Archive for January, 2013

31/01/2013

I know this is supposed to be a video blog, but I have a problem.

So I woke up yesterday morning full of vim and vigor, ready to get my first video blog of the new year recorded. And I did, record it that is. Problem. Big problem. My audio and video are over a second out of sync, and having not used Power Director 10 very much before I’m at a loss on how to repair it. Add to that the fact that as you’re reading this, I’m sitting on a train to Cork to spend time with my mom, and one of my adopted lil sisters, and as I’m sure you can see I had basically no time to experiment with fixes for the problem.

So I find myself apologising yet again for not having a video blog up. *sigh* This is so getting old. But I’ll have time when I get back from Cork to work on the problem, and if I fail to find a solution try to record the whole damned thing with a different capture program to see if that fixes the problem.

Anyway, with the lack of my own video blog to enthrall you all with I am going to introduce you to one of my favourite review style bloggers out there. Noah Antwiler, otherwise known as Spoony.

Oh, and don’t forget to read my new comic tomorrow, and every single Friday after 1pm at Acidgirl.thecomicseries.com

So without further ado, Mister Antwiler take it away!

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29/01/2013

You know it’s F**KING cold, and you have inadequate heating when…

Well I’m off to my moms for the weekend on Thursday, well my moms and a Friday evening with one of my adopted lil sisters. But that leaves me with a slight problem. This trip wasn’t really planned, meaning I didn’t have a couple of weeks to get ahead of myself work-wise. This leaves me with two written blogs, a video blog, AND a webcomic page to have done by Wednesday evening…you’re getting list posts. Sorry but that’s how it is, and seeing as for the past week my first thought every morning has been “Gee I wonder are my eyelids frozen together this time?” We’ll be starting with this.

(Most of this list is made in jest, but I did honestly think every single one over the past 7-10 days.)

You know it’s F**KING cold, and you have inadequate heating when…

…there’s semi-frozen slush on the insides of your bedroom windows.

…the idea of being smelly is more appealing than having half of your body exposed by the bath water.

…a shower sounds like a quick way to get colder.

…the dogs refuse to leave the living room, even to eat.

…they also refuse to leave the living room, to pee.

…or poop.

…you go outside, and realise it’s warmer outside than in your house.

…a long boring drive is appealing purely for the car heater.

…your computers cooler fans haven’t switched on in days, even though you’re playing a borderline playable game, at maximum graphic settings.

…you leave out dinner to defrost, and it doesn’t.

…you need a hammer, and chisel to remove the dog poop that is outside on the decking.

…Eastern Europeans are saying that the weather is getting a little nippy. (Extremely bad sign, those places have SERIOUSLY cold weather.)

…you don’t see a single overweight, florid faced man, in a t-shirt for days.

…going to bed, you still have your bed-clothes on underneath your day clothes.

…getting up the following morning, your first act is to put on your heaviest clothes, over your bedclothes for the third day in a row.

…your second act is putting on your hooded fleece, with hood up, to go eat breakfast.

…you can’t wait to empty the tumble-dryer, oh that glorious gust of hot air, and those lovely toasty warm linens to cuddle as you fold them.

…you stand with your hands in the sink for 10 minutes before you remember that you’re supposed to be washing the ware.

…you rush to empty the dishwasher so you can handle the dishes while they’re still roasting hot.

…you’re a Winter person, but you keep catching yourself thinking longingly of Summer.

…you actually consider renaming your dog “Winter” something a little warmer, like “Summer”, “Lava”, “Volcano” or “Heat-Death”.

…you slice your finger open, and don’t notice until the sandwich you were just making is ruined by the blood-pool.

…Hell sounds like a great vacation spot.

and last but far from least,

…you seriously consider moving out of the house you adore, just to be warm.

26/01/2013

A dream came true yesterday. What I learned from making it a reality.

