rfmadison: (Default)
Woah, it's been awhile since I've done one of these. I blame this on Tumblr. However, I don't like how all-text posts look on that site, so I'm on here.

Today I'm writing about Brandon Sanderson's novel Warbreaker because it holds the distinction of being the first novel I've started and actually finished in a good while. Whether or not this novel has finally broken my reading slump remains to be seen, however.

The summary (from Goodreads):
Warbreaker is the story of two sisters, who happen to be princesses, the God King one of them has to marry, the lesser god who doesn’t like his job, and the immortal who’s still trying to undo the mistakes he made hundreds of years ago.

Their world is one in which those who die in glory return as gods to live confined to a pantheon in Hallandren’s capital city and where a power known as BioChromatic magic is based on an essence known as breath that can only be collected one unit at a time from individual people.

By using breath and drawing upon the color in everyday objects, all manner of miracles and mischief can be accomplished. It will take considerable quantities of each to resolve all the challenges facing Vivenna and Siri, princesses of Idris; Susebron the God King; Lightsong, reluctant god of bravery, and mysterious Vasher, the Warbreaker.

This is Sanderson's fifth novel after Elantris, and the Mistborn trilogy, none of which I've read. However, Warbreaker is a stand-alone novel, so it's not necessary to have read his previous works.

My thoughts are below the cut. There will probably be spoilers, so be warned. Also, know that I read the version he posted online here.

She frowned as she saw that he was wearing some ridiculous frippery on his head... )

Right now, I'm reading the annotations Sanderson has on the website. It's a good chance to see why he made the decisions he did while writing his novel.
rfmadison: (icons)
Firstly, whoo! I'm updating this journal for once. As it turns out, I've been putting a lot of my works in progress and random graphics on my Tumblr instead of on here. Whoops.

Speaking of works in progress, I'm here to share two versions of an unfinished manga coloring, and I might as well throw in the finished piece while I'm at it. I say these are "works in progress," but they're pretty much finished. I even took the time to add random shading. (Still need to work on that, by the way) If you have't read the latest chapter of Kimi ni Todoke, this picture has potential spoilers. Beautiful spoilers depending on who you are, but potential spoilers all the same.

Here's an icon-sized sample, which I tried to keep as spoiler-free as possible:

Colored full-sized images are behind the cuts:

Version 1 )

Version 2 )

Here's the finished version:

Final Version (hopefully) )

I'll probably post it again if I ever get around to finishing the other manga colorings I've left alone due to my fickle nature. Or hey, there's always Tumblr.
rfmadison: (baking)
Happy Valentine's Day! In honor of that, as well as my first sporadic post on this account on Dreamwidth, I've decided to post the results of my latest dessert making experiment. For Valentine's Day this year, I originally wanted to try making red velvet cupcakes and experiment with coloring the frosting. However, while on Tumblr earlier scrolling down the Kimi ni Todoke tag (I still need to get around to a review of that manga), I came upon this recipe from a fairly new blog focusing on anime inspired recipes. Since I had just about everything it called for (with a few substitutions), I decided to try these instead.

Recipe, pictures, and notes below cut )
Final verdict: Not bad. Not sure if being able to taste the salt is a deal breaker, but I like it. It made the chocolate less sweet than I thought it would be. And almonds make everything better. =D
rfmadison: (Default)
So, here's the thing. Despite the numerous hours I spend in front of the TV, I don't actually watch a lot of shows unless they're animated or on one of those kids channels. Very few live-action shows grab my interest from day one, and the few shows I do get interested in are either cancelled (Moonlight, Kings, Undercovers, The Cape), I drop (Royal Pains, Burn Notice, Fairly Legal, US version of Being Human), or I never get around to watching (The Good Wife, Nikita remake). In fact, White Collar is probably the only non-animated, not kid-oriented American show I'm still following right now, and it's not even on network television. I think I have horrible luck with choosing shows, I swear.

However, I don't know if it's because I'm not doing much with my life right now or what, but I've been looking up some upcoming shows for Fall 2011, and I find myself wanting to at least check out a few of them. With my luck, they'll all be cancelled after one season (or less), but it never hurts to try, right?

Note: This only lists network TV premieres. I haven't bothered to check if there were any new shows coming out on basic cable.

