Friday 18 November 2011

Greenpeace: Toilet paper, fish and oil. And money, please?

I got a phonecall from Greenpeace a couple of days ago. They've been on my mind a lot recently, partly because they've been quite active, and I wanted to share. They're probably my favourite charity/activist organisation (Amnesty International is a close second).

I get them ringing me once a year, because I donate to them, and they call up to remind people they exist - and to ask for a bit more money, of course. But they're actually the only call centre people I actually enjoy talking to, as they are invariably extremely enthusiastic and knowledgeable.

It's actually very amusing, as they are used to people who don't really know much about unsustainable fishing, or their current campaign, or - well, everything they're actually trying to do, and they always want to talk for half an hour once they realise I know what 'bycatch' means! (And get sidetracked, I think, and I have to keep explaining I know about this or that already, so they get to talk in more depth. Marine Biology degrees are good for something!).

But they're running out of money, what with the Rena oil spill (which they went and helped with) and a couple of other things. Oh, and the corporation behind Cottonsoft is trying to get them kicked out of Indonesia.

So I gave them some more money (over the internet) and it would be very good if other people did too. But what good things have they done lately?

Well, in the last few months:

1. Pressure on tuna companies and raising awareness of which brands are sustainable.
Hugely important and valid - people don't realise just how bad the state of the oceans is, and how unsustainable most current fishing practices are.

Worst practices: FADs and Purse seining. Fish Aggregation Devices provide somewhere for lots of fish to gather in one place, and purse seining scoops everything up at once. Including plenty of bycatch and underage tuna, most of which will not survive.

Result? Two brands have committed to more sustainable approaches, two are staying quiet and one - Sealord - has come out swinging with a ridiculous misinformation campaign (although it sounds fairly convincing if you haven't had to write assignments on this kind of thing).

Currently of the five NZ brands, Pams (the Pak'n'Save brand) is the best (committed to sustainable methods within a year), followed by Greenseas (three year phaseout period). Sealord, John West, and the Foddstuffs brand (can't remember name) - and any miscellaneous ones that may appear here and there - are all bad. Bad, bad bad. 

I used to buy Sealord out of habit. I no longer do - not insignificant, as it's my main source of protein! (and some for the cat's arthritis)

2. Toilet paper
Rainforest destruction in Indonesia is an ongoing tragedy and a huge, major problem, for habitat and tigers. Greenpeace brought our a new, recent campaign against toilet paper companies - new start up Paseo (which promoted itself as recycled!) & Cottonsoft are the worst. Sorbent is bad.All the 'eco' and 'Earthcare' ones are fine. I can't find the NZ guide online, but there is a US Recycled Tissue and Toilet Paper Guide.

There's a problem with the misleading certification some of them use, and of 'bait and switch' plantations, which involve destroying rainforest in order to plant a plantation and then claiming it is all sustainable. Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) is the supplier behind the worst offences, and is being dropped by a lot of major companies.

Greenpeace is raising awareness after quite a lot of research - including testing of the paper sources by a major US lab.  Currently, they are being forced to move their office in Indonesia by vested interests.

3. The Rena oil spill
Greenpeace did a lot of reporting on the oil spill, including some heartbreaking photography, and the story of the people on Motiti Island. They also made sure that the survey ship for the oil company Anadarko didn't get to sneak out to sea unnoticed, while the clean-up was going on. They also sent some volunteers down and brought in a scientist to look into the effects of the oil.

4. Rainbow Warrior III
They've just brought out a new ship for ocean based activism, after retiring the last one.

5. Palm kernel feed
A campaign against Fonterra dairy about the use of palm kernel feed to New Zealand cows. PKE is bad for the forests of South East Asia and orangutans, and is part of a move towards more industrial, less environmental, dairy farming.

So please stop by their site and sign a pledge or two, post an article to Facebook, watch a video, learn what companies to avoid. And maybe donate? 

Oh, and please, definitely sign the Marine Reserves pledge! Please! Please, please, please! We really need more reserves, and they're the only effective tool for good fisheries managment, as nothing else lets the entire ecosystem recover.

Thursday 10 November 2011

WTF John Key Quote of the Week

"And Act has been very stable so Act returning to Parliament is something I would like to see as opposed to something I wouldn't like to see."

