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Saturday, February 22, 2003

The Ancient Ones have informed me that it is time to journey into the realms fantasy, gothic & surreal art!

The "Araminta Station" a cool gallery with hi-res scans of some very famous and not so famous fantasy art. (Pretty cool site, even if the designer is own of those blasted "proud" Mac users! LOL)

This dark gothic site is in Italian, however it is very easy to navigate (hint: Arte is Art in Italian, duh! The fashion section also has some cool art, including works by other personal favs, such as Olivia Deberardinis and Hajime Sorayama) and contains a very good sampling of gothic art by (again) some well known and some less well know artists.

One of the real "artistic treats" on this site is work by a surreal fantasy I had not come across previously: Wojtek Siudmak, who reminds me of a combination of Boris Vallejo and Salvador Dali.

The other notable artist, which I had not heard of before, is Zdzislaw Beksinski. Something like H.R. Giger, but in a more classical and perhaps disturbing style.

(If you are at all sensitive to "disturbing" images, do not look at the work of Jean Marie Poumeyrol on the Italian Gothic site! You have been warned! If you see really gross things, have bad dreams or whatever, it's not my fault!)

Another one of my favourite fantasy artists is Luis Royo, who tends to be just a little "darker" than Boris.

Here is another Italian site with an array of fantasy art samples (Ciencia Ficción! LOL)

I was searching through online fantasy art because of an odd coincidence… Earlier in the month I was flipping around the dish when I saw that one of my favourite (ie. Crappy) series from the early 90's was on: The Adventures of Sinbad! A truly horrendous series (ironically both SINful and very BAD) which was produced in Canada during the height of Hercules/Xena popularity in a feeble attempt to capture the fantasy market share (At least it lasted longer than Roar!)

Probably the best (i.e. only) reason for watching tAoS was for the lovely Jacqueline Collen (and her very wenchy outfit) who played the fledgling sorceress Maeve. (This lady could light my fire any time!)

I started to get curious about the "fate" of Jaqueline Collen and I noted that her Internet Movie Database Entry mentioned that she had her own medieval products company. A quick google search turned up Toadstool Farm Art, turns out that Jaqueline is actually a very accomplished fantasy artist (Serious Droolage! Too bad she's now Jacqueline Collen-Tarrolly, the good ones are always taken!) in a similar vein to Amy Brown and Jessica Galbreth.

Her links page mentions several other fantasy artists that I was also unfamiliar with, including the interesting Brian Froud.

That's it for this episode of The Lonely Gunman! Don't forget to look up some of the other interesting artists from the compilation sites, there's a lot of really excellent fantasy art out there!

posted by Kusari 11:29 PM

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

This week’s writing project was very tough. During last week’s meeting we each took a partner, whom we told a story to and who told us a story. We had to take notes about their story, which we would use in turn to inspire our piece for the week.

My partner told me about a time when she and her husband almost died in a storm while sailing on the Great Lakes.

My piece ended up rather reminiscent of both “The Blair Witch Project” and “Memento”, with a strange streak of Dylon-humour and, of course, written in my now familiar narrative style.

Names have been changed to protect the “innocent”…

The Ship

Under an overcast sky, a coast guard ship edges its way through a thick autumn fog on the Great Lakes…

"It's as think as pea soup out here!"

"Yes Cap'n"

"Any luck raising them on the radio?"

"No Sir, still nothing."

"We will be to the head of the inlet shortly, prepare the launch and crew."


A small launch, manned by an experienced rescue crew putts it's way into the inlet, unsure of what they will find in the midst of the thick fog… Slowly the shape of a 40' sailboat emerges from the cold, damp air… Silence echoes all around…

"Ahoy! Ahoy!"

Pulling along side of the silent vessel, the crew of the launch prepares to board the seemly abandoned pleasure craft…

"Ahoy! Hello? Hello?"

"Ok, take it slowly gentlemen, let me know the instant you find anything, we may not have much time if there's a medical emergency."

Boot steps across the deck of the silent yacht are the only sound that carries over the October-calm River inlet as 2 members of the rescue crew creep onto the eerily blurred ship. They return quickly with their report…

"She's abandoned sir, it looks like the crew had a rough go of it. A lot of empty cans of tinned corn, no ice, fresh water supply is out. They were low on fuel as well, there's still some clothing below deck and the dinghy is still here, and the ship is securely anchored, I don't know where they could have gone."

"Doesn't make much sense, even if they abandoned ship after anchoring, with the intention of hiking to the highway, they would have had to take the dinghy to shore, surely."

"I checked the registration, belongs to a yacht chartering outfit over on the big island."

"A little late in the season for a charter, don't you think?"


"No, it would have been reported missing for sure."

"I also found this sir, it looks like a journal, it was sitting open on the cockpit table."

