Archive for the ‘Blah blah’ Category
It means nowt to you, of course, but it’s a moderately big deal in my own head:
I started drawing famous people really small in 1999. It was the thing that gave my site a bit of a following. I did a book in 2004 which did alright. I kept on doing them, then in 2009, after threatening (to myself) to do it for ages, I just stopped. But, over the last few months, I’ve had the desire again. I did Sleaford Mods, Nicki Minaj, the 1986 Liverpool team, and a few days ago, The Weeknd.
So, let’s do it again. Reunion tour.
Self-sabotage is something I’m fairly used to. My brain sees things and goes, “Nope, I’m gonna fuck this up on purpose.” There was a point where I stopped blogging. Actually, that happened twice. Both time I stopped, slowly got back into it and found that each time, the audience has gotten noticeably smaller. Entirely own fault. I stopped using Facebook last year, and deleted the Flip Flop Flyin’ page from there, too. I’d half expected the people who followed my work there to shift, but as far as I can tell, that’s not happened. My own fault, and in hindsight, totally understandable. In the electronic age, me saying “follow me on my blog, not on Facebook anymore” is pretty much like releasing a movie on Betamax.
I think that something that ended up being self-sabotage was entirely unexpected: getting into baseball. This happened over ten years ago. Because of that ten year anniversary last summer (Twins vs. Yankees, Yankee Stadium, New York, 27 July 2005) I’ve thought a lot about the ten years that baseball has existed for me. It took about four years for it to really take over, though. When I split off the sport-y stuff from Flip Flop Flyin’ into its own site, Flip Flop Fly Ball, it was purely to allow the FFF followers to look at my drawings without having to wade through baseball-related stuff. But, there was an unexpectedly large amount of interest in FFFB, and pretty soon I found myself with a contract to do a book about baseball.
And that was it for a few years. Looking at the archive on Flip Flop Flyin’, I still did non-baseball stuff, but I did a lot more baseball-related stuff on Flip Flop Fly Ball. That began to swing back last year. I kinda felt that I had less and less to say about baseball. I still enjoyed it, still went to Diablos Rojos games, but on the whole, I was enjoying just enjoying it; it not being part of my “career.” And personally, that has been a rewarding change. I’ve enjoyed doing and concentrating more on art than baseball. Baseball is a hobby. And I very much like having that as a hobby. So much of the Flip Flop Fly Ball stuff was about learning and trying to understand a sport and culture that were alien to me. By the time the book came out I began to feel like I was a part of the baseball world; certainly the baseball corner of the Internet. I had carved out the niche-y-est of niches on Baseball Internet: The English Guy Who Watches Mexican Baseball.
Something else that probably can’t be ignored is the timing of things. At a point when my personal life was an absolute shambles, I had baseball and I had infographics to distract me. It was very very helpful to think about statistics and facts, organising information into neat infographics at a time when my mental state was the exact opposite: unorganised and emotional. If I read a book about the 1970s Cincinnati Reds then I don’t have to think about my failing personal life. If I investigate the history of early 20th century players, I can distract myself from the fact that I am miserable every day.
But, there’s only so long you can fool yourself. Several cities and loads of apartments later and I’m still not mentally splendid, but it’s time to stop distracting myself. Which is one of the reasons why I’m not gonna be doing much baseball stuff on Flip Flop Fly Ball for the foreseeable future. I’m not killing it off, as much as that is tempting, but I am also not gonna feel guilty anymore about not updating it more regularly. If I want to do something, I will, and if I don’t I won’t. That may mean there’s nothing for a few months or for a year. It’s also possible that this simple act of writing about it might free up my mind enough to not feel any pressure to keep going with the site, and stuff might come flooding out. I don’t know. But right now, Flip Flop Fly Ball is on an indefinite hiatus.
Perry, Schwimmer, Kudrow: you’re not even trying.
Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve always felt like there’s a really great idea that’s just out of reach. Back in my twenties in my university days, it would be there in the dream state you’re in just before properly waking up at noon. And then when I woke up, it’d be gone, and I’d spend a ton of time trying to think what it might’ve been. I still feel like that, but it feels more pressing now. Like, I kinda need that idea to come along, cos I’m sick of being average at what I do. Okay, that’s a tiny bit self-deprecating, but in the grand scheme of thinks I know I’m decent at drawing and ideas, but not Premier League. Problem is, I feel like the last few years, I’ve flirted with relegation out of the Football League, down to non-League football. (Sports metaphors are annoying, I know.) I did this last year (Best of 2014) with similar thoughts in my head. I will do it again now, and hope and hope and hope that I don’t feel like this next December.
So, here’s the things that I did in 2015 that I still quite like.
This Season’s Flags < loads more here
Kraftwerk 12345678 < eight other drawings here
Mountains < loads more here
ME><I<0 < way bigger here
And this, a short animated drawing of King Tubby’s Studio. Nothing much happens, but I dig it:
Here they come, with their empathy and being a bit thoughtful about their use of language, the bastards.
I am fucking sick to death of the right wing, Daily Express-reading, UKIP-voting (Fox News-watching, Trump-supporting) fuck knuckles pretending that somehow the concept of using language in a more empathetic manner is some massive lefty plan to suppress their gobs. You can still use those words if you want, ya dinosaur, but you’re on the wrong side of history. If you wanna fight that battle, go for it, but there are better, more important battles to fight than the one that allows you to still call someone a faggot cos that’s what you’ve always called “them.”
Last night I heard my mama singing a song ooh eee chirpy chirpy cheep cheep
Agadoo doo doo push pineapple shake the tree.
100m world record holder, World Series MVP, first British person on the moon, Wi-Fi inventor, professional illustrator.