From this NZHerald article: Greens vote could put Labour in Government - Key

Seriously? Act? Stable? A party that imploded, suffered a hostile takeover, and now only has two real members, both of which are completely opposed to each other, and are actually National Party stooges -oh, wait. Yeah, stable. As in 'they will jump when I tell them!'. That, or John Banks and Don Brash will cancel each other out and somehow create stagnation stability.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Sketches from Armageddon 2011

I do have a lot of photos and things, but I'm still going through those. So I'm posting up some of the many sketches I did instead.

Will be scanning the best ones and maybe painting them.
A steampunk hot air balloon for my sister

Warming up by drawing faces

Marceline the vampire from Adventure Time

Practicing cute.

From life, evening between convention days, inked at the con.

Practicing cats.

Random mermaid

Black Canary - from a photo of a figurine
Whoo! Colour!
Very basic colour version using the touchpad on my laptop >.<

Friday 14 October 2011

Nationoil: Painting New Zealand Black and the Rena Saga

Nationoil: Painting New Zealand Black
 This is a collection of research, rants and facts about the response to the Rena oil spill. If you don't know what that is, or much about what happened, there's a pretty good overview here and a timeline in the Herald (which is reeling from having actual news to talk about). It is officially 'the worst maritime environmental disaster in New Zealand’s history.'

Let's start with the most ridiculous statement of the week, shall we?
John Key says that that the Rena oil spill “has nothing to do with the threat from deep sea oil exploration”
as quoted in this article.

Clearly Situation A [oil spill] has nothing to do with the threat posed by Situation B [bigger oil spills]. Let us all facepalm in unison.

And the range of reasons for nothing being done for four entire, calm days of good weather before it hits the beaches and the boat started falling apart? (Note, all these were given entirely separately)

  • The response team were getting 'training'. 
  • And being flown in from Holland. 
  • And waiting on the oil boat to arrive
  • And waiting on the insurance phone calls to finish being made.
  • And not able to cope with the "rough seas"

How was National to know that oil drilling might lead to oil spills? It's not their fault for not preparing!
"Stop blaming John Key, he didn't cause it!'
See, I actually went and read all the official reports and stuff on oil spill plans (see below). And the reviews state fairly bluntly that NZ has a completely inadequate program for oil spills. So I can actually come back at that with something better than 'National sucks'!

The reason this is a 'National sucks!' issue, not a 'oh no, an unexpected disaster NZ isn't very good at dealing with!' issue is because

  • a: National has been pushing for oil drilling and so should at least acknowledge this might be a problem in future
  • b: They claimed that there is nothing to worry about and NZ can handle spills (which would be a LOT larger than this one. This one is TINY) despite the reviews that Maritime were legally required to get saying otherwise within the last year
  • c: John Key isn't saying 'how awful, we need to make sure we are better prepared, but 'eh, this is completely unrelated to the threat of bigger oil spills from new oil drilling operations'
    • ...and 'it's not our fault, it was perfectly reasonable to wait, there was no need to hurry, we didn't have the BEST experts in the world to hand (...any experts or trained personnel would have been better than nothing, and there's supposed to be a team of ten people trained for this kind of thing that Maritime boasts about on its site) , but we have a trained competent team! but we/they were busy gathering up the best international experts! (seriously. He repeated variations on 'NZ is awesome and prepared, we were just running around like headless chickens asking the BEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD to come help, but our local guys are really competent, but no-one could touch anything without THE GREATEST EXPERTS on hand' ...this was a 'get out there as fast as possible or at least co-ordinate something quickly' situation, not a board review).

And yeah, Labour is pretty incompetent. I'm not sure how that's worse than vacuous and actively corrupt though. And Labour's better at being in Government, while National's STILL all about the Spin and Benefits. 

OTOH I prefer parties with consistent, science based policies that actually consider the environment, the poor etc, like the Greens. And everyone who starts screeching that they're crazy hippies needs to actually read their policies - they actually have them. And when i say science based - I'm a flippin' scientist. I have a postgrad degree and everything. I check references and studies. The Greens actually have legit policies (plus some that are a matter of opinion of course, based on your sociopolitical views). National and Labour and the other parties generally don't even look at the science.

Sorry. That's a slightly off-topic rant. It just really is annoying.

