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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

3,170: Spotters

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I woke up yesterday, tried to open Spotify, and got this message:

Clearly I was a bit grumpy, cos I tweeted about it angrily without thinking. Modern life is rubbish. I am rubbish.

I made a new account, chuntering to myself about not being able to access my playlists. It wasn’t until I’d done that, that I thought about googling it. And, yes, of course, it was easy. If you have a premium account, this is not an issue. If you have a free account (me*), just log in to your account on the Spotters Web site and change the country settings.


* I have got to a point in my life where I’m not overly into the idea of money just going out of my account on a monthly basis, thus the lack of subscription. If I want owt from iTunes, I buy one of those prepaid cards from the corner shop. I’m the same with buying things online these days. I would much rather go into a real shop and look at it, talk to a shop assistant. And ordering tickets online is something I avoid as much as possible. Really, the only things I buy online these days are plane tickets, Rubik’s Cube-type puzzles, and vape liquid.

A byproduct of making the new Spotters account, though, was being able to go and look at my real account’s public face. I’ve been a bit surprised in the past that my 1D playlist was public, and quickly went and changed lots of settings to private. But looking at my original account’s public face, I found this:

Sixteen recently played artists. And there’s a part of me that would be quite happy to listen to most of those sixteen for the rest of my life. I mean, switching out a few for some Beach Boys, Beatles, and Kraftwerk in there would be good, but on the whole: not. too. shabby.

(Spotify is a rubbish name, though innit? I like to call it, and have done so a couple of times above, Spotters.)

My use of Spotters has grown over the last twelve months more-or-less entirely because of the shitness of my computer (a 2008 MacBook Pro). I have a ton of music in there, more than enough to never need to use something like Spotters, but the speakers are busted and make a fuzzy noise, and as the year progressed, the computer has got slower and I keep getting the beach ball when I scroll in iTunes, so even when I use headphones it’s annoying.

You know, I never ever thought people would be nostalgic for cassettes, but it seems like they are. I assume we’re not too far away from people being nostalgic for CD singles, too. It feels ridiculous to say this, but will people be nostalgic for mp3s? I mean, it’s possible, right?

A wee bit of artwork
Mauerpark 5. Acrylic, gouache, and coloured pencil on paper. 24 x 32 cm.

Other business
The auto-suggestions on my phone can go fuck themselves:

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
One Direction again. This time Best Song Ever. In my opinion, though, the best song ever is Borderline by Madonna.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
ARA General Belgrano (C-4)

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Written by Craig

December 16th, 2016 at 2:07 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah,Music

3,163: Kraftwerk cactus

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I’ve done loads of Kraftwerk-themed drawings over the sixteen-and-a-half years that I’ve been doing the site. They’re kinda perfect for projecting ideas onto. Daft Punk are similar, to a lesser extent. A well-managed aesthetic and very little personal information allows for that, I think.

Which is to say: I’ve done another bloody Kraftwerk-themed drawing. This time of a prickly pear cactus, with each pad thingy designed to look like one of three of Kraftwerk’s looks.

This blog post is brought to you by GotNothingToActuallyWriteAboutToday Industries.

A wee bit more artwork
Another painting of Mauerpark.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Last Thing on My Mind by Steps

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Mexico City Metro

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Written by Craig

December 8th, 2016 at 9:18 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah,Music

3,161: Being back

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This time last week I was waking up, my first morning in Berlin. And the week has absolutely flown by. I’ve seen a few friends, had some fun nights out. Done some drawing, some painting (see below), some walking around the neighbourhood, been to the park most days, enjoyed the cold weather, enjoyed life. Last year, though, I was back here for a total of three weeks in two stints. And those weeks felt packed, absolutely rammed with stuff. I was sweaty in my coat from constantly walking around, making sure I took in the whole city, back here for the first time in over five years.

This time, though, I’ll be here for a bit longer. The need to rush, to spend time on the U-bahn every day going to parts of the city I wanna see, hang around in, that need isn’t there. But my brain also tells me that I should do it. And therein lies the problem. My brain is also telling me to be cool, to spend some time in the park, to do some drawing, some more painting. Oh, and think again about those bigger projects that I never got around to this year that still feel like good ideas.

This feels like a fundamental issue within my brain: needing to calm the fuck down, and concentrate on one thing. I think it’s visible in the art I do. It’s all over the place. Some pixelly stuff, some iPad drawings that all kinda have a different style using different apps, some notebook drawings, some paintings. My work could be that of three or four different people, and I feel the need to trim that down.

It felt like a good idea to be more flexible, to draw in whatever style was best for the idea, but I’m starting to think that was balls. I guess that’s what I am enjoying (especially in Belize in the summer) about pencil drawing: my style can’t hide or fart around there. It just is what it is. Brain on paper via hand holding a pencil.

So today’s post is more of a reminder to myself: just do your thing, fuck face, do the Craigest thing, that’s the only thing that’ll make you happy.

A wee bit of artwork
Falkplatz. Gouache and coloured pencil on paper. 18 x 24 cm.

Other business
On Kastanienallee, I walked by three teens who were chatting, laughing, and listening to Young, Wild and Free on a phone. And it really felt good to see and hear that. Like, yep, the kids are gonna be alright, they got life sorted. And I’m starting to wonder about my generation’s anti-millennial schtick: we’re just jealous aren’t we?

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Love Myself by Hailee Steinfeld. Sometimes, there’s a song stuck in your head and you realise you are powerless to resist. Aside from being utterly wonderful, there’s no point in resisting this song. You won’t win once it gets stuck in there.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Moscow Metro

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Written by Craig

December 6th, 2016 at 2:50 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah,Music

3,160: Ten unconnected thoughts

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1. I nearly fell asleep in the bath tub. Such things aren’t common in Mexico, so the last time I had a bath rather than a shower was when I was in London last December. Figured I’d have one on my first night in the apartment, didn’t even think about that I feeling a bit tired. I’m obviously out of practice. Found myself nodding off.

2. I’ve got to a point with some words where I forget which is the British English and which is US English with a word like practice/practise. I made a conscious effort when doing the baseball site to use American English, thus the problem.

