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This post archives everything I posted to Abaisse and Tumblr in 2012.

Two of Colonel Despard's beautiful E/R slash Tumblr illustrations landed in my dA message box; I'd commented on the Take Me to the ER one that it was so poignantly rendered that one would imagine it existed in its perfection in Grantaire's mind, then went and read TC Regan's excellent Den of Iniquity - and by the time I got to the bit about Grantaire's desperation for acceptance, my mind was starting to cook up scenarios that merged the two statements, ... and this picture was the result of the brewing: Grantaire, accepted by Enjolras, but only in his mind.

A portrait of Bahorel, looking uncharacteristically gentlemanly. Well, except for the scars and bruised knuckles anyway.

Javert Owl
Someone requested Javert as an owl. I complied. I don't even know.

Brick illustration of that scene where Marius 'Death Wish' Pontmercy and Combeferre dart out of the barricades to retrieve Gavroche's body and the basket of cartridges. It may be hard to make out, but there are three muskets pointing at Combeferre.

Curling Paper
Two cartoons illustrating a conversation on Tumblr involving Marguerite and Midshipmankennedy and a resulting fic. I can no longer locate it, but it had something to do with Enjolras discovering a stray sock at Courfeyrac's apartment, and Courfeyrac attempting to curl Enjolras' hair (without success).

Courfeyrac New Year
Strictly speaking, this is a New Year 2013 picture, but as it was posted on the eve, it rightly belongs on this page.
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This post archives everything I posted to Abaisse in 2010.

Between the first attack and Marius being hailed as saviour of the barricade, Jean Prouvaire simply disappears. This is my version of what happened. Victor Hugo did describe him as "valiant" and "intrepid" after all. And as MmeBahorel commented, "Prouvaire was taken, but like hell he went without a fight if his dying words were the shout Vive la France, vive l'avenir."

A brick-accurate rendering of Javert - or as close to it as I could manage.

Valentine's Day 2010 picture. Featuring Joly in a scarf that isn't blue.

Unaccepted Pylades
Inspired by Abelarda's drabble, The Thin Ice, which was in turn inspired by an Enjolras picture that Colonel Despard drew.

Marguerite and Marianne's Temeraire crossover, Dolce Et Decorum Est, is to blame for this. About as NSFW as my Les Mis pictures get. Barring one...

Geezers of the ABC
The illustrator for the Isabel Hapgood translation of the brick drew a most unflattering picture of the Friends of the ABC, featuring Enjolras as a follicularly-impaired knuckle-walking ape descendant. Colonel Despard drew a new, much improved version. K. von Dork made an allegorical picture - and then asked me if I was going to do a picture also. So I made mine even worse than the original. Because I'm like that.

Barricade Day 2010
Barricade Day 2010 picture. I actually posed for Bahorel as reference for this picture (and that's my waistcoat he's wearing). A friend labelled this "Brokeback Insurrection" - HA!

Stalker Alert
The early draft of the Brick features a decidedly stalker-ish Courfeyrac, as Marguerite's translation reveals:

*Courfeyrac is, like, the first character Hugo invented [...]
*ooooh and there was apparently some draft where they found the scene where Bossuet just FINDS MARIUS
*and instead of Bossuet, Courfeyrac is leaning in the doorway and goes, "Oh hey, don't I know you?"
*And then Courfeyrac says- ooh hang on it's a full paragraph, "I'm in the same class as you. It's been three days that they've called the roll and you've been absent....
*no wait it's not actually the interesting bit
*THE INTERESTING BIT is that Courfeyrac actually asks Marius if he would like to share his room
*and "Marius did not consent to share Courfeyrac's bedroom."

Vous Rappelez-Vous Notre Douce Vie
Do You Remember Our Sweet Life? Based upon the chapter in the Brick that tells of what the insurrectionists did in the hours of waiting. Features the debut of an unnamed mustached worker that would show up in just about every other barricade-related picture I drew. My little running joke.

Montparnasse, being dapper and deadly.

