Monday, July 30, 2007

Heroes are there, we just ignore them.

Jeremy Clarkson (Tall, loud chap), James May (Floppy-haired, uber geek) and Richard Hammond (Rocket-powered hamster-man), deranged presenters of the BBC’s ‘Top Gear’, recently played out one of their typically batty challenges.
To date, they’ve raced each other all over Britain, Europe and a few of America’s southern states.
Their latest epic escapade took them north.
All the way north.
Dog sled vs. a customised Toyota pick-up.
First one to the pole wins.
From the comfort of my living room I watched the madmen charge across the most inhospitable of terrain and laughed myself silly as they started mixing themselves G & T and producing wine, cheese and other posh nibbles from their rucksacks.
Intentional or otherwise, these presenters were keeping alive the age-old traditions of the true adventurer; they didn’t have a clue what they were doing, but carried on regardless.
100 years ago, the world was much larger, as were the old empires and the vast egos that dwelled in them. There were still blank areas on the map, which meant there was still the opportunity to get in good with a cartographer and have yourself immortalised in geography.
Lords, ladies, knights and other titles set out on all manner of insane expeditions in an effort to find a lake, waterfall, mountain or canyon that the rest of the world had yet heard mention, and then write themselves into the history books as its discoverer.
Usually, they only found plague carrying mosquitoes or cannibals, which is unsurprising as they all approached the endeavour in the same way; with complete and utter naivety.
They had no idea of what they were getting into, no clue of what clothing or food they should bring along and certainly no respect for local knowledge.
“What do the natives know?”
Enough to stay out of that part of the jungle, matey! There’s a reason no one goes there, you know!
The Brits were, without a doubt, the best at this, mainly because 90% of the island’s adventuring aristocracy were utterly barking and didn’t bat an eyelid at the concept of being mauled by the indigenous fauna. They had no problem setting out into the great, godforsaken unknown armed with naught but a crisp English accent and a hipflask full of Scotland’s finest tipple.
Obviously; most were eaten, but a number did survive, as can be proven by looking at a map.
Everything’s named “Victoria”.
Discovery and achievement were real social currency back then. If you hadn’t climbed a mountain in South America, crossed India on an elephant or been forced to drink your own excreta while lost in the Sahara, you were a nobody.
The celebration of such adventurous (if a bit mental) individuals is something I really miss in this age of mass media. A dim blonde can squeal onto a CD then bounce their baps on TV and is worshiped for it, but people that hike from pole to pole, cross the Atlantic in a row-boat or circle the globe in a hot-air balloon, as they have done in recent years, are ignored.
I think that’s the key to the failings of society: we’re idolising the nobodies.
I set you all a challenge: look at those currently deemed ‘famous’ and ask “What have they actually accomplished?” and “Is it worth being remembered for?”.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Mandy and Scarlet

I’m usually quite rubbish at emulating other people’s styles, but I’m quite pleased with this:
Someone requested that I draw the uber talented Dean Yeagle’s creation, Mandy, meeting Scarlet.

And more from the Chloe Comic:

Sample Page 1
Sample Page 2

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I love retro sci-fi in cartoons.

A pin-up a day keeps ennui at bay.

uh.......don't ask.....

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Banjo Duel

A couple of friends engage in a string-based fight:

Aaaaaaand some improbably-proportioned nekkidness:

Monday, July 23, 2007

Man the pumps!

England’s second city, Birmingham, has recently been spending vast sums of money regenerating its canal-side areas.
These waterways, originally meant to shift raw materials like coal and metal ore from mine to warehouse to factory are naught like those you’d picture at mention of the word “canal”.
No gondolas, no Italian flavour, no architectural marvels and you’ll only hear mention of “Cornetto” is someone starts reading aloud the ice cream wrappers drifting downstream.
The council can shout their claim at the top of their lungs for as long as they want. Birmingham isn’t and never will be a “Venice of the North”.
Lower lying population centres, on the other hand, are quite a different matter.
Weeks of rain has left much of Central England underwater, in floods, the likes of which, have not been seen in generation.
Roads, MAJOR roads, are submerged, towns are completely cut off, whole caravan parks are floating down the Thames and the price of potatoes has gone up by 16%.
The horror.
I live in the Midlands, but I can be quite smug as I live on a hill……and I don’t eat potatoes.
My place of work is also on a hill, allowing me to sleep soundly knowing that months of artwork are not going to be a damp and soggy mess when I return to them the following day.
Unfortunately, said hills are not part of the same ridge, meaning I have to commute across an area of lowland.
Water likes lowland.
Now, I ride a scooter; a nimble little thing that can clock up a whopping 45mph (going downhill. Its usual speed is around 35. 30 if riding into a stiff breeze) and it’s great to bomb around on, so long as you stick to the quieter roads. I venture out onto anything larger and I have a tailback of 10 cars behind me in as many seconds, the death-merchants that drive them all willing the petrol tank to explode under my arse.
As I’d rather not test the psychic abilities of irate BMW and Landrover drivers, I make a point of taking back-water routes to and from work.
At least I do when said “back-water routes” aren’t living up to their name.
Last Friday it had been raining for at least 10 hours and to traverse my usual path home I’d have needed a Jet Ski, not a Honda Lead.
Forced onto the main roads I was slightly terrified to find that they were not in a much better state: I ploughed into 4 huge lakes spanning not only the tarmac but the farmland to either side, I was sprayed by huge trucks travelling in the opposite direction and, of course, I had the people of the tail-back willing brain-cancer on me.
Most unpleasant.
So, who can I blame for my discomfort? Who is to be held responsible for this random act of nature?
I guess I’ll just do what everyone else does and blame the government.
Can’t blame god, he might make things worse…..