3. If you listen to Yeah by LCD Soundsystem, and close your eyes, you can totally imagine that David Brent dance.

4. The smell of other people’s food preparation in an apartment building always smells better than anything I cook.

5. I found this written on my phone: “Nicki Minaj as Yves Klein prints.” I guess this is what I must’ve been thinking.

6. Channel 4 News on YouTube. They should totally disable their comments. It’s a cesspool of awful people.

7. If you spoonerise the name Des Lynam and add an ‘o’, you get Les Dynamo. (I just read on the Wikipedia link, hyperlinked in the previous sentence, and read that he voted for Ukip. Urgh. Fucking Ukip voters. They’re bloody everywhere. Scum, the lot of ’em.)

8. During football matches, I always really enjoy the moment when a substituted player slaps the hand of the coach/manager.

9. In the drizzle of Berlin yesterday, I saw a wet, red, English cocker spaniel. Up close it didn’t, but from a few metres away, it really looked like Billy.

10. Hmmm, I only have nine.

A wee bit of artwork

Continuous line drawing. Artists pretend this shit is impressive but I'm drunk as fuck and did it. It's fucking easy. Never trust an artist. They're arseholes.

A photo posted by Craig Robinson (@flipflopflying) on

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
I very specifically listened to a few songs late last night that I thought might have the ability to dislodge the recent LCD Soundsystem dominance of my stuck-in-head songs. Didn’t work. Tribulations. But before I’d even had chance to pour a coffee, I had also had Verrückt by Mia. and Uptown Funk go through my head. The former of those is a German band. The song came out in 2002, and it totally reminds me of still being relatively new in Berlin (I first moved here in October 2000).

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Stalinist architecture

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Written by Craig

December 2nd, 2016 at 3:12 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah,Music

3,159: Russia’s greatest love machine

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Back in October 2006, a whole ten-years-and-a-few-weeks ago, I took a photo of a bit of spilled paint that, to me, looked kinda like Rasputin. I walked down that same street again yesterday. The spilled paint is not only still there, but has hardly worn away at all. Look! (2006 on the left, yesterday on the right)

A wee bit of artwork

Other business
I bought a “mouse mat” yesterday. It’s a pretty modern thing. Bleeding edge tech stuff. What it is, right, is a rectangle of kinda foamy plastic with rounded corners, about 22 x 18 centimetres. It’s dark red. Almost burgundy. (It was also available in black, yeller, and a nice calming blue.) And you use it because it helps the laser light thingy inside your mouse register a surface more smooothly. And it cost just €3.49. I don’t often give tech tips, but this “mouse mat” is a steal. Get on it, brothers and sisters. It’ll change your life.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
I had a fitful sleep last night. There was me thinking I’d been cool and tough, sorted out my jetleg on that first day. Nope. Fell asleep watching YouTube around 9pm, woke up at 2.30am, awake til 5, asleep until 11am. Even within that time, I was tossing and, indeed, turning. And all of that time, there was a megamix of LCD Soundsystem songs in my head. The one in my head, though, when I actually got out of bed was Drunk Girls.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Wedding-cake style

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Written by Craig

December 1st, 2016 at 4:39 am

3,156: A little bit of Mexico City

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I feel like I should do this every now and then: some Mexico City stuff. So here’s a metro station, and three street signs. I would love to live on two of those streets.

I like how the older street signs have the English spelling of the sport, rather than the Spanish.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
LCD Soundsystem yet again. New York, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
West Berlin

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Minecraft Project Day 65
Right then. Let’s get in the Nether portal.

Here we go….

And here we are. The Nether!

Oh, ffs. Shot by a ghast.


Y’know what? I think it’s time to stop with these Minecraft updates. It’s silly. Dying in the Nether feels like a good place to stop. Mostly, I think, because I get to the stage in a new Minecraft project where I’m a little bored of the house/garden that I’m working on, and just wanna start a new one. The next stage of this current project is basically gonna be spending a couple of (Minecraft) weeks mining. Getting more and more supplies. Which is boring for you. Very. I’m also mildly embarrassed about each blog post having this rubbish at the bottom. I should be promoting the blog posts on Twitter and such, but I don’t because of that embarrassment. That’s unlikely to change, so the best thing is to ditch the Minecraft. I’m enjoying blogging again, so I don’t want anything to retard that feeling. If you liked the Minecraft stuff, by any chance: sorry. The blog will be better because of it, I’m pretty sure of that. I am, though, enjoying the structure of having a main bit, a drawing, the song, a Wikipedia thing. I will keep doing that, and maybe that will evolve over time, too.

Written by Craig

November 25th, 2016 at 4:15 pm

3,155: Cruz Azul

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I was gonna write about Cruz Azul today. Last night was the beginning of the Liga MX 2016 apertura liguilla, that is to say: the playoffs. (We have a split season here, each half of the season has eight-team playoffs at the end. Clearly this is absurd.) Just before I started typing, I figured I should check the blog, and yes! I have done it before. But that was two years ago. Things have changed a bit since then. Cruz Azul were quite a good team back then. They didn’t make the playoffs, but they played well. Just seemed to be missing a good solid goalscorer. It was quite tight that season, they could’ve made the playoffs but finished 13th. Since then, since I’ve been going, they finished 9th, 14th, 9th, and in the season that finished last Saturday, 14th. The fifth championship of five since I’ve been going that they failed to make the playoffs.

