Flip Flop Flying

3,140: Pixelly things

without comments

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
Patagonia

Self-promotion
Behance Feedly Instagram Society6 Tumblr Twitter

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

3,139: The 96

without comments

I’ve had this saved in my YouTube Watch Later playlist for a while. There’s no real proper way to watch UK documentaries like this all the way over here, so I’m kinda stuck hoping someone puts them up on YouTube. I’ve seen and read more than enough about Hillsborough over the years, and, of course, every single time, it’s emotionally tough. The events are heartbreaking. Truly heartbreaking. And the aftermath makes you angry. But the strength of the survivors and families of the dead is utterly amazing. They got justice. It took way too long, but they got it.

A wee bit of artwork

One more infographic about baseball

The above is a bit bigger here.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Getting Away with It by Electronic. It’s hard to really remember the feeling, but back in 1989, the singer from New Order, the singer from the Pet Shop Boys, and the guitarist from the Smiths making a record was incredibly exciting to me. And what a wonderful song. Such a pretty melody.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Glacier

Self-promotion
Behance Feedly Instagram Society6 Tumblr Twitter

Minecraft Project Day 10
I’m gonna have my cabin off the ground, so here’s the outline of what for now will be the whole cabin, but eventually will just be the living room/kitchen area.

As you can see below, it took me all day to just put the floor and walls in.

Written by Craig

November 4th, 2016 at 9:27 am

3,138: Cubs

without comments

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)

Self-promotion
Behance Feedly Instagram Society6 Tumblr Twitter

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

3,137: Ten more unconnected quick thoughts

with 2 comments

1. Pretty sure the Lacoste crocodile could kill the Ralph Lauren horse and polo player.

2. Pigeons must be really bored of humans, like people who live in seaside towns must get annoyed with tourists.

3. “Petits mushy pois, s’il vous plaît.”

4. Popcorn/cop porn. Spoonerism. *quick Google Images search* Yep, it’s been done.

5. Tic tacos. Fun word play, terrible idea.

6. When other people’s kids are crying, yelling, screeching, that awful noise they make, and you try and be nice and happy, and they just look at you like, “fuck off adult-who-isn’t-mum-or-dad, this is none of your business.”

7. Watching a BBC thing on YouTube (tangent: I love how people who upload such stuff put something like “no copyright infringement intended,” like by typing that it means the exact copyright infringement that they know they are doing suddenly doesn’t matter) called At Home with the British and the presenter was talking about how houses used to be back in the day, and his description of old 19th century cottages… well, sounds an awful lot like how lots of people not in the first world still live.

8. Outside of historically Christian societies, do vampire movies still have crucifixes?

9. YouTubers saying “welcome to my channel”… Aaah yes, all the greats BBC, ITV, NBC, CBC, PwnkingMike94

10. For a very long time I read GeoCities as Geosites, which is a slight tangent before I get to the main point: I knew that this guy was an actor. I’d seen his plain face on a screen at some point in my life:

And I’d heard the name Ryan Reynolds. An actor, apparently. But I only recently found out that the nondescript face and the nondescript name were the same person.

A wee bit of artwork

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
After the Afterparty, the new one by Charli XCX.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Wear

Self-promotion
Behance Feedly Instagram Society6 Tumblr Twitter

Minecraft Project Day 8
After being killed by zombies last night and losing all of my stuff, first task of the day was to head back to the place where I was killed and retrieve all the stuff. It doesn’t stick around forever. Not sure how long exactly, but I try to get back there asap, especially if it happens later in a game and I had armour, better tools, loads of swag that I don’t wanna lose.

While I was doing that, I saw that last night I’d walked past a small tree-covered hill that looked like a nice place to build a cabin.

So I went and had a closer look.

And yes! This is sweet. A nice view over there where the sun will go down. I can put up some fencing around the bottom of the hill for protection, and it’s pretty close to the river. Tomorrow, I will break ground!

Written by Craig

November 2nd, 2016 at 7:52 am

3,136: Baseball

without comments

Back in January, I made a conscious decision to have a pause in my baseball site, Flip Flop Fly Ball. I really needed to stop feeling the self-applied pressure to keep doing stuff that, at the time, I didn’t really want to be doing. The break was a good thing. I’d got to a point where I wasn’t actually enjoying baseball that much any more because of the site. I was still going to Diablos Rojos games, and it was really nice to only do that. To not think all the time. I still was doing the occasional drawing, but that was because baseball was a part of my life, not because I wanted to do baseball drawings.

A couple of months ago, a print I was selling on my Society6 shop was withdrawn because someone (I suspect it was the MLB Players Association, but I can’t be sure cos society6 didn’t tell me) made a copyright infringement claim. This is the offending image. I can kinda understand their point. They represent baseball players, and I’ve done drawings of them. A bunch of them. But, I would suggest that my drawing (below) is nothing more than a visual history of Major League Baseball. It is not an attempt to make money off of Albert Pujols or anyone else.

