Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog Archive LI
The LEGO bricks of Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Sketchbook - Peter Woods

The tale of how I got this sketch is told in one of my convention reports. As it worked out, this has rapidly jumped up on my list of favorites. I love it when artists put a bit of humor into the drawings. Peter was afraid I'd be offended.

by Peter Woods
14 September 2003
(permission to post given 14 September 2003 in person)
Mercury Studios

And, hey! This one counts as another "fish" drawing too!

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. Click for a random Aquaman sketch.

by Tegan at 9:25 PM Seattle time

Random Thoughts

You've seen a teacher's wife's view of the strike here on my blog, you've seen a first-year teacher's view of the strike on my hubby's blog, now check out a student's view of the strike on In particular, read Tony's October 11th report of his attempts to see his Superintendent (who claims to have an "open door" policy).

Am I the only person who can't reach Neil Gaiman's Page?

This page has some pretty bad super-hero costumes, but this is definitely the worst attempt at an Aquaman costume I've ever seen. via Mark Evanier and my hubby

Are reporters being targeted as Internet Service Provider's by the FBI?. Another truly low moment in the history of the so-called patriot act.

I like a good murder mystery, don't you? But this one is quite the tale! Stanford graduates, take a second look at your school's history. via Daily Snopes

Mazal has recovered nicely and is now ultra cute. Awwwww... Elayne notes that all you have to do to get massive linkage right now is put up some cute pictures of a cat. Too bad I don't have a cat. I could get over 500 hits in a day, then. via Calpundit and Elayne Riggs

by Tegan at 6:34 PM Seattle time

Rapid Reviews - 8 October 2003 - Part III

Yup, even more comic book and comic TV show reviews! The Justice League episode I'm reviewing was shown last week, but I only just watched it.

JSA: All Stars #6: Interesting tale of the current Dr. Mid-Nite, but he gives away enough information to compromise his secret identity, if he has one. And since he didn't give his actual name, I'm assuming he does. Very silly. The back-up story was pretty weak. 3 1/2 starfish

JLA #88: Still confusing, but not nearly as bad as it was earlier. This new version of Plastic Man is quite a tale... and it's the one thing that really interests me in this current story. 3 1/2 starfish

Justice League: Tabula Rasa: AMAZO at last! And not like any other Amazo. None of those silly outfits, and no final resting place in the Justice League's trophy case, either. It was interesting to see Mercy again, too. As usual, my only complaint about this Justice League is that it isn't the real JL, as it's missing a founding member. But otherwise, it was good. 3 1/2 starfish

Still to review: Fallen Angel, World's Best Sampler, Crossovers, El Cazador, and something else.

by Tegan at 9:57 AM Seattle time

Friday, October 10, 2003

Marysville Teachers Strike Update

With the "somebody shoot me" refrain echoing non-stop through my mind (I tried to reprogram it to say "I wanna eat your brains", but it doesn't seem to respond to my attempts), a new contract offer was presented to the teachers union.

It is an improvement, but that's not saying much. It still requires a move to the state salary schedule, it just delays it a year. And it also requires teachers to work two extra days without extra pay, and requires that 28 hours of their TRI be under the direction of the Principal, which defeats the purpose of TRI pay in the first place. So, although I had some hope when I first heard there was a new offer, I don't have any expectations that the union will agree to it, as it isn't really much of an improvement.

Now, the good news is that the district and the union have been negotiating for several hours now, and we have yet to hear that they are done. This could mean that the terms of the new offer are negotiable, and changes will still be made. Cross your fingers and spin those prayer weasels, and hope that this stupid strike will be over by Monday night.

In the meantime, somebody found all the budget records for the school district, and made them available. The receipts and such actually put the lie to some of the district's claims, and are also having a massive effect on the parents who are reading what their school board is spending taxpayer money on. I was particularly apalled at the huge food expenses, and the fact that the school board and superintendent seemed to take a trip a month on the taxpayers' dime. As one person pointed out: The Superintendent’s Office spent $699,602 last year. Community Relations (Judy Parker) proposed budget for next year is $300,000. The entire budget last year for MPHS’s science department was $18,000.

$300,000 for PR, but only $18,000 for the science department of the biggest high school in the state? What ON EARTH does a school district need a $300,000 PR budget for?!??