Anyone who has paid any sort of attention to my blog over the past year will know that one of my long-term life goals has been to have my own webcomic. Well as of 1pm yesterday that dream finally became reality. Yes, that’s right loyal reader, Acidgirl is now and honest to goodness, live webcomic, updating every Friday at 1pm (until I get faster at drawing them then it’ll be twice a week, and we’ll see what the future holds after that.) It’s been a long, hard slog to reach this stage. Well over a year of teaching myself to draw, learning how to use various art programs, getting to grips with my graphics tablet. In short, in one year I taught myself all the basics I needed to know. Mastering them…well there’s a reason I’m only putting one page up a week for the time being.

But as excited as I am about the reality of being webcomic artist, what I really want to speak about today are the lessons I’ve learned from reaching this stage. And I don’t mean the skills, I’m speaking here about the life lessons I learned over the past year, and a half.

Eighteen months ago (more or less) I decided to write a webcomic. The original idea was as far from the Acidgirl concept as it’s possible to get without literally moving to a parallel universe. But it really excited me to have this concept jump almost fully formed in to my mind. Then I tried to draw some of it. The results were less than good. Actually the results being described as bad would be complimenting them far too profusely. The results were frankly, frikkin’ awful. The bastard love-child of Star Trek: The Final Frontier, and the last All Saints album, it died a cold lonely death, unwanted, and unloved by anyone but me. I weep for it still. No really, see? Actual tears.

It was a disheartening experience to say the least. But I learned from it. I realised that while I could write (if punctuation was ignored, and it often was), I couldn’t draw anymore. There was a time when I could draw extremely well. A time when I won competitions, and small awards for my artwork as a child and a teen. But the intervening 20-ish years had put paid to those skills, and if I was to ever be a web-artist I would need to relearn everything, from scratch.

It was a hard lesson to learn. It nearly killed my dream there and then.

But I persevered, and around November of last year realised that my artwork had reached a good enough standard to start putting up pages. Note how I said “good enough”.

That’s the second biggest lesson I learned building up to yesterday. That sometimes there is such a thing as good enough. As horrible a thought as that is to any perfectionist, much less one with a nasty case of O.C.D. What I put up yesterday is not perfect. It’s not as well drawn as I wish it was. It’s not really in the style I wanted it to be. It’s not a lot of things, but it is good enough for a start. It is good enough that people will see where I’m trying to go with it. And it is a starting point, a point I can build on, and develop from.

That was the biggest and most important lesson I’ve learned over the past 18 months, that even if I’m still drawing comics in a decades time, it’ll still only  be a starting point. You’re never going to reach the zenith of your skills, style, techniques. Because it’s all an ongoing learning experience.

I now know that I will still be studying drawing techniques in decades to come. I know that I will still be practicing in years to come because it’s the only way to improve my skills, but I also now understand that I will never get it perfect, I will always be chasing that imaginary goal, and it will always be on the horizon. I for the first time truly understand the idea that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become truly proficient in any skill. 10,000 hours of doing that skill, not studying it, not thinking about it, but doing it. I’m now excited by the idea of going to events, museums, bars, burlesque nights. You know purely to practice life drawing, nothing to do with the semi-nude ladie…okay even I couldn’t keep a straight face on that one. I’m excited that alongside my writing I have another complimentary skill to practice, and grow into, perhaps for the rest of my life.

And who knows, in a few years I might even get to a point where I can tell the story of my original idea. We’ll see.

But in the mean time I have Abigail Acidgirl’s story to tell. (<—- that’s the link to my webcomic, you know, in case you missed the first two times I put it in this article.)

22/01/2013

So what the hell were all the Windows 8 complainers on about?

Every single time Microsoft release a new version of Windows, the internet hits the roof. Usually before the final version (or as final as any version of Windows ever is) has even been released the Windows users of the world have split in to three camps. I tend to think of these camps by the following names, and definitions.

They’ve ruined…’s: These people seem to pretty much immediately decide that any change, of any kind, be it ever so small, to any aspect of the previous Windows release is an utter disaster, which will destroy computing as we know it, leaving the world in a thousand-year darkness which mankind may not manage to claw its way back out of.

Wait and see’s: Ah, my people. The ones who look at the available information, take a deep breath, and decide to wait and try the release version before making any judgements.