My comic response to Colonel Despard's unfortunate run-in with a Pacifist!Combeferre defender on dA. Say what you like about Combeferre, he's the one who's actually described as flaunting multiple weapons on his march to the barricades.

This picture came about because I managed to confuse a reference to Justitia with Weeping Angels. Inspiration can come from the strangest places.

Staring Contest
Enjolras could outstare Weeping Angels in a staring contest. Just saying.

My headcanon for Jean Prouvaire has always been that he is colourblind.

Etoile Filante
I don't like drawing romance, but Colonel Despard's AU fic, Va Attraper une Etoile Filante, which told of Enjolras and Grantaire (after a successful revolution) growing old together, compelled me to break my own rules. Er.

At one point I was going to adapt the entire barricade sequence in comics form. Alas, the project never really went anywhere. These are the only five pages I ever finished.

A book on body language informed me that the cane was a phallic symbol representing virility. And just who among the Amis sports a cane?

In Vino Veritas
Illustration for Marguerite's fic, In Vino Veritas, which hilariously features an uncharacteristically drunk Enjolras.

Musichetta, sporting reasonable evening wear instead of the ridiculous gigot sleeves of the day.

The Art of Dandyism
You cannot suppose that Courfeyrac would turn his back on the latest fashion of the day, even when it is as ridiculous a thing as corsets. Courfeyrac's line is from Marguerite's Temeraire crossover fic, Dolce Et Decorum Est.

Cthulhu Fhtagn
I asked for picture suggestions on Livejournal. Marguerite suggested Cthulhu. [And of course everyone knows that an insurrection that involves Cthulhu would be led, not by Enjolras, but by Jean Prouvaire.] Her crack fic, Cthulhu Fhtagn, appeared at the same time.

Dont Worry
The first of the SantaFrenchBoys Christmas exchange pictures I drew for my recipient, musamihi.


The Georges Pontmercy comic and cover I drew for recipient musamihi for the SantaFrenchBoys Christmas exchange.
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If I'm going to have a journal here, I might as well use it for archival purposes. Say... every last Les Mis-related doodle I've ever done since 2009.

This first post archives everything I posted to Abaisse in 2009.

The Fall of Enjolras
The picture that started my downward spiral into the Les Miserables fandom. ;) Drawn after I'd binge-watched the 10th anniversary concert. The Enjolras is based upon the original GIJolras Michael Maguire, of course.

Character Sheet
My first character sheet of the Friends of the ABC, after I'd actually finished reading the Brick. A few would eventually change. Courfeyrac would gain rather a lot of weight, and Combeferre would say goodbye to some of his hair.

Calm Before The Storm
The first of many, many barricade pictures. This one's particularly badly constructed - I'm not even sure how Enjolras is perched up there.

Orestes & Pylades 1

Orestes & Pylades 2

Orestes & Pylades 3

Orestes & Pylades 4
My four-page comic adaptation of Orestes Fasting, Pylades Drunk. Sort of the point where I realised I liked drawing Les Mis comics.

I wish I had some way of justifying this horrifying cartoon.

Jean Prouvaire, Bahorel and Joly up to no good in the Catacombs of Paris. Inspired by a post by Colonel Despard:

He [Prouvaire] and Bahorel were based in part on two members of Les Bousingos, Petrus Borel and Jehan du Seigneur. Les Bousingos was a group that included poets and artists, active during the July Monarchy. They sought to shock society through such pranks as strolling around naked in the streets or positioning a fake corpse in the streets, claiming it had just been dug up from the cemetery.

One night when they were forced to leave their usual haunts when neighbours complained about them they established themselves in the rue d'Enfer, where they drank/ate alcohol laced cream out of hollowed out skulls. Most were rendered unconcious.


I'm not sure where the skulls came from - I'm divided between the idea that they somehow persuaded Joly to source them, or that they were indeed from the catacombs.

