glasses, curious, siamese, cap

Home-made sports drink

This summer the weather has been horrid over here, hot and damp. Doing anything more strenous than breathing resulted in being drenched and feeling light-headed.

Everybody have been drinking a lot to cope, for me the best refreshers are two all-natural solutions:

coconut milk (nothing added, drink cold, slowly)


our former gongfu instructor's homemade sports drink, I make it with our 'standard-size' bottled water, for 1.5 liters you'll need:

Juice of 2 lemons

2 tablespoons of sugar (I use cane).

2 coffee spoons of salt.

when I make it I pour some water in a glass before adding the other ingredients and then top the bottle as needed.

NOTE: if you use sparkling water pour about half in a carafe before adding the juice and the sugar in the bottle, otherwise you'll get a white-water eruption.
glasses, curious, siamese, cap

I'm in love...

Hubby and I have been back from the US for a few days and now I'm starting to feel at home in the time-zone again (well, more or less).

Our trip went extremely well, both on the vacation side (Miami Beach), and the vacation-cum-businness one (Gen Con Indy), hubby landed a couple of rather big new clients and much fun was had.

And about fun...I fell in love hard.

While we were in Miami, uncle Mirco proposed kayaking on the Oleta River,not knowing what was involved I was a bit reluctant but went along...and had the time of my life.

I loved everything about it: tandem paddling, the quiet, the proximity of water, the manouverability, I could have happily spent our whole holiday flat water kayaking (now, white water is definitely NOT for me).

There are a few physical activities I really like but most of them are impossible for me for different reasons:

my ophtalmologist had me drop gongfu (I still smart about that), horse riding is unaffordable, locations for the kind of archery I enjoy are too far from here to allow for decent practice.

...But we live 10 minutes away from the biggest lake in the country, one that is eminently suitable for day touring kayaking.

It has become my personal project: save enough to buy a decent tandem kayak and related equipment, hopefully next summer I'll be able to go out in my own boat.
For ease of storage we'll need an inflatable, but I did want something that sits in the water rather than on it, after a bit of research I found this beauty.


It's the AE 1007-R Advanced Frame, by Advanced Elements

All reviews are extremely positive, it comes out as a great touring kayak: stable, rugged and with good load capacity and great tracking, it's also quite affordable to boot.

I can't wait. :)

Just unprofessional or even uglier?

I just witnessed something I deem very ugly, on a social network.

One very renowned and rightly well-regarded illustrator calling out in public a collegue for 'plagiarizing' one of his artworks.

Both artists work on the Game of Thrones IP, both artwork depict the Great Hall in the Red Keep, the lightning, floor, wall behind the throne are different, the only thing that is very similar is the design of the Iron Throne but that's OK with the first painter (after all, when the author himself says that your rendition is how he himself envisioned the throne, it turning into reference is just about a given).

So, given that the first artist is no newcomer and knows how the industry work, why this public attack impugning a collegue's ethics and professionalism? If anything, I'd say, let's tackle any issues privately... that would have been the professional thing to do. ugly thought raises its head.

This is the second time I've witnessed something of the sort. The first time it was back around 2006 and it was another illustrator (a good one) accusing a brilliant collegue of 'cheating' (that is photomanipulating and / or painting over photos), it turned into a lynch mob. The accused tried to defend herself then withdrew from the Net for the sake of her own sanity, she worked on a movie (wich taxed her even more) and then, as far as I know, disappeared althogether from the art industry.

I don't know how her accuser fares, I hope thoughts of that 'crusade' still haunt him from time to time.

Nine years are an eternity in Internet time, and the world of digital painting has changed, but the similarities in the two instances make me uneasy.

In both cases we have well respected women illustrators accused in public via internet of un-ethical practices.

In both cases the accuser is a (male) collegue, well respected and with a distinct following of his own who...should know how to behave professionally.

In both cases the accused is somehow an outsider in the field, a woman that, at long last, find herself under the spotlight (in the first case as 'the' then master of digital painting, in the second as the first woman to paint a 'Song of Ice and Fire' calendar after the likes of Michael Komark, Ted Nasmith, John Picacio etc.

Do some illustrators feel themselves so threathened by a talented woman that they have to go out of their way to bring her down?
glasses, curious, siamese, cap


A friend of mine has taken in a pregnant cat in need of rescue, she gave birth to four kitten today.

They are a red tabby (most likely male), one tortie, one tortie with white (females) and one black (sex unknown); they'll be available for adoption in 3-4 months and will be neutered before going to their new homes.

The kittens are located in Dunfermline, Scotland, photos coming soon.

If you can't adopt but would like to help, signal boosting is really appreciated.
glasses, curious, siamese, cap

Is there a corset expert in the house?

...Or maybe more?

I've decided I want to celebrate my getting back into shape by treating myself to a corset, something I've always drooled over from afar.

I have my sights set on this one , black leather will go literally with everything and seems easier to care for than silk, moreover Ms. Martha will be at Gencon, and I and hubby will be there too, so I'll be able to see her handiwork in person and I'll not have shipping added to the cost.

So, if anyone reading this has experience with corsets, is there any tips you'd like to share? Anything you wish you had known when you bought your first?
glasses, curious, siamese, cap

Spectrum musings

haikujaguar has posted her thoughts on the Spectrum award statue, and, as usual, her post sparked some thoughts and considerations of my own, too long (and probably too convoluted) to fit in a comment on her journal, so I'm posting them on my own.