Best thing ever!’s: Just like Apple, Microsoft has fanboys. Rabid, batshit crazy fanboys. The sort of people who if Microsoft released a box with a turd in it, charged $200 for it, and then teabagged you as you installed it…orally, well they’d gush unendingly about the improved texture, and scent. Basically the people who thought Vista was great from day one.

Well Windows 8 came out recently, and I’m sitting here writing this on my brand new 17″ I7 Dell (admittedly 3.6kg weight) laptop. Guess what it runs on? Go on, guess.

Yup Windows 8. And after all the shite I read on various websites, forums, and fanboy facial tattoo’s, it’s pretty good. I would even go so far as to say, I like it. I mean admittedly I still prefer XP. (Yes I know I’m a minority on that topic, but I was genuinely still running Windows XP up until a month ago, when my PC died a glorious ozone soaked death. I tell you, it was like a scene from the Dominion War in DS9, it was just that awesome a death.) But it’s a lovely operating system, that does everything I ask of it, is actually very user-friendly if you engage the ole grey matter, and it doesn’t hang up constantly.

Yes, the Start page kind of confused me for an hour or two, until I actually sat through the tutorials, and in fact engaged the aforementioned “grey matter”.  And yes, it’s a little odd being on your desktop, with no sign of a “Start” tab. But after a week of playing, and working on my new machine, with its new version of Windows I have to say that I am happy with it. No serious problems. Which was, from the vitriol on some sites, not what I expected.

The biggest issue for me was of course the lack of a “Start” tab, just as it was for 95% of users. I mean how in the world, am I supposed to start a second program (I refuse to call them apps, now or ever!) without leaving the deskto……oh yeah hang on, I STILL have a desktop. Duh! That is genuinely how easy it was to overcome the “Having to leave the desktop to start something else.” YOU HAVE A FRIKKIN’ DESKTOP PEOPLE!

You know, a desktop, with the icons, which represent shortcuts, to the .EXE files for various programs. The space you can entirely control the content of. Oh and look at the bottom of the screen, see that blue bar? Yes, that one, the one with the clock on it. You can pin programs to it. Any program you like. See how easy that is?

To explain how easy I’ll use a pretty normal way of working for me as an example.

I use ArtRage 3 all the time for drawing webcomic type stuff. But I use Paint.Net to lay it out, and put in word bubbles, and the panel borders, page numbers, that sort of stuff. Different programs make it easier to do different things. That’s pretty self-explanatory. But, I also use Wordpad, ALL THE TIME, for taking quick notes, but also for working out dialogue. Well I have all three pinned to the bar at the bottom of the screen. If I want one of them there programs opened up, I just click it.

It took me 30 seconds to set it up. So when I’m working with multiple programs, which I open and close constantly that’s where the shortcuts go. Simple.

But that said, while I do spend most of my time working through the desktop, I also am a fan of the Start page. Putting all my most used programs, webpages, even weather, and news feeds in one easy to access, easy to navigate space, just makes sense. It makes for a stress free way to run my digital life.

I suppose I can just say that I am a convert to Windows 8. While XP was a wonderful platform for me, for many, many years, (probably too many years really), Win 8 feels right. It feels, to me, the way an operating system should feel, that you’re using it, not working with it. Because, let’s face it, an operating system shouldn’t be something you think too much about. It should just do it’s job, while it lets you get on with yours. And Windows 8 does that for me.

19/01/2013

My Top Ten Most Beautiful Men of – Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Way back in March of last year I wrote a top 10 list of the women I think are most beautiful in both fantasy television, and film. I was delighted with it. Then two days later my oldest friend in real life, Kittysunflowers, issued what I chose to take as a challenge.

“Great! Be interested in seeing your opinions/top ten if you ever decide to do a ‘top ten’ for another gender!”

Well Kitty…

Now, barring three very specific guys I do not find men sexy. So this list is not based on sexiness, or even attractiveness. It’s literally based on how beautiful I find them.  This is partly based on how they look, I may be (mostly) lesbian, but even I can see when someone is beautiful. It’s also partly based on the little echoes of the real person behind the character, because no matter how good they may be at acting, something of their reality will always sneak through.

