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  • Listening to: the howling wind
  • Reading: evo-devo literature, mostly
Sort of. I haven't really done anything artistic for aaages*, so I was pretty chuffed with myself when I went on a walk about two weeks ago and took my camera with me. I had loads of fun despite the cold, which kind of reassured me that my creative block isn't forever...

And now I'm flooding my gallery with the results :D

I also learned a lesson. Never, ever go out shooting without a tripod in Scotland. If you see sunshine when you step out the door, it's guaranteed to go away by the time you get to your destination.

And grey skies + forest + my camera isn't a good recipe for sharp close-up pictures of tree bark ^^;

* Well, I have, a little, but most of it (OK, all of it) was related to my world and my characters, and I'm quite insecure about sharing that stuff with everyone and their pets.
  • Listening to: the dishwasher
  • Eating: digesting my horribly burnt beef burger
... because I'm bored and lonely and would do anything to avoid having to face the mess in my flat.

Tagged by dracontes

The rules of the meme are as follows:
A:pointr: post said rules
B:pointr: post no less than eight random facts about yourself
C:pointr: tag up to eight people or more who haven't been tagged yet.
D:pointr: post parts A, B and C in a new journal.
E:pointr: inform the tagged people either by commenting on their page or sending them notes, IMs, etc. You may do nothing if the taggee is watching you.
F:pointr: you may change the rules above to reflect your quirkiness but keep the spirit of the meme.


And the random facts I'm sure everyone's been aching to know :P ...

(1) I have a piece of Newton's legendary apple tree on my keyring. Or I dearly hope I do, it cost me 5 pounds :D

(2) I'm unreasonably afraid of wasps, bees and ticks and generally anything that could sting/bite you to death or give you a very nasty disease.

(3) Sinande means "beautiful" and it's the name of the mother of a novel protagonist I invented when I was about 13. Said protagonist and her never-actually-written story has changed beyond recognition (in fact, I probably wouldn't want to make friends with her present character :D), but I still like this name. It just has the music I so rarely manage to put in a name.

(4) I've wanted to be a scientist since the age of (roughly) six. I used to play scientist when I was a kid, and devoured every science book I could get my hands on. I went through various shifts of interest including astronomy, physics, marine biology and palaeontology, but, I think quite conclusively, ended up with evolutionary biology (which is the degree I'm studying for). I at least partly have SJ Gould et al's Book of Life to thank for that - it's a complicated thing, but the way evolution is portrayed in the book did a lot to make me realise just how fascinating a subject it is.

(5) I invented my first fantasy world when I was ten. It grew out of a story we played with one of my friends, and its inhabitants were tiny winged teddy bears of all colours...  ^_^ but it did have some excellent names and a very cool pantheon. Alas, in a rush of unexplainable and unforgivable stupidity I threw out all my notes :(

(6) I'm horrible at keeping my possessions. Rings, watches, erasers and other small objects just disappear from my life all the time.

(7) I'm very bad at understanding/memorising what I read, especially maths things. I guess it's just attention problems, but somehow written stuff doesn't get through my interpretative filters as well as, say, a lecture does. So most of my exam preparation is answering old exam questions and making extra notes. Simply reading stuff I wouldn't remember a tenth of it.

(8) I think most artiodactyls (barring cetaceans) just look... dumb. Cute and dumb.

(9) I have a strange fondness for somewhat desolate, mostly or completely treeless landscapes. Preferably hilly and rocky. Like the Naver estuary in northern Scotland:… and….)


I've done my bit, and since I'm not exactly the centre of any community here... anyone who drops by, feel tagged.
  • Listening to: the howling of the wind
  • Reading: New Scientist :P
  • Eating: giant double choc muffin
I watched the new Indiana Jones movie tonight. I don't normally do light entertainment, when I go to the cinema by my own will I go for the catharsis, but one of my friends dragged me along for this.

I never saw the first three, though I might decide to make up for that. Because Indiana Jones is fun. Even though the little cynic in my head kept snickering for two hours, or perhaps because the little cynic had so much fun too. These slight departures from reality when a dozen people with machine guns AND a darn big army truck manage to miss a few unarmed people on foot...

Being the martial art person I am I also found it interesting that in all these fight scenes nobody ever thinks of kicking the other between the legs. And when Henry Jones III gets knifehanded in the neck then kicked multiple times in places where a real kick would've bled him to death or pushed his broken ribs right into very delicate things, plus hit in the head several times with proper force, and he doesn't even pass out... nah, reality can take a hike =P Not to mention all the bits that defied all known physics.

