Sunday, July 7, 2013

Notes for a new project, perhaps another short novel.

Just some notes to myself. I'll try and start a new writing project if I can carve out some time between my day job (translating for a mining project) and side businesses (consulting for a resource fund) and then some more. It's going to be a bit challenging to find the time, but now I think the project is interesting enough. It's a bit of a challenge of its own - how do you write a "faithful" historical, period reconstruction of a place you never had a chance to visit? You fantasize, is that what you do? How much worth in all painstaking research when the dry historical rarely if ever convey any emotion? Perhaps some old reels and photos would be helpful, and maybe even some physical objects, but at the end of the day, it's just imagination...

Sunday, March 31, 2013

"Eccentric Diners" (March 31, 2013)

I had been thinking about this idea for a while, got tired of pencil-sketching it and discarding everything, and decided to give Corel a try... I wanted to call it "Concentric Diners" but then saw that the circles were not aligned exactly, so I'll call it "Eccentric Diners" instead.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Voicing concern over Kim Jong-un wearing high heels

It was just reported today that the DPRK was entering state of war with the ROK - nevermind that the two had in fact been technically at war anyway. There are many amusing photos circulating around the Web, apparently publicity photos by the North Korean regime, that so far have ironically served only to emphasize the sorry state of the country and its armed forces. You could see an interesting array of the venerable Mosin-Nagant rifle (WW1), the iconic PPSh-41 and the Degtyarev machine gun from the 1930s, stuff that would otherwise sit comfortably in a museum. Anyhow, while browsing through those pics, I stumbled upon this and had a legitimate question, - or concern even.

I mean, walking all day long in high heels is never a healthy thing.

The original photo apparently by the KCNA (or maybe not), some Western agencies posted it.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"Small IS Beautiful: Little Cars"

I was never a car fan, and can barely drive, but if I had the necessity to drive and was given a choice of a vehicle, I'd likely opt for a smaller car. Back in 2009, I wrote a short piece, as a comment to The Economist story on car design. Here it is in its entirety with some minor corrections:
Small IS beautiful when it comes to cars. Most aesthetically and historically significant examples of industrial design have been mid-size or small cars. Citroen DS, Porsche 911, VW Beetle, Fiat 500, you name it... Even Ford Mustang was smaller than the average by the standards of the US auto industry. It's when designers are constrained by certain limitations of size and cost, that they deliver outstanding results.Small is also beautiful because it promotes safety in a much fairer way than currently dominating passive/active safety devices and designs. Many people choose a larger vehicle because they feel safer in it. It's somewhat justified, because they are more likely to survive a crash in a larger vehicle (although SUVs and trucks are not exactly inherently safer due to a higher centre of balance). When two vehicles collide, the overall impact is the sum of their masses multiplied by their velocities. However, the individual impact suffered by each of the vehicles (and their passengers) is that sum divided by each vehicle's individual mass. That is, passengers in a heavier vehicle are more likely to survive, - at the expense of the passengers in the lighter one.This potentially results in a tendency towards more and more heavy (and potentially more dangerous) vehicles on the roads, as every driver's chances to meet a heavier vehicle statistically increase. A reverse trend would only be welcome in so many ways.
...Lately I have been taking pictures of small vehicles in Vancouver, not really to illustrate my point, but just so. Most are retro of course. Photos after jump - click on any to view in the gallery mode.

The original Mini Cooper (1959-1961) is hiding behind a mailbox in Hornby St.

Friday, March 1, 2013


"Firebird" is up on Smashwords today. (UPDATE: Now on Amazon as well). It's an attempt in the retro spy-action genre, set in the 1980s Hong Kong. There's an assortment of bad guys, a slightly less bad guy, a muted love interest, - and a black box that everyone thinks is so important. I started drafting it as a low-budget film script back in 2007-2008 and then abandoned it until late last year. (Click on the cover image for the link. Contact (better email) me for a free copy)

The photo I used for the cover is courtesy of Mr. Yasuhiko Ogushi.

Monday, February 4, 2013

"Revolutionary Slope" (a sketch)

It's a nice day, we're walking a trail in the north-eastern corner of Kowloon. 

My companion points at something along the road:
- Can you see that?
- Yeah, that slope safety thing? Why?
- It's some foreigner there.
- You mean buried there? I don't see a grave. 
We come a little closer. It's a pretty long wall of concrete with some holes in it and some weird protrusions here and there.

- I didn't say buried. This guy was a foreigner, he lived here, and liked Hong Kong so much that after he died he was reincarnated as a slope reinforcement.
- Holy shit.
- Exactly. The Government is now spending HKD 120,000 a year to keep him in a half-decent condition, he keeps crumbling all the time. Some locals tried to protest, but the Government said, well since he's a slope now, we have to maintain him.
- But how do they know he was a foreign national? Does he speak?
- No, he doesn't talk much, in fact he must be slightly mad...
- I'd understand that. There's not much life as a slope reinforcement. You can't even get laid, can you.
- ...But sometimes they hear him singing, apparently "L'International", sometimes in French, sometimes in Russian. Like, "Vstavay, proklyatyem zakleymenny..." D'you know what that means?
- Hm... Arise, arise, you, damned...
- I thought so.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"The Ultimate Consumer"

A recent pencil sketch.. I am translating and doing marketing research, no time to draw anything, so this one took a few brief attempts over a few evenings. The setting was somewhat inspired by the Eaton Centre mall in Toronto.