These men are not listed in any particular order, as I simply don’t know how to order them. But suffice to say, when they come on screen, even this dyke sits up and takes notice. Enjoy.

(Oh and who are the “three very specific guys”? Well they’re my ex-boyfriend Sean (The most beautiful man I have ever known), Ryan Reynolds (Come on he makes being Canadian sexy), and one guy who’s ego is already big enough, but I’m pretty sure he knows who he is.)

Chris Hemsworth – George Kirk (Star Trek):

 

God damn it is it hard to find a picture of this guy, in this movie which isn’t 99% lens flare. Well anyway, in 2009 we received the gift of a rebooted Star Trek. It was overall, in my opinion, the second best Star Trek movie. However it point-blank has the best opening of any science fiction movie I have ever seen. Those first ten minutes where we see Jim Kirks father go down kicking ass, and handing out his number. I simply can’t imagine anyone but Hemsworth playing George Kirk, he’s perfect in the role, and manages to show how the original universes Jim Kirk turns out the way he does, while setting up the tone an entirely new universes Starfleet. Show me anyone else who could have done that, while looking this good? Go on, I dare ya.

Ryan Reynolds – (Blade: Trinity):

No problems with lens flare here, thankfully. I don’t think that Ryan Reynolds acts as such. I think he shows up on set, and instantly makes everything about that movie awesome. Even if it’s a heap of shit like Green Lantern, or indeed, Blade: Trinity. Here’s the thing, he genuinely just seems to be  a good guy. Anytime you see him interviewed all that shines through is this genuineness, and pleasantness, which actually makes you sit up and pay attention. Of course in Blade: Trinity you notice because there are only two things which manage to make that train wreck of a movie watchable. Parker Posey at her most delicious, and Ryan Reynolds visibly pissing himself laughing the whole way through the story.

Aaron Eckhart – Ssgt. Michael Nantz (Battle: Los Angeles):

No idea why I find this guy, in this part beautiful, but I do. Maybe it’ just the reflected divinity of Michelle Rodriguez (who actually survives to the end…WTF?). Maybe it’s the dimpled chin. Maybe it’s the big ass gun, carried by a really worn out soldier. I don’t know. But he’s still on the list.

Vladimir Kulich – Buliwyf (13th Warrior):

Has anyone ever played a dour, troubled Norseman better on the big screen? And I mean ever? Everything about Kulich in the part of Buliwyf is just, right. His physical presence is spot on, his accent is spot on, his looks are spot on. I mean fuck, there’s only one other man who fits the Viking stereotype so perfectly and plants a huge grin on my face every single time I see him…

Dennis Storhøi – Herger (13th Warrior):

This man. Enough said.

Kyle MacLachlan – Paul Atreides (Dune):

Okay I get that this is considered David Lynch’s to be his weakest film. But it did give us the divine Miss Virginia Madsen as Princess Irulan (and Amanda’s heart went crunch in interesting ways), and a very young Kyle MacLachlan as Paul Atreides. Again something about his screen presence manages to mae him a very beautiful person to watch…though nothing at all in comparison to Virginia…(I may have a problem)

Jonathan Brandis – Marcus Wolenczak (SeaQuest):

I’m sorry but straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, whatever. If you say you didn’t smile when this kid came on-screen back in the 90’s you’re a damned liar. He wasn’t nearly as annoying as Wesley Crusher, was at least funny to watch, and actually had some genuinely good on-screen chemistry with Roy Scheider.

Jason Carter – Marcus Cole (Babylon 5):

It’s very hard to think of a more tragic science fiction character than the Ranger, Marcus Cole. His entire family is wiped out by a Shadow attack on his home colony. He spends his whole remaining life in one battle or another, while enduring an unrequited love for Susan Ivanova. Who he sacrifices his own life to save in the final episode of season 4. Sometimes funny, sometimes violent, always heartbreaking to watch on screen, Jason Carter managed the impossible with this character. He made someone so tragic even Shakespeare would have thrown his hands up and screamed “No, enough, this guy needs a fucking break!” utterly believable, and a person you cared for. He was also kinda nice to look at.