So... keep hoping this thing will end. The sooner the better. I want hubby-Eric back in a classroom where he belongs.

by Tegan at 8:34 PM Seattle time

Rapid Reviews - 8 October 2003 - Part II

Can't spend all my time ranting about depression and teacher strikes, now, can I?

Archie & Friends Monster Bash 2003: I might find this more impressive if I knew the history behind Cheryl Blossom. I get the impression that she's an old rival of both Betty and Veronica for Archie Andrews' love, and maybe that's enough. In any case, this is a funny little tale, and the book has lots of info on how to get more comics, making it a great Halloween giveaway. 3 1/2 starfish

Spidey & The Mini-Marvels Halloween 2003 Ashcan: Heh. Funny. "I wanna eat your brains." Heh. And they're so cute, too. Heh. As a Halloween giveaway, very cool. Biggest problem is lack of comic book information. At least the Archie one gives you information on how to find more comics. This one just is a cute story. 3 1/2 starfish

H-E-R-O #9: The device moves to Gotham, to the darker side, where people compete to be super-villains and take on Him. How useful can the device be against someone like that? We don't find out this issue, but we do get a glimpse of the lack of honor among thieves in the DCU's most crime-ridden place. 3 1/2 starfish

Still to review: Fallen Angel, JLA, JSA: All-Stars, World's Best Sampler, Crossovers, and El Cazador.

by Tegan at 4:31 PM Seattle time

More On Depression

I think it's the medication. For the first time in my life, I feel slightly distanced from the suicidal impulses. I recall that I used to know they were there, but either I was so miserable I couldn't "hear" them properly or they never formed into words in my brain. But now I can "hear" them clearly. Every time I let my mind go blank, I hear the words "I wish somebody would shoot me". At first I found it very depressing, now it's gotten to the point where it's actually very annoying. I just wish it would shut up, already!

There was an episode of MASH in which a guy who wanted to commit suicide was hypnotized by the shrink so his arm twitched every time he thought of killing himself. If you think that the number of twitches was overblown: don't. That's what I'm hearing. Every other thought is "I wish somebody would shoot me". And quite possibly there are even more impulses which I can't hear. When I drove home from work yesterday I found myself exceeding the speed limit by quite a bit, and realized that I was hoping to drive off the road. Yeah, I slowed down as soon as I realized what I was doing, but the point is that I didn't even notice until I was already in danger.

But the words are something different. I don't ever recall being able to hear my depression like this. I don't ever recall being annoyed at it. It's quite a different experience for me. I'm half glad I'm having it, and half terrified of it.

by Tegan at 9:09 AM Seattle time

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Rapid Reviews - 8 October 2003 - Part I

Futurama Comics #15: I'm not particularly fond of the show, or the comics, but it's a comic book coming into my house, so I tend to read it. This one is ok. Fry becomes a movie star, but naturally fails to read the small print. It's ok, I'm neutral on it. 3 starfish

Superman/Batman Generations III #10: Something big happened. Something incredibly important. Epic, even. And most of it happened "off camera". Boring. 3 starfish

Smallville: Phoenix [3-02]: This is the ending of the two-part season opener, and although it was good, there were aspects that annoyed me. Hopefully the further ramifications of Clark's time in Metropolis will continue to come up. And Lana has to learn that Clark has powers, it's just right and it's nearly time. The Smallville Ledger has some fun stuff, too. 3 1/2 starfish

X-Men: Evolution: Cajun Spice: I've been watching this show from the beginning, seeing almost every episode, and it's really grown on me. I'm not a big Marvel comics fan, and that might actually help a bit, as I don't notice the continuity changes so much. But this episode definitely deserved comment. Gambit and Rogue, on the road. Yeah, it was really good. 4 starfish

Still to review: Fallen Angel, H-E-R-O, JLA, JSA: All-Stars, World's Best Sampler, Crossovers, and El Cazador. And may some other stuff, we'll see.

by Tegan at 3:54 PM Seattle time

Curse Update

After reading and re-reading, I decided that what was needed was a second curse, not an update on the first. Again, readers beware, this is full of rage, and in the end is absolutely meaningless. It may be a curse, but it will have no effect. It's just venting.

First off, the clarification. The "other members of the administration who have aided and abetted" from my first curse does not include every member of the administration. There are a large number who are on the teachers' side, but are keeping their heads down due to the nasty nature of their so-called leaders. My curse is not on those who have no choice but to follow or risk losing their jobs, though I wish they could stand up against the corruption. In this economy, I cannot blame them.