My List of Fall 2011 Shows to Check Out )

More notes:
- I seem to be lacking in new comedies. I'm banking on not needing to watch those from the beginning.
- A majority of the shows I'm checking out seem to be crime procedurals of some sort. Huh, looks like I have a drama type after all.
- With the exception of the two fairy tale shows, all of them take place somewhere in New York. New York, I love you, but a change of scenery would be nice, you know.

If there are any other new shows worth checking out, I'll update this list.
rfmadison: (Default)
My new obsession! I would have never checked out the manga if I didn't hear about the live action drama. And I'm so glad I did. I read all the chapters within a week (it would have been shorter if it weren't for real life stuff), watched all the anime episodes, and am currently working through the live action series.

The summary (from Anime News Network):

Haruhi Fujioka is a scholarship student at exclusive Ouran High School, where it turns out that the bespectacled, short-haired Haruhi is the only student from a lower-middle class family in attendance. Then, to make matters worse, one day she breaks an $80,000 vase that belongs to one of the campus clubs: a mysterious outfit called the "Host Club," consisting of six super-rich (and gorgeous) guys. Mistaking Haruhi for a boy at first, they force her to work for the club to pay the damages, but when she proves to be a hit with the female students who come to be charmed and entertained, the guys decide it's more fun keeping up the charade...

The series, by Bisco Hatori, originally ran from 2002 to 2010 in Japan. The series itself makes up eighteen volumes, sixteen of which are available in North America through Viz Media (The last two volumes will be available December 2011 and some time in 2012). There are also a few published after-stories; the latest is a two-part story released in the Japanese magazine LaLa commemorating the premiere of the live action drama (No clue as to whether these stories will be available in NA).

And now, my thoughts on the series. I'm going to try my best to keep this to just the manga, though I may do a comparison of everything if I feel like it.

Excuse me...what research are you doing...? )
rfmadison: (icons)
So, before I lose my nerve, decide to color even more panels, or edit the ones I already did, I'm putting up what I've done so far. I'm still new to this whole "manga coloring" thing, so I'm hoping to improve as I (hopefully) continue to be inspired and time goes on.

Samples (can double as icons, if desired):

Various panels from Chapter 41 to the end of the manga. Warning: image heavy. )

Feedback would be much appreciated, but please don't be too harsh. I'm still learning!
rfmadison: (icons)
So, remember last time when I said that, if I color manga pictures, I'd just stick to chibi/sillier poses? Well... I guess I lied. ^^'

Image in question behind the cut )

Someone send heeeeeeeeeeeeeelp!

Edit: I didn't realize that my color scheme was so Christmas-like. It was completely unintentional.
rfmadison: (baking)
So, I was in the living room while Mom was watching an episode of The Nate Berkus Show earlier this week. During that episode, he had Anne Thornton on to make Cookie Dough Truffles, which peaked my curiosity. After seeing how easy the recipe looked, I decided to look up chocolate truffle recipes (I didn't really want a cookie dough center) and clicked on this recipe from Cooking for Engineers. From there, the idea try my hand at chocolate truffles wouldn't leave my head. So yesterday, I made my way to a grocery store to buy ingredients to make the truffles, and here is the end result:

Process under the cut )

Taste-wise, they weren't bad. The truffles are really soft and will melt in your mouth quickly. The ones covered in cocoa powder were a bit bitter, but that's what I get for using unsweetened powder. And the walnuts, like I said before, were a bit burnt, so I'm trying to finish them off myself. The ones coated in almonds? My favorites of the batch, but that could be bias talking.

Future endeavors include different flavored truffles, more toppings, and dipping the truffles in chocolate. Mmmmmmmmmm.
rfmadison: (icons)
Anyone else watch the trailer for the new mini-series The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra? No? WELL YOU SHOULD!!!

Anyway, I made a few icons and GIFs for this wonderful occasion.

[32] icons
[6] animated GIFs


Images behind the cut )

Also, I had to resort to posting this on the PC instead of my laptop. Ugh.
rfmadison: (icons)
I'm finally posting icons here. Yay!

[18] stock icons (including 1 animated GIF)
[9] White Collar icons
[5] Big Time Rush icons ("Worldwide" music video/ Big Time Breakup)
[9] Other (including City Hunter, Sailor Moon (Sailor Mercury/Mizuno Ami), The Wallflower/Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge, Skip Beat!)