Relegation here is a strange thing. Because of the split season, they do this thing were three full seasons’s points are averaged out, and the lowest one gets relegated. This sucks, though, if you are a newly-promoted team. You only have one season’s worth of numbers. All dreadfully unfair, and in place, one assumes, to kinda make sure none of the big names accidentally gets relegated. The season before I started going, Cruz Azul were top of the relegation table (ie. furthest away from going down), with an average of 1.7059 points per game. Now, they are 13th, with an average of 1.2588. (The team currently heading to the second division are Morelia, with 1.1059 points per game.) In that same time period, Cruz Azul have gone from an average attendance of 18,090 down to 16,928. In the 2016 Apertura, they had the worst average attendance in the league. For Saturday’s game, it was just 10,573, which is pretty crappy, and looks bad in a 34,000 capacity stadium. Look (image is bigger if you right click):

I moved a bit further away from the stadium this season. I was on the same street, just one block away, but now it’s about 30 minutes walking and public transporting. Still really close, but it has meant that I’m less inclined to just think, at the last minute, “fuck it, I’ll go.” That sentiment was easy when I lived on the same street. The street would get busy with fans, the floodlights would go on, and inevitably, I’d be tempted because it was happening right there. (Plus, watching games on TV when you live so close is annoying: there’s about a 10-second delay, so I would know Cruz Azul had scored long before seeing it on the telly. Especially annoying when a penalty kick has been awarded: I’d be stood in front of the telly with my fingers in my ears, singing to myself so I couldn’t hear any cheering, or indeed, a lack of cheering.)

Aside from the lowering footballing standards over the past couple of seasons, the owners seem to be doing everything they can to piss off supporters. Notably, the porra, the hardcore supporters behind the goal. Tickets used to be 65 pesos, and they were raised to 100 pesos. That’s a significant increase. And I read somewhere that the porra used to get group discounts which aren’t as big as they used to be. The upshot of that was, the end of the ground where the noise and flags were is now fairly free of that. I sit there now, because it’s the cheapest part of the ground. But I shouldn’t be sitting there. I’m a middle-aged European chap. I shouldn’t be in the part of the ground where the shirtless kids with drums should be.

And after the 2017-18 season, the landowner has decided to sell the land to build yet another fucking mall. No news yet where Azul will be playing, but the rumours are that until they get a new stadium, they will play in the enormous Estadio Azteca. An 85,000 capacity stadium for a team that draws between 10,000 and 20,000. That’s gonna be rubbish. It will also be the end of centrally-located sports stadiums in this city. The Azteca is a fair old slog in the south. Estadio Olimpico, too. The baseball stadium went from being in the middle of the city (now a mall, obvs) to near the airport. And Cruz Azul’s future stadium… the chances of that being anywhere as central as it currently is are pretty much nil, I’d imagine.

But, I’ll probably still go. Even if they continue to be shit. I enjoy being there. I enjoy watching live football. I enjoy watching Cruz Azul, even if they have only won one of the last ten league games I’ve been to. So yes, I was gonna write about Cruz Azul today, and, er, I did.

A wee bit of artwork
Another one of the cactus drawings, and one of Kraftpunk.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Walk You Home by Super Furry Animals

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Konrad Adenauer

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Minecraft Project Day 64
Here we go, the obsidian blocks in place. And once I use a flint and steel to spark it up, we will have a portal that takes us to the Nether, an underworld kinda thing with some decent useful stuff to be mined.

The portal is kinda pretty, innit?

I decided that the nice idea of not having a fence along the river edge is silly. Fuck it, I want to feel secure, especially now there’s a portal close to the river.

Yeh man, a Nether portal looks good at night. Tomorrow, let’s get down there.

Written by Craig

November 24th, 2016 at 9:12 am

3,154: Some drawings

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Playing around with some more of the late 80s/early 90s Adidas design work. I did the West Germany away kit from 1990 the other day, so here’s three of the others: East Germany ’86, USSR, ’88, and the most iconic one, the Netherlands ’88

Clearly, one of the best jerseys ever is the 1990 West Germany one. Here’s a version I drew (copied), which, out of context of the jersey, looks fantastic I think

A bit more playing around with that.

And the German 1992 away, again taken out of the context of a piece of clothing. I’m gonna play around some more with this stuff, I think. Maybe just Adidas stuff for the time being

Here’s a drawing of a Berlin U-bahn ticket

And a doodle of a dog that’d been working out

I did some scribbling of lines, then – bored – cut them up and stacked them on top of each other, and they kinda looked skull-shaped, so I cut some eyes out

This next one was another of those mindless doodles, done in front of the telly. Kinda ended up okay

So I did another one, with a more limited palette. I’m working on another, so I’ll show you that tomorrowwwww.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Another LCD Soundsystem one after seeing them at the weekend. this was their second-to-last song of the show, Dance Yrself Clean.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Hague Congress (1948)

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Minecraft Project Day 63
Down back to the obsidian where I found the diamonds.

Dig dig dig…

And back up, going home, with a load of obsidian, so that I can make a portal to the Nether!

Written by Craig

November 23rd, 2016 at 1:00 pm

3,153: Weekend

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It was a fun weekend. A Diablos Rojos baseball game on Friday night (won 12-1), a Cruz Azul football game on Saturday (lost 3-2), and on Sunday, the second day of the two-day Corona Capital festival. The whole thing had a pretty great line-up:

Just the Sunday for me, though. And the way my feet and neck feel today, I’m kinda glad I didn’t do both days. It took place in a part of the motor racing track. If you saw the Mexican grand prix on telly a few weeks back, that’s where it was. The entrance was pretty long. You walked along a big stretch of the race track, past a load of stalls selling bootleg merch (¡viva México!), then it started to look a bit more official, with good-looking young people in Corona t-shirts spaced out along the edge of the track like living statues. Not sure what their purpose was. A row of cops, then another, then some more. Then the first entrance. Show someone your ticket, get searched. Get searched again. Walk around a curve in the track. Another gate. Show another person your ticket. Get searched again. Then get searched a fourth time. Every time, the cops doing the searching wanted to take apart my electronic cigarette, check it was what it looked like. The last of the searches, the cop sniffed the liquid in my device, then sniffed the extra liquid I had in a wee plastic bottle. I was there pretty early, before the main crowds arrived, and it still took about half an hour to actually get in.

But, really, once that was over, that was kinda the last of the worries. Once inside, it was really good. Mexican friends thought it was weird that I said this because in general, things aren’t well-organised in the country, but in the two experiences I have had with this festival, it’s been brilliantly organised both times. Loads of toilets, three big food areas, and hundreds of people walking around selling beer and whisky. The single greatest thing about concerts here is the crowds. People are up for it. Even for the first band in the smallest of the stages, the crowd went mental. If there was any downside at all to the festival, it was that the vegetarian options at the food stands were pretty few and far between. I only saw a couple of things that were doable beside crisps/chips or chips//fries.