Friday, July 20, 2007

Subtlety can’t be drawn in crayon.

Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy is soon to kick off its celluloid debut. The adaptation of the first book will be released worldwide under the title “The Golden Compass”; the name the novel carried in North America, as opposed to its original branding, “The Northern Lights”.
This, unusually, doesn’t irk me too much. I cringe more at the fact that it’s a slap in the face for the author. Titles of literary works are carefully chosen by those that pen them and money-grabbing marketing types changing them on the grounds that someone somewhere may not know what said title indicates strikes me as, well; dumb.
As I said, though; this particular case doesn’t get the bile flowing. Both titles are relevant to the story, though only one carries a sense of cold mystery. The other has all the subtlety of a bludgeon painted bright yellow with 8 shrieking ferrets bound to it.
It does, however, give me licence to scream, bitch and point accusingly at a case from the past:
The first Harry Potter book.
Its title on fair Blighty was “The Philosopher’s Stone”, but on release in the US it was renamed “The Sorcerer’s Stone” because the American publishers didn’t think the readers would know what a philosopher was.
I find that move somewhat alarming as the publishers in question are called “Scholastic”.
What kind of company going under THAT moniker takes away an opportunity to pose a question? An opportunity to get a child to look something up? To learn?
Or, easier still; give them a reason to read the bloody book! The answer’s inside!!
Now, I’ve spoken with them, joked with them and engaged them in highly intelligent conversation, so I can say with authority that the Americans aren’t thick, as the rest of the world oft suggests. Wider, on the occasion, but not thick.
Their media organisations and distributers, however, seem convinced that the general population of the US is made up of barely conscious Neanderthals and so, treat them as such.
That an upcoming film is being released WORLDWIDE as “The Golden Compass” is a sign that this train of thought is spreading: the opinion that the public are dumb. Give them something bright and shiny to look at and they’ll be happy.
But I’m not. And if I’m not I’ll wager that others aren’t either.
We LIKE subtlety. We LIKE to work things out over the course of the book/film/TV Series/game. We LIKE it when things don’t become clear until the very end.
All of that can be undermined by a change in a name.
Some may think that it’s an overreaction to get into a twist over a title change, but it’s not the CHANGE that’s the ultimate problem. The problem is the talentless, unimaginative, exploitative people that are RESPONSIBLE for the change, and that they have the power to do so at the drop of a hat.
I’m worried what will become of the creative endeavour if they’re allowed to continue dumbing things down. If you give a person reason use their brain, they become smarter. But if you treat someone like a moron they eventually think they are one.
And what will become of us then?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Chloe HQ

A little ring of islands in the South Pacific.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Advice for Street Fighters:

Always cover those tender areas.......

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Just roll the bloody film!

I miss video.
No, I don’t miss the hissing, crackly sound, the grainy picture or the stretching and distortion of this film through continued use….usually during very specific points in movies of a particular nature.
What I miss is the freedom, the utter, indescribable bliss of being able to fast-forward through the anti-piracy warnings, the copyright notices and those fekking, over-elaborate, “is this the film? Oh no, it’s not.” Studio logos. Dear GOD, how I miss being able to sit down in front of the TV and having the power to zoom straight to the opening credits.
But that privilege has been stripped from us by the mighty Satan that is Dynamic Video.
Press it as hard as you like; the ‘Skip’ button is there only to taunt you.
No longer can we watch a film from the get-go. First, we must endure 25 minutes of legal bumf, displayed in writing so small that only those rich enough to have jumped on the high-def band-wagon can read.
Then we come to the insanely lengthy studio logo, which is animated to a fan-fare that may as well be a funeral dirge as, by this point, all but the most sedate people will have woven a crude noose from their chair-lining.
God forbid the studio is celebrating an “anniversary” the year of the DVD’s release – this animation goes on for even longer.
25 years? Since what? I put the disk in?!
On a few occasions, I’ve witnessed this animation run TWICE. Once to inform you of the studio that made the film (in case you missed it plastered all over the box) and again to remind you that it’s one of their DVDs you’re watching (in case you thought you were in a cinema).
Thanks, chaps. Can we see the film now?
‘Course not!
With the formalities out of the way; on comes the menu, which is completely unresponsive until yet more time-wasting animations play, revealing the options available in obscure ways that make no sense until you’ve actually seen the movie (which, by now, seems unlikely to ever transpire).
When this has at last finished, those that have not yet hung themselves out of boredom may be thinking that they’ll live to see the film.
“Huzzah!” some will cheer….all too soon.
DVDs have one last evil act to commit: compulsory spoilers.
These are the little clips from the movie that play either as the menu is running through its tedious animation or when you click on an option and they invariably contain some gripping scene or piece of action.
At least, it would be gripping, had it not been removed from the context of the film. Its carefully scripted build-up hacked away by people that clearly know squat about film or entertainment in general.
They may as well just print on the screen “Willis is a ghost!” or “Spacey is the killer!”.
I think I’ve just worked out why piracy is so rampant on the DVD format.
People don’t buy them because they want to watch films on the cheap, they buy them because they want to watch films without having to wade through all of the above. Something pirates kindly cut out.
Thank ye, Jack Sparrow!