For a couple of heartbreaking impact statements read this article  and this one on the Greenpeace website.

Anyway, I went and had a look at the official Maritime NZ 'adequate policies' document.
These are some relevant excerpts.

‎"Did the government have the plans and equipment it needed to deal with a spill?" 
Well, considering the plans and equipment apparently consisted of a bunch of staff sent on a training course and a boat sitting in a shed...

"Based on the results of comprehensive risk assessments, New Zealand maintains an appropriate domestic capability to respond to a ‘one-in-one-hundred’ year event." and in the next sentence... "Neither effective contingency planning nor successful responses would be possible without the co-operation of regional authorities or industry, plus a wide range of organisations and individuals with specialist skills"

So who's not co-operating?

"In the event of an oil spill, the New Zealand public rightly expects that all reasonable steps will be taken to minimise the effects on the marine environment. Even small marine spills may impact on amenity values and disrupt coastal activities, so the development of an effective response strategy is of paramount importance. Nevertheless it is essential to carry out a net benefit analysis of the
response options for any spill. In some circumstances, the option of ‘doing nothing’ may be the best response option even though this may be at variance to public opinion."

Ah. So THAT'S what they were doing. Because you can't drill in marine reserves anyway, can you?

"Should a major spill occur, New Zealand’s geographic isolation means it will be some time before significant resources could be mobilised from overseas, so New Zealand must maintain an adequate domestic first response capability. "

And yet, earlier in the document it claims that a 'three tier' (i.e. spiller > regional council (ports not legally allowed to clean up local spills, btw) > Maritime NZ > run for help overseas) strategy is the most effective.

"The Act requires that the Director formally review the Strategy every five years, though it may prove necessary to issue interim updates should circumstances change. "

Really? Let's have a look at the latest review then, shall we?

"It is arguable that a Tier 1 response in New Zealand has become almost defunct;"

"New Zealand has a National Response Team (NRT). However, findings by the Review team suggest that there is insufficient attention being given to the ongoing development of this team and incorporation of lessons learned by New Zealand personnel who have attended major oil spills in Australia and the United States of America (USA) in the past few years."

"The ports do not see themselves as polluters and therefore not responsible for a Tier 1 plan or providing a pollution response. They see no reason why they should have any responsibility to respond to a spill from a ship at their berth"

"The New Zealand oil industry should be required to substantially upgrade and enhance their Tier 1 response capability relative to the risks of their operations."
But then they couldn't pass the cost on to us! And they wouldn't want to come here!

"In October and November 2010, oil company OMV New Zealand, part of the Austrian OMV Group, reported two oil spills from the Raroa floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel, which it charters from Singapore based ship management company Tanker Pacific. The vessel is permanently moored in the Maari oil field 80km
off the Taranaki Coast."
...but there's nothing to worry about.

There "exists the potential for similar oversight breakdown to those that occurred in the US and Australia"
But the giant US oil spill is SO last year.

" Adequate development of Performance Standards for critical equipment in order to respond to a leak / spill. Generic PSs are in circulation, which are not adequate, despite meeting compliance of the regulations"
But NZ has adequate back up plans according to Maritime NZ, so that's okay.
There's also an article on that in the Herald

Speaking of adequate back up plans...

"The government will do all it can to ensure that there is a stronger safety regime in place for people drilling in deep-water New Zealand." June 2010, Gerry Brownlee

"Maritime New Zealand National On Scene Commander Rob Service said efforts to stop the leak and disburse the oil were difficult due to inappropriate equipment for the rough seas." ~ in
Um. 1. There weren't any rough seas. 2. THAT'S WHY YOU MAKE SURE YOU HAVE 'APPROPRIATE' EQUIPMENT

And apparently the reason for the delay? We don't have the best experts in the world, but they are perfectly capable but they were busy mobilising the best people in the world" To paraphrase (but barely) John Key in this video interview
Turns out they flew them in from Holland. Could they find someone further away if they tried? What, were they the lowest bidders or something?

Oh, and the oil boat was busy sailing somewhere and unloading and then coming back. Except it wasn't, nobody bothered to send for it. Apparently the other, other reason nobody was allowed to start getting oil off the Rena was because it might lead to legal and insurance issues with the owners. OH NOES WE ARE STEALING THE OIL THAT IS LEAKING INTO THE OCEAN D:

And where were the local response team in the four days of calm? Getting 'training'.The training they supposedly already had according to that happy policy document.

