Something Fishy Going On...

So here are some of the in-progress mural photos. As my photography session was delayed, I won't have the full, real-deal updated on the Snazzy Decor website for a while longer, but these should give you a taste of the room...

The blue whale below is over six feet long!

The details:

theme: undersea scene
location: nursery in a Frisco residence
time to execute: two weeks
(about 40-60 hours all told)
surfaces painted: all four walls, sections of the ceiling, and the ceiling fan
mural details:
24 fish, plus a school of fish, 3 sea turtles, 4 dolphins, 3 blue whales, 2 seahorses, 5 jellyfish, 2 octopii, 1 crab, 1 starfish, three sections of coral, 1 section of kelp, several areas with seagrass, and 1 treasure chest.

(Sorry, no partridges in pear trees this time around...)


A Comedic Tale of Woe, in Two Acts

A sure sign that I should get more sleep: I locked myself out of my house this evening. I made my dinner at 9:30, and it's been sitting uneaten in the microwave until now, at 11:30. Boy, is that soup dry now...

Act I

The whole sordid tale started an hour and a half before I got locked out. When I got home, I decided to do two things that I normally don't. 1) I rolled up both truck windows and locked it, and (important to the story only to show that I could otherwise have gotten into the truck to press the garage-door remote) and 2) I turned on the outside water, since our once-lush grass now has patches that resemble the Scarecrow's stuffing.

Awhile later, I turned off the drip hoses and turned on the front sprinkler. When I got back inside, I immediately locked the front door--something else I don't normally do. I normally forget and leave it unlocked until I finish watering or I'm about to go to bed, and then think what a stupid thing, to leave your door unlocked for hours. I was so proud of my self for remembering to lock it...sigh. Then, a few minutes later, I randomly found that ants were invading my house through the back door, as a result of the drip hose disturbing a mound particularly close to the door.

Full of righteous anti-ant fury, I grabbed my "Ant and Roach Killer" Raid and sprayed all the ants inside. Then I opened the door and stepped outside to spray the ones still outside, for good measure.

Now let me stress that earlier, when I turned on the drop hose in the back, I went out the back door, and unlocked it first. Apparently, I relocked it upon entering without even noticing, so I thought that the door was still unlocked. As I leaned down to spray the outside ants, I leaned slightly on the door handle that was in my hand, and this caused the door to close--and my brain to flash a message of, "Well, that was dumb--you don't have your keys. Good thing the door was already unlocked, or you'd be--" upon which thought I attempted to turn the handle and discovered that this was, in fact, the case.

Act II

At first, I couldn't believe it. The one night that Alex wasn't home--he was all the way across town watching a movie and hanging out with friends, while I was working on the laptop. And the one night that I had been working very well and steadily at my second job, the one that's been slipping into the background of "aack, I just can't because I don't have time to breathe." I thought, this is ridiculous. Why now? Why me?

The neighbors that I usually cry to for help in case of lock-out, stuck lawnmower, etc., were either away, asleep, or giggling quietly in the living room while whispering bets on how long I'd wait on their front porch. The other two close neighbors were both obviously long asleep--one family with young children and the others get up very early, so I was unwilling to bother them. The fourth house looked promising--and I hadn't cried to them for help or to borrow a rake in awhile, so it seemed like an opportune time. They kindly lent me their phone call Alex, but I knew he'd be awhile in coming.

I didn't want to sit around like an intrusive dunce all evening, so I came back to my house and thought, well, at least I can get the watering done for once this summer. I spent two hours sitting on the porch, praying, thinking, and dozing a little in between shifting the sprinkler. I had forgotten how relaxing both a country evening and a rhythmic sprinkler can be. In fact, I've forgotten a lot about relaxation lately. In the end, I came to a peace about it, instead of wasting two hours worrying how much work or school I could be getting done. I just lay down on the porch--surprisingly comfortable, for concrete--and listened.


Hello, Strangers

Dude, it's been waaaaay to long since I posted.

But I have an excuse, really--I mean, let me just *tell* you all that went on last week--
The SPURS WON--(congrats, guys, from a San Antonio-bred gal)
I finished my undersea mural (photos soon)
Alex and I visited my parents for Father's Day (SA again)
We watched Serenity again (beautiful new print--it's shiny!)
We held and judged a Serenity Fan Art Contest
I transcribed two letters written by Santa Anna
I finally sawTrainspotting (dude, Ewan McGregor is great, even when a possessed plastic baby falls on him from the ceiling. Way to go, Obi-Wan!)
We saw Batman Begins again (like once was even close to enough!)