(I will not be upstaged by a chipmunk!)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Chloe Sandwich.

No; it's not what you think :)

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Beasts of Basra

According to the good people of Basra, Iraq; the nefarious British Army has unleashed an evil new weapon in an effort to sow panic amid the populous:
Well, never let it be said that the Iraqis were unoriginal in their claims.
Yes, the Blighty Battalions are being blamed for the appearance of a vicious breed of the beastie near their headquarters and surrounding area.
Were it any other nation’s military that the accusations were being hurled at, I’d say they were absurd. But history tells us that absurdity is what the British forces do best, and I’m not about to put badger-deployment past them.
What I must question, though, is the eyewitness statements of these “ferocious” animals at work.
One Iraqi farmer stated that he had watched one of the badgers eat an entire cow.
I don’t claim to be a badger expert in any shape or form, but I did catch a few episodes of Springwatch earlier in the year and I don’t recall the badger-obsessed Bill Oddie ever mentioning the critters having a penchant for cattle decimation.
Perhaps the boffins at Special Weapons have developed some sort of Super Badger?
God, I hope not.
Every time they’ve tried to use animals in warfare it’s always gone horribly, horribly wrong.
The time they tied bombs to bats, for example. During the second world war they hoped that said nocturnal nightmares would flap their way over to German hangers and explode their planes….forgetting the fact that one hanger is just the same as another to a bat….only the British ones were closer.
Or what about the infamous dolphins? Trained for months to stick limpet mines to enemy ships and when released into the open waters for the first time….they drop the explosives and fek off.
People, specifically military people, tend to underestimate “lesser” animals’ desire not to get blown to bits and it’s very hard not to admire their care-free attitude.
Animals simply sit on the sidelines of war, not giving a hoot who wins or loses. They just point and laugh as another stupid human gets his leg blown off.
And then they eat him.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

[Much used office software made by people that can afford better lawyers than me] 2007

First, let me make it clear; I am NOT averse to change, especially when it is for the better. Anything that allows me to work faster, more efficiently or with greater ease I generally welcome with open arms and offer tea and biscuits (The nice kind. In foil wrapping).
However, if change brings about headaches, frustration and gnashing of teeth; out comes the cricket bat and its standard Midland quota of nails.
For work purposes I have recently been forced to upgrade to the latest edition of the software these few paragraphs are poised to lynch and have since been asking myself one question:
A vague query, you may think, especially if you are unfamiliar with the offending package (though, if you’re computer-savvy enough to be trawling through other people’s blogs, that seems unlikely).
Why, I ask, after countless versions, after conditioning millions of users, after allowing them to develop a comfortable familiarity with the layout of the interface, have the makers of this software gone and changed everything?!
Five seconds (probably less, actually) after the update I knew I had made a mistake and that my working life was to become a misery for months to come. All the icons had changed, the buttons that performed certain functions had been moved (nay; HIDDEN) and, greatest annoyance of all; the dictionary had been set to U.S. spelling.
Now, Colonists, I really don’t give a rat’s rectum what hideous and unsavoury things you do to The Queen’s English on your side of the pond, so long as it stays there. And forcing me to spend one hair-tearing hour searching through the endless menus and unhelpful help-pages in order to switch the dictionary, permanently, to U.K. spelling…..well, that’s just rude.
Who was it that thought such changes would be a good idea?
Who was it that decided to throw away years of development and force everyone to start from scratch, relearning the interface and probably costing businesses a sh*tload of money as work-rate drops while poor sods like me fumble around with the unwieldy nonsense foisted upon them?
It’s like suddenly asking people to drive on the other side of the road!
Ha d the update simply been a cosmetic change, with new elements neatly slotted into place by the old, I wouldn’t be seething as I am. In the past there’s always been an option to switch to ‘Classic’ mode, making it seem like there’s been no change at all. Perfect!
But the bastards seem to have removed that too.
Or hidden it.
To me, the 2007 update is the most irritating thing this (anonymous-in-this-rant-but-quite-easily-identified-as-they-have-the-market-cornered) software maker has forced upon us poor consumers.
Even worse than that fekking paper-clip…..

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Testing testing.

Hey, look! I made a Blog!

.......and I have no idea what to here's a pic of a lady with big boobs.