Flip Flop Flying

Archive for October, 2016

3,135: Fact-checking

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Happy Hallowe’en

Other business
Don and Mel mash-up.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Shake It Off by the mighty Taylor Swift. This was 2015’s most common song-in-my-head-when-I-woke-up. 14 times. (The rest of the top five: 2. Baby Love by Petite Meller (9 times), 3=. Blank Space by Taylor Swift, Breaking Up by Charli XCX (7), 5=. All You Had to Do Was Stay by Taylor Swift, Famous by Charli XCX (6).) You’ll notice distinct female pop lean there. That’s kinda been my main thing in the last couple of years. I got bored of listening to dudes whining on. In total last year, the top three artists were Taylor, Charli, and Carly Rae Jepsen. They combined for 105 songs, nigh on a third of the whole year. Anyway, Taylor:

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Generic trademark

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Minecraft Project Day 6
Two tasks today: deal with the dungeon zombie spawned and get the goodies out of the chest, and start chopping down trees. The dungeon was easier than one that spawns creepers or skeletons. It was just a matter of putting enough torches in there to stop the spawner spawning new zombies and then kill off the remaining few. A moderately useful haul from the chests: iron, wheat, gunpowder, an enchantment book, string.

The birch wood is what I’m after. I like birch trees, and cabins made of birch. Nothing exciting about this, I just need loads of it. Chop chop chop. I’d rather grab too much of it now that run out halfway through building. Not sure exactly where I’ll be building my cabin yet, mind. I fancy it being somewhere with a sunset view and near a river.

Written by Craig

October 31st, 2016 at 10:13 am

3,134: C

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Watching the Cubs-Cleveland game the other night, I was thinking about the Cubs logo on the hats. The cut-out bit of the C: what’s the angle?

I like the logo. It’s simple and would be a perfect circle if not a C:

I was kinda hoping that the angle of the cut-out bit of the C (is there a name for that bit, typography fans?) would be a right angle, thus echoing the first and third base lines of a baseball diamond.

Sadly not. But this is what it would look like if it were:

And here’s a drawing I did of Wednesday’s Cubs pitcher, Jake Arrieta.

Other business
A local taqueria’s Hallowe’en decoration.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Atom Heart Mother again this morning, so here’s the one that was in my head when I woke up last Saturday: Drag Me Down by One Direction.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Scotch Tape

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Minecraft Project Day 5
More lighting up of the caves, a skeleton shooting arrows at me is a minor inconvenience.

And back to the suspected dungeon I found yesterday. This is probably a really inefficient way of dealing with dungeons, but I like to dig out all the material around the outside of a dungeon, so that I can move around and dig out one block holes in the dungeon walls (monsters need at least two vertical blocks to get through a hole.)

Yep, it’s a dungeon with a zombie spawner in the middle. First things first, is to kill the nearby zombies with my sword, then drop torches in there. Monsters spawn in the dark, as mentioned before. The more light in there, the less zombies are gonna need dealing with once I cut a hole big enough for me to get through. (The brown chunks in the third picture are rotten flesh which drop when you kill a zombie. Not for eatin’, but if you tame a wolf to be your pet, you can feed the rotten flesh to them. They love it)

Hola, horsey!

Lastly, a bit more biggening of my room before beddy byes.

Written by Craig

October 28th, 2016 at 10:18 am

3,133: Raymonde and Lola

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You can see it a bit bigger, should you desire, here.

The idea behind this was to try and do a picture story about the process of doing a picture story. It’s been around as a vague idea for a couple of years. At that point, the idea was purely what I wrote in the first sentence here, and the idea that he starts off going the wrong way. I sat down a couple of days ago and bashed out a script. Edited the next day. Then drew it. The names Raymonde and Lola were the first names that came into my head. And, just in case you follow my work and recognise the character, I did a drawing of him a couple of years ago (May 2014) using Brushes on the iPad.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Go, Cubs, Go! by Steve Goodman. I’m a little surprised it’s taken this long to have a sports-y song crop up. For the amount of ad breaks on F*x Sports, and the same ugly music they play going into each break, I assumed that piece of shit would’ve been in my head before. But thankfully, no. But, obviously, the Cubs have been on telly more than usually the last coupla weeks. Thus this song’s appearance.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article

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Minecraft Project Day 4
First things first: more food. Sorry piggies.

Then a bit more exploring of the cave system. See them mossy cobble blocks? They’re possibly a bad sign. Behind there there could be a dungeon, which will contain a monster spawner. They’re a pain in the arse, but there are usually a couple of chests with free stuff inside.

First thing I do in a cave system is light it up. I don’t bother mining until there is light everywhere. Monsters spawn in dark areas, y’see. Last thing you want right behind you when you’re grabbing some iron ore is a creeper blowing himself up and taking you with him.

Oh look, it’s raining.

Last bit of work before returning home, put some lights out around the entrance to my cave. Same thing as above, really: keep the monsters away as much as possible at this early stage, and it’s also good if I’m out and about when it gets dark. I can find home easier.

A bit of mining for cobblestone inside my shelter before bedtime, which will also give me a little bit more space so I’m living in something a little less like a prison cell.