One step up from a chimpanzee
Battered sausage, chips and gravy please, duck
Found a note where I’d scribbled this all down, but somehow forgot to mention it here at the time…
In a local bar in July, they played these three songs in a row.
When I was a teenager, I thought it was really cool that a band named themselves after a watch. And they had a club! A SOCIAL club! How do I join? Can I send off a stamped addressed envelope? Do I get membership card? A badge?
*Searches eBay for “BW” music stand thingy*
And then they played this in the bar:
It was July. Now, I am very much in favour of this sort of behaviour. Christmas songs, some Christmas songs, are wasted on only being heard for one month a year. And nobody is ever gonna stop me listening to Mariah whenever the hell I goddam want.
This keeps on going. Will it ever stop? Well, I guess this post exactly one year from now would be a good time to stop doing it.
A decade of sleep has a nice ring to it. But, also, wouldn’t it be nice if this kept on going until the day it is no longer updated because I am dead?
Click here to see it full-size.
I’m not really interested if someone copied someone else here, because you actually don’t know for sure (see also, Tokyo Olympics logo), just, how did the committee who approved this
not at some point notice that, oh, it’s not the same, but it’s a bit reminiscent of the other World Cup, some would say the World Cup…
Somewhere along the way, my site lost its links page. It seems to me (based on nothing but a hunch and a minor amount of clicking) that the Internet changed when we stopped adding links to our Web sites. Sure, the whole Web 2.0 thing was massive, but in my corner of the Internet, that is the corner where people do their own little projects without overly trying to monetise things too much, and where having your own Web site is a cooler thing than just having a Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, etc., in that corner, having a links page was a great thing. We linked to things we liked, sometimes those sites linked back, and all those sites linking to each other benefited in a little way.
But, somewhere along the way, my site lost its links page. I vaguely remember deciding to not have it as a separate page and just have a bunch of links at the bottom of the menu on the homepage. (Aside: you don’t hear people say “homepage” much anymore, do you? This is how slow and gradual being old takes hold.) And then there must’ve been a bit of a re-jig of the home page and now there are no links on that page. It was never intentional to remove them, not that I remember, anyway. It’s possible I cut and forgot to paste them whilst redesigning. Why I would’ve needed to do that, though, I have no idea.
When I noticed this last week, I made a decision. I could just go and find the old HTML pages that I try to keep semi-organised on my hard drive and recopy and paste those links back in, but it also felt like an opportunity to do a blog post, too. So below are sites (that still exists) I have ever linked to on a Flip Flop Flyin’ links page. If nothing else, this post is worth bookmarking for a bored afternoon when your Feedly is light on new things to click on. They are in alphabetical order. Should you be a stalker and have archived copies of my site, you may well notice that there are some new links in there, too. So 100% of you won’t actually notice that.
From a purely rooting point of view, I want the Diablos Rojos to win tonight. It’s game six in the first round of the playoffs (that is to say, the quarter-finals). The Diablos won the first two games at home last Tuesday and Wednesday, and the Toros de Tijuana won their three home games over the weekend. It’s a best-of-seven series. The Diablos absolutely need to win tonight. And if they do that, game seven will be tomorrow night.
This season, the Diablos’ stadium is a lot smaller (less than 5,000 capacity), and getting tickets is a pain in the arse. They have an online ticket sales but my non-Mexican credit card doesn’t work on their site, so when I want tickets for playoff games, I have to go to queue up when the tickets go on sale. For the first two games of the playoffs, my pal Samuel and I arrived 75 minutes before the advertised start time for ticket sales, and we were about 130th in the line.
Once the Toros won game four and assured us of a game six, they announced the sale of tickets on the next day. I was there about an hour and a half early, and the line was a whole lot shorter, but crucially, when I was choosing which section and row to sit in, I could see on the screen that way more people had used the online booking. Not so many tickets still available in my preferred section.
Which brings us to tonight’s game. There’s a part of me that kinda wouldn’t mind if the Diablos lost. When I am there in a couple of hours, I will of course want them to win, but right now, the thought of the Diablos winning, and not knowing what kind of time suck and ballache will occur tomorrow when I want to get a ticket for game seven… well, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if they lost. The thought of getting tickets for game seven, and if they win that, the next two home games in the semi-finals, stresses me out, too much. (I’ve typed about ticket stress before here.) Plus, it’s my girlfriend’s birthday on the same day as a possible game one of the semi-finals, and her birthday party on Saturday, the same day as game two. And if the Diablos were to get to the Serie del Rey (that is, the final) then, gosh knows how tough it’s gonna be to get non-online tickets from the ticket booth.
All of this comes down to my semi-ambivalence to the idea of playoffs. The Diablos were by far the best team in the Mexican League. So there we go. End of story. Diablos were the best team. But no, we have to endure the idiocy of playoffs where an eighth best team in the league could still conceivable be “champions.” In my head, I know that my team were the best team this year, yet we still have to go through this charade. Last season, the Diablos were the best team in the regular season, and won the championship in the playoffs, too. My joy – and it was proper joy – was partly because the coin toss-iness of the playoffs had not got in the way of proving what I already knew. And it’ll be the same tonight. I just want them to win so that what I already know will be confirmed by the record books. And if they don’t, well, the record books in my head will keep a note, and I won’t have to stress about tickets anymore.
Update, 26 August: Diablos won 14-1. There will be a seventh game tonight. Tickets go on sale at 11am. I will, of course, traipse over to the stadium to buy a ticket, return home, then go back to the stadium for the game. I’m not gonna say it’s a hard life, just, y’know, it’s essentially 2-3 hours wasted in the middle of the day.