Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Twisted Tales

Halloween began as Samhain, a night when people believed the veil between this world and the Otherworld was particularly thin. People would dress up as ghosts and demons to disguise themselves from harmful spirits. Since then Halloween has grown and become a night to wear a costume and go trick or treating. We are no longer limmitted to dressing up as ghosts and ghouls, we can be anything we want to be, whether it's a doctor, a cartoon character, or the traditional goblin or ghoul.

Growing up, many of us wanted to be a princess, genies or even a prince (how else do you convince the grown ups to let you carry that ultra cool sword). Of course fairy tales were originally not tales to amuse and delight such as they are now, originally they were tales told to scare children into behaving.

So instead of going the traditional rout and posting a list of creepy paranormal type books, I have included a list of Twisted Tales, fairy tales that have been modernized, had their settings changed or twisted in some other way. You can check out a pdf file of the list by clicking here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rainy Day Activities

I don't know what everyone else's weekend was like, but here all it did was rain. Of course this made me remember one of my favorite rainy day activities, paper craft. Paper craft is the art of cutting and folding paper into fun shapes. My favorite papercraft site is Cubeecraft. They provide fun full color templates that you can print, cut out and fold into your favorite video game, movie, cartoon and book characters, such as Mario Bros, Scott Pilgrim, various incarnations of Batman and the guys from Ghost Busters. They also have various inanimate objects, such as the mushrooms from Mario Bros, and pretty much every video game console.

Each item is marked with a difficulty level between one (the easiest) and five (the hardest) scissors. A thicker paper is recommended for this; I used 24 lb paper. You can use regular paper, but it is much harder. You can use scissors to cut everything out but it is much easier to use an exacto knife to cut the slots, and also make sure to put cardboard or some kind of mat underneath your paper, so you don't cut tables or floors. Also double check the printing directions on the site, if you aren't careful you could end up losing tabs (that's why my mushroom is a little bit crooked).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Let There Be Art

Odosketch is a website I came across in my online travels. This website is a free flash drawing application. It mimics a sketch book and only offers the most basic of tools, some colors to draw with and an eraser. You can also play back your creations and watch every step you took, even the mistakes. Even the most artistically challenged user can get the hang of it, (I know cause even I was able to use it, check out my ultra cute mushroom).

You can check out new and featured sketches for inspiration, and there is a cloning feature that lets you add to the sketches of others. You have to create an account to save your artwork or use the cloning feature, and promise not to share you're e-mail with anyone else and they don't need any personal information from you beyond that. You can also embed your picture into another website or blog, like I did.

Friday, October 9, 2009

500 Essential Graphic Novels

So I somehow got this crazy idea that I want to read all of the books listed in the book 500 Essential Graphic Novels by Gene Kannenberg Jr. It started innocently enough, I joined the group on Goodreads as a way to branch out of my normal reading habits; but now the more books I read off the list the more I want to read the whole list.

I am not saying that every book I have read off the list has been a stellar read, in fact I can think of at least two that I absolutely hated; but the ones that I loved I have really loved. For example, I read Persepolis a while ago I did enjoy it, but I was probably never going to read anything else by Marjane Satrapi. Then I saw another one of her books, Embroideries was also on the list, so I took it out of the library and it is great. Like Satrapi's other books it's nonfiction. Marjane and the women of her family regularly gather to have tea and gossip. Through the gossip of her elders Marjane and the readers find out about the heartbreaks of both marriage for love and marriage for convenience. The stories are funny and heartfelt. Since the tales all revolve around love gone wrong, the reader can see the strength in all of the woman who survive these heartbreaks and are still able to raise families and become strong independent

Plus reading from the list has led me to books not on the list I might have never picked up. I have always been a Marvel girl with a love of the X-Men, especially Rogue and Nightcrawler and the Avengers. The only DC character I ever gave the time of day was Wonder Woman. Now I am following Birds of Prey, Green Arrow, and even Batman (he was always kind of dark with way too much deep introspection for my kiddie self) but now that I have read Jeph Loeb's noir style Batman, I am in love. And who knew there was a Green Arrow Black Canary book or that Marvel had Dracula, Wolfman and Frankenstein books as well.