Observations about the universe, life, Lausanne and me

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I am participating in the NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month. the idea is to write a (short) novel in November by brute force, namely by pounding out at least 1667 words each and every day, to get up to 50010 words on the 30th. The reasoning behind is that the hardest part of writing is actually forcing yourself to write, and I am certainly finding this so. Right now I am already nearly three thousand words behind schedule, although I have been catching up.

Also, it really should be called International Novel Writing Month by now, or INaNoWriMo, but I guess that is too inane for the organisers.

Sorry about that, on with the show:

The novel I am writing is fantasy, and has the very cliché working title of Necromancer: Apprentice. But then again, Feist did get away with his Magician: Apprentice, so why shouldn't I? Except for the part where he is a successful author, and I, well,  not.

I hope to eventually post the novel here starting from mid-December or so, after I have had some time to revise it a little bit.

What is it about?

At first it seemed so innocuous: Sacrifice a chicken to make the water-pumps turn by themselves. Kill a piglet to heal your dog. But where does it end? Where do you draw the line?

Jack doesn't know - but he has no time to think. His master taught him the forbidden Art, and now he is on the run from the church, with a price on his head and a quaestor on his heels. What is he willing to sacrifice for his freedom?
 You see, I already wrote my own blurb!

Will I publish it, and get filthy, filthy rich?
No. I'll give it away for free, because I am just generous that way.  Also, I suspect it will not be that good. But who knows? Maybe I'll get discovered by an editor desperately trawling the far reaches of the internet for some prose to publish, and then I'll live the rest of my life in luxury! If so, I'll let you know where the party is ;)

Oh, and in case you are just bursting with curiosity, here you can see how many words I've written so far:

The same widget is also up on the right side-panel.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Up and about in Javerne

Well, autumn is here. After waking up to a lovely 15 degrees centigrade a couple of days ago even I had to concede that the seasons have turned, and switch on my heating.

At least autumn is good for hiking: Here are a few photos of my recent trip to the Cauldron de Javerne:

A most lovely and clear day. To begin with, the air was quite crisp, but the sun still retains a bit of heat around midday.

The cauldron is down on the left (and climbing up directly to the ridge was not as fast as I thought it would be):

Then, the fog came.  Of course.

But contrary to last time, it cam, and went. Soon the sky was all blue again, as I am pointing out here.

And I was treated to this most excellent sea of clouds (click to embiggen):

Last but not least, here is the GPS-track. Because I need to justify my electronic toys.


Saturday, November 7, 2009


It's true: always take your camera. This one was taken with my Canon Ixus 870IS. Had to do a panorama to get the whole thundercloud in. Unfortunately I tilted the camera a bit while taking the photo - I was perching precariously on the roof of a bicycle stand at the EPFL - hence the distortion at the bottom.

The colours were brilliant, so brilliant in fact: I desaturated the photo a bit in Picasa, it looked too kitschy.

Addendum 7/11/2009 1105h:

Thanks Armin for telling me about Panoramastudio, a much better stitching software than Photostitch. It has built-in distortion correction, and came up with this:

This time I left the colours as they were, so you can see it in all it's kitschy glory. Makes you wonder why there is no unicorn...

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I've finally finished this:

"At Willy Wonka's"
Watercolour on Paper, A3

It's supposed to be Willy Wonka and Charlie of Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". It was an assignment from my art course - my prof handed me an excerpt and told me to draw and then paint an illustration.

It was the first time I'd painted anything since high school, and I guess it shows, especially at the top - the roof of the tent was painted first. I wanted to go for the kind of naive style often used in children's books, hence the weird tent and the exaggerated features of Willy Wonka.

In the future I'll probably stick to acrylics until I feel I can try and tackle watercolours again. Also I need to come up with another way digitalise my paintings - the stupid scanner at the office refused to use the same settings twice, so you can see the scan-line in the middle of the painting, where I stitched the two parts together.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Café wall illusion

This optical illusion hurts my brain:

All lines are straight, and either horizontal or vertical, even if they don't seem to be. Also, if you stare at it too long, some unnamable horror from the beyond will emerge from it and devour your soul. You have been warned.