There were two bands that I was actually there for, Super Furry Animals and Kraftwerk. The rest of my time was pretty much open. Before it was super furry time, saw a bit of the Delorentos (seemed alright, looked like they were having fun), Sofi Tukker (enjoyed them, the aforementioned mental crowd helped that along greatly), and Wild Nothing (meh, not my cup of tea). I’ve not seen Super Furry Animals since New Year’s Eve 2007 when they did a thing at the Royal Festival Hall in London. It was their first time in Mexico. And, yep, great to see them again. There aren’t many bands out there whose setlist, whatever they chose to play, would be fine with me. And it was entirely great and fun, and as good as I’d hoped.

Saw a bit of Eagles of Death Metal, but fuck them. Grimes was good, what I saw of her, cos I kinda wanted to see Galantis, and there was an overlap. There was this moment during their set when I saw someone trying to get their friend out of the crowd.
Her friend collapsed right next to me, so I helped her pick her up, I asked if she wanted help with her pal. She was crying, said yes, and I can’t imagine how she’d managed to get someone as far out of the crowd as she had on her own. It’s not an easy thing to get someone who can hardly walk out of a packed tent full of people dancing. We eventually got outside, and asked a beer seller where was the closest medical tent. He didn’t know. Thankfully, though, one was quite close, and we got her there pretty swiftly. At the entrance, the person there said “one person only!” as medics took the sick woman inside. The other woman gave me a massive hug, kept saying “gracias gracias gracias!” I’m in no way saying, aren’t-I-great-for-helping, cos absolutely everyone would do exactly the same thing, but it was the moment I will remember most of the whole festival. That hug from a stranger who was really worried about her friend. I have no idea what happened after that.

I watched some more Galantis, then went over to another stage for Kraftwerk. And… it was kinda underwhelming. Maybe it was that I’d seen a silly dance act right before them, but it felt really out of place at a festival. It didn’t help that the sound, for the first half of the show was awful. They even stopped playing after a couple of songs. The 3D visuals weren’t working, the sound was shitty, and various non-Ralf members kept nipping off stage or walking over to talk to him. He said they had to reprogram the computers. It was odd to see the Kraftwerkness of Kraftwerk slip away for a few minutes, as they tried to start up again. A few seconds of sound, then nothing. And it took a while to get going, for the sound to get right. Some friends and I decided to nip across the way to the other stage where LCD Soundsystem were gonna close the festival. We had a beer, and Kraftwerk sounded better from a distance.

I like LCD, got their records and that, but I’ve never really had a burning urge to go and see them. (Having said that, I don’t ever recall that they played Berlin while I was living there, so I dunno.) After the mild disappointment of Kraftwerk, though, they sounded fantastic. Had a ton of fun. Enjoyed how they set up the band on stage, that looked cool. The overhead camera shots of the stage were great, too. The white lights and smoke behind them. All really good. And you really couldn’t ask for a better band to finish a festival. They finished with All My Friends, and thousands of people trudged off to find taxis and Ubers. Tired feet. A bit hungry. We had tacos. I had a mushroom gringa. And it was good.

A wee bit of artwork

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Somewhat unsurprisingly, it was an LCD Soundsystem song, New York, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
European Union

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Minecraft Project Day 61
Back down to digging. I went the wrong way, though. Didn’t find the steps I’d been dealing with yesterday.

But there’s another dark tunnel, so let’s get that lit up.

And, woah momma! Look! Lava and woo hoo! some exposed diamond ore.

Throwing a bucket of water over lava turns the lava into obsidian. And to mine obsidian, one needs a diamond pickaxe.

So I mined the diamonds, and went straight back up to the cabin.

…and made myself a diamond pickaxe. Obsidian mining tomorrow. There’s a wee lake of lava somewhere behind the house where I can easily access some lava, thus get some obsidian.

Minecraft Project Day 62
Let’s go find that above ground lava lake.

And, urgh, couldn’t bloody find it.

Too far from home, so another night in a dugout hole.

Written by Craig

November 22nd, 2016 at 10:14 am

3,151: A drawing of a street

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Other business
Vladimir Poutine.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Keep it Dark by Genesis.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Pieter Brueghel the Younger

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Minecraft Project Day 59
So, I’ve dicking around trying to get a load of iron so I can make an anvil. It needs 31 pieces of iron, which is a touch excessive in my opinion.

And the reason for an anvil? To make a bigger map. Makes absolutely no sense at all, right? You put the map you’ve already got and eight more sheets of paper on the anvil and the map is bigger.

And you have to explore the area itself for the map of that area to fill in. It was at this point that I realised, I’ll never use the fucking map.

I also made a rather horrible gate.

Written by Craig

November 17th, 2016 at 10:49 am

3,150: Confidence

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It’s a strange thing to do, to be an artist. Even using that word “artist” is hard for me. I avoided it for a long long time. But when I was in Belize earlier this year, at the border, filling in the form thingy, I wrote “artist” next to occupation without any hesitation. That was a good thing for my brain to think about afterwards: yes, Craig, you are an artist. One thing that I tend to avoid talking about, even to other people privately, is confidence, though.

I’m used to there being times when the creativity just isn’t there. The artist version of writer’s block. That one is relatively frequent, and the only way to deal with it is to power through, keep on drawing (something, anything), and eventually it’ll come back.

But confidence in what I do… sometimes that’s a tough one to deal with. Writer’s block is a mental break. Lack of confidence feels like your brain telling you that you suck, asshole.

There was this competition recently. I don’t usually pay attention to competitions, but when I read about it, the theme seemed like something I would enjoy doing: sounds of the city – an illustrated interpretation of sound. It was a British thing. I liked the theme. And when I thought about London and other cities I’ve lived in, the one thing that came to mind was the contrast. Not sounds themselves, but the contrast when you are walking home at night. The relative silence.

My first sketch was this:

I wanted to get the sky right. The colours of a night sky in a big city. It’s a drawing done from memory, not an actual representation of a place, but it’s a drawing of returning to my mate’s house in Barnet after being out in central London. When you come out of the Tube there, you’re a bit higher that the rest of London, so there’s a good long view over the city. (Google Street View doesn’t give you too good an idea of what I’m talking about, but it’s better than nowt, eh?) This was drawing in the Adobe Sketch app, so it was only ever an early sketch because it doesn’t export at anything close to high resolution.

