who the heck knows anything, anyway

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ok, I suck, whatever, I know

Daily Deity will be going on hiatus until I'm back in Seattle! It was probably stupid of me to start it before the new year, but I was excited about it, and excitement leads to impatience, which leads to rash decisions. In addition to having a nasty cut on the middle finger of my right--i.e. "drawing"--hand (not an impediment to typing due to my being an index finger "pecker"), I've been battling a mild-but-nevertheless-remarkably-inconveniencing illness, and doing family stuff, and trying to see all my hometown friends, and snuggling with a puppy, et cetera. I've also had hiccoughs for the past, I dunno, ten minutes (Matthew's fault). That's not really related, but it is annoying. Anyways, point being that I will get back to structured drawing exercises when I'm back home. OMG, these hiccoughs are horrible.

Let's see, good things. I got a haircut today! It looks tres spiffy (it's a bob. A blue bob. Sounds a bit like a bird, doesn't it?). Mmmm, haircuts. And I got to see Scott! That always makes me happy. Aaaaand, ran into some of my favorite peeps at Powell's... impressively, didn't spend any money at Powell's. Now I'm home, in my pjs, feeling lazy and exhausted at 9:30pm. Rhinovirus Recovery will do that to you. The rest of the break seems pretty busy, too, between seeing people and helping my mom cook a magnificent feast, so I apologize in advance if I don't get to see someone on this trip. I'm also still a liiiiittle bit loopy from all of the cold medicine I've been taking, so forgive me if I sound distant or if none of these sentences actually make any sense. I've been living in a cloudy daze! WooOOOoooOoo.

This is my haircut:

 ?thgir ,ecin ytterp

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Daily Deity #5 - Thoth

I missed yesterday. Already, one day missed! But whatever, because I was traveling, and I feel that's a valid excuse. Now, safe and sound at the parentals' for the holidays, I can get back to it.

I did two of them today. That can be my penance. The first one was my "warm up" and the second is more my personal style.

warmin' up
(again, these pictures taken with my phone. haaaa.)

doin' the good stuff

Obviously, my idea of the good stuff is drawing a cartoon. Plus, cartooning is faaaast! The first one took me about half an hour, and the second took me maybe five minutes. I realized, after sketching the first (and then trying to make it interesting with some shading and sharp lines), that I should really be allowing myself a warm up and then actually going for it in my style instead of settling for things that are slightly boring. I mean, Fenrir took me two drunk minutes to draw, and he was great. I just need to loosen up! Which, coincidentally, was the same advice I gave my dad. My papa was somehow convinced* to sit down with me and draw a little bit. My dad is an artist, plain and simple**, but he hasn't drawn in a while. My goal during this little holiday is to get him back into it. Things were a bit stiff today (I 100% understand. Sometimes, I'm just a crappy draw-er), but the two of us are in agreement that if we can get him into a groove, he'll be doing sweet sketches by Christmas. Hooray! Holiday magics!

I'm too lazy to tell you a bunch about Thoth, but he's a wise scribe, depicted with the head of an ibis or baboon. Unlike some of the previous deities, there's plenty of cool info on him, just a google (or wikipedia)
search away.

Today has been remarkably good. I'm exhausted from sleeping in the basement with the guinea pigs (they looooove getting loud around 2am, and really do a stellar job of keeping up the squeaking until 4 or so), and it's butts cold in the house, but I have hot tea, a house full of (currently, extended) family, a super cute corgi pup who loves snuggles, and all sorts of surprising, amazing things that make me want to jump for joy. I do miss my boo (our decision to spend the holidays with our separate families--one in P-town, the other in Northern California--was pretty stupid, but, you know, blah blah absence blah blah fonder), but at this point, the next week and a half look pretty okay. It would be EXTRA AWESOME if it SNOWED. Like, ON CHRISTMAS. Hint hint. However, as I said, I am in no mood to complain. In fact, maybe the snow can wait until Daniel and I are back home in Sea-town and can enjoy it together. Especially considering my lack of packed boots. Hoom.

