Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog Archive XLVI
Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag Unleashed

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Sketchbook - Duncan Rouleau

I confess I don't know much about Duncan Rouleau. This sketch was from early in my sketch-getting days, when I saw an artist and just asked if they knew how to draw Aquaman. Sometimes I got odd looks, but just as often I got great sketches. I'm afraid this scan doesn't really do this sketch justice. It's a lot better than it looks. I had to darken the picture to get some of the detail, and that makes it look less fantastic. If I ever get a better scanner, I'll rescan this one for sure.

by Duncan Rouleau
14 November 1999
(permission to post given 17 August 2003 via e-mail)
Duncan Rouleau's Website

This is from my early days of sketch getting, only the second convention I collected sketches in my first sketchbook. Phil Foglio started out that wonderful day, and Art Adams was the final sketch, but right before I visited Art Adams, and right after Matt Clark took a long time to do a sketch using negative space that still blows me away, Duncan Rouleau put in an effort that was so different and cool that I still find myself stopping to just gaze at the image whenever I flip through the sketchbook. Yes, Rouleau has a different style. And that is a great thing, in my book.

To see all the sketches I have permission to post so far, check out my Sketchbook Page. If you have any contact information for any of the other artists I'm trying to contact, please e-mail me.

posted by Tegan | 10:41 PM |

Keeping the Streak Alive

Since I don't know if I'll ever get back on-line today, I'm going to post even though I'm not sure it will go through. Comcast has been singularly unhelpful, telling me to unplug my computer, switch my ethernet cables around, turn off the modem, turn on the modem, jump up and down with one hand patting my head and the other rubbing my stomach, clean out my browser cache, unhook the cable from the modem, make sure the cable tv is still on (it is) and anything else the poor techs could think of, before offering to send out a tech to look at my cable (it'll only cost $50).

And, should I try to call them again, it only takes 20 minutes to navigate through their utterly useless phone menu which is apparently designed to make people hang up in frustration, then I have to wait another 40 minutes to get a tech who will simply put me through the same paces again.

I'm beginning to really hate Comcast. I'm paying way too much to have outages like this.

Update: Later in the afternoon, they added "Bothell" to the list of places having known connectivity problems. Well, duh. I told them that 12 hours ago. And now, as of about 9 pm, the problems seem to be fixed. This time.

posted by Laura | 12:52 PM |

Friday, September 05, 2003


I'm not doing much 'netting today because Comcast is inexplicably r-e--a---l----l-----y s-------l-------o----------w. So slow, in fact, that I cannot get to most websites without timing out, and I had to try 7 times to pull up the editing template in blogger. Grrrr. I tried calling them, but their phone menu is a disaster, and when I finally got a tech support dude, he simply told me to do what I'd already done (reboot the machines, clean out the browser cache, power down the modem then restart it). Then he said they'd have to send out a crew. Yeah, right. Let me spend a full day waiting for these losers to come, and by the time they get here the problem will have already cleared itself up because IT'S ON THEIR END, NOT MINE. Argh! This is the third outage in a month, and I'm sick of it. I'm afraid I wrote them a nasty e-mail (that actually went out, amazingly enough!). And now I think I need to start hunting for a better service provider. I wonder if Eskimo can provide DSL to our area yet?

posted by Laura | 10:28 PM |

Not Much Today

Here's the return of something we thought long settled. Tom Tomorrow has a summary of the saga of the Saudis on September 11th. Seems that even Snopes was wrong about it... embarassingly so. Very, very interesting.

