Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Suns Update

Obscure Tales 4: Suns of Charybdis has updated!

The next few pages will be pretty cool. I believe this based on how hard it will be to draw.

Other things I've been doing is another model! This time a Tamiya Vought Chance F4U-1a Corsair . From an engineering perspective, Tamiya makes a great kit. Most of the joins are along seams, joints and panel lines of the actual aircraft which cuts down on the amount of filling and sanding. It's sitting on a half-built WW2 carrier deck that I'm scratchbuilding to go with it (and the Grumman F3 Wildcat I'm working on now).

Listening to while posting: Sweet Enemy talking to our good friend Eek who just got back from China and is visiting his folks in Maine before he heads back to San Fransico.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I don't have a big readership here at Obscurum, so those that comment regularly feel like friends. This was especially true recently when Swinebread's good friend Josh died. I wanted to say something. Something really good that would give comfort. I knew I couldn't. I never knew Josh except for the sweet documentary SB did of him and his cat ( here. It's at the bottom) and I've never actually met Swinebred or Snab and Ladybug or the Dean in person, but I am certain I'd like to (for whatever that's worth).

So, here's a wish for good memories and good moments ahead. Swinebread (and Wife and Jr.). Snab and Ladybug (and mini-Snab). Dean (and the entire faculty). Tom. Becca.

Merry Christmas!

For those who want to know, that's this years christmas card. Hand carved and hand printed by me (48 prints). You guys get the digital one, since I don't know your addresses ;)

Those who read, but weren't mentioned here, are more than likely getting a card.

Here's the block:

p.s. Since I'm off tomorrow, I will try to finish up an Xmas update for The Suns...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What we're watching No. 1: Dr. Strangelove

Sweet Enemy had never seen Dr. Strangelove before, so she rented it last week and Monday night, she finally got around to watching it. I didn't come in until 1/3 of the way through (where the bombers get their orders from Col. Ripper), but I watched the rest of it even though it meant getting to bed at 1am.

You know what? It's still damned good satire. There has yet to be a satire so good. I think what makes it so darned good is the juxtaposition of the realistic-feeling (The bomber and crew. The President) with the over-the-top (Col. Ripper. Dr. Strangelove). It was still a funny and rather scary film.

Also noteworthy were two small directorial tricks that Kubrik used that nobody used much again for years. The first is the filming of the attack on Burpelson AFB. It was filmed with the camera low, documentary style and it really made you feel like you were in the thick of it. This was just how the battle scenes in Band of Brothers were filmed. Most of the war films between the two were filmed straight.

The other thing was a small thing, but I had to rewind it to see it again. As the B-52 nears it's target of opportunity, the camera is in the rear near the navigator facing the cockpit. When the co-pilot calls "Target in sight! Where the hell is Major Kong?", the camera zooms up to focus on the barely-visible Russian base. For all the world, it looked just like a shot from the new BSG. Totally. Check it out if you don't believe me (at about 1:13).

The drawing was done at work while waiting for code builds. Obviously, no reference for Slim Pickens was used.
Listening to while posting: The clanking of the woodstove.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


I finally took a pile of film to get developed. Yes, I still use film for three reasons.

>With B/W, you get a true resonance that you get by making a color digital image grayscale. You just don't, okay?

>>I like the fact that I can't help but save the 'bad' pictures. There are plenty of pictures I have from the old days that are terrible, but are the only photo of certain people or things. If they were digital files, I'd have likely deleted them.

>>>Expense. I am just good/knowledgeable enough to need a good digital SLR; one that costs at least a grand and I can't afford that. Especially since none of my lenses will fit a digital SLR and that is a huge cost.

So, here are some of the better photos. I have some good ones of my niece, but I don't want to post them just yet because a) more kid photos on the internets? Boring! and b) I'm going to have large prints made for Sweet Enemy to frame and give them to my mom and I don't want to risk her seeing them beforehand.

These two are from the Jericho/Underhill Harvest Festival:

And this? This is Kermit, one of a pair of siblings owned by my step-brother-in-law Former Ski Racer. Because they really look to him as the alpha, they pine when he's gone. That day, FSR and his SO went out in the kayak for a paddle and as soon as he began to go away, Kermit jumped on the JetSki and watched them, ever so sad.

In other news, Torchwood = good. We watched it for the first time last night (well, SE had seen a couple of episodes). It seems only the British can get sci-fi right. Cheesy effects and comedy mixed perfectly with realistic romance and drama. Zowie. Also, more gay kissing than many shows I've seen. SE and I don't have a problem with gay kissing, but I think it shouldn't look do darned... hungry. I mean they have characters kissing in the open like most people would kiss in bed.

listening to while posting. the woodstove clanking and SE turning pages.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Suns Update

The newest pages of Suns of Charybdis is up!

My pencils still look better than my inks. I wonder if part of it is that I trace them again in red pencil before inking. This saves erasing like you wouldn't believe, but perhaps something is lost in the translation. I'll have to try to tighten things up a bit when I do the red. Orrrr, I could buy a really good light board. I have a small light table my dad built me and it works pretty good. Unfortunately, I gave him some bad specifications and he built it 6" high. This is too high for any table I have so I've set it up on the dryer and trace standing up.

In other creative news, I've started building scale model aircraft again. It's been working pretty good even if I'm at the level of a 17 year old (the last year I actually completed a model). I've found I've developed a kind of code of ethics. Partly due to the scarcity of good-quality, cool-looking civilian aircraft, and partly due to their coolness, I build warbirds. However, given my take on war and fighting, I won't build any planes of what I consider to be aggressors. So, as cool as they look, I won't build any WW2 luftwaffe or IJAAF or IJN or Facist Italian aircraft. I also won't build any aircraft from the Vietnam war on.

But, for me, WW2 embodies how I (and Capt. Sheridan from Babylon 5) feel about war: Never start a fight, but always finish it. So, I'll build inter-war, WW2, post-war. I'd also like to build some cold war Fleet Air Arm stuff like the awesome Westland Wyvern (it's even got a cool name).

I'm actually really attracted to the years between WW1 and WW2, or the "YellowWing" period. It was kind of a well-meaning naivite in the warplanes from that period. Most of the aircraft were already obsolete due to the Nazi aircraft developments in Europe, but they were neat-looking and quite colorful. While there were many fun aircraft from this period, the only one I could find that wasn't an expensive short-run kit was this Boeing P-26 Peashooter. The name alone shows that we prepared for war, but hoped for peace. Here is mine in 1/48 scale:

Listening to while posting: "Cocktails for Two" by Spike Jones and his City Slickers