So a whiiiiile ago the illustrious cutselvage
did a meme in which she was given five topics by the-one-who-memed-before-her upon which she would expand in an entry of the LJ. I'm finally getting around to actually expanding upon the topics she subsequently gave me, and, in the spirit of memes, hereby offer to present anyone who is bored or otherwise willing with five topics of their own! My topics and paragraphs of thought pertaining to those topics are as follow:1. Nighteyes
Easily my favourite character who features in the 'Farseer' and 'Tawny Man' trilogies by Hobin Hobb, and I'd be lying if I said that the fact that he happens to be a wolf
had nothing to do with it (but not everything
!). Everyone who I know of that has read the books agrees that Nighteyes is a fantastic character, even if they don't share my Great Fondness for Wolves. Despite being an animal bonded to a human in a world where such a bond is largely reviled and mistrusted, Nighteyes is probably one of the most level-headed characters in the novels, and one of the few that doesn't leave you perpetually pulling out your hair and screaming "WHY OH GOD WHYYYY!?!!". He's smart, loyal, honest, and lives for the day, and if I was a wolf I might want to marry him.2. Dingoes
...I could go on for hours, hours, hoooouuuurs about dingoes. First and foremost, they're one of the most misunderstood creatures on the earth. There are two general opinions people seem to have of them, at complete opposite ends of the spectrum and both very, very wrong. There's the 'big bad wolf' image, closely associated with the 'dingo ate my baby' phenomenon (my opinion? I don't honestly know enough about the case to give an authoritative response, but I do believe if it was
an animal that took the baby, it's far more likely to have been a hybrid), and then there's the people who believe a dingo must be 'just like a normal dog'. Now, the phrase 'normal dog' in itself gets my hackles up- because seriously, what the hell is a 'normal dog'? The domestic dog, canis lupus familiaris
, comes in so many varieties- shapes, sizes, colours, builds, purposes, personalities... that it is just plain ludicrous to conceive of an 'average' dog that is 'normal'. Though I get the feeling most people, when they say 'normal dog', mean something like the classic, lay-by-the-fire 'man's best friend', probably in the shape of a labrador or a beagle or a border collie. Which I can assure you, the dingo is nothing like
. They are a shy animal, naturally fearful of anything that could pose a threat to it- in general, anything bigger than it and/or unfamiliar to it. They don't
regard humans as natural prey, and in natural circumstances will go out of their way
to avoid having anything to do with human beings. They're not vicious, they're not aggressive, and they're not scary
. But they are wild animals
, and so when human beings impose themselves upon the animal's home, and do things to change the animal's behaviour, they're asking for trouble.
Individuals can be 'tamed' or 'socialised' to the extent that they will consider humans part of their pack, but you cannot 'domesticate' a dingo. This is not, contrary to common misinformed belief, due to the fact that you could 'never trust a dingo' no matter how it's raised, that there's always the chance it could 'turn on you' or 'go savage', but in fact entirely due to the actual meaning of 'domestication'. You can tame
an individual. But you domesticate
a species. Domestication takes generations, choosing individuals from each generation with the traits you are looking for (in this case 'tameness') to be the only ones to breed and create the next generation. Keep going down the line, and eventually you'd get a 'domestic dingo', but you know what you've done there people? You've re-created the domestic dog. It's not a dingo anymore; by selecting for 'tameness' you will have taken away a great deal of what makes the dingo what it is. Dingoes were never brought to Australia in a 'partially domesticated' state, either, despite what many texts try to suggest. Again, individual pups might have been taken from dens and raised with families, either in SE Asia or Australia itself anything up to 5,000 years ago, but the fact is they were individuals, and when that individual died it wouldn't have been replaced with its carefully bred offspring, but simply another wild pup pulled out of the bush.
I COULD GO ON, FOLKS. THIS IS THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG.3. Roleplaying
Roleplaying! Considered by many to be one of the geekiest hobbies in all the world
, I consider it an incredibly stimulating, often thoroughly entertaining way to be creative with other people
. I'm very much at home with text-based roleplay, I think largely because I've enjoyed creative writing since I was old enough to write the alphabet. Being able to build stories with like-minded people is great fun
, and the entirely free-form, spontaneous nature of it is very appealing to me. 'Tabletop' roleplay can be a lot of fun too and I've got some brilliant memories surrounding them (both of the actual games themselves, and the general lunacy that seems to surround them) though they tend to need a fair bit more structure and organisation, and commitment from a set group of people.4. Drawing/painting
Love it. First drawing I ever made, according to mum, was a knedlik
(NOM NOM NOM), which I shortly afterwards decided would look much better as a kitty, and so I gave the vaguely potato-shaped blob on the page a face, whiskers, pointy ears, and a little blobby body. I still have that drawing, I know I was very small when I made it. Since then I have drawn easily thousands and thousands of other things, covering sketchbooks, reams of computer paper (I remember drawing on the old-school stuff with the little perforated strips down either side!!), on the covers of primary school work books, around high school notes, uni notes, on walls, on pads next to the phone, on napkins, in fact- it's fairly safe to say that if I see a drawing implement and an empty drawable surface near each other, I'm going to end up drawing something on it. It's less often these days that I knuckle down and actually finish a serious drawing, mainly due to my level of exhaustion during my free time these days, but it still gives me endless satisfaction to draw something nice.
Painting takes a bit more time, effort, and pre-planning. It needs more space; I usually paint on much bigger surfaces than on which I draw, and I need more room for a variety of coloured paints, brushes, pots of water, reference pictures etc etc, whereas I can draw on a scrap of paper in my lap with a single pencil while curled up on the couch. But it is very
rewarding. Acrylics and watercolours are what I usually work in; acrylics something I feel like I've still got a lot to learn with (maybe one day I'll be game enough to try oils, but I'm not sure... I tend to get impatient and the incredible drying time between layers needed for oils might make that a very short lived venture), while I think I've reached a certain agreement with watercolours (at one stage the BANE OF MY ARTISTIC EXISTENCE) and generally feel very proud of what I can create with them.
Safe to say, 99% of the time my subjects in both drawings and paintings are animals.5. The Capsized Duck
Is the name of our unofficial 'bar'. It's logo is a duck in some water, floating upside-down with its little webbed feet in the air. I think the first appearance of the Duck was actually at camp; I have a distinct memory of the early cardboard version of the bar sign hanging above the doorway of our cabin at Allawah. But it has since been upgraded to a rather fetching wooden sign, making an appearance at our engagement party (to the amusement of many guests and family members), a couple of cocktail parties, and now hangs above our kitchen doorway (to the irritation of many people coming through our kitchen). If I ever write a book and the characters go to an old school pub, it'll probably be called 'The Capsized Duck'. There's a much greater chance of that happening than me actually opening a pub myself.