Illustration for Marguerite's story, Galatea. This is pretty much where Courfeyrac morphs into my current version of him, with the help of (probably) many boxes of macarons. Doubtless, this was at least partially influenced by MmeBahorel's fic, To Be Sublime (With Interruption), which caused me to (bizarrely) associate Courfeyrac with Frederick Algernon "Fatty" Trotteville from Enid Blyton's Five Find-Outers series.

Pastry Boy & Milksop
Marius unwittingly saves the barricade, Courfeyrac almost bites the dust, and I draw my first dead Ami (Bahorel). And if the background looks familiar, it's because every barricade drawing I've done ever since is referenced from this one.

A Spot of Arago
Illustration for Marguerite's fic, A Spot of Arago. Jehan's hideous tricorne is in homage to MmeBahorel's To Be Sublime (With Interruption).

His Deliverance
All that he knew, he learned alone. My first serious painting for the fandom. Contains a great many sneaky references to Feuilly's passage in the Brick, that probably can't be seen anyway except at full size. The hole-in-the-wall bookshelf is in homage to Marguerite's A Spot of Arago.

A Spot of Arago II
Another illustration accompanying Marguerite's fic, A Spot of Arago. Joly is blond here because Marguerite's Joly is blond.

Songs of Dead Angry Men I

Songs of Dead Angry Men II
I have, over the years, drawn the Amis in various supernatural circumstances, with little to justify the leaves I repeatedly took of my senses. In this case, Marguerite's fic, A Difference in Understanding, is the springboard from which I leapt into madness. In two different flavours: sepia pencilwork, and full squishy technicolour.

Jehan takes his pet lobster for a walk. I thought this had been inspired by Marguerite's fic, Of Love and Lobsters, but I see that she attributes it to me. I'm not really sure where it came from,... maybe the discussion about Gerard de Nerval that was floating around Abaisse at the time.

Aftermath to the failed June Insurrection. Inspired by George Sand's letter.

Refuge in Audacity
Courfeyrac is caught drawing an explicit political cartoon in class. Marguerite's Refuge in Audacity is to blame for this ghastly spectacle.

Lobster II
Jehan with his pet lobster, again.
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I'm leaving on vacation tomorrow. So how do I prepare for the trip? By mysteriously acquiring a cough and a sore throat, and effectively losing my voice. I guess I'll have some extra buddies to bring with me after all, aheheh.

Also: What do you do when your lungs are rattling, your throat feels like it's gone ten rounds with a cheese grater, and you want to paint something but you know you haven't the time to embark on any big projects? Why, by starting *two* ridiculous projects, which thereby guarantees you'll be able to finish neither before you leave:

What started out as an exercise in low camera angles wound up becoming... this. WTF Propaganda poster? It certainly seems to be leaning in that direction.

[Oh, and that musket's actually based on Montgomery, just with a longer barrel; I haven't an actual musket to model for me. >.<]

I don't know what possessed me to even *think* of doing this. Yes, I'm quite mad, thank you. Or at least I shall be once I start painting the goddamn metals!
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Page 4 took way, way too long to draw.

But at least I've finished the lines:

There are a couple of things to be fixed before that gets shaded and posted, but it's downhill from here. Page 5 has been sketched, but not lined.

And I've just realised something: barring a couple of small bits, it's pretty much going to be Major Action Sequences from here onward. [facepalm] Ambitious... or just plain nuts?
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Work in progress:

Because it's my turn for the comic, and god, I'm late, only it's not getting finished because I've gone and lost my marbles:

Seriously, just how insane would I have to be to actually go through with this? >.<
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Does anyone here play Portal? Because seriously, this crossover is made of win:

Re: Portal meets Les Mis by ~Meketaten on deviantART

Valjean as a test subject! Javert as GLaDOS! EPIC WIN.

[dies laughing]

The original Jonathan Coulton song from the game, for those not in the know:

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Sorry for the week-long vanishing act I pulled, and the entries I missed replying to! But right now I'm so excited:

OH MY GOD I HAS INTERNETS!!!!! ^______________^

The mutant hamsters that generate power for our local server all went up to that Great Big Wheel In The Sky last Saturday, so our household (and a whole lot of other households in our area) suffered Severe Internet Drought for the entire week it took to breed and raise a new lot of hamsters to run the wheels. All is well as of this afternoon, and I foresee no other problems in the near future... unless they forget to feed the hamsters.

