Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Another Idea I will Never Finish - Example 2.

I'm waiting to get my first proper two-page comic "DIMENSIONAL ADVENTURE!" scanned and sorted, so in the meantime I thought I'd throw up my first attempt at doing a proper organized comic. I tried it a few years back and never completed it.

It was for a character I created called "Johnny Bubonic". A normal college student who had been entrusted with a secret mission to protect a microchip that had been implanted into his brain. Or at least, that's what he thought. In fact, he had simply been abducted by bored scientists, who injected him with a whole host of degenerative illnesses.

The idea was going to be that he would go through each day at college, waiting to be called upon to fulfill his duties.... but no one would never call.... and his body would continue to fall apart whilst he tried to live a normal life.

Anyway, although I thought the idea had legs, i never really got into it enough to complete it. So here is the sum total of the completed panels... I had scripted the dialogue for the scene... but never inked it up. Haha. So just imagine that the protagonist Johnny is explaining to his friend about his abduction the previous night... and his new codename.

As soon as I've scanned up my "DIMENSIONAL ADVENTURE!" I'll post it up for you to see.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Bank Robbery by Hypnosis.

MOSCOW, Russia — Bank robbers have threatened tellers with knives, shot their way into banks and tunnelled up into vaults. But one woman in southern Russia chose a more peaceful method: Police say Galina Korzhova hypnotised a bank teller into handing over tens of thousands of dollars in what is believed to be just one in a series of daring, if non-violent, bank robberies.

Galina Korzhova was arrested, said Anton Kornoukhov, a spokesman for police in the southern city of Volgograd, on suspicion of hypnotising a bank teller in the nearby town of Volzhky into giving her more than $80,000. She is suspected of having robbed up to 30 additional banks in what Russian media have called a "grand tour" around the country.

Police say that Korzhova is a "tsiganka," or Roma. Police, who are often criticized for racial profiling, say this type of crime is most often perpetrated by Roma who are traditionally involved in fortune telling and are often seen begging in Russia.

The Roma, or Gypsies, are nomadic people who live throughout Europe. Human rights groups say they are severely discriminated against in Russia and that police routinely assume their guilt and harass them.

Source: GlobalPost

Friday, 18 December 2009

Scientists discover Water Rich, Earth-Like Planet

Astronomers have discovered a new Earth-like planet that is larger than our own and may be more than half covered with water, according to a study published Wednesday in the science journal Nature.

The so-called "super Earth" is about 42 light years away in another solar system and has a radius nearly 2.7 times larger than that of our planet, according to the study by the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics.

The discovery of the planet, called GJ 1214b (sweet name), represents a "major step forward" in the search for worlds similar to the Earth, added the University of California's Geoffrey Marcy in a commentary also in Nature.

The "newfound world" is too hot to sustain life as we know it, said the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics in a statement.

Its density suggests however it "is composed of about three-fourths water and other ices and one fourth-rock," it said. "There are also tantalising hints that the planet has a gaseous atmosphere."

Its temperature is estimated at between 280 and 120 degrees Celsius (536 and 248 degrees Fahrenheit) with its host star about one-fifth the size of the Sun, according to the scientists.

"Despite its hot temperature, this appears to be a waterworld," says Zachory Berta, a graduate student who first spotted hints of the planet's presence.

"It is much smaller, cooler and more Earthlike than any other known exoplanet," he said in the statement.

An exoplanet is one outside of our solar system.

Source: Yahoo

Monday, 14 December 2009

This bugs me... 100%

When the fuck did people stop knowing how to use percentages?

X-Factor this year had Robbie Williams giving "111%", The Runner up giving "115" & "116" percent on regular occasions. On Talk shows people constantly say they are going to give "110%" to sort their lives out, or that they are "136%" sure that it is not their baby, or whatever.

Can everyone PLEASE stop being so God damn stupid. It's embarrassing.

I mean, there has always been a small portion of sports commentators and agents who would use that "I want you to give 110%" Bullshit. But now it seems EVERYONE is always giving more than the maximum percentage possible! It is idiotic and totally self-devaluing.
Let me clear this up.

You can only give/achieve 100 percent o
f your potential. You can not, under any circumstances, achieve more than 100% or your potential. It's not possible.

Lets break down the word here, Sesame Street style, to make it easier to understand.

Per - Cent"
Per - 100"

So you can only get 100 per 100... see?

If there were 100 questions on a test. You can only get 100 answers right.
If there were 100 toys in a room scattered over the floor. You could only pick 100 toys up.
If you go out and perform, and give it your all. You have given 100%. That is the best you can ever do.

That's 100% of the potential achieved.

If indeed you go out on stage, or on the football pitch, and you play even BETTER than last time... which you SWORE was 100%, then either last time you didn't really give 100% (and you were lying), or you have simply improved... in which case, you haven't given any higher percentage of goodness... you have simply changed the parameters of your percentage.

This constant distortion of percentages is self defeating... because once you destroy 100% as the Absolute, then every point above it will wear out it's power. 110% isn't good enough once you've given 111% in a performance... And god forbid you should just go out and give 100%, because that's more like 90% really... isn't it?

Perhaps we should have 360 be the top, and then each degree of a pie-chart would be a percentage? In fact, eventually 1000% will become the top, and then everyone achieving percentages in the hundreds will be considered slackers.

I blame competition programs such as X-Factor etc for this growth in public stupidity. People being exposed to maths distortion on a weekly basis by television stars is detrimental to the national IQ. It's ridiculous and anyone I hear doing it in future, will instantly lose 100% respect from me.

