offa’s dyke path

06/04/2016

for a full album of photos, check out my flickr

having booked a train down to the start in Chepstow back in January, followed by warnings of some kind of ‘Arctic weatherbomb’ on its way bringing snow + rain + all manner of horrific weather, come mid-March the skies had turned blue + the forecast looked hopeful.

so early in the morning, i met Jay on the train down, + we made our way to start of the path.

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getting off the train it was admittedly a bit of a faff trying to find the start, with even the locals not able to help, until we met a kid at a set of traffic lights who apparently lived on the path itself + could set us on the right road. ends up the start is no where near Chepstow train station, + involves walking through an estate.

having done a kit list check, grabbed a coffee, done a little bit of food shopping for the next couple of days, + then eventually found the start point overlooking the Severn Estuary, the time was around 1pm.

walking along the Wye Valley, we took in the spectacular views, including Wintour’s Leap, Tintern Abbey, the Devil’s Pulpit, + a section of the Forest of Dean, where we were fortunate enough to catch a herd of deer running across the path as dusk settled. unfortunately we didn’t have our cameras ready.

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there were some really lovely woodland sections either side of Monmouth, + more than few fields, which, though pleasant, were a little plain. we were very surprised + impressed by the views from the Naval Temple, + by White Castle, which we honestly expected to be a small village rather than an actual castle. another surprise was that (other than in populated areas) we had seen not a single person. the path + all its sights were empty but for us.

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passing through more fields without sight of the Dyke, we treated ourselves to a pub Sunday Carvery before beginning the ascent up onto the Black Mountains, where we saw the first people out + about, + a lot of them. getting up onto the first ridge we came across what looked like a festival of paragliders, floating above + along the ridge in a medley of colours, effortlessly drifting through the expansive views.

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+ what views they were. with the green fields of England to our East, + the desolate, featureless Black Mountains of Wales to our West, we were treated to one hell of a sunset.

we were also treated to a cold night, + a snowy morning walk along to Hay Bluff + down off the range into the beautiful Hay-on-Wye.

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over some more climbs + views, we made our way ever closer towards Knighton, passing the halfway post not too far before. by this point our spirits were high; the scenery had been increasingly beautiful, the path was empty, + without rushing at all we were making good progress. in fact at a handful of points we had actually walked out beyond the path to really make the most of the panoramic views on offer.

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in Knighton we stopped at the Offa’s Dyke Centre, where we spent a good part of the day reading up on the history + importance of the Dyke, purchasing souvenirs + enjoying a bit of break off our feet. we’d reached the halfway point, + looking at the maps for the path ahead, we decided that as it flattened out quite a bit across mid-Wales, we could push on to get to Llangollen in time for the weekend. there we could rest up for a couple of days, re-evaluate our kit + really enjoy the last part from Llangollen to the end.

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out of Knighton it was apparent that the path in fact hadn’t flattened out, + though we travelled some lovely sections, it was hard going, with lots of steep climbs + scrambles. near Montgomery we started making better progress, + Jay made a push for distance as the scenery fell away to open farmland for a while. unfortunately he picked up an injury towards the end of the day, + the pace hadn’t done either of us any good feet-wise.

a couple of peaks + a fantastic tree filled misty Iron Age Hillfort later, we dropped down to Welshpool, where we joined the Montgomery Canal + focused on covering the many flat miles as quickly + painlessly as we could. beginning to really feel the distance, we clambered up Llanymynech Rocks for a real treat of views from the cliff-like top.

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from then on we left behind the flatter regions of the path + started to get a feeling of familiarity, which quickly turned into recognition of the landscape as we got closer to Llangollen. not wanting to miss the views we knew all to well, we pushed on + followed the path up to the Panorama Road, before descending into Llangollen + meeting friends for beers + some live music.

here we would take a couple of days off, allowing Jay’s injury to recover a little + both of our feet to rest-up. we also re-evaluated our kit; Jay unloading a lot of clothing, me packing my alcohol stove + cook kit so that we could enjoy hot drinks in the mornings.

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leaving Llangollen we found ourselves in a familiar area, but on unfamiliar + staggeringly beautiful paths. we climbed up to + through Llandegla Forest, + into a really beautiful lowland valley along to the start of the Clwydian Range, which from a distance looked imposing + massive in the surrounding landscape.

we climbed up + over each + every peak, unable to really see the scale of the range ahead or behind us (a scale that came into impressive perspective during our drive home). stopping for a hot chocolate at the top of Moel Famau, we began to feel the end was near.

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the weather was beginning to get hazy, + checking the forecast ahead it was predicted that our luck with the weather would come to an end for the last day walking. Jay’s injury hadn’t had the proper time to heal + it was becoming a real challenge for him to scramble down the steeper parts of the path, but we pushed on + got the ocean in sight.

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the final day came, but the rain did not. we packed up with the whole day ahead of us + very little distance to walk, though it did have a lot of up + down making it difficult none-the-less.

we got Prestatyn in our sights, + eagerly made our way along the final ridge + down into the town itself, where we pushed through to the beach.

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sitting in a cafe on the coast, overlooking the ocean as the weather finally began to look like it would turn, we treated ourselves to a midday meal + a sit down, impressed with the beauty we had witnessed + the experience as a whole.

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neglect

21/05/2015

been a while.

i tried to walk with my friend, Arjun, entirely on foot + unsupported, from Cardiff Wales to Cardiff Australia. i got as far as Bishkek Kyrgyzstan, which is about halfway.

what happened on that journey is too much of a story for here, it is all chronicled at borderwalk.wordpress.com. what ended that journey was a prison cell.

i’ll attempt to put this in short.
Pakistan visas could only be applied for in our country of origin, so we stopped in Kyrgyzstan to send our passports home. it is illegal to not carry your passport on you in Kyrgyzstan. my visa application was twice denied, Arjuns was granted, Kyrgyzstan customs held our passports as they were delivered back into the country, we got caught + put in a cell.

luckily we had some good friends in Kyrgyzstan who helped the best they could, + our parents were straight on the case + got us released after a few days.

from the day we were released there was increased police activity around our hostel, + we couldn’t even make it to a shop without being tailed + having our passports checked. there was no way i could risk a third Pakistan visa application.

to compound things, the Pakistan visa delays meant our route through China had closed, + the only alternative was Afghanistan + the more dangerous areas of Pakistan.

so, really not wanting to, i came home.

Arjun continued on, unable to walk Afghanistan + Pakistan due to security (+ political) reasons, + then had to come home for a few weeks for bureaucratic reasons, but is now continuing on from India.

it’s not an ideal to end what was an amazing experience + i’m sure for Arjun will continue to be an incredible journey.

borderwalk.co.uk
theborderwalk.wordpress.com


away for a while

14/10/2012

haven’t posted in ages because it’s difficult to do so when in the woods without an internet connection.

i’m not always in the woods, sometimes i’m in open plains, bushland, or behind heaps of dirt in a field. today i’m in a hotel in ukraine.

borderwalk.co.uk

theborderwalk.wordpress.com


cutting out the heart instead of the fat

28/12/2011


the summer riots, cameron couldn’t have planned it. the lazy, violent gang culture causes mess, + the charitable, tax paying middle class clean it up. ‘broken society’ the diagnosis, ‘big society’ the cure. the idea was that ‘big government’ had destroyed our sense of community, causing people to become selfish + ignorant of others, but what about the ‘big economy’ + its role?

when children are being raised in workless households on workless estates, coming of age in a dole queue, with those fortunate enough to have a job faring little better, struggling in insecure, unsociable + monotonous jobs that barely pay for the rent let alone a lifestyle, should we really be saying that reducing government intervention is the solution? or should we instead say that the companies who overwork + underpay whilst polluting our culture, environment + even our bodies without any accountability, should maybe be forced to take some accountability?

i would prefer it if the government actually got involved a bit more instead of sitting back + letting big businesses exploit us at every turn. our co-operative government pledged to make society more fair + safe, yet continues to let big businesses run amok with no responsibility.


our government has got involved in organisation cuts however. here are a handful:

– ‘natural england’, the official body responsible for advising + defending environmental interests at the highest levels of government (essentially a wildlife watchdog), had its budget cut to the bone, reducing it to nothing more than a customer focus group. the potential for rolling back over sixty years of environmental protection is now very real, with 159 regulations on biodiversity, wildlife management, landscape, countryside and recreation now able to be lifted to allow ‘business to perform better’.

– ‘scottish natural heritage’ (scotlands major conservation agency), are also facing cuts deep enough to threaten not only the endangered animals they protect, but their ability to meet their legal obligations on the environment, leading to court proceedings + large fines from the european commission for breaching habitat + wildlife directives.

– the nhs are cutting services under the financial pressure of a £20bn savings drive, with four out of five doctors having reported bed closures, pressure to prescribe cheaper, slower acting drugs, cuts to occupational support + reductions in community health services.

– hinchingbrook hospital this year became the first to offer a full range of privatised services, with private company ‘circle healthcare’ signing a decade long deal worth £1bn. unfortunately this is not a tory only policy, as labour leader ed miliband last year met with the same company to ‘discuss the future role of co-operatives + mutuals in delivering public services’. other recent policies include encouraging foundation trusts to raise up to half their funds through taking out private work as well.

– recent school polls have shown headteachers cutting music, arts + sports teachers, as well as the hours pupils spend on these topics. at some schools the budgets for these subjects have been cut by up to 80%, + 43% of schools had cut out one or more of them entirely.

the super rich evade tax estimated at a total of £70bn a year in the uk alone. the government are making cuts of £20bn a year, including cutting 12,000 staff from hm revenue + customs over the next few years, the very organisation whose purpose is to collect tax + tackle tax evasion.

is there not something seriously wrong with this?


thinking green (greed, not eco)

13/12/2011


i’m bored of hearing about ‘the national interest’ + how david cameron has ‘fought for britain’. he’s fought for the banks. let’s compare some of his reasons alongside some hard facts.

defence claim: banking makes a large contribution to employment.
facts: the finance sector employs only around 1m people in britain, + 80% of those are running the retail side, nothing to do with the investment bankers whom cameron has protected. for comparison, our almost non-existant manufacturing sector alone employs more than 2m.

defence claim: banking pays a substantial amount towards our countries tax revenue.
facts: over the six years during londons banking boom (between 2002 + 2008), banks paid a collective total of £193bn in taxes. since 2008 british taxpayers have paid £289bn in ‘direct upfront financing’ to bail out the banks. when including the government loans the banks have received (paid for by taxpayers), the total increases to a staggering £1.19tn.

defence claim: our banks lend to developing business + industry, supporting our economy.
facts: at the height of bank loaning in 2007, 40% of loans went on purchasing residential or commercial property, + 25% went to financial intermediaries.

defence claim: our government is protecting an important source of national income.
facts: our government is protecting a small + expensive sector of london which coincidently provides more than half of the conservative parties funding. david cameron has effectively declared that the national interest of britain can be defined by what suits one square mile of it.

i know there were issues with the lisbon treaty, + jumping in without some renegotiations would have been a mistake also, but let’s be clear about the basics. the financial regulations being considered are a direct response to the financial crisis. measures such as a ‘financial transactions tax’ + the reform of short-selling + hedge-funds are all designed to force banks into acting more responsibly.
the banks have seen this as a threat; it’s supposed to be.

also, the veto wasn’t really a veto, in that it hasn’t stopped anything. the remaining majority (23 of 26), if not all the other eu members will go ahead with the treaty regardless, without britain there to oppose any further alterations + without any support were it able to.

it has however provided an excellent media distraction from environmental issues.

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crystal fighters

24/11/2011


not the crystal castles.
crystal fighters are a british band whose album ‘star of love’ i’ve had pretty much on repeat for a month now. here are a selection of tracks from youtube which i love, they’re each quite varied so if you don’t like one, just skip it + move onto the next. this is a band worth getting into (in my opinion).

‘i do this everyday’ – no video. heavy guitars/drums, lots of energy.

‘plage’ – live video. light, happy + very summery, for fans of mgmt + vampire weekend.

‘xtatic truth’ – eerie video. electronic, quite dancy.

‘follow’ – great video, both weird + hilarious at the same time. happy, dancy + summery, but with lots of energy.

