Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
As I mentioned recently, I’ve not done a huge amount of stuff for Flip Flop Flyin’. In my head, I still call it “the main site” even though it’s not been my main focus for quite some time now. Anyway, after the redesign, I made a little promise to myself to do more stuff. After only one completely new thing on FFF all year (discounting updates to ongoing parts of the site), there’s three new things today.
Starting with something that has been idling half-finished for about a year-and-a-half now. Part of the reason it has languished in my “to do” folder is that I’ve wanted to make sure it is in no way sleazy, cos that wasn’t the intention. It’s called Weaknesses, and the basic idea is that there are things which we kinda like that aren’t the usual things we’d mention when thinking about someone we fancy. I’ll confess that one of them is something I find attractive. I’m not gonna tell you which one, though.
This second new thing is called Night workers and isn’t about what you might think it may be about. Quite a simple one, ticks the usual boxes of an FFF thing, really.
And the third one is a very old idea that I never got around to doing, but got my shit together this evening to finally do. It’s called Sleeping laptops. Clicking that link will make it clear why it’s called that.
Anyway, hope you enjoy them. Don’t wanna tempt fate, but I do have something vaguely Christmas-related up my sleeve, so if I find the time to do it, that may well be online at some point in the next couple of weeks.
Not much of a tribute, I know; more of a juvenile two-minute scribble. Dunno how I’ve managed to not put this up here, seeing as though I drew it about a month ago, after seeing the wonderful Ed Ruscha: Fifty Years of Painting show at the Hayward Gallery in London. It’s on until January 10th, and really is worth checking out if you’re around. Drawn using Brushes application on the iPod touch/iPhone. More of my finger painting in the Much Fuck It’s Drawing section.
It’s not meant to be anyone in particular; just that I’d been looking at turn-of-the-century uniforms before I went to the launderette, and I started scribbling while my smalls were getting clean. Drawn using Brushes application on the iPod touch/iPhone. More of my finger painting in the Much Fuck It’s Drawing section.
A year ago today, I got on an Air India flight from Heathrow to Newark. At the time, all that was on my mind was seeing friends in New York and spending Christmas with other friends in Bellingham; a last hurrah of travelling before returning to life in Berlin. Things turned out slightly differently as has been well documented on these pages, and I ended up staying for 218 days. I’ve been re-reading blog entries from that time in the States lately, and while I am more than wont to be a grass-is-greener kind of person, the conclusion I’ve come to is really simple: I miss being there. Berlin is lovely and all, a perfect place to live in many, many ways, and I can definitely see myself being happy here; but I wish I was still in the States. On a day-to-day level, I miss regular things. I miss being asked if I want my cappuccino wet or dry. I miss good Mexican food. I miss service-with-a-smile. I obviously miss my friends. I miss one of their sports. I miss New York, Seattle, and Portland. I’ve even started to have fonder memories of Bellingham. I find myself looking through photographs often. I open Google Maps and walk around downtown Portland; I follow my bus journey in Bellingham; I marvel at how great Las Vegas looks from above. Hopefully, as time goes by, I’ll get over this, stop swimming in melancholy, and the feeling that somewhere more appropriate to what I want from life will disappear as Berlin fully becomes that place. That’s the end of today’s self-pity. More iPod drawing shite tomorrow.
Mark Fidrych, the former Detroit Tigers pitcher who sadly died earlier this year. Drawn using Brushes application on the iPod touch/iPhone. More of my finger painting in the Much Fuck It’s Drawing section.
If you’ve ever scrolled down this page, you may well have noticed a wee box down near the bottom of the column on the right with a bunch of drawings of my head with different baseball caps on. I’ve put them all together as a monthly archive now, so if you really really want to look at hundreds of drawings of my head, you can see them here.
On Sunday night, I kick-started my own personal festive season by watching Love Actually. It’s a great film, I think. Very enjoyable. When Martin Freeman and Joanna Page’s characters kiss on the doorstep, the first lump in my throat appears, and it comes back at the drop of a hat for the remains of the film, and stays there fairly constantly from the moment that Colin Firth arrives in Marseille. Of course, as soon as Aurelia sees that Jamie stood in the restaurant, well, y’know, I’ve got something in my eye.. a bit of dust, I think.
Anyway, I had a notepad near me as I lay on the bed watching the DVD on my laptop, and started making notes connecting all the characters. I’ve not hidden my penchant for charts and graphs, so it won’t surprise you to know that I thought about arranging it using nice colours and Gill Sans. Yesterday, I had a look at the Love Actually page on Wikipedia and found someone had already done a chart of the connections. But it wasn’t pretty enough for my tastes, so I still went ahead and made one.
Just in case any caterpillars fancied crossing the river without getting crushed by human feet on the bridge, these swans made a nice big path of leaves for them.
View of Berlin from Oberbaumbrücke (if you’ve never been to Berlin, it’s a very beautiful bridge). Looks better bigger and on black. Drawn using Brushes application on the iPod touch/iPhone. More of my finger painting in the Much Fuck It’s Drawing section.
Honestly, Mets fans, I’m not taking the piss. I promise. It was just something I thought about after reading this article in the New York Times. If it’d been a Cardinals-White Sox World Series, this drawing would’ve been called Masochistic Cubs Fan. Drawn using Brushes application on the iPod touch/iPhone. More of my finger painting in the Much Fuck It’s Drawing section.