Type "answer to life, the universe, and everything" into Google. Or just click here. via Crooked Timber

And lastly: Marysville School District has already cancelled school for all next week. Sounds like they expect negotiations to fail. Hubby-Eric commented that it's beginning to seem more like a lockout than a strike. Whoever is in charge of the district's negotiations needs to be fired, and fast. That is, of course, my personal opinion as someone who has read up on both sides of the situation and has a vested interest in the outcome. I wonder if the citizens of Marysville can have a school board recall election? There were reports of angry parents attending the last school board meeting and demanding resignations of the school board members. Too bad it didn't work.

posted by Laura | 4:20 PM |

Thursday, September 04, 2003

The Strike

Marysville School District: "Schools will remain closed at least for the remainder of this week. Due to the teachersí strike, the districtís proposal is no longer a valid offer. ... the board and superintendent must continue to explore all options, including opening schools or filing a court injunction in order to get our students and staff back in the classroom."

The Herald: "Marysville School District leaders say a 2-day-old teachers strike is illegal, but getting a court order forcing them back into the classroom is by no means guaranteed, a state attorney said Wednesday."

Marysville Education Association: "Instead of offering Marysville teachers a fair contract, the Marysville School Board has hired private uniformed security guards at several schools. By all accounts, the security people seem to be nice people who are just trying to earn a living. But it's further proof that the Marysville School Board has misplaced priorities. It is unclear how many thousands of dollars the School Board plans to spend on security."

And also, from a teacher's article: "If you live in Marysville, you received two separate mailings by the school district... One of these mailings was a 22-page, 8-1/2 x 11-inch color booklet that cost more than $20,000 (by the districtís own estimate) to produce and mail."

And lastly: "In the past, school districts were not restricted as to what they could pay teachers. About 25 years ago, the Legislature approved a statewide salary model. At that time, districts such as Marysville, Everett, Seattle and Tacoma paid more than the state model, so they were grandfathered in to receive a higher amount of state funding. Marysville receives 5.2 percent more in state funding than those on the state schedule."

I want to point out that all teachers in the state, according to the statewide salary model, were to receive the same pay regardless of the local cost of living. One reason some districts were grandfathered in was to help the teachers that lived in more expensive places. Marysville is trying to take that away, and in the meantime is spending bundles of money on PR and security guards. This is fiscally responsible? This is bargaining in good faith? No wonder the teachers are so upset!

posted by Laura | 10:59 PM |

Evening Thoughts

Well, I guess I'd better put up some good links for my readers, eh?

Deadly tomato fight in Amish country. A man was shot and killed for an annual Labor Day prank in which Amish would throw tomatoes at passing cars. via Neil Gaiman

Mark Evanier has a quote comparison of people who want to be martyrs. In my own personal theology, anyone who wants to be a martyr cannot, by definition, become one. Being willing to die for a cause is one thing, wanting to die for a cause is quite another.

There's a nice write-up, complete with a movie (!) of the Spawns of Insomnia event in Seattle. That was the challenge to write and draw a 24-page comic in 24 hours. I believe I've already plugged Phil Foglio's effort. Five of the artists who participated have done Aquaman sketches for me, too. via Scott McCloud

Olson Ross is feeling old? Well, at least a bit "wigged out". To tell the truth, if I faced a class full of kids that didn't know who Groucho was, I'd be a bit wigged, too.

Speaking of facing a class full of kids, hubby-Eric still isn't, but at least he got to talk to the principal, who doesn't hate him for walking the picket lines. Whew.

I really hope I can sleep tonight. I'm getting tired of being so tired because I can't sleep at night.

posted by Laura | 10:15 PM |

Insomnia Thoughts

I'm not an artist. I've never been at artist. But back in High School, we had an art teacher come into a class one day, and he asked us how many of us had drawn pictures when we were little kids. Everyone raised their hands. He then said, the only reason we aren't artists is because somewhere along the line we were told we weren't and we believed it. We had a preconceived notion that we couldn't be artists, and that was the only reason we couldn't draw. He insisted that he could teach us.

At the end of the class, he left rather frustrated. We were a great group, with our own oddities. While everyone improved, I don't think anyone actually learned how to draw.

