Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Wrist Cyst Quandary

Today I went to a surgeon's office, fully expecting him to remove a cyst in my wrist. My primary care physician didn't feel comfortable removing it himself, since there seemed to be some nerve issues, so he referred me to a specialist. I had been told by my primary care physician that the removal procedure could be done right in the surgeon's office. Basically, it sounded simple.

After the surgeon examined me, he decided that the cyst in question is a ganglion cyst, even though it's in a peculiar position for that particular type of cyst. And since it seems to be pressing on nerves, causing some tingling and numbness, we both agreed that the cyst should be removed. So, the surgeon now wants to cut open my wrist and cut out the cyst in a week's time. A simple procedure turned into something a bit more complicated.

Even so, at first the procedure didn't sound so terrible. However, after doing some research, I'm not sure I want them messing around with the tendons in my left wrist. I'm a southpaw; I need my left hand to remain functional, and anything done to the tendons worries me. So my quandary becomes the choice of leaving it alone and suffering continued discomfort, or having them perform surgery on my writing and drawing hand and face potential complications. It seems to be a damned-if-you-do, damned if you don't situation, and I'm far from happy at the moment. Actually, I'm downright cranky 'cause of it!

I don't think I will go through with having the surgery done on my wrist. Taking my chances with leaving the cyst alone may be the better option.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Major Artwork Changes at Web Site

Yesterday, I worked all day long on making major changes to the "artwork" pages of my web site, Azure Lion Productions. I created a third art page, added more examples of my artwork, and rearranged the images so each page features a different theme. Page one features fantasy, surreal, and horror art. Page Two features art inspired by folklore. And page three features art inspired by history and historical myths and legends.

Most of the artwork has appeared in other venues, either publications or on Abandoned Towers Zazzle merchandise, although I did add colour to some that were originally published as black and white line drawings. I think the Viking and Anglo-Saxon warriors are particularly impressive in full-colour.

I would love to receive feedback and comments regarding my art pages, or the web site in general. Please take a look at the site and let me know what you think of it.

Thanks!

More Art in Abandoned Towers zine...

The editor of Abandoned Towers asked if she could use my "Unicorn Enwreathed", already appearing on merchandise in the Abandoned Towers Zazzle store, as an accompaniment to a story in Issue One of her zine (print version). Of course I said yes, so a piece of my artwork will actually be published eight years after it's initial creation! Although I did sell it as framed art, and it's now on merchandise, this will be the first time it has appeared in a publication.

Cool!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Terribly Twisted Logic

I heard a mind-warping statement today. Apparently, the current economic crisis can be blamed, in part, on future administrations. What?

Unless certain politicians, corporate heads, and banking big-wigs have been traveling about in time-machines, this claim makes no sense whatsoever. As a matter of fact, it smacks of complete insanity.

I sensed for a while that things have gone completely insane. Now I have proof!

Artwork Accepted at MACABRE CADAVER

The editor of the speculative zine Macabre Cadaver has accepted some of my previously-published illustrations for publication in the forthcoming October 2008 issue as featured artwork. I'll post a link to the artwork when it's up.

Don't Bother the Cook...

Be a giant of the grill! Loom over the competition in your kitchen! And let everyone know it's not wise to bother the cook, especially when the cook is wearing an apron featuring my illustration of a rather mean-looking giant:

Don't bother the cook apron

Fantasy art and functionality combine to create the perfect gift for any chef.

Make sure to check out the other items featuring my art, too!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

For Those Who Think That Global Warming Isn't a Problem...

Certainly, Earth has gone through many warming and cooling cycles over millions of years. Some evidence suggests that the global warming seen today may be due, at least in part, to natural causes. However, there is also compelling evidence suggesting that greenhouse gases released by human activities are playing a large role in the current warming.

Besides, how ridiculous does it sound to say "oh, our pollution really isn't causing global warming, so let's keep polluting"? Sooner or later, through global warming or through other means, we will suffer catastrophe if we keep abusing our Mother Earth.

Simply put, we are committing matricide! We are slowly but surely killing our planet, the very Earth that gave us life and continues to give us shelter and nourishment. We still cling to mother's teats, sucking what we can out of her breasts. If we lose mother's precious milk, if we make this planet uninhabitable for human beings, we are dead. There is no other. There is no conveniently inhabitable planet nearby. There is no wet nurse waiting in the wings.

We only have one home planet, one mother, one Earth.

Polar Bears: On the Road to Extinction

This news article just about brought a tear to my eye, and did tie my stomach in knots: Polar bears resort to cannibalism as Arctic ice shrinks.

A while back I had already made a prediction: polar bears will be extinct in the wild, if not within my lifetime, certainly within my daughter's lifetime. It seems as if my dire prediction will come true. Even the US Interior Secretary feels that polar bears may face extinction in the foreseeable future.

