Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog Archive LXIV
Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Sketchbook - Randy Emberlin

This is another one of those very early sketches. One from the first con when I went nuts getting sketches. It is very hard to remember exactly what happened that day, but I do remember that Emberlin was extremely kind and jumped at the chance to add to the sketchbook. His interpretation is just wonderful, and so obvious that most people wouldn't have thought of it. Or would have been embarrassed to draw for such an obvious fangirl. Having it early in my sketchbook opened up a lot of artists to do more goofy Aquaman drawings than they might have otherwise - a good thing, in my opinion.

by Randy Emberlin
19 September 1999
(permission to post given 16 November 2003 in person)

Randy has a sort of website, located here, but since it doesn't seem to work for me, I wouldn't rely on it for information about him. He seems to be best known as an inker on Spider-Man, but he shows up at almost every Seattle ComCard show with a beautiful display of works that is wide in scope and fascintating to just look at. He's a great person to talk with, and very popular for sketches. I do believe my little sister got a Spider-Man sketch from him at the last con, when I got permission to post this Aquaman sketch.

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 6:04 PM Seattle time

Rapid Reviews - 7 January 2004 - Part I

Smallville #6: Good interview with Bo Du--- er, John Schneider about what it's like to play a father on screen to Tom Welling's super boy. Good stuff in it, but it's too short. I could've read another twenty pages devoted to Schneider. The comic story "Id" is about Lex's time on the island, and it fits into the show very nicely. Add in a subplot about Clark finally deciding what to tell Lana, and you've got a nice little tale. The last story is a light-hearted slap on Pete, and it's fun if a little implausible. Not a bad little package. 3 1/2 starfish

Superman: Birthright #6: While there are interesting ideas being brought up, the art is a major turn-off for me, and the story just doesn't pull together. 3 starfish

Plastic Man #2: I think it's safe to say that I hated the first issue. This one is a lot better. It's still a long way from something that I would consistently enjoy, but something clicks in this issue. I think it's the fact that there's a "straight man" character for Plas to play against, who works far better than the regular cast. A vast improvement. 3 starfish

Still to review: Thieves & Kings, JSA, Common Grounds, and Supreme Power.

by Tegan at 10:25 AM Seattle time

Friday, January 09, 2004

Random Thoughts

Korean women know how to handle comic shops. via Neilalien.

Nebula Awards Preliminary Ballot. Take a look. I'm almost entirely unfamiliar with the works on the list. I feel so out of it. via Neil Gaiman.

Amy Langfield points out an interesting clause in the Netflix referrer program. Amy was also interviewed on Japanese TV about her blog from the blackout.

And on a somber note, who killed Zaydun? If it was American troops, as the cousin who survived indicated, they need to be caught and punished. Zeyad says an investigation has started... let's hope it finds the beasts responsible.

Here's River's thoughts on a Kurdish state.

by Tegan at 6:48 PM Seattle time

The Name Game

Two treats for my name today. The first is a screen shot from the Aquaman game that's currently out (and on my wish list). Seems that I get some thanks in the credits of the game! I've circled my name in red to try and make it show up more clearly.

I'm really going to have to try and get this game, even though I don't have anything to run it on. The other treat is a little more mundane.

I usually don't do on-line quizzes, or if I do them, I don't post the results on my blog. I'm not sure why, I didn't think I was shy. But I figure this one, which Elayne Riggs pointed me to, is harmless enough:

Pholph's Scrabble Generator

What is your score? Get it here.

by Tegan at 1:46 PM Seattle time

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Absent Friends

I got a nice note from Phil Elliott regarding my blog entry of November 29th in which I mention Absent Friends. Phil pointed me to the Absent Friends webpage so I could see some samples of the art for the book. I'm passing on the link to all my loyal readers so you can check it out also, if you are interested. I quite like "Monsters", but "Winter Sands" was strangely sad to me. *sigh* Another book I wish I'd taken a risk on and ordered.

by Tegan at 10:07 PM Seattle time

Game Blogging

I work with games a lot, as I work in a retail store that carries a wide selection of logic games. In addition, the dorm I lived in in college was blessed with a gamer who never seemed satisfied with any single game. So I know a lot of games, and because of my current job, I get to play them a bit, too.