After that one, I got to thinking more about non-manmade sounds. Cities are full of the aural reminders that it’s a city. It’s either humans or things humans are doing using things made by humans. I like it when it’s raining at night in a city. The rain takes over. It’s like nature is saying, “you’ve made this fantastic functioning thing with millions of people, but here’s some rain. Deal with that!” And people are quieter, the only noise is the noise of wheels on wet road. This was something I noticed first a couple of years ago in Mexico City. Walking home, listening to Sunn O))) on my iPod. The combined sound of that music and the car tyres on the wet road was fantastic. This was the drawing that came out of that idea, a drawing of High Holborn in the rain. I imagine the pubs have closed, it’s late, you’ve missed the last Tube, and you’re desperately looking for a taxi but there are no yellow lights on. (Street View)

I was pretty happy with that one. (I did it with the Procreate app, btw.) I’d drawn the scene twice, then partially erased one of the layers. I liked how that looked.

Then I read the rules properly. It had to be portrait not landscape. Fuck.

So rather than add to this one or redraw it, I decided to do one with the specific proportions in mind, and to introduce the idea of the quiet caused by weather in a busier place, Oxford Street. (Street View)

I did one drawing in Procreate, then imported that into Photoshop, and cut it up into sixteen overlapping parts, then opened each of those parts in Procreate again, and redrew everything. Once that was done, I re-exported them to Photoshop, and put them together, and erased and overlapped various parts. This was what I ended up with:

There were two days before the competition deadline. I sat down to write the wee statement thingy. And thought, Nah, I’ll do that later.

That was the mistake. I’d given myself a crack for doubt to creep into. I looked at the drawing many times over the next two days. My internal valuation of my work was in a weak phase at that point (this was two months ago, btw), and, well, my stupid brain won. It’s not good enough, Craig. What if you’re not one of the one hundred they choose for the competition exhibition? Not winning is fine, but how the hell will you deal with not being in the top 100!? And at that point, it was better to not enter than to fail. That was a mistake. I should’ve entered. A stupid mistake. My stupid fucking brain.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
It was Drag Me Down by One Direction again. We’ve had that here recently. Fourth time this year. So here’s another 1D song, Night Changes, my favourite song of theirs. It’s a lovely song. I realise that it’s easy to dislike boy bands, and/or TV manufactured groups, but give it a go, eh? The melody is really nice, and the bit at 2:28 is just delightful.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Pieter Bruegel the Elder

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Minecraft Project Day 56 and 57 and 58 (just so I can end the week on a multiple of five)
All day pruning leaves so I’ve got a bunch of them for doing things in the garden.

Such as disguising the ugly storage room.

And today, time to get busy down in the cave system. All I did today was light up the tunnels, keep the bad guys at bay while I’m mining. (This is boring, isn’t it?)

Minin’, minin’, minin’…

And blocking up some of the crappier cave tunnels. The ones that don’t go very far or deep.

And I used some of the mined rocks to put a nice edge along the steps down to the as-yet-unused area.

Written by Craig

November 16th, 2016 at 10:56 am

3,149: Haiku

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This promoted tweet came up when I was “on” Twitter last night:

The Haiku box actually has a haiku:

Microwave oven
Roast chicken, one thousand watts
The cooking power

A wee bit of artwork
That fucking arsehole Farage.

Other business
So that big beautiful wall that the racist, misogynistic orange shitbag wants to build might be a partial fence, eh..?


Super darksideofthemoon

A photo posted by Craig Robinson (@flipflopflying) on

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
It was Disco Down by Kylie, but we’ve had a lot of Kylie on the blog lately, so here’s the song that was in my head when I woke up on the first of Jannuary (double-n typo, but I’m leaving it in cos I think it should have two Ns, looks better imo): Thou Shalt Always Kill by Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article

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Minecraft Project Day 55
I kinda think right now I’m at a point where I’m just fiddling around, not really embarking on a big project. For example, these wee ponds near the wheat farm are annoying, so I’m putting dirt over the top (not entirely filling them in), just in case I fancy using them later.

There was a skeleton hiding in one them, so I had to deal with that motherfucker.

Back around at the sugar cane pond, it’s a bit annoying when I harvest the cane that a lot of it falls into the three block deep pond…

…so I filled it two levels of blocks so I don’t have to swim underwater to get the cane.

And then used the sugar cane to make paper, and used the paper to make a map. Ta-da!

Written by Craig

November 15th, 2016 at 9:34 am

3,146: Pffff

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Got nothing to write about today. It’s an interesting thing (to me, anyway). Ever since I re-started the blogging, there’s been something in my head pretty much every day. Most of the time, it’s been the first thing I’ve done every morning. Sometimes I do it the night before.

But here we are. Nothing to talk about, really.

Um, I went to the cinema the other night. I saw Life, the Corbijn film about the photographer and James Dean. It was alright. It’s only just come out in Mexico, a good year after everywhere else. And it was only the sixth time I’ve been to the cinema this decade, which is kinda bonkers. I used to go all the time, like every week, when I was living in Berlin. Since then, I’ve only been to the cinema to see Inception, Moneyball, Midnight in Paris, The Harry Hill Movie, and a showing of Faust with live electronic accompaniment. Being in a cinema was quite nice. It was like, oh, I remember this cinema thing. Then there was the smell of food and the sound of people eating, and I remembered why I watch DVDs or Netflix.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
She Belongs to Me by Bob Dylan. Here’s a live version from the outtakes of Don’t Look Back.

A wee bit of artwork
I rarely take any notice of lyrics, but I always like the line from the above song, “She can take the dark out of the nighttime and paint the daytime black.” I did two drawings of that line in 2015:

Other business
“In Chichibu, Japan, two hours northwest of Tokyo, there’s an odd museum; perhaps the only one of its kind. It’s called the Chinsekikan (which means hall of curious rocks) and it houses over 1700 rocks that resemble human faces.”

