Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ubuntu Update, BCSFAzine Cover and more

The principal at our kids' school is unable to convince the school district's tech head to consider installing Ubuntu on any of their computers. So we loaned them our son's and told them that if there was any problems, pull him from class because it was his computer and he knew how to use it. He's in grade 2.

Years and years ago, I was a member on and off (some years on, some off) of BCSFA. I went to a few of their cons, spent a ton of time doing art security, even did an art show once and sold a piece. This is one of their covers:


I have no clue where the original artwork went. It was an 11 by 14 I think. The woman in the middle was Magenta. I'm not sure who the wolf or elfgirl are. I'd have to search my papers in the *cough* storage room to see if I still had them.

Storage room for us = place we throw everything because we don't want the kids to get at but fail miserably. My art supplies are in there somewhere and I dread the thought of going in to find them. I'm going to have to do it someday.

I also realized today that I've been scanning in my art at 200dpi all this time. That's fine for me and this blog but for a reprint or for professional work? Not so much.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

This is Aylen

In this image, we meet the irritated Aylen, sitting on her command chair, one foot dangling a shoe, frowning and bored.

this is Aylen

Aylen lived in a time when cybernetics were common, where people wore bracers full of gizmos and gadgets. She was "Control" and would enter a chrysalid to be the communications hub of her planet or the ship she was often on. The ability of a "Control" was not necessarily conscious. Unlike other "Controls," she hated being in the chrysalis. She, too, had a daughter, Tayshana, who was also a "Control" but was too young for the job. Not being able to raise her child was her main ire.

A chrysalis was a bio-quartz crystal that would float in the centre of the Control Room. There could be many "Controls" in there, or as few as a solitary one. A chrysalis was warm to the touch and would bend to a gentle weight. If struck, it would repel the force away from it. If you were a potential "Control," if you touched an empty one, it would draw you in, enveloping you, taking over your life support and let you live in a "cybernetic" dreamworld while you hibernated. Years would pass in "real time" yet it would seem like a blink of an eye.

Aylen was good at her job, yet she hated loosing connection with life. She could feel the passage of time and it irritated her, so she stayed out of the chrysalis as much as possible. Her anklet is actually a tracking device. She was too valuable to simply be allowed to roam free.

The stuff one comes up with as a teen...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A publish without a contract is copywrong

Years and years and years ago, I was a high school student, or just out of high school, and was excited whenever one of my meager drawings got published. This one fanzine editor and publisher wanted to run one of my drawings, but there was a caveat: she wasn't going to pay me and she was going to keep the copyright and publish it anytime she wanted to. She was pushing herself to be my agent. Now, don't get me wrong, she was the agent to at least two of my artistic mentors in the area and she was publishing and printing a lot of their work. I just had a few small problems with what she told me:
1: No contract
2: No payment, not even a single copy of the magazine for my portfolio
3: who asked her to represent me?

Seriously. Who asked her? I don't remember ever asking her to represent me.

Now, all the information in the above about her ownership of my copyright came out after she had published it. She wanted more images from me, specifically ST:NG characters because it was mainly an ST:NG fanzine. I didn't want that. I wanted to explore my larp character's history and write my own stories.

When she told me she owned the copyright and after she refused to give me a copy of the fanzine (I was going to have to buy my own copy!) I told her that the copyright was MINE and unless she paid me for it, (free copy? hmm? is that too much to ask?) I wasn't going to let her publish anymore of them.

She never did give me a free copy and never got to publish anymore of my artwork.

The picture was later published by another fanzine who happily gave me as many copies as I needed or wanted. I would have been happy with that publisher printing my work except that he was not interested in being my agent, but would accept any submissions I ever gave him and always happily gave me at least one copy.

This is Aylen M'Khose. Race, unknown. Definitely a telekinetic/telepathic race. In the image below, she had the ability to turn into a mermaid, but if that was a racial ability or from the medical doctor's magic sick bays, I forget. RPG from a long time ago, where all my notes are now lost to 20 years of life.

