Saturday, January 31, 2004

Nothing To See Here

I thought I might have more to say today, but I'm knackered. So here's a picture:

The Boy Wonder!

I'm actually not that happy with it, as it didn't turn out nearly as well as I'd hoped. I've realised that when I draw, I undermine my own talent. I don't let the drawing happen. I try to force it, with disappointing results. Something to work on, I think.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Dicing With Death & The Irony Of Chocolate Bars

One thing that I won't miss about the US is the constant fear of a violent and messy death. Coming from a country where the most dangerous things are semi-poisonous near-extinct snakes and the occasional shotgun-wielding farmer, this place strikes me as a death trap.
As a pedestrian, I don't fancy my chances of living long in the land where The Car Is King. Especially since the medical system is based on how much cash you have (as is the political system, funnily enough). Recently, they passed a law in Minnesota making it legal to carry a concealed firearm, which is of course the best way of defending yourself from Muslims, er, terrorists. Well, that's how they marketed the law, anyway.
And now Minnesota's genius Governor, Tim Pawlenty, is shamelessly exploiting the kidnapping (and probable death) of Dru Sjodin to try and get the death penalty reinstated.
This is a ridiculous country. I've got to get out.

I've just seen an advert for this as I was typing up this entry, and I still can't believe it...

British readers may be interested to know that Snickers have released a new high-energy, sporty, variant of the chewy chocolate/peanut/cement hybrid, called... Snickers Marathon.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Master, master, where’s the dreams that I’ve been after?

K got himself a Master System emulator! Finally, I'll be able to finish Phantasy Star!
A hypersonic blue hedgehog. Standing on a brick wall. Yesterday.

Games really were better back then.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Pull Up! Pull Up! Bugger...Has Anyone Got 10p?

Many thanks to Rob for this one!

What Video Game Character Are You? I am a Thrust-ship.I am a Thrust-ship.
I am small and tricky - where you think I am, I probably am not. I can work very fast, but I tend to go about things in a round about way, which often leaves me effectively standing still. I hate rocks. Bloody rocks.

What Video Game Character Are You?

I seem to be getting into a rut with these things. I promise that I shall blog properly at some point.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Nicked this from Hannabella who I don't think I've visited before, and who has a lovely white, grey and blue blog. I also got the same result as Hannabella did...

What Classic Movie Are You?

Anyone who knows me is probably chuckling away to themselves right now. Easy Rider indeed. I'm not sure I've even seen that film all the way through. I know I tried to watch it on BBC2 one night, but I think I fell asleep. On a somewhat unrelated note, I really miss BBC2.

Liam has set up a new communal blog-type-thing called One Thing I Learned Today, based around the theme, I'm sure you can work it out. It's an interesting idea, and it'll be fun to see how popular it is. Already, I've had to resist abusing the system...

There was a brilliantly-miswritten headline on the Guardian website yesterday concerning cloning which I've tried to find, but haven't managed to yet. The article is about regulating cloning, but the headline makes it seem like there's a secret industry somewhere out there, churning out genetically-engineered clones of Clint Eastwood and John Wayne...

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Casualties Of War

One of my favourite little graphics, as drawn by Kev, and probably © him too! Not used with permission, but I doubt he'd mind too much. I mean, any publicity is good publicity, right?So, it looks like the world of blogging is going to lose Kev. Actually, he changes his mind (and website) so often that it may not be the last blog we see from him, but for now it looks like he's going to spend 2004 concentrating on his art, which you can see here. I love Kev's art, although there's just a smidgeon of jealousy there, because he's better than me. I'm a decent artist, but I've yet to find my style, leading to a lot of scrappiness. My style remains elusive (although predictably, I can see it in my mind's eye, and it looks like John Romita Jr and Bruce Timm fell into Seth Brundle's teleporter), but Kev seems comfortable and confident with his. So while it's sad to see Kev leave the blogworld, at least he's doing it for a good, nay excellent, reason. I hope to see some great things from the pen of Kev, even if the quality of it will slowly erode my soul. For some reason, there's been a personal tension between me and Kev for a couple of years, and while neither of us have apologised for it (I suspect because neither of us knows what, if anything, we did), I do feel that Kev warmed to me, or at least thawed, over the past year or so. Even so, I don't think he's ever visited here so this won't reach him, but good luck to you anyway Kev!