...you know, upon observation, Thoth's head looks a little like Tall Penguin. I hope that Mr. Muto finds that observation complimentary. :/

*ok, so I nagged him. A lot.
**"genius" is not really a stretch here. I tried to take a picture of one of the drawings he did when he was 18, but it's too dark. I promise to get one up sometime during my stay.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Daily Deity #4 - Moritasgus

So, apparently we've got an "animal" theme at the moment. Let's just roll with it, shall we?

Today, adding to the diversity of both geography and biology hereby represented, I give you Moritasgus! the Celtic/Gaulish god associated with the Greco-Roman Apollo, often called upon by those in need of healing, and bearer of a name that means either "Great Badger" or "Sea Badger"*. I decided to just go ahead and make him a Sea Badger. (duh.)

His lady-friend's name is Damona, and the snake/hand combo is her little shout-out (based on the only remaining bits of a cult-statue of her at a healing spring shrine). I'm also particularly fond of the hand, because I basically want to be Hellboy when I grow up. No one draws like Mignola. Seriously. But sometimes, for the sake of exercise, it's fun to try! Anywhoo, my buddy Kait gets the credit for suggesting this badger-licious dude. :D

In other news, I'm getting super jealous of people who have Cintiqs/Wacom tablets. I definitely love drawing on paper, but it would be so much fun to color stuff and have it look all nice and clean! Dammit, just add "art school" to that ever-growing list of things I would do with a few extra years of life and a few (hundred) thousand more dollars. Being an autodidact is only fun to a point.

Dear artists who have no idea my blog exists: how do you learn about/how to use all of the different tools and media available? Trial and error? A really good book I don't know about? Watching livestreams of other people drawing? (that last one is, admittedly, fun, awe-inspiring, and intimidating as heck) School? Workshops? Having cool friends?? I have no idea. That's why I just doodle on the paperzz.

That being said, I have learned a lot about texture (I did an exercise that I will not force upon you) by looking at a bunch of Edward Gorey art and drawing buildings, sidewalks, badgers (heh), etc, with all the different types that I can sort of figure out how to emulate. That's been a huge help.So if you, too, are wading through teaching yourself how to improve your drawing, I highly recommend that as an exercise. Plus, who doesn't want to spend a couple hours looking at Edward Gorey drawings? Even if you're easily depressed, he drew happy cats and stuff. It's not all*** little kids getting run over by carriages.

Oh, look! See?
Edward Gorey's "Cat Aerobics"
(for those of more delicate constitutions)

Though, frankly, this is the stuff that's more my speed:

the cover to Edward Gorey's "The Other Statue"

In other, other news: Grad school stuff is all turned in (!!!) and I'm heading down to P-town tomorrow. Haircuts, Christmas, and hangin' with all my buddies are all in my near future.

*or even, perhaps, as one source suggested**, "masses of sea water"
**hopefully I am reading this correctly
***though, um, mostly

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Daily Deity #3 - Fenrir

Today's deity was suggested by Daniel:

A fab quote via wikipedia, which was part of the inspiration
"Further into the poem, the völva foretells that Odin will be consumed by Fenrir at Ragnarök."

This is a nice li'l homage to my term studying Icelandic Sagas (remarkably, most focused on the mortal, and not the godly. But that doesn't mean those ol' vikings didn't like their gods. I, myself, have an unintentional-but-all-around-snuggly love for Odin, but Fenrir is pretty hardcore. Rowling, as many of you may have already concluded, made him famous in these strange, contemporary times of ours). Fortunately, since I've had about 2/3 of a bottle of wine, he was not the hardest to draw. Three cheers for wine and wolves! 

Ain't he cute?

Grad school apps are all due tomorrow*. All of my stuff is submitted (phew), so... Wish me luck!

*except for one, which is due in March

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Daily Deity #2 - Khonvoum

Today, we have Khonvoum, the Mbuti (or Bambuti; an indigenous pygmy group from what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo) god of the hunt, in addition to being their creator. His bow is made from two snakes, which we mortals see as rainbows, and he often appears to humans as a chameleon (which is how I decided to draw him).

Again, bad picture quality. Sorry! We're tearing the house apart, trying to find our camera charger.