‘swallow’ – no video. deep electronic, for fans of dub-step.


kait kübar

19/11/2011

working in the entertainment + video game industry, kait kübar is a very skilled matte painter working mainly with concept art + illustration. he only has a small portfolio HERE, but some very good work nonetheless.

i love the type of dystopian fantasy in these pieces here, though he does illustrate a wide range of worlds across his portfolio.


lo, we have become

15/11/2011

in october of this year (2011), the vietnamese javan rhino was declared extinct. in november of this year, the west african black rhino was declared extinct. the northern white rhino in africa is listed as extinct in the wild with less than ten listed in captivity.

putting this into perspective, these were some of the rarest animals in existence. nobody even knew there were any rhinos in vietnam or mainland china until poachers shot one just over 20 years ago, this in a country which was at war in the jungle for nearly 40 years. even after the shooting, it was only known there were others from the skins that hunters kept, until it was finally photographed in 1999.

using genetic analysis of droppings, zoologists worked out that its population was very small, + where you may expect some protection for this species, a safeguard for south-east asia’s rarest animal, only a decade later they are gone.

all of them.

for the booming market in rhino horn as a component of traditional asian medicine (proven not to be effective), poachers have hunted down the entire species. genetic analysis of dung has shown that the rhino remains found shot + de-horned in april last year was the last of the population.

an animal that has survived for millions of years, found by humans 20 years ago, now extinct.

i’ve been watching many documentaries recently about how wonderful humanity is, possessing consciousness, altruism, language, art, science etc; + yet evidence shows that instead, we are the species that destroys. is it time we looked at ourselves + realised that people might not be fundamentally good? to look at the baleful impact we have had on our planet, + instead consider that there might be something fundamentally wrong with us as a species?

to add insult to injury, in a survey of 600 scientists this year, nearly 60% stated that it was time to reconsider conservation, focusing resources on animals that can realistically be saved + giving up on the rest.
‘the rest’ includes species such as pandas + tigers.


ROA

02/11/2011

stumbling around berlin drunk we came across a bus parked in a fenced off grassy area. the bus ended up being a bar/cafe + all around the grassy area were park benches, couches + dimly lit areas with hammocks + the like. on one of the surrounding walls was this huge piece of street art, + i have been trying to find the artist for a while now.

belgium artist ROA. though i can’t find an official website there’s plenty of his work on google image searches + a tumblr. pretty cool stuff.


you are part of the 99%

24/10/2011

spoken to a lot of people recently who are deriding the ‘occupy’ movements happening across the world. there was a video clip from the BBC’s ‘have i got news for you’ mocking the protesters because they ate fast food, which apparently makes all their anti-corporate protests a hypocrisy, + i also found this picture of someone who states that they are in the same situation as the protesters except not demanding handouts, + that a work ethic is what is needed, not change.

in my mind, they’ve missed the point.

the person in the above picture may have an admirable work ethic, + they may believe that if everyone was as sensible as them that the problems we’re facing wouldn’t exist. i think this person has yet to experience any of the following:
– having their pay or even job cut so that their managing director can get a pay rise.
– losing their job because of a badly-played gamble by one or more of their bosses.
– having their savings/stock wiped out by gambling bankers who earn a bonus for their work.
– living downstream from a factory whose waste + emissions are known to cause cancer or other illnesses.
– losing a court case trying to sue said factory + then getting stuck with the illnesses + the legal fees.
– having their contracted pay + benefits re-negotiated without their consent by companies making cut backs whilst their managers claim bonuses.
– being unable to purchase organic produce as regulations allow companies to market non-organic food under the organic label.
– the same with other artificial ingredients linked to various illnesses.

if the person in the above picture doesn’t think this is happening, then they’re not paying attention, + if they think they’ll rise above it if they just work hard, then they’re fooling themselves.

the movement isn’t against capitalism, it’s against corporate greed.

in short, the 99% does not refer to people expecting handouts, it refers to the people who pay the larger share of taxes, work the longer amount of hours, do the harder degree of work, + yet continually have their pay, jobs, health, environment + economy endangered or destroyed by the other 1%.

also let’s get this straight, the 99% slogan refers to everyone earning less than £10 million a year, + that kind of wage is not something you earn by working hard + living below your means. it’s the kind of money enjoyed by people who either do some of the things listed above, or who inherit it from other people who already did.


how to solve nearly all global issues

24/10/2011

overpopulation, the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about.

unfortunately it’s a simple fact that if we don’t reduce the human population humanely (e.g. family planning), nature will do it for us through water shortage, starvation, violence or disease. it’s something we really do need to address.

the world population stands at around 7 billion, estimated at current rates to hit 9 billion by 2045. let’s try to put that into perspective.
7,000,000,000 = current human population, 14% living in starvation.
148,940,000 km2 = total land surface area of earth, 40% of which has been cleared for agriculture alone.

many experts claim we have already passed the point where the earth can sustain our population, supported by our causing of the earths sixth great extinction (around 30,000 species per year) + near complete death of the oceans. food + water shortages are real threats, + threats that we’re quickly becoming unable to cope with not because of the hinderance of economics or politics, but from the earths output capacity.

we can’t kill off or sterilise parts of the population, + unfortunately it’s inconceivable that western countries would bring in laws similar to chinas ‘one child per family’ policy. the more unfortunate issue is that it might become the only solution.

there isn’t an easy solution to this real problem, + there isn’t any discussion about it either. we can’t have one without the other.


the story of bottled water

19/10/2011

with all the BORDERWALK stuff going on lately, i’ve completely forgot to keep this blog up to date! here’s one for today.


a while ago i discovered this website, thestoryofstuff, which has a great video on bottled water (see below). i’ve always found it difficult to talk people out of buying bottled water, mainly because they’re not interested. this video does a really good job of informing people about what buying bottled water means, albeit from american figures but it’s the same problem worldwide.


rant worth listening to

16/10/2011

fracking UK

25/09/2011

fracking: in short, drilling into rock layers + then injecting pressurised fluid (usually water) until the rock layer cracks open, then mixing materials such as sand or ceramics into the injected water to keep the cracks open after the injection stops. this is done to release petroleum + natural gas contained within the rock layers, which is then extracted + used for industry.
the practise has come under international scrutiny due to concerns about environmental + health safety, + has been suspended or banned in some countries.


this is what the UK government is allowing to happen in the ecologically diverse + well admired area of lancashire, + before the shouts of ‘NIMBY’ drown out this discussion, allow me a few points.

– this isn’t a wind farm, this is an oil well farm, with cuadrilla (the company with the contract) announcing the possibility of drilling thousands of gas wells in the area. these wells will leak methane + other chemicals used in the process into the ground water, contaminating the the ecosystem.

– government agencies in the UK have revealed that these operations will face minimal regulation, with no government body having overall responsibility for monitoring the industry. a similar lack of regulation in the USA has been blamed for the explosions + pollution to water supplies caused by the process, leading to mass protests across the country.

– France, Switzerland, South Africa, + several states in the USA, Canada + Australia have banned fracking, but British ministers + officials in the DECC insist no additional regulation or delay is needed.

– since exploratory work began 18 months ago, there have been only two random government inspector visits to cuadrilla’s operations.
not one environment impact survey has been conducted, nor an investigation into the possible links between the small earthquakes that took place in lancashire + the fracking operation being carried out by cuadrilla at the time.

– companies are not expected to monitor, measure, analyse or provide data on the polluted liquids that come back up the boreholes or aquifers that the areas ecosystems rely on.

– robert howarth, professor of ecology + environmental biology at cornell university, called for a moratorium on drilling:
“the best evidence indicates widespread contamination of drinking water wells within 1km of gas wells. a moratorium is necessary to step back + better study the risks to water quality, air quality, + global warming. only once such studies are completed can society begin to analyse what sort of regulation might be sufficient.”

any more shouts of ‘NIMBY’? now for the trolls.

i am not saying that fracking is responsible for causing flammable tap water + killing entire coastlines of fish. i am not telling everyone to go out + watch ‘gasland’, a hugely flawed film that is more of a fear propagator than a documentary. do not believe all the hype about fracking being the worst environmental disaster since chernobyl, it isn’t.

what i am saying is that it still isn’t environmentally safe, + is another step backward in developing real environmental + green energy production. solar technology is accelerating at an astonishing rate, so fast that experts in the field claim it will provide cheaper energy production than coal within 4 years, revised down from 10 years.

so why the frack?
go here to sign the epetition against it happening in the UK.


os x lion

30/07/2011

i don’t need to write a review about the new os x lion, just one line.
it is quite simply, shite.

apple has taken away ‘spaces’ + replaced it with some poorly scoped side scroller system which organises itself depending on what your apps want to do rather than what you as the user want to do. it’s awful, unintuitive + a massive step backward in easing workflow, also no longer allowing you to drag files/folders/apps across different spaces or arrange them as you want.

lauchpad is a pointless + gimmicky variation on the dock, except no where near as smooth, simple + accessible.

no rosetta powerPC apps will work anymore, meaning half the independent apps i use are now useless + i am not going to pay for apples own approved low quality versions.

certain aspects have been aesthetically ruined. just google the new address book + ical.

full screen apps, although a great idea, have no default options or access to the desktop whilst active. was it too much to be able to use my mac the way I want to? like on os x snow leopard for example?

+ lastly, RAM. it’s important, + i want more of it, not less.

microsoft, i eagerly anticipate windows 8.


anons plan

12/07/2011

for the actual anonops blog post see HERE, or check out the youtube video below.

interesting as it is, i remain too skeptical to even consider getting excited. that said, i do agree that we should all start at the basics. things like growing our own foods, not buying from corporate superpowers such as coca-cola or nike, spreading information, writing to our governments + companies, as well as encouraging others to do the same.

corporations rely on our money, so every purchase is a vote.
for example, if everyone stopped buying bottled water, then the companies who drain our rivers + natural springs would have no money, + they would stop destroying the delicate ecosystems that rely on rivers from source to sea. read up on it, + if possible abstain from voting whenever you can if there’s no one you agree with.


radioheads secret playlist

10/07/2011

OK Computer came out in 1997 + its original working title was Zeros And Ones (01). In Rainbows came out on 10/10/2007, ten years after OK Computer. enough for a conspiracy theory? in the case of radiohead fans, that’s plenty.

however fans have discovered that in this case, it’s more than just a theory. there is a way to combine the tracks from both albums to create a seamless + rather spectacular playlist.

to create this playlist, start with OK Computers track one, “Airbag”, then In Rainbows track one, “15 Step”, + so on, alternating the albums track by track until you reach “Karma Police” on OK Computer, making “All I Need” the tenth track on this playlist.
for the full effect, set your player with a ten second crossfade between tracks (more tens!), though this isn’t essential, as the songs blend noticeably + the lyrics also pick up from each other.

to further confirm that this was intentional, you can find clues all over the albums. In Rainbows was announced ten days before its release, unusual for the band. it was announced via ten cryptic messages posted on the bands website, each post emphasising the letter ‘X’, a roman numeral for the number ten. both OK Computer + In Rainbows have ten letters in their names, + if you look at the In Rainbows album cover…


three months showreel

14/06/2011

not really three months, i must concede that i have hardly been working hard or even that often. this is a showreel of my on + off playing around with + without tutorials on after effects over the last three months.


the jezabels

18/05/2011

went to see our mates band MOWBIRD in cardiff last night (also well worth checking out!), + was massively impressed by the headline band THE JEZABELS.


the live show was immense + really well executed, i spent my last tenner of the night on two of their ep’s straight after the show + they do not disappoint. well worth giving a listen.


wentwood filming

16/05/2011

out in the forest helping some mates out with their movie. amazing how much work goes into a film, these guys had damn near half a construction site out there to get some of the shots.


10-20mm

05/05/2011

been waiting for this for soo long. i finally have one, + though i’ve only had it for a couple of days + not done anything proper with it yet, i am already in love…


because nurses don’t make money.