All behind the cut )

Why "official?" Because I already have an "Icon Batch #1" for the four icons I made for this journal... two years ago. This also probably means it'll be a long time before I post another batch of icons. XD
rfmadison: (icons)
For the longest period of time, I've wanted to do manga-based icons. However, I'm awful with using my photo editor(s) to color in the black & white shots. A lot of the time, if there's a manga character I wanna make an icon of, I either look for the anime and cap from there or, if there's no anime adaptation, find any colored manga shots. That's what I had to do with my Makoto icon from W Juliet:

I've been taking several manga pages in the hopes that one day I'll be able to clean them and make icons, but I end up losing interest.

More images under the cut )
rfmadison: (icons)
So, I got inspired by the latest Big Time Rush episode and music video (Yes, you are free to mock me) to make icons. This particular icon took up hours of my time, and not just because I was desperately avoiding schoolwork at the same time (and still am by making this post):

This was made with a combination of GIMP and Photoshop Elements 9. Today I decided to recreate this icon using only GIMP.

Program: GIMP 2.6.11
Difficulty: Easy-Medium (depends on how well you know your program)
Translatable: Yes (there are a few pictures of the same icon made with Photoshop Elements 9)

Process behind the cut )
rfmadison: (icons)
One thing I discovered about my laptop the other day is that it's able to run the DAO Character Creator, something that didn't work with the home PC (I don't really know why, and it hasn't really bothered me because I don't use the PC for gaming purposes). This turned out GREAT because I'm currently in the planning stages of an AU fic involving all of my Wardens, including the ones I haven't played yet. To give me a better visual idea in my head, I made all my Wardens and saved some of the screencaps.

Then I decided to see what would happen if I put all the cropped full-body shots of my Wardens together. That turned out fine, but the white spaces in my mash-up bothered me, so I tried to fill in the blanks. That didn't turn out well, but I didn't know what to do at that point so I just tried to get rid of some random part of the shot and came up with the picture below. That picture is linked to the full size version (Warning: The actual size is humongous. Just so you know). *

Click for the picture/link )

Accidental? Yes. But I loved how it turned out, so I decided to save it. The one gripe I have is that now both my Brosca's brand and tattoo and my Surana's hair are hidden due to the shadowing. Otherwise, I'm pleasantly surprised by the result.

Also, my Amell is very much a work in progress. He's the first guy character I've ever done, and for some reason I'm not happy with how he turned out. Maybe I just fail at making guys. =\ Thankfully, I plan on playing him last so it shouldn't be much of an issue.

Edit: *Since first posting this, I have tinkered around some more with the image. The picture reflects the changes I made. I also fixed the white space issue somewhat in the original picture (not the one posted), which is very good.

Edit #2: Sorry I keep editing this, but I got to tinkering around with the original picture, and I finally got it to look like it hasn't been merged together. In other words, no visible lines! Sure some of the shadows are a little weird now, but I can live with it. Thank you GIMP and the Pandora script. =D

Original picture/link )
rfmadison: (icons)
So, I had the TV on to USA this past Sunday to finish up the third Pirates movie, and I was too lazy to change the channel when it was finished. So I ended up watching an episode of In Plain Sight, which I've never seen before now.

I am now in love with the show. Specifically Mary Shannon. Words cannot describe how awesome I think she is.

I spent the past couple of days working on animated GIFs from the episode I watched (Love in the Time of Colorado) because I've become obsessed. It's also the first time I've used text on an animated GIF, because there were just too many lines I loved to not leave them out. =D

Follow me behind the cut )

Now, I'm off to see whether this is a one-episode thing or a genuine love for the show. Apparently there's a new episode that showed after this one that I never watched?
rfmadison: (writing)
Title: Encountering Legend
Rating: G
Warnings: None
Word Count: 908
Characters: f!Hawke, f!Surana
Summary: What would happen if Hawke had met the Warden before the disaster at Ostagar? An AU fic set pre-DA2.
Notes: So I'm getting around to finishing up some fanfics I started a couple months ago. My DA:O/DA2 fic (Does it count as a crossover if they're in the same series? Probably not, right?) was the first one I managed to work on. Still not completely sure about how it turned out, but the only reason I wrote it in the first place was to answer the question I posed in the summary. And, to be clear, I started the fic before my replay of DA:O, so I understand this is unlikely to ever happen. I just prefer living in my imagination. =D

Encountering Legend )

PS: After several attempts to post this, I'm really starting to hate my Internet connection and LJ. I've also resorted to re-downloading Semagic to see if I can post from it. Just wanted to get that out there.
rfmadison: (icons)
So, I now have a new laptop with which to do stuff with. The laptop came with a bunch of programs, including Adobe Photoshop Elements 9. I haven't used Photoshop since middle school! But of course, I got so used to GIMP that I figured it wouldn't matter much.

