January 2006

Having complained about the raccoon character design in Sly Cooper, I am naturally obligated to doodle a raccoon thief. I certainly can’t say it’s any better a design, and certainly it’s a rough sketch, but I took a stab at the notion anyhow.


Now I sorta want to draw him dangling from a rope, stealing the Sacred Jeweled Spleen of Samarkand or something. Like I don’t have enough things to be doing…

So a few minutes ago I learned that the phone call in the small hours of the morning that I ignored as probably a wrong number and anyway, I’m asleep, goddamnit, was actually my father calling to tell me that my grandmother had died.

That’ll teach me to answer the phone…

She was ninety-five. We were not close, and as I will try not to speak ill of the dead, perhaps all I can say is that she was a product of her time and upbringing, as I suppose we all are, for better or worse. I don’t quite know how to feel about it–excessive grief would be misplaced, for a woman I have not seen in nearly two decades, and had a less than stellar relationship with when alive, but I am too far removed and too long out of the complex webs of family obligation to feel the guilty relief that tends to crop up in similiar circumstances, either. The emotional baggage has long since passed its expiration date and quietly turned to dust in the back attics of the soul. And hell, when somebody is ninety-five, there’s a practical limit on the amount of shock one feels about their demise–we all should live so long.

I suppose what I feel is sort of “Huh,” writ large. It is a thing, that has happened. How peculiar that it should happen.

I am spectacularly unmotivated today.

There is some good art out there. I enjoy looking at it. I am lacking in the motive force to try and make any of my own at the moment, though. My brain has curled up in the easy-chair of my skull, pulled a blanket over its head and is going “Shplaaaaaghgh…” whenever I poke it.

Been playing “Sly Cooper 2” on my PS2 lately–having newly acquired the console, I am systematically working my way through all the games people played years ago. They’re fairly cheap now, and it keeps me amused, when I have lost interest in the Level Treadmill of WoW for the moment.

It’s a cute game. Some of the character designs are charming. I love the moose guards, and the antelope guards, and the turtle character’s cute as hell. Some of them are shaky–the main character resembles a grey dog with a ringed tail, a sure sign of too much Generic Furry Characterdom, and the female fox resembles no species known to man. But they did a good job in general.

One thing, however, is making me insane, and reveals me as a wretched birder geek.

There is a level played where you’re stopping a French Canadian bison villain, in a snowy, glacier encrusted area chock full of ice flows and covered in snow. Fine, good, wonderful.

Every ten seconds, the ambient noises play a loon call, to remind you that This Is Canada, Eh?

Loons do not winter in the north. They head way, way south, to my neck ‘o the woods. They are a summer migrant to Canada.

You’d think I could dismiss this, being a reasonably well adjusted individual who lives with a level designer and is fully aware of how slapdash the game industry can be, and have been there myself god knows, but the three hours it took to pass this area, at a loon call every ten seconds, works out to somewhere in the vicinity of a thousand misplaced loon calls, and eventually I started twitching whenever it played. (And it never went away. Play the mini-game where you’re inside a computer shooting little blobs, and there is a freakin’ loon in the machine!)

I would beg game designers all to pay attention to this, but frankly, it’s so nitpicky that I can’t think of any reason you’d care at all–birdwatchers are not a known gaming demographic, and I have yet to see anybody boycott a title because of misplaced migratory waterfowl. Still. Damnit.

Twitchy rides again!

We played D&D for the first time in ages, and hopefully will be doing so again soon. We’ve lost a coupla players to moves, so James is joining us, taking the reins of Inky the tattooed warrior, who sporadically vanishes and wakes up somewhere else with no memory, due (probably) to a cursed mace we dug up from under a pigpen.

With his usual practical and somewhat novel thinking, James decided that he would place his mace in the fire when we bedded down, so that if he was sleepwalking with the thing, he’d grab it, burn himself, and wake up. This would have been a great plan if we hadn’t been attacked by a bear in the middle of the night, forcing him to grab the red-hot mace using…Twitchy the elf’s soiled underwear as a glove. (And they laughed when I kept “soiled underwear” listed on my character sheet! HA! Who’s laughing NOW!?)

Our other major highlight was our attempt to interrogate a brigand with no tongue. Props to our GM for expressive “Auughh!” noises and mime. In an effort to be merciful and not kill him, we then left him tied to a tree with a pair of corpses, gagged with a bear steak, wearing a note saying “I am a cutthroat. Do not free me.” The quality of mercy is always weird, when we’re involved.

It’s good to be back in the geek saddle again!


I have, over the years, come to terms with the fact that damnit, my calling in life is to paint small cute animals.

