shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
This project, which I've called Portrait of My Hand, is a two-part piece. I first composed my legs and hand against a tile background with filtered sunlight for lighting. I wanted to include strong diagonals in my composition, so I arranged the diagonals of my hand and legs in contrast with the strong parallel lines of the tile. Once I was happy with the arrangement, I took the digital photo and converted it to a grey-scale image.

I printed out the image on a laser printer, and coloured the reverse of the image with charcoal. Then I taped the image in place on top of heavy drawing paper, and traced out the outlines with a ballpoint pen. This left a line drawing of the portrait on the drawing paper.

Next, I cut out and tore a variety of shapes and strips from several newspapers, sorting them into piles of similar darkness/lightness values.

I used mucilage to place the bits of newsprint onto the drawing paper until the photograph had been reproduced in collage. This was a time-consuming process.

The image is perplexing to look at, with different elements popping forward and backward, often interchangeably. The fingers stand out in stark contrast, but sometimes they move forward or retreat behind the tile in a surreal method, with nods to Escher. The hand dissolves into a mash of words behind a strong, dark set of knuckles.

The line between the tiles is an extended series of ellipses, indicating there is always far more to be said.

And the images are behind the cut.... )
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
It was what? Two weeks ago? Maybe three? Not that long ago, anyhow, that I first climbed a rope.

Yesterday, I climbed a 20' rope four times. Last night, I decided to look up rope climbing online, and I found this link: Rope Climbing, how to climb a rope efficiently (if you can find a rope...).

Today, on my very first attempt, I managed to climb halfway up the rope using just my arms.

I didn't even clue in until I was 10' up that I'd done it.

Holy shit.

I shimmied back down, and then repeated the climb four more times.

It wasn't easy. Oh no. But it also wasn't impossibly hard. If I practice this every other day, I think that within a month, I'll be able to arm-over-arm myself all the way to the top.

I've got this.

[The view from the bottom]


Sep. 7th, 2011 08:57 am
shanmonster: (Default)
About twenty years ago, when I first started going to the gym, I remember needing to get help from some of the big guys whenever I needed to remove 45-lb plates from the leg press. I remember getting on an exercise bike for a ten-minute warm-up, and being absolutely exhausted and drenched with sweat, heart pounding a million or so beats per minute when I got off it, staggering for balance. I'd noodle around on the various exercise machines, and make minimal progress.

Sometimes, while I was exercising, someone would see me using a machine wrong and would show me how to use it properly. Other than that, I was ignored and left alone.

Now, about twenty years later, I carry around plenty more than 45 lbs at a time, and never need to enlist aid. I rarely use machines, opting instead for barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, or my own body weight. Instead of running on the treadmill or elliptical, I do plyometric exercises. Sometimes now, the big guys see me doing some of my exercises (like extended plank push-ups or single-leg squats) and they shake their heads and grin, saying the reason more people don't do those kinds of exercises are because they're too hard, and that they think I'm damned fit. And the women, who seem more shy, approach me in the change room and ask me for advice on how to do particular exercises.

I wonder where I'll be in the next twenty years?


It's been a while since I've done a link dump. Here you go!

Fandom wasn’t always such a negative experience for creators. I'd never heard of commonplace books, but it seems like social media like Google+, FaceBook, and MySpace are the modern counterparts of this Victorian concept. Short, and interesting article!

I Wish I Had the Balls to Risk My Life Like This Man: How long would it take you to scale a 13,025-foot mountain in the Bernese Alps? Probably a lot longer than this speed climber.

British Columbia Joins War on Wolves: Open season on wolf hunting, ostensibly because wolves are killing all the livestock. Yet "wolf-caused losses represent slightly over 0.01 percent, about half the number that die on the way to the slaughterhouse or are injured and have to be euthanized."

Sperm Donor System Under Scrutiny After Donor Fathers 150 Children: Accidental incest becomes much more possible in such situations.

The sky was gorgeous last night, so I snapped some photos. )
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
My weekend wasn't all that it was cracked up to be.

There were good things. I went to my company picnic and had tasty food and did a bit of Zumba. It was pretty fun. I successfully jumped over my own foot for the first time in eleven years, and I attempted a handstand pushup. I'm not ready for it yet, but I was able to bend and straighten my arms in that position, so I take this as an excellent sign.

I also got to go to see the new Conan movie with [ profile] knightky, and I enjoyed it a lot. It's in the spirit of the original books, and the opening scene is hysterically over the top. Young Conan is a total psychopath, too, which I found entertaining.