"hmmmm, let me have a look at that…"

"The final entry is from October 19th, 6pm…"

"Hmmmmm, that would have been 2 days ago, and just a day after those hunters reported seeing her anchored here…"

"Finally calm again after eating, ho ho ho green giant my ass! If I ever see another tin of corn again in my next 5 lives it will too soon!

I really don't know what we are going to do. I just can't face the open water again! I am seriously concerned about Ben's health, we've barely had anything to eat in the last 24 hours, that, combined with the stress of all this is bound to cause his diabetes to flare up. There's no way I can handle this ship on my own, not that I could face the lake again anyhow…

That's odd, it sounds like Ben is talking to somebody on deck?? I wonder if it has anything to do with that light we saw on the shore last night? What was that! It sounded like a…"

"Hmmmm, I'm not sure what to make of this. We'll have to leave her anchored here and contact the provincials. See how they want to handle it, doesn't look like there was any foul play, but it could be considered a crime scene I suppose."

After returning to the main vessel, the rescue team leader sits down and begins to thumb through the journal in earnest…

"This Journal Belongs to: Samantha Pugett"

"October 19th, 11pm

Slept long and hard after yesterday's terror, very surprised that I wasn't woken by more nightmares, but it seems as if my brain simply shut off to let my body recover. Still chilled to the bone, although the weather does seem to be breaking somewhat, I suddenly realized that I was filled with an utter panic with regards to ever being on the open water in this boat again.

The panic that seized me was uncontrollable, it took Ben a good hour to talk me down so that I was calm enough to write.

There must be some option for us! There was no sign of anyone on the shore this morning, but perhaps there are some hunters nearby that could help us? Maybe we could hike to the highway, 30 miles isn't that far, is it?"

"October 18th, 10pm

We're back an the Thread River inlet and my hands are shaking as I write this, I've never been so cold or scared in my life. Thank god we're alive!!

The open lake was a nightmare straight from the depths of hell.

I swear that the waves were over 10 feet for the whole trip! It took us nearly 3 hours of being battered and tossed around like a cork just to reach the pheasants, where the rocks nearly took our lives shortly after arrival.

It seems that the charts we have for the region are completely out of date, as we reached what should have been the first buoy according to the GSP, there was nothing to be found.

I had to radio the coast guard station way up in Lightning Bay to double-check our readings. My heart was sorely tempted to call a Mayday there and then, however, my training kicked in and I managed to keep my cool. Unfortunately Lightning Bay didn't have the new charts on hand, but at least managed to confirm that the markers had been changed earlier in the year. They attempted to contact the station near Bard's Cove, but in the end they just didn't have any way to relay the information, it was hard enough to communicate on the radio with the wind roaring with Neptune's fury.

I went up on deck to discuss the situation with Ben. It was nearly impossible to communicate, as even the loudest words were torn from our mouths before they were even spoken.

I could see the strain on Ben's face. He had to fight every second to keep the boat on course, how long could his strength keep up? Especially with his diabetes?

We had to decide what to do, as the rocks of the pheasant were approaching quickly. It would be next to suicide to try and navigate them without proper charts. But what else could we do?

It was then that I heard perhaps the most dreadful sound, or lack there of, that I ever have in my life, as the engine suddenly quit.

Cold panic spread through us both. What could the problem possibly be? We shouldn't have been out of fuel! But, what if the gauge was broken! Without the engine the waves began to toss us even more violently, my already sore legs took the beating of their lives began to collapse underneath me.

Ben calmly reached for the ignition and thanks to the grace of somebody above, the engine fired right back up.

The dire nature of our situation was far from over as we had to decided immediately there and then what to do. We truly had only one choice, turn back and try to make the inlet. Without a trustworthy engine or charts we stood no chance against the rocks, I could almost feel them looming out of the water, waiting to smash us to pieces.

I did not believe that the trek back would ever end, not that I was filled with any kind of anticipation. It was more like we were both filled with the cold, calm spectre of the quick death which now loomed over us.

We both collapsed from exhaustion as soon as we were safely anchored, which was just after 7. We didn't wake up for 2 hours, but the drive of insane hunger finally got us moving. Thank goodness for instinct or we would never have eaten our lovely feast of cold canned corn.

Ben has just come down from the deck, says he saw a faint light on the horizon, maybe some hunters? We're far too tired to investigate though…"

"October 18th, 2pm

Ok, we're going to give it a try, it looks like the seas have calmed a little and my head is dancing with images of a nice hot meal at the Aldersville Inn."

"October 18th, 1pm

Weather outlook on the radio is still bad, not sure what to do, really only enough food for another day. Ben suggested that we should perhaps brave the open water and make a run for Aldersville. It would normally only be 3 hours and it's a little tricky with all the exposed reef and rocks around The Pheasants, but between the GPS and the charts we have on board it shouldn't been overly tricky.

One look at all the empty tinned corn cans was enough to put the thought seriously into my head."