Written by Craig

October 27th, 2016 at 8:24 am

3,132: Step Back in Time

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Last Friday, I went to a baseball game. The Liga Mexicana’s winter league has begun. It only began last year, and it’s essentially a youth league for the teams in the Liga Mexicana. Most of the roster spots are for players under 25, with five spots that can be filled by players of any age. Only six teams. My local team Diablos Rojos del Mexico has a squad comprised of young chaps from both the Diablos system and the Guerreros de Oaxaca system (Guerreros are owned by the same rich guy.) Anyway, I was sat there with my mate and his parents, having a nice refreshing Corona. Between innings, the speakers played played this song:

My mate was chatting to his parents and I’d drifted off in my own head. (It’s interesting that we do that, huh? That we can simply crossfade from paying attention to something and suddenly be deep in our own thoughts, to the point where sometimes we still outwardly look like we are paying attention: saying “yes,” or “uh-huh,” nodding our heads, but really we are so so far away. I kind of imagine it there being a camera on the back of a subway train. The person who you are talking to is stood on the platform and the camera – that is to say, your brain – is rapidly disappearing down a tunnel.)

I have never owned an INXS record. Not sure why. I look back and think about the albums I was buying in 1987, and Kick really should’ve been in there. I was, at that point, into U2, Simple Minds, Bruce Springsteen. INXS should’ve been in there. New Sensation was a single the year after, and while I was sat there in my own tunnel at the baseball, I asked myself a question. It’s a question you will have asked yourself at least once, too: would I go back to that point, forgetting my whole life up to this point?

And while I was in that tunnel, I instinctively answered yes. My brain just blurted it out. Of course, going back in time and remembering your current life would be in some way preferable in other ways awful. If you did that you would end up in a different place. Correcting the mistakes you made with a girlfriend or boyfriend would change your history. Trying harder at university, putting in more effort at art college would change your history. But that’s the only possible reason you’d have for wanting to go back remembering your current life: to change some things.

At some point, too, you’d get nostalgic for your real life. If trying a bit harder at art college in Life Version 2 got me into Sheffield University instead of Derby, my life would take a totally different path and I would miss Life v1. And it’d be some proper saudade shit going on in your head. You’d have to find ways to convincingly engineer meeting your friends from your 20s and 30s (from London and Berlin, in my case) even though you didn’t necessarily live there. The more you think and think about it, the more depressing it is. A good compromise, I think, would be if you went back knowing that this was your second time, but had no memory whatsoever of your first try. Like knowing you were a reincarnation.

If it had to be done, if there was a portal that someone presents to you at a certain age, like a birthday present, and it’s a one time offer – go back in time to your 18th birthday or not – it’d be very difficult to say no, I think. Even knowing that things would turn out badly. But if there was no memory of your real life through that portal, then I guess your choice would have to depend on how successful you think your real life has been. If you have a family, a career you enjoy, live somewhere you like living, you’d be giving up too much. But sat at a baseball game in Mexico City last Friday, I said yes.

A wee bit of artwork
A quick pixelly drawing of one dude wearing the kits of the four claret and blue teams in English football: West Ham United, Burnley, Aston Villa, and Scunthorpe United.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Atom Heart Mother by Pink Floyd.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article

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Minecraft Project Day 3
Nothing worse than waking up and finding a massive bloody red-eyed spider hovering around right outside your shelter.

Let’s mine some iron ore to make better tools (iron is better than stone is better than wood. The goal here is to mine more and more and be lucky enough to find some diamonds. Diamonds make kiss-ass tools).

A bit more scouting, and it seems there might be a decent-sized cave system near my shelter.

Nearby, there’s a mountain.

Right now, though, I’m more interested in doing some mining than a nice place to live, so this second shelter will be my home for a while, I reckon. But I might as well make it a wee bit more practical, so I dumped some cobbleblocks there to make some steps for easier access.

And gave my hole a door.

Nighty night.

Written by Craig

October 26th, 2016 at 11:07 am

3,131: Kraftwerk’s internal newsletter

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That is, of course, not really their internal newsletter. But I do like to imagine them behaving like that. I think that their lack of activity, albums-wise, and relative secrecy, and tightly-controlled aesthetic allows for such flights of mental fancy.

A wee bit of artwork

Big decal of a dog and house number

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Ain’t No Pleasing You by Chas & Dave.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Naming law in Sweden

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Minecraft Project Day 2
Buenos dias!

I built a furnace, made some charcoal by burning wood, and now use that first lump of charcoal to make even more so that I can cook meat, and make torches for light.

I had a bit of a scout around the area and eventually found this big hole. There’s some coal (the blocks with black specks) and iron ore (the blocks with the brown specks), and with a lot of stone around, it’s a safer place than my dirt hole. Time to nip back to my hole, grab my bed, crafting table, and furnace, and move house.

The sun’s goin’ down. Better be quick.

Ooh look, there’s the moon.

There’s the beginnings of my second shelter. There’s more coal in the back wall there, which’ll we useful.

A bit more diggin’, and it’s time for bed.

Written by Craig

October 25th, 2016 at 8:33 am

Blog post No. 3,130: Allsorts

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Sometimes when I’m drawing, there will be a theme, a thread or something, that goes through a few things. Lately, I’ve been thinking about liquorice allsorts. Just from an aesthetic point of view. I’ve been here before, briefly in 2014. Look:

And recently, I done a tweet about it, which ended up leading to some more drawing.

I did this in SketchUp:

And then played around, doing the allsorts at a uniform square size, I put the idea of Lego and building something with the square pixelly allsorts together and did this, a liquorice allsorts Reichstag. Right click on it to see it full size.

Kinda feels like a I could work on this. Feels like this could be the first step towards a series. Needs a bit of work, but it’s a start.