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Byzantine law

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Minecraft Project Day 17
Right, being upfront: I’ve pre-prepared a load of these. I started off doing about two weeks of playing, screenshotting, and typing in the first weekend. I’m way in advance now, cos I enjoy playing Minecraft. I think I’m gonna have a few days putting up multiple “Minecraft days” to catch up. It feels weird to be playing the game and thinking, “that’ll be on the blog in about a month.” So here’s five days’ worth.

A simple one-task day: clear the grass, build a fence. Boom! A wee wheat farm. Soon enough I’ll have a constant supply of bread and I won’t need to kill so many animals. It’s my aim in this game to be vegetarian.

Minecraft Project Day 18
Goddam it, first thing I see in the morning was a spider outside the cabin, and while I was killing him, another bloody Creeper blew himself up next to me. I died. I guess it’s an okay place to die, though. Respawned in the cabin, and only had to nip outside to collect all my stuff.

But it did make security a more urgent concern. I dug out lots of single blocks along the edge of the water so that bad guys couldn’t get up onto my hill.

Put up a load of fencing, too.

And added more torches. Hopefully that’ll be the last time a Creeper gets near my cabin.

Minecraft Project Day 19
A bit more digging. I missed this bit yesterday

My wheat was ready for harvesting. Did that, and replanted seeds.

And chopped down the porch supports. I’m sick of looking at a crappy porch, so I made it so it’s even less appealing, which will force me to deal with it soon.

Minecraft Project Day 20
A day for supples. Iron and coal.

I can see you, zombie boy.

A bit of nighttime landscaping: adding dirt so I can eventually have a bigger deck out the front

And then having a wee check of the farm and suddenly, I’ve worked all through til dawn.

Minecraft Project Day 21
It felt like it might be time to lay out a skeleton of the garden. First thing: marking out a path to the gate and another to the wheat farm

And then spending a ton of time putting in some stone blocks, some stone slabs, some stone steps and some wood to make a nicer-looking path.

Written by Craig

November 14th, 2016 at 1:01 pm

3,145: Doing something

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I am not American and I don’t live in the United States.

These two things don’t stop me having an opinion, though. I have an opinion.

But, if I were American, the next president wouldn’t be anywhere near as bad for me as a lot of other people. I’m white, male, heterosexual. And in the days after his victory, I pretty much entirely refrained from typing any opinions on Twitter.

Looking at the demographics of the election results, it’s quite clear that white people, especially white man, have already said enough. And while everyone’s opinion matters in some way, right now, nobody really needs to hear another white, straight men. (Indeed, here’s how the first three demographics I fit into on the NY Times’s breakdown voted: Sex: Trump, Race: Trump, Age: Trump.)

So I read a lot. Here’s a bunch of things that caught my attention. You’ve probably seen a lot of them, but it obviously doesn’t hurt to share them.

Before that though, while I was reading yesterday, this tweet hit home (the whole thread is worth reading).

I am absolutely guilty of just clicking “like” on Twitter way too often, and not retweeting. That is something I am determined to address. It’s not much, but it’s doing something.

Here’s an image I saved without taking note of the source. I’m annoyed by that, but it still deserve to be shared:

History tells us what may happen next with Brexit & Trump by Tobias Stone

Trump’s win is a reminder of the incredible, unbeatable power of racism by Jenée Desmond-Harris

Will You Lose Your Health Insurance Under President Trump? by Eve Peyser

“I do take some small, cold, bitter satisfaction in one thing, and that’s the fact that Trump is going to be absolutely fucking miserable for the next four years.”


There’s more and more and more and more. And I will retweet them.

A wee bit of artwork

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
The Box by Orbital.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Law of salvage

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Minecraft Project Day 16
So, you wake up, and look at things fresh in the morning and, urgh, yep, I’m gonna have to sort out this pathetically small deck.

My mind was still on the deck, I go around the side of the cabin, and then there’s a bloody Creeper right there, and he blew himself up before I could do anything about it. Bastard made a hole in my cabin and blew out loads of dirt from under it. So I had to sort that out, do some repairs, before I could get on with my plans for the day.

I wanted to have a good look at the space around my cabin and mentally plan where shit’s gonna go. So I build a quick dirt tower, stood on top, and had a look around. I wanna start growing wheat to make bread. A little farm somewhere flat, near the edge of the hill so that I can maybe expand later if needs be. I’m gonna do it in the bottom left corner.

Right about there.

But that’ll had to wait. The Creeper business this morning reminded me that I should put up a load of torches on my hill to hopefully stop the bad guys spawning near my cabin again.

Written by Craig

November 12th, 2016 at 8:05 am

3,144: Kylie

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The song in my head when I woke up this morning was one of my favourite Kylie songs. Not a surprise, I’ve been listening to her a fair bit in the last few days. But it made me think about doing a top 13. A few years ago, my friend Becki and I both made our own top 13s of Blur songs. We had a rule that there had to be a song of each album. We agreed that a top ten would be tough, and she wanted to have a top 13, and I wanted to have it as one hour of music. Both of our top 13s came at to be very very close to one hour, so it seemed like a good thing. Ever since then when I think of lists of favourite songs, I think of them as top 13s. So I spent some time doing my Kylie Minogue top 13. Pretty much every song here was a single, but she’s a pop star so that’s the way it should be.

First, the honourable mentions. In chronological order (there’s lots of them because she’s the business):
I Should Be So Lucky (1987)
Hand on Your Heart (1989)
I’m Over Dreaming (Over You) (1989)
Shocked (1991)
Breathe (1997)
GBI (German Bold Italic) by Towa Tei featuring Kylie and Harunomi Hosono (1998)
In Denial by Pet Shop Boys featuring Kylie (1999)
I Believe in You (2004)
Giving You Up (2005)
In My Arms (2008)
The One (2008)
All the Lovers (2010)
Into the Blue (2014)
Every Day’s Like Christmas (Stock Aitken and Waterman Remix) (2015)

Now onto the top thirteen.:

13. Especially For You by Kylie and Jason Donovan (1998)

It took me quite a while to choose this one over I Should Be So Lucky. This one has a nicer melody, though.