27/03/2011

there’s a LOT of subject matter on this, so i’ll try + be brief.

watching the news on the anti-cuts protests this morning (couldn’t be there as i have broken both heel bones) + was interested in the targets chosen. with some further research it ends up that rich corporations + individuals get away with over £95billion worth of tax evasion every year, much more than i realised + enough to prevent the vast majority of the planned government cuts. here are a few culprits:

sir philip green runs topshop, dorothy perkins, burton, miss selfridge and bhs, but doesn’t own them. his wife does. his wife lives in monaco where there is no income tax, + she is awarded yearly bonuses of up to £1.2billion for doing not a single days work. each £1.2billion bonus alone avoids £285million of tax.

vodafone resisted £6billion of tax. government exchequer george osborne let them off + they didn’t pay a penny, a court case against them was forcefully dropped. in india where they resisted £1.6billion of tax, the authorities forced them to pay up.

tesco have avoided land tax of £100million + stamp duty of £23million. their headquarters in hertfordshire uk has somehow avoided £16million in tax through overseas business rules.

kraft now channel cadbury profits through switzerland costing the british taxpayer over £60million a year.

walkers crisps do the same thing + cost around £20million a year.

whittington investments, owners of fortnum & mason + primark, + majority shareholders of associated british foods which produce products such as ryvita kingsmill, dodged over £40million of tax last year.

as for the banks, what more can be said. over £1trillion of public money to bail them out + the bonuses paid to bankers this year will exceed £7billion, a sum larger than the first wave of public spending cuts combined.


what is this ‘big society’ where the poor become the jobless + the rich become richer? where the forests + NHS get sold off + the millionaire tax evaders get protection? where the government saddles future doctors, teachers + scientists with student debts in excess of £25,000, then spends around £100million a month on a war in libya?

tories out.


solar scale

14/03/2011

the new wonders of the universe series on the bbc is pretty good. reading up on some astronomy articles after watching an episode i found out something amazingly humbling.

if you were to take everything in our entire solar system, from the sun, to the planets, the outer planets, moons, asteroids, comets, gasses etc, everything.
+ then put it into one big pile…

99.8632% of that pile would be the sun alone.


also, these rather weird anomalies:

our sun is in the midst of an unusual sunspot minimum, lasting far longer + with a higher percentage of spotless days than normal; it is also measurably dimming.

over the last two decades, the solar wind speed has dropped by 3%, its temperature by 13%, + its density by 20%.

its magnetic field is at less than half strength compared to the minimum of 22 years ago. the entire heliosphere which fills the solar system has shrunk as a result, resulting in an increase in the level of cosmic radiation hitting the Earth and its atmosphere.


economic environmentalism

04/03/2011

there’s been a lot of trouble in the middle east over recent decades which i don’t need to explain, the warfare has been all over our news channels for years. also, the UK/US invading iraq without hesitation whilst bypassing a genocide in darfur goes to prove what all these wars are about. oil.

for decades the UK/US have funded + catered for arab oppression because they rely on the arab dictators oil, in hock with bad regimes for an ever increasing share of their own energy needs, even supporting terrorism to secure it. iraq was invaded promptly as they had large amounts of oil, libya has become a delicate topic because they have less.

it seems going to war to ‘save the people’ only works if the leaderships they’re being saved from have oil.

which made me think…
when does switching from oil to green technology become more economically viable?

after including the expenses of war, we must be getting close, + the benefits of having a secure + self-reliant energy market must be attractive [don’t forget rising oil prices involvement in the economic crisis we’re in today].

i can’t find much on the subject, but did find a study showing that when oil was £80 a barrel, implementing the UK governments ‘green switch’ plans [no idea what they were, guessing minimal at best] would add 1.5% cost to each persons energy bills.
since then oil prices have risen to over £100 a barrel, so what happened to this ‘green switch’? surely a 25% rise in oil prices has added more than 1.5% cost to each persons energy bills?

another study found that if just 1% of the worlds surface was covered in solar panels, it would provide 300% of the entire worlds current energy usage. three times what we need, cleanly, securely + renewably from just 1% of the worlds total surface area.

i want to see real research done into comparing the cost of continuing to use oil [+ all it’s expenses, including war], with the cost of switching to green technology + developing a self-reliant energy market. i honestly believe going green will be the cheaper option, + if not, certainly worth the cost of its security over relying on oil from the war-torn misery being created in the middle east.


don’t say we didn’t warn you

28/02/2011

the new album from ‘does it offend you yeah?‘, out march 13th.

two new singles ‘we are the dead’ + ‘the monkeys are coming’.


after-one day-effects

25/02/2011

after uploading my first rotoscope, i thought of something.
lightsabers…

so i spent a couple of hours (doing the sound took ages) learning some tools + put together this little tester. like the first one i’m only playing about, so i haven’t taken much care over it + it is a little rough.


borderwalk level 2

16/02/2011

kicking up borderwalk training today. the time is half past five in the morning, + in twenty minutes slash half an hour we begin our thirty-plus mile walk from heath in cardiff, through newport to wentwood forest near llanfair discoed, + then back into newport for tonight to discuss organising fundraising events in lepub.


anon to UK gov

30/01/2011

anonymous sure got organised! not sure how representative this is, but respect to those people. click the link to read their letter to the UK government.

ANONYMOUS PRESS RELEASE 27-01-2011

just had a couple of messages asking what this all is.

in brief, a website called wikileaks privately acquired + released a lot of sensitive notes passed around between high profile politicians + army personal etc from around the globe, mainly american.

this understandably upset a lot of international relations + powerful figures. many companies used by wikileaks then withdrew their services, suspected to be bowing to pressure from the american government who are looking to shut down + tarnish the site.

in reaction, internet activists referred to as anonymous created + freely distributed software allowing other users to participate in DDoS* attacks on these companies, in protest against their participation in shutting down wikileaks.

in the UK, DDoS attacks are illegal, punishable by up to ten years imprisonment. with five UK citizens now standing trial for these crimes, anonymous has decided to include the UK government among its list of targets, declaring the arrests as an attack against anonymous itself +  an action against freedom of speech on the internet.

the rest is in the press release.

*DDoS – Distributed Denial of Service. basically where a site is accessed by so many users that it slows to unusable speeds or shuts down altogether. think of it like a real life traffic jam.


cameron whores out mother

25/01/2011

it’s been available in the news for a while, our coalition government is planning on selling the UKs publicly owned forests to corporate business. i don’t know all the details but i know it’s creating a huge fuss, + rightly so, they want to privatise our woodland!

you can petition to stop this from happening at quite a few sites, a google search for “save our forests uk” brings up entire pages of news reports, petitions + even celebrity calls against the plans.
here are two petitions i believe have some credibility (unlike ‘the mirror’ or ‘the telegraph’ newspapers), the first one is ‘the woodland trust’ + the second is ’38degrees’, both established + respectable organisations who can help prevent the privatisation of our woodland.

http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/Pages/default.aspx
http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/save-our-forests


tron:legacy

17/01/2011


some sweet artwork of rinzler, clu + sam by superkusokao at deviant art.

the most visually incredible film i’ve seen in a long time, coupled with a beasting soundtrack. seriously, some of the scenes i just cannot get out of my head. it’s definitely a good idea to watch the original first, as legacy ties in closely with the original + features some important characters who are only fully understood if seen in the first film.

the plot itself i actually liked, minus the dialogue on the cargo ship. it worked very well as a sequel, though the differences between users + programs wasn’t quite right.

from the original you get the impression that the programs are better at everything (they know the world), but are bound by their programming and the rules they’re programmed to follow; whereas the users are a bit stupid (they don’t know the world), but can improvise and work outside the rules in order to best the programs.

though now that i’ve said it + thought back on the film, that is kind of how it all works… maybe i was just too engrossed in the beauty of it all!

also, buy daft punks soundtrack. after seeing the film it has now become one of my most listened to albums.


cameron steals from the poor. again.

09/01/2011

david cameron has strongly suggested that the rise in VAT from 17.5% to 20% will be permanent – the tax that hits all the poorest people the hardest.

he then went on to say he hoped the 50p tax rate for top earners would be scrapped – so the richest 300,000 people in the country will pay less tax.

as a final insult, he then claimed the coalition was “strong” and would not listen to demands from strikes or protests.

seriously, why did anyone vote tory? you should be ashamed.
i’m embarrassed that i voted lib-dem because they betrayed their voters, but everyone knew the tories would do this.

money for the rich out of the pockets of the poor.


more info about bottled water

07/01/2011

click to see it.


when you google…

04/01/2011

not that this will bother many people, but it should. google really isn’t being well behaved…

all right, what happens?
when you search google + then click on a link, your search term is sent to that site along with your browser + computer information, which can uniquely identify you.

so what if a random site could work out who you are?
no one really, but these sites usually have third party add-ons, + these build up profiles on users which they then sell to advertisers, which is how your google searches affect the adverts on your bank sites.

but so what if i get tailored adverts? i don’t pay attention to them anyway.
advertisers aren’t the only companies they sell to.
your profile can be bought by anyone, including insurance companies, banks + credit experts, which will affect you.

so that’s a problem how?
it is. if you don’t know why then do the research.
but that’s not all, google also saves every search you make alongside your computer information. this information can then be accessed on request, which again for most people is not a bad thing, but for anyone who has ever searched something a little dodgy (ie for a torrent site or conspiracy theory) this is a massive thing.
remember that anyone else who searches using google on your computer is tallying up their searches against your name, so letting your friend around to check out the wikileaks documents means that technically you are breaking international privacy laws.

there are ways to avoid this, proxies are a good start + there are plenty of free internet ones out there. you could download software such as ‘peerguardian‘ or ‘tor‘ which hide you whilst online. or you can use alternative websites, one good one i use is duckduckgo, who specifically do not give out your information.

happy webbing!


squarepusher. f*@k daft punk.

26/12/2010

this makes it easy

25/12/2010

click HERE to see the importance of net neutrality.


wikileaks comic

20/12/2010

click to see it full size


article 31. the right to water.

06/12/2010

been watching documentaries + reading about the current world water situation. it really is upsetting.

for life on earth outside the oceans, saltwater is akin to a poison. less than 3% of the worlds water is freshwater + two thirds of that 3% is frozen in the ice caps. that means that all living things on the surface of the planet survive off 1% of the earths water, much of which is polluted.

if this doesn’t show how much of a finite resource water is, then look at the multinationals trying to privatise it. the UN estimated it would cost $30billion a year to provide clean water to the ENTIRE planet. the western world alone spends over $100billion a year on bottled water, all of it profit to corporations.

these corporations aren’t even providing a suitable product. most bottled water tested in the US was found to contain harmful levels of pesticides + industrial waste chemicals, in some cases even arsenic. in the UK it’s not much better; no harmful levels of toxins, but even the BBC has investigated + shown tap water to be healthier than bottled.

+ these corporations aren’t providing an option to the buyer, they are actually forcing people into buying water by suing those who don’t. there have been cases in america + india where water companies sue + bankrupt farmers who collect rainwater for irrigation. they can do this because the government has permitted water companies to own water, + therefore the rain. the farmers are supposed to buy water from the companies, to collect it from the skies is seen as an act of theft + treated as such.

in africa there are certain countries where coca cola have moved in + polluted the natural water supplies beyond human use, only then to sell their bottled water to the population at 3x the cost of a coke.

the most effective way to stop this + to bring water back under common ownership is to make it a basic human right, something which when said aloud just makes unbelievable common sense. luckily there is a movement trying to make this happen.

article 31, the right to water is a petition to add the right to free + clean water to the universal declaration of human rights. go here to sign it: http://article31.org/



students protests: the reason (+ it’s not fees)

25/11/2010

it is abysmal that the student fees are being raised, + that our MPs are suggesting we understand + back this decision. this proposal is wrong + there’s no way to portray it otherwise. the protests aren’t just about how the government is proposing the removal 80% of teaching funding for universities + asking the next generation to shoulder the bill through a tripling of fees, + then argue that it is fair.

this is about our education.

by increasing student fees + withdrawing university funding, this proposal increases university reliance on student payments. this will bottleneck university funding into the popular courses at the popular universities, whom will inevitably cap placements + close less popular courses, something which other universities are already having to do due to current education cuts. it doesn’t take a genius to realise that this will dramatically reduce the availability of courses and the overall quality of education across the country.

make your voice heard, email those responsible:
https://email.number10.gov.uk/Contact.aspx
https://www.libdems.org.uk/contact.aspx


everybody loves…

25/11/2010

…hypnotoad.


digital natives/digital immigrants

12/11/2010

written by marc prensky, these papers discuss the very different brains that people have who are brought up in the digital age in comparison to those who have lived through it + had to learn it post-childhood.

the first paper is highly interesting + very to the point, helping you to understand the second.
it’s only short + can be downloaded as a pdf HERE.

the second paper i’m only halfway through + am finding so interesting that rather ironically i have to put it up on here. it all rings so true + makes such good points, it is a bit longer, about six pages in total, but well worth the read . it can be downloaded as a pdf HERE.


justifying student riot

12/11/2010

i feel i have to explain why i support what happened seeing as there are many people calling the situation counterproductive.