And luckily for us, there's a cap on international liability if the company's insurance isn't enough. Because we wouldn't want to ask them to actually pay any of their own money.

Oh, and I'd avoid that area for a long time - Corexit dispersant 9500 is incredibly toxic and banned in many places overseas. 9500 can cause hemolysis (rupture of blood cells) and may also cause internal bleeding, is toxic to marine life and increases the amount of oil that submerges, as little droplets which fish then eat - and it stays in the foodchain, so not only will larger fish end up poisoned, the fish we eat will be tainted. It was banned for surface use after the BP fiasco and has been banned in the UK since 1998. Nick Smith claims the dispersants used are 'no more toxic than dishwashing liquid'. People are picking this stuff up off the beach.

Monday 26 September 2011

Sketchblog: Yinyang Women & Adventure Time

I bought Terry Moore's How To Draw Women, and it arrived a couple of days ago. I read it cover to cover three times. He's the creator of the amazingly good Strangers In Paradise graphic novels and one of my favourite artists.

It's only part one, but it's good, and it's actually useful. And it's already affecting my drawing - this is a sketch I was doing to explore that. The face of the woman on the right is very Moore-ish. Sketched in ArtRage 2.6 because it is still better to sketch with, and tweaked slightly and will be painted in ArtRage Studio Pro.

The floating genie woman on the left was actually inspired by the flying vampire Marceline - floating people are actually amazing boons to artists as you can put them anywhere in any position.

 This is Marceline. I doodled her in the DeviantART Muro program (which is eh. I WANT MY PRESSURE SENSITIVITY). Sadly, there is very little of Adventure Time on YouTube, and even less of Marceline, who is by far my favourite character.

And in inverse order, the warm up fan art. This pairing has taken over the internet briefly since the next clip of the show leaked, showing Marceline singing to Princess Bubblegum in a very... lovelorn manner. The fantastically Awesome Tom Siddell of Gunnerkrigg Court painted them as his very first Tumblr Post, so how could I not follow suit?

I really like the lighting patterns on Bubblegum's skirt. Actually, all the legs are my favourite bits. I should probably tidy it up and finish it sometime...

...and the original sketch, which I drew this morning. I had no eraser on me, as you can probably tell. I like Marceline's face - must try and tweak the painted version so her expression shows properly.

Thursday 8 September 2011

Pukeko Chicks

There's a small pond round the corner from my house, and the first baby birds of the year can be found there. Currently there are three little pukeko (Purple Swamp Hen) chicks, being looked after by eight other adults.

Pukeko Chick cardPukeko and Chick in Reeds card

Wednesday 7 September 2011

I SOLD Something on DeviantART

Wow. First sale on DeviantART in two years (minus one month)

It was a print of this.
(print image)

...I am currently 10c from getting a payout (my first and only payout). Ten. Cents.

Actually, my Zazzle and RedBubble offerings tend to be slightly more finished. The one on Zazzle has a customisable background colour, which is quite fun.
Firebird (Little Phoenix) print
Firebird (Little Phoenix) by Flynn_the_Cat

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Sketchblog: Wonderwoman

Random sketch of her old crown and her new costume and lots of hair. Testing stuff.

Tuesday 30 August 2011

Sketchblog: Random Redhead

Just playing in ArtRage - she was part of another picture, but didn't work with the composition. So I carefully edited her out from all the layers and gave her a save file of her very own.

Monday 29 August 2011

I Love My Kindle: A Review

Kindle, Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Pearl Display
This is my Kindle. Isn't she pretty?
I'm reading Vorkosigan books.
I've been wanting to talk about my awesome Kindle for a while, but I wanted to actually explain what it was like to use, not just regurgitate all the same old 'AMAZING TECHNOLOGY' blurbs. And come up with an angle worth reading.

So, I looked at what I used it for the most. And that was basically, lunch breaks and travel time. So I present to you... The 10 Reasons Kindles Are Best For Commuters

It's still a little messy. But it has lots of pictures of my cat. BECAUSE SHE STOLE MY KINDLE AND WOULDN'T GIVE IT BACK.