On a related note, today (I write this at five a.m.) will probably consist of various artistic activities. Lots to do! As well as lots of drawing, I have handed in my first draft of the script to my contribution to ...something I can't mention yet, and am eagerly awaiting the okay to get cracking on the art. I really want to do something productive with what's left of my week. Colds always knock me for six, so I get very little done (but I'm much better now, thanks for asking), and this weekend, we're off to Wisconsin for a Bat Mitzvah. There's not much of my week left, and I don't want to waste it.
Growing up in a decidedly (but not actively) non-religous environment, religious events always both fascinate me (religion really interests me on a number of levels), and slightly terrify me. This one's no exception. My father-in-law's family are very Jewish, although my mother-in-law and her daughters are not. There was a big turn out at our wedding by this side of the family, so Meg really feels that we should make the effort to go to this. To be honest, if it were up to me, I probably wouldn't go, as the fear would overcome the fascination! Still, it's likely to be nothing more than a party, and there's nothing wrong with a party!
Thirsty and hungry now. Tea and Rice Crispies it is then.

Sunday, January 18, 2004


I am the living dead.

Actually, I just have a stinking head cold. Oh well. It's been a while since I've had a cold, so it's like re-acquainting myself with an old friend. Albeit an old friend who infests your home and uses all your tissues.
A while ago, while discussing Orbital's soundtrack album for the vampire-road-movie Octane, I mentioned that the film's premise reminded me of a film I'd encountered (but not seen) that "starred" a bunch forgettable teen TV actors. I couldn't remember the name of the film, or any of the "stars", and you lot were no help at all. Last night, while sneezing tendrils of viscous slime across the room, I watched Forsaken on CBS, which is the exact film I was trying to place. The forgettable teen TV actor? The gay bloke from Dawson's Creek.

Right. Now I'm off to find something I can still do adequately while sneezing and dripping incessantly.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Giant Robotic Text Editors Of Destruction!

Not bad. I would, of course, prefer to be a Transformer, but Calibretto's not bad...

Which Colossal Death Robot Are You?

Thanks to Billy, Snowball and Grace for that!

I've been spending quite a bit of the past few days rebuilding my website. It was okay as a first attempt, but when a prospective employer actually asked to see the site, I realised that it just wasn't good enough for my purposes, so I've set about redesigning it a bit. For big tasks like that, I've been using Textpad, a text editor that does a wonderful job of helping me keep track of what I'm doing. For blog posts and little bits of HTML, then Notepad is fine, but for larger jobs, it's not so good. It has a maximum file size for a start, so big webpages are out, and it has no formatting of any sort, which makes sorting through lines of HTML code very difficult. If you've got one missing tag in a whole page of code, Notepad is not the easiest way to find and fix it. What I like most about Textpad is that it displays HTML code in blue, URLs in green, and plain text in standard black. As a result, it's much easier to see what you're doing. Unfortunately, Textpad also has a tendency to lock up the computer, especially if you have anything else running at the same time. So, if anyone has any good alternative text editor suggestions, then do let me know!

Thursday, January 15, 2004

This Week I 'Ave Been Mostly Drawing A Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic Future...Again

Click Me To See A Larger Version!Click Me To See A Larger Version!
More Oryx and Crake pictorials. I did these because Meg's sister Karen is doing a presentation on the book in school today, and she wanted some pictures to liven things up a bit. As apparently the only person in Minnesota who can use a pencil, I was recruited for the job. It's actually been quite fun doing the pictures (although reading the book was not-it's awful), and it was interesting to have an actual deadline to do the pictures by. I've got a number of projects in the works, but since none of them really have a deadline attached, I'm very bad at getting my head down and working on them. It was refreshing, and probably very good for me, to have that pressure this time around.
Saw Underworld today, and I was rather pleasantly surprised by it. It's really quite fun, and had more depth to it that I would have thought. Definitely recommended, and not just for Kate Beckinsale in PVC!