shadow home secretary ed balls described the vandalism as “completely unacceptable”, saying “it was perpetrated by a small minority of thugs who hijacked what was planned to be a legitimate and peaceful demonstration, + in so doing denied tens of thousands of students + lecturers the right to have their voices properly heard.”
this sounds like a mature + sensible view, but let’s compare the situation with a recent series of protests that weren’t about money, but lives. the iraq war.

the pre-iraq war protests formed the largest peace movement in the world, even bigger than the peace movement for the vietnam war. here is a greatly shortened list including only a few major protests. the actual list is almost endless.

september.
nearly 400,000 protesters at tony blairs release of the document regarding the UKs case for the war.
october.
over 150 protests across the UK in a single day.
january.
worldwide protests including non-eu countries.
february 15th.
the largest world protest in recorded history, with millions of people in approx 800 cities around the world all protesting together. the largest of the protests (also the largest single protest in recorded history) took place in londons hyde park, where over 2,000,000 people gathered, or 1 in 30 of the UKs total population.
march.
10,000 in UKs manchester. 400,000 in milan. 300,000 in barcelona. 120,000 in madrid. 200,000 in montreal. 15,000 in quebec. 55,000 in paris. 10,000 in marseilles. 100,000 in berlin. 20,000 in athens. 10,000 in tokyo + many thousands more in over 40 other cities where figures cannot be cited.
on march the 19th across the UK, tens of thousands of students walked out in protest. over 4,000 in birmingham, + 300 secondary school children in central london who blocked traffic for over an hour + were joined by over 1,000 other protesters.
march post-war.
protesters begin to attempt to shut down major cities, in london a massive demonstration was held outside the houses of parliament.
up to 1,000,000 in barcelona. up to 500,000 in london. up to 250,000 in new york.
in one day across the UK hundreds of students marched upon the US embassy, hundreds of people brought cardiff traffic to a standstill, + a dozen stormed the raytheon defense technologies company building + staged a sit-in until removed by police. thousands protested in manchester.
the next day in the UK up to 10,000 people protested in oxford + edinburgh leading to multiple arrests.

i’m not even halfway through the list yet + have only included a fragment of figures, but i think that this is enough evidence to make my point.

now i can’t say i like seeing violent protesting, or our police force getting injured. i can’t say i condone rioting + looting of businesses, or the harassment of any individuals, bankers or not. but of all the protests in recent years, which ones do you remember seeing in the news the most? the bank crisis riot where the bank of england was raided? the environmental summit break ins in brussels? the student riots at tory hq? or any of those iraq-war protests?

governments won’t listen unless they’re given a good reason to.


student fee protests in london

10/11/2010

justified.

student speaks out (BBC report with footage)


self-host for free

29/08/2010

with a little thought, i have found a way to get sites hosted online for free. there is a catch, the url of the resulting site isn’t user-friendly, it will look something like this:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/lotsofnumbershere/your_account/index.html

also i’m not sure about the bandwidth limitations if you’re looking for viewing rates of say, a few thousand a month, so this won’t be a true public website.

however, if you’re looking to create an online cv or portfolio, then this is perfect. the chances of someone finding or even looking for your url are minimal, so you can put up data that you are happy to share with clients or employers etc, give them the url + thus private access to your fully working site.
the best thing is that this is quite easy to do + only takes five or ten minutes.

step 1
sign up for a dropbox account here. you’ll need to download the software + set up your account, i advise watching the video to better understand the concept. it’s a great little program + i would suggest it to anyone.

step 2
once that’s all done, go to your new dropbox folder. inside it there will be a public folder, go into this + create a new folder which you should name in relation to your website, eg ‘web’.

step 3
now i’ve done this with iWeb, it may be different with other programs, but basically you’ll want to change your web making programs host folder for the site. obviously you’ll have had to make + save your website first.

go into iWeb + click on the site folder in the sidebar which brings you to the screen above. under ‘publishing’, click the ‘publish to’ dropdown + select ‘local folder’, also enter your site name + email. in the ‘folder location’, click ‘choose’ + select the folder you made in the public folder of your dropbox folder in step 2. in the example below i’ve named mine ‘krae_on’.

step 4
you’re nearly finished. make sure you’re connected to the internet, go back to iWeb + click ‘publish site’ from the bottom task bar of the program. this will now publish the folder to your online dropbox cloud, + should take a couple of minutes depending on connection speed + the size of your site.

step 5
once that’s done, go to your dropbox account online. go into your public folder, then the folder you created in step 2, + within that folder there will be an ‘index.html’ file. click on the drop down next to it + select ‘copy public link:’.

it will bring up a box with a url in it which should look a little like what i put at the start of this post. this is what you will give to people to allow them to see + use your site, but before you go giving this out, copy it + go back to iWeb. in the large empty box which says ‘website url’ paste this link + re-save + publish. doing this makes sure that all the links + images work properly.

step 6
use the url to go + admire your handiwork. this could be used to show clients commissioned websites before they’re sent for being properly hosted, or as a cv/portfolio to show employers etc.

it’s not a solution, but it’s great for what it is, + is a great way for testing + sharing ideas before you shell out for a proper domain :)


uk motorway map

29/08/2010

done in the style of the london underground. this is possibly in the top ten coolest things i have ever seen. ever.

motorway map


save the nhs

28/08/2010

the bbc have recently reported that the government is scrapping the nhs direct phone service, the first in a line of plans despite their pledge to protect the nhs.

f**king tories, knew this was coming.


net neutrality no more

11/08/2010

a new ‘net neutrality’. no more choice, no more pirates, no more new sites. let me explain [*pirates can just skip down past the crossbones pic]. the ramifications of this are a bit complex, so forgive my patronising.

the internet in lamest terms can be seen as a motorway. at times it gets very crowded, causing lots of cars to get caught in traffic. think of these cars as the data of the internet.
currently all data queues, regardless of its content. this is fair.

new plans are suggesting a partitioning. this plan in the motorway terms means putting a row of bollards down one lane + forming an empty or ‘fast lane’ which only certain cars can use, allowing them to skip the traffic. verizon [with backing from google] are saying that this would enable them to provide slow loading content quicker by sending it through their ‘fast lane’, + that by taking this traffic out of the other lanes, general traffic will flow faster.

but this is not how it will work.

by allowing service providers to create + control their own ‘fast lanes’, you put internet traffic speeds into the hands of corporations, who will inevitably turn their ‘fast lanes’ into ‘toll booth lanes’, a situation already happening with wireless network providers which is why mobile broadband is so shite.

what does this mean? firstly, companies could introduce a higher speed ‘second internet’ service at a higher price, driving up your internet costs. but such money worries are irrelevant in view of the bigger issue, this is where it gets complex.

let’s consider that yahoo provide your internet. yahoo sites such as ymail will load quickly + run well, but other sites such as hotmail will be slower to load than they are currently, + even prone to stalling or not loading at all.
this is because yahoo will slow general traffic speed, + thus hotmail, to enlarge their own private fast lane. this fast lane will be for traffic from their own sites, such as ymail, encouraging [aka forcing] users to switch, increasing yahoos internet market share + thus their own profits.
the same will happen to data from sites who do + do not pay for this ‘toll booth lane’. so google, who can afford the tolls, will be given priority over sites who can’t.
to make it worse the FFC will be powerless to stop them.

to further demonstrate how priority traffic lanes will be devastating for the internet, let’s consider a new site springs up. let’s call this new site ‘facebook’.
it may have to potential to become one of the biggest + best loved social sites on the web, but starting out it would not be able to afford the ‘toll booth lane’ costs.
from here two things could happen. it could be bought out, flooded with adverts + ruined [like myspace + youtube]; or it could fail, as inevitably users ignore it for quicker + more stable alternatives provided by their service provider, such as friends reunited or windows live.

a devastating third alternative is that it never even gets recognised, as no one bothers with it in the first place. this situation would become commonplace + would devastate the internet as a source of innovation + a place for new ideas to find success. future facebooks would never happen, let alone sites that are truly innovative such as spotify or ebay.


not that i condone or promote it, but let’s look at what these new plans potentially mean for the immense society of pirates online.

internet providers controlling traffic speeds. this is only possible if they are able to monitor traffic, otherwise how will they know what to allow onto their fast lanes + what not to? how much information they would be able to get from traffic monitoring is a topic in itself, but you can guess that it’s still too much for comfort. + when they know that traffic contains data from sites known for piracy, how quickly do you expect that traffic to be allowed to flow?

this new ‘net neutrality’ is one step toward increased company profits, the killing of new companies + the sinking of piracy in its only remaining open sea.


code 46

09/08/2010

i was going to put a trailer here, but literally every trailer i found was awful, making it out to be some cheap sci-fi action flick thriller type of film. do not watch any.

code 46 is an admittedly slow, but really good + thought provoking film.
set in the near future, it does the typical British movie thing where it doesn’t explain the world, but drops enough hints so that you get what’s going on [think children of men, or equilibrium], the focus is on the story, + it is a love story.

it is slow, + though the idea is great, the film could have had a little more pace. but it is really good. emotive, well written + well worth watching.


isendr

08/08/2010

a brilliant way to send files + things across the internet securely + easily, no sign up required, no downloads needed.

just go to isendr.com + click ‘send a file’ to upload whatever it is.
send the recipient the ‘peer link’ address, they copy it into their address bar, click ‘download’ + done.
*note, the internet window you’ve used to upload the file has to stay open, as soon as it’s closed the peer connection is lost + the file can’t be retrieved at the other end.


‘london lives’

08/08/2010

just a design idea to promote Britain through the resurrection of London as a central player in the modern world. bored playing around with ideas basically


two hundred times bigger than our own sun

07/08/2010

scientists have recently seen the largest explosion ever recorded: a supergiant star, two hundred times bigger than our sun, utterly obliterated by runaway thermonuclear reactions triggered by gamma ray-driven antimatter production. the resulting blast was visible for months, unleashing a cloud of radioactive material over fifty times the size of our own star, giving off a nuclear fission glow visible from other galaxies.

this super-supernova is an example of what’s called a ‘pair-instability’ breakdown. at sizes of around four megayottagrams [thirty-two zeros], giant stars are supported against gravitational collapse by gamma ray pressure. the hotter the core, the higher the energy of these gamma rays. if they get too energetic, these gamma rays can begin pair production, creating an electron-positron matter-antimatter pair out of pure energy as they pass an atom, turning the entire core of the star into a gigantic particle accelerator.

the antimatter + matter annihilate each other explosively, but the problem is that the speed of antimatter explosion is still a critical delay in the gamma-pressure holding up the star. the outer layers sag in, compressing the core more, raising the temperature, making more energetic gamma rays even more likely to make antimatter, + suddenly the whole star is a runaway nuclear reactor beyond the scale of imagination.  the entire thermonuclear core detonates at once, an atomic warhead that’s not just bigger than the sun, it’s bigger than the sun plus the mass of another ten stars.

the entire star explodes. no neutron star, no black hole, nothing left behind but an expanding cloud of newly radioactive material + empty space where once was the most massive item you can actually have without ripping space. the explosion alone triggers alchemy on a suprasolar scale, converting stars’ worth of matter into new radioactive elements.

this really happened. 90% of people will never know, but will be able to tell you all about tiger woods’ sex life.

what the fuck am i doing reading this at 230am on a saturday? back to learning the blues scale on my cheap shit midi keyboard.


BP + the USA

31/07/2010

so after the most hated man on Earth [British owner of BP] has stood down [despite his commendable job on the clean-up operation of the gulf + the welfare of its residents], they’ve hired an American in his place, who rather than continue BPs impressive work, has decided to ‘scale back’ the clean up. nice.

this is so typical hypocrite America, world renowned for being the least environmentally minded country in the world. the real culprits of this whole mess are officials in various US government organisations, who for years have encouraged + allowed oil companies to negotiate exceptions on environmental + safety procedures in return for low priced oil, basically permitting BP + other oil companies to drill in ecologically vulnerable places with little or no regulation. let’s not forget that America, with 5% of the planets population, consumes over 25% of worlds oil.

if you want to get into deeper details, let’s mention the blowout preventer itself which catastrophically failed. provided by American company Transocean, it’s peculiar that the schematics ordered by + provided to BP didn’t match what Transocean actually placed on the rig. strange.
also the cement casing of the rig itself which collapsed. done by American company Halliburton though they are pointing the finger entirely at BP + avoiding mention of their involvement.

