Wednesday, June 27, 2012

For your viewing pleasure, or horror, depending

Hello, readers. I'm sorry I have been neglecting you. As you are all probably aware because I talk about it ALL THE TIME in every outlet known to man, I am working on another novel. I'm aiming to finish the first draft by December, which means writing two chapters every month while simultaneously editing previous chapters, and doing research, and then rewriting what I got wrong because I hadn't done enough research yet when I wrote it the first time. The amount of time this takes up is excessive and it's surprising that I still have friends. (Thank you, friends, for not stabbing your voodoo doll of me every time I say, "I can't, I have to write!") It has not left much time for blogging, mainly because editing photos takes too long, and photos are at least fifty perfect of what goes on here. I have a whole list of things that will need a post, but getting around to it has been difficult, and posting will probably be extra-sporadic until the end of the year.

In contrast to the rest of my life, work has been incredibly slow and boring. While this can lead to many dispiriting afternoons of clock-watching (Tuesday afternoon in particular is neverending, just like the song says) it has also given me the chance to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator slightly better. My recent goal has simply been to learn how to draw things, which is surprisingly complicated and requires a lot of practice. For me, anyway. I'm not so good at it to begin with, even on paper, so doing it on a computer is even harder. Which is why the stuff I made while practicing turned out to be really weird, and two out of four are aliens. I've never had much of an interest in aliens, so I can't explain that other than to say that when you're just playing with lines and have nothing in particular in mind, the life forms that come out of it tend not to be recognizably human. Again, this may be a problem that only affects me. I don't think Adobe Illustrator has a built-in bias toward aliens, although that would explain some of its more difficult features.

Figure 1: MOOSE

You may be able to tell that this one started with me just making squiggles.
And then I decided, what the heck, let's make an anatomically incorrect animal out of it!
To be fair, this was my first attempt at actually doing anything with Illustrator.
Also I've never seen a moose.

Figure 2: Purple Alien

I think he/she must be in the same phylum as Jabba the Hutt.

Figure 3: Alien so happy!

I don't know. I really don't know.

Figure 4: You . . . shall not . . . pass!

This one was legitimately work-related. There's construction outside of one of the main exits, and by "construction" I mean there's going to be a giant hole on the other side of the doors. Consequently, the doors have been blocked off, and it seemed like they needed an attention-getting sign. This sign has already been made by like sixty people on the internet, but because I'm a perfectionist, I made my own. (I'm thinking about how to construct a giant flaming Balrog to put in the giant hole once it's been dug. The sign for that will say, "Too deep you delved here, and woke the nameless fear. Please exit to Lothlรณrien. Thank you.") As I was putting this up a student walked by and said, "Haha, that's kinda funny." And I was like, "WHAT DO YOU MEAN, "KINDA"?" Kids these days are so hard to impress.

Other legitimately work-related things include:

Figure 5: How to use the library

This is for a web page that no one will ever use because they will probably never find it. But if they do, they will discovere this semi-faithful representation of Rush Rhees. Which took like ninety years because it was possibly the second time I used Illustrator.

Figure 6: Little Red Riding Hood

Last March, the semi-annual book sale needed signs to delineate the genres, so I made a bunch of these, but this is the only one I drew myself. It took eight hours and there were fifteen signs or so, and it didn't seem like a worthwhile use of my time to draw them all. However, I'm very proud of this one because of the strong resemblance the deformed wolf-buffalo hybrid bears to an actual wolf! So close! (This was actually made 3/4 in Photoshop, 1/4 in Illustrator, and assembled in InDesign. I like to do things the stupid and inefficient way.)

Hopefully this will tide you all over (because I know that when I don't post regularly you all start to look sad and gray in the face because life without Simon & Ivan is hardly a life at all) until the next post, whenever that will be. There will be alpacas in it, I know that much.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Transit of Venus

Since Simon & Ivan invented quasars and all, it seems only right that we should say something about happenings in the world of astronomy, such as the Transit of Venus last Tuesday. We should like to confirm that Venus did indeed transit successfully, but after such an arduous journey -- the second in eight years, which it feels is a little much to ask -- it took to its bed and refuses to get up again until we promise to make it some calves'-foot jelly and hold its hand for an hour or so every afternoon until it's quite recovered. When assured that it need not perform this feat again until 2117, it said peevishly that it should "bloody well hope not" and pulled the covers over its head.

2012-06-05 Transit of Venus
The photographer wishes to be credited as "R. M. Jurnack, Historian, Esq.," for reasons known only to himself.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Greenery at Linwood Gardens

Linwood Gardens is apparently magic, because every time I go there the weather is perfect, the grass is green, and I have a splendid day.

I've been reading a lot about the Genesee Valley lately, so it was nice to lay eyes on it. Although I guess technically I'm looking at it all the time because I sort of live in it. But it's hard to tell. I feel like you're only in a valley if you can see the other side of the valley. From your house. (If what you see is Russia, that means you're at Sarah Palin's house, and you should get out.)

Matt and Adam and I pondered whether these tennis courts were ever paved. Because if the ball can't bounce, aren't you actually playing badminton? But it turns out Wimbledon is played on grass. Who knew?


The green, it's everywhere! It's coming in through the walls! It's going to get into your house! Pave it! Pave it fast! 

I imagine French country estates to look exactly like this. You can tell just from looking at it that the troubadour is about to enter stage left. Unfortunately, he will probably start singing insipid French romances and we'll regret that we invited him.

This shot is poorly framed because I took it by holding my camera over my heading and clicking about blindly. Matt was kind enough to actually take good pictures for me, but I like how this one is all green, no sky, with just the pool for blue. Also, I don't know what that tree is in the top center, but it's perfect and I'd like to picnic under it.