One week, and my message boxes overfloweth. On the other hand, I have been practicing my trombone until the neighbourhood dogs howled in pain. So much for gleefully revelling in the dreadfully easy trombone part for George Enescu's Romanian Rhapsody No. 2: last Saturday the conductor called me up front and gave me the transcribed French Horn part to cover (since the only FH player we have is one who moved from the trumpet section, and is still learning the instrument). It was absolutely crawling with notes. The trombone principal was appalled when he saw the notes, asked me, "How the hell are you to play that?" ... After one week of hard work, I can say: with a smaller Denis Wick mouthpiece. And pushing my lungs close to bursting. Ha! ha!

Oh, and here's something interesting: During the Internet Drought, I, having nothing better to do, went through some of my old notebooks. Way back when I was in high school I used to write short stories, and every so often I'd wake up in the morning with names and ideas that I could use, so it was a habit for me then to keep a notepad at hand to scribble said things in it before they disappeared into the hazy mist of awakening.


Right on page one of this notebook were clearly written two words, presumably names. One was "JANNOCK." The other was - "FEUILLE."

What the hell? I didn't speak a word of French in high school, I hadn't encountered Les Mis yet, and I knew absolutely doodly-squat about fanmaking and silks and leaves. So where the hell did that come from? LOL.

I wonder if I ever made use of those. I should go through my archives and see.
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Progress shots for my latest Les Miserables painting. I admit that reading War and Peace *might* have had some influence over the direction of the picture...

Don't know why I'm posting this here. Um, maybe because there's nowhere else to archive it? LOL.
See the WIPs )
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I'm laughing so hard right my sides are aching. See, I have this good friend (my adopted aunt, really) who swore she was never going to touch Les Misérables on account of how... miserable it was (and who will be quite horrified to see this journal entry, because she stalks me here, apparently), and who would never have even picked up the book had I not dumped it in her lap.

On 18 November she wrote:
I'm reading Les Miserables. Kill me now. [faint]
On 19 November it was:
Now that I'm reading this, which still evades as to 'why', I figure I will keep an update on where I am in the book.
Just three days later this appeared:
Where do I start? Let me just say that, believe it or not, I actually enjoyed Book One. No, it was not real exciting and I actually was quite bored with it initially but the very end of that part grabbed me. Not that it was a page turner, it definitely wasn't, but in the aspect that I think I would have enjoyed meeting that man.
And then on 3 December:
Valjean [...] Well, it happened, I love this character. [...] I feel I may be doing what I promised myself I wouldn't do, I want to draw Valjean...
And then there was this on 14 December:
I couldn't wait...I watched Les Miserable, the musical. I'm sorry, I could. Not. Help. Myself. My niece happened to mention she had it and well, the rest is history. Yes. I liked it.
So now I'm desperate to finish the book.
[yes, let's highlight that]
I wish I could sing because I love everything Eponine sings, also Fantine.
And the very next day:
I'm not a history buff, far from it, but I admit that sometimes reading/watching stories will get yearning for some history. In short, the movies The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Count of Monte Cristo, along with the Les Miserables book are making me need to learn more about the Revolutionary, French Revolution, whatever you want to call it. I have been BEGGING all my literary friends to let me know of a book, biography or not, about Napoleon but none have been able to offer me anything.

Let me put it this way, if anyone knows of a good book, I would ask for an easy read but I know that won't be possible, that can give me a nice picture of everything that happened I would appreciate it.

I will also state that this could be in the form of a fiction movie/novel. I, in fact, learned all about the civil war from a miniseries called The North And The South. Seriously. I liked the miniseries enough to make me google for additional information. Now I know Les Mis has some war history in it but, honestly, I kind got lost there. :\ It was beautifully written but I could not keep anything straight, I swear some information changed. ROFL. I know, it didn't, but it was a little hard for me. BUT SOMEONE NEEDS TO DRAW A MAP ABOUT THAT AREA! Seriously. I was thinking of doing a topographical one but that would only do SO much, it really needs some pop out maps with better detail, at least of the significant places.
I couldn't help but chuckle my way through the chronicles of her progress. Doubtless I shall be killed for posting this, but I could always come back as a zombie.