Except maybe me. He wouldn't give me my artwork back. He told me I wouldn't appreciate it enough. While I didn't doubt him, I did ask for, and get, copies (which, bearing out his fears, I've since lost). My only problem was that I insisted drawing things the way I saw them, and so when the model sat at the front of the classroom with me in the back, the model's head looked about the size of my thumb to me. So I drew it that small. It drove the teacher nuts.

Anyway, to make a short story long, I've started drawing again. Very little, but something. I still can't make a face look like the same person two drawings in a row, and I have a rather chunky and ... primitive ... style that I would hate in a comic book or strip, but I'm having fun doodling. Perhaps if I should get brave, I'll scan and post something. Of course, it'll be little. That's how I draw.

posted by Laura | 12:57 AM |

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

"Idle Hands Are The Devil's Tools"

Isn't the internet both the ultimate proof and the ultimate refutation of that old saying? Or am I just thinking too hard?

posted by Laura | 11:29 PM |

Rapid Reviews - 27 August 2003 - Part II

Empire #2: There is still no character in this series that I identify with (or even like), and the narrative in this issue is a little more scattered, too. The main cast is a little too large, and it seems like some of the plotlines are leading nowhere. I have some confidence that they will be tied up, but I'm not liking this book as much as I want to. 3 starfish

JLA #85: This one is far more straightforward than the majority of Joe Kelly's JLA stories, but it's also got characters acting out of character...which makes it annoying. Mind control stories tend to be annoying. I do like the appearance of the guest villain, though. Overall, not too bad. 3 1/2 starfish

Green Lantern #168: Still far too cosmic for my tastes, and the bits on Earth seem like filler because Kyle is no where to be seen. It just seems a wee... boring. 3 starfish

Superman: Red Son #3: I think, taken all together, this series is a tale of ultimate failure. Luckily, the last issue can also stand alone if you know a bit of the Superman mythos. I can't really go on without shedding spoilers, but it did turn out to be a very interesting twist on the Superman mythos that I did not expect at all. Yeah, a this is a good one. 4 starfish

Nex--- This week: Silken Ghost, Detective, Superman Birthright, Formerly Known As The Justice League, Wonder Woman The Blue Amazon, and JLA/Avengers. Small week when compared to September 10th's dozen books. And hopefully I'll have the Scary Godmother DVD to review by next week, too. And, hey, Aqualad is due to appear on the Teen Titans show on September 13th. Am I rambling? I'm rambling, I'll shut up now.

posted by Tegan | 12:44 AM |

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Last Post of the Day

Nat Gertler sent me the URL of the Licensable BearTM Preview. I think I understand the "post-ironic satire" bit now. It's enough to make me snicker and cringe at the same time.

Here's a strange but cool on-line comic. As decribed by Rich Johnston: "During the ComICA exhibition at the ICA, there was a wonderful Scott McCould-like cartoon wall, with one story continuing along the wall, with many stories spinning off it in different directions by different luminary artists." Warning, this takes awhile to load. Don't lose patience. It's odd, but I think it's worth it.

Another decent article on CrossGen is at Ninth Art. via Nielalien And Mike Wieringo also has a little to say on the subject (no permalinks, scroll down to "Right and Wrong"). Says Mike: It's always completely amazing to me when a publisher who is delinquent in paying a freelancer becomes incensed when that freelancer makes that fact public. I'm sure if it were the "shoe on the other foot", that very same publisher would be more than happy to make things public.

A complete waste of time: the Magical Slogan Maker. "Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog, Mother Approved." "Nothing Comes Between Me And My Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog." Oh-Kay. via Olsen Ross

Internet fads. Not many here, but definitely the most memorable. via Slashdot

And lastly, hubby-Eric is out for the rest of the week, as the district has cancelled classes for sure for that long. I just hope the district and the teachers will get together and fix this mess SOON.

posted by Tegan | 5:03 PM |

Blog$shares 101 - Part Four: Summary

I mentioned Artefacts last installment. Artefacts are where the idea market and the regular shares market intersect. An Artefact is a status symbol with a bit of power. Once you own the Artefact for an industry, you can affect the share price of any blog in that industry. You can also force people to sell you shares of a blog in that industry (at an inflated price), or snatch the ideas a blog produces for an industry.