But what sucked was this: when Kyle showed up to hang out, he had a bee sting on his elbow. This was no big deal. It was sore, but looked normal enough. But on Saturday morning, it showed signs of being infected. And so we set off to emergency just to be on the safe side, and it went tits-up from there. On the walk, the red spot on his elbow began to grow. And when we got to the hospital, he was put on a course of IV antibiotics. The verdict? Something nasty called cellulitis, which as far as I can tell is a subdermal staph skin infection. He's taking heaps and heaps of antibiotics (intravenous and oral) to keep it at bay, because it ended up being a severe case.

What rotten luck.

We'd intended on going roller-blading and swimming, but that just didn't happen, of course. We did, however, watch lots of Game of Thrones. Here's hoping he's all better by the weekend!

Here we are at the company picnic. The bandage on his arm is hiding his borg implants (ie. IV gear).

[Chris Walker Fitness picnic]

Before heading off to the gym today, I was leafing through Oxygen magazine and found an article on "skinny-fat." Lord, I hate that term. It's terrible on several levels. First of all, they don't mean someone is skinny with fat, per se. They mean someone is skinny and unfit. Secondly, with their definition, they are conflating fat with unfit, and these things are not the same at all. As I've mentioned again and again, it is very possible for someone to be both fat and fit. But I digress. I read this horrid little article and lost a lot of respect for the magazine. According to the test in the article, I am skinny-fat, and should exercise more and stop eating junk food. I am willing to bet that pretty much every fitness model in the magazine would fail this skinny-fat test during their off season. And they are all in phenomenal shape. Fuck you, Oxygen. There is a significant difference between the fat on a bodybuilding competition-weight person and the fat on a fit, healthy, non-bodybuilder. Fuck you very much. You are going to give people not in the know a complex.

In other news, after reading up on it for ages and talking to a few people who use it, I began taking creatine supplements today. Today's workout was surprising. If it's related to the creatine, damn, that shit works fast. I had more energy and more strength during my workout than usual. I increased the weights on every one of my exercises, and went from holding a standard plank to holding an extended one. I also threw in a couple of power jumping jacks between sets. My forearms were burning from all the extra weight I was holding during my split squats off a step, but my hip flexors weren't screaming at me as usual. I guess they've decided split squats are ok, after all.

Just because, I attempted a modified dragon flag today. I brought my body up while my knees were bent, then slowly unbent them and tried lowering myself with legs out straight. I didn't get far, but again, I think this insane move may eventually be possible for me.

Not bad for a skinny-fat chick.

And now for some photos I took yesterday while on a walk.... )

Link Dump

May. 25th, 2011 12:37 pm
shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
Wow, it's been a while since I've done one of these, and my browser is seriously constipated with open tabs and multiple windows galore.

Ready? Steady? GO!

50 Beautiful Examples Of Tilt-Shift Photography: I really want to try this out, but I don't think my little camera can manage it.

Amazing Mona Lisa Painting Made with 3604 Cups of Coffee: Ephemeral reproduction work.

Epic Cover Letter: How To Get Hired For Your Dream Job: There is nothing epic about this letter. It is, however, pretty awesome. I'd even have hired the guy, but he ruined his chances with me by misspelling "taupe."

Fuck Yeah Historical Hotties: I think I've linked this before, but it's worth sharing again. Oppenheimer was pretty darned cute.

DO NOT CLICK ON THIS: NOT safe for work. NOT safe for lunch. I am not kidding (thanks, Bevin, for ruining my lunch and my sex life).

Parents keep child's gender secret: Interesting. The letters at the end are pretty telling. People get very upset when you don't let them know if a baby is a boy or a girl. Does it really, really matter?

Nazis tried to train dogs to talk, read and spell to win WW2: This is the weirdest WWII story I think I've read, so far. And there are some doozies out there.

Here's a painting by Brenda Clews inspired by a photo of me. You can read more about the painting here.
[Lady of Green Fire]


Apr. 9th, 2011 09:16 am
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
I went for a nice long walk last night. I wanted to take some photos, but saw little that inspired me until I saw this teasel on the Iron Horse Trail.

shanmonster: (Default)
Ah, more dance today. Gonna dance with my butt! Yes, I'm going to learn some Caribbean fusion belly dance stuff. I'm picturing booty popping reggaeton- and dancehall-style.