+ what about American companies abroad? has the US forgotten about the Bhopal disaster which left over 5,000 dead + over 500,000 suffering from ill health in India? it’s taken over 25 years of the US running circles around Indias courts [with no clean-up + no compensation, not even an apology] before the first sign of action against those responsible is being seen. don’t hear the Americans calling for Bhopals blood though.

BP isn’t the devil, it’s one of a party of devils enjoying a good time at the Earths expense, + America are the grinning hosts who invited them in with open arms.


point of contact nostalgia

29/07/2010

saw these posted on facebook + nostalgia’d hard. these are from way back in 2002/2003, i’m the one in the middle on bass guitar with the crappy dread-looking hair


tuesday + ymerodraeth state of mind

24/07/2010

after a lot of hassle + trouble, i am getting a beefed up replacement laptop this tuesday! all my stuff is saved on my external so hopefully won’t take too long getting it comfortable + running like my old one

sooo excited! also to pass the days until it’s arrival, here’s a rather satisfying song about the port. i’ll shed a tear when i leave


a small break

16/07/2010

i, ermm, spilt drink on my laptop… so i haven’t been on here for a while. unfortunately i may not be on here for a few days yet as my laptops being sent off to get fixed. to pass a day, here’s an amusing photo a friend took from a house party a while back


36 recyclab

09/07/2010

if i grew up in a city where it was worth doing graffiti, then this is kind of graffiti i’d love to have done. as it stands their graphic work is just as good, reminds me of the designers republic

check out their site HERE


plainview

06/07/2010

mac users who like minimalism will love this. PLAINVIEW

it enables full screen browsing, hiding everything away in keyboard accessed windows. so say you need your bookmarks, ‘⌘ + B’ brings up a small window with them all listed, + they can be directly imported from safari or firefox saving having to reinsert them all. the address bar is ‘⌘ + L’ + tabs are ‘⌘ + T’

it’s all tidy + it’s all familiar, making it the perfect minimal browsing experience


welsh waterfall

06/07/2010

i do love living in wales. photo’s revamped, CS5 is pretty fun


xia xiaowan

26/06/2010

using an arrangement of glass sheets, each with a cross-sectional painting of a complete image, xia xiaowan creates these amazing 3d images of haunting beauty



you’re all fucking hipsters

22/06/2010

i‘m sipping a scummy pint of cloudy beer in the back of a trendy dive bar turned nightclub in the heart of the city’s heroin district. in front of me stand a gang of hippiesh grunge-punk types, who crowd around each other + collectively scoff at the smoking laws by sneaking puffs of “fuck-you,” reveling in their perceived rebellion as the haggard, staggering staff look on without the slightest concern.

the “dj” is keystroking a selection of mp3s off his macbook, making a mix that sounds like he took a hatchet to a collection of yesteryear billboard hits, from dmx to dolly parton, but mashed up with a jittery techno backbeat.

“so… this is a hipster party?” i ask the girl sitting next to me. she’s wearing big dangling earrings, an american apparel v-neck tee, non-prescription eyeglasses + an inappropriately warm wool coat.
“yeah, just look around you, 99 percent of the people here are total hipsters!”
“are you a hipster?”
“fuck no,” she says, laughing back the last of her glass before she hops off to the dance floor.

ever since the allies bombed the axis into submission, western civilization has had a succession of counter-culture movements that have energetically challenged the status quo. each successive decade of the post-war era has seen it smash social standards, riot + fight to revolutionize every aspect of music, art, government + civil society.

but after punk was plasticized + hip hop lost its impetus for social change, all of the formerly dominant streams of “counter-culture” have merged together. now, one mutating, trans-atlantic melting pot of styles, tastes + behavior has come to define the generally indefinable idea of the “hipster.”

an artificial appropriation of different styles from different eras, the hipster represents the end of western civilization – a culture lost in the superficiality of its past + unable to create any new meaning. not only is it unsustainable, it is suicidal. while previous youth movements have challenged the dysfunction + decadence of their elders, today we have the “hipster” – a youth subculture that mirrors the doomed shallowness of mainstream society.

take a stroll down the street in any major north american or european city + you’ll be sure to see a speckle of fashion-conscious twentysomethings hanging about + sporting a number of predictable stylistic trademarks: skinny jeans, cotton spandex leggings, fixed-gear bikes, vintage flannel, fake eyeglasses + a keffiyeh – initially sported by jewish students + western protesters to express solidarity with palestinians, the keffiyeh has become a completely meaningless hipster cliché fashion accessory.

the american apparel v-neck shirt, pabst blue ribbon beer and parliament cigarettes are symbols + icons of working or revolutionary classes that have been appropriated by hipsterdom + drained of meaning. ten years ago, a man wearing a plain V-neck tee + drinking a pabst would never be accused of being a trend-follower. but in 2008, such things have become shameless clichés of a class of individuals that seek to escape their own wealth + privilege by immersing themselves in the aesthetic of the working class.

this obsession with “street-cred” reaches its apex of absurdity as hipsters have recently + wholeheartedly adopted the fixed-gear bike as the only acceptable form of transportation – only to have brakes installed on a piece of machinery that is defined by its lack thereof.

lovers of apathy + irony, hipsters are connected through a global network of blogs + shops that push forth a global vision of fashion-informed aesthetics. loosely associated with some form of creative output, they attend art parties, take lo-fi pictures with analog cameras, ride their bikes to night clubs + sweat it up at nouveau disco-coke parties. the hipster tends to religiously blog about their daily exploits, usually while leafing through generation-defining magazines like ViceAnother MagazineWallpaper. this cursory + stylized lifestyle has made the hipster almost universally loathed.

“these hipster zombies… are the idols of the style pages, the darlings of viral marketers + the marks of predatory real-estate agents,” wrote christian lorentzen in a Time Out New York article entitled ‘Why the Hipster Must Die.’ “and they must be buried for cool to be reborn.”

with nothing to defend, uphold or even embrace, the idea of “hipsterdom” is left wide open for attack, + yet, it is this ironic lack of authenticity that has allowed hipsterdom to grow into a global phenomenon that is set to consume the very core of Western counterculture. most critics make a point of attacking the hipster’s lack of individuality, but it is this stubborn obfuscation that distinguishes them from their predecessors, while allowing hipsterdom to easily blend in + mutate other social movements, sub-cultures and lifestyles.

standing outside an art-party next to a neat row of locked-up fixed-gear bikes, i come across a couple girls who exemplify hipster homogeneity. i ask one of the girls if her being at an art party + wearing fake eyeglasses, leggings + a flannel shirt makes her a hipster.

“i’m not comfortable with that term,” she replies.
her friend adds, with just a flicker of menace in her eyes, “yeah, i don’t know, you shouldn’t use that word, it’s just…”
“offensive?”
“no… it’s just, well… if you don’t know why then you just shouldn’t even use it.”
“ok, so what are you girls doing tonight after this party?”
“ummm… we’re going to the after-party.”

gavin mcinnes, one of the founders of Vice, who recently left the magazine, is considered to be one of hipsterdom’s primary architects. but, in contrast to the majority of concerned media-types, mcinnes, whose “dos and don’ts” commentary defined the rules of hipster fashion for over a decade, is more critical of those doing the criticizing.

“i’ve always found that word “hipster” is used with such disdain, like it’s always used by chubby bloggers who aren’t getting laid anymore + are bored, + they’re just so mad at these young kids for going out + getting wasted + having fun + being fashionable,” he says. “i’m dubious of these hypotheses because they always smell of an agenda.”

punks wear their tattered threads + studded leather jackets with honor, priding themselves on their innovative + cheap methods of self-expression + rebellion. b-boys and b-girls announce themselves to anyone within earshot with baggy gear + boomboxes. but it is rare, if not impossible, to find an individual who will proclaim themself a proud hipster. it’s an odd dance of self-identity – adamantly denying your existence while wearing clearly defined symbols that proclaims it.

“he’s seventeen + he lives for the scene!” a girl whispers in my ear as i sneak a photo of a young kid dancing up against a wall in a dimly lit corner of the after-party. he’s got a flipped-out, do-it-yourself haircut, skin-tight jeans, leather jacket, a vintage punk tee + some popping high tops.

“shoot me,” he demands, walking up, cigarette in mouth, striking a pose and exhaling. he hits a few different angles with a firmly unimpressed expression + then gets a bit giddy when i show him the results.

“rad, thanks,” he says, re-focusing on the music + submerging himself back into the sweaty funk of the crowd where he resumes a jittery head bobble with a little bit of a twitch.

the dance floor at a hipster party looks like it should be surrounded by quotation marks. while punk, disco + hip hop all had immersive, intimate + energetic dance styles that liberated the dancer from his/her mental states – be it the head-spinning b-boy or violent thrashings of a live punk show – the hipster has more of a joke dance. a faux shrug shuffle that mocks the very idea of dancing or, at its best, illustrates a non-committal fear of expression typified in a weird twitch/ironic twist. the dancers are too self-aware to let themselves feel any form of liberation; they shuffle along, shrugging themselves into oblivion.

perhaps the true motivation behind this deliberate nonchalance is an attempt to attract the attention of the ever-present party photographers, who swim through the crowd like neon sharks, flashing little blasts of phosphorescent ecstasy whenever they spot someone worth momentarily immortalizing.

noticing a few flickers of light splash out from the club bathroom, i peep in only to find one such photographer taking part in an impromptu soft-core porno shoot. two girls + a guy are taking off their clothes + striking poses for a set of grimy glamour shots. it’s all grins + smirks until another girl pokes her head inside + screeches, “you’re not some club kid in new york in the nineties. this shit is so hipster!” – which sparks a bit of a catfight, causing me to beat a hasty retreat.

in many ways, the lifestyle promoted by hipsterdom is highly ritualised. many of the party-goers who are subject to the photoblogger’s snapshots no doubt crawl out of bed the next afternoon and immediately re-experience the previous night’s debauchery. red-eyed + bleary, they sit hunched over their laptops, wading through a sea of similarity to find their own (momentarily) thrilling instant of perfected hipster-ness.

what they may or may not know is that “cool-hunters” will also be skulking the same sites, taking note of how they dress and what they consume. these marketers + party-promoters get paid to co-opt youth culture + then re-sell it back at a profit. in the end, hipsters are sold what they think they invent + are spoon-fed their pre-packaged cultural livelihood.

hipsterdom is the first “counterculture” to be born under the advertising industry’s microscope, leaving it open to constant manipulation but also forcing its participants to continually shift their interests + affiliations. less a subculture, the hipster is a consumer group – using their capital to purchase empty authenticity and rebellion. but the moment a trend, band, sound, style or feeling gains too much exposure, it is suddenly looked upon with disdain. hipsters cannot afford to maintain any cultural loyalties or affiliations for fear they will lose relevance.

an amalgamation of its own history, the youth of the west are left with consuming cool rather that creating it. the cultural zeitgeists of the past have always been sparked by furious indignation + are reactionary movements. but the hipster’s self-involved + isolated maintenance does nothing to feed cultural evolution. western civilization’s well has run dry. the only way to avoid hitting the colossus of societal failure that looms over the horizon is for the kids to abandon this vain existence + start over.