It was one of those “can’t see the wood for the trees” things. When I last redesigned the Flip Flop Flyin’ homepage in 2006, I was so intent on it being simple, that I kinda forgot that the main thing about my work is that it’s visual. I spent a lot of time making a menu that would make it easy for people to find things. And in doing so, created something that was the complete opposite. There was ten years worth of content, and to expect first-time visitors to know where the hell to start, and to expect people who’ve been before to remember the names of everything… well, it was stupid. Really stupid. There was a column of text explaining each new thing, but most of the visitors to FFF come via people clicking a link on the blog, anyway.
On Thursday, I resolved to change things. I redesigned it. The redesign is just for the homepage. All the other pages are the same, cos I didn’t really see much of a need to change them. And the new look is kind of inspired by the quick design I did for my Flip Flop Fly Ball site: a chronologically listed page of thumbnails with brief descriptions so you can get some idea of what it is you are clicking before you do so. I’ve left an alphabetical menu in one column, but everything else is ordered by the year of its creation. If things lasted longer and spanned several years, they are listed in the year they were begun. Things that are ongoing are above the chronological part of the page.
The first things you will come to, though, are links to my three books, the Minipops app, and the other three sites I do (this one, Flip Flop Fly Ball, and CraigRobinson.com, which I’ll be redesigning in the next few days, and will become my portfolio page; no offence to the other Craig Robinsons but it’s kind of a waste of money and a good URL to not make the most of it). I’ve been doing this stuff for ten years now, and I’ve never had advertising on the site, I’ve done that annoying passive aggressive self-depreciation thing (when really, I kinda know I do good stuff), and in general I’ve not promoted myself as well as I should’ve. So that’s why the first thing you see is promoting my wares. I doubt I’ll ever have adverts on any of the sites, it would feel wrong to do so, but if making the books and app a bit more prominent can contribute to the cost of running the site, then that would be great. (That was an attempt to subtly nudge you iPhone and iPod touch owners in the direction of the App Store to buy the Minipops app.)
And at the top of it all, I’ve changed the masthead. The rest of the page is so full of visuals, I wanted the top bit to be a bit calmer, a bit more subdued. So it’s a fairly plain landscape now with me, Billy, and Tessa (the dog I loved during my teenage years and early twenties) in front of some Bob Ross-inspired mountains. (Update, Sunday 22 Nov.: I couldn’t live with myself just having made-up mountains on there, and I really enjoy drawing mountains, so – to compliment the blog’s Rio de Janeiro landscape, I’ve re-drawn the masthead to include mountains that one would see facing west from an island in the middle of the Beagle Channel, near Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego. The mountains on the left are Chilean, on the right, they are Argentinian. The channel isn’t as wide as I’ve done it, but y’know, artistic licence.)
One of the interesting by-products of doing all this, is that for the first time in ages I had a good look at everything on the site, and it’s kinda reminded me of the tone of the site. It’s been easy to get wrapped up in different things over the past couple of years. Blogging became dominant in 2008 when I was travelling around; baseball became dominant this year with the launch of the other site and the recent book deal. So it’s been nice to feel like I still wanna do FFF-style stuff. This year has been poor on that front, but hopefully, I’ll ramp up a bit more soon. I think it’s safe to say the days of spending long nights animating stuff won’t happen as often as they did a few years ago, but I’m different person now, and while dancing owls are a wonderful thing, I’d be forcing it if I tried to do it again.
Anyway, hope you like the new look. Any comments, you know how to get in touch.
Looking towards Schloßplatz from underneath the Fernsehturm. Here’s a video of the drawing. Drawn using Brushes application on the iPod touch/iPhone. More of my finger painting in the Much Fuck It’s Drawing section.
No, not really. It makes me very happy, and blows my mind a wee bit, to tell you that I’ve got a deal to produce a book based on the baseball infographics stuff from my Flip Flop Fly Ball site. After some sterling work done by my literary agent – the wonderfully-named Farley Chase – I’ve been hooked up with a great editor called Pete Beatty at Bloomsbury USA who I get along really well with, so I’m expecting it’s going to be a fun experience making the book, which will be published in Spring 2011.
At the moment, the book is called “Flip Flop Fly Ball,” but that might change. It’s a name I’m not overly happy with for the web site, let alone a book, but we’ll see. (Frankly, if I’d have thought that the site was going to be as popular as it has been, I’d have chosen a more baseball-y name, rather than a name that’s just a baseball-related pun on the name of my main web site.)
The book will essentially be like the web site, but with about 25,000 words thrown in, and maybe a few photographs and drawings, too. Somewhere in the region of 50% of the infographics that will go in the book will be exclusive, so I’ll be trying to balance the needs of the book with also putting new stuff on the web site itself.
I’m super happy about this, especially – and I know I’ve brought this up before, so forgive me – especially because I’m a foreigner and a relative newcomer to wonderful world of baseball. I never imagined I’d love any sport more than football/soccer, but baseball sucked me in through a turnstile in the Bronx and on the other side I found a thoughtful pastime, an engrossing history, and an aesthetic joy waiting to be explored.
It’s going to be so much fun for me immersing myself so completely in baseball while I produce this book, so I’d better apologise to my friends in advance: I know you don’t care that Larry Yount had the shortest possible career in Major League Baseball (a relief pitcher, he came in to pitch at the top of the 9th for the Astros vs. the Braves on September 15, 1971, but injured himself warming up, never to play in the majors again) but I’m probably not going to be able to stop myself from telling you about it.