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Friday, November 6th, 2009

Subject:Sayonara Robocop
Time:10:24 am.
Last Saturday was Haloween. It was also my housemate's birthday. This meant drinking. Lots of drinking. And dancing, which is something I very rarely do. I finally got home at half 5, having made a very long journey home via three buses, luckily I was in good company so the journey didn't feel that long.

Sunday, then was a day of recovery. I felt the roughest I have in months but, despite my lack of sleep, something clicked and I sat down for an afternoon (there was no morning, me having used half of it up still drinking and dancing) of tea, telly and drawing. I hadn't drawn like that in ages, it was all very comfortable and through the storming headache I was able to concentrate enough to draw this:

I also played around with my favourite pen (the Papermate Nylon/Flair), which I haven't done for some time:

Sketch feat. Cable, Deadpoo & Slimer

Oh yeah, Ghostbusters was on, hence the Slimer. I love Ghostbusters. First seeing it is one of my major childhood memories, especially as my mates and I at John Buchan Middle in Sennelager started a Ghostbusters group (our clear plastic rulers were our particle throwers which we stuck down the necks of our shirts to draw 'em Ghostbusters style). We eventually started another, more unique, group when we all were given a comb for school photos and found that they were good for stinging (I even drew up cards for everyone that featured bee stings). Good times.

Right now it just feels like a good time to draw. I'm happy, and that certainly helps. I'm also enjoying music more, and music makes me draw betterer. More good. You never know, maybe I'll surprise myself and string two panels together, or something.
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Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Time:10:55 am.
Finally managed to get one of the little projects I've been working on finished. Earlier in the year I managed to pick up some Tomorrow Kings, a figure Ashley Wood has put out with the aid of Hong Kong toy company ThreeZero. One thing they came with was a robot head. Have more than one I decided to do one of 'em up, and this is the result:

Custom TK Robot Head

I really like the end result. I played with a few things I hadn't before, like Montana sprays, pigments and oils. Oils were the difficult thing. I now know I need to buy a big bottle of turps for cleaning/thinning, The effects was after worked, though, allowing me to break up the big bright white space.

Currently I'm fiddling around with some 40k marines, in the hope that I can find inspiration enough to paint up an army. I'm going to try and use pigments on them too, to make them look different, especially knowing I'm not a good enough painter to do intricate layering/feathering.
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Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Time:12:26 pm.
Had a lovely meal out last night at Wahaca just off Covent Garden. It's Mexican tapas, and comes very quickly. We polished off the set meal for 2 and a couple of extra dishes with relative ease. Some hot food, but mostly fair to middling. The biggest issue with the place was the level of noise, with so many tables there was a constant roaring noise, making it difficult to hold a conversation when you weren't busy stuffing your face with delicious Mexican morsels.

When we finished, we went to check out the plinth, but it was someone being dead boring and just sitting in a deck chair. Luckily he was being overshadowed by the horde of hula-hoopers congregating on the upper level of Trafalgar, in front of the National Gallery. They all seemed to be having fun, some people were dancing using their hoop. Turns out it was World Hoop Day. Not entirely sure how much of the world gives a shit about it, but they were enjoying themselves. I considered picking up a hoop, but it's been years and I am a clumsy bastard so didn't bother. Anyhow, here's some footage of the hoopists my mate took:

They could have done with more lit up hoops, I think. If everyone had a lit up hoop it would've looked dead impressive.

After experiencing that London Weirdness we headed home, dropped them at Leicester Square tube while I braved the freakshows that bumble along Charing Cross. When I got down to the tube I spotted a tube mouse running along with something in its mouth. I love those little fellas, especially as I once got to race one down part of the stairs in Tufnell Park tube. This led me to whip out my sketchbook once I got on the train, and I bashed out a few sketches, one of which I liked so much that I embellished it when I got home using the layering technique I enjoy. Here it is:

Oh tiny little tube mouse...

One of the best pieces I've done in some time, considering it came from a sketch, and part of my "draw a little each day" rule that I'm living to. Wonder what I'll draw today?