I think I need this kind of entertainment every now and then. It's good to take a break from taking things seriously once in a while.
  • Reading: Bloody ecology notes
  • Eating: cheap ready-made spaghetti bolognese
The Isle of May is a small piece of rock at the mouth of the Firth of Forth, covered in rabbit-trimmed grass and guano. And, quite predictably, I fell in love with it as soon as I saw the first puffin.

What more can a bird-loving weirdo like me wish for than a razorbill sitting a metre from the path, perfectly reassured that these huge two-legged things won't eat it? Or a shag with its funny hairdo making silly poses in front of the camera? A female eider duck playing invisible right next to the footpath?

(Well, maybe nice weather. But it didn't rain, which was more than I hoped for based on the looks of the sky this morning, and more than you'd expect from Scotland anyway.)

Isle of May, you've earned a place in my heart.

Though it would've been nice if I didn't get soaked on the way there. I chose the worst place to stand on the boat and got a proper shower every time we hit a wave. And, let's face it, the Scottish climate isn't exactly tropical.

(On the way back I cleverly made for the upper deck. Which was good because I had a premier view of the whale that surfaced only a few metres from the boat. Nobody had any idea what species it was, except that it was probably a toothed whale as it apparently had only one blowhole. I'd like to think it was some kind of beaked whale - the small dorsal fin way back, the size and the fact that it was alone are about right - but given that I didn't take a picture I'll never actually know :( )
  • Listening to: Hans Zimmer's awesomest soundtrack in my head
  • Reading: Papers about polychaete development
  • Watching: Just finished TLS for the zillionth time
  • Eating: dinner in a moment
  • Drinking: "that small measure of peace"
What is it about The Last Samurai?
  • Listening to: waves and wind
  • Reading: The Origin of Species - (need I say?)
  • Playing: hide-and-seek with polychaetes
  • Eating: chocolate :D
  • Drinking: Bad Scottish tap water
I'm kinda happier than I've ever been for the past half a year or so. All the bloody deadlines that kept me frustrated for the whole easter break are now history and I finally made myself grab the camera and go out to the shore. Haven't really done that for ages. The tide was out, the sun was shining (for part of the time, anyway =P, but what more could you expect from Scotland?), life was all over the place, I learned again that seaweed-covered sloping rocks are not the places you want to step... IOW, loads of fun.

What this means, of course, is a huge flood of pictures. You can tell I'm totally fond of the whole wildlife around here :hug:
  • Reading: Wonderful Life - SJ Gould
  • Playing: Way too much Freecell and Minesweeper
  • Eating: chocolate :D
  • Drinking: Bad Scottish tap water
Looks like I've got a six-week evo-devo project for the first half of the summer. Me. Real science. Unbelievable... :wow:

*fingers crossed*
  • Reading: A Feast for Crows (again)
  • Eating: too much
  • Drinking: Bad Scottish tap water
I knew I should've taken a proper drawing course.

I actually have a fun gorgonopsid picture in mind and have done a few very preliminary sketches.

And in doing so realised that I have no idea what a gorgonopsid's head would look like from the front. Well, I have some idea but I can't picture the thing's face in a way that doesn't make me grind my teeth in frustration.

Of course the internet is extremely poor in the sort of thing I'm hunting for - I have reasonably large skull reconstructions for I think three species (and I think that's about all Google image search turns up) and among them the skull of Sauroctonus progressus in every view imaginable - except front view.

I'm not planning to give up my fancy little idea, but sadly I'm unable to get on with it due to... well, due to the fact that nobody ever taught me how to draw 3-dimensional objects more complex than a cube.

If only someone could help me out with a few sketches and/or pieces of advice to guide me what's visible-what it looks like-roughly how to shade it-etc-wise. A closed-mouth and an open-mouth sketch would be so helpful...

*stops daydreaming*

Also wondering if I have to get a bloody expensive book to find substantial information on these awesome predators that's somewhat newer than Alex Freeman's undergrad project. Because the web doesn't seem to offer all that much, or else I'm utterly rubbish at using Google.
  • Reading: A Game of Thrones (again)
  • Eating: Myself
  • Drinking: Bad Scottish tap water
I really, really ought to do more paleoart. After all, I used to doodle a lot of dinosaurs and some other creatures, and after all, most things starting with "paleo-" have a very warm and firm little place in my heart. And when I find these old drawings on my computer and realise, hey, I can draw dinosaurs I like, I inevitably come to the question, why don't I do it then?

Laziness. That damned, invincible laziness of mine.

