In need of a redesign since 2011.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Sparkles and unicorns

Oh no, they be stealin my idea!

Well, not technically my idea. Although how close it is to my website design is once again making me desperately rethink this look.

See, the problem is, I learned enough CSS and HTML to get this layout in place, and then I forgot most of it. QUANDARY. Maybe when my boyfriend's less busy I'll get him to lend a hand...




Friday, 20 March 2009

Secret places

I had a pretty good childhood. My family got on okay, and I lived on an island with fields and beaches and forests... life treated me well. But there was something missing from my youth, something that I've always longed for - I knew, as so many children do, that there are supposed to be secret rooms.

I'm sure you know what I mean. We've all read the books, haven't we? The ones where a tapestry conceals a hallway, or moss hides a door. Narnia's wardrobe, Harry Potter's platform 9¾... fiction is littered with secret doorways to unusual places.

It even happens in real life - there's Anne Frank's bookshelf; Queen Victoria's wardrobe in Osbourne House that leads into other rooms. I remember going into her room on a school trip as a child and being amazed that the Queen of England would employ such subterfuge. If I was queen, I would do the same.

Why have I never had a secret room?!

It's what I longed for when I shared my room with two other sisters, and it's still the most common dream I have. I dream of being somewhere familiar - my home, my church, my school - and finding unexpected passages, or a gap in a fence, or a big wall hanging beyond which lies a secret space that nobody knows about but me. I can't count the number of times I've had this dream. It used to be flying, but now I dream - sometimes as often as five times a week - of these secret places.

Perhaps that explains my love of exploring.

It certainly explains my love of Ben "Yatzhee" Croshaw's games; I've only played one so far, but secret rooms feature heavily. OH MY GOSH SEAMLESS LINK! Maybe some of you have seen his amazing game reviews (I don't care about gaming, but watch his reviews obsessively), but I want to recommend his own games. They're honest-to-goodness, point-and-click, pixel-art masterpieces. You can find them linked at the top of his site. (Where it says The Best Stuff.) The links will go, as ever, on the left.

Also, just for fun, I made a picture of myself in the style of Jeph Jacques (artist and author of the epic Questionable Content). What do you think?

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Things what I have drawed


I was always a bit of a prodigy at drawing. As far as I can remember, I was the first person in my class to realise that faces don't consist of two blue dots and a smiley red line. I recall making a rather less-than-spectacular attempt at perspective at the tender age of 7 (prompting my friend to ask me why the bath in the picture was in the ground), and I distinctly remember someone once asked me to draw a well for them.

So with all this evidence of my artistic genius, it might be hard to imagine that there are some areas in which I struggle. I know! Doesn't make sense, does it! Me, Anna, being less than amazing at something!
No, actually, I want to be serious here because it's a great source of frustration for me. I can't draw men.

Women I can draw; I have a lot of fun drawing women, and I can see definite improvement when I practise a lot; but when it comes to the unfairer sex (sorry?), I just can't seem to get it right.

I blame my 'drawing manga' book. I bought it a few years back out of curiosity, and found out that it's actually astonishingly fun to draw girls! They have curves, in places! But when it comes to the strong, sexy, roughly triangular torso of an adult male, I have no helpful book, and I can't trace photos of myself. Rendering me helpless. And hopeless.

some blokeSee? Look! WHAT is that about! The moment I decide to draw a man, I lose 30 IQ points and develop the drawing ability of an injured chimp. It's most upsetting. It's been this way for years now. Every now and then I'll pick up a pencil or plug in my wacom tablet, and produce something that I want to delete straight away for fear it might infect all my other pictures with The Crap.

Interesting thing of the day: UK types, you might have heard that Robert Webb (aka 'him off Peep Show') won Comic Relief's celebrity dance competition. This is the video of his winning performance, and I'm sure you'll agree that... uh... something.

I don't know if you can watch that video in America or elsewhere. Not that that matters, as you probably don't know who Robert Webb is. Or you might, I guess. I'm rambling.

JennyREMINDER: Please vote me up again! The competition's hotting up!

EDIT: I'd also like to recommend ablog to you all: GavD's Wrestles with Life. He's a fantastic writer, and his latest post about the causes of ridicularity poses some interesting points.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Thoughts of an Elder Tree

Ok, on request, and because I'd just finished one anyway, I thought I'd show you guys a poem. I write all kinds - surreal, spiritual, comedic, literally anything. This one is free form, which I find hard because I find structured poetry comes naturally to me.