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Election 2004

This year brings a chance to usurp the Thief-in-Chief, Overlord Bush II, but many people are confused as to which hero will rise up and save the world from the evil of Dubya. If you are one of these people, then do not despair, as this site will tell you all you need to know about those who are set to challenge the forces of darkness.

Goose Hips Jink Chips

I've gone and made a tit of myself over at Dan's blog. Or rather, I haven't, because frankly I'm in the right on this one, but I've been mean-spirited and offensive about it. It's a problem I sometimes have online. I've lost count of the times where I've been unreasonably harsh with someone in an online argument, and I've not always had the luxury of being right. In fact, I very rarely am.
Every time this spins out into a big bust-up, I wonder whether I've gone too far, and then a period of meekness follows, as I do my best not to offend anyone. I'll either not post, or my posts will be dull and conventional. I'm torn, as my parents programmed me to be polite and to always stand up for myself.
But now that I have the blog, I find myself reassessing that. These are my thoughts, and is there any good reason to censor them? For example, I'm profoundly disappointed, and sometimes disgusted by elements of American culture, but a great number of the people who come here are American, and jolly nice members of the species too. So do I tone down the anti-Americanism for their benefit? Or should I not care? I mean, I'm not writing this for them, but nor do I want to lose half of my readers.
(Which is in itself stupid, as what does it matter if people come here? It's nice to know that people are halfway interested in what I have to say, but no one depends on this blog, except for me, as I sometimes need to get these things out of my head or they'll keep me awake. This post being an excellent example of that. I'm a dweller, it must be said.)
In a way, I'm writing for an audience, but should that matter? I'm the first one to complain when a film, comic, book or whatever takes the easy route and compromises in order to not offend. That's the cancer at the heart of children's books today, for example. But when it's personal, when I could conceivably offend people who come here to specifically read my thoughts, just by being myself, I find myself pausing. But I suppose if you do come here specifically to find out what's going on in my head today (as opposed to what I've done today, which isn't a lot, as I'm a boring bastard), then you're somewhat prepared for my particular blend of offensive idiocy. Or idiosyncratic offence.

So, until further, Brainsplurge will be as uncensored as possible. I'm still not going to swear unless it's absolutely necessary (sorry Rad!), but otherwise it's no holds barred as far as content goes. 100% (or at least 95%) truthful, all the time. Not necessarily 100% accurate, though, so if I do get it wrong, then let me know. All I ask is you give me some evidence of my failings, so I can educate myself.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

And Here I Was, Holding Out For A Nazgul. Or Tom Bombadil, At Least


Congratulations! You're Faramir!
Which Lord of the Rings character and personality problem are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Many thanks to Rob for pointing that one out.

Since I've managed to somehow not sleep the day away, I may actually do something productive today. But let's not count on it, eh?

Monday, January 12, 2004

This Week I 'Ave Been Mostly Drawing A Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic Future

These will make more sense to you if you've read Oryx and Crake, but if you have read Oryx and Crake, I pity you, as it truly is a pile of tosh.
Egad, another Fast Show reference. There must be something in the water.

Saturday, January 10, 2004


Well, even though it didn't count in the eyes of the law, Meg and I were married a year ago today. It's a sickening cliche to use in this situation, but time really does fly when you're having fun. Thanks for a great year, Meg!

Now, put your knickers on and make some tea.

Monday, January 05, 2004

So Good They Named It Twice...