The Arctic ice is shrinking. Adapted to life on the ice, polar bears are drowning, starving, and eating their own kind due to this serious change in their environment. Global warming is a real threat to the environment, and polar bears are already suffering dire consequences from this global climate change.

I personally have no doubts that the global climate is warming due to man's activities. We have used and abused this planet for far too long, and now we are seeing the dreadful global results of our irresponsible actions. The majestic polar bear, largest land carnivore on earth, may be one of the first of nature's creatures to suffer extinction due to human-induced global warming.

I just want to thank the critics of global warming, the ones who think man has nothing to so with it. I also want to thank the ones that feel it would be too costly to do something about it. Thank you for robbing my daughter, or my daughter's children, of the chance of seeing polar bears in the wild. Thank you for robbing the polar bears of their chance to live.

Monday, September 22, 2008

History Repeating Itself?

A Live Journal friend of mine posted an interesting entry about the Great Depression and the possibility of history repeating itself. Although I'm usually reluctant to post political entries, I am more than willing to talk about history. And I feel I must take the discussion a step further and point out how Herbert Hoover's reaction to the Great Depression is eerily similar to certain policies today.

After the stock market crash of 1929, Herbert Hoover's administration proved slow to react to the crisis. Being a firm believer in individual freedom, Hoover personally preferred private charity over a federal unemployment agency and public-works projects.

Hoover did little to try and counter the damage caused by the collapse on Black Tuesday. The result - Hoovervilles, shanty towns that sprang up all over the country after families lost their homes because they couldn't pay their mortgages. Sound familiar?

The current Republican administration would prefer to do nothing to help the people losing their homes, their savings, their livelihoods, and only acts to avert the looming disaster with grudging reluctance. And when they do act, it's usually in the interests of big business, not the common man. The current Republican candidate for president has even declared that the fundamentals of our economy are strong even as more and more Americans face financial ruin. Tent cities (also here) are starting to crop up across the nation. Hoovervilles of the 21st century, perhaps?

Hoover's policies failed the people miserably. He was resistant to do what needed to be done. After Hoover finally took a few steps in the direction of government involvement, Franklin D. Roosevelt came to office and instituted his famous "New Deal", proposing public-works programs and other relief programs, programs necessary to drag the USA out of the worst of the Great Depression. Roosevelt knew that the federal government needed to use its power to get the country out of the Great Depression. The Depression did go on, but the various government programs and policy changes of the New Deal seemed to lessen the impact.

There is total resistance to doing what really needs to be done in this country today, and the policies currently in place keep failing the people. Yes, history does have a tendency to repeat itself.

Perhaps what this country really needs right now is another FDR. According to the powers that be here in the USA, Socialism in the form of using the government's power to take care of the needs of a nation's citizenry is a bad idea, even though most other "western" nations don't seem to have a problem with it. Why is that?

On a final note, I am not saying that the current economic crisis is another Great Depression. What I am suggesting is that a shocking similarity exists between the various Depression-era Hoovervilles and the current tent cities. To deny this ignores the lessons history taught us. It would turn a blind eye to the human factor, the real tragedy of the situation. We may not have had the economic equivalent of Black Tuesday 1929, but we already have the social equivalent of the Hoovervilles of that era.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Poetry Collection Accepted

After a slight hiccup in my plans, I've found another publisher to publish my illustrated dark speculative poetry collection. Since the first publisher and I mutually agreed that it wasn't the right project for them to release, I had sent the collection elsewhere. Thankfully, the second publisher has accepted the work.

All's well that ends well, although I have discovered that nothing's final until the work is actually in print. Still, it looks like my dark poetry collection will see the light of day after all (fingers crossed).

Two New Images on Abandoned Towers Merchandise


© 2008 Richard H. Fay

These two illustrations, "Woodland Fairies" and "Departure of the Fairies", now appear on Abandoned Towers Zazzle merchandise:

abandonedtowers's Gallery at Zazzle

Check out the stuff featuring my illustrations of the fair folk!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Curiouser and Curiouser...

...said Alice.

Weirdness seems to pervade my very being. Not that I set out to be weird; weirdness just follows me wherever I go. There are times I feel like I'm living in Alice's Wonderland.

Case in point - for the past several years I've noticed strange faces and figures appearing periodically on my computer desktop background image. No matter what image I use, no matter where I get the photo from, "little folk" keep forming out of the images of plants, stones, trees, and other natural things.

I seriously doubt this phenomenon is merely a matter of "matrixing", since the same identifiable faces and figures have appeared in different backgrounds. More than one individual spies the same recognizable image. And I know of at least one other person that has reported a similar phenomenon.