Anyway, do let me know what you think, suggestions for improvement are much welcomed! (As long as you're nice!)

Thoughts of an Elder tree.

So strange to see saplings these days
Surrounded by New Stone
Supported and bound,
Kept as pets.
A tree should never be supported. It weakens the sap.

They do not know what it is
To feel the life run thick and sticky through the boughs,
To stretch and reach with searching roots.

But they grow deep and high, they will learn
What it is to be of Odin's Horse.
Their roots will buckle, bend and break the New-Stone shackles,
Scabbed bark a testament to our strength.
I'll also be posting it in my deviantART with the rest of my creative splurges (the link's always on the left if you want it.)

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Sing us a song

I definitely need to write songs.

I've been writing poetry since I discovered boys at the age of 15. Over the years, it's become a tried and tested means of expressing myself - the one thing in life that I could confidently say I was good at. Not great, maybe, but good. And songwriting is always something that's appealed to me.

The problem is that I can't play an instrument. Not one. I took piano lessons when I was younger, and they tried to teach me to play the recorder once. Over the years, I bought an ocarina, a harmonica, two penny whistles and a xylophone in the hopes that one of them would grant me magical musical powers. I even took drum lessons for a bit, and that was a lot of fun, but I didn't stick with it - something I still regret, as I suspect that hitting things with sticks would be a very healthy form of release for me!

Every time I walk past a music shop, or I'm dragged in by my (wonderfully talented) boyfriend, I gaze in awe at everything from the ukuleles to the clarinets, wondering if I'll ever find the instrument that's right for me. (In reality though, I know that's not how it works. How it really works is that you pick an instrument and slog your guts out until you're good at it. This is another reason why real life sucks.)

Over Christmas, I spent a bit of time in my home church, Bethany. It's the church I went to throughout my entire childhood, and I had a key to it for a year, so I feel completely comfortable and safe there. I was waiting for a friend, and had a couple of hours to kill, and I thought - y'know what would be fun? Playing on one of the pianos. And I mean 'playing' in the fun sense. Bethany has - let me think... at least four pianos and a keyboard, so I was spoiled for choice.

piano keys

I sat down in front of one of the pianos, and played a couple of chords, throwing in a few notes with my right hand. "Ooh, that sounds nice..." I played the only song I ever learned - 'give me oil in my lamp' - an easy one, because it's mostly on the black keys. I made dozens of mistakes, and nobody would have been fooled into thinking that I new what I was doing, but as I played and re-played tunes I knew, and invented a few as well, the mistakes got fewer and fewer and let me tell you - I was loving it!

Looking around my room now, at the plastic storage tubs that hold my possessions until I get proper furniture, it's slightly discouraging to know that I can't really find room for a piano in here (even assuming I could a) buy one, and b) get it up two flights of stairs in the first place). But it's reassuring that I'm not completely without hope. And that maybe the days will come when I can tinkle on the ivories, or even buy a budget keyboard, and get a few songs out into the world.

Interesting thing of the day: the timeline of internet memes.

ALSO, a reminder, please vote for Almost Daily Exploits! I'm narrowly ahead and would love for it to stay that way ;) Thanks so much to everyone who's voting and re-voting.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

We need a better idea

They're just a normal part of city living. We're used to seeing them flapping about in the streets, used to trying to avoid getting poked in the eye by one. We don't even blink when we see their mangled, pathetic remains lying in the road.

I am talking, of course, about umbrellas.

Don't get me wrong, I accept that they were a genius invention back in 1852, but this is the year 2009! We're living in the future now! Surely we can come up with something better than these wire contraptions that insist on turning inside-out at the slightest provocation?

This is what I was thinking about as I struggled home in the rain today. Well, technically I was thinking AWGH STOP TURNING INSIDE OUT, I SWEAR UMBRELLA, I WILL LEAVE YOU IN A TREE! but the basic sentiment is the same. Have we really got no better suggestions? At the very least someone should make an umbrella skirt, I think it's fairly obvious that they never keep you dry below the waist. Anyway. The sooner somebody makes a rainproof forcefield, the better.

Interesting thing for today: crayon art. I love unusual art forms, and this definitely qualifies! As always, the link will go up on the left.

(Also, quick reminder to
vote me up
if you haven't already. Or even if you have. I'm not picky.)

Oh! Oh and another interesting thing: Pink dolphin found in the US. I'm no huge fan of pink, but on a dolphin, that's pretty freakin' rad.