Saturday 27 August 2011

Sketchblog: The Oaks Grove Book Cover

I just finished a book cover (well a podcast image - a virtual book cover!) commission for The Oaks Grove, the sequel to The Spiral Tattoo, which I also did the podcast cover for.

The Elanore & Gurt novels are a fantasy murder crime series (it looks set to be a series, anyway, it'll need a name after a couple more books!), it follows two very mismatched characters - the huge, scary, and surprisingly civilised Elanore, a troll who's definitely the brains of the outfit, and the lazy, snarky, charming little pixie (well, he's not a pixie, but he's the local version of it - tiny, pretty, wings, magic), Gurt. They work well together, and most of the story is actually about them, rather than whatever murder they happen to be investigating.

The first book was released for free on Podiobooks, got very good reviews, and has since been picked up by an eBook publisher, and is slated for a paperback release. So it's definitely worth checking out! The second book is due out soon and is following the same process.

Spiral tattoo murder fantasy book cover naked girl magenta hair fairy book cover magic illustration

 library oak trees grove parry murder mystery illustration

It's actually an interesting exercise, drawing a book cover, and I drew on my long, long history of reading everything in sight and my reactions to various book illustrations to guide me. Ha! See, it was research!

See, it has to a) attract readers and b) attract the right kind of reader, so it also has to c) convey the general type of story within. And d) it needs plot elements, preferably from the 'main' plotline and c) it's nice if the cover is relevant for more than one scene (e.g. multiple elements, a recurring character or background) so that readers can refer back to it later, and recognise the moment(s) in the story that the cover is about.

Both my covers have had the murder victim - Gurt snuck onto the first one, but I was constrained by the fact the Podiobooks thumbnail is very small, so it couldn't get too crowded or detailed. So I couldn't add as much as I'd like too; most of the books were crowded out by trees in the second, for example.

All painted in ArtRage, of course.

Wednesday 24 August 2011

A Devilishly Good Lensrank

Was just heading to bed after a nice few hours painting in ArtRage again (after downloading all the updates - I'd been putting them off for ages, and it had jumped from 3.0.2 to 3.5!), and I cast an eye over my Squidoo lensranks (it updates in the middle of the night for me).

If only I'd had four more likes on it! It would have been six sixes in a row :D

Three Amazing Portal Fanvideos

Gary Hudston wanted to propose to his girlfriend in a very special way. How did he do it? He hired two Portal level designers to develop a custom level designed to propose to his special lady. He even got Ellen McLain to do GLaDOS’ voice!

The sound effects near the end are from Pinball!

A stop motion short film about Doug Rattman after the end of Portal as he rescues Chell.

A real life fanfilm of Chell discovering the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device.

Monday 22 August 2011

Two Amazing Videos About the Environment

MUSIC PAINTING - Glocal Sound - Matteo Negrin
An arrestingly beautiful story of birds and flowers and industrialism and the environment. It's drawn around the notes as they play.

Astonish Me - a short film for WWF

(Woohoo - that's the Albert Natural History Museum. I visited it when I was a kid, and again when I went back to the UK a couple of years ago - still one of my favourite places.)
This. THIS is what we need more of. This is one of those vital, desperately needed links in the communication between scientists and everyone else. This is the sort of stuff I'll be doing my Masters on (rates of species discovery). There aren't as many species left to discover as people used to estimate - partly because the actual number of discoveries wasn't known (now being corrected in huge projects like WoRMS). But there are still a heck of a lot of species of all sizes. especially in the deep sea.

For example, the Colossal Squid, the Chan's megastick (the biggest insect in the world), birds, snakes, giant lizards, tiny primates, the beautiful Sudan clouded leopard, a shark that walks on its fins - and the Barreleye, which is my current favourite (it can roll its eyes up and see through its own forehead)
I mean, look at this...

And its face! It's... it's cute. Like a less pouty puffer fish or a squashed in porpoise.

See for more about the video itself.

How To Save Yourself From Children With ArtRage

I went to a primary school today (kidnapped by family) and was forced into close exposure with small children. I'm still traumatised. Luckily, ArtRage has amazingly hypnotic and soothing properties upon the savage child.