...And still, with all that and my usual ball of wax going on, I can't think of a single interesting, funny, or even trivial anecdote. I think that there's something about excessive activity (aka busy-ness) that sucks creativity out of the mind (or fingers, or whatever you use to express with) like... like... like any clever simile was just sucked out of my mind. Or fingers. Whichever you consider more important to the act of writing.

And there ya go, I just made a mildly funny anecdote about not having one. Which is suspiciously similar to the "Insert Catchy Title Here" title I used a few weeks back. I better watch it; it's pretty early in my blog game to be using up all my writer's-block tricks.

But it does remind me of something funny and relevant--Partially Clips is a great webcomic that uses clip art (he leaves it the same in all three panels) and adds some clever, slightly sick, and sometimes overly twisted dialogue to it. One of his, more recent creations is about--well, not writer's block, but formulaic comedy--oh, just
read the comic already.


The Dark Knight Returns

...No, not that movie "Batman Returns" where Catwoman was great and the Penguin ruined it. This is "Batman Begins," where for the first time I feel that the title "Dark Knight" is warranted in a Batman movie--sorry, the 1989 Batman IS wonderful and IS classic and Nicholson IS a stupendously great Joker--but much as Keaton did a bang-up job in the role, he wasn't Dark Knight-ish like Bale is. Talk about delivering the two-sided role of Bruce Wayne/Batman--wow.

They tried ridiculously hard in "Batman Forever" to draw on the whole psychological issues of Wayne by having Val Kilmer act angst-driven and Nicole Kidman talk psychobabble, and it didn't work at all. Not to mention the fact that Two-Face was drivel and the theme of the movie was "use a LOT of neon lights--no, I mean a LOT MORE than that, dangit!"

Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Qui-Gon--I mean, Liam Neeson in his better Jedi role deliver one solid movie. And it wasn't even until halfway through the movie that the thought crossed my mind, "Oh yeah, he hasn't even become Batman yet. And I DON'T CARE because the movie is THAT GOOD."

Not even Katie Holmes could ruin this movie. And can someone PLEASE tell me how they managed to throw multiple villans into one movie and make it not good, but great? I mean, before this movie, the number of villans in a Batman movie was always the inverse of the level of its greatness. It was like the next director would say to himself, "Well, the last one sucked--maybe if we throw in one or two extra villans, they won't notice that we have no plot and that Chris O'Donnell really has no right to play Robin."

And in this movie, they threw in (SPOILER ALERT for anyone who hasn't read anything about this movie) Ra's Al Ghul (twice!), Scarecrow, Carmine Falconi, and on a smaller level Richard Earle. How the heck did they pull this off? How did they weave the "fear" theme so intricately into the Scarecrow/Ra's Al Ghul plot and Wayne's own fears about himself, bats, etc.?

I am so glad that I asked for Batman: Animated Series Seasons 2 and 3 for my birthday, so that something can tide me over (slightly) until this movie is released on DVD. Go see it now--I don't care if you like "comic book" movies or not--this movie surpasses its genre. See it.

Now, man--go!


My Ears Are Ringing

I'm so happy--Alex just bought me a new phone (with camera, video, and mp3 features!), and a handsfree Bluetooth device for it! Yay!

...Which is really good, since my old phone was apparently possessed. Or grumpy. Possibly both.

It would display the left half of the screen normally, and the right side of the screen backwards, in mirrored text. Ummm.. riiiight. And that was when it displayed at all. Once I started pressing buttons, various keys would make the screen blank out, turn black, or flash on and off repeatedly.

But now I can use my handsfree set to talk while finishing my mural, driving to Denton--all of those things that take up so much time during the week, while my hands are busy!

And I'm really excited about that cameraphone photo-caller-ID capability... I can make some really interesting photos as everyone's "name." This will be fun, MWAHAHAHAHA!

Beware, friends and family, I'm testing out my device tomorrow...


Art Contest for Geeks!

And one last note...
Alex and I have tickets for an advance screening of the movie Serenity on June 23rd (in Dallas). We are giving away two of these now-sold-out tickets FREE to the winner of a Serenity/Firefly Fan Art Contest.

Check it out! Enjoy a ridiculously good movie!