Houston, we have a convert. I told you so, TankMagnet. ;-)
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[WARNING: I will not take responsibility for the state of your eardrums.]

There are Les Mis recordings all over the internet, of both professional and amateur performances - and of much, much better quality than what a Nokia Music Xpress 5800 is capable of recording - but just how many files are there of practices, as heard from... under the chair of the first trombonist? ROFL.

Master of the Slide

With parts like these, who wants to be onstage? Give me the sliiiide anytime. Haha. God, we have far too much fun with the gliss.

And in the unlikely event that anyone's actually paying attention (yes, this means you, Arachnophobe ;) - why're you even reading this, instead of your Brick?), a little digging around in my HD unearthed a very old, very bad, very scratchy recording made in the privacy of a certain bathroom somewhere:

The Holy - What?

I'll say this much: Gordon doesn't sound like a damn trombone. A whiny giant mosquito, maybe. LOL.

Obligatory bad trombone jokes:

What's the best kind of trombone?
A broken one!

Q: How do you make a trombone sound better?
A: Run it over with a lawnmower.

How can you make a french horn sound like a trombone?
1. Take your hand out of the bell and lose all sense of taste.
2. Take your hand out of the bell and miss all of the notes.

What is the dynamic range of a bass trombone?
On or off.

Why do people play trombone?
Because they can't move their fingers and read music at the same time.

A guy walks up to the band director and inquires about joining the band. The director says,"Sure, you can join the trombone section." The guy replies, "But I don't play the trombone." "Well," the director replies "Neither does anyone in our trombone section!!!"

Why are trombones the best lovers?
Trumpets do it with three fingers, baritones do it with four, and trombones do it in seven positions!

What do the letters pp mean to a trombone player?
1. An opportunity for an improvised solo.
2. A polite reminder that he has been playing too loud for the past 5 minutes.

What do you call a guy who knows how to play a trombone and doesn't?
A gentleman.

I swear all this is true.
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All the good stuff arrived yesterday. I don't even know where to begin.


[Anyone reading my journal must be thoroughly sick of this by now. Yes, I mean you, Tory. It must be agonising to read about me blazing my way through it while your PC was stuck re-downloading it yesterday. Hahahahahah.]

L4D2 finally released! About an hour late, but gosh, who really cares? other than a bunch of highly impatient, trigger-happy people with damaged Broca's regions and hyperactive salivary glands, who started ranting about how the release was FIFTEEN MINUTES LATE. (Oh the horror! we might have time for more than one cup of coffee after all!).

L4D2 geekout )


Yesterday also saw the arrival of my tin edition of the Ray Bradbury Theatre DVD set from Amazon.com - more Geekjoy!

I'll be honest: While I'd heard of the Ray Bradbury Theatre before, in spite of being a die-hard Bradbury fan, I never even thought of looking around to see if the series had been released in DVD format until I accidentally stumbled upon A Sound of Thunder on Youtube. This is significant: Thunder is just about my most favourite Bradbury story ever (barring The Martian Chronicles), because of its eerie treatment of the Chaos theory.

Spoiler goes here )

So yes, it was that one episode that sold the series for me. Because I reckoned, if they could get A Sound of Thunder right, even with cheap 1980s visual effects and synthesizer music, they couldn't really get very much else wrong.