“if you don’t give a damn, we don’t give a fuck!” chants an emcee before his incitements are abruptly cut short when the power plug is pulled + the lights snapped on.

dawn breaks + the last of the after-after-parties begin to spill into the streets. the hipsters are falling out, rubbing their eyes + scanning the surrounding landscape for the way back from which they came. some hop on their fixed-gear bikes, some call for cabs, while a few of us hop a fence + cut through the industrial wasteland of a nearby condo development.

the half-built condos tower above us like foreboding monoliths of our yuppie futures. i take a look at one of the girls wearing a bright pink keffiyah + carrying a polaroid camera + think, “if only we carried rocks instead of cameras, we’d look like revolutionaries.” but instead we ignore the weapons that lie at our feet – oblivious to our own impending demise.

we are a lost generation, desperately clinging to anything that feels real, but too afraid to become it ourselves. we are a defeated generation, resigned to the hypocrisy of those before us, who once sang songs of rebellion + now sell them back to us. we are the last generation, a culmination of all previous things, destroyed by the vapidity that surrounds us. the hipster represents the end of western civilization – a culture so detached + disconnected that it has stopped giving birth to anything new.

douglas haddow


epic frozen action video

21/06/2010

check it out: http://beta.stinkdigital.tv/work/view/selected/carousel-%2528directors-cut%2529



more recycled betterness

20/06/2010

from the same site, THIS is another example of how truly wasteful we are. our pollution needn’t be pollution, in fact our pollution has the potential but not the support to be better + more efficient fuel + construction material for our modern world


THIS product uses recycled bottles in place of brickwork. the air inside each bottle makes it an infinitely better insulator than brick, capturing the suns heat + emitting it slowly throughout the evening. the slight transparency keeps it opaque for privacy, but does allow for a natural daytime glow saving on lighting costs. the final wall is actually considerably stronger than brick or concrete, more environmentally durable + easily recycled again. it costs a lot less than traditional building materials, + saves the need for chemical + environmentally damaging waterproofing + insulation

the way our industry ignores these better alternatives at the cost of the environment, just for not wanting to step away from tradition, is sickening


trent reznor: how to destroy angels

19/06/2010

the first release from new band/artist ‘how to destroy angels

strongly rumoured to be a collaboration between trent reznor + his wife mariqueen maandig, the six track ep is available for free download HERE + is well worth giving a listen


recycled is better than new

18/06/2010

THIS webpage shows a new building material stronger than concrete that has the potential to divert large quantities of waste from landfills. the following post is taken from this webpage:

uk company affresol offers a truly novel building material called ‘thermo poly rock’ [TPR], which is made from select waste products. the resulting material is stronger than concrete, is waterproof, fire retardant, + can be used to build low-cost modular housing. each house built with TPR panels will save an average of eighteen tons of waste material from being disposed of in landfills

“every country in the world has issues with waste and we now have an opportunity to turn waste into an enduring housing resource that is 100% recyclable.”
– ian mcpherson, affresol

TPR is cold-produced from waste products mixed with resin and polymers which can then be poured into molds like concrete. once cured, the company says that TPR offers great thermal insulation, is not subject to insect infestation or rot, does not leach any dangerous chemicals, + is 100% recyclable. the company also states that TPR panels have better flex and tensile characteristics than concrete, and the panels can be manufactured to different grades of strength as appropriate to the end use

the TPR panels can be used to frame houses, saving large amounts of lumber in the building process, + because the material is waterproof, houses can be put up year-round. the panels are molded at the factory + transported to the site once construction begins, which can greatly speed up the building process, taking less than a week to build the entire structure. according to affresol, houses built with TPR panels also cost less than traditional building methods

in addition to being environmentally friendly, the affresol house is targeted to lower income families, offering “a real and cost effective opportunity to the thousands of people who are currently unable to get onto the first rung of the housing ladder”


some documentary photography

15/06/2010

a collection of moving black + white documentary style photos from the web. caution, some of these are graphic


download ’10

14/06/2010

was amazing, except for sundays rain. was at the barrier for deftones + rage!


bp oilspill

03/06/2010

how come no one has been held accountable for this? this is one of the worst environmental disasters ever, + they’re worried about money loss?

check out THIS LINK + it may put into perspective how bad this is


iWatch

31/05/2010


not real, but surely the next step for apple? i mean, i’d like an iPad once the newer models come out with all the extras, but it is just a bigger iPhone. i want this!


the end of the line

29/05/2010

was reminded yesterday of this documentary about the fishing industry + world stocks. it may not be a film masterpiece, but it is a must see. think of what ‘an inconvenient truth’ was for global warming, or ‘zeitgeist’ for politics, this is the ocean equivalent. you can buy it from the homepage linked below, or watch it on youtube

THE END OF THE LINE

it tries to put into perspective the amount of damage we have caused to the oceans, + further reinforces my belief that nobody should be eating seafood. i am not a vegetarian, but i do not eat anything from the sea, haven’t done for as long as i can remember. farm animals may not live the most privileged lives in the world, but as a food source they are properly looked after + have been made sustainable. the ocean has been seen as an nonexpendable food supply for too long, + now many of the species humans rely on are on the ‘severely endangered’ list, yet are still being fished to extinction

i think it was last year, the blue fin tuna [a critically endangered species] had more than a third of its world population fished, + that’s just the legal fishing industry records. the illegal blue fin tuna trade catches an exponential amount on top of that + suffers no criminal repercussions. mitsubishi are actually buying massive amounts of blue fin tuna catches + freezing them, in preparation for high price selling once they no longer exist

you are eating our oceans to extinction, + pescatarians need to take a severe look at their moral compasses


jakob wagner

21/05/2010

i love this type of photography, + this is why i love dilapidated + uncomfortable looking places (click to enlarge)


why marijuana should be legal [not for smoking]

18/05/2010

as a drug, the verdicts still out. the addicts who waste their lives on it are a massive problem compared to the people who smoke it for health benefits

but it should be legal, not for smoking, but for farming

as far as foods go, hemp seed + its oils are some of natures wonders. it is one of the most nutritious + easily digested foods on the planet, containing large amounts of protein + a perfect balance of essential fatty acids. it also contains more of the beneficial amino acids than proteins such as milk, eggs or meat, containing almost seven times more omega-3 fatty acids than fish. it also provides an option for those unable to eat gluten, meat, sugar + milk, + is a good addition to a diet for those concerned about avoiding carbohydrates

for paper it is far superior to wood, in fact until 1883 more than three quarters of the worlds paper was produced from hemp. a hemp crop produces more than four times as much raw fibre as an equivalent tree sized plantation, + can be replenished in four months as opposed to a trees twenty years. to further strengthen the case, hemp paper is actually stronger, finer + longer lasting than wood based papers we use today. it doesn’t need bleaching, which is a major pollutant of the tree paper industry, + can be grown anywhere, stopping the need for the importing of trees cut down from endangered environments

from a farming perspective, this crop is a dream. it can grow in virtually any climate and soil condition (excellent for reclaiming otherwise-unusable land), it needs no pesticides as it is unpalatable to insects, it needs no herbicides as it grows too quickly + too densely for weeds to compete, + it needs less growth product as it uses the sun more efficiently than virtually any other plant on the planet

for the future + the battle against CO2, hemp was one of the leading research areas until its prohibition. hemp has an output equivalent to around one thousand gallons of methanol per acre year, methanol is still being studied as a possible primary fuel for cars. before the prohibition, the ford motor company produced a car with a plastic body using a mixture of 70% cellulose fibres from hemp. the plastic withstood blows ten times as great as steel + without denting or suffering stress fractures. its weight was also two thirds that of a regular car, producing better economy

other various uses include its effectiveness as insulation, its production into plaster board + even concrete, hempcrete

in short, it is my opinion that we should make hemp legal. keep it illegal as a drug, but legal as a farmed crop for these benefits. don’t shoot the hippy calling for legalisation of hemp, because it makes good sense


eyjafjallajökull

16/05/2010

time lapse photography of the eruption in iceland. click HERE

beautiful + impressive


i confess

10/05/2010

i miss photography more than i like graphic design. damn…
i am especially loving photos styled like those below right now (click to enlarge):

if you have any, + have 5min, PLEASE email me some


cute fear

09/05/2010

was checking out this site HERE, which was great for a while. you search where you are or for your nearest major city, pick a weapon from the drop-down menu (largest being the 50mt tsar bomb), + click ‘nuke it’ to see the radius of damage

i was feeling quietly confident being in llangollen, as this bomb dropped on liverpool (which is the closest major city) would leave me untouched :)
however upon further research, the 50mt tsar bomb ends up being a bit small… in fact the same bomb was scaled down from a working 100mt bomb due to pollution worries. 100mt. go to the site, see how big the 50mt one is, then double it…
that was 1960’s technology, + just two bombs could take out the entire of wales + more…

i feel bad for sharing this, but this kitten made me forget all about it + feel better, i hope it does the same for you :)


08/05/2010


not the tories please


zain7

07/05/2010

check out the DEVIANTART, some very nice illustrations, well worth looking at


hung parliament for the win

07/05/2010

so britain now has a hung parliament. to be honest, though i would have liked to have seen more lib-dem seats, this was the most realistic result to hope for

despite all the scare stories rolled out by the tory press to try + (successfully) stifle the lib-dem campaign, there is no reason to fear a hung parilament. it will not weaken our nation + economy. in fact, evidence says otherwise

the british weakness for tradition, enforced by the tories, tells us that a single party government representing a minority of the popular vote is the real english way of rule (i say ‘english way of rule’ as wales, scotland, europe, + even london, all have more proportional systems). this ‘traditional’ system allowed labour to win 57% of mp seats off just 36% of the votes, whereas the lib-dems earning 23% of votes only got 10%

the tories being the majority party will fiercly defend this system, they themselves having gained a third of the seats on just a 3.9% swing of votes. but after this election the power ultimatly lies with the lib-dems. they have the opportunity to form a coalition government, or to force through a structured hung parliament. done fairly, a hung parliament does not weaken government, but actually produes a stronger government as the executive is more dependant of the goodwill of the legislatures being passed

seven of the ten largest fiscal consolidations in OECD member countries since 1970 have happened under coalition governments. germany, the strongest economy in europe, has always had coalition governments. britain won the second world war with a coalition government. in fact, britiain has had coalition or minority governements for 34 of the past 100 years

this will certainly be interesting, but for good reasons. not something to fear


electrypnose – lunatic yowie

05/05/2010

nice :)


the last supply of fresh drinking water on earth

02/05/2010

scary, but solidifies my stance as a hippy. with statistics + science like this, how can our world leaders bare to live without standing for + demanding dramatic and extensive climate action

check it out, WATERLIFE, beautifully made + presented website with plenty of material to navigate


homesick

02/05/2010

walked past another stump today
it’s so infuriating + upsetting seeing trees getting removed, + for no good reason. trees help bring down pollution + freshen the air, they attract birds + insects allowing more than just rats to life in the area, + they make even the most dreadful estates look nicer, which i’m sure makes the people living there feel better, if only a little

where i grew up, they are cutting down trees everywhere in the town. not surprisingly, the town is looking worse + worse, + although they may not be the primary cause, tourism has dropped since they’ve started removing them
it just makes no sense why it happens

check out this office featured on the site eightyonedesign, how much nicer would life be if buildings were designed around nature, rather than nature being seen as a disease on human design


road to nowhere

30/04/2010

ever had a time where you’re usually quite busy and have a few things going on, and no time for yourself? but for some reason, although it bothers you, it’s not a big issue. you’re generally happy and you just carry on.

i’ve had that increasingly whilst in uni. and now i don’t.


grey at dark

27/04/2010

a few select images from a photoshoot from a while ago


they’re made out of meat

27/04/2010

a short story by terry bisson

“They’re made out of meat.”

“Meat?”

“Meat. They’re made out of meat.”

“Meat?”

“There’s no doubt about it. We picked several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, probed them all the way through. They’re completely meat.”

“That’s impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars.”

“They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don’t come from them. The signals come from machines.”

“So who made the machines? That’s who we want to contact.”

“They made the machines. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. Meat made the machines.”

“That’s ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You’re asking me to believe in sentient meat.”

“I’m not asking you, I’m telling you. These creatures are the only sentient race in the sector and they’re made out of meat.”

“Maybe they’re like the Orfolei. You know, a carbon-based intelligence that goes through a meat stage.”

“Nope. They’re born meat and they die meat. We studied them for several of their life spans, which didn’t take too long. Do you have any idea the life span of meat?”

“Spare me. Okay, maybe they’re only part meat. You know, like the Weddilei. A meat head with an electron plasma brain inside.”

“Nope. We thought of that, since they do have meat heads like the Weddilei. But I told you, we probed them. They’re meat all the way through.”

“No brain?”

“Oh, there is a brain all right. It’s just that the brain is made out of meat!”

“So… what does the thinking?”

“You’re not understanding, are you? The brain does the thinking. The meat.”

“Thinking meat! You’re asking me to believe in thinking meat!”

“Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you getting the picture?”

“Omigod. You’re serious then. They’re made out of meat.”

“Finally, Yes. They are indeed made out meat. And they’ve been trying to get in touch with us for almost a hundred of their years.”

“So what does the meat have in mind?”

“First it wants to talk to us. Then I imagine it wants to explore the universe, contact other sentients, swap ideas and information. The usual.”

“We’re supposed to talk to meat?”

“That’s the idea. That’s the message they’re sending out by radio. ‘Hello. Anyone out there? Anyone home?’ That sort of thing.”

“They actually do talk, then. They use words, ideas, concepts?”

“Oh, yes. Except they do it with meat.”

“I thought you just told me they used radio.”

“They do, but what do you think is on the radio? Meat sounds. You know how when you slap or flap meat it makes a noise? They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat.”