Then I got to making icons based on a scene from Jade Palace Lock Heart. It was going along OK in GIMP until I tried to do this effect:

When I originally tried it in GIMP, Yang Mi's character Qing Chuan looked all blue due to the color of the original crop, so I decided to give it a try in Photoshop. After messing with some enhance options, I squealed out loud because OMG, it looked 1000 times better!!

To get a better visual, this is the original crop:

And this is what it looked like after applying "Auto Levels" on Photoshop:


I'm sure it can be done in GIMP too, but that would involve messing with a whole bunch of options that I would be guessing at. Looks like I'll be using Photoshop to "fix" my screencaps from now on. =D
rfmadison: (icons)
OK, ImageShack. I get that you have the right to change your service at any time. And I understand that it costs money with the servers and whatnot. But I'd like just a little warning before you decide that you're no longer accepting animated GIFs from free registered users. Putting up my latest GIF took a LOT longer that actually making it. You're just lucky I have too many icons and screencaps up there for me to remove my account, because otherwise, I'd have cancelled in a heartbeat. -_-

So that this post isn't a complete downer, have that GIF I've been meaning to put up, which is from Jade Palace Lock Heart, the period cdrama that I hope will finally get me out of my drama funk. Not sure how I feel about Imgur yet, but I'm trying really hard to avoid Photobucket if at all possible. And anyway, I'm only using the service for my animated stuff.

rfmadison: (Default)
I don't normally use this journal to vent. However, since I've been hit with a few spammy comments the past couple of days in this account, I'd like to say the following:

Listen, I know I don't use [livejournal.com profile] rfmadison often. Especially this past month. That does not mean it's OK to SELL ME SEX DRUGS or whatever it is you were trying to do. LEAVE THIS LITTLE DUMP ALONE PLEASE, ktnx.

I haven't really finished any of the fics I had planned on doing during my break from LJ. Maybe I'll have better luck during my break from school.
rfmadison: (baking)
So, yesterday was my mom's birthday. I baked her two things: my friend's mom's brownie recipe with walnuts added to it on Friday and a custard cake from the website Life Pinoy Style yesterday (For the record, the recipe is currently not there. Something about transferring all their recipes onto the new site or something). The brownies will have to go on a separate post, but I will say that it came out well. Too bad I can't make them come out picture-nice the way my friend's mom can. *sigh*

Let's get this disclaimer out of the way: I'm not a cake person. Now, I like sweets in general. In fact, I'm known to have a sweet tooth and am pretty close to getting diabetes if I don't watch what I eat. But cakes and I are iffy. I'm not fond of eating most cakes, and I think the only cakes I've enjoyed eating are the light and airy ones from the Chinese bakery and a couple of cakes from the Filipino store. Oh, and that one red velvet cake someone brought in. And ice cream cake, but really I'm in it for the ice cream.

I also don't really bake cakes unless they're one of those box cakes, and even then I don't eat it unless I'm really hungry. And I certainly don't have the patience to frost and/or decorate them. Drop cookies are so much easier in that respect: put them on the baking sheet, bake 'em in the oven, and presto. There are only two cakes that I've baked from scratch: cassava cake and custard cake. And honestly, I don't consider cassava cake an actual cake, so that just leaves custard cake.

This is only the second time I've baked custard cake. The first time was around a year ago, but since I had given up sweets during that time period, I couldn't taste and see if there was anything wrong with it. So, I based any changes I made on other people's critiques.

Well! Now that the explanation's out of the way, let's get on with it, shall we?

Recipe, pictures, and notes below the cut. )

The result? Eh. The cake part itself was a little more dense than I would've liked. But the custard was great. This only means I need more practice.
rfmadison: (baking)
So, a few days before Valentine's Day, this is the conversation that takes place between my mom and me:

Mom: So, is there such thing as a chocolate flan?
Me: Probably. ::runs a search on Google:: Yep, there are a few recipes. This one looks simple enough.
Mom: Good. Make it for Valentine's Day.
Me: *sigh* Fine.

And thus, my first attempt into making flan. OK, technically it's my second, but that was for a custard chiffon cake I made last year that I didn't even get to try. So there.

Recipe and pictures below the cut )


rfmadison: (Default)

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