Aylen M'Khose

The story represented here is about how she was (from left upper) rescued a friend while in mermaid form, attacked a Romulan, was assaulted, killed someone, and was stuck on an away team she didn't want to be on (bottom two panels). The centre panel represents a period about 75 years after the smaller panels (ST:NG uniform vs ST:SFS) and how she was sent back in time on Vulcan to early in the Vulcan development. That's mount Seleya in the background. She couldn't return to her time and lived out her life as a hermit on Vulcan, staying away from the primitive Vulcans so as not to interfere. NOT! She did die in Vulcan's past, but not after having at least one child, whose descendants probably did not survive all the wars Vulcan had - I didn't want to explore that idea. She had another child before she went to the past, T'aysha, who was raised on her homeworld and came to Vulcan early in ST:NG time to Seleya and found her mother's emblem in the dirt.

The star Aylen wears on her forehead represents her family crest. Not that high up in the family hierarchy, but still among the nobility because of her abilities. When T'aysha found the emblem, the knowlege that her lost mother was truly dead overwhelmed her. T'aysha, herself, was half human, and therefore had limited telepathy/telekinesis, but her psychometry told her exactly what happened to her mother while she wore the emblem. The grave that was excavated nearby was one of a none-Vulcan female, but was badly deteriorated. Where it would be a breeze on Aylen to lift something the size of a shuttle, T'aysha could barely lift a phaser. Aylen was a "long distance" telepath and only needed to touch minds once with someone to be able to hear them, T'aysha was a line of sight telepath. None of Aylen's people enjoyed showing off their abilities because of one side effect: hunger. Use too much "push" and they got ravenous, yet if they didn't use their abilities, they would atrophy.

Aylen was my "superhero" ST character. T'aysha was more reasonable. One was created when my life was in chaos and I needed a superhero to help me live it, and the other was created after the worst of the chaos. I killed of Aylen M'Khose in the stories I wrote during the day simply because I had no need for her any longer. It's the Star Trek universe - if they had at least 3 different versions of male immortal godlike creatures, why not a female one who shows restraint?

Aylen M'Khose eventually morphed into a different genre's and lost the M'Khose. I'll post more on that version of her later.

I was 17 when I came up with Aylen M'Khose and the original of that image has a nasty bit of writing on the back. I had submitted a copy of it to my art teacher in the Grade 12 Art Portpholios class and he wrote my grade on the back. I think it was an A+. The teacher wanted us to do something that took at least 20 hours to do. I was over 30 when I handed in the copy. He also demanded to see the original and I showed him. I used technical pens and (shudder) permanent ink at the time because that was all I had.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Kiana No Luck

About... oh... nearly 20 years now, I was an avid D&D fan. I was also a skittish D&D fan for reasons I won't go into here. One of the characters I ran for only one small adventure, but I fell in love with her anyway, was a half-elf called "Kiana No Luck."
Kiana No Luck
That was the first image I ever drew of her. I have at least one more not included here. The GM had us roll "luck rolls" and I always fubared, so she was known as "Kiana No Luck."
colours for a mural
A few years later, a gaming store owner and I were in negotiations for a mural on their bathroom door, if you could call it negotiations. It fell through for various reasons - one of which I'm pretty sure was because I was expected to provide all the paints I would need. I was barely making $750/month at that time, $520 went to rent and at least another $70 went to phone and net. $150 to live off of was not a lot, and I had other expenses I won't go into here. There were other factors as well which had nothing to do with the gaming store, and I'm glad I didn't. The gaming store changed owners and folded. This was the first proposal of what colours I planed on using on the mural and it had to be approved by the owner. It was, but, the mural fell through.
Kiana runs
During the original and only module Kiana ever ran in, she ended up down a long hallway and she had to run it without getting hit by the arrows fired by the orcs. She succeeded. One of the only time I ever got a luck roll to fall my way.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Art Class and more...

I just can't seem to do anything abstract and that's one of our assignments. I tried drawing a star and then drew a line, which became a pen drawing a line, then a hand holding the pen drawing the line... That got thrown across the room.

So I decided to work on another piece. I started with a tulip type flower, tucked in a newborn's foot and hand, added a leaf, showed it to my man and frowned. It wasn't abstract enough.