And now, the continuing curses against the people trying to destroy the Marysville School District, and my family in the process.

I curse the outside agitators, including the entire Evergreen "Freedom" Foundation, a group of lying dirtbags if any ever existed. Those scum are lower than sewer water, and smell less pleasant. The Marysville district was doing fine until they brought in their hatred and sputum. Their willingness to use the children of the district, and to turn the children against their teachers with spiteful words, shows how rotten they really are. A thousand times my previous curses I heap upon these vile creatures, and I curse them with vile lives to match their vile souls. I hope they never find joy in anything ever again.

A million times the curses I heap upon Judy Parker, the hired gun PR consultant who is wasting thousands of dollars that could have gone to resolving the strike with mailings and to pay her obscene salary. May her teeth rot in her mouth, may her hair grow brittle and fall out. May her hands shake whenever she tells a lie, may her legs become too weak to hold her. May she frighten little children in the street, and may good people turn away from her because of her countenance. May she suffer every agony she has inflicted with her lies back again a thousand-fold.

I'll save any further curses until Governor Locke makes his statement. But there may be another one in store. I hope not.

by Tegan at 10:24 AM Seattle time

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Rapid Reviews - 1 October 2003 - Part III

I meant to finish these reviews quickly, but the depression hit and nothing even vaguely creative was coming out. I think my little curse rant helped get the creative juices flowing a bit.

Supreme Power #3: This is mostly the story of a reporter relentlessly following Hyperion and trying to discover his true nature. While it leads well from the last issue, and is a good tale, I wanted something more from this. It might just be the nature of this series. I know some of what is coming, and I'm eagerly awaiting it. 3 1/2 starfish

Powers #34: I'm still not entirely sure what this is leading up to, besides the fact that Walker is impossibly old. But I'm definitely amazed by the way Bendis continues to amaze me on this book. Every time I think I may have it figured, he zips off in another direction, turning only long enough to give his readers the raspberry before they join in the chase again. Keep it coming... 4 starfish

Usagi Yojimbo #69: Jotaro and the Lone Goat's Kid! Wow. This is the, um, crossover of the century! This issue is mostly set-up, but as usual it's fantastic. 3 1/2 starfish

Astro City Local Heroes #4: The first page declares that this is a horror story. And yup, it is. How can the normal standards of law apply when there are people in the world with superpowers? Interesting question, and a horrible situation that Busiek has created to demonstrate it. 3 1/2 starfish

This week's comics: Crossovers, Futurama, Generations, Fall Angel, H-E-R-O, JLA, JSA All-Stars, World's Best Sampler, and El Cazador.

by Tegan at 3:49 PM Seattle time

Readers Beware - Angry Rant full of Vitriol and Curses Ahead

Well... some idiot parents, unaware of the real issues facing their district (or worse, aware but still willing to screw over the teachers) have done the stupidest thing they could have done if they want to keep their district intact. They've filed an injunction against the teachers. This is exactly what the PR spin of the district has been trying to get them to do since the beginning of the strike, and it finally worked. Instead of demanding that the school board negotiate, these people are going to try to bully teachers back into the classrooms that they left for very good reasons.

I name these parents fools. I name them the active and willing pawns of Linda Whitehead and the Marysville School Board of Frauds. They are my enemy: they want to financially ruin my family even though my husband hasn't yet even had a chance to spend ONE DAY teaching, thanks to the antics of the jokers running the district. I name these people "Linda Whitehead's Little Elves" and declare them too stupid to raise their own children.

I curse these elves from the bottom of my heart. May their lives be full of misery. May their children despise them. May their health fail them. May their homes be full of rot and insects. May their cars break down constantly. May there always be sand in their shoes. May their clothes stain embarrassingly. May their hair tangle painfully, and their skin crack and burn. May their friends shun them. May happiness evade them forever. May wealth run through their fingers, leaving nothing but bloodstains behind. May their fondest desires be denied to them. May they die unhappy and forgotten, except as fools who betrayed their own.

A thousand times these curses I heap on the School Board and on Linda Whitehead herself. A hundred times these curses I heap on the lawyer who took the case for the elves. Ten times these curses on the other members of the administration who have aided and abetted in the fraud corrupting their district, and another ten times that to the members of the administration who hit picketing teachers with their cars. These curses also on the members of the media who have ignored the actual story in favor of causing more grief and pain.

Thus I formally curse them. A rant without effect. A scream of rage and pain that will go unheeded.