For anybody who's even tempted to check out the 2005 film, maybe this frothing-at-the-mouth review I wrote when I returned from the screening of the movie will serve as a deterrent (posted here only because I removed the electronic version from my site long ago):

A Sound of Thunderous Disaster )


Also, my "to-be-abused" paperback copy of The Brick arrived alongside my Bradbury set. I've already installed a few tags at some important sections I'll be referring to (and perhaps drawing, in some cases). This may look like a hideous thing to do to a book, but believe me, I wouldn't have even contemplated it if I hadn't a hardcover Charles Wilbour translation in perfect condition already in my possession:

Yes the tags are 2.5cm long, and divided into seven columns (because the book is 17.5cm long). Because I'm anal-retentive like that. Force, does it show?
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Doing tech support makes me want to cry sometimes. I suppose it doesn't help that (1) I have a very low tolerance for bullshit, and (2) I think that (a) people should attempt to *think* things through before calling for tech help (since it's very often a case of sheer laziness rather than genuine inability) or at least make an attempt to do a particular task first before asking, and (b) tech support should NOT have to cover helping the person check their email for grammatical error, or asking for the best way of saying "hi" to acquaintances one is emailing.


"Feuilly was a fan-maker, an orphan, who with difficulty earned three francs a day, and who had but one thought, to deliver the world. He had still another desire - to instruct himself, which he also called deliverance. He had taught himself to read and write; all that he knew, he had learned alone. Feuilly was a generous heart. He had an immense embrace. This orphan had adopted the people. Being without a mother, he had meditated upon his mother country. He was not willing that there should be any man upon the earth without a country. He nurtured within himself, with the deep divination of the man of the people, what we now call the idea of nationality. He had learned history expressly that he might base his indignation upon a knowledge of its cause. In this new upper room of utopists particularly interested in France, he represented foreign nations. [...] This poor workingman had made himself a teacher of justice, and she rewarded him by making him grand."

from Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (Charles Wilbour translation)

My concept of Feuilly, probably a little younger than in my other pictures of him. Fictitious character or not, I have a deep respect for self-educated people, who pick up skills and knowledge on their own without the benefit of formal instruction, which might explain why Feuilly's the Ami I root for the most.

I can't remember the last time I had so much fun painting something: it felt like a wonderful release of pent-up energy and fulfilled need. And a deep love for the work I created - which is a very rare thing for me, since I'm fully capable of hating a picture just because I messed up some small part. I think I did well by forbidding myself from painting for the past month, allowing myself to build up the craving to paint again. I've learnt my lesson: painting too much in too short a period of time is so energy-consuming an effort, so arduous a journey that it burns me out; I need timeouts like these.

[Strangely enough, while I usually deplore painting backgrounds (just because I do them doesn't mean I have to like them), this was one that I had way too much fun doing, that I wanted to stretch on a little longer, and did not feel the strong urge to be done with as soon as possible so that I could get to the "meat" of the foreground.]

And because I'm sneaky and I love Easter Eggs, here's a close-up of the painting (at 50% zoom), showing some of the details that probably nobody else is going to pick up on:

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Unbeknownst to my friends, I occasionally log conversations for future reference/use/blackmail. (Oh, they sometimes find out later... and then forget about my habits afterwards. Too bad for them). Today's Les Misérables-oriented chat with WraithTen (TankMagnet on Steam) was simply too hilarious not to archive:

TankMagnet: and omg, I loved your blog
TankMagnet: the "never fear, the masters of the microwave are here."  ROFLMAO

Farlander: huh? what, the bit about my dad and me eating out? ROFLMAO
Farlander: you KNOW you want to comment...
TankMagnet: oh, totally, but i hate having to join ONE MORE DAMN THING
TankMagnet: lol

Farlander: i bet it's killing you that you can't
TankMagnet: oh shush
TankMagnet: it is
TankMagnet: >.>
TankMagnet: I even looked for youtube vids of les mis yesterday
TankMagnet: i saw a preview of the movie and i'm completely confused
TankMagnet: i wasn't aware that any girl played a significant role because all i saw were the guys.  what's up with that?