Once Artefacts were introduced into the game, a number of players got annoyed at them, as the people who hold Artefacts are able to manipulate stock prices, and do nasty buy-outs and such. But I'm not impressed with the complaints, for two reasons. One is that the rich and powerful have always been able to manipulate markets, and this just adds an extra dose of strategy to the game. The second reason is me. In less than three weeks I was able to aquire enough ideas to build artefacts, and if I can do it, anyone can. As of this writing I have 56 artefacts (including a Senator and a Journalist. Oooh). That's a lot, especially for someone who started playing the game less than a month ago.

In any case, if you don't plan on playing the ideas market, you need to be wary of Artefacts and their power over the price of shares. There are strategies for fighting them, but you'll have to learn those on your own. Luckily, there is a forum for blogshares players to share strategy (as well as complain about problems). Seyed (srazavi) is the creator of the game, and he hangs out in the forums. He is very quick to solve problems, but has little patience for people whining.

And really, that's all I have to say... ok, maybe a couple more thoughts:

One thing important to remember about Blogshares is that it's not only a game, it's a game still in the process of being built. The creator of the game is constantly adding and changing things, so to be a good player you must be flexible.

My original intention with the game was to buy up the shares in my own blog and leave it at that. I got addicted because I had a lot of time to kill while suffering from insomnia. And, while I may be posting these 101 posts, I've been at the game for less than a month and there's a lot about it I haven't yet discovered.

The best thing you can do is investigate it at your own pace, and have fun (do I really need to say that if you aren't enjoying it, you probably don't want to waste your time on it?). And if you need a loan, just let me know. I may have a bit of B$-cash to spare...

Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.

posted by Tegan | 2:24 PM |

Insomnia induced Strike Babbling

I hate strikes. I'm not anti-union, by any means, but I feel that a strike is the ultimate symbol of failure. It's also mighty hard on the people who would rather be working than walking picket lines. In the case of a school strike, it's hard on working parents and very hard on the students.

My understanding of the Marysville strike is limited. I know what hubby-Eric has told me (not much), and what I've read on the Marysville Education Association website and the Marysville School District website.

First, from the school district's point of view. The district claims that Marysville teachers are the second-highest paid teachers in the state. The district wants to get the Marysville salaries in line with the state salary schedule. This would require cutting a quarter of the teachers' base pay, which the district claims would be made up in other money so that no one would actually lose money. In addition, the school district makes it clear that they believe a strike by the teachers is illegal (pdf file), and will get a judge to order the teachers back to the classroom.

The MEA is not impressed. They claim that the district put their offer on the table in June and hasn't budged an inch since then, while the teachers have attempted to meet them halfway. The biggest sticking point seems to be the district's insistence on going to the state salary schedule, which the teachers absolutely refuse (among other things, it would mean no raises for many teachers for years to come). Most importantly to the MEA, though, is that they feel the district is not negotiating in good faith.

I do not see the inclusion on the District's website of quotes from the judge's order on last year's bitter 21-day strike in the Issaquah School District as a heartening sign. If you plan on negotiating in good faith, why are you threatening them from the get-go? I also find it ominous that the only concession that the district has made in two in a half months of negotiating was a promise that no teacher would be paid less money, and that promise wasn't made until August 29th... the last negotiation day before the strike vote.

So, what will we do? I suspect Eric would take the district's offer in a heartbeat, but he's part of a group now and must support the group. Solidarity forever, and all that. He certainly bears no ill will towards the district that hired him.

