Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #71 – Creepy

When the city of Pompeii was destroyed by Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, it took several thousand of its citizens who were unable to escape with it.  The ash that covered the city helped to preserve it, giving us a unique insight into Roman life at that time.  But it also preserved the outlines of the people and animals that died, allowing plaster casts to be made, replicating the positions of victims when they died.  While I appreciated the historical parts of the city tour, seeing some of the casts was a bit disturbing.

 

Several of these are my husband’s photos; he took even more pictures than I did that day!  Pompeii was a pretty fascinating place, if a bit unsettling.

You can find more creepy crawlies at the original Lens-Artist challenge.

 

Fan Art Friday: Sebulba

Welcome back to our Star Wars coloring book club, where Kiri from Star Wars Anonymous and I color the same image every month to compare and contrast.

This month, we have one of the antagonists of Episode I, the Dug podracer Selbulba.

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This one was not that interesting.  Sebulba is kinda brown, and his headgear is kinda brown (ETA: apparently it’s actually grey, whoops).  I didn’t have any great ideas for the background either, so I asked my husband what color he thought of when he thought of Sebulba (isn’t this the kind of question you ask your spouse all the time??).

He immediately said orange, because of Selbuba’s pod!  Genius.  So I did some orange tones for the flowers and the decorations.

And that’s about it.  I’m happy with how it looks, but I wouldn’t say it was one of my favorites, which kinda jives with my feelings about Sebulba.  He is a pretty one-dimensional character, a fine opponent for the podrace but not all that interesting.

Check out Kiri’s version of this Bantha Poodoo character here!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #70: Monochrome

Venice is a beautiful city, full of architectural details.  These are the windows in the Bridge of Sighs; it was through these shaped openings that convicts saw their last view of Venice before they were imprisoned.

The stairs are known as the Giants’ Staircase in the Doge’s Palace.  The staircase itself is not overly large, but there are some giant-size statues atop it.  Looking closely, you find these intricate designs on the stairs.

I didn’t edit the colors on either of these, so enjoy them in their natural black and white.

You can find more monochrome at the original Lens-Artist challenge.

 

Happy Halloween!

This past weekend was my kid’s first Trick-or-Treat!  Here is Wicket the Ewok with Leia (though it’s the wrong Leia costume for Endor haha).  I got the official Wicket costume from the Disney store, and it was ridiculously cute.  I mean ridiculously.

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You can check out some other Star Wars Halloween costumes and decorations at starwars.com’s Halloween Shopping Guide.  My personal favorite is the Hanna Andersson pajamas with sugar skull stormtroopers that look like my last coloring book picture. And they glow in the dark!

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Review: The Near Witch

Nothing like a spooky read to get into the Halloween mood!

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The Near Witch was actually VE Schwab’s first published novel, now republished in a new edition containing a companion short story, “The Ash-Born Boy.”  While it is not as strong as her later fantasy novels that I have read and enjoyed, The Near Witch had a wonderful atmosphere as well as some good characters and themes that were reminiscent of classic YA dark fantasy tales.

The story begins when a stranger comes to the village of Near, a place where there are no strangers, and soon children begin to be called away to the moors in the middle of the night.  The main character Lexi must hurry to find the children and keep her sister safe, but to do that she must first unravel the mystery of the stranger and the local legend of the Near Witch.

There were many things I liked about the story, including the setting and the fantasy elements.  The magic has a vague, fairy-tale-like quality. Lexi had some really good moments, and the villain is at once creepy and relatable.  I really liked the theme of how fear of the unknown can hurt rather than help. Overall, the story brought to mind elements of The Hunger Games, CLAMP’s manga Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, the movies of Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, and the stories of Diana Wynne Jones.

However, the book is not as epic or sophisticated as her later novels.  I thought the plot meandered a bit, moving in fits and starts, and sometimes was a bit frustrating and repetitive.  And while the romantic elements were sweet, it definitely is a case of insta-love.

I enjoyed the short story at the end as much if not more; it reveals the backstory of one of the novel’s characters.  It has a slightly different feel but was a good addition.

So, if you’re looky for a spooky read this October, The Near Witch definitely fits the bill, but I wouldn’t call it a must-read unless you are a really big fan of VE Schwab.