Keith Hamilton Cobb – Tyr Anasazi (Andromeda):

Andromeda after Kevin Sorbo took the reins had it’s problems, which can be summed up thus…

Season 1 (Pre-Sorbo) = Utter Badassness, great storyline, amazing concept, un-fucking-believable opening theme.

Season 2 onwards = Utter Badassness, okayish theme…..uh guys what the fuck happened to the rest?

Seriously from season 2 onwards the show is so different it’s genuinely jarring to watch season 1 again afterwards. But despite this one thing that stayed a pretty good constant throughout  was the sheer awesomeness of all the characters when taken individually. And no-one typifies this better than Keith Hamilton Cobb as Tyr. Seriously. First of all just look at him. Would you want him against you? I mean seriously, would you even dream of fucking with that guy?

Jamie Bamber – Lee Adama (Battlestar Galactica Reboot):

Come on, you knew I was gonna sneak a little Starbuck in here somewhere. But this segment is about Jamie Bamber back when he stepped in to the big boy boots of Captain Lee Adama. First off, he’s a pretty boy. He really is (you know until the short period of “fat” Apollo in I think it was season 3, but the less said about that the better.) pretty, and he somehow manages to find an infinite supply of hair-gel while in exile in deep space, which makes him kind of amazing. And his best friend is FRAKKING STARBUCK! Now tell me sh….I mean he’s not worth watching.

And folks that’s your lot apart from one thing. When I wrote about Andromeda I mentioned that in Season 1 it had an amazing opening theme which was changed for a “more of the same” type theme. Well because you had the patience to read through to here, as a special treat, here it is. The full version of my favourite television theme of all time, “March of the High Guard”.

17/01/2013

“What the hell did I just step in?!” A dog owners tale.

Well my holiday from writing is over, so it’s nose back to the grindstone. I went to bed last night full of enthusiasm for getting back to work. After all my webcomic goes live Friday week (January 25th). I finally have a really good laptop, capable of running all my various creative programs, on a pretty 17″ screen. I’ve, at long last, settled on my next novel to finish first drafting (that only took a full year to decide while I wrote the first ten chapters on three different ones.) I have some pretty interesting plans for my video blog, ideas which I think will make a lot of people very happy, and a lot more wish for my slow death over a hot fire. Yup, I have every possible reason for being excited about this year, this is gonna be a BIG year for me.

So it was with a serious hop in my step that I got out of bed this morning. I honestly have been looking forward to getting back to work in a way that’s hard to describe, it’s that intense. So get up, get dressed, wash teeth, dress the bed, and wander downstairs. My buoyant mood lasted right up until I walked in to my living room.

My two puppies sleep in the living room, Lulu in her cage, Winter on the couch. It’s only fair when the alternative is my bathroom, which frankly is so cold that I’m surprised when my pee doesn’t make the same sound as hail hitting a tin roof. At least in the living room there also lives my log burner, which is pretty much always toasty warm. Yeah, I’m just a big softy. Sometimes I forget to put on my slippers coming downstairs, I did this morning. So after walking in, I was almost instantly left wondering the most horrible though which most dog owners will probably have pass through their minds several times a year.

“What feels cold and wet on my foot?”

The second worst thought closely followed.

“Why is Winter hiding behind the couch?”

Then the third.

“Why does she have that guilty expression on her face?”

Well it turns out that the bigger of my furry children had been violently sick just inside the door. And on the power block for my 2 days old laptop. And on the kitchen door.

Still buoyant though. Yup. The alternative was to drown in dog vomit. So yeah…

So yeah, Happy New Year folks.

(And yes folks you read it first time right here, my long, LOOOOOOONG delayed comic goes live Friday the 25th. I can not wait.)

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13/01/2013

Julie Burchill and trans women.

I simply don’t have the words, or the heart to do the job properly for this particular fight. But luckily some pretty amazing other people have done a far better job than I could do.

Here at with Aoife at Consider the Tea Cosy

Julie Burchill and trans women..

And here on the Guardian website with Roz Caveney

Julie Burchill has ended up bullying the trans community..

01/01/2013

Being a good friend when you’re sick.