Nothing more need be said.

by Tegan at 11:39 AM Seattle time

Random Thoughts

Thanks to everyone who commented or e-mailed yesterday. Just knowing you are out there helps.

Ok. I didn't start reading PvPonline until the lame Aquaman joke (which I thought was really funny, actually). Now that I'm reading it, I found a link to an artist's site, and I'm impressed. This guy is good. He's name is Darren "Yoda Boy" Calvert, I'm going to link to some of my personal faves in his portfolio. Moving down his list, Amy and Kif from Futurama, a new costume design for Impulse/Kid Flash, a very odd Usagi Yojimbo, a new design for Wonder Woman, a new design for Batgirl, Lara Kent and Catgirl from DK2, a very scary Alastor "Mad Eye" Moody from the Harry Potter series, and Ronald McDonald for the current generation. Very neat. Thanks, PvP!

Speaking of artwork, Marta's latest is of Charlie Weasley.

If you are reading JLA/Avengers, this round-up of items is a must-read. Unless you were already perfectly familiar with all the artefacts involved. via neilalien

A good open letter to reviewers who like comic books but feel obligated to point out that comics are some kind of lower form of entertainment in their otherwise positive reviews. via Neil Gaiman

La Cárcel de Papel is still the most interesting blog out there that I can't read. In my opinion, at least. My years of high school Spanish are getting a serious workout.

I already mentioned that Modulator found Nemo, but I'll mention it again in case you missed it the first time... since I think I linked directly to the picture instead of to the post.

Oh man, it's Chicken Fat! Thank you, Olsen, this one took me way, way back.

Want to know what some of those weird keys on your keyboard do? Here's an article about the Scroll Lock key. via Slashdot

by Tegan at 8:04 AM Seattle time

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Already Coming Out of It

It'll be a few days before I'm balanced again, but ranting about it certainly helped. The worst of it was last night, and hubby-Eric took care of me then, and then stayed home to make sure I was ok today. I knew there was a good reason I married this guy.

Re-reading, it sure seems like I contradicted myself a bit below. It's an odd thing, depression. It's like it's too big to wrap your head around, yet such a small thing to be crushed with just a pill a day.

"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes." -Walt Whitman

by Tegan at 8:50 PM Seattle time

Slings and Arrows

Dealing with a severely depressed person can be difficult. There's always various crisis hotlines and such, but sometimes the impact of a single comment is so powerful you never know what hit you.

The absolute WORST thing you can say to someone who is depressed is, "Oh, you wouldn't commit suicide" or "Oh, you couldn't commit suicide". It makes the person feel even worse about themself, since you don't even believe they are capable of ending the pain. I have never forgiven the person who said that to me when I was suffering from my worst depression.

Pity is bad too. "Oh, poor thing, I know what you are going through!" is an awful thing to say, because even if you do know what the depressed person is going through, they will never believe you. Oh, intellectually they might realize you are telling the truth, but deep inside where the emotions are churning, they are completely alone, and such words ring false down there.

Uplifting words sometimes work, and sometimes just wash over. "Be strong", "This too will pass", "It will get better" all are nice to hear, but they are somewhat meaningless, since the depressed person is caught in a hole in their mind. You can shout encouragement from the lip of the hole, but what they really need is a rope. And, unfortunately, half the time they won't recognize a rope if they see it.

The best thing to do for a depressed person is to simply be there. There's an attitude of "I'm here for you" that helps a bit. Depending on the depression, they might hide away to avoid human contact, but human contact is exactly what they need. Someone to chat with, someone to complain to, who won't pass judgment. Talking it out generally will help clear some of the pain, even if it never finds the root cause. Sometimes a depressed person thinks they know why they are depressed, but that event was just a trigger, and not the actual cause.

For instance, I could easily point to the fact that my husband is on strike and say, "That's why I'm depressed", but it isn't true, and helpful words about the strike aren't going to help pull me out. What triggered this bout was the stress of dealing with the strike (and a short time when I believed it was possibly over or at least might be delayed, but turned out to be wrong). But even if the strike ended right now, I would still be depressed, because the cause of my depression is a chemical imbalance in my brain. The fact that I responded so well to my medication proved that much to me. Somehow, despite the medication, I've gone back over the limit. I think the stress did it.