Farlander: aww
Farlander: there ARE several key female characters
Farlander: do you want a synopsis, dear one?
TankMagnet: i'm just realizing that
TankMagnet: yes, cuz i'm totally confused

TankMagnet: i know the one dies and he has to care for her daughter
Farlander: lol
Farlander: okay
TankMagnet: liam neeson's wife?
[lengthy synopsis omitted]
TankMagnet: aww
Farlander: lol
TankMagnet: well, see, that's a much larger story arc than I realized
Farlander: maybe i'll buy you the book for new year
TankMagnet: all i've seen are the guys
Farlander: it's a HUGE story arc
Farlander: it's actually five or so converging stories
TankMagnet: ALL i've sen
TankMagnet: seen

Farlander: the musical does very well, but there's no way you can fit ALL THAT into three hours onstage ;)
TankMagnet: i thought it was brokeback insurgency, you know?
TankMagnet: *giggle*
Farlander: and who were the two gay cowboys? ROFLMAO
TankMagnet: I thought all the guys were gay
Farlander: [has a howling fit]
TankMagnet: that's all anyone ever draws or talks about
Farlander: yes, a lot of people manage to come to that conclusion

Oh god! priceless.

Doubtless, I shall be killed for this when she finds this entry. Some things are worth dying for. Or at least suffering the temporary wrath of your gaming partner, anyway.

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Just finished another Les Misérables illustration:

In which Courfeyrac almost meets his end, and Marius comes to his aid.

I haven't been drawing anything but Les Mis illustrations since the end of last month. I don't even have to withdraw into Deep Introspection Mode to understand why.

Almost four years ago, I found the KotOR community, and was inspired by the gorgeous fanart I found at KFM to learn to draw properly, and to learn to paint. And I did learn, and improve. Eventually, however, my digital painting skills far outstripped my drawing, to the unfortunate extent that I kept raising my self-expectations bar ... and began losing my mind over the smallest details that  I could or could not fix. And with improvement came increasing pressure: to market my art, to exhibit, to get published, none of which I wanted. I finally snapped when I was told by someone that I shouldn't put anything up that had mistakes in it, and that I shouldn't settle for less than perfection, because that's what I would expect from any other artist.

It almost broke me. As it was, I found myself unable to paint, to draw for months; anything I *did* produce, I inevitably hated for the slightest mistake I did. It was becoming increasingly likely that I would never paint again.

And then I found Les Mis, which, like KotOR, sparked that flicker of interest in illustrating scenes again.

I'm seeing this as a second chance for me. An opportunity to relearn to draw. To be completely free with my pencil, to be restricted to small pieces of paper, and not be able to zoom in to do detail of any sort. To accept that even the professional artists that I worship, Scott Hampton, Peter Gross, even Dave Gibbons, have screwed up in major comics before, and therefore, that I shouldn't come down too hard on myself when I find errors in my own; to accept that sometimes, you have to know when to stop fixing things. And, ultimately, to enjoy drawing again, because, at the end of the day, it's still all about having fun.

I'm holding off painting, until I really, truly feel that burning desire to pick up my stylus again. The next time I paint, it will because I need to, and not because I'm making myself do it.

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Am nursing a splitting headache and a cough that only manifests at mealtimes. When I first came down with it, I thought I'd caught the bug that had been circulating in the family. But it's been a couple of weeks, everyone else has recovered, and I'm still hacking up a lung every time I eat. Gak.


Remind me again why I play Left4Dead exclusively with friends? Oh yeah. Because of the unchecked idiot infestation in cyberspace.

I was playing a round with a friend on Easy last night (it being said friend's initiation into L4D-for-PC), and I thought I set the game to "Friends Only". Apparently not. Some random person whose handle consisted of more weird symbols than letters joined. "Okay, sure," I thought, "I guess we could use another player".... until the fucker suddenly started shooting us. This wasn't a simple case of Friendly Fire; this was a serious case of, "I'm in here to wreck your game so DIEEEEEEEE!!!!" Thankfully for us, you can't kill a fellow Survivor on Easy however hard you try, so neither of us took damage, but - god! He(?she?) left before I could find the kick button. I wish I had the pleasure of expelling them.

It's almost tragic how all courtesy and good behaviour automatically melt into thin air the moment you give people the mask of anonymity.