Since the games are a big part of my life right now, I think it's worth mentioning them here on my blog. So as I play them, and enjoy them, I'll put some information about them here. For most of these games, if you are intrigued by my description, you can probably find the game at a local shop. If that doesn't work, contact me and I'll point you to where you can find it, if I know. While most are available through the shop I work at, some won't be. I encourage you to buy local, and support a locally owned shop if possible.

There is no question on where to start. There is only one game in the entire store that I introduce to customers with the words, "Everyone should have a copy of this game." That would be Set.

Set: The Family Game of Visual Perception. From Set Games. Approximate price: $12. Number of players: 1+. Ages: 4+ (we've played it successfully with pre-schoolers). Time to play: 10 minutes or more (games can be interrupted or stopped easily). Rules Rigidity: Easily fudged, house rules possible. Goal of Game: To find the most sets.

Some of you are nodding and saying, "ah yes, Set." For those who aren't, let me explain this game. Set is a deck of 81 cards. Each card has symbols on it. The symbols are either diamonds, ovals, or squiggles. They are all colored either red, green, or purple. They might have different shadings: filled, shaded, or hollow. And there will be one, two, or three identical symbols on each card. A set consists of three cards of which all of the above four attributes are all the same, or all different. So a set can have a three red symbols, or symbols that are red, green, and purple, but not two reds and something else. To play, you set out 12 cards and look for sets. Pretty simple, actually.

The neat thing about Set is that you can play it solitaire or with as many people as you can fit around a table. You can play it cooperatively or cutthroat. And age just doesn't matter. It's the only game in the store that I see younger children consistently beating older children or adults.

There's also a lot of benefits to Set. It's a very mathematical game, if you study the underlying principals. The original idea was based on genetic research and DNA. There's lot of math in trying to determine the odds of having a set when you lay out 12 cards. It also increases perception, and helps with lateral thinking (particularly when you find the sets in which all four attributes are different).

This is the first and the best, though. If you want an all-purpose game that is fun, quick, and can be played by almost anyone, this is it. This is also one of the very few games that we sold out of this Christmas.

by Tegan at 9:30 PM Seattle time

Random Thoughts

The net has been very active while I tried to set up my desktop computer again. Here's some stuff I found on a quick visit to some of my sites.

Mark Evanier on Pete Rose. He pretty much sums up my thoughts on the subject.

Fanboy Rampage has been on a ... um ... rampage since returning from Christmas break. Catch up on comic book news there.

Grotesque Anatomy links to an article on Pulse about Eight 1/2 Ghosts, a book that I mentioned in a previous "flipping through Previews" as a book I would like to try. Unfortunately, I didn't order it. But it looks really good.

Journalista continues to be one of the best comic/cartoon news sites out there. Just the facts, presented nicely and quickly. Go visit if you have any interest in comics.

One of the latest flaps in the world of comics blogging is about the idea that people waiting for books to come out as graphic novels is one reason the market is failing. Here's my thoughts: Both sides of the subject are right. Yes, people not buying single issues of comic books and instead waiting for the trade makes both single issues and trades more unlikely. But... if people don't want to buy the single issues, then something is wrong with the market, not with the people. Not everyone enjoys monthly installments like I do. Is there a solution? I don't know. But I agree it's a problem.

Interesting article on Boing Boing about US currency. It links to the NY Times, though, and I'm too lazy to reregister at the moment.

Boing Boing also links to Not Fooling Anybody, a fun look at storefronts that have changed very little when they change hands. Heh.

This link from Boing Boing made me laugh aloud, though. Yeah, Boing Boing is good stuff.

The Comic Treadmill reviews JLA: Liberty and Justice.

I've got to get going now, but maybe I'll find time to link to more later. This is hardly half the neat stuff I found this morning.

by Tegan at 9:04 AM Seattle time

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Computer Fun

I'm sure you are all wondering what I was doing yesterday as I was trapped inside due to the snow. Well, I had a little project. And I spent pretty much all day yesterday, and much of Monday, working on it.

Warning: Long Geeky Computer Rant Ahead

I've been messing with computers for many years. My fascination with them started in elementary schools when the Renton school district got a roving computer lab of Commodore Pets. It visited virtually every school in the district, and was the first exposure many of us had to "real" computers (as opposed to game consoles). I strongly urged my family to get a Commodore 64 when they became available, and was delighted when my parents did decide to spring for one. My brother and I spent many hours learning all about the system, and loving most every minute of it.