A couple of doodles/scribbles

A clown on the Metrobus

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Torn by Natalie Imbruglia. Still as dreamy as ever.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Longest word in English

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Minecraft Project Day 1
After writing about the fun I have had with Minecraft Pocket Edition (the iPad version) recently, I figured that a nice little addition to the daily blog would be to start a new game and play just one Minecraft day for every blog post. One Minecraft day is 20 minutes: ten minutes of day, ten minutes of night. Most of the time, I will be sleeping during the Minecraft night, and ten minutes isn’t a whole lot of time to get stuff done, so there won’t be monster blog posts every day; just a handful of screenshots and a few notes for each post. (This first one is a bit longer, just in case you’re not familiar with the game.) You may well be rolling your eyes at this idea, but if you like Minecraft or have any interest in purchasing Minecraft, maybe it’ll be vaguely interesting. On with the show!

Here we very much go. Tap tap tap:

And here’s the world I’ve been dropped in. A spruce-y forest kinda place:

And here’s me. I am female:

Punch tree, get wood:

Quickly use those wood blocks to make some wood planks and then use those planks to make a crafting table, a wooden axe, and a wooden pickaxe:

First things first, I need to find somewhere to shelter when night comes. Time to dig a hole. (Mining stone drops cobblestone, which you can see hovering down below. That will come in handy for making stronger tools):

Yep, this looks like a nice area. A lake next to a forest. Is this Minecraft or Sweden?

Hello, Mr Sheep. You will be dead very soon. I’m sorry about that but until I have some iron to craft some shears, the only way to get your wool (which I need to make a bed) is to kill you. Soz:

Sheep dead and gone, and floating in its place: one thing of wool (I need two more to make a bed) and one hunk of mutton. That will come in handy, too, to prevent death:

Sun’s goin’ down. Town to get back to my hole before the bad guys come out at night:

Nearly bedtime:

Inside my hole:

Yawn. I’m sleepy. Goodnight, y’all. (I wish it didn’t have the Leave Bed button there, it’d be more aesthetically pleasing for this daily silliness):

Written by Craig

October 24th, 2016 at 9:36 am

Blog post No. 3,129: Tic Tac(s)

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I love Tic-Tacs. I’m not gonna have trump ruin Tic Tacs for me. Every pair of jeans I have end up with a Tic Tacs box-shaped bit of fading in the pocket. Look:

It often hits me, though: they’re not Tic Tacs. They’re called Tic Tac. You would’ve thought by now someone at the company would’ve said, “shall we just add an ‘s’?” Or, is the correct usage like fish and sheep? Is Tic Tac both singular and plural?

Similarly, Post-it. Capital P, hyphen, lowercase i. How often do we use those correctly? The most obvious of these (in my own head) is LEGO being all caps, and the things themselves are called LEGO bricks not, as many seem to think, Legos, which is a godawful word. If, like me, you are stupid enough to want to know the correct way to do things, you will know that the band is called Pixies not The Pixies (it’s fine to write the Pixies, though), and Happy Mondays not The Happy Mondays. Rolling Stones is an interesting one. They don’t seem to be consistent. Indeed, on the cover of Let it Bleed, they had three variations of their name:

And a personal gripe is when we are told to ignore the conventions of the English language. k.d. lang, blink 182, e e cummings (although… info!). That sort of shit is just wrong. And if you call your band !!!, you don’t get to decide that I don’t pronounce that exclamation mark exclamation mark exclamation mark.

Bald trump

Residential debate

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article

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The song in my head when I woke up this morning
After yesterday’s post about Petite Meller, I finally listen to her album on Spotify. And… yes, very enjoyable indeed. I listened to it a few times and thus Lil’ Love got stuck in my head all day, and it was in my head when I woke up this morning, too. That song has been in my head when I woke up five times in 2016. But the song that’s been in my head the most (eight times) is the insanely catchy Peanut Butter Jelly by Galantis. Maybe one day I should write a post about all the stupid, catchy, silly songs I like, cos there’s a ton of them.

Written by Craig

October 21st, 2016 at 11:07 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah,Music

Blog post No. 3,128: Petite Meller

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The song in my head when I woke up this morning was Tubular Bells. This sort of thing tends to happen. Songs might stick around for a few days. I’m not sure why. But less of that now, I’ll do a post at the end of the year analysing the year’s morning songs. (I have, obvs, kept a list). So here’s Milk Bath by Petite Meller, a song that was in my head when I woke up on the 15th and 16th of October.

I really like her work. Every one of her recent singles has been wonderful, and I’m having a similar feeling to what I had when I was a kid and loved side one of Born in the USA. Then, I resisted listening to side two because I was scared of being disappointed (why? I dunno, I was 14 years old), and with Petite Meller, I love the singles so much that I’m a little scared to listen to the album, Lil Empire. I have it saved in Your Music on Spotify, (it’s weird in this modern Internet world, where lots of things are referred to like that “your [x]”, but then when you have to talk about it, you can’t use the name of that section of a Web site without it sounding weird: “I have Petite Meller saved in Your Music” “Why do you have access to my Spotify account?” “No, Your Music on Spotify, the section with your music in it” “Did you hack my account, motherfucker!?” Oh the fun…) So, yes, I have it saved in Your Music, I’ve checked out the tracklisting: it has 12 songs and six of those are previously-released singles. It’s those six new songs, though. I don’t want to be disappointed. But, it’s time. I should do it today. Report tomorrow.

The first song I heard of hers was my favourite song of last year, Baby Love. This was a song that was very often in my head when I woke up. It’s catchy as hell. I like her slightly bad dancing, too. She dances like a child at a wedding who flits between being unwilling to dance and then dancing like she’s had a bit too much Kia-Ora.

After getting into that, I went back and listened to the two previous singles NYC Time and Backpack. Not as catchy (Baby Love is a high bar), but over time, just as adorable.