So I drew a cross from behind, grass, some aurora, a hand reaching for the flower... and I started to hear the old Pete Seeger (<3 him!) song "Where have all the flowers gone." I think I did something abstract enough. The next two assigments are observational drawings - a series of about 10 of them, and then The Group of Seven. I don't even know where to begin with them, except that it involves recreating one of their works but in pastel.

I picked up a portable art platform to draw on so that I can leave the picture I'm working set up and can pick it up to put it away from the kids.

Speaking of kids, our middle child seems to have that knack. I hope she nurses it and let her skill grow. Maybe she'll be the next Colleen Doran, only Canadian. :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Apology... of a sort...

Need I say more?

Art class is harder than I thought it would be.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Art Class

I went to my first of many art classes yesterday. Visual Art 2d. We did the introductions, the beginnings of shades and gradients and I have an interesting project to do. It's harder than I thought it would be.

I'm a knitter and a crocheter and, as I was so thoroughly embarrassed by a Jambe in our Barony who said (paraphrase) "if it has to do with yarn, she pwns it." I used to draw too, ya know.

So, I'm working on ideas for my midterm already, although I am thinking about dropping out simply because the peetaybees are taking a weekly course and making it biweekly. Not good. How am I supposed to remember what I'm doing between classes? I have four memory distractions - husband and three kids. If it does go biweekly, I will be not impressed.

It was fun. My fingers were covered in ink, chalk, pastels and charcoal and I was happy again for a brief moment. I miss those days covered in something from Art class. If I didn't have a spot on me, I wasn't doing anything at all that day. I ruined more shirts, and pants! than I would ever admit.

Anyway, because Windows 7 is about to come out, I am offering this little treasure:
red shirts
One day, a long, long time ago, I went with my then boyfriend(now husband) and roommate (two different men) to find a new video card for my specially built desktop, specced out by I/O Error two years earlier. Not bleeding edge when I got it, but close enough for what I could afford at the time. Roommate stood to my left. Boyfriend to his left. The male computer sales clerk (henceforth, salesjerk) at (store I will not name *cough*staples*cough*) was asked, by me, to show me the different cards. He did, sorta. He turned to the two guys and would ask them a question about my computer.

Just three little problems with that.
1: Boyfriend - Compaq user with a system that needed replacing.
2: Roommate - Mac lUser hopelessly in love with his gumdrop at the time. He's still in love with his Macs. I'm told he's about to get a new one.
3: me, the actual computer owner and partial builder - being ignored.

Salesjerk would ask a question to the guys, the guys would point, look, gesture, verbally tell this guy to ask me specifically and he would ignore me if I answered and actually turned away from me. Rinse, repeat a few more times. "Ask her," one said, "she's the computer's owner."

"It's her machine, don't look at me. I have a Compaq."

"I'm a Mac User. I don't know a thing about PCs."

Again, rinse, repeat. While the guys were still having a charming talk with the salesjerk over the video card that I was no longer going to buy from him, I slipped away to find the manager.

I gave him a piece of my mind. This was actually the second day in a row at the same store that I was trying to buy a frigging video card and I had the money on me at that moment to buy up to and including their bleeding edge one. I told him that his salesjerk lost him a sale and any future computer hardware sales from me and anyone else I would ever have a chance to tell - all because the salesjerks would not ask ME the questions. Yes, this was two separate men, not just the one salesjerk.

I had tried to give them the benefit of the doubt, which is why I went back in trying to get the piece of hardware I needed.

What does this have to do with Windows 7? Simple: Windows 7 is not listening to their user base. They are charging way to much for an upgrade, even the "home" edition, than what should be charged. They are forcing people to buy better, juicier, meaner machines, maxing out budgets and more just to be able to run their bloatware. Microsoft is telling us, the user, what we must have to be one of them, instead of working with the lowest common denominator and keeping them running happily. Windows 3 support died years ago. So did Windows 95, 98 and more. XP is supposed to be dead in the water now. Vista is supposed to go away in about 2 years forcing everyone to upgrade to 7 or whatever else they are force feeding us.

