Monthly Archives: March 2009

Book Cover Blues

I recently read an article from a poetry or literature professor lamenting that his incoming university students were simply unable to understand the classics because they had no knowledge of the Bible and biblical stories. I think I must be one of the last years in which religious eduction was a part of the public school system — we had a nutty religious woman come in to school weekly telling us various myths from the Bible until she was canned (and never replaced) for telling diabetic kids not to take insulin, and in grade five the Gideons gave us all Bibles of our own. I guess they phased out the daily Lord’s Prayer at about the same time. I’m no supporter of religion of any kind, but it is interesting to reflect on how much culture will be lost because it uses Biblical referencing as a foundation for its story telling.


Above is the cover I roughed out as a potential for the “Kubla Khan” book. I’m pretty sure this project will finally be finished this week after far more time than expected. Whew!

Some sacred music follows.

The Pleasure Dome

I watched Flow: For Love of Water this morning and it’s definitely a must-see movie… It addresses what will surely be a much bigger crisis than oil — the fact that we’re running out of clean fresh water. It sums up with what I think is an important lesson that is the solution to many of the worlds big problems: In short, we don’t need a billion dollars invested in one mega-project; we need a thousand dollars invested in a million local projects. So very true.

I’m going to head to the art store with Nefarious after I pick her up from school — I need to pick up some clear top coat to mix up more glazes, as well as grabbing some more panels to paint on. The general way I build up a painting is this:

  1. Small pencil sketch on paper
  2. Prepare/texturize canvas/panel as needed (ie. priming)
  3. Full size pencil sketch on panel
  4. Marker or ink lining of sketch on panel
  5. Base coats in acrylic
  6. Re-line with black paint
  7. Add more elements by blocking them out in white paint and then painting them in acrylic and lining
  8. Glaze with mixes of top-coat and acrylic, as well as touch-ups in straight acrylic
  9. Final lining in black and white paints and clear-coating

Anyway, I go through a surprising amount of top coat… I love the texture it gives (a mix of its own smoothness, and a preservation of the the rough acrylic below), and the sense of paint flowing and floating on top of the original painting. Doing this takes a fairly dull painting and gives it a “shimmering” quality that makes it feel as if it’s been plucked from inside a dream or vision, which is definitely what I’m going for in this series. I haven’t been able to get this next painting — the interior of the pleasure dome, a mix of lush vegetation and ice-filled caverns — right (it’s too busy up top), but hopefully with some new supplies it’ll move along.

Other than that, my doctors are planning on putting me into a methadone program — for pain of course, not for addiction control! After the three of the doctors who saw me at the pain clinic had their meeting, they sat me down very seriously and were like, “we think we should put you on methadone… do you know what that means?” and I was like, “well, all I really know about it was that it was on House last week”, and the lead doctor laughed and told me that everything he knew about medicine he learned from House, then paused for a moment, and then was like… “NOT!” Hahaha…

Oh, and if you didn’t see the link posted in the comments, the other recent interview I did (as in I’m the one being interviewed) has been posted on the author’s personal blog here.


Three Paintings

Nefarious is visiting a friend today for supper, and Caitlin is at work, so I had quite a bit of time today to paint (which is literally what I did all day long). Below is some updated work on the “Kubla Khan” series (here’s the earlier versions if you’re interested in seeing how they have evolved). I’m still enjoying working on it, but it is definitely nice to be closer to the conclusion these days. The lighting was a bit dark but on the whole these are pretty accurate photos.

Caitlin and I watched “Global Metal” this morning, the study of heavy metal music around the world and follow-up documentary to the amazing “Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey“, and it didn’t disappoint — and again, I appreciate the parallels in body modification culture and heavy metal culture. I of course admit that I do download media from time to time, and I really wish that there was a way to financially support projects that you’ve obtained through non-commercial channels. I would definitely use a tip jar if it was put on Sam Dunn’s homepage (or whatever). Speaking of downloaded media, I’ve also been experimenting with whether I enjoy audiobooks, listening to them while I do other things — it’s less invasive than movies or TV. Right now I’m going through Dawkins’ “The God Delusion“, which is great, but I’m a fast reader and to be perfectly honest, I can read a book in the bathtub in a tenth the time it takes to listen to it read to me, and I think I prefer to read. But still, a better habit than TV.

Other than that, I did an interview a while back with Lukas Zpira for La Spirale (for “digital mutants”), and he’s just put up an English translation on his Hacking the Future blog. There’s also a recent interview I did with a CoBM member on their site, but I think you have to join their community site at (I haven’t seen it yet so I’m not 100% sure).




The Museum Kids’ Area

Caitlin and I have a family membership at the ROM, which means that I can go any time I want for free, and take Nefarious and a friend along as well. My only complaint about the museum is the existence of the kids area, which is really just a play area where kids goof around — nothing particularly museum related. Trouble is, stuff like this is a “cheap thrill” for kids, and many would rather go there than go to the effort of exploring the museum. Personally I wish they’d eliminate it — it’s not just a waste of space, but actually takes away from the whole excursion.

I can’t wait until she’s just a little bit older and can really enjoy the museum experience…


Cactus Eaters

Nefarious has been asking me to get her dragon fruit (aka pitahaya) lately, and I figure the more healthy stuff we eat the better. It was on sale at the grocery store today so I got one for us to have for desert and it was a huge hit. The flavor was great — sort of like a sweet melon with the texture of a kiwi. We cut it in half, splitting it between us, and scooped out the flesh with a spoon. I highly recommend trying it if you never have before. I suspect it’s a pleasure that too many people let slip by them because they’re really not sure what to expect from this odd looking delicacy.

Other than that, I got a message from someone seeking permission to develop parts of my biography into a comic book. Now that’s an ego-stroke! I was pretty excited.


Speaking of overlooked food items, I made a salad recently out of kale, which is a light leafy kind of cabbage. You can get giant bunches of it for a dollar, so it’s less expensive than lettuce-type salad, and I suspect it’s much richer in terms of nutrients like beta carotene and vitamins. I ate it with a simple balsamic dressing (a bit of mayonnaise, a bit of oil, and a bit of vinegar) and it was quite refreshing.