Before heading for the restaurant, I took a trip down Berwick Street, home to the increasingly disappointing Sister Ray and awesome CASS Art store. I grabbed some new pens from CASS, including a pack of "manga" Pitts, mostly because they boldly stated "India Ink" on the front, and so I was curious to see if they differed from the regular ones (haven't checked yet tho).

Berwick St is an interesting one for me, as it features in the opening scene in a story idea I have (one I would never contemplate drawing). What actually features is the fast food outlet that's just off Oxford St. The opening basically begins with a terrorist throwing a couple of fragmentation grenades into the fast food place, and then slowly working their way down Berwick, along up to Carnaby, through Carnaby and then up to Oxford Circus tube, dropping pedestrians with an assault rifle (likely a G36C as I'm obsessed with them) along the way. Kind of like an indiscriminate version of the shootout in Heat. So yeah, I like Berwick St for good, and odd, reasons.
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Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Time:8:44 am.
Hot Toys 1/6 Predator
I kinda forgot I bought this guy. Not a good situation to find yourself in. I think I pre-ordered him back in... ugh... well, much earlier in the year. I half expected to have missed out by preordering late, as had happened with an Iron Man figure I'd wanted, but it seems I preordered with plenty of time. It's a seriously awesome figure, and I didn't actually know it had a light-up targeter.

At the weekend I ended up spending a surprising amount on comics, mostly because I discovered the collected Metropol by Ted McKeever and it was a bit insanely expensive, especially considering it doesn't feature the awesome Mike Mignola-drawn Eddy Current backup. Hopefully it'll still be good.

Also managed to get my hands on Wonton Soup, at last. James Stokoe draws mad things like this:

Wonton has a lot of this madness. Between him, royalboiler and Sheldon Vella comics have some nice nutty fun to them.

Also managed to find the first trade of Venus Wars, that Dark Horse put out god knows how long ago. Didn't know such a thing existed, but am happy that it does, and am looking forward to delving into it again. I love Yasuhiko, especially since he is also responsible for the best Gundam manga ever created, the Gundam Origin. His rendition of Amuro Rey and the Gundam is superb, but even better is the way he draws Zakus and, more importantly, the Gouf of Ramba Ral:

Gundam Origin 05

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Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Time:11:59 am.
I've spent the past few days writing a script for Disposables. The first chapter, at least. I think I've figured out how to end it. I quite like the ending. I know it's not going to be stunningly well written, but you have to start somewhere, don't you?

Now comes the tricky bit: drawing it. I'm not sure yet whether to do one or two 'pages' (I've planned it out so that a page will roughly be between 1 and 3 panels) a week and publish it using a Comicpress theme, or to draw the lot and merge for the kill it into one huuuge page as a single chapter. But I've gotta get drawing first. I suspect the drawing will be ropey to begin with as I'm not great at backgrounds and really I need to cut my teeth on them more, and playing around with panel layouts will be vital as some of my previous comics have had a tendency to be very static, and while the subject material isn't action packed it could do with having some life to it.

And then... then I'll keep going, for as long as I bloody well can. Not doing comics has bothered me for some years, especially as I've enjoyed doing my Basepunk mini and Hip-Hop God Squad (both of which I should put online again at some point), and while they were raw they looked a lot better than I thought they would and nobody told me they were utter shit (although HHGS received an interesting review regarding my pro-choice views, hehe). Plus, I've seen enough of the dross that gets thrown up as webcomics that I don't imagine I'll do a worse job than a hell of a lot of 'em do.

Guess we'll find out soon.
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Saturday, August 8th, 2009

Subject:More from Mutiny Bikes
Time:8:59 am.

Stoked on Being Pumped - Final Mix Section + Credits from Mutiny Bikes on Vimeo.

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Friday, August 7th, 2009

Time:6:10 pm.
I have a massive box of art materials. It contains pads, pens, pencils, inks, paints, all that kinda crap and more besides, like badges and stickers. Here's a quick pic of the jumbled mess of it:

It's taken years to collect that much art material-related crap. Half the stuff I don't use regularly, and there's a bundle of pads I should go through and trim out the pages I want to keep from. Don't know why I don't. Laziness, I imagine.