12. Come Into My World (2001)

Totally reminds me of watching German MTV back in the day. My second favourite Gondry video (Star Guitar is the best). I like her clothes in this video.

11. Disco Down (2000)

The only non-single on my list (thus this tour rehearsal video; still a pretty good representation of the song, though). This has got one of those melodies, chord progressions, whatever it’s called, that will always make me like a song.

10. Slow (2003)

The video always reminds me of L’Escargot by Henri Matisse. Wikipedia tells us that this is Kylie’s favourite Kylie song.

9. Never Too Late (1989)

The first Kylie record I actually bought. After a couple of years of quietly liking her music I came out, as it were. I dig the pistol fingers in the video.

8. Did it Again (1997)

This was the song in my head when I woke up this morning. Cute Kylie’s my favourite in the video. She seems happiest. It’s weird to remember how Kylie was viewed at this time. You really got the feeling that she didn’t have much of a career on the horizon, but Impossible Princess is one of the three albums I still listen to pretty regularly (Enjoy Yourself and Light Years are the others).

7. Your Disco Needs You (2000)

The single version of this isn’t as good as the album version. I bought the CD single, though, cos I was living in Germany, and it had a different version (above) where the only difference to the album version is the French bit is spoken in German. I need to learn music terminology so I can describe things better. I like that the melody is happy and slightly melancholy at the same time. This song and New York City Boy by the Pet Shop Boys seem to indicate that aping the Village People is a fucking great idea. It totally reminds me of going to see her live at Columbiahalle in Berlin on the On a Night Like This tour. Good setlist.

6. Some Kind of Bliss (1997)

The first of her singles not to go top 20 in the UK. I love it. And it’d be in my top five Manic Street Preachers song, too.

5. Confide in Me (1994)

The video doesn’t suit the song at all. The 90s, eh? I wonder what they were thinking. It absolutely makes no sense. Fantastic song, though.

4. Can’t Get You Out of My Head (2001)

Probably her best song, right? I’ve always liked that there’s a difference between best and favourite. Makes life more interesting.

3. What Do I Have to Do (1990)

It was really hard to pick which song was number three and number two on my list. Both are from the same album. And when I’m listening to either song, that one feels like my second favourite Kylie song.

2. Better the Devil You Know (1990)

But this one is number two because it was the current single when I saw her live for the first time at the NEC in Birmingham in 1990 on the Enjoy Yourself tour. I did indeed buy the t-shirt. Wish I still had it. She looks wonderful in this/every video.

1. Wouldn’t Change a Thing (1989)

Everything about this song is perfect. I love it when a song’s melody goes where it should go. Everything is in harmony. I used to know the dance routiine. Kinda forgotten it now, sadly. That moment at 2:40 where a bit of her hair is front of her face (the screenshot at the top of this post). Oh my, life was never the same after that!

(And this post would not be complete without mentioning the wonderful KLF song, Kylie Said to Jason.)

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

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Minecraft Project Days 14 and 15
I needed more spruce, so had to nip over to the forest to chop down some trees

On the way back, I noticed there’s a cave right underneath the mound where I’m building my cabin. Will have to investigate that soon.

And there we go: stage one of the cabin finished.

A bit of late night work on the deck turned into an all-nighter.

Not totally convinced by the chunky birch deck, but it’ll do for now.

I needed some coal and iron, so I did some mining in the hole directly beneath my mound.

And came out of a more accessible hole. Seems like it’s a pretty big cave system down there, so I’m tempted to make a nice entrance and some steps, just to make getting supplies easier. The deck thingy looks better from a distance, so maybe I’ll live with it for a bit. I’m gonna have to do a bit of landscaping though. The front of the cabin is way too close to the edge of the hill. Or maybe have another main entrance, and close off the deck with some fencing, so it’s just like a back porch.

Written by Craig

November 11th, 2016 at 11:05 am

Posted in Artwork,Minecraft,Music

3,143: That fucking guy

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I’ve been thinking recently about when was the first time I heard of that fucking guy. It feels like he’s been around for a long time, but why would I – a British person who lived in Europe his whole life until 2010 – know about him? I searched his name on the blog and most mentions of that word are in the context of British slang for fart or the figurative sense of beating someone by doing something better, playing a better card.

The first mention of him was 12 April, 2006, when I put up this photo and captioned it “Being inside the Trump Tower is quite a horrible experience. Hurts the eyes.”

I don’t really have much of a memory of being inside that tower. Looking at other photos from the day, and it seems that I’d been in Central Park immediately before walking down Fifth Avenue, so I’m inclined to think I was just walking around and popped into the lobby. But the photo does suggest I went up that damned escalator.

I’ve never seen an episode of his game show. Indeed, I had no idea that the British, Alan Sugar-presented one wasn’t the original version (never seen that one either). And it wasn’t until re-watching it a couple of years ago that I realised he makes a brief appearance in Home Alone 2.

I can remember a vague memory of knowing the name of his first wife (but not knowing he’s subsequently had two more), and knowing he was a rich man with funny hair, but when was that? Not sure? Some point in the early 2000s or even late 90s?

But anyway, I deleted one drawing off Flip Flop Flyin’. A drawing of him stood in front of a marble wall. It all seemed funny back them. Bragging about a big beautiful wall to keep Mexicans out. It was funny when we didn’t think he would win. And all the subsequent drawings… it seemed funny, just cos visually, his face is such a weird-looking insane mess of features. I was looking through them, and because they’re all relatively recent, I can kinda remember the feeling of drawing them. And it was always about trying to capture those features. It was funny. Along the way, I took the pixel portrait from the now-deleted wall drawing, and mashed it together with a map of the state of the contiguous United States. Ha ha, funny idea. But, yesterday, I saw that drawing again, and had a strong feeling:

A fellow illustrator, Mike Jackson commented that he felt the same. And thinking about all the free coverage he had from the media, just by spouting some offensive shit, getting away from phoning in to news programmes, having his every tweet covered… in a tiny, fairly insignificant way, I was doing the same. I could’ve been drawing nicer things. I did more than ten drawings of him. Why the fuck did I waste my time on him? And now we’re fucking stuck with him for four fucking years.

