Monsters in the cupboard

January 27, 2015

Paul has badgered* I set up a blogger blog to track my miniature painting and scenery building. So I have…
Monsters in the cupboard

* gently suggested

Birthday Video – Office Cam

January 26, 2015

More arsing about with a go-pro and Adobe After Effects. I made a slightly creepy (with terrible spelling) birthday video for my friend Leigh:

also I made this because I can:

Can you blu tack a gopro to the ceiling

January 16, 2015

Yes, yes you can!

DCIM101GOPRO

DCIM101GOPRO

You can also stick one in the fridge

I am officially an awesome hardcore extreme gopro user.

Day trip to Didcot Railway Centre

January 11, 2015

So we spent the day at Alexander’s spiritual home – Didcot Railway Centre. We had taken him there before but he was a bit freaked out last time, never really worked out why. Much less freaked out this time, in fact utterly over excited about EVERYTHING there.

We didn’t choose the best day as unfortunately the trains were not running, the sheds were closed and the museum was closed for renovations BUT it was lovely and quiet and we had a really pleasant time wandering round in the winter sun peering at trains, rails and signal boxes.

I’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan of TRAINS and if it wasn’t for Alexander’s great love of them it’s not somewhere I would have chosen to come but it’s actually a great environment. It’s calm, it’s intermingled with the countryside, the people are lovely, there’s a great little cafe and I actually learned some things. Regardless of interest in TRAINS it’s a great place to take photos, there’s lots of interesting shapes, colours and textures, especially the textures. Anyone looking to top up their random patterns and textures for photoshop work could spend a happy few hours here, it’s a grunge paradise.

We pottered around, looked at some trains, ate some chips then wandered off home stopping only for tea in a garden centre (although we didn’t get the tea in the end due to queues). The only low point of the day was witnessing a GROWN MAN encouraging his three year old child to bang on the glass of a fish tank in the pet shop while cackling loudly. Evil shit.

Here are some photos. The rest are up on flickr.

Sign

We are early

Power and Rail

White Berry

Reflected Selfie (accidental)

More Carriages

Silhouette

Wall Wall Wall Tap

SkySheds

The Giraffe of Just Business

January 8, 2015

More attempts to deal with recent work unpleasantness via the medium of drawing animals. This time it’s an angry giraffe.

Using the ‘just business’ line is a cheap attempt to dehumanise whoever you are working with. Using the ‘just business’ line then expecting a matey chat with someone is effectively an attempt to soothe your own conscience.

Giraffe-JustBusiness

Kite Anxiety

January 6, 2015

It’s amazing how you can completely forget about something fairly serious, not think about it for years and then have it suddenly reappear in your brain with absolutely no warning and not in the most delightful of manners.

Alexander was given a kite for Christmas, which is pretty cool. It’s a tiny little thing, not much bigger than a sheet of A4 and I was dubious as to whether it would actually fly. As a child I’d regularly badgered my parents into buying me cheap kites, I recently found a He-Man kite in mum’s attic (I will dig it out for entertainment value soon), and I never had any success getting them off the ground. My own ineptitude may have coloured my view of kites as a whole.

The tiny child was desperate to give it a go, mostly because it has a picture of a rocket on it which makes it doubly exciting. We took him out to Pinkneys Green (the local recognised area to fly kites) and tried it out. It went up in the air on the first go and Alexander managed to keep a tight hold on it with no problems. He really loved it, absolute joy on his tiny face, it was ace to see my little boy getting so much out of something I’d never managed to do. He started to get cold hands and Karen asked me to take control of the kite while she sorted out his mittens. I grabbed the handle, looked up at the kite and immediately started to freak out. I managed to keep it together for about a minute and had to ask Karen to take over.