Highlight of the box has to be this:

It's a pack of Derwent Studio pencils I've owned since I started my GCSEs, back in '90. You can see which colours I always used the most. They sit largely untouched now as most of my colouring is done using pens or computer, but these saw me through my GCSEs, college and the time at Uni I served and then well into the late 90s before I switched to alternate means. I should start using them again, for old times sake, especially as I've just bought a chunky pack of copy paper and busted out my favourite pen of old, the Pilot DR 05. Oh yeah, kicking it old school. Or something.
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Time:11:29 am.

Been after a pair of the chukkas that our company put out, and then the gods blessed me by our sample sale being inundated with footwear this time around, and so they became mine. They're not actually my size, me being a sodding awkward 8.5(ish) and these being 9s, but they're actually damn comfortable (have been wearing them around the office since I bought 'em) and were also incredibly cheap!
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Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Subject:Take that you irritating foreign prick!
Time:10:21 pm.
So on the way home tonight my headphones decided to burble their last and died on me. I headed into Westfield only to discover that the Sony there doesn't carry the phones I like, and there's shit all good electronics stores in that place. Clothing, fine... smelly stuff, fine... electronics - you should be so lucky!

So, having left work at half 4, I had plenty of time to kill and so headed off to TCR to raid the electronics shops there. The first store had the phones, but wanted 25 for 'em. None of the other stores I dropped into had them, so I headed for the Sony store. I get to the counter and some foreigner is asking about phones and chatting to one of the assistants. Another assistants asks to help so I show him my current phones and he goes to check... nothing. Except there is one pair, a pair, priced 17.99, sat on the counter being looked at by the foreigner. I look at the sales assistant, and he asks the other sales assistant if they're still needed.

He tells the foreigner that I want to buy them, which is true, and asks if they're still in the running. This is when the foreigner utters a sentence that includes the phrase "it's my time now", to which myself and the two assistants look at each other wondering what the fuck is going on. Naturally he goes for the phones I want. Bastard. Dejected, and somewhat befuddled, I chance another place. Sure enough they have some in stock.

They were 14.50 a pair. I bought two. While he fucked me off with his "my time now" statement, he ended up ripping himself off and helping me out. Fuck you foreign chap, and your stupid haircut, I WIN!
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Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Time:4:50 pm.
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Sunday, July 26th, 2009

Time:10:35 pm.
Been ages since I posted something, and it's odd that the first thing I should post is some Aussies shuffling:

Currently watching Quatermass and the Pit, the b&w serial from the 50s. I love British sci-fi when it takes itself seriously and sticks to ground level, as it were. Quatermass does that in spades, which is why I love it so.
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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Time:10:04 pm.
Haven't posted in ages. Haven't really felt like posting. I would love to regale everyone with tales of feats of daring-do, but that simply hasn't happened. I've mostly been chilling after hefty days of work, or playing videogames for way too long. I'm currently attempting videogaming cold turkey, and it's working well. Now all I need to do is get back into my artwork, and avoiding all forms of electronic temptation.

Other than that, I've mostly been enjoying consumerism, having picked up a few nice vinyl figures and also the loveliest handmade 1/6 figure by this Korean artist Coolrain. Being the geek I am I naturally photographed him in a nice urban environment:


Ahh, I love action figures. If I could ever get that level of quality myself, I'd die a happy man, but of course I'd first need to develop this thing people refer to as a "work ethic". Damn.
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Monday, April 13th, 2009

Time:10:51 am.
Spent most of the weekend watching chilling and watching movies.

Got to see Quantum of Solace, which improved on Casino Royale by not stopping the movie halfway through to play a poker match. Instead there was more gratuitous killing by Bond (well, he does have a license for it, so it would be a shame for that to go to waste) and more M being all authoritative. I like Dench's M, she's sassy.