[Insert Catchy Title Here]

So, more on my Digital Projects Lab job at the UNT Library. I am transcribing letters in both Spanish and English from the Lorenzo de Zavala archive for the Portal to Texas History (amazing guy and first VP of the Republic of Texas!). His son, Lorenzo de Zavala, Jr, was aide-de-camp for General Sam Houston at the Battle of San Jacinto and acted as interpreter between he and Santa Anna! His letters reveal an affectionate and articulate man, as well as one intimately involved in Texas history. This project gives me urges to check out books on Texas history, visit the Alamo again, and write letters to my grandparents, all at once!

A bad typo can completely change the tone of a sentence, as proved by the example below. Replace "important" with "impotent," and it reads quite differently...
"He [Santa Anna] told his captors to conduct him to the Texan camp to confer with General Houston to whom he had important things to disclose."

Interesting note on transcription: one of the ways I figure out words that I can't make out from context or by looking at similarly shaped letters in other words, is by tracing the word with my finger, to figure out how the hand was moving when it was written. For some reason, this often helps me to determine whether a letter is a "r" versus a "s," for example, by figuring out what direction the hand moved. I don't know why sometimes this is easier to figure out kinetically than visually, but I guess whatever works is valid!

...And right, I'm also painting a nursery mural right now through my business, Snazzy Decor. This particular mural is incredibly immersive, due to the fact that the client painted the entire room, including ceiling, a light aqua-type blue, and also because I painted a wash of dark ultramarine blue that fades from dark at the bottom to light where the wall meets the ceiling, all in an irregular, watery-looking wash. It makes the whole room very effectively seem underwater, and I am incredibly tempted to do the same in my own bedroom.

So far, I've also painted a border of sand around the bottom, a section of coral and an octopus (yet to be finished), two dolphins (one finished), and a six-foot-long blue whale (almost finished). I've got a lot more fish and coral to add, plus some things like a treasure chest, seaweed, and a turtle. Hopefully I can somehow accomplish the rest of this by mid next week, so that I can return to a more realistic pace of two jobs and one course. (Eek!)


All Dressed Up And...

I had all this great stuff to write on Thursday and Friday, and no time to write. This evening, I have all this time to write, and no words with which to tell it.


The most I can say is that I am pleasantly full, tired, and slightly sunburnt. I feel accomplished--this afternoon, I dredged mud, grass clippings, and ferocious weeds out of our culvert. Then Alex took me to pick out a new cell phone--I picked it out but have to wait to pick it up--and treated me to dinner at BJ's Brewery, hence I am stuffed beyond all reason with spinach and artichoke dip, crunchy good pizza, and vanilla ice cream with freshly-baked chocolate chip cookie.

I have lots of things I am excited about with my new job and my new mural, but just no way to put them in real words. I'll update you all later this week.


School's Out For Summer!

Oh wait, it's not.
But from 5pm today until 8 am Monday, School's Out!

Things I am excited about this summer:
1. swimming (I'm going to try to do this more than twice this year)
2. grilling
3. Batman: Animated Series, Season 3 (Greatest comic-book animated series, AND Batgirl's debut!)
4. Batman Begins (It has Batman, right? and Morgan Freeman? and Liam Neeson? I am so there. Of course, it lacks the retro-stylings of the Burton version, and I think we all know that the new Batmobile sucks, but still, it's BATMAN.)
5. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Okay: Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, Roald Dahl. There's nothing I don't like in that list.)
War of the Worlds (Spielberg. 'Nuff said.)
The Big Over Easy (By the author of The Eyre Affair; comes out three days before my birthday; perfect timing!)

I am also pondering forsaking my well-established "geek tan" (translation: greenish pallor) for a--gasp--real tan. A decade of what began as fear of skin cancer and wrinkles ended up as a natural result of working, schooling, and living online, as well as much habitual movie-watching. And, love the sun though I do, everytime I *was* outside, I slathered myself in 45 spf sunscreen--even in winter.

So I'm thinking, after ten years of the Great White Ghost, perhaps this one summer I could take my new laptop outside and get a tan while I work. As in, little to no sunscreen. I keep looking at my legs and pondering how they might actually look attractive, instead of glaring. And this leads into...

Things I am afraid of this summer:
1. Skin Cancer
(Oh, and wrinkles; did I mention wrinkles? I know I look twelve, but I have this ridiculous fear that since I am approaching thirty, one day I will wake up and look thirty, and never have the sexy in-between appearance of the mid-twenties.)
2. The Fantastic Four (Yeah... a comic book movie for which the trailer worries me, rather than excites me. Hmmm.)
3. Having No Time, EVER (see previous post)

In any case, let summertime commence!