Eventually, I learned other systems. When I got to middle school, the district got a whole lab of Apple IIe's for the school. I spent many many hours after school in that lab, riding the later running activity bus, just so I could learn more about those computers. I don't remember when my family got its first PC, but I played with that thing, too. I remember the absolute wonder of connecting to Prodigy, and realizing we were talking to people around the nation.

In college, I learned more. UNIX was the system of choice for the techies I hung out with, and I learned the basics. I also learned about MUDs, and spent a very memorable weekend playing and chatting with people across the world. For awhile I had a C64, but I couldn't connect to the internet with it, and I needed that.

When I married right out of school (to a man I originally met on Prodigy, no less), I was forced to use his Mac to connect to my ISP I also kept my university account active until someone got wise and deleted it. After a year at my job, I was able to afford my own PC, which was running Windows 3.11. I later built my own computer with some advice and assistance from an old school friend. When we got cable internet, I set up a router so hubby and I could both access it (him on his Mac, me on my PC).

So I tend to think I know a lot about computers. Heck, I even volunteered at the senior center teaching seniors how to access e-mail during my period of unemployment. I'm confident enough to take on any challenge related to computers. And that is my downfall.

See, I know just enough to screw things up completely, instead of just mostly.

My thinking went along these lines: The laptop is very neat. I really like XP over Windows 95. My desktop would be much improved if it can actually run XP... and if it can't, I've got my Windows 95 disks to restore it. While there are several programs I don't really want to lose on the desktop, I can check to see if they run on the laptop first. Then maybe I should try upgrading the desktop.

So I did. I checked the main programs I didn't want to lose, and they worked fine on the laptop. Then I burned a couple of CDs with anything I thought might be useful from the desktop. Then I wiped the disks. The desktop has two harddrives in it, both about 3 gigs. I wiped them both, destroyed the obnoxious partitions I had to use under 95, and was cruising along.

The less said about the actual installation of XP, the better. It took considerably longer than I anticipated, and I was really glad I had the laptop connected so I could check on what I was doing wrong. At one point I started to seriously consider switching over to LINUX, even. But eventually it worked, and I was ready to start installing things. Except, something was missing. Something was wrong.

There was no sound. The sound card might as well have not existed. I checked and checked, but couldn't find any sign of it using any of XP's searching capabilities. I finally hunted down the type of card I have (by opening the case and looking, then hunting for the original drivers). After a couple hours of increasingly frustrated searching, I found that the soundcard, a MediaVision Jazz16, will not work under XP. Period. End of story. It will not work. You can't get updated drivers (believe me, I tried EVERYTHING). Now, the soundcard was always a pretty crappy little generic-y thing, but it worked. Is it entirely unreasonable of me to expect it to work under the latest and greatest Windows version if it worked under Windows 95?

Anyway, that was strike one. No sound. It's not as bad as it could be. Sound cards aren't too expensive, and I can use other old cards from the same era and have them work fine. I've even already got an offer from a friend to send me an old card to see if it'll work. It's annoying, but not the end of the world. Or even enough to make me go back to Windows 95.

After determining that I had no working sound card, I started to check everything else. Ethernet cable works great, the internet is finally available to the desktop again. CD-Burner works (without a burning program, even!). Zip Drive works after installing new drivers. Printer works after I play with the settings for 15 minutes. Hmmm... can't find the modem or the scanner. Modem is not important as long as we have cable internet, so I'll put off checking that out. But the scanner is VERY important! Both hubby and I use it for website images, and I also us it as a sort of FAX machine, especially now during our refi.

I have a Microtek ScanMaker E3. After checking at Microtek's site, I find the windows XP drivers for the scanner no problem. I install the drivers. No scanner. The computer just can't find it. After thinking it through, I remember that I had to install a SCSI controller card to connect the scanner. So I Google to find out what kind of SCSI card shipped with the scanner. I find it, an Adaptec 1502. It is another card that simply doesn't work with Windows XP. Again, I ask, is it unreasonable for me to expect something that worked fine in Windows 95 to work in Windows XP? Strike two. There is no workaround here, either. I have to get a new card or a new scanner.