Also saw Madagascar 2, which was also an improvement on the first. Before switching Madagascar 2 on we started watching Lost in Space. I have a weird attraction for that film. It starts off so nicely. Matt Le Blanc is exactly the right kind of person to play West, and the family Robinson have a nice rapport, and Gary Oldman naturally tears his way through the role of Dr Smith. The robot is well designed, as is all the other tech. There's a sinister moment where they find the deep exploration ship hooked up to the alien ship. There's the cool armour that West employs. And then they find Blarp...

It's a shame. The creature design is by Jim Henson Creature Shop, who clearly decided to make a digital muppet. It's a retarded design, and ruins any chance of suspense the film could have had. It doesn't help that the weird snappy creatures are also rubbish, and only vaguely acceptable in the form of the mutated Smith. Such a shame.
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Sunday, April 5th, 2009

Time:8:15 pm.
Watched Ghostbusters. Again. Love that film. Sigourney Weaver is extremely sexy throughout. She's even more sexy when she's not all slutted up as Zuul. It's one of only a few films that she's ever been sexy in. Ice Storm and Working Girl are the only others I can think of, although I do have a soft spot for her as the President's wife in Dave.
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Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Time:4:06 pm.
No better way to get through a Sunday than watching Gundams fuck shit up!

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Monday, March 16th, 2009

Time:10:35 am.
Had a run of good music on my iPod just now. Started with Rolling by Soul Coughing, a nice, simply constructed tune and beautiful when the bass kicks in. Next up was Far Away by Waltari, which is a weird pop-metal tune I found on a compilation called Skaters Have More Fun (from when I was obsessed with buying any and all alternative comps I could find in Rex Records in Ipswich). Then on came the equally weird bluegrass-like Cottonmouth by the Melvins. And, finally, a remix of the Saint Etienne track Your Head My Voice as done by the Aphex Twin. Hmm, all of these songs are kind of unusual. It must be why I like them.
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Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Subject:Requiem for a Predator
Time:11:12 am.
Finally got around to watching Alien vs. Predator: Requiem. It's very clearly the film that AvP should have been. It even seems to recognise this by reducing the Predalien to being just a large warrior alien, with it only taking centre stage a few times and not disrespecting the franchises to any unfortunate degree (I actually coped okay with the ovipositor being employed). The Predalien is certainly no Goopybaby (heads should still be hung for the latter).

What I appreciated most from the film was how much of an homage it was to two of the original franchises' films, Predator and Aliens. First there were the drums employed whenever the Predator appeared, then the Predator's visage, which was almost identical to the original Predator's, but being a bit more fucked up by age and battle. We were also back to the warriors that featured in Aliens, which works as that featured joe public (of a sort) getting hugged, as does this. The alien scream from Aliens is also back, which was nice to hear (might have to watch Aliens again now).

And, for some reason, I doubt that they accidentally had a scene set in the rain that also features an APC. Nice.

The film also has some really nice, truly grim moments. Kids being killed. Babies being eaten. Faces being melted. Hell, within the first 10 minutes someone's arm gets melted off and a kid gets face-hugged. The grimmest moment has to come with the incidental death of a character. While I imagined that they were likely to get injured (it wouldn't be the same without a character being carried to be airlifted if they're homaging Aliens), I just didn't expect an out-and-out death, especially not in the manner it happened. Excellent stuff.

Overall the film was excellent. There were no plodding moments as the back stories for the humans were kept acceptably brief, and by and large the humans spent their time screaming or dying horribly as is only right</b>.

The ending was also suitable for the franchise, even if it featured the worst bits of acting in the film, by wheeling out Yutani to put alongside AvP's Weyland.

I can kind of understand why people didn't rate it well, it's not a stunning piece of genius, but the talk of wooden acting doesn't sit well with me, since I've not long seen Predator and Predator 2 and there's plenty of wood in them there films, and with the first one I'm not talking about the jungle setting. But ultimately they're fun. Predator and Predator 2 are fun. AvP: Requiem is fun. Hell, it's not like the Alien franchise hasn't had its fair share of wood, especially once you get past Aliens (which itself had some iffy lighting and dodgy dialogue and turned Ripley from a frightened survivor to a warrior princess).