Barbaric came out after Baby Love. There are similarities.

Lil’ Love was next. Oh man, I adore this song. It’s like she’s doing a pop version of early 1990s rave music.

Milk Bath was next, and then just recently, The Flute came out. Judging from the location, I assume the record company has some money behind her, which is good, cos she deserves to be a massive star IMO. This is more of the poppy/rave stuff. So brilliant, then.

There are a couple of earlier songs out there which aren’t as good. They sound like she hadn’t quite sorted out her thing yet.

And then there’s this. It’s called Stevie Jobs. It’s not good. At all. First thing you notice is she hasn’t got the look she has now. And the lyrics are a bit rubbish. And as a song, well, it should’ve stayed hidden, really. (Quite tellingly, it’s not on her own YouTube channel, just on a talent agency’s Vimeo page.)

But forget about that one, eh? She’s ace nowadays. Listen to Lil’ Love or Baby Love again.

A quick rubbish drawing I did during the debate last night

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Non-lexical vocables in music

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Written by Craig

October 20th, 2016 at 12:21 pm

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah,Music

Blog post No. 3,127: Human touch

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The song in my head when I woke up this morning was Human Touch by Rick Springfield. I watched the video last night. The video for that song was made in 1983, and set in 2016. This is what our world should be like RIGHT NOW:

We are in space. People seem to be suspended in little vertical plastic coffins until skull men press a button. Then Rick asks a computer called Sally where he is. 2016! Yay! The computers look pretty cool. I like that we are dancing a lot in 2016. And the saxophone player has four eyes. Then there’s a radiation alert. Oh-oh, 2016 is fucked! Nuclear radiation everywhere. Best get back in the coffin pod things quick sharpish. But oh no! Rick fell over (really weakly), but one of the dancing women helps him out. Tbh, looks like it was just a sneaky plan to get in the same pod as a lass.

There are four other Human Touchs listed on Wikipedia. The Springfield one is the second best of them.

The best one is obviously Human Touch by Bruce Springsteen. For some reason, I never bought this album. Partly, I guess because being into Bruce was something I’d drifted apart from since my teenage years. I was way too into nightclubs, smoke machines, dancing until tomorrow at this point in my life. Actually, now that I think about it, I remember not really like that 57 Channels song, so maybe that was a big factor in not buying it. Or maybe it was that Human Touch was released on the same day as Lucky Town. Just feels like cocaine ego to release two albums at once, dunt it? I’m guessing the sleeve designer didn’t have much time considering the godawful job he/she did of both of them.

Human Touch by Elvis Costello is a jaunty ska-ish affair. Nothing special.

Human Touch by Hue and Cry is a good reminder of why I never bought any Hue and Cry records. It sounds like it thinks it might be dead sophisticated like Steely Dan or something like that, but [this is where if I was a mid-morning TV show host, I’d say “it’s actually woody or rusty or plasticky Dan”].

Human Touch by Warren Wiebe is shit.

A wee bit of artwork
A drawing (using the Paper app) of modern life: lying in bed, look at an iPad screen.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
For Tomorrow

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Written by Craig

October 19th, 2016 at 10:18 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah,Music

Blog post No. 3,126: Drawings of descriptions of that man

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Obviously, this U.S. election is a pretty horrible one. Especially the orange man. But, Jezebel’s coverage has often included some excellent descriptions of the man. “A repugnant pile of fetid horse shit,” for example. They collected a bunch of them here and here.

So, whilst lying on the sofa watching the baseball the other night, I did drawings of five of the descriptions of him. Look!

A bag of toxic sludge (Joanna Rothkopf)

A jack-o’-lantern that at least ten people have been using as a toilet (Megan Reynolds)

A demonic, racist goldfish (Anna Merlan)

A Day-Glo roadside billboard about jock itch (Anna Merlan)

A walking pile of reanimated roadkill (JE Reich)

A wee bit more artwork

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Westway, London

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The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Tubular Bells Part One by Mike Oldfield

Written by Craig

October 17th, 2016 at 10:41 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah,Music

Blog post No. 3,125: Happy

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Walking down the street yesterday, I overheard a tiny snippet of a conversation between two young Americans. One male, one female. The bit I heard was the woman saying “I was so happy.” The man was smiling when she said it. This year has been pretty awful. Terrorism, Syria, Brexit, Trump, Prince. And it was nice to hear happiness vocalised.

That’s all today. An American woman in Mexico City was happy. That’ll do me.

A wee bit of artwork
A coupla things done with the wonderful Pixaki app on my iPad. I go through phases with pixels. Obviously, my pixel drawings are the reason I had a small amount of success in the past, but I sometimes just do it because it’s what I know best, but there are times like now, and the last few weeks, where I really dig pixelly stuff. Part of that is because of Pixaki. I can do it on the sofa, not just sat at my computer.

Other business

Fucking Brexit… Fuck you Cameron for putting us in this situation, fuck you Johnson, double fuck you Farage you piece of shit, and fuck you May. Rot in hell, the lot of you.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Latimer Road tube station

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The song in my head when I woke up this morning
It was Crises by Mike Oldfield again this morning, like it was on Monday, so here’s the song that was in my head when I woke up on 3 October instead: Troublemaker by Weezer.