I’ve no idea what caused it, I’m torn between it being a responsibility thing (letting go would have lost the kite and upset Alexander) or some sort of agoraphobia. The feeling was exactly the same as one I used to suffer from quite seriously about eight to ten years ago. I used to find it incredibly difficult to be out in wide open spaces. Crossing a big field could be a challenge, looking up at tall buildings used to freak me out horribly but the worst of all was big indoor areas, generally theatres or shopping centres. Walking through the upstairs of the Oracle in Reading used to make me feel incredibly uncomfortable, even the relatively small shopping centre in Maidenhead caused problems, I couldn’t walk directly across the open area in the middle, having to skirt the edges. The worst case was a big shopping centre in Southampton, I was unaware of quite how big the open area in the middle was (what’s that even called?) and nearly completely lost it. I don’t remember exactly what happened, I expect Karen carefully led me away (she was one of very few people who knew about the issue).

We’re still going kite flying. Child enjoyed it far too much to abandon it as a family activity, I’m either going to have to adjust or we’ll work round it. I no longer have panic attacks in shopping centres, although I have no memory of how I made it stop, hopefully I can do the same again. I do know that last time the panic attacks started it was triggered by an unpleasant work situation, I have a similar situation at the moment which hopefully will be resolved soon and I can try and get my mental state back in the right direction.

2015-01-02 09.46.29

Snowflake Vector Graphics

January 5, 2015

Snowflakes-Example

I drew a bunch of snowflake vectors a while back for a Christmas card and have since used them in a whole bunch of places. They do stretch the definition of “snowflake” a little and are quite stylised, some of them are closer to mini mandalas. Anyway feel free to use them for personal use (commercial use available if you contact me). Zip file contains an illustrator file and each image as an SVG and a transparent PNG.

The full set looks like this:

Snowflakes-ContactSheet

Download the Snowflakes vector pack

Please let me know if you do anything cool with it.

Even Space Marines need Christmas Trees

January 3, 2015

Garden centres after Christmas have a fantastic selection of general weirdness. Found a set of two small Christmas trees with built in LED fairy lights for £3, just about the right size for a wargame. Now the Space Marines can sing some carols in between smashing in the Tyranid’s heads.

rsz_2015-01-01_172815

Fantasy Board Games with a Four Year Old

January 1, 2015

So, after a short break (of nearly 20 years), I dug out from the attic my old fantasy role-play and wargaming stuff (mostly Warhammer 40K), sadly a fair amount of it seems to have disappeared over the years, ebay has filled in some gaps (very narked that my entire Bloodbowl setup and Warhammer Fantasy Battle have both been lost to a random house move somewhere). Really, when as a hobby did this become so insanely expensive? Fortunately Karen had always wanted to give Dungeons and Dragons a crack, and we’ve invested in a few more recent board games. I’m wearing her down to playing 40K (I put what’s left of my old Space Marine army together for her), we’re sticking to 2nd edition for now because I have all the bits we need to play it and as above it’s far too expensive to buy any new stuff.

It’s lovely to be able to share the gaming with Karen, I was always a bit awkward with it all when I was young and rarely got up the courage to actually ask anyone to play, I eventually drifted away from the whole scene more through social awkwardness than anything else.

We were unsure of how to deal with gaming around Alexander (who was still 3 when we started), there’s a lot of small parts which we don’t want to lose, fortunately he’s never been interested in shoving random stuff in his mouth but he does enjoy running off with things to make games of his own. With a bit of care he now understands that the board games and battle games are things we all do together and he doesn’t play with them on his own.

He now regularly asks to play “Dungeons” or “Castle Games” and we’ve worked out simpler variations of Carcassonne and Heroquest which he can join in with. I came up with some simple dungeon based treasure hunt games using a D&D dungeon tile set, some plastic Warhammer figures and a cup of buttons. He even helped me choose Karen’s Christmas present – Ticket To Ride (it’s got TRAINS daddy, it’s got TRAINS).

Over time we’re slowly introducing him to more rules here and there but the most important thing right now is that we have some games we can all enjoy together. I’m planning to try and teach him basic roleplaying soon, probably something dinosaur based.

I’d really recommend Carcassonne for a young child, there’s no small parts and you can just start them off by building maps together without worrying about trying to score any points.

Any suggestions for RPG, board games which we can play with a four year old would be cool.

rsz_img_1166
Playing Heroquest with a tiny child who always wants to be the green one

Playing Carcassonne with a tiny child
Playing Carcassonne with a tiny child

Expectations Cat

December 19, 2014

More therapy via illustration.

ExpectationCat