[ profile] valkryor suggested I wear a lined woolen Ghawazee coat (mine would cover more than the one in this picture) for my upcoming dance performance. I was hoping to avoid making myself another costume (I have so many other projects on the go, right now), but I think she's right. I'm gonna freeze my skin off if I don't wear something warm. I'll just try to make something that I can use for LARP, too. I just don't see a lot of use for cold weather dance costuming. I'm not sure I have any appropriate wool, so I think I'm going to need to go fabric shopping.

With the leftover wool, maybe I can make myself a beret.

I was pleased to discover my guesswork on the Viking coat was pretty accurate. With a couple of minor adjustments, the coat fits [ profile] knightky perfectly.

Link time!

Food For the Poor | Leadership: Check out the name of the CEO. I laughed. A lot.

Elven Forest Creations: A photostream of fun, imaginative costuming and clothing. It looks like they used to have an Etsy store, but it seems to be defunct. Still, I'm getting some good inspiration from the pictures.

'Marathon man' breaks world record by running 365: Three cheers for human potential! At 45 years of age, Stefaan Engels ran a marathon a day for a full year. He averages each race in 4 hours. The previous world record was held by a man in his 60s. This makes me feel like a spring chicken again.

Christopher McDougall: Are we born to run?: I haven't seen this yet, but want to check it out.

$25 buys you and a homeless person a coat? Yup.: I sprung for one for me, and one for a homeless person, too. I'm hoping I get something really awesome, and that the recipient of the other coat gets something equally dashing (thanks, [ profile] elanya).

And here's me, today:

[Just me]
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
I've been working on a lot of things, lately. Mostly, I'm trying to improve myself in a general sense.

I'm trying to improve my cooking. That's going well. Maybe too well. The stuff I make is so delicious I might make myself fat eating it! I try to limit my baking to about once a week, although I did bake two things this week: crackberry pie and ginger banana muffins. They are both really damned good. I'll also be baking more things as Christmas presents. The curry peanut soup is delicious, and I feel less guilty about eating lots of it, because it's crammed with good-for-me: protein (chickpeas, natural peanut butter, and shrimp), and vitamin-rich veggies (sweet potatoes, bell peppers, onions, etc.). And it tastes even better after a day or two in the fridge. It's even better that it's [ profile] f00dave-friendly.

My knitting skills continue to progress. I'm actually pleased with the stuff I've been making. It no longer looks like something a kid might make. It looks good.

My workouts at the gym have been irregular this month because of a pull in my SI joint, but the massage therapy and stretching I've been getting has been helping a lot. I'm starting to feel like my strength is getting back to where it should be. I need to work on my cardio, but my asthma makes it difficult, sometimes. Still, yesterday I was able to do a bunch of skipping (including crossovers which are nice for working the coordination), 320 jumping jacks, 120 dragons, and the rest of my regular isometrics and weight-training. It took me a lot longer than it should have, but I finished it all, so for that, I'm grateful.

I've continued my quest of doing at least one creative thing a day, whether it be cooking, writing, dancing, photography, or crafting. And I share it with others. I think it keeps my brain limber. It certainly fills the time more productively than watching television, and it leaves me with a feeling of satisfaction that I've done something to make the world a nicer place for at least one other person, too.

What I need to work on:
  • Cardio endurance. Skipping is great for this. I should really start running the stairs in my apartment building again, too, now that outdoor running isn't a good option, anymore. It will do my legs and butt a hell of a lot of good, and will also burn off more fat, giving me more muscle definition.
  • Reading. I just haven't been reading many books, lately, and it's pissing me off. The last couple of books I read and enjoyed were Robin Hobbs' newest dragon books. I devoured them pretty fast. I stopped reading Colleen McCullough's Marc Antony and Cleopatra, though. It was getting too silly. I also want to continue to read more of the literary greats. I've been reading Machiavelli and Plato, lately. I need to do more of that, to wake up my lazy brains.
  • Latin. I miss studying it.
  • General crafting. I did a bit of papercraft today, with the skullflake, but really, that's pretty simple stuff. I should be doing much more complex work than that, considering my craft background. It would help if I had some better supplies. The scalpel I was using is pretty dull.
  • Sewing and costume design. I have rather a lot of ideas which I need to make. Everything from dance costumes to historical Viking costuming.
  • Painting. It's been too long, and I'm itching to break out my acrylics again.
  • Crochet. I suck at it. I need to not suck at it.
  • Building more muscle in my arms and chest. I'm pretty pleased with my back, abs, and legs. But they are a lot stronger and more defined than my arms and chest. My shoulders aren't too bad, but they could be better, too. I just need to rack on more weights.
  • Dance technique. I especially want to work on my armwork again. I've let it fall a bit by the wayside in favour of floorwork.
  • Photography. Now that the camera has been repaired, I'm looking forward to doing lots more photography. I have willing human and critter models, and I don't need consent from the inanimate objects I want to do macro-photography of. Mwahahah!