How is that wrong? In an economy such as this is, we, the general home user, and schools, and small businesses and more, can not afford their highway robbery licensing fees nor the cost of constantly upgrading. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Make do. Mend. None of those are part of Microsoft's schemes. Microsoft wants us to constantly upgrade. You might as well just hand over your credit card number to Microsoft and let them bill you on a monthly basis.

All the hype, and even before Windows 7 comes out, there's already a patch.

My question: how much would PCs cost if they didn't come with Microsoft Windows?

The ironic thing about all this: the manager learned from the experience and even took a printout of the original 'toon from the older site and posted it in his training room. If anything, it taught the manager that his salesjerks need a smidge of knowledge that the women that come in the door might just know a bit about computers, not the men.

(end rant)

ps: this applies to cars too. I might not know much more than "that's the gas pedal, that's the brake, that's the clutch, that's the gear shift and I use this to aim where I'm going" but I do know that if you ignore me when the car is for me, I won't buy it. Nor will any of the women I know.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Ye verily ye.

Preacher Penalt
Originally posted in April, y2k, Penalt was fully formed in my mind. Not only as the companion to Mamid(me), but as an antagonist to Whitey. Whitey is a Mac user. Penalt is Windows. Mamid is a dual booter Windows/Mandrake at that point. Penalt, if I had kept on going with the strip instead of taking a break, would have slowly learned the joys of Linux. Whitey and Penalt were friends with Penalt constantly beating Whitey at all the games the two of them could play together - mainly, Moo3.

Penalt would, and still does, rants about offering one's wallet to Redmond and to remember to do your "Hail Bills" in a timely manner. I had him envisioned as a priest of Gates learning how wrong Windows actually is. Penalt is planning on joining the "skeptics club" with the Unbuntu Loco.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Drinking and Driving is no joke

Over on one of the boards I tend to frequent, one woman posted about how the editorial cartoonist at her university's newspaper did a drawing of a drunk driving game of shots in a Smart Car and about how her letter to the editor was flamed. Drinking and driving is no joke. Honestly, the penalties are not even strong enough.
Reading it, I became enraged. I effing hate drawing stupid cars. Always have, but for this, I will make an exception.
drinking and driving game
So, to the unnamed university and cartoonist - WTF were you thinking? Drinking and driving is no joke and definitely not a game I, or anyone I know, would ever play!


Penalt's sick

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ugh. *coughcough*

Everyone has had h1n1 go through them here. Right now, the man is doing a feeble "I'm sick" cough behind me. Youngest is in my arms twisting around and trying to get comfy while I type. The other two are asleep - one in bed, one on the couch.

To top it all off, my arm is still hurting to the point where I don't want to type, let alone mouse. My kids are fighting over Bakugan, Pokemon, Transformers and anything else they can get their hands on, so I give you: Pokemon Hater
pokemon hater
That's Whitey's debut from the original strip. I made his glasses square because, well... he's very square at times.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

In response to Windows 7

Until my arm stops hurting, or I start taking the art course I signed up for, I am doing more repeats, and not necessarily every day. I am using a dual Ubuntu/Vista laptop. My kids love GCompris and Child's Play. I run this blog mostly from the Vista side at the moment because there are two small problems with Ubuntu that need to be fixed. I noticed that my CPU runs about 118F or higher in Vista, but only about 105F in Ubuntu even when running WOW through Wine.
In response to all those who are planning on hosting Windows 7 parties - not that I think there really are, but there's a stupid Youtube video about how to host one - I present the day I was offered a G4.
Whitewings (Whitey/Marc) offered to get me a G4 if I switched to Mac. I never did.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Volunteer