Usually the faces and figures are merely amusing, if rather bizarre. At other times, they have taken on a disturbing aspect. When that happens, I know it's time to switch backgrounds. Then I wait for my ethereal friends to gradually make their presence known all over again. And they haven't disappointed me yet.

Just when I thought it couldn't get any stranger, they threw a new trick my way. It seems that my good neighbours of the electronic world have decided to decorate for Halloween!

My current background image is that of a blazing orange sunset over Stonehenge. And what should appear on one of the standing stones, but a hanging skeleton! The skull is most obvious, complete with eye-holes, a hole for the nose, and a slightly jutting brow. The rest of the skeleton seems to peter off into the stone, but I see what look like ribs. It's a most appropriate image for Halloween!

And for those who might question my report, let me just say that the skull turned as I typed in this tale. When I showed it to my wife and daughter, the skull was turned as if facing groundward. Now it's looking out, towards another standing stone in the foreground (probably the one with the prominent face).

If it is the human mind creating familiar forms out of random shapes on an unchanging image, why would those forms move? How did the shadows and highlights change position on an unchanging image?

There is an odd coincidence to this story, which may not really be a coincidence at all. My wife and I were out and about today, and on our journeys we purchased an almost life-sized plastic skeleton Halloween decoration. It's not nearly as realistic as the skeleton on the stone, but I wonder if there is a link. Perhaps the little folk invading my computer screen wish me to decorate for Halloween. After all, the season stirs my creativity, and they seem to thrive on those creative energies.

Then again, I shouldn't claim to truly understand any of this. Maybe we all simply exist on the other side of someone else's cosmic looking glass.

Encounter on Ben MacDhui

Footfalls
follow my own
in pale mountainside mist,
'til terror drives me tumbling down
curst slopes.

© 2008 Richard H. Fay

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cinquain Accepted at Macabre Cadaver

My dark speculative cinquain "Consequence of Taking Too Much" has been accepted for publication in the October Issue of the speculative zine Macabre Cadaver, pending return of the contract. This is the same piece, with a little revision, that was scheduled to appear in a publication that never got off the ground. Hopefully I'll have better luck this time around.

The editor of Macabre Cadaver also voiced some interest in publishing some of my art. I'll have to see what I can send his way.

Rollin', rollin', rollin'...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Three Horrorku in THE MONSTERS NEXT DOOR

Three of my horrorku now appear in Issue Four of the horror e-zine The Monsters Next Door:

http://themonstersnextdoor.com/fay.html

One in particular is especially timely for the upcoming season, since I mention a "harvest moon" (the harvest moon being the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox).

As a matter of fact, tonight's full moon may just be the harvest moon. Cool!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Consequences of Subbing to New Publications

As much as I like the opportunity to submit material to up-and-coming publications, or ones that may turn out to be up-and-coming, there is a dark side to such a practice. I've already run into one example of the negative aspects of submitting to brand-new, untested markets - that of a venue with a grossly less-than-professional attitude towards their publication and contributors. Now I've encountered another facet of the same problem - that of the stillborn market.

My dark speculative cinquain, "Consequences of Taking Too Much", will never see publication by the venue that originally accepted the work, because the magazine in question will never be published. Personal and financial circumstances have forced the editorial team to cease publication before a single issue ever sees the light of day. Of course, I understand that unexpected things happen in life. Plenty of circumstances have thrown a spanner into the works of my own plans and dreams over the years. Still, I am saddened and disappointed by the news.

I would never suggest submitting to established markets only, since some up-and-coming markets can establish themselves pretty quickly. However, I will point out that there are negative aspects to submitting to new publications. Then again, sending your work out there is always risky business. It's the nature of the beast.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sir Richard

Your result for The Who Would You Be in 1400 AD Test...

The Knight

You scored 47% Cardinal, 23% Monk, 29% Lady, and 65% Knight!


You are the hero. Brave and bold. You are strong and utterly selfless. You are also a pawn to your superiors and will be lucky if you live very long. If you survive the Holy wars you are thrust into you will be praised for your valor and opportunities both romantic and financial will become available to you.

Take The Who Would You Be in 1400 AD Test at HelloQuizzy

Mothman Specku

screaming red-eyed beast
winged shadow over doomed bridge
strange portent of death

© 2008 Richard H. Fay

Surreal Landscape


© 2008 Richard H. Fay

One of my brand-spanking new drawings, the one above, is now featured on merchandise at the Abandoned Towers Zazzle Store. Check out the "Surreal Landscape" mug and stamp here:
Please consider purchasing these or other items featuring examples of my artwork to support this particular artist's creative endeavours. The stamps are useful, and the mug is just plain cool.
Thanks!