Right. So we left from Minneapolis bound for Rochester, and apart from flying on possibly the smallest plane ever, it was a fairly peasant flight. We got there quicker than we should, and I didn't get the awful ears-don't-pop-causing-intense-head-pain effect that usually accompanies me on plane trips and will probably develop into a plane-based phobia.
We were greeted by Courtney and Casey, our New Yorkese friends, and spent the next couple of days faffing about. After a day or two Casey was off on another ill-advised journey (this time to Scotland), and was replaced by Liam, who has decided to try to live in America. Lots of presents were exchanged during this time, as we kept on repeating Christmas for the new arrivals.
On new year's eve, we headed down to Geneseo, the slightly creepy little town that Courtney's parents live in, and which undoubtedly has a bunch of dark secrets. There's probably a cult of murderous children in the fields out there. We went out to a hotel to see a and called Spider Nick & The Maddogs (sic), who were a pretty good proper-ska band (as opposed to the "ska" of groups such as No Doubt). Something went wrong however, as they failed to give an adequate performance. The music was good, but there was no special new year bits. I can live without the insipid Auld Lang Syne, but they could have done a countdown and a "Happy New Year" at least. My theory is that they were annoyed at the tiny turnout, even though they'd done the gig as a favour, and just didn't have their hearts in it. Still, it was an okay night out, and since I've really gone off new year celebrations in the past few years, I didn't mind too much. Courtney's parents are lovely people and will make an event fun even if it isn't. At some point here, I also presented a caricature of Courtney's dad to him, which he seemed to enjoy. I'll put a copy up at the newly-revamped website when it is in fact newly-revamped.
After that things are a blur. Lots on unnecessarily poncey drinking and eating locations. I was having a horrible time of it, as I turn into Edward Hyde without adequate sleep, and a week on a floor just doesn't cut it. Plus I really didn't like Rochester. So I was homesick and irritable for the last half of the trip, which was great fun for everyone else. Still, never mind. Liam let me borrow his copy of V For Vendetta, which I'd bought for his birthday and not had a chance to read. That'll go a long way to erasing the painful memory of The Sword Of Shannara, a book I read during the trip which was so awful that it may have had a part in my grumpiness. We also got to see the excellent Bubba Ho-Tep at a slightly poncey local cinema. It's very much a spiritual successor to Bruce Campbell's Evil Dead films, and although not quite as fun, seems to have more depth. Liam has done an excellent review of the film at his blog, although I think he's being a bit cynical. We sadly had the misfortune to rent The Time Machine, which I truly think is one of the worst films I've ever seen. Pearl Harbo[u]r is probably worse, but I only paid twenty pence to see that. Actually, Titanic was worse than both of them, so perhaps The Time Machine is only the third-worst film I've ever seen...
Eventually, we left for home. Arriving at the Rochester airport, we found out that the airline, while happy to take our money, hadn't in fact reserved a place on the plane, so we were unsure whether we'd get on. We did, at almost literally the last minute. The flight to Chicago was fine, except my ears blocked up and my head nearly exploded. I swear something trickled out of my ears at one point. We boarded the Minneapolis flight at Chicago, and ten minutes before we took off, an announcement came that the pilots hadn't yet arrived. About three hours leter, they did, and we left for Minneapolis, arriving an hour after a flight that left from Chicago an hour after we were supposed to leave...
So I had a great holiday, all in all. How was yours?
Actually, it was good to see old friends again, even though I was annoyed at Casey's behaviour, and Liam probably could have done with us visiting a week after he settled in rather than being there as he arrived. It's Liam and Courtney's turn next, to visit us here in the banjo-twanging, gun-slinging, livestock-humping, Steve-Buscemi-woodchipping midwest. Yee-haw!

On a completely unrelated note, I realised the other day that the Playstation will be ten years old next year! Time does fly when you're having fun!

Sunday, January 04, 2004

The Return Of The Shirt

I'm back. It was a bizarre New Year's holiday. I'll let you all know about it soon. For now, I have to recover...