Archive for March, 2012

A Belated Realization

On March 27, 2010, I started posting on this blog.

It’s been two years plus two days.

I was planning on doing a big “second anniversary of One Last Sketch!” post as March drew nearer, but I kind of missed the boat now, haven’t I?


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The first ever One Last Sketch podcast!  Which was never actually intended to be a podcast!  In which my friend Marie and I talk about the plight of plague doctors.  And other things.

If you’re wondering, the picture we’re discussing at one point is this one:

The video referenced in said podcast will be out shortly.


Download the podcast

Links of Interest:

The MacKinney Collection of Medieval Medical Illustrations

Marie’s Youtube Channel

The source of our theme song (it’s “Balrog Boogie” by Diablo Swing Orchestra)

EDIT: the video is now live!

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Down with Movie Tie-in Covers!

Nothing annoys me more than finding the only in-print edition of a particular book I’d like to read has a movie tie-in cover.  Even a “now a major motion picture” band across the top, no matter how small the type, is enough for me to shove the novel back on the shelf and seek out an alternative.

It’s unavoidable, of course.  Probably half of all current editions of Pride and Prejudice have Colin Firth looking aloofly at you from the jacket.  It takes little effort to pull a still from a film or television series and slap it on the front, to lure in any browsers who think “I watched that…I wonder what the book is like.”  Sound marketing. 

I still hate it.

I hate the assumptions behind the idea, as if the novel’s adaptation into “a major motion picture” validates the text, makes it more worth your time.  Which is rather silly, considering how many awful books get made into films.  I don’t care if the novel’s a major motion picture or not.  The only thing I care about is whether the book is any good.  And I’d like something on my shelf where it feels like a little effort went into the cover design, where the marketers felt the text was worth a proper presentation, not dependent on familiarity with outside media representations of the same thing.

I am overreacting.  I am completely aware of this.

But how about the following scenario: what happens if your beloved book gets a terrible adaptation?  Do you actually want to be constantly reminded of it every time you take a stroll through the bookstore?  Do you want copies of A Wizard of Earthsea to proudly proclaim “now an exciting mini-series from the sci-fi channel” when the author herself disowned that very same mini-series?  (I’ve seen it, by the way.  Perhaps I will write about it one day, but I’m not sure the screen could hold so much vehement bile.)

And the source of the complaint…do I have the right to be angry that the only English edition of Solaris in print in Canada look like this?


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An Errant Memory

Most of my high school years are a pink blur of unwanted memories, dominated by a single question: “Why did I ever go to my Graduation Formal?”  However, there is one bit that I do cherish.

I was in Grade 11, sixteen years old, and it was springtime in the Yukon.  Classes were called off in the afternoon for a “school pride” assembly in the gymnasium.  After about thirty seconds of thought, I decided not to go, instead cutting back through the forest to a trail running along the Yukon River.  I was offered a joint along the way, but declined.  It was a beautiful day, warm, sunny, the snow melted off most of the trees but still layered on the ground, birds chirping, squirrels chattering, and all that.

Ironically, had I gone to that assembly, I would’ve received an award for perfect attendance.  This was considered the funniest moment involving me in Grade 11, despite not being particularly impressive, and I got bugged about it for weeks.

This is what I did:

I found a bench overlooking the river, sat down, and read The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander.  

This moment sticks with me because, with the sound of the river gurgling in the background and the bright light of sun reflected off ice and snow, the setting was utterly and entirely perfect.  It wasn’t exciting or daring, it wasn’t a first kiss, it wasn’t the time I painted the school roof, but it was calm and peaceful and I had a wonderful book to read, and sometimes, that’s all you need in life. 

So, while I’m glad to forget most everything else from that time if I could, this is the one errant memory I choose to keep.  A memory of of complete contentment on a warm spring day.

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At some point, most writers realize everything they wrote in high school was crap. 

What follows is a short story I wrote when I was 13 years old.  Presented, presumably, for your amusement and edification.  It never fails to give me a fit of giggles, and it says a lot about the person I was (and still am). 

I offer no other excuses.


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I was informed that Stormbringer had a different ending from the usual Elric story.  I was well aware of this.  However, I don’t think it was so different after all.

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