Written by Craig

October 14th, 2016 at 10:25 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah,Music

Blog post No. 3,124: Live concerts

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Live concerts. They’re the orgasm of being a fan of a band. It’s the crowning moment of your fandom. You buy the records, read the interviews, argue their corner with non-believers, and then you see them live and it’s aMaZiNg. “I saw them live” is what we say, “and they were aMaZiNg!” If you’re lucky, you saw them live more than once. Two, three, four times. Whenever New Order or Super Furry Animals are mentioned, I will at some point mention that I’ve seen them “five times” and “six times.” Things like this take on extra kudos in Mexico City where a lot of bands have never been. When New Order came here in 2012, it was, apparently, their first visit. When Super Furry Animals play at a festival next month, it will be their first time here too.

After writing about the Roger Waters concert, (and, for me, they are always concerts, never “gigs,” I don’t like that word) I got to thinking: did I really enjoy it?

The music was good. I really like most of the stuff Pink Floyd did (I can live without Animals, though, which I never really enjoyed). But was it better than listening to the records? Not at all. It would be silly to ignore the fact that David Gilmour is my favourite part of most Pink Floyd songs, but seeing them played live by the main member of the band is way down my list of top Pink Floyd moments. (At the top of that list, it’s pretty much a tie: 1a) listening to Dark Side of the Moon on my iPod, lying in a hammock on a beach in Belize drinking a few Belikins, and 1b) listening to Meddle with my then-girlfriend, having a nice cozy evening, and realising halfway through Echoes that we’d been playing it at 45rpm.)

Some of the issues I maybe have nowadays is that I’m older. No desire to get sweaty and jump around down the front any more, (tangent: I’ve only ever been on the very first row once, at a My Bloody Valentine concert in Sheffield in 1989, I think) just a desire to stand relatively close to the mixing desk thingy so it sounds good.

Buying tickets in advance of a show is all well and good but how many times have I woken up the day of the show thinking, urgh, I wish this was tomorrow, or Saturday instead of tonight. Sometimes, I’m just not in the mood to go to a concert. I find the whole process a little tedious now: standing in a line outside a hall to be frisked by some dude, paying over-the-odds for a beer, standing around waiting for the band to grace us with their presence, being stood behind tall dudes or a forest of arms holding cameras shooting footage they’ll never watch again.

And back to the the point a couple of paragraphs ago: how many bands are actually better live than on record? Bands love to tell you that’s the case, but I have a sneaking suspicion that that’s cos the band like to do coke with groupies, and the guitarist loves to do massive solos which a producer will, rightly, cut down on the records.

It is good to be in a room where everyone loves the same band, though. Especially if it’s a band that none of your friends like. I remember seeing Kylie at the NEC in Birmingham in 1990 (that is to say, just before her third album was released) and while it was a touch odd for me and my mate to be 19-year-old dudes in a sea of screaming teens, it was great to be in a place where I could enjoy Kylie’s music and not have people question why I liked it and, in this particular case, whether I was being ironic. Hashtag kylieforever.

But the main thing is my own issues. I find it difficult to be in the moment. To just enjoy myself. I get distracted. It all feels unnatural and contrived for me now: be at this place at this time and this band will play this amount of songs and will then go off and come back on and play two more and then you will leave and then you will wonder if you should buy a bootleg t-shirt.

Of course, some concerts have been amongst the best moments of my life. Seeing Lou Reed do Berlin in Berlin, Kraftwerk in Berlin, the aforementioned Kylie show, Pulp in Mexico City on their reunion tour. But the best live music experience I’ve had in recent memory was in Hopkins, Belize in 2014. I went to a bar, and after a couple of beers, there was a group of musicians playing punta. I wasn’t expecting it, I wasn’t massively into that type of music, but hearing it there right in front of me in a small bar, it was fantastic. I wish more concerts were as electricying as that.

A wee bit of artwork
I wish MLB would let me do their graphics…

Other business
A recent-ish Cruz Azul cup game on telly. It was raining, the field was a bit waterlogged. This patch of water looks like a human. A little bit. Kinda.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
1958 Notting Hill race riots

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The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Messages by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Written by Craig

October 13th, 2016 at 10:18 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah,Music

Blog post No. 3,123: More Minecraft

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(Another long Minecraft post, so, y’know, skip it all if you want.)

After writing about my journey with Minecraft the other day, it kinda prompted me to play with Creative mode again. I find that with Survival mode, there are always other concerns and distractions (getting materials, staying secure, sleep, finding food, etc.) so on Saturday night, I fired up a flat empty world in Creative, and set about making a little cabin. I got a bit carried away.

Here’s the view from the (non-existent) street

Go through the gate

It’s nearly Hallowe’en, so a couple of pumpkins outside the front door

Living room





A study upstairs

There are several areas in the garden, here’s a quiet area, with a small table and a couple of chairs

And a jungle path…

That leads to a gazebo

Next to a pond

Hot tub!

The path around the side of the house

A fire pit

(Which looks nicer at night)

There’s a hidden room only accessible through the pond

You gotta get in the water…

And in there is a room where you can look down into the Void

It’s kinda like an upside down James Turrell piece

And finally, some screenshots of the whole thing

A wee bit of artwork
Here’s a cheese and pickle sandwich.

Other business

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Absolute Beginners

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The song in my head when I woke up this morning
The utterly wonderful Funky Town by Lipps Inc.

Written by Craig

October 12th, 2016 at 11:13 am

Blog post No. 3,122: Ten unconnected thoughts

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1. I hope that – aside from curing cancer, making cars safer, and all that stuff – scientists are working on a way to make non-stick yoghurt lids. I would like the option of eating a yoghurt without being forced – FORCED! – to lick a piece of foil.

2. I wonder if people can predict the sound things can make. Like screeching tyres. Like when tyres were invented, I wonder if they could’ve predicted the screechy sound. I’m not suggesting they should’ve wasted time doing that, but I just wonder if they could’ve sat down with a ruler and abacus, and gone rubber + tarmac + rapid increase/decease of speed = screeeeeeeeeeeeeech!