At times like these, the NationStates legislation necessitating licences for minors to use computers becomes much less funny and suddenly far more appealing.


I've decided that I like Godfather II after all.

It wasn't an easy transition. In the first place, I'm more of a "shoot first, don't really bother with questions later" kind of gamer, rather than a strategist; the thought of a strategy-steeped GFII was what caused my reluctance to purchase the game in the first place. It didn't help that the graphics (when I started playing it) were ugly. Granted, they would've been acceptable three years ago, but compared with the most recent games (I need to devote a whole journal entry to Ghostbusters...), you could see it was sorely lacking. The fact that they killed off Aldo Trapani (the player's character in GFI), whom I'd grown accustomed to, in the opening sequence of the game did nothing to endear me to it. But once I got to the meat of the game - slamming people against the wall, smashing up stuff, taking wall cover and shooting enemies in the head - in other words, stuff I was actually good at - things started getting fun. A lot of the original game elements are still there - multiple weapons, execution styles, bribes, explodable safes, extortion weak points, contract killing - coupled with favours, special bonuses (like armoured cars and brass knuckles) and new "privileges" of being a Don: a crew that goes everywhere with you, whose members possess different skills; financial statements, territory management, crew management (do everything from dressing and promoting them to improving their skills, to even marking them for death!).

In Godfather I, any business you took over automatically became the Corleone's indefinitely. Not so in this game, as I learnt the hard way, from skimping on the money and posting too few guards at my first acquisition. Before the day was over, Carmine Rosato's men had declared war upon my new bakery and wrestled it back. The second fight broke out at La Maison Rouge, where I had at least posted five men; I wound up detouring to the place myself to turn the tide of the battle. Lesson learnt. Guards are good.

In retrospect, it does make sense having the game start with the player being Don, rather than some other schmuck working his way up the food chain, because there's a continuity that flows from the first game into the second. I still don't know what the hell the Don himself is doing running around the streets of New York, soliciting contract hits and extorting store owners, but hell, I don't care. It's fun. Maybe it's a little on the repetitive side, and I would've preferred a simple 2D map that was easily accessible while driving (is it too much to ask for the Mafia I-type map overlay?) rather than the snazzy zoom-in 3D one in this game - pretty, but oh so annoying when you're driving from point A to B, and suddenly forget the way - but I've no major complaints at this point.

Oh, and I'm still the worst driver on this side of New York. You'd think that, having played Mafia I two million times, I'd have at least learnt to navigate a computer car. But no, I still leave trails of fallen street lamps and dustbins and prostrate pedestrians in my wake. At least no cars have actually blown up yet.


I was regaling my students yesterday with tales of predatory fungi that snared hapless nematodes and sucked them dry. (We were still doing Dynamic Ecosystems). It brought back fond memories of that SF-horror story I wrote back when I was in school, about a mutated strain of Arthrobotrys that predated on humans, complete with utterly cliché laboratory scenes and DNA technology. (The story was titled, appropriately - if somewhat unimaginatively - "Fungi Imperfecti"). Good times. I'd post a link to it, but really - who'd want to read it?

My cousin and I once discussed how, in a certain light, pathology of disease was beautiful. Unfortunately, it's not an opinion I've managed to convinced anyone outside the realm of science and medicine to share.


I recently finished my epic (for me) comic rendering of the chapter Orestes Fasting, Pylades Drunk from Victor Hugo's Les Misérables. Since I'm not about to post the whole damn thing to dA, and I need a place to archive it, I might as well bung it here for the entertainment of anybody who might stumble upon it:

I don't really know why I chose to tackle that chapter (or, indeed, go beyond a single-scene rendering, as I'm apt to do). If pressed, I might grudgingly admit that it sort of saddens me how Grantaire can only reach out to Enjolras by means of the Ultimate Sacrifice, and how their reconciliation is only possible in the shadow of annihilation. Eh, it's something I just had to get out of my system.

I feel slightly guilty about making my (female) art beta cry over this, though. That's one person who isn't going to be reading Les Mis anytime soon.

July 2016

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