I personally think that claiming teacher strikes are illegal is utter bull. Teachers are already treated like garbage, taking away one of the few methods they have of making sure they aren't paid worse than they are treated is an insult to their dignity. And while I question the wisdom of some of the highest paid teachers in the state striking to protect the status quo, I cannot begrudge them the power to do so. I want the strike to end tomorrow, with no hard feelings on either side, but if wishes were horses, we'd be knee deep in manure.

posted by Tegan | 12:51 AM |

Monday, September 01, 2003


Just got word on the local cable news channel, the teachers in hubby-Eric's district have voted to strike (581 yes, 9 no). Everyone start spinning your prayer weasels for Eric, and let's hope this is a short strike.

posted by Tegan | 7:20 PM |

Nothing to Say Today

Well, at least not yet. Thought I'd let you know. Since I know you were just dying to know why I haven't blogged yet. Sure. Right. Like anybody reads this anyway...

posted by Tegan | 2:09 PM |

Sunday, August 31, 2003

Blog$shares 101 - Part Three: What Next?

After you've bought some cheapie shares in up-and-coming blogs, you'll want to sell those shares to get more money. Selling shares is as simple as buying them. Just go to your portfolio, click on the name of the blog whose shares you want to sell, and click the "Sell Shares" link under the Share Market heading. If you sell in increments, like you bought, you can make more money, but I recommend waiting until you have some money to play with before investigating that.

Once you've done all that, simply repeat all the steps until you have some capital to play with. You are now a blogshares player with a bit of cash to spend! There are two paths you can take from this point.

The "normal" path of a blogshares player would be to keep investing in more and more blogs, picking winners from the pack by looking at their numbers and all the other information provided. By this method you can slowly build up a blogshares fortune and become a tycoon. You can also find new blogs and add them to the system, thus contributing to the community as well as providing you with something new to invest in. But there is now another way to become rich in the game.

Recently, because the tycoons in the game were getting a little bored, a new concept and trading system was introduced (and is still being tweaked, as of this writing). The system uses the Industries that a blog belongs to. Industries are just categories that blogshares players vote on. For instance, my blog belongs to "DC Comics" industry because I voted it into that industry. Another player voted it into the "USA" industry, so my blog belongs to both. Originally, industries were just categories, nothing more. But the new market takes advantage of those categories, and your blog produces "ideas" within all the industries it belongs to.

Every fifteen minutes, as blogs are indexed, new ideas are produced and put up on the ideas market. The pricing of the ideas is something I have yet to figure out, except that ideas are a classic case of "buy low, sell high" and if you follow that simple rule, you can make a bunch of B$'s really fast.

Using this link, I can track ideas by their availability and worth. If you are just starting out in the ideas market, set some limits. Don't buy any idea that's more than $500 per, and don't sell any idea until it gets over $1000 per. The ideas market is very volatile, but there is minimal risk if you follow your own rules. The important thing to remember is that the values change every fifteen minutes, so if you find yourself regretting a purchase, as long as you sell it within fifteen minutes, you will not lose anything.

In addition to being a rapid market in which you can quickly make (or lose) a fortune, there is another goal with ideas. When you get 10,000 ideas in a variety of industries, you can buy an Artefact for that industry. And Artefacts allow you to do nasty stuff to the shares side of things, if you are so inclined.

More on that in my fourth and final installment: "What do you mean, you own a Senator?!??"

Part One and Part Two.

posted by Tegan | 2:06 PM |

Random Thoughts

Elayne has found the most wonderful archive of fun British Television at TV Ark. While she was just pointing out the adverts, hubby-Eric and I had fun investigating more of the site. British TV fans should definitely visit it.

This photo of Bush dropping his dog is funny mostly for the expressions on the faces of the onlookers. The comments for that post were pretty funny, too, if overly partisan.

Heart-warming kitten rescue story. The folks that took this starving kitten in will be blessed for their act. via the Light of Reason

I didn't know that The Onion is turning a profit. Interesting.

posted by Tegan | 10:49 AM |