Edit: Look at all the high-impact stuff I've been doing, like skipping and jumping jacks. And note that my bad foot hasn't bothered me since the summer. Is it possible it's finally healed? Oh, I do hope so! Once upon a time, I couldn't do any sort of impact movement with my feet without them swelling up. This hasn't been the case for a long time. I am filled with hope.


Oct. 12th, 2010 05:49 pm
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
Yesterday was shite. I had a terrible headache almost from the time I woke up until the time I went to sleep. But today was much better. The headache drifted away, and I had a productive day of proofreading, housework, knitting, and art!

For about a half hour, I grabbed some masks and did a remote photo shoot with Whitefeather, and here is one of the results:

[Whitefeather and Giant Shan]

In the past three days, I have knit two hats. Today, I'm working on a scarf. I'm really liking my Knifty Knitters.

Here's the first hat I ever made, created Sunday:

shanmonster: (Default)
Shantell Powell | Create your badge
shanmonster: (Shh...)
I had a beautiful, photogenic model to work with this weekend.

shanmonster: (On the stairs)
This morning, I saw a vulture eating carrion, went out for a delicious breakfast at Cora's, and went to the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory and snapped an assload of butterfly photos. Check 'em out! They're gorgeous....


Tonight, I'm off to a Satanic Lagomorphic ritual, done in a neo-pagan Laveyan tradition. Or something like that. Yes, it's Rabbit Sabbath time. Woo!

Link time? Ok.

How Disney Makes Money: Don't fuck with the formula (thanks, Terre).

Owen Davies's top 10 grimoires: "Grimoires - books of magic spells - have exerted a huge influence on religion and science." That reminds me. I really need to finish writing that story I started years ago about the grimoire....

Turtle Eating Pigeon: Predators on the half shell!

Bonding With Their Downward-Facing Humans: Doga. The silliest trend I think I've seen in a while. The first picture is great for the expression on the dog's face.

Indian in record chilli attempt: It seems to me that this woman devoured 51 Scotch Bonnet peppers in 2 minutes. She also rubbed some in her eyes. AIE!!!

Everything You Wanted to Know About Canada: Rick Mercer explains the very fucked up government of Canada (thanks, [ profile] gha5t).

Billy Bob Thornton Gives Bizarre Interview On Canadian Radio: What a space cadet (thanks, Terre).


Mar. 16th, 2009 03:50 am
shanmonster: (Default)
I am a God Warrior.

You are dark-sided.

[The Assistant]
shanmonster: (Dance Monkey Dance!)
Kink In Motion did an excellent set of photos of our opening night. Go take a look!

[Silver and black outfit]
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
I did a mini photo-shoot tonight of some play piercings. Check 'em out....



shanmonster: (Default)
I spent my day looking like this.


Dear Santa

Dec. 15th, 2008 12:45 pm
shanmonster: (Sigh....)
My digital camera is dead. That means I can't take any more pictures. I sure would love a digital SLR camera! I'm planning on going back to university in the spring, and taking Fine Arts courses, including photography. I haven't been a very good girl, though....

Shine on Me: The most epic music video, ever. I don't care if the singer sucks, this is bitchin'!

Warm and Fuzzy Feeling: NSFW, and incomprehensible (thanks, Greg).

Chefs' award for lard sculptures: Lard! You can see it, in the clouds up in the sky. / Lard! Floats by in clusters in our water supply. / Lard! It's in all of us, man. Our pores, and in our hair. / Lard! What we conceal in those corny clothes we wear.

Breast Milk Cheese: Not so much a how-to guide as much as a science experiment (thanks, [ profile] warrenellis).

Out of this world: British teddy bears strapped to helium weather balloon reach the edge of space: If you go into low orbit today, you're in for a big surprise.


Dec. 12th, 2008 09:16 pm
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
Just taken, moments ago....

shanmonster: (Don't just sing it--bring it!)
I'm weak and wobbly. For now. Soon, I shall be bulging with muscles! Until then, I leave you this:

[ShanMonster in da hood]

Back Off

Dec. 10th, 2008 03:18 pm
shanmonster: (Default)
You asked, [ profile] xypharan. This is all you get.

[Shan Back]

At least my muscles haven't fallen off my back.

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