“Omigod. Singing meat. This is altogether too much. So what do you advise?”

“Officially or unofficially?”

“Both.”

“Officially, we are required to contact, welcome, and log in any and all sentient races or multibeings in the quadrant, without prejudice, fear, or favor. Unofficially, I advise that we erase the records and forget the whole thing.”

“I was hoping you would say that.”

“It seems harsh, but there is a limit. Do we really want to make contact with meat?”

“I agree one hundred percent. What’s there to say?” `Hello, meat. How’s it going?’ But will this work? How many planets are we dealing with here?”

“Just one. They can travel to other planets in special meat containers, but they can’t live on them. And being meat, they only travel through C space. Which limits them to the speed of light and makes the possibility of their ever making contact pretty slim. Infinitesimal, in fact.”

“So we just pretend there’s no one home in the universe.”

“That’s it.”

“Cruel. But you said it yourself, who wants to meet meat? And the ones who have been aboard our vessels, the ones you have probed? You’re sure they won’t remember?”

“They’ll be considered crackpots if they do. We went into their heads and smoothed out their meat so that we’re just a dream to them.”

“A dream to meat! How strangely appropriate, that we should be meat’s dream.”

“And we can mark this sector unoccupied.”

“Good. Agreed, officially and unofficially. Case closed. Any others? Anyone interesting on that side of the galaxy?”

“Yes, a rather shy but sweet hydrogen core cluster intelligence in a class nine star in G445 zone. Was in contact two galactic rotations ago, wants to be friendly again.”

“They always come around.”

“And why not? Imagine how unbearably, how unutterably cold the universe would be if one were all alone.”


the tenth dimension

27/04/2010

this video HERE is intense. extremely interesting and theoretically revolutionary, but intense. worth watching a couple of times to actually get your head properly around it


e.t. burn home…

25/04/2010

steven hawkings just suggested that rather than search for intelligent life in the universe (offering information about ourselves + how to find earth, as we have done on two probes already out in the void), that we should avoid + hide from them. this may sound a bit paranoid, but all we need to do is look at our history + the signals we’ve already broadcast into space to understand that it actually makes perfect sense

when europe discovered other continents, europe always won, despite their initial promises of peaceful understanding. it’s happening today still, even countries who have been at peace for decades are increasing weapon stocks exponentially in an uneasy cold war-ish style of politics, + no matter what the technological state of a discovered species, human nature would never change, for better or for worse

looking at our signals, the first high powered tv broadcasts were during the second world war, not the best first impression to give, + it doesn’t get any better. it’s not as if our most popular shows are displaying good human nature, + how much of our news is on anything other than our own leaders incompetence + the wars we’re currently involved in or starting? for over a hundred years this will be what aliens see of our planet, + worse still is that despite all these horrors, we have advanced startlingly fast, not a confidence inspiring trait of a dangerous war-torn species

i agree with hawkings


alex grey

24/04/2010

here’s a wallpaper (+ two other images) for you all by psychedelic + spiritual artist alex grey, click image for full size
having done album artwork for prog/metal band tool, he’s worth a google image search for some other really inspiring art


the surface of the sun

23/04/2010

WARNING! LISTEN TO WITH HEADPHONES OR GOOD SPEAKERS!

both written by british musician john murphy, + feature in the movies ‘sunshine’, ‘kick ass’ + ’28 days later’


nick clegg smeared by tories

23/04/2010

i know i said i wouldn’t do this, but after seeing the newspaper headlines yesterday i feel some clear up is needed on the way politicians use the press
here’s a list of what’s gone on in the past few days:

speaking in a bbc interview yesterday, lord mandelson, labour mp, commented on how a series of anti-lib dem headlines in this morning’s newspapers bore the typical hallmark of tory communications director andy coulson. tory links with the papers have been exposed before in similar smears against labour, it’s no secret
the daily express branded clegg’s immigration policies “crazy”, ignoring the fact that they have been used effectively for years in various other countries, australia for one example
the sun accused him of “wobbling” + refused to publish two yougov polls showing that voters fear a lib-dem government less than a tory or a labour one + that the lib-dems policies are the most liked
the daily mail revived comments he made about anglo-german relations in 2002 under the headline “nick clegg in nazi slur on britain”, twisting nick cleggs quote that at the time there seemed to be political tension between britain + germany over a handful of eu policies. hardly a nazi slur
the daily telegraph claimed that fundings to the lib-dem party by private investors had been criminal + for personal gain. nick clegg published all his bank papers which proved otherwise, exposing the smear as exactly that
more interestingly, the bbc’s political editor jick robinson found that the daily telegraph actually called in tory mps one by one to discuss how the papers would deal with the sudden increased lib-dem popularity, trying to gather information which could be used to smear nick clegg

lord mandelson said the sort of smear tactics which the tories had used against labour in past elections were now being turned on the lib dems, as the upsurge in their support threatened the conservatives’ chances of an outright victory
“i think the coverage is frankly disgusting,” he told bbc radio 4’s ‘the world at one’. “the press stories we have seen today are straight out of the tory party dirty tricks manual. these things do not happen at the drop of a hat. this is pure andy coulson-style news of the world territory turned into political form. this is borne of tory panic, the tories pushing the smear button in the hope that this will damage clegg. well, in my opinion, the tories are wrong. i think people will see this exercise for what it is.
it is cheap and frankly rather squalid with no place in this election.”

on a brighter note, the lib-dems have called for the digital economy act to be repealed + the issues debated by a full parliament. this is the bill that was forced through government despite criticism from google, o2 + heavy petitioning from the public. this is the bill that lets the government cut you off from the internet
the lib-dems did oppose the bill however, + speaking at the ‘the student room’ nick clegg insisted that they would call for the act’s repeal should lib-dems be involved in the next government


perspective

21/04/2010

this is quite a graphic image so i’ve included a linked thumbnail. i wanted to share this image because i feel that getting an honest perspective of our actions is the best way to become motivated to change

this image is a good demonstration of how powerful perspective can be


pixels

19/04/2010

quite a cool quirky video HERE by patrick jean, got sent the link by a friend + thought i’d share seeing as i enjoyed it
sorry i can’t directly embed but it’s not a youtube site


kittens

18/04/2010

aawwwww :)


tatiana plakhova

16/04/2010

may not be to everyones liking, but i love them. from the series ‘links’ + ‘complexity graphics’, these images are comprised of coloured lines and dots moving in unison to create an image or at least the ghost of an image


the red, yellow and the blue

16/04/2010

so i said to myself that i wouldn’t do this [politics on here], but did anyone see the ITV election debate? admit it, lib dems won hands down

the manifesto


geektool

14/04/2010

in the my lovely minimal post a while back, in the top right of my desktop is the day, date + time. some people assumed i was sad enough to edit this every minute to keep it accurate, no no no

geektools is the app, available HERE. it settles itself as a system prefplane, + allows you to arrange various shells running scripts, system information + images or texts, running in the background as desktop items. if you use automator workflows you can get them running on the desktop also, though remember to adjust the refresh times, otherwise they’ll be running every 10secs. the nice thing about geektool opposed to other apps is that geektool simply displays what’s already happening, so no extra cpu usage, just information. also it’s very customisable, allowing you to show information in whatever place, size, colour or font you want, so you can get it looking perfectly suited to your desktop background or icon set etc

leopard users + older can use the stable second versions, whereas snow leopard users have to use the beta version 3, which does unfortunately have a few bugs restricting what you can actually do with it. hopefully the patches will be out soon

that’s about it. i’m not versed in the terminal so for scripts a look around the mac forums or a simple internet search will always provide cool shell commands + some dead good desktop examples for inspiration


robin hood tax

09/04/2010


click HERE to go to the site + support the policy
an amazing idea. so simple, so effective + actually so scary, to know how ridiculous the banking system has got

a global tax on non-public bank transactions of just 0.05% could raise more than £200,000,000,000,000 a year, which would then be dispersed to charities + organisations around the world involved in helping others


wake up walk out: 26th april 1pm

09/04/2010

a nationwide peaceful protest against the fraud that was the copenhagen summit, + a demand for renewed action on environmental talks + policies. more info HERE

taking place on 26th april at 1pm, the idea is that people everywhere drop what they are doing + walk out into the streets, sending a powerful message to our government to cut emissions to 42% current levels. send news of the protest to the local media, encourage others to take part, inform the press, share the walk out via pictures or video + generally help raise awareness


cinnamon chasers + saman keshavarz

07/04/2010

luv deluxe by cinnamon chasers, great british band + an ace track, coupled with an award winning music video directed by samam keshavarz


solar beat

07/04/2010

click HERE very nice site where each planet is given a note to play as it passes a line across our solar system. very relaxing + elegant


my lovely minimal

04/04/2010

been working on properly minimising my workspace, + here it is :D
also made a pure text icon set, check out the crop of the hiding dock!


troll under the bridge

04/04/2010

i do love home, it has some stunning beauty + its people are some of the best i’ve met

but ever increasingly, when i get a bus, or get in my car, i’m having to stop myself from leaving. not from leaving my job or uni, but from leaving everything. no goodbyes, no keeping contact, just getting on a plane + never looking back

i dream so much of getting out of this place that i often wonder if i would actually miss any of it


i love lego

02/04/2010

this is possibly my new favourite image ever


tkaracan

17/03/2010

some really nice illustrations with a painted feel, check out his deviantart HERE



gwynedd archaeological trust

14/03/2010

logo competition entry for the gwynedd archaeological trust, logo only


graduate show

14/03/2010

some uni work for the graduate show competition. wish i could have got my own photo, but weather was awful so had to use a stock image :/


sebastien larroude

07/03/2010

saw the image floating around the web + loved it!


jamie hewlett

09/02/2010

british artist. everyone knows this guy, which makes this post kind of pointless, but regardless, you should search through more of his artwork than just tank girl, the gorillaz + monkee
like banksy, if you look a little deeper, you actually find some real gems



nebojsa cvetkovic

08/02/2010

great designer, check out his site HERE
love his lapses into designer humour


delicious

01/02/2010


a site that allows you to save an infinite amount of web pages + organise or ‘tag’ them however you choose for ease of finding at a later date
check it out HERE + check out my tags HERE

the best way to explain this is with an example
sign up + save the ‘add tag’ link to your bookmarks bar or favourites (can’t remember if it’s an installation or a link but either way make sure you have easy access to it)
go search a site of interest
find something that you want to look at or show to someone later
click ‘add tag’ + tag it it under something memorable or relevant, i use categories, eg ‘technology’, ‘art’, etc

now say it was another day + you need this webpage. you would either have to re-find it, which can be difficult + time consuming, or you can now look at your delicious + simply click on the tag, then on the link which will take you straight to where you saved it from
most people will question the requirement of this, but if you’re doing research or you use the web more extensively than most then this site is a godsend. it saves having hundreds of favourites all over the place + not being able to find them later, + replaces it with a word cloud of your favourites tagged in a way you know + understand, allowing you to quickly find anything you’ve saved


connect 360

01/02/2010

a lot of people have xbox 360’s, they’re awesome. what a lot of people don’t have is a way of wirelessly connecting their mac (therefore their itunes, movies + pictures) to it, allowing them to truly use the functionality of the console

i don’t want to sound pretentious here, but in our house we all have 360’s + some sort of laptop or mac. before i get you all excited, all the xbox’s have to be on xbox live + on the same network for this to work (security reasons)

for pc’s the free vuze programme allows you to wirelessly share your shared folder to any 360 on the same network. so i can access all my friends media + enjoy them on my own tv in my own room, without having to bother them with asking to put their stuff on a usb stick for me etc

for macs this isn’t possible. you need to trick the xbox into seeing your mac as a pc. connect 360

a demo is available along with the full software HERE, it’s only cheap + well worth buying as the demo quickly becomes restricting
once installed, you access + run it from the system preferences, where it gives you a great selection of settings to play with. with pc’s what you share must be in the shared folder, which means moving everything around + taking up memory; with connect 360 you choose which folders get shared. no moving anything around, no setting up a shared folder, you simply tick the box on which folders you want to be accessible

also the connection is seamless. i’ve had this running movies + music on three xbox’s from all over the house with no lag or delay at all
though saying this, having three xbox’s wirelessly connected to each other + three other computers/macs did create lag in online games. simply quitting the applications (connect 360 + vuze) did solve the problem instantly