"October 18th, 11am

Bored… Ben suggested taking a tour around the inlet in the dinghy, but I'm simply too cold, tired and bored to give a damn. Who's idea was it to come sailing in October anyhow?!"

"October 18th, 10am

As I suspected we had to draw drinking water from the inlet. I'm not exactly comfortable drinking water from the inlet, with all the swampland in the area, but it seems to all right. At least boiling the water creates a little warmth.

Checked the canned supplies, as I suspected, it's almost all tinned corn, with the exception of a couple of older cans of soup."

"October 18th, 8am

Hard time sleeping last night, the roll of the boat is usually much more soothing for both of us. Ended up discussing morbid thoughts of our own mortality into the wee hours.

At least there's Cream of Friggin' Wheat for breakfast! Wouldn't want to have to resort to tinned corn again!

The situation is actually getting a bit worrisome, we'll be out of fresh water before midday, there's no meat for good old protein energy left, not there's any ice left to keep it from going funky.

The forecast shows no break in the high winds, massive white caps are visible out on the open water. Don't know if I'll ever be warm again, even the bed is damp and chilly now."

"October 17th, 9pm

Going to sleep early, radio is too fuzzy with the electrical storm, can't even hear the game. Must have read every book and magazine on board twice now."

"October 17th, 7pm

Tried to make the best of dinner with Ben, not exactly romantic to be cold, tired and bored out of our skulls. Some vacation!

Even the last of the steaks tasted bland, especially with tinned corn on the side. Why the hell did Ben buy so much tinned corn anyway!? No like the jolly green giant is patron saint to lost sailors or anything."

"October 17th, 4pm

Tried writing a little, just didn't want to come… Note to self, remember to ask Marge if she's going to have a writer's group this winter."

"October 17th, 3pm

Bored, Bored, Bored…"

"October 17th, 1pm

Very boring morning… read just about every magazine on board. Lunch was uninspired as well, toast, eggs and canned corn (surprise!)"

"October 17th, 9am

Slept late this morning, the storm is still raging, very little reason to get out our warm bed, except hunger and the call of Mother Nature.

Cream of Wheat for breakfast, tempted to cook up the last of the meat though, very hungry, used a lot of energy getting here yesterday."

"October 16th, 11:30pm

In the midst of a fully raging storm now, we were very lucky to make it to the inlet, got anchored just about half an hour back. I swear the waves were up to 6 or 7 feet during the last hour south! Ben said that his arms are aching from trying to keep us on course. Gotta love modern technology though, the GPS is a godsend.

The inlet is much calmer than the open lake, don't think that we'll have any trouble sleeping tonight despite the thunder and lightning which constantly illuminates around us."

"October 16th, 8pm

Much rougher now, must be 3 and 4 footers. Had to put on extra warm clothing under the rain gear before making supper. Need to make sure Ben keeps his strength up. Chopped and fried the steaks tonight to make them easier to shovel down. Dumped some corn and peas into the potatoes and just mashed them up.

Better stick with juice tonight, wine probably wouldn't set too well with these seas."

"October 16th, 4pm

Finally had to give in and pull out the wet weather clothing, the rain is heavier now and it's finally getting chilly. The seas are up, making the trip a little choppier. No nice meal tonight, looks like we'll have to press past The Pheasants to make it to the sheltered inlet of the Thread River."

"October 16th, 11am

Misty rain now as we head south along the eastern shore of the bay, not too chilly though, haven't even bothered to break out the rain gear yet.

The dampness really brings out the colours in the trees."

"October 16th, 6am

Shouldn't have had so much wine last night! The swaying of the boat had me up earlier, worth it for the spectacular sunrise! Dazzling reds and oranges! Looks like the day may be slightly overcast despite yesterday's weather forecast.

Think I'll fry up some of the leftover corn and potatoes in an omelette for breakfast."

"October 15th, 8pm

The steaks were even better than expected! Ben is a real wizard with the grill! Roasted potatoes, Fresh Salad, canned corn, peas and some excellent red wine as well!

The sun is setting over the harbour as I write, what a glorious day! Hope the evening proves to be as entertaining."

"October 15th, 2pm

The autumn colours are beautiful as we cruise the channel eastward. Got away a little later than expected, taking longer to make sure we were are well provisioned. We'll eat like kings this trip! Fresh steaks from Rick's, my mouth is already watering!

We should still make our favourite secluded harbour well before nightfall and then it should be smooth sailing south around the bay."

"October 15th, 8am

Ben and I are very excited to be getting away today, it's been a long, busy season chartering yachts and it's about time that we took some time for ourselves.

The weather has been beautiful this fall, looks like we're going to have great sailing weather despite it being a tad late in the season.

Really looked forward to having some quite time with Ben, it's been far too long since we've just been together by ourselves."

posted by Kusari 11:58 PM

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