This pissed me off. A lot. From sales of that print on Society6, I’d made less money than it costs to subscribe to MLB.tv for a year. A thing I’ve been subscribing to for eleven years. Fuck MLB, fuck MLBPA (or whoever it was), and fuck baseball*. And that, dear readers, was a good place to get to in my head. To step fetishising baseball. It’s just a game. A game I enjoy, but ultimately, just a game.

*There is an entirely separate blog post to be done about my annoyances with the Diablos Rojos, but I’ll save that for another time.

And after slowly calming down (and it took a few weeks), it kinda felt like I’d made a good thing out of a shitty thing in my head. My distain for them still exists, but I’m not gonna let it stop me enjoying baseball. And that freedom from unwavering respect has allowed me to want to do stuff again. So, yes, long story short: Flip Flop Fly Ball is back as a going concern.

I’ve added all the baseball-related drawings and stuff I’ve done over the past nine months, and going forward: I’ll do stuff as and when. Looking back at the stuff I’ve done during the hiatus, I’ve been doing a couple of things every month anyway, and that more (internally) relaxed pace is probably how things will continue.

Anyway, here’s some recent baseball-y, World Series-related stuff. A couple of drawings of pitchers, John Lackey and Andrew Miller:

And one of Jon Lester as a snowman:

And a pixelly papel picado-style thing:

And some data art. First, something about last year’s World Series (bigger here).

Blue represents a Royals lead, orange represents a Mets lead, grey represents a tie. The width of the rings represents a number of plate appearances. This is way more data art than infographic. The kinda vagueness of the graphic representation of information is a deliberate choice.

And here’s a big big project that I’m calling Tree Rings, about every team’s history. There are two teams missing from this project right now, due to the fact that they’re in the World Series. Each ring represents a year since 1903, (the first World Series season, apart from expansion teams which begin at their first seasons), from the centre outwards. The colours are, obviously, of the specific teams. Grey rings represent seasons without any postseason success. The darker the colour represents a level of postseason play. World Series victories are usually represented in a different colour. Here’s three examples. The rest are here.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Work from Home by Fifth Harmony. Yay!

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
LEGO

Self-promotion
Behance Feedly Instagram Society6 Tumblr Twitter

Minecraft Project Day 7
Leaving to get more wood, first thing I see a creeper. I let him explode in this nice flat area so you can see the damage he does. He is, for want of a better phrase, a suicide bomber.

Getting some more birch. If the chopped down tree drops a sapling, I like to replant it in the same place. Good to the environment, me.

If there are big open holes near where I’m living, I like to put a block with a light on top near the entrance so that a) I’m aware it’s there if I’m nearby at night, and b) there might be good mining stuff down there, so it’s essentially a Post-it note.

Wahey! Look at that! A zombie kid riding a sheep!

Some more scouting for a place to build my cabin.

Sun goin’ town, time to head back to my hole.

Oops, there’s a zombie comin’ at me.

Oh bugger, now there’s two of them, the attacks are depleting my health badly (the red hearts).

Shit. Slain by zombies. It should be noted that one of the reasons that happened is because I spent precious seconds making sure I got screen shots of the zombie attack that could’ve been used better, ie. defending myself. Anyway, I respawned back at my hidey hole (you always respawn at the last place you slept) with none of the goodies I had in my inventory, that is to say, all the stuff I was carrying when I died.

Written by Craig

November 1st, 2016 at 10:31 am

3,135: Fact-checking

without comments

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

Self-promotion
Behance Feedly Instagram Society6 Tumblr Twitter

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

without comments

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

Self-promotion
Behance Feedly Instagram Society6 Tumblr Twitter

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

without comments













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
Helvetica

Self-promotion
Behance Feedly Instagram Society6 Tumblr Twitter

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

without comments

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
Grapheme

Self-promotion
Behance Feedly Instagram Society6 Tumblr Twitter

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

without comments

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

Self-promotion
Behance Feedly Instagram Society6 Twitter Tumblr

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

without comments

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

Self-promotion
Behance Feedly Instagram Society6 Twitter Tumblr

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)

without comments

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
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

Self-promotion
Behance Feedly Instagram Society6 Twitter Tumblr

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

without comments

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

Self-promotion
Instagram Society6 Behance Feedly Tumblr

Written by Craig

October 20th, 2016 at 12:21 pm

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah,Music

Blog post No. 3,127: Human touch

without comments

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

Self-promotion
Instagram Society6 Behance Feedly Tumblr

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

without comments

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

Self-promotion
Instagram Society6 Behance Feedly Tumblr

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

without comments

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

Self-promotion
Instagram Society6 Behance Feedly Tumblr

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

without comments

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

Self-promotion
Instagram Society6 Behance Feedly Tumblr

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

with 2 comments

(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

Kitchen

Bedroom

Bathroom

Loo

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
Woof.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Absolute Beginners

Self-promotion
Instagram Society6 Behance Feedly Tumblr

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 quick thoughts

without comments

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

Self-promotion
Instagram Society6 Behance Feedly Tumblr

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

without comments

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

Self-promotion
Instagram Society6 Behance Feedly Tumblr

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