A wee bit of artwork

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
It was Troublemaker by Weezer, but we’ve had that here relatively recently, so here’s the one in my brain when I woke up last Saturday, Every Day’s Like Christmas by Kylie. I found out recently (Wikipedia, that’s how) that it was co-written by Chris Martin. It’s funny, now that I know that detail I can totally hear it, but hadn’t thought of it before. Maybe, though, I was just in awe of the wonderfulness of the Stock Aitken and Waterman mix. I pretty much only listened to the regular version a couple of times simply because the brain-fizzing joy of having Kylie back with Stock Aitken and Waterman overshadowed it. (Also, I am so for Christmas to happen.)

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1984 between Chile and Argentina

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Written by Craig

November 10th, 2016 at 8:52 am

3,142: Convoy

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What an awful night that was.

Here’s an infographic about a song. This song.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Run Away with Me by Carly Rae Jepsen

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Beagle Channel

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Minecraft Project Day 13
Bit of a slow day. I collected all the other stuff I’d left in my cave hole, and finished off one side of the roof.

Time flew by…

Written by Craig

November 9th, 2016 at 9:05 am

3,141: Twist ties

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Everyone collects twist ties, don't they?

A photo posted by Craig Robinson (@flipflopflying) on

I never intended to collect twist ties. In an old apartment, there were horizontal bars on the inside of the kitchen window, and one day I twisted a twist tie onto one of the bars. And then I did it again. And two years later, there were quite a lot of them. So I took them off. But didn’t throw them away. I’m not sure what to do with them. I’m pretty sure there’ll never be a time when I need that many. I found out some fun facts on Wikipedia: invented in 1923, patented in 1939 and called Twist-Ems, and the different colours are used for inventory management, so stores know how fresh bread loaves are. 500 plastic twist ties at Amazon.com cost $6.99, which is $0.01398 a piece. But, 2,000 paper-covered twist ties are $7.79 at Staples.com. $0.003895 a piece. Quite a saving if you’re willing to have paper not plastic.

A wee bit of artwork

Other business
How is it that when you type “kylie” into Google, the real Kylie isn’t the first result?

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
3 A.M. Eternal by the KLF. It was the original version that was in my head, which is a better version than the one that was a hit, in my opinion.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article

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Minecraft Project Day 12
Back at the new cabin. First things first: door and windows.

Dirt scaffold so that it’s easier to put the roof on.

Roof taking shape.

First night in my new place.

Written by Craig

November 8th, 2016 at 7:38 am

3,140: Pixelly things

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I had this lettering knocking around for a month or so. I was playing around the levels of pixelation, making 4×4 blocks as one “pixel” but occasionally subdividing those blocks so that I could cut them in half diagonally. It was an idea to have pixelly lettering that was inspired by being in Mexico, really. Inspired in the way perfumes are described, rather than inspired in the Mark Ronson sense of making something sound like other music from the past.

Once I’d done the lettering, I played with the colours and arranged the name of this city (and country) like this: ME-XI-CO. (Fun fact: the name of the city came before the name of the country, which is why the local baseball team is Diablos Rojos del México. It’s referring to the city, not the country.)

I was playing around with the letters again at the weekend and got to thinking about this thing we have here called bardas de baile. People paint brightly coloured band names on walls, advertising forthcoming concerts. (More info here.)

Here’s some photos that I took near the baseball stadium:

So, I added a wall to my ME-XI-CO lettering, a pavement, some weeds, the edge of the road (still playing around with pixelly abstraction). But it needed something else. I added skeletons wearing the uniforms/kits of the four main sports teams in the city: the aforemented baseball team, and the three football teams, Cruz Azul, Club América, and Pumas.

After doing three Mexican football team kits, I couldn’t really resist completing the set, and doing the home kits of the other teams in the Liga MX. These are laid out (very roughly) geographically.

And at that point, of course, I had to do the Premier League.

We’ve been here before. Here’s a whole load more of these from days gone by. I did MLB uniforms every season from 2010 to 2013. I did NFL uniforms in 2010, Premier League kits of the 2010-11 season, and Liverpool kits from 1965 up until last season (note to self: update this). In a slightly different style, I did the top four divisions in England/Wales, the Scottish Premier League, and Liga MX here.

Right. Time for me to go update that Liverpool kit history, cos it’ll burn a hole in my brain if I don’t get it done now…

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
This has been here five times over the past two years. Not as much as I thought, actually, cos it’s one of those songs that I only need a whiff of for it to get stuck in my brain. All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor, the modern day Alanis Morissette (in terms of always having to check if I’ve spelled her name right).

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article

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Minecraft Project Day 11
Today was a supplies day. I dug some sand so I can make glass for the windows, and I decided that the roof of my cabin is gonna be darker spruce wood, so I had to get a load of that, too.

On the way back from the spruce forest, I got a nice look at my cabin from a distance. S’gunna be good, uguyz.

Tonight’s gonna be my last night in my cave shelter, so while I turn sand into glass in the furnace, I’m packing some stuff. It’ll take a couple of trips, but it’s not too far.

Written by Craig

November 7th, 2016 at 9:38 am

3,138: Cubs

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Well, that was fun wasn’t it? Here’s some graphics.

A simple one of every game of the Cubs’s season. (Prints)

Another one of the tree ring things. (Prints)

And one for Cleveland. (Prints)

And one for all 30 teams. (Prints)

A wee bit of artwork

Other business
Around the corner, I saw this restored, old taxi. This is how the taxis in Mexico City were in the 1950s and 60s. Taxis here have changed colour three times since my first visit. They were green and white, then dark red and gold, and now they’re pink and white. I once asked a taxi driver why this was, and he just said one word: “money.” Here’s a Mexican newspaper’s slideshow of even more of this city’s taxis over the decades.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Ink by Coldplay

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Creep (deformation)

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Minecraft Project Day 9
This is where my cabin’s gonna go.

I needed to flatten up the land a bit and clear out some trees first, though, which took the whole day.

By the end of the day, though, I got my first view of the sunset which will soon be my view every evening.

Written by Craig

November 3rd, 2016 at 9:08 am