3. A-I-E-O Potamono. That’s “onomatopoeia” backwards. One of my school friends used to say it a lot. My memory is that was never really used for any reason, just a silly sing-song-y interjection at some point in conversations. And a good thirty years later, I still think about it every time I hear the word “onomatopoeia.”

4. Clowns aren’t scary.

5. You can skip some of the ads on YouTube after five seconds, right? How is it that the advertising industry, where some of the world’s most creative people work, hasn’t noticed that we pretty much always hit skip as soon as we can? Why are there so many ads that I watch five seconds without knowing what is being sold? When those ads are movie trailers, why do I have no idea of the title of the film or the lead actors? Shouldn’t advertisers be making the most of those five seconds?

6. There’s a local brand of cola called Mexicola. Here’s other words (in the English language, sorry) beginning with “co-” that can be tacked on the end of “Mexi”: Mexicoal, Mexicone, Mexicode, Mexicogs, Mexicoil, Mexicoma, Mexicore, Mexicozy.

7. Animated movies should come with a sheet listing the voice actors and their previous work, (in the DVD or Blu-Ray box; or given out as you enter the cinema) so you don’t spend the whole film wondering where you recognise the voice from

8. Someone was talking to me in English. They were telling a long story. I wasn’t bored, but they politely asked if I was. There was, though, a delightful mix-up of the past participle and present participle: “are you boring?”

9. We have remixes and covers of old songs. Why not more remixes and covers of national anthems. Reggaeton covers, to be specific.

10. Sports teams have mascots. Some corporations have mascots. Why don’t we have them for new wars, too? Some dude dressed up as a big furry bald eagle at the front line of any US military action, a dude dressed up as a big furry kangaroo for the Australian army, dude dressed up as a big furry Syrian brown bear for ISIS. It’s a winning idea, right? Right?

A wee bit of artwork
Here’s four drawings that, well, I liked the idea of doing a 32 pixel high landscape that was one pixel wide. I did the drawings in a pixelly app called Pixaki and Photoshop, and then replicated that one pixel width 32 times. (They are obvs larger than 32 pixel here.) There’s a nightclub, countryside, a glacier, and an English beach.

Other business
Here’s a little bird trying to make a nest.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
When I Think of You

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The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Boy Problems by Carly Rae Jepsen.

Written by Craig

October 11th, 2016 at 10:07 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah,Music

Blog post No. 3,121: Minecraft

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I knew that Minecraft existed. I recognised some of the characters and things. I’m quite into Rubik’s Cube-type twisty puzzles, and one of the stores in Mexico City that sells such things is in an indoor market called Friki Plaza. A lot of the other stalls there sell anime, comic, sci-fi stuff. And I’d see pictures of big pixelly swords and stuff. I didn’t know it, but those were Minecraft swords.

And then back in March, I was binge-watching a load of the excellent Ahoy videos on YouTube about computer/video games, their history, design and stuff, and during that binge watched this one about Minecraft:

The narrator said something very early in that video that piqued my interest: “in the beginning, all you need to know is: punch trees, get wood.”

I liked that it was blocky and looked simple, but it also felt a bit weird. I say this as someone whose most recent gaming has been along the lines of Red Dawn Redemption, GTA V, and such lush things. Maybe there was a part of me that also simply enjoyed the mining element. Aside from a Binatone console the family had when I was young, a couple of Nintendo Game & Watch things, and Puck Monster, the first actual computer games I played (on my mate Mike’s ZX Spectrum) were Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy. I’ve spent the last 18 years drawing with pixels, so after watching the Ahoy video, it felt kind of essentially that I try it for myself. I immediately downloaded Minecraft Pocket Edition for the iPad.

It’s sometimes a little weird to feel you are out-of-touch. I’m not a massive gamer or anything, but I did not know it was the second biggest-selling video game ever, having sold 107 million copies. That’s like not knowing who Taylor Swift is.

So, Minecraft PE downloaded, and armed with the knowledge that I should “punch tree, get wood,” I began. I have no desire to play online. I know it’s dead popular, but for me, I like to go at my own pace. Online gaming seems like a super boosted XtReMe version of the cocky kid who’d stand over your shoulder in the arcade, see you not doing so well with Galaxian, and offer to “finish your game for you.” The two other options are Survival and Creative.

I began with Creative. Unlimited materials, just building things. That was fun for a while. Essentially a fancier, iPad-ier version of Lego.

Por ejemplo, this was the very first thing I build on that very first play – a little square cabin dug into the side of a mound:

Then I got brutal and built an almost prison-like shack on a small island:

I had big plans for this next one. I was gonna build a massive moat, but got bored filling the trench with water and never finished it:

The pixelista in me soon realised I could make 3D pixel art, specifically Minipops. Here’s Drake, for example:

But after dicking around with unlimited resources for a few days, the urge to play Survival took over. Punch tree, get wood. But, that’s not really enough knowledge in Survival. I spent a few “days” (that is, Minecraft days, not Earth, real life, days) building tiny huts or digging holes to live in, and a) not sleeping because I didn’t know how to make a bed, b) starving because I didn’t know how to eat, and c) being killed by zombies, skeletons, and most often, creepers.

And that is where the Internet comes in handy. The Minecraft Wiki is something I spent a great deal of time referencing, but most of all, YouTube. I kinda love how the Internet and YouTube in particular has mini universes that you don’t know exist until you are interested in that topic yourself. It was like that with twisty puzzles, and good gosh, it’s like that with Minecraft. Paul Soares’s How to Survive and Thrive series was particularly useful to dip into now and then when I wanted a bit more info, especially when venturing into more complex things like enchanting and using redstone, a substance you can mine and then use to create more complex menchanisms.