This was sometimes difficult for me, because I always clung to dreams of someday being a Real Artist, with…y’know…the seriousness and the artiness and whatnot. And I can occasionally manage something somber or cryptic or beautiful, and that’s fine. But left to my own devices, I default inevitably to small cute animals doing occasionally weird things, like Hallmark cards designed by an employee who knows they’re leaving at the end of the week and has already cashed the severance check.

Well. Such is life.
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Went into the bathroom this morning to wash my face, and discovered that the Standard Nonthreatening Blue Soap is down to the unusuable splinter size.

I have, as it happens, two other bars of soap. Gifts from my mother, the mastermind behind the maple syrup bath wash that makes the user smell like an International House of Pancakes. They have been lurking since Christmas, stacked in a small, menacing tower on the counter, the Soap of Potential Doom.

Still, I am bound to boldly go, etc. I reached for the first one, a glittery pink-purple number shaped like a sunflower, but which proclaims itself to be “Sugar Plum/Poinsettia” flavor. Ah. Shaped like a sunflower. Not like a poinsettia. (I’ll give it a free pass on looking like a sugar plum, since I haven’t a clue what that looks like.) It was indeed very glittery. I slit the plastic wrap (and I should really had dried my hands first, because getting wet plastic wrap off increasingly damp soap is kinda tricky.)

I suppose at some point it should have occurred to me that glitter occurring in a soap will translate into glitter appearing on your skin, but I was not one of those teenagers who went in for glitter-as-fashion-accessory and so have little experience in its use as anything other than an adjunct to glue and dried macaroni. So blinking into the mirror and seeing the little fragmented highlights came as a bit of a surprise. On the one hand, it’s a handy method to make sure you really did get every last molecule of soap off your skin. On the other hand…glitter.

Tune in next week for more Adventures With Weird Bath Products! (It’s probably as well that I never quite mastered the art of nine-tenths of the cosmetics out there, or there’d be some truly bizarre reports coming in. “This green facial powder is meant to correct blemishes and diminish those pesky black eyes, but I’m gonna see if I can use it to look like a zombie!”)

Hmm, lotta positive response to Ed’s admittedly broken speech on the nature of evil in today’s Digger.

I wasn’t actually expecting the good feedback on the recent dialog in Digger about evil–I sorta figure that the problem of evil has been done to death in fantasy, and god knows, I have nothing new or earthshaking to add, so I thought it might just be a regrettably heavy diversion. But I’ve had really positive responses about it, which surprises me a little. It’s not like it was any harder than Digger usually is to write–I didn’t sit and bash my head against a thousand years of Western philosophy or anything, I just kinda wrote it.

But still, I’m not gonna look a gift kudos in the mouth.

Still foolin’ with that one technique. I can’t quite get it like the pimphog again, which infuriates me. What did I do that one time? Arrrgh!

Still, s’cute.


I find myself standing at a great and terrible crossroads of my life, a hideous nexus which I never expected, a dark line etched in darker sands, which I swore never to cross. Behind me lies Life As I Know It, and ahead, there is…the abyss.

I’m thinking of buyin’ a purse.

Every fiber of my being recoils from this notion, as it would brand me forever as A Girl. I am not down wi’ dat. I have worn a backpack for years, and I have been fine with that. I am a backpack sort of person.

On the other hand, the other day I was driving with a friend of mine, and we saw some ducks, and she offered to stop, and I didn’t have my binoculars, and I realized what I needed were some of those mini-binoculars for emergency birdwatching, and then I’d need something to carry them in, and my backpack being a bulky thing, I rarely take it with me unless I know I’m going to be sketching, and anyway, I have some rather flattering slacks that are actually cut for women, but the terrible price of wearing pants that do not make me look like I have hips six axe-handles apart is that the pockets wouldn’t hold a freakin’ chiclet. (I resent this bitterly. If you’re not going to give me useable pockets, don’t even put the holes there. Jerks.) Granted that my wallet needs to hold both several days worth of receipts and a small stash of business cards, this becomes rather problematic.

So I suppose I need to get a purse. And it must be sufficiently cool a purse to beguile even my deep anti-purseness. It must be eccentric. As my buddy Carlota (she who offered to stop for ducks) suggested, it must be hand-woven of rare African reeds and then peed on by Bengal tigers, which is a neat trick granted the respective locations of Bengal and Africa. I don’t know quite what the tiger pee would do, other than smell fairly rank, but I appreciate the notion. I am a weird person, I must local a suitably weird purse, if humanly possible.

It’s a terrible line, and I shudder even now to cross it.

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