mirrors edge

26/01/2010

recently had a friend loan me some monies for a 360 elite. first games i bought were mirrors edge (because i remember reading a very promising review when it came out) + bioshock because it’s awesome. also a game called fatal inertia which i love (think a 360 version of wipeout)

after playing all three, i must admit i am stunned by mirrors edge
i was a huge fan of jet set radio future because of the way the entire level was playable, no areas were off limits + a lot of the games final tasks involved discovering routes of access that were only available through the precise timing of moves. sonic the hedgehog 2 was kind of similar if you were going for the time bonus’s rather than rings

mirrors edge however takes this method of play to an entirely new level, requiring precise timing manoeuvres in ‘access all areas’ levels that at times beat even portal for their sheer complexity
this is a game that’s not going to get boring for a long time, + to top it off, it looks as slick as oil off glass


corporation pop

20/01/2010

manchester based collective HERE
did the some work for creamfields, clean and tidy work with some nice visual layouts



liza corbett

18/01/2010

check out her site HERE
very surreal + emotional artist with some amazing imagery and ideas, especially check out her drawings



kickass

14/01/2010

check out the trailer HERE
this looks ace, a few kids decide that there’s no reason why people don’t try to be superheros, + so one tries it + becomes an internet hit, influencing others to try as well
superheros without super powers


adam haynes

14/01/2010

more of an illustrative artist than a graphic designer, this guy is responsible for the ‘nike 6.0’ promotional artwork. check out his website HERE
he does a lot of steampunk-esque landscape scenes, reminiscent of jamie hewlett’s tank girl but more detailed than comic. very nice



træna festivalen

07/01/2010

imagine a festival where the party never stops because it never gets dark, + the bands play in massive ancient caves in the mountainous parts of these islands:

imagine bathing in a natural lake with wild otters, drinking a local moonshine that evaporates if left to the air + going to boat parties that cruise around these amazing islands

i cannot wait for this! staying in oslo for a while before sailing off to this amazing festival for a week with some friends. i’ll pass on the whale burgers though…


all2mp3

06/01/2010

been moving all my music across from my pc to an external hard drive for back-up + for use with my macs iTunes [which sucks but all mac users are unfortunately stuck with it] only to find that almost half of it is in .wma format

this program HERE is a lifesaver

seriously, iTunes on mac has no .wma conversion tools + i would have literally died if i’d had to re-rip half my library, which is over 80gbs + contains well over 10,000 tracks [can’t help boasting about figures like that]
this little piece of software is brilliant, just drag + drop the tracks from wherever they are + it will make an mp3 version + place them into the folders where they came from, sssuuuccchhh a timesaver! if asked to at the tick of a box it will even delete the .wma files that it’s just made conversions of, saving even mmmooorrreee time!

iTunes sucks


ruben brulat

05/01/2010

check out his site HERE
great conceptual photography depicting the frailty of the human form returned back to its natural environment, here’s an example from the ‘primates’ gallery



darwiin remote

04/01/2010

just a quick one today. if you own a wii remote, you can use it to control your mac!
you can download the software HERE. it works brilliantly with frontrow [which is a great alternative to iTunes + VLC when you have a remote] + also with gaming where it can be used like a light gun. it can be made more accurate with leds + it also has bluetooth capabilities

the only issue [unless you’re a gamer], is you do wonder how often you’re going to use this app…



matt logue

02/01/2010

check it out HERE
i don’t know how he’s managed it so perfectly, but the images depict parts of LA during it’s busiest times, except totally devoid of life. this effect could be achieved with filters + long exposure time where everything except the static just disappears, but these images have crisp clouds + trees, which would be impossible with this method. the only other explanation is multiple shots carefully edited + stitched together but the work behind it would be immense. however they were achieved, the results are achingly beautiful



pillow

02/01/2010

make me these + i will love you forever


zoidberg

02/01/2010

i love this


n

02/01/2010

thought i’d best post this as there are a surprising amount of people who actually don’t know about it. check out the site HERE

this is a free downloadable flash game where you control a stick figure ninja around a plethora of real challenging levels. the physics are superb, the enemies infuriating + the death scenes entertaining every time. well worth checking out


spotlight

02/01/2010

apples dock is a marvel launcher + navigation tool allowing you to be a mouse click away from any program, folder or document you need, + is infinitely customisable. however there are more ways of getting where you want to go, via the keyboard + thereby without filling up the dock, allowing it to be used in different ways which i will cover later. quicksilver is a popular third party launcher app, with a nice interface + the extra ability to manipulate files + run scripts on top, making it quite a powerful little program. similar apps include launchbar + butler though i haven’t used these

the problem i had with quicksilver is that despite its potential i only ever used it as a pretty launcher, + it just doesn’t navigate around the system deeply enough. it doesn’t find any sub-folders unless specifically set up to do so, which includes albums in your iTunes folder, pictures, work, any folder outside the main ‘finder’ window. a major hassle when compared to the existing spotlight

spotlight tends to divide mac users; it is either used for everything or nothing. i confess i used to hate it, mainly because its interface is very bland + i missed seeing my lovely icons, but the more i got annoyed with quicksilver, the more i liked spotlight. the strength of spotlight is in its power + its customisation. it will find anything* on your mac, from deep sub-folders to system preferences, + using a simple check list you can organise what, where + in what order spotlight searches + presents its results. i have it set up to only show applications + folders, which speeds it up dramatically + means that with only a couple of letters the top hit is almost always what i’m looking for
*when i say ‘anything’, spotlight has another feature not found in other apps; the privacy option. this allows you to make specific apps/folders/images etc not show up in the search results [great for hiding that /b/ folder]

that this is bundled in with the os should be enough to make it first choice over third party apps, but its extra customisation options + raw power really make you question why you would use anything else anyway


screen lock

02/01/2010

requirement.
a way of locking the mac without having to save everything + close down applications

i’ve known about using password locked screensavers in conjunction with hot corners for a while now, but how often do you or others accidentally activate hotcorners? it gets incredibly annoying. there are apps out there, but who wants more third party programmes clogging up the hard drive? that + they are often slow, frustratingly slow when compared to letting the mac do it for you

with a simple preference change this invaluably useful tool is yours, no downloads, no hassle

‘applications’ > ‘utilities’ > ‘keychain access’
menu item ‘keychain access’ > ‘preferences’ > check ‘show status in menu bar’


there should now be a padlock in the top right of the menu bar, click on it + it drops down with a small menu where the first option is ‘lock screen’. this has the same effect as using a password locked screensaver, but without the hassle of hot corners + accidents. simples


so simple

30/12/2009

a simple image overlaid with a helvetica statement is so easy to do


typeface ink efficiency

30/12/2009

matt robinson + tom wrigglesworth embarked in an experiment of ink efficiency by sketching out large scale renditions of popular typefaces with ballpoint pens and comparing their ink usage. they might have a little too much time on their hands, but their findings have a few surprises


evernote

28/12/2009

seriously, go HERE + check it out. i recently discovered this + am still getting to grips with it’s power, but even at a basic level it is pretty amazing

there’s a lot to explain but i’ll try my best to be brief…

you can choose not to download any software + just sign up for an account. this way you can sign in on any computer + upload pretty much any filetype you want, from simple text to pdfs + audio. once uploaded they are saved without any alterations + can be accessed + downloaded by you in full, just sign in. it’s kind of like flikr or photobucket, except it’s private + accepts every file type. it allows you to organise all your uploads in a variety of ways, making it easy to set up to work exactly how you want it. you can also email files to + from the account; emails are automatically added to the library as if you’d uploaded them

if you find the online method a bit slow + clunky or don’t have constant access to internet, then you can download a small piece of software for your pc/mac/phone that greatly simplifies the process. the software gives you an offline version of the online system, which you can organise + upload to freely. it then allows you to synchronise the two quickly + easily whenever’s convenient, effectively doing a mass upload to the online account. it works the other way around too, so if you’re using a different computer with the software installed you can do a mass download

the software has advanced search capabilities + allows you to create tags, making it a useful organisation tool as well

in short, at the most basic level evernote acts as an external hard drive that exists online, available to you wherever you have internet. at a more advanced level it can be tailored to completely change the way you work


mark ryden

27/12/2009

amazing artist who did the ‘jack off jill – clear hearts grey flowers’ album artwork. website HERE, brilliant use of pastels + surrealism


russell mills

26/12/2009

british artist found HERE. commissioned to do the artwork for ‘nine inch nails – the downward spiral’ album, some very nice artwork focusing on colour, tone + texture. three things i love


carlos abreu

23/12/2009

check him out HERE, some seriously sweet graphicy art done on everyday urban items. i’m loving + taking inspiration from his use of colours



typorganism

22/12/2009

weird site that’s strangely fun [more so for graphic designers], where type becomes a toy. check it out HERE


hdr

20/12/2009

found a nice enough HDR tutorial in photoshop cs3. takes a while to play with + i must be honest, i’m not so sure on the final effect, but here is an original alongside a HDR effected version. click on them to see them larger, photo taken by me


hayley o’gara

19/12/2009

sweet t-shirt designs from a college mate whose now studying in glasgow. click the picture to visit her blog + if you like them, buy them!


frank turner

18/12/2009

i was a massive fan of million dead, + knew that frank turner had gone on to do a solo project, but only really paid attention this year. looking back over 2009 i think of all the music i’ve discovered, frank turner sticks out as a real gem
get amongst it

other mentions include,
hooverphonic
the joy formidable
john butler
polar bear club


love and trolls

17/12/2009

one of the better boxxy remixes i’ve seen out there. hail queen /b/


build

16/12/2009

another favourite of mine. bearing some characteristics of the designers republic, this collective are equally fresh yet stick more to the brief, giving their work an air of professionalism rather than of pure expression. check out their portfolio HERE



tatsuyuki tanaka

13/12/2009

no website that i can find, but a great illustrator. did a lot of the work on the original akira manga


 shortcuts

12/12/2009

people who use macs come to learn all the basic ones pretty quickly, things like ⌘ + Q = quit, ⌘ + Tab = cycle through programs, etc etc

here are some useful ones you may not have known about though
⌘ + ⇧ + 4 = take selected area screenshot
⌥ + ⌘ + esc = bring up force quit window
ctrl + tab = cycle through safari tabs
⌘ + ` (back tick) = cycle through safari + photoshop windows
⌘ + arrow keys = move around folders + folder hierarchy
ctrl +  ⇧ + ⏏ = turn off screen [move mouse/press any key to turn back on]
⌘ + delete = move item to trash
⌘ + h = hide application

as if that wasn’t enough, try this: open the Terminal, type ’emacs’, press ⇧ + Esc, type ‘xdoctor’…
i honestly don’t know why that’s there, but it is. have fun


MOON

12/12/2009

seriously, you need to see this film


the designers republic

12/12/2009

one of my all time favourite collectives. they basically designed the wipeout series. they’ve split at the moment, but their work is still available HERE. i love the bold, chunky, clean, minimal yet totally in your face style



david lanham

12/12/2009

brilliant graphic artist, great interface icons, lovely clean design + some really interesting ideas in his artwork. check out more HERE



カプセル [capsule]

10/12/2009

shibuya-kei duo consisting of vocalist toshiko koshijima and producer/composer/lyricist/art director yasutaka nakata. loving their 2007 album ‘flash back’, though every album is brilliant, well worth checking out


first else

10/12/2009

how sick is this! i know the iphone came first, but this is a new level of cool. it’s basically the next step after the iphone, where even the phone element of the device becomes an application among many, rather than the main focus with cool extras

check out it’s launch show HERE



nicolas evariste

07/12/2009

lovely photography, some great coastal work. check out his site HERE



andrej belic

07/12/2009

some sswweeeett undersea scuba photography. well worth checking out HERE



mister shrew

07/12/2009

sweet cardiff designer, blog HERE. he’s got some work up in the magpie gallery, great character design + colour swatches


timebeat

07/12/2009

nice graphic clock that’s available to download as a screensaver HERE



ball dropping composure

07/12/2009

a smart page HERE where you draw lines across a space, + the balls dropping into it create different sounds depending on their velocity + time between impact on the lines


russ mills

07/12/2009

amazing contemporary artist, very sketchy, graphic style with abstract influence. check him out at byroglyphics HERE



phill blake

07/12/2009

very talented illustrator who does gallery work, commercial work + a lot of varied art. check him out HERE


tado

07/12/2009

can’t place why but i love this work. different from most similar artists as it generally has more purpose than simply being cute. check out more HERE