Here’s some more photos.

This was the first house I built in Survival mode. It began as a hole dug in the dirt beneath what is now the house. The big tower with the light on top is something I learned in the above-mentioned YouTube series: a way to be able to find your way home when you’ve been out exploring the local area:

A stupid building that took a long time but was ultimately not much fun:

Here’s a few photos of the same project. The first shows the cave I dug into the side of a mountain to live in early on in a new game. Before I crafted a wooden door, I would drop a block of dirt into the doorway every time I entered and left. Eventually, that wee hole was expanded to be a nice apartment with a huge water feature outside the front door. The nearby river was a bit of a pain to get to, so I eventually mined through the mountain and built a wee train line that goes all the way to a nice little riverside cabin:

My most recent thing was on top of a couple of high islands which mean the zombies, skeletons, and creepers are less of an annoyance. Another thing you can do is dye sheep’s wool, and shear that wool off and make it into a nice carpet:

Here’s a stupid gate on one of my projects:

Here’s a zombie riding a chicken for some reason:

There have been many moments when I’ve been impressed with the pixel art of Minecraft. Voxel art, I guess, technically. I love the square suns, and the sunsets are an absolute delight:

Even when it’s messing up and not loading very quickly, the weird stuff it sometimes throws up (not often, I should be clear) are aesthetically enjoyable:

I think that Minecraft is fantastic because of the random generation of the world you play in. The different biomes (lots of photos of such things here) are a joy. And I like that I can play with my own rules. I played one game as a vegan, not killing anything, which makes things difficult in the early days of a game, when you need wool to make a bed and sleep, and obviously, you have to wait for crops to grow to eat, rather than just killing a sheep or pig or chicken or cow.

I played one game as a nomad. No permanent home, just carrying stuff that fit in my inventory, and digging a new shelter every night. That was a wonderful way to see lots and lots of different biomes. It was how I saw the ice spikes biome for the first time (after about two weeks of walking around).

I’m an adult. And Minecraft is fantastic. It must be brilliant for children too. And parents would probably enjoy that their children are playing a game where to get something, you have to put in a little effort. Basic life lesson, that, innit?

A wee bit of artwork

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Jam and Lewis

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Other business
Here’s my portrait of vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence (please, Estados Unidos, NO!)

And finally, the song in my head when I woke up this morning
Crises by Mike Oldfield.

Written by Craig

October 10th, 2016 at 11:59 am

Blog post No. 3,120: Trash

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Here’s a thing that has frustrated me for a long time, but I’ve never really had a coherent thought about it before:

Gmail’s side menu thingy has THREE places where emails you no longer want can go. Why!? Why is there “Trash,” “Deleted Messages,” and “[Gmail]Trash”? And then when I look at the Gmail app on my phone, I can swipe an email away and it’s “archived.” So where does that go? It’s not in “[Gmail]Trash” or “Deleted Messages” and what is called “Trash” on the web version of Gmail is called “Bin” on the Android app. Well, it’s still in “All Mail.” Okay, swiping to get something out of the inbox doesn’t do what one would assume it does. And considering “All Mail” has, duh, all the mail, that folder is just a mess of stuff that I want and don’t want. What what what? Why is this Google and Android stuff so confusing? And we’ve not even mentioned why there are “Starred” and “Important” folders. How has Gmail been going so long and not sorted this out? Is it simply because only a handful of people (me very much included) are bothered enough to keep email tidy? That can’t be it, because Gmail is my secondary email account, so there’s not actually much daily traffic there. For people who like things neat and tidy and use Gmail as their primary account, it must be awful. And, seriously, what the hell is “[Gmail]Trash”?

A wee bit of artwork

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
The Fairlight CMI

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Other business
When people ask (do people ask, actually? OR do we just find a way to tell people because our own opinions are oh-so-important?) what my favourite film is, I either say Singin’ in the Rain or Trading Places. I love both of them. The latter was on TV recently, and, well, it was as good as ever. I was a teenager in the 1980s, so like most heterosexual teenage boys at that time, there were few things as exciting in the world as seeing Jamie Lee Curtis take her top off. Sadly though, for Mexican teenage boys, Mexican TV blurred out Jamie Lee’s boobs.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Unfortunately it was (and still bloody is) a Muse song. No idea how that got in there. So here’s an infinitely better song that was in my head when I woke up on 25th Sept: Vroom Vroom by Charli XCX

So, what’s this all about, eh? Blogging again, are we?
I’m trying. I came to a realisation recently that the blog is utterly pointless if I don’t write stuff. It’s all well and good whacking my drawings on here, but you can see them on social media. Without writing, what is the point of keeping this blog going? Plus I’m out of the habit of writing every day and it’s something I’d like to practice more. So, one last stab at keeping the blog alive. I decided that each post should have some sort of structure to help me, more than anything. Some way of feeling like what I’m doing is a thing, not just a paragraph. A 10-minute skip through some of the things in my head delivered hot and fresh to your RSS feed, essentially. I’ve set myself the target of blogging every weekday. Let’s see how that goes, eh?

Written by Craig

October 7th, 2016 at 9:01 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah,Music

Blog post No. 3,119: Rogelio Aguas

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I went to a concert at the weekend. Not something I do so much these days. I’m quite bad at being “on it” with regard to buying tickets in a timely manner. But, on Saturday, there was a free – gratis! – Roger Waters concert. He had already played two stadium shows during the week before, but the government of the city decided to pay him to do another show for free in the Zócalo, the main square in the centre of the city.

