woman and painted a tail over her legs. It looks so wrong - it's not optimal for swimming! If you can't get your head around fish, then look at dolphins - most mermaids are closer to the shape of a dolphin anyway.

Tuesday 2 November 2010


Random drawing in the DeviantART Muro comment picture tool. It's annoying, but easier to use with a tablet...

Monday 1 November 2010

Hanging Around... Quick Sketch

This popped up in the DeviantART daily deviations today and I decided to quickly sketch it - so I opened up ArtRage (2.5 - I prefer it to the new version just for the pencil work) and shrank the drawing area so that I could see the browser as well, and did a five minute sketch which actually kinda worked. Head's too big though :D

Back to user education in libraries now... I have a massive assignment and an exam both on Wednesday.