Oh, that's pretty much what I was there for. To promote ArtRage to people and show them how to use it (fairly casually and unofficially).

They had the free version (though they're planning to buy a licensed version soon), but the kids didn't care. Well, not yet. It went something like this...

A small group of children are culled from the herd and manoeuvred into my presence. "here", they are told, "this nice person will teach you about ArtRage!" and the supervisor flees, leaving me to be eyeballed by these... these preteens.

I point out where to open ArtRage. They measure the distance to the door and comply. I tell them to choose the paintbrush. They begrudgingly do. I tell them to pick a colour. They eye me with scorn but, having committed this far, do so. I get them to click it on the canvas, and lo! paint appears!

Interest dawns, slightly, but it barely distracts them from their fellow packmembers. I make them pick another colour - they eye me, they've already done this. But why not make a duotone splatter? And then I tell them to paint over the first colour.

And it mixes. And the ArtRapture strikes. And they stare, glassy eyed, trapped, hand moving steadily as they add and mix and stir and play with the colours. So many colours...

Eventually some of them progressed to drawings - one kid drew a volcano and I told him to put a person in, on fire. So he happily did, along with some stick figures running away. When they discovered the ruler stencil, they all ended up rotating it endlessly and laughing. And then they got kicked off, and new kids had a turn.

ArtRage is so awesome.

Here's a list of my ArtRage tutorials and stuff. (some are old, so not so tidy. ArtRage tutorials were some of the first things I tried to write for online).
ArtRage Painting - the real paint of digital art
ArtRage 3 - Digital Painting With Watercolours!
ArtRage versus Photoshop
How to Register ArtRage
ArtRage Tutorials and Resources
ArtRage Studio and Studio Pro Tutorials
ArtRage Stickers
Graphics Tablets and ArtRage
The Best ArtRage Videos

The official ArtRage website is at and the artist-run online magazine is ArtRageUs

Thursday 11 August 2011

New Snuff Excerpt With Vetinari!

Just found an excerpt of Terry Pratchett's upcoming book, Snuff - I guess it's recent, but there's no date on the site. Featuring a conversation between Vetinari and Drumknott, a book about goblins, and hints at plot.
An excerpt I transcribed previously, featuring a Quaint Village Holiday, and an encounter between Vimes and Lord Rust.

You can read more about Snuff here and pre-order it (Amazon has been running some sweet pre-order deals) on Amazon.

Sketchblog: The Truth Behind Squidoo Glitches

Lolcats. Or more accurately, wandering little Lolkittens.

They are to blame for everything. Not that you can really blame them - eight waving fishy-smelling tentacles? How could they not chase them? Don't worry, they'll get distracted by a Twitterbird or fall asleep soon enough.

Thursday 28 July 2011

When Should You Link To Other Sites When Writing Online?

Slightly random thoughts on external links and content when writing lenses, blogposts, etcetera.
 (This was an email to a friend, and then I realised it was worth tidying a little and posting. I gave up on the 'tidying' part, because my hands are cold.)

On linking to other sites and stuff, shuld one do it? Yes, if it's valuable/helps the reader, but my (acquisitive and greedy? XD ) policy is to try and link to other places that benefit me - e.g. Squidoo, within blogs. Which also means I can vouch for the quality at the other end. Can't always do this, of course, but very often you can recreate a similar resource to link to - such as a new Squidoo lens. The more you write, you'll realise that you'll be referring to the same awards, topics or genres or author or something else, so it makes sense to create an overview/index page about it. These may end up being more valuable than the original posts and lenses, in their way, either for the navigational aspect, or because people really really want a nice guide to that topic. 

1. Don't let people leave unless it's via an Amazon or other link that you WANT them to go to.

2. Make people want to return, so if another link adds value, it cancels out the above. So (good, reliable and useful) links means that people will come back to see what you post, even though they leave to visit each link. And that improves their opinion of the site itself.

3. Google does look at what you link to and who links to you, but if you're following the above rules it should even out (basically, on topic and quality. Links from other good sites means your site is obviously good. Roughly. So links from lenses and stuff = good).