It’s not the first time such a concert has happened. McCartney did it, Shakira did it, Bieber did it. All the greats. I’m a bit of a worrier about getting to places on time, or early enough in this case. My mate and I were checking the streaming Zócalo webcam to see how full it was getting. He wanted to go at 5pm, I wanted to go at 4pm. We compromised – an Anglo-Mexican accord – and decided on half-past-four. That was until we checked the webcam at 3.30 and saw it was already more than half full. We set off straight away.

It wasn’t so bad when we got there, though. It hadn’t filled up too much. Loads of coppers around in riot gear, which is fairly normal for any event of any size in this bloody city. (Seriously, the police here treat any gathering as a potential revolution, it’s absurd.) But the police were doing no security checks. We could’ve smuggled in some booze. Plenty of people had smuggled in marijuana; the whole square had wee pockets of skunky smells.

We found a place to stand, about half way back and time went by very slowly. The PA played Aerosmith and Foo Fighters songs. At around 6pm, there was an announcement that the square was full. Top tip: don’t keep checking your watch when waiting for a concert to begin.

He came on eventually, of course, after an enjoyable 20-minute thing where the huge video screens showed clouds passing over a lunar landscape with an ambient soundscape, for want of better phrase. Setlist off of setlist.fm:

Speak to Me
Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
One of These Days
Breathe (Reprise)
The Great Gig in the Sky
Us and Them
Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V)
Welcome to the Machine
Have a Cigar
Wish You Were Here
Pigs on the Wing 1
Pigs on the Wing 2
Pigs (Three Different Ones)
The Happiest Days of Our Lives
Another Brick in the Wall Part 2
Run Like Hell
Brain Damage
Comfortably Numb

It was a bit weird hearing these songs with a dude from his band singing David Gilmour’s bits. He did a decent enough guitar impersonation, though. One shouldn’t really complain, and it’s no big deal considering it was free, but it would’ve been nice to hear a few more pre-Dark Side songs.

And it would’ve suited me down to the ground to not hear The Great Gig in the Sky (I hate hate hate the bloody wailing) or any of the songs off Animals, which I’m not really into.

Fearless was ace, though, especially the taped bit of You’ll Never Walk Alone at the end. (I’ve often wondered what it’s like to be an Everton or Man U-supporting Pink Floyd fan, cos the YNWA bit must be annoying for them.)

He visually had a pop at the current Republican candidate, with visuals of said candidate projected on the screens during Pigs, and at one point the words “Trump eres un pendejo” in massive letters on the screens. He read a speech in Spanish, too, addressed at Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto:

“Mr. President, more than 28,000 men, women and children have disappeared. Many of them during your tenure, since 2012. Where are they? What happened to them? Not knowing is the cruelest punishment.”


“It’s time to tear down the wall of privileges that divides the rich from the poor, your policies have failed. War is not the solution… Listen to your people, Mr. President. The eyes of the world are watching you.”

Being a concert in the modern era, there was a lot of this behaviour:

There was a fake Battersea power station:

There was a man showing no sign of irony or indeed, loads of irony:

And a couple of dudes with their shirts off having a wail of a time on a nearby building:

There were, apparently, 170,000 people there (photo not mine, I found it on Twitter and forgot to take note of the photographer. Soz.):

170,000. That’s a lot of people, innit? Maybe there were toilets, but we didn’t see any. Imagine the amount of held-in piss.

Getting home was a bit of a ballache. The metro stations in the vicinity were closed for obvious reasons. We eventually walked along the road where there’s a metro line. The third and fourth stations we could’ve used were rammed full. We kept walking, and checking Uber availability. Modern life phone joy. When the car arrived, oh my gosh, it was very nice to finally sit down, weight off feet, etc.

A wee bit of artwork

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
The Anglo-Scottish border

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Oh! Mr Songwriter by Vic Reeves

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Written by Craig

October 6th, 2016 at 9:53 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah,Music

Blog post No. 3,118: Telly

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I’ve got this text document on my computer, which I update periodically. It’s called TELLY.txt, and I use it to make a note of where I’m up to on various TV shows ( Veep S2E3, Game of Thrones S5E2, Louie S4E13, etc etc). Next to the word Lost, it just says, “watch last six eps”. Rather than do that, I started again at the beginning. It’s a fun endeavour. There is so much stuff I’d forgotten. It does, at times, feel a bit like they’re making it up as they go alone, kinda like when you ask a child to tell you a story “and then the plane crashed and then there was a monster made of smoke and then there was some bad people who kept Kate and Sawyer in a cage and there was a submarine, too!” I’m four episodes away from re-getting to that point where I should “watch last six eps,” and I’m kinda starting to realise why I didn’t just finish it the first time. The sixth season, so far, is just a mess. It feels like they’re trying to cram in loads of stuff, but I also don’t feel like we’re getting anywhere. It is fun, though, to completely binge on Lost. Way more fun than it was watching it in real broadcast time back in the day.

51.89% of this square is green. Or, what some will have you believe is “a clear mandate.” #brexitwankers

Work in progress:

I like that there is a Wikipedia page for what is, at its core, an imaginary line in the sand: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexico-United_States_border

The song in my head when I woke up this morning:

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Written by Craig

October 5th, 2016 at 4:57 pm

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah,Music

Grumpy Björk

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Written by Craig

October 5th, 2016 at 4:40 pm


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Written by Craig

October 5th, 2016 at 4:39 pm