The only thing for me right now is to avoid tempting situations where I might lose myself in a moment and do something stupid. Driving a car is right out. I wouldn't want to go rock climbing right now either. Or diving. I also need to have someone near me. Hubby-Eric realized it right away and stayed home from the line to keep me company. His presence has helped.

I've dealt with this long enough now, and perhaps the medication has removed me a step away from myself, I can see what I'm going through much more clearly than ever before. It's still mightily confusing to be depressed and unable to cheer yourself up. I've been having much more luck distracting myself than I recall ever having before. The scary thoughts are still there, and the crying is just behind my eyes, but I'm doing better than I used to. I guess that's something to be happy about.

by Tegan at 3:27 PM Seattle time

To Be Or Not To Be

Depression is a funny thing. People who don't have it act like it's something you can just "snap out of" and go on with life. It's not that easy. I spent years developing tactics that would get me through the day, never understanding that I was fighting a chemical imbalance in my own brain. The tactics work to a small degree. They keep you going until the next day, but they don't make you happy.

I'm in the middle of an awful bout of severe depression. One clue that it was severe was that my thoughts over the last 24 hours have been turning to creative ways to die. I'm not inclined to take my own life, I tried that once and it gave no satisfaction, so I've been thinking about car wrecks, drive-by shootings, and the ever popular hit-by-a-meteorite.

I also fantasized about ways to kill myself that would leave a dramatic impact. Since suicide is the most selfish act possible, I figured if I killed myself, it had to be an impressive death. I actually spent a good hour trying to figure out the proper way to commit seppuku.

If I don't write any blogs for awhile, it's because I'm dealing with this. The medication just isn't cutting it right now. I don't want pity, that will make me more depressed. The only thing I ever wanted through all those years of wanting to kill myself was for someone to understand. I understand now what this is, but that doesn't mean I'm allowed to stop fighting it.

by Tegan at 8:34 AM Seattle time

Monday, October 06, 2003

Strike Blogging

I hope to have more news on the Marysville Teacher Strike later today, as I hope there will be news after the mediation session. I also expect to hear more about some proposals made over the weekend. We'll see. In the meantime, this note was written by a teacher on the parents' message board in response to a person who said, "The only people being hurt at this point are the students and the community itself." Bull, says I, but I'll let a teacher take it from here:

I am a teacher. I am being hurt by this strike. I am being villified by the people I have dedicated to serve. I have been mocked, verbally attacked, abused, called names, and treated like garbage by my own district. People who claim to be "together for children" with me.

I've been told I make too much money, I have too much extra time, I don't care about kids, and my salary is a waste of educational dollars.

I am denied my right to work. I have no voice right now except when someone actually stops long enough to actually ask me my point of view.

I go to the store and overhear people saying that I should be thrown in jail. I sit in a restaurant and overhear people saying that I'm so greedy, I've turned down a 10% raise (a complete lie).

I go to my mailbox and receive letter after letter telling the people in my community that I'm not worth anything, that I'm a pox on the district.

What have I done to deserve this?

When someone said to me "I'm going to cut your pay substantially and make you work extra days, overload your classroom, remove your aides, and lower your budget" I said "I won't stand for it!"

I'm a dedicated, hard working teacher. I honestly believe I have brought a lot to this district. I am not in it for the money. If I were, I would have left a LONG time me. But I want a little bit of respect and I'm not getting it from my administration, my school board (who I helped elect), nor from many members of my community. Blessedly every ONE of my former and present students has been caring, kind, and supportive.

So make no mistake about it. The students are being harmed. The community is being harmed, and is part of the harm. The teachers are ALSO being harmed.

by Tegan at 8:07 AM Seattle time

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Telemarketers Beware

ROTFLMAO!!! Dave Barry Does It Again! via Slashdot

by Tegan at 9:28 PM Seattle time

Working For Fun

So I spent all weekend working at the LEGO convention in Seattle in order to get some more money into our pocketbooks during the strike. My feet hurt badly from the concrete floors, my legs are sore from walking around, my throat is sore from explaining things to people, and my eyes hurt from being watchful. Luckily, my wallet doesn't hurt. Since we have no money, I couldn't buy anything, but the boss bought me custom microscale Ferry and Space Needle sets from the other vendor at the show. VERY cool.

Well, I need to rest. My sister will be by in about an hour to either take a break on her trip back to school or to hit the floor for a night's rest before driving back up to school. Either way, I'd like a short break before she gets here.

by Tegan at 6:01 PM Seattle time