Other new stuff since yesterday: I got some new perfume in the mail this morning from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (aka The Only People Who Supply Me With Perfume)! They discontinued my old scent*, so I'm experimenting with something new**. Each one  comes in little 5ml. bottles, and, since they're concentrated oils, they're not gross and alcohol-y. You should check them out! Granted, I'm a little obsessed with all things olfactory, so their website is my version of an artisan chocolate shop. I spend hours drooling over their stuff. If I wasn't pretty much broke (I spent a lot this Christmas. WHOOPS), I'd have bought more than one, for sure. As it is, in a couple of months I'd like to buy a different scent for going out and the like--something a bit spicier. Then I can alternate. Man, back to the comment I made yesterday about all those PhDs I want: if I could add thirty years to my life, I would become a perfumer. Smelling things brings me a very particular, visceral joy. Like I said, some people have chocolate--but for me, nothing compares to what the nose knows: the sweet smell of decaying autumn leaves, or a hint of rose perfume that catches in the air for only a second. Mmmmm. Pitter-pat goes my heart. Consequently, having a cold is like being in hell.

Speaking of the afterlife, making people smell uniquely delicious for a living would be heavenly. Too bad it didn't occur to me that such a thing might  be an option when I was in high school, forced to think every day about THE FUTURE. Kids. Remember: there are all kinds of jobs out there. Don't let the man tell you that you need to sit in a cubicle all day.

*March Hare. It was perfect!--apricot and clove, spicy and sweet, delicious
**White Rabbit, coincidentally. And it's aptly named. The description of the scent on the website--and they write the best copy, I'm telling you--says: "strong black tea and milk with white pepper, ginger, honey and vanilla, spilled over the crisp scent of clean linen. " Something about my skin really brings out the milk and honey dimension, but it's very light and clean, too. Fluffy, one might say! Although not in a spun-sugar/cotton-candy way, thankfully. Also, I put it on about eight hours ago, and it still smells fantastic (just a hint of scent, of course--nothing crazy and overpowering). 

Daily Deity #1 - Ganesha

There are a lot of blogs out there, written by people who do really cool things. It would appear that I'm addicted to DIY and fashion blogs (have you seen 365 Lucky Days, for instance?? Holy cow.) and I have been wondering to myself if there's some kind of project I could come up with that would make me practice art every day (my otter comic would be good for this if I thought my life was more exciting and worth visual documentation, but most of my day occurs...um, in my head? I'm not quite good enough at the auto-bio comic thing just yet, and I also need a bit of diversity in my subject matter. People with webcomics don't just draw their webcomics). The added bonus of something like this: it gives me something new to procrastinate! When I have an art project to work on, I procrastinate by writing. When I have writing projects to work on, I tend to procrastinate by doing art projects. However, I've been a bit dried up on the Drawing Inspirations lately, so my writing procrastination has turned to sleeping and getting angry about politics.  I love sleeping, but the politics need to get the boot. Ergo, art project idea! 

Presenting: Deity-a-Day! In which I draw a different deity every day* and then post it on this here blog.

Why deities? Because I love them. In an alternate reality, where everyone lives to be 300 years old because of science or meditation or what have you, I have a double PhD in Folk Lore and Comparative Religions. And an MFA. THREE ADVANCED DEGREES. I'm also going to use "deity" a little loosely, because Deity-or-Mythological-Entity-a-Day just doesn't have the same ring to it, but there will probably be days when I just really want to draw a manticore** or a borametz (or, like, Saint Francis), and I gotta be allowed to embrace that.

So who's the lucky immortal being who got me thinking that this would be fun? None other than Ganesha, Hindu god of obstacles (both placing and removing), Lord of letters and learning***! 

Sorry about the slightly-blurry phone photo. He's not a huge sketch, so ripping the paper out to scan it felt silly, and our good camera needs a battery charge. But it's not so important for it to be fancy, anyway--it's just a pencil sketch that I inked over (didn't erase the pencil, which is why you can see little bits of it in places. the sketch quality looks really good on paper--adds some dimension!--but not so much in a picture like this. oh well.)

Why is he the first? Um, well, actually... I just felt like drawing him today. I like Ganesha quite a bit: he looks awesome, and he loves clever people. Once I finished drawing him, I got the idea for the project. I think it'll be pretty fun! Not only will I get to exercise my drawin' fingers, I'll get to learn all sorts of fun stuff. Of course, respect for the deities is very important to me (satire isn't really my goal, here), so no delving into Islam or any other religions that don't allow visual representations of their religious figures. That said, if you know a god/goddess/immortal being/saint/etc. with a super rad origin story, let me know. In the meantime, I'll try to find the charger for the fancy camera so the photos are better.

It's probably worth disclaiming here that I am not known for follow-through. If this project dies in six months, or a week, that's my own darn fault, and I'm sorry. I'll try not to slack off. Though I have this lovely, delusional idea that putting it out there on the internet will "make me do it", in reality, my track record for Projects I Announce Loudly to the World is pretty pathetic. Remember my Victorian Detective Mystery? It's in a coma right now. I was so good about it for so long, and then I got depressed and got distracted and got busy, and now it's just sitting here, open in my taskbar, with chapter twelve half written. Sigh. I'm not going to lie--I really hope that this art venture will prompt me to finish this chapter and get back into the story (I tried working on it today for a while, but I just can't get unstuck. Trying to acquaint myself with palmistry didn't really help. That crap is confusing). Heck, maybe admitting that I've failed will jump start me into action. Ugh. I never had this problem at work or in school. I guess the stakes are a lot lower for things I do for myself--it's not like I get paid or have real deadlines. Remarkable, isn't it, what a paycheck can inspire you to do. 

*I will only allow myself exceptions if I spend all day writing and don't get around to it. Writing always comes first, you feel me? 
**speaking of manticores, do you read Darwin Carmichael is Going to Hell? Because the girls who write it are deity/folklore goddesses, and Skittles is the cutest mythical creature I have ever seen. I want a huge, framed picture of Skittles in my living room. Anyways, start at the beginning of the comic, and enjoy every minute of it.
***phrasing--"Lord of letters and learning"--from wikipedia

PS my reference for Ganesha: here

Friday, December 9, 2011

just anotter day

Listening to this is helping me perk up. I think if there ever was a sign from on high that Daniel and I were meant to be, it's that we both (due to the best childhoods ever, no doubt) know every word on this album. Tea is nice, too.

Speaking of the Muppets, the new movie--since I don't think I've mentioned it--was great!! Not enough Gonzo, though. That's my sole complaint. Gonzo is my homeboy. We're existential bros.

image from the muppet wiki

I guess I should go make some cookies or something. Yes, I will not let this meh-ness defeat me or my cookies-and-pajamas party!


We've moved on to the Muppet Treasure Island soundtrack. Suddenly, life is totally beautiful.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I don't know what you're expecting from a post at 1:30am, but this is probably it

There's a funny story in the Czuba household* involving my mother and a particularly charming malapropism (is it still technically a malapropism if she just made up a word, entirely? I'll finish the story and let you decide). My father, in particular moods--e.g. whilst experiencing flattery, great pride in the acts of his children, etc--likes to say "I'm all verklempt!" in his best Old, New York Mother fashion**. So, once, while feeling very emotional, my mom proclaimed "ahh, I'm over-kelmpt!" I hope she doesn't kill me for sharing this story; I really do find it adorable and sweet, even though we poked a bit of fun at her for it, at the time. The point of this little anecdote is that the term "over-kelpmt" has become its own Czuba Family Phrase, complete with alternate definition (instead of being generally overwhelmed with emotion, it tends to have an anxiously-overwrought flavor). Why am I telling this story? It's not to embarrass my mom. I love my mom! I would never embarrass her on the internet for no reason! It is, in fact, because I am feeling a bit over-klempt this evening, and made-up terms require a little background--unless you're Lewis Carroll, maybe. Somehow, he gets away with it.

So, why the long face, kitty cat?

Psh. Like I know.

Well, okay, maybe it's because I got to talking about craft and writers and people who consider a life of writing fiction to be the adult equivalent of Home Ec. Suddenly, my throat was a little tight and the inside corners of my eyes went a little prickly. Never a good sign; usually indicators of over-klemptness.