I used to work for a metis group if you define "work" as "volunteer" and "pay" as "random honorarium." I had two bosses, one cool one who was very business like and another one who I thought we were friends because he recommended me for the job, but turned out all we did in the end was butt heads.
He also wasn't that bright. He once grabbed a webpage, hit "view source code" and spent the next hour "editing" it and when he saved it, it didn't change. I got yelled at by him for snickering. So I handled his anger by drawing. These are dated, but I'm not worrying about putting the strips in order.
Editing via view
"LC" forgot his password to his computer and expected me, the only tech savy person there, (if we equate "tech savy" with someone who could write webpages in notepad, use a scanner, troubleshoot a printer, type a minimum of 70wpm {I can't be tested for it} and had a buddy tutoring some of the finer points of the art of the techy) to find it for him. It wasn't on his little post-it he kept by his desk and when routing around in his computer, I found that what he was using to login with wasn't the right combo and it explained why he was having problems printing or connecting with the network. I told him to contact the tech who set up the system but he just yelled at me instead.
Coffee, cd, what's the difference?
Yes, I caught him attempting to do the coffee cup maneuver once. It was an install cd, not the drive.
one of the other girls
I was planning on fleshing the personalities out a bit more. One was very kind, one was selfish and seemed to be the accountant, and one just didn't seem to really do any work. They were all paid from what I understood (they got paycheques) and I was the volunteer who got a bus pass and occasionally my lunch paid for.
"Katie" was the only one who actually seemed to do work. She was constantly answering the phone, doing reports and more.

Where was I?
I was doing job resumes for walk in clients, bouncing from a networked computer to another computer to do a newsletter (that was constantly getting stuff added to it - 2 pages turned out to be 20 and I had to whittle it down to about 6 ), running errands, answering the phone and more. I would have enjoyed sitting down and doing dream catchers with them. Their reasoning was that "someone" (me) had to be actually working just in case a client came in and to stand watch in case the big boss came back. I watched the three of them get out the supplies and not even ask me if I wanted to join them. My revenge? I got to tell the big boss (not LC) that the women were goofing off instead of working and from then on, my cross stitch came with me. If they were goofing off, I was going to goof off too.
Flame Mail
I had access to my email depending on the computer and there was at least two flame wars on at any given time. What do metis use for flame wars? Flaming arrows of course.
Bored tech friend
The friend that was tutoring me (and still gives me advice all these years later) followed the ip from an email I sent and traced it back to the office. The network went down for some unknown reason. I checked the logs and laughed.
Not My Job Description
I got voluntelled for all sorts of jobs, including babysitting.
The job went south. LC and I got into a huge argument, and I only went back long enough to grab my coat and my cup that LC was using as a sugar holder. It was good while it lasted. I refuse to put it in my job experience. Somethings are just better forgotten. An hour and a half round trip each way to get to and from the job burnt me out. LC and I just couldn't get along and it was better if I didn't work there anymore. A few years later I went back and the office was long gone and from what I understand, it is closed now.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Yet another strip 0. This was right behind the other one in my sketchbook.
vivid dream
yah, I fell for the Titanic movie mythos just like pretty much every other red blooded North American woman. James Cameron knows how to tug the heart strings.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The First Just Breathe ever!

what have I done?
I originally drew this in a sketchbook without any graphics capability to uptoad it or do anything fancy with it. It stayed there, hiding away for months. Then I started the original Just Breathe website - we will not go into the chaos it caused - and I made it strip 0.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Rita gets a makeover

faster mama faster
We weren't fast enough with the install on my machine...

I'm a dual booter now. We also picked up some recycled machines from Free Geek running Ubuntu for the kids today.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ubuntu for our kids' school(s)

Our kids are going to a school in a province where the education and charities had their budgets cut by $77 Million. I did a quick demo to the principal, with my eldest's help (grade 2) and he's convinced. The problem is convincing the school board and the IT guys, and you know how those types are. If it isn't from M$ it isn't any good. The school is about to toss a pallet loaded with PCs and iMacs because they are "too old." They could just a easily recycle them into Ubuntu and save $$$$$$ and give those computers several more years before they have to be changed over. I could use all the resources I can get to do a presentation or proposal to the school board. Can you gurus help?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hell Mouth?

First Boot, justbreatheseptember20090916

First image in a while

I had a... well... block. Finally, an Ubuntu guru suggested when I was on the verge of tears to grab crayons and try that way. So I broke out my Prismacolors and started with yellow...
Oddbit, the dwarven huntress and jewelcrafter
I'm burnt out playing Wow. I'm trying Champions Online. It isn't going so well...