4. When considering whether to write about something yourself instead of linking, consider: 

a) can you add something, bring something of your own to it? (if yes = awesome new content, if not = are you just regurgitating existing content? If so, is it worth it for the internal navigation/organisation benefit (e.g. a list of books by an author with links to your reviews) and when expecting no other traffic other than within your blog/portfolio)?)

b) And of course, is it on topic? If it's not then it will probably be a bit too random. Might work very well on a separate site or a Squidoo lens though (you could write it and decide where to stick it later).

So in summary, don't link out, write new stuff instead, unless it is to a better resource that people will want to visit that you cannot recreate and improve without simply copying which is pointless unless it helps you organise your site better AND is very relevant and on-topic.

Wednesday 27 July 2011

You were all mean to me so I'm leaving for Fiji in the morning

Wall Mount Fish Bowl Aquarium Tank Beta Goldfish
That's right, you heard me. Too late to change my mind. I'm going, going, gone.
Actually I lied (you knew that, right?), I'm not going to Fiji in the morning. I'm going the day after.

And there will be... no... internet. For a week. Oh gods.

I'd cancel, but I'm dying to try out my underwater camera and snorkel and maybe go diving. SO THAT IS WHAT I WILL DO. And if you're wondering why I'm not answering comments or emails, or ignoring you, or not stalking you in a forum or ANYTHING ELSE, it is because I shall be lolling in the warm tropical waters full of hundreds of pretty fishes.
Kindle, Wi-Fi, Graphite, 6" Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology
This is mine now.


edit: and thank goodness, hurray, my shiny special new Kindle arrived in time for me to charge it up and add books. I love it already.

Saturday 23 July 2011

Shooting Blind Featured on the RedBubble Homepage!

One of my t-shirt designs was just featured on the RedBubble homepage!
There's an archive screenshot here and the original t-shirt is here!

I like the red and the black versions best, but she comes in lots of colours. And a sticker. 

(I love the RedBubble Stickers, here's a batch I ordered last year - actually sold a couple at Overload yesterday, which was pretty good going, considering how little I sold...)

...aaaand the same design on Zazzle.

I think this is the third picture I've had featured. Previously were Mystic and Careless. That's one per year ^_^

15th April 2009

6th September, 2010

Monday 11 July 2011

On Itching a Scratch

I'm off my meds. This is fair warning.

My antihistamine meds, that is - I believe it has now been a week. I am torn between waiting to see what happens when they wear off entirely, and running back to my nice, nice little white pills. (That do not taste at all of frogs. Just want to be clear on that).

Weirdly, they seem to be taking much longer to wear off than they used to - whether that's some side effect of years of taking antihistamines, or because Cetirizine just works better for me (Razene did nothing, although some people swear by it; Loratadine was fine, but I had apparently been taking it more than it should be taken).

I haven't been sneezing hardly at all; no cat hair or hayfever attacks. Course, that could be because it's the middle of winter and I just de-furred the surfaces in my room. But it's weird.

More importantly, the dermographism is extremely annoying and itching and burning but still not completely back. So I am wondering if there's simply a lack of allergens around, or if it's just lingering antihistamines. Or if severely cutting down on dairy (mostly just cutting out the milky stuff; smoothies, cocoa and so on) is actually helping.

Thing is, I'm pretty sure it took this long last time, and when it did fully return, it was far worse than it had ever been, with welts lasting over an hour. 

So the scientist in me (you know, the bit that sticks fingers in light sockets and lies to people to see how long it takes them to realise), wants to see if that's still the case. (Being able to prod yourself and see what happens can be quite fun).

The prankster in me is dying to scare the people who've not seen my dermographism yet (although the constant explaining is tiresome). Plus, semi-instant Harry Potter scar.

And the artist in me has been sulking over the pictures I got last time, and wants to make better ones (although taking photos is really hard - might have to conscript someone, as you have to hold the camera one-handed, and my Pentax is a little heavy for that, but I need it for the macro focus. And lighting. Indoor lighting = terrible weird skin colours that don't show the welts much in the photo).

And the rational coward in me is going "Oh god, no! No! REMEMBER THE EVIL LIST OF EVIL BAD ITCHY HURTY THINGS"

On the same subject, sort of, the polls on my dermographism page are getting quite interesting. I want 200 responses in each poll (currently it's from 80-274, WHY DON'T YOU ANSWER ALL THE POLLS PEOPLE?) and then I'll post the results. And analyse them.