(I know I said I was going to be taking a break ’til the 17th, but something important just came up.)

I have four adopted lil sisters. They’re wonderful women who ended becoming the female siblings I never had growing up. A great thing for a transgirl to find. Part of what makes them so wonderful is that often it’s months between contacts with them, and it just doesn’t matter. Everything is still there.

I also have a best friend, her name is Anya. She’s an unbelieveably beautiful, intelligent, and artistic person, who makes these cheesecake cupcakes that have to be tried to be believed. I love having time with her so much. She’s, amongst other things, my favourite shopping, and lunch buddy. Anya, thrift stores, and a plate full of well cooked dead animal is pretty much my perfect afternoon.

I’m very, very, VERY sick at the moment. It’s been eight solid weeks of Hell. And not the hot sexy version of Hell, with the succubi, and the delicious looking androgynous dark fallen angels either. No this is the sort of Hell where the universe, through some wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey technique, runs the contents of a dozen people’s bowels through just mine. Oh and makes a point of my having foulness running out of every orifice, every, fucking, day!

It means that I barely leave the house. I haven’t been able to walk my dogs for weeks now. My Partner in Crime is picking up that duty. I spent part of Xmas dinner in the bathroom being sick, no reflection on the food by the way, it was delicious.

It also means I’m being a fucking awful friend to everyone, but especially Anya. I’ve flaked on her I think four times in a row now. The last time, less than twenty minutes ago. So I’m sitting here writing this with tears of frustration, anger and shame on my face, because I’m continually letting down one of the people I love most in the world. And I’m scared because I don’t want a horrible unbridgable distance to grow between us.

Anyway this post is more by way of saying sorry to Anya, than giving advice on how to work around these issues. I have no advice to give, I don’t know what to do, or how to fix this. All I can do is say this.

I love you Anya, and I’ll make this up to you as soon as I have any control over my body back.

xxxxxxx

01/01/2013

So we’ve all survived another year…

…and yet another supposed apocalypse. If you’re reading this then you probably survived Christmas, that or you contracted a zombie flu, in which case congratulations on being one of those very rare intelligent zombies.

Anyway, insanity aside, welcome to the first post of the New Year. Huzzah! It’s 2013 and my Goddesses aren’t we all just frikkin’ delighted to be out of 2012.

Another year of nightmare budgets.

Another year of scandal followed by yet more scandals.

Another year where to rich became richer, while the poor shouldered the cost of this new Great Depression.

And sure there were highlights, the Olympics, the Apocalypse failing to appear again. The Robert Downey Jnr. doing yet another wonderful rendition of himself in Avengers Assemble.Oh and this very blog passing the 40,000 views mark after less than two years in existence.

But I think when the history of 2012 is laid out for posterity it will without any doubt be painted in drab, depressing tones.

But that year is in the past now, time to start looking towards the future. And what does that future hold? I can’t speak for the world but for me personally, well this year’s gonna be something special.

My PC having died about a month ago, combined with my ongoing health problems conspired to put my video blog on hiatus. Well I will, thanks to a little help from some very special people, be receiving a brand new Dell laptop in the next two weeks. A mobile platform at last. So the video blog will be returning with some serious vengeance, and let me tell you folks…I have plans!

That same laptop is the final piece in the puzzle of my long promised webcomic. Very soon the first pages will be online for one and all to enjoy.

With the New Year comes the time that I finally have to settle on one writing project. So with ten chapters written each of two separate novels, I will in the next week decide on which take priority, and aim to have its first draft finished by around my birthday. Of course then I’ll have to get the second done as well. So busy busy.

All that said, my health as I’ve mentioned before is giving me a lot of problems right now. And it’s been joined in the past 24 hours by a dose of flu. So, in the interests of my sanity, I’m now going to take a fortnight’s holiday while I await the arrival of my new electronic baby. I’ll be back with my next post on Thursday the 17th. This is going to be sweet, two weeks of me and my brand new Xbox. I sense much Halo, and Skyrim in my future.

So for now have a Happy New Year. May we all have a better one than the last, though let’s face it, that won’t exactly be a struggle.

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