Ultimately, AvP: Requiem is miles better than AvP. It's better than Resurrection (but so is watching a cat throw up). It's probably better than Alien3, but I have a soft spot for that film due to it having Charles Dance, Brian Glover and Danny Webb in it. It isn't, however, better than the rest of the Alien and Predator films, but then it doesn't try to be, it just aspires to be them, and I can't fault it for that.
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Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Time:12:35 pm.
Yesterday I watched both Aliens vs Predator and the original Predator (on BlueRay - I have now bought it 4 times!). Obviously I prefer the latter, for I am not mental. There are many things the latter (or former, in terms of setting and release date) does better. For a start the ensemble cast are tough. Properly tough human opponents for the Predator. Not wussy scientists, archaeologists or extreme sports professionals (okay, so that's understating her expertise, but fuck it, she's a climber, not an explorer). Admittedly these are also soldiers who don't aim their weapons (admittedly Blain doesn't need to, that mini-gun is just pure destruction). But I guess they're just that hard that aiming isn't necessary. There is also Arnie. This is pure Arnie. I think it helps that, despite his overall bulk, he's slimmer than he normally was. This makes him seem a bit more human, somehow. What's also good is that in order to achieve victory he has to cheat. One on one he's fucked, so he has to go all MacGyver.

It also features an envinronment that makes spotting the Predator far more interesting - as demonstrated by the numerous shots of foliage that leave you trying to spot the tell-tale prism effect of the Predator's camo. Contrast that with the dark hallways of the pyramid in AvP, where the only decent moments are the "is that a statue, or...?" ones. Doesn't quite work as well.

Then there's the reveal. In AvP there isn't one. You see the Predator's masks fairly early on, plus their deployment to the ice. I mean, I know we know what a Predator looks like, but surely the beauty of both the original Predator films is not seeing that much. You know it's the Predator, but they keep the glimpses brief, simple. Weapons, the prism effect, it should all be brief. AvP doesn't bother with any of that, and although the selling point of AvP is naturally the Alien vs Predator bit, it throwing everything out there straight out is just not in tune with either franchise (I'm not counting Resurrection as part of the Alien franchise, obviously, as apart from having Gary Dourdan and Dominique Pinon in it the rest is shit, especially goopy-baby).

Finally, there's the Predators. The Aliens are good. They're unique, as seems to be the way with the franchise, being a mix of the original design and the Aliens design, and the use of CG allows them to be far more flexible than their rubber-suit counterparts. The Predators, by contrast, have lost something. They've lost their reality. Rather than the lithe hunter they're broad monstrous things, unable to hold their arms at their sides as they're beefed up that much. Apparently it was to make them more heroic, but why? They just don't look comfortable fighting, not like Kevin Peter Hall did in both Predator films. His was a true hunter, built for stamina. Having them pumped up like a wrestler just doesn't work. It does appear that they realised this, as Requiem is supposed to feature a slimmer Predator, although that film does also have the Predalien in it, which is right up there with goopy-baby as concepts go. I've still not seen the film, and am actually wary of it.

So, it appears the secret of Predator is the setting, the lead, the ensemble, the pacing and the Predator. I guess that's why Predator 2 works, and I may have to watch that tonight.
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Time:9:42 am.
I need some culinary assistance. Last night I made myself a carbonara sauce. It was nice, but it just wasn't quite right. The first thing I think was wrong was that I didn't use enough garlic. The second thing was cheese. I'm not sure whether it was not enough, or just not a pungent enough a cheese. Can any one (or two, as I know there's at least two major foodies on my f-list) help me with choice of cheese, or anything that should be in a decent carbonara?
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Friday, February 27th, 2009

Subject:It must be Friday...
Time:3:01 pm.
Here, have some Bas Keep:
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LiveJournal for Kev H.

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