Let me start by saying that this isn't and isn't meant to be critical of anyone's feeling and opinions about the trophy or Spectrum itself, everybody's position is equally valid, this just happens to be mine.

When I saw the award on Muddy Colors (multi-author artist blog), I was quite uninpressed,I didn't hate it but it did nothing for me. I've stopped hoping for something novel and wondrous from Spectrum quite a while ago, now I see it mainly as a celebration of the status quo in the industry (and mainly rapresentative of the US industry at that), so, for me, the award statue more or less went in the same direction, as expected.

As to the 'naked woman' thing...well keep in mind that I'm a Southern European (naked statues are...not quite uncommon over here), and also that the 'nipples taboo' was unknown to us until T. started posting his work on US sites. This is not to say that he painted a lot of erect nipples, just that we (and everyone else I know over here), by default dont't pay the slightest attention to the status of the nipples in a given piece of art (or craft).

Even now I had to check to notice on this statue. My usual reaction (possibly quite naive) would not be 'She is sexualized for the male viewer' (unless the pose and attitude were suggestive), but ' she / the model must be cold'

When I saw that statue I didn't think 'naked horned woman', I thought 'female faun variant', as such not human, and not a woman. As a spirit of nature her being naked doesn't disturb me, nor do I find her unsafe for work or to have around with children or company ('Why is she naked ?' 'Nature deities don't need clothes').

As an aside I was really flabbergasted some years ago reading some scathing comments about Faeries not being for children because 'the fairies are naked', T. has been given that book when he was about 5, it's not like Brian Froud went all suggestive or anatomically detailed in his faeries...

Back to the Spectrum Award, the piece fails completely for me anyway, because I really cannot see her as a muse. The greek muses were...quite civilized: history, lyric poetry, comedy, tragedy, dance, epic poetry, love poetry, sacred poetry, astronomy. You can't have these without city life, outside of the walls was chaos, and reasons for fear ('panic' comes from the name of nature god 'Pan'), the idea of poetic inspiration as a wild thing, akin to battle furor,isn't Greek and has nothing to do with the muses, so this horned lady comes out as a pastiche of different, half-digested European traditions (also, sadly a neither new nor particularly surprising thing).

Again, keep in mind that I'm interpreting this from the outside. Just an episode: when T. had his exibition, mid-May, many of the visitors wanting to speak with the artist addressed me, first. No one bats an eyelid at the idea of a woman painting professionally, I gather that things are a 'bit' different over there.
glasses, curious, siamese, cap

Tracking weight loss

I decided to use LJ to track my progress at getting rid of my eccess weight. friends locked in case someone on my friends list might find it useful/encouraging, but it's not something I care to share with the universe at large.

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glasses, curious, siamese, cap

World of Warcraft or...?


Today we had friends from our old gaming group at home, we spent a delightful morning , made plans for some boardgaming...and I realized how much I'm missing roleplaying in a fantasy world.

It isn't possible for our group to get together often enough to play tabletop, and I've no interest whatsoever in playing 'pure' computer RPGs, I want people on the other side, not my machine.

That leaves one option, as far as I know: massive multiplayer on-line games.

I'm tempted...and I've been wavering between Guild Wars and World of Warcraft. As I gather, Guild Wars is geared towards Player v. Player, I'm definitely more inclined towards Player versus Environment with an emphasis on role-playing.

I know some of my LJ friends play WOW, would it fit what I'm looking for? Do you have any suggestions /tips / caveats for a total noob?
cooking, recipe

(no subject)

It isn't often, I believe, that one has a life-changing experience at a fantasy convention and a McDonald table, yet it's what happened to me last weekend.

Hubby was a guest artist at Fantastika, a 2-days event held at the castle of Dozza (nice place, great people, lovely 2 days).

Saturday evening we were having dinner with the people of the Italian Tolkien Studies Society at a local restaurant. The appetizer was the local glory, piadina with cheeses and cold cuts, it was so good that hubby and I decided to go for seconds instead than ordering pasta or meat as main course.

That meant we had to wait, just about everybody was served before us (and I was so hungry that I felt I could eat the waitress, never mind piadina). ...When our order arrived I ate all of 2 slices before feeling suddenly so full that the thought of having another bite was unbearable, it was almost embarassing, I'm not used to leaving food to be thrown away, they offered a doggy bag and we accepted gratefully.

Fast forward to the day after, late dinnertime: hubby and I, coming home, stopped to a McDonald and ordered our 'usual-sized' menu (we go about once a month), at the counter they told us we'd have to wait a bit for the hamburgers, they'll bring them to us.

We ate our fries, and waited...and waited, about 15 minutes. And again, when the food arrived I found myself unable to finish it, much to hubby's surprise.

I was sure to have gained at least one kg, given that I believed to have eaten a lot in the weekend, and heavier food than usual, I discovered I lost 1.4 Kgs.

And finally it dawned on me: I have always been a fast eater, and I have always struggled with my weight, I tried just about everything (under medical control), but nothing worked long term, and every time I'll gain back what I'd lost, often with interest.

I could never say no to offered food...and I'd never really felt as full as in those two occasions last weekend.

Since then I've started eating something ( usually vegetables and my daily ration of nuts) 15-20 minutes before lunch and dinner, invariably I find myself eating during the meals about half of what was normal for me before, I'm not hungry for hours, I keep loosing weight (200 grams one day, 400 another...) and I'm not even tempted to open the fridge to see what's in it. All this is quite novel for me, and eating less without feeling constantly hungry is akin to a miracle...