But for those problems, the desktop is actually working pretty well. I didn't expect fantastic performance... and I'm not getting it. I've got a solid working machine for a number of little things I want to do. The big problem is restoring the scanner somehow, and I guess I'll figure that out. I went to bed last night thinking I knew all the problems with my computer system.

When I got up this morning and checked my computers, the desktop had restarted itself. I don't know why. And there was some sort of conflict. It claimed that it had the same IP as another computer. I clicked to see if there was a message, but the warning just vanished. Grr. Then I checked the laptop... same warning. Great, my PCs are both trying to claim the same internet address. Why? And how do I fix it?

Twenty minutes of Googling later, I learned how to make the PCs claim different IP addresses from the router so the problem won't happen again. That's solved, but I still don't know why my computer restarted itself. Like I said, I thought I knew a lot, but all I really know is how to find the answers when I get stumped. I fool myself into thinking I'm some hot computer saavy chick, but really I'm just lucky.

by Tegan at 10:15 AM Seattle time

And Then...

So, after I wrote that note yesterday morning, the snow began to fall. And fall. And fall. Four inches later, I understood why school had been canceled. Then the ice storm started to move into the coast. Lovely.

Most schools in this county are closed, but Marysville is open running a couple hours late. Eric has already left. I hope he stays safe. It looks pretty nasty out there.

by Tegan at 7:44 AM Seattle time

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

And Now Marysville

Marysville schools are closed today. That probably pushes school to July 19th. And there's barely anything falling here.

by Tegan at 7:06 AM Seattle time


Watching the news to find out more about the approaching storm. Lots of images of heavy snowfall. Go outside... nothing. It's dry and cold. The school district we live in just cancelled school. I checked again. Dry and cold. We know Marysville schools cannot close, but it looks like the storm hasn't even actually hit us yet. This is just surreal. Completely.

by Tegan at 5:28 AM Seattle time

Monday, January 05, 2004

Storm Watch and Frozen Pipes

It's cold outside. For Seattle, at least. It's cold enough that the pipes to the clothes washer in the garage froze. I had to heat them up to get the bedsheets washed, and I've given up trying to do any other laundry today. In addition, there's a big storm watch on. Apparently conditions are perfect for a massive snowstorm, maybe the worst in about eight years, to hit the area. The prediction as of this moment is 2-6 inches in our area. That would pretty much shut down the town until it could melt. But the prediction calls for the snow to turn to rain which will stick around as sluch because it's so cold. Lovely.

If we're lucky, the snow will bypass the lowlands and hit the mountains instead. The skiers would like that.

by Tegan at 1:23 PM Seattle time

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Rapid Reviews - 2 January 2004

Astro City: Local Heroes #5: The second part of the story started last issue. It continues to be a horror story. The lawyer helps a mob boss's son escape a rap for murder only to get himself in a serious moral dilemma. This part was good, but didn't make as much sense. The whole thing with the dreams took a little long to develop. Once it developed, it was good, but it was confusing for awhile. 3 1/2 starfish

Empire #6: Oh my. I think last issue was far better for simple shock value. What little I've enjoyed about this series didn't show up in this issue, either. It wasn't horrible, and it delivered the promised prize, but it was still not the kind of book I want to read much. 3 starfish

Green Lantern #172: I can't even remember what happened in this issue. I'm sitting here a few hours later, and none of it is coming back to me. I think there was more of the space bits. And something about Sinestro, but not. Oh well. Maybe this book will get better someday. 2 1/2 starfish

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satapi: This is an amazingly easy book to read. That's what makes it so powerful. The book is told from Marji's point of view, and covers Marji's life in Iran from about 1979 until 1984. Marji was 10 in 1980, very close to my age. Her childhood couldn't have been more different than mine... and yet there are a number of aspects of Marji that I identify with strongly. Her desire to have someone in the family to brag about, for instance. Unfortunately, as she learns, she has plenty to brag about. The artwork is simplistic, but contains everything needed to tell the story. When you combine the simple art with the straightforward narrative, then add in the intense subject matter, the result is a one of those immediately classic works that should be required reading. 4 1/2 starfish

by Tegan at 9:41 PM Seattle time

I forgot.

I forgot to wish my Mom a happy birthday on my blog yesterday. I did wish her a happy b-day on the phone, but I didn't visit and I didn't mention it on my blog. Sorry Mom. Happy Belated Birthday.

by Tegan at 12:42 PM Seattle time