To side-step a little bit, I've a nice idea for the main character in my next short story. Sorry, no sharing! You know how these things are--one minute, you share a character idea with the internet, the next, someone with a generic name and penchant for stealing has published a steaming lump of poop with a horrible, mangled version of your character as the lead (hardly recognizable, but close enough that agents and publishers think you're biting THEIR style. Then you spend the next seventy-five years growing a beard and living in a secluded Vermont cabin, afraid of the CIA, writing a masterpiece that won't see the light of day until they find it hidden in a safe--which they were led to by a series of posthumous clues recorded on cassette tapes--twenty years after you die). Not that I think about this often.***

Back to my previous-paragraph point: new short story character idea! No "inciting incident" or interesting plot or even setting ideas yet, though, so that's a bit of a hang-up. Some may claim to give birth to ideas fully-formed, but I am not one of those bless'ed few. However, after so many weeks of editing my portfolio stories for grad school and worrying that I will never have another good story idea again, it feels really nice to have that little seed putting down roots in my brain. Little victories! I have to remind myself of the tiny goodnesses, because the roadblocks can seem insurmountable at times. Times like tonight, in fact, when my emotions get all woobly and I can't figure out (a) what I'm doing or (b) why other people are allowed to do it poorly. I have high standards, and I think folks should find it complimentary that I hold their work to the same as I hold my own. Unfortunately, it means a lot of daily frustration.

Why am I sharing this? A few reasons. First, I am notoriously unable to stay on-topic in auto-bio settings. How can I stay on topic? My brain is constantly zoomin' all over the place like a bumble-bee on uppers****. So, basically, I share whatever nonsense pops onto the blog page. SECOND, I like to think that, if by some fluke I become the kind of author that some other young lady or gent finds nifty, they can look at this here blog and know, without a moment's hesitation, that I'm just a regular ol' person. That's probably an odd manifestation of vanity, right there, but it's a nice idea. I wish all of my favorite authors had blogs I could read, wherein they kvetch about the lame day they had, or praise the heavens for some new idea. I like to see people who fumble around life a little, and then emerge victorious. It brings me hope and encouragement, perhaps in part because being a nobody-aspiring-author in Seattle is very lonely business. Journals are fun to read, you know? And blogs, though they may not always be as revealing and mysterious as a private journal, have this sweet perk of being open and available in the present tense. You don't have to wait for me to die to read this (because NO ONE IS READING MY JOURNALS UNTIL I HAVE BEEN DEAD FOR 100 YEARS. Thanks, Twain, for blazing that trail) and, likewise, I don't have to wait fifty years to read about Dan's travels through India, or Stacy's move home, or Kait's love of liminal spaces (which convinced me, in four words, that we are kindred spirits). So, yeah, my mood is not very eloquent this evening and is tangential enough to give a math teacher a headache, but it's honest, and it's immediate, and it's free. It's my gift to myself, and to anyone who wants it.

Voilà! Catharsis.

*ha! as if there was only one... hilarious.
**my dad knows a lot of Yiddish terms for some reason. He can also swear a little bit in Farsi. A man of many mysterious talents, my papa. 
***translation: I am paranoid about plagiarism. Really. 
****trying to get to sleep is the ABSOLUTE WORST. that's when my subconscious decides that it's time to think about death for hours. literally, hours. conveniently, the only time my brain does not flip out is when I'm writing fiction or drawing comics. I'm hella zen when I'm in the zone. TGI The Zone!

pimpin' my Porkwa!

One of my best buddies--L.--made the most amazing portrait of me. She uses pastels and genius to make her artworks, and you can even commission her to make one of you (or your loved one, or pet, etc)! This is her website: http://www.porkwaportraits.com/index.html 

There are a butt-ton of things in life that I love, and two of them are (1) L. and (2) supporting artists (writers, painters, embroiderers, cartographers, etc). I am also slightly vain*. When I saw what she made, my brain exploded. This is what it looks like:

I don't know if I'm even that good-looking in real life. Man. I love it. I love L. I love everything! Check her out, because her work will make you fill up with optimism and fuzzy feelings--like Ecstasy**, but safe and legal. 

*some days more than others. but who isn't, really? be honest--it's okay to love yourself a little bit. in fact, it's healthy.
**since I've never done E, this is based on satirical representation and hearsay.