New Academic Year's Resolution: I will draw extinct creatures. Yes I will. *cough* Hopefully.
  • Listening to: The sparrows outside my window
  • Reading: The Great Hunt - Robert Jordan. Boring.
  • Watching: A computer screen. Surprise, surprise.
  • Eating: Will have chicken breast in whisky sauce =D
  • Drinking: Twinings Four Red Fruits tea
Yesterday I browsed through my old files on the ageing family computer and found a bunch of photos I really like. Couldn't help but upload them... More might come if I take the time to search through those dusty old folders.
  • Listening to: My stupid BrainAMP
  • Reading: A Feast for Crows by George R R Martin
Yay, today even the weather admitted that it's May. Something it has been ignoring so far.

And what could I do on such a wonderful sunny (!) morning but go on a long walk with my camera and spare batteries?

This time I decided to explore the Lade Braes Walk, which brought me to hidden beauties in the westernmost part of the city. My favourite hidden beauties - the feathered sort - were usually hidden too well, or if they let themselves be seen, they disappeared as soon as I composed a reasonable picture, but I wouldn't say I'm very disappointed. After all, today was the first time I ever saw a grey wagtail (the damned thing belonged to the disappearer type), and I greeted the swift colony of the Canongate as well - though I doubt the birds have noticed me greeting them :D

A small Best Of of today's hundred photos is now up in the gallery.
  • Listening to: The Last Samurai soundtrack
  • Reading: A Storm of Swords book 1 by George R R Martin
Uploaded a few old drawings and a crazy deviantID, just so I'd have one.
  • Listening to: Hot water flowing in my radiator
  • Reading: A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin
  • Playing: DragonFable
  • Eating: a bad, bad giant muffin
BBC has disappointed me. I'm shattered and disillusioned.

This week in Biology of Organisms we had a few glimpses at the history of life (most of it was stuff I've known since I was twelve, but I can only blame myself for that :D). Last lecture was on mass extinctions, and today the lecturer brought us the BBC documentary 'The Day the Earth Nearly Died' (or something like that anyway). Permian extinction, yay! I felt intrigued, I love the Permian, love therapsids, love extinctions (well, learning about them).

I found the documentary pretty good, as far as I can tell with next to no expert knowledge on the subject. There were also moments when my hairs played Mexican wave, which is perhaps not the primary aim of a documentary, but I enjoyed it anyway.

And then in the very end, they made a dramatic announcement of the new hope of the Triassic.

And declared Lystrosaurus (1) the only surviving therapsid (2) the ancestor of all mammals.

WHY? Why did they have to spoil fifty carefully built minutes with one single sentence???
Spring is conquering St Andrews, and I seem to be having a shooting fit. Yesterday I took a big walk in town and shot everything even faintly beautiful that came my way. Today, coming home from my Molecular Biology lab, I continued shooting in the same insane, maniac way. I have a feeling that my darling camera won't have much rest in the days to come :D
Oh my, this is gorgeous!!! :D
Where the hell did my second flower photo go?
  • Listening to: The Bard's Song (Blind Guardian)
  • Playing: Fowl Words!!!
  • Eating: TWIX *grin* CHOCOLATE *drool*
  • Drinking: Bad Scottish tap water
Spring is coming, and I'm loving it. For quite a few days now birds have been telling me that winter's over. Well, of course in reality they were telling their potential rivals to f**k off, but nevertheless, my human ears found their song touchingly beautiful after the long (almost) quiet of winter.

Here in Scotland Life never really seems to go to sleep (as far as I can tell after one winter I've spent here), but now it's awakening to new glory. With the glory comes my renewed awe and a good dose of ecstasy every time I walk through Kinburn Park and hear them, little feathered dinosaurs, trilling out their warning signs.

And with my awe and ecstasy comes an urge to catch the beauty before it's gone - that is, I'm constantly on the lookout for good themes for a shot. Spring is in many ways my favourite season, so I hope I can take some of my favourite shots while it resides around 57° northern latitude. Wish me good luck *grin*
  • Listening to: the gentle humming of my notebook
  • Reading: Nothing. Eragon didn't encourage me to buy book 2.
  • Playing: warcraft 3 campaigns... the sixth time...
  • Eating: Pringles sour cream & onion
  • Drinking: Bad Scottish tap water
Ehmm... mehates ill-functioning deviation submission. Grrrr. Hrrrr.
Finally I actually DID something here. Uploaded some stuff, that's all. Maybe there will be some life in this darned gallery in the end :D
I hope I'll not be pursued by vigorous enforcers of copyright law... For the sake of truth I must state (in case anyone didn't realise) that photo reference was used for the Audi. I don't remember where it came from, though, since it's a fairly old piece and I lost the original Audi image. It was probably more than one image, actually. :hmm: