I realized the moment I fell into the fissure that the Book would not be destroyed as I had planned. It continued falling into that starry expanse, of which I had only a fleeting glimpse. I have tried to speculate where it might have landed, but I must admit that such conjecture is futile. Still, questions about whose hands might one day hold my Myst book are unsettling to me. I know my apprehensions might never be allayed, and so I close, realizing that perhaps the ending has not yet been written. -- Atrus

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Stress-Reducing Artsing & Crafting

Whenever I am feeling a bit down or overwhelmed with deadlines and work and dissertation proposals, I have a tendency to start side projects—as though I didn’t already have enough things to do.  I make lists sometimes, or create parties, which is exactly how my 7-course autumn-themed Halloween soirée happened last month.  Now I have a plan to put together goodie gift boxes for my neighbors.  I really want to bake, but I don’t want to eat any of it, so I thought I’d leave my creations as surprises for my neighbors!  The other day I was imagining my dream house, which only made me feel depressed because who knows when that’s going to happen?

But yesterday I busied myself with Myst things.  I have a “Christmas” wishlist on Amazon and what I like to do is have my mother use my credit card and purchase three things from that list, have it gift wrapped with a note from Santa to me, and ship it to my apartment.  That way I can actually surprise myself when I open presents on Christmas Day!  How clever is that?  I have on this list poster-size picture frames which I intend for my Myst and Riven posters (those really fine ones they were selling about three years ago), as well as frames for my Myst and Riven maps which my mom so graciously bought for me for my birthday this summer.  August was a glorious month this year.  So there I was, imagining my lovely house with an office which would more or less be a holy of holies for my Myst (and Obduction!) collection.

Then my mind wandered into an arts and crafts direction.  I recently purchased a half-moon console table to place beside the dominant side of my couch in order that one might place a drink upon it when sitting there.  I was discussing this with a friend of mine and I was lamenting I didn’t have any coasters.  She told me I could make some, which I thought was a grand idea, but one that wouldn’t happen for a while yet.  Meanwhile, she surprised me with a three coaster set: little bamboo elephant coasters!  Elephants are my favorite animal, so she couldn’t pass it up.  And three is a perfect number because I have one on the new table, and two on the table at the opposite end of the couch which is flanked by another chair.  I take home décor very seriously hardy har har.

Nevertheless, I was still interested in this make your own coasters activity, most especially because it hit me exactly what artwork I could use for such a project: the symbols from the Ahnonay Cathedral in Uru!  I loaded up the game and dashed off to the Cathedral to take screenshots.  Once I had all my images, I worked on photoshopping them (with my poor man’s photoshop software, Paint.net—which rocks, so no making fun!  I mean, who can afford Photoshop these days?).  Finally, I had two versions of the Kadish symbols.  I’ll get to the second version in a second.

I made 4-inch images for when I eventually acquire 4-inch round tiles.  Then I will make my 8-piece coaster set!  I saw online just things morning that someone had made magnets with these same images.  Glad I’m not the only one with this idea!  Here are the eight images:

Ahnonay clue symbols from the Cathedral and Kadish's gallery in D'ni

 Now what is this second version?  I always thought it would be neat to have a hallway just like the Ahnonay Cathedral.  And then, one day when watching my favorite TV show Frasier, I noticed some interesting artwork.  In the third season, episode two, “Shrink Rap,” we see Niles’s practice.  On the back wall are some rather Kadish-looking artworks.

Still from Frasier, Season 3, Episode 2, "Shrink Rap"

How excellent!  So now I want to create prints and frame them in like manner, and then dream of acquiring a nice long hallway, or make a wall mosaic hanging all eight framed images in one group.  Wouldn’t that be lovely?

The fun doesn’t stop there!

While imagining my dream house, I thought about those half-moon windows that one finds over front doors.  Sometimes these are decorated stained glass.  You can’t get more Ahnonay Cathedral than that.  So in my little dream world, I have such a window, and I want it to be decorated with the Ahnonay symbol (halved, of course).  It would be neat to have the whole thing, but I just don’t think that would be feasible.  Or would it?

Ahnonay stained glass icon / map

And while I was getting carried away, I stayed up until 1:30 am working on yet another project.  I’m not quite sure what I would do with them; I’ve had some half-formed ideas.  I made a reconstruction of the tree puzzle floor in Kadish Tolesa.  One by one I crafted the tiles with the fourteen different shapes.

Floor from in Kadish Tolesa

On a final kick, I built the entire floor.

Reconstruction of the floor "tree" puzzle in Kadish Tolesa

The tiles are small, but I think enlarging them to a larger size, say 8x8ish would work also.  However, these tiles are not 100% regular hexagons, so what I would need to do it make the shape template and then outline it on a square tile and cut it to a proper shape with a ceramic saw.  I would get a professional to do it though.  I wouldn’t trust doing it myself.  Anyway, how neat would it be to have a bathroom floor (or even decorating the lower half of the walls?) with these tiles, or an enclosed patio with a Kadish tiled floor?  Or even in the kitchen?  Hoo hoo, hee hee, ha ha!  The possibilities are endless!

Next, because Riven things are always a necessity in a Myst fan’s life, being the supreme being and all, I thought to copy one fan’s replica of the Riven balls.  I have in mind to buy 3-inch wood spheres, give them a walnut stain, and then paint them with their respective numbers.  You know how people have those bizarre centerpieces of balls in a bowl?  I will have the same with the Riven balls!  Hahahaha!  Seriously, though, what is this decorative ball thing?  That’s up there with wax fruit displays, or bowls with rocks, or fake books.

I wonder what the Cyan folk would think of this…it’s a little obsessive, isn’t it?  Do you think they are a little afraid of the weirdos who take it to this level?

Finally, on an Obduction note, I still have the task of editing my Maray puzzle guides.  I intend to have them printed and bound, so I’m like them to be polished.  I already had to switch the page numbers to the opposite side of the page.  I think I have one correction to make in the Villein number puzzle guide.  For the Gauntlet, I want to run through it a couple different times just to make sure I have everything correct there.  That’s a really neat one to think about.  The number puzzle is actually totally easy once it finally clicks that you’re working out powers of four (really don’t know why it took me so long), but the Gauntlet requires a bit more consideration since it requires going everywhere and all over the place, moving this here and that there, and getting confused where you’ve left a swapped scoop.  But yes, I’ll share my completed project when I am satisfied with its completion.  Likely there would still be some edits required that I will have missed, but if it gets you to the correct solution it doesn’t really matter all that much, claro?

Cyan and Obduction logo cookies, experimenting with new cake decorating tips


I leave you with a picture of the silly cookies I made.  I ordered a basic 4-piece set of cake decorating tips for when I make Christmas cookies this year, and I wanted to practice.  I discovered the tips were actually too big, so I ordered different ones, legit ones.  Anyway, I played around with the crappy ones and made logo cookies.  Then I ate them(!) which is the exact reason why I want to give away my Christmas baking!  Needless to say, the excessive food coloring required to make that tealish color made things interesting three days later.  I’ll let you figure that out.