Post Script Note: The only time a percentage higher than 100 can EVER be used, is if you are using it to demonstrate how much better you are performing against a target that was set for you. Because 100% of that Target does not necessarily represent 100% of what is achievable.

The Snout - Comic Ad (Colour Version)

Earlier this year I posted a comic I had drawn on my trip to Florence/Tuscany. It was at the height of the Swine Flu Scare and I had seen all these little oriental ladies running around in face masks and I got a sweet marketing idea.

Here is the colour version of the advert for my invention. Ironic Germ-ware, "The Snout".

Click on the image to enlarge it to a ridiculously massive size.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Soldiers of Fortune? - The cynical side of Christmas

Look... this might just be me but, does anyone else find that "The Soldiers" pop group a little bit in bad taste???

Releasing an album & single called "Coming Home" at a time like this is a piss take of the poor families whose sons and daughters won't be coming home this Christmas... because they are still fighting in the Middle East. For a war (and a progressive occupation) that the public didn't even agree with in the first place.

This is the most disgustingly cynical attack on the nations' heartstrings, for a cheap Christmas buck... and I am genuinely sickened every time I see their advert on TV, or hear their song on the radio. Plus... It's not even GOOD!

Ok... maybe I'm being unfair.... so some of the money is going to charity... SOME. Which is great and all, but that is in no way the primary reason for this release. The reason for this release is to get people emotional enough to part with their hard earned money at Tesco's. (While they wait in the queue, to buy their dinner for one.)

Not cool.

Rufus Wainwright: Retrospectivism

Rufus Wainwright is a hero of mine. One of about ten musicians through time, who I literally have to own and memorize everything they produce. He is the prodigal son of Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, the brother of Martha Wainwright, and the heir to a folk music dynasty.

In the way that most princes do, Rufus has explored decadence and debauchery. Experimenting heavily with drugs and promiscuity in his late teens and early twenties, and falling out with his father for a great many years after a fight over his ego & sexuality. You see, Rufus is gay, not just ‘gay’ gay, but ‘gay and proud to wear fairy wings and stilettos on stage’ gay. He is a gay ICON.

But beyond his sexual preference, and his camp and boyish charm… he is a MUSICAL GENIUS. Now that is a term that is chucked around at random these days (see Pete Doherty et cetera), which few people deserve, but Rufus is actually true musical genius personified. He is pop music’s Mozart, with the lyrical sensibilities of Leonard Cohen, the free vision of the Beatles, and a baritone voice that could fell a mountain.

He is fucking astounding.

I first discovered Rufus through the Sean Penn film ‘I Am Sam’. The film itself was quite good, but interestingly was sound tracked entirely with contemporary Beatles covers. One of the standout tracks of the film was Rufus’s cover of ‘Across the Universe’. It is not very often that you hear a cover that is on par with the original, (especially when the original was from one of the world’s biggest band, but like Joe Cocker’s version of “With a Little Help From My Friends”, Rufus’s version arguably surpasses the original in it’s beauty.

From there I explored his then, quite slim, back catalogue, first rejecting his self titled debut for being too chipper, but falling in love with his second effort “Poses”. A record steeped in traditional songwriting, but with a touch of the austere about it. Or at least, something that I could sense was more ambitious than your average singer/songwriter. The unusual phrasings, the complex harmonies, and the delicate strokes of light and dark.

I was hooked.

I attempted to interest any and all that I could in his work, but found some difficulty in interesting young people… his music was too complex, too varied, too… interesting.

Adults however, seemed to respond much better, his talent and bold vision, although in a different genre, harks back to the likes of Queen etc. Adults understand music that is both intricate and bombastic, younger people, it seems, do not.

A while later saw the release of his masterpiece double set “Want 1” & “Want 2”. A collection of some of the greatest songs any modern songwriter has attempted. The cover of “Want 1” even originally brandished a sticker with a quote from Elton John, stating that Rufus was the “greatest songwriting talent of our time” (or words to that effect), A strong sentiment from a songwriter of Elton’s calibre.

The “Want” series really demonstrated the depth and breadth of Rufus’s vision. It contained the solid melodies and hooks of his former efforts, but now dressed in all the flourishes of Classical Music, and with structures that allowed the listener to take more of a journey with the songs. The second part of the series also showed so much more of Wainwright’s dark side, allowing him to play more with his ideas of religion, pain, and death.

It wasn’t until the release of the first disc of “Want” that I revisited his debut and finally understood it. I absolutely love that record now, it’s naivety and youth. It really shows that sometimes you have to give things a second chance.

It was during the “Want” tours that I first saw him in concert. I took my mother to the show, having introduced her to his music via the underrated medium of the ‘mix-tape’, and we went there expecting a stripped down version of the records. On the contrary, his live show was just as ambitious as his records, with the band swapping instruments constantly, and handling all the harmonies. It was really quite special. Since then me and my mum try and catch him every time he hits Europe.

After a short break, Rufus went on to deliver his most ‘pop’ record in: “Release the Stars”. His first album to receive any overground acclaim and success beyond that of the respect of his peers. It still had some of the audacity of the “Want” series, but this time he presented his musical medicine in the form of a sugar pill.

I was lucky enough to accidentally happen upon him performing the songs live in HMV Oxford Street, London on the date of it’s release. I had gone into the shop to buy the record, and then heard his voice coming from down the stairs! And although the stairs were shut off, I could still see and hear him from the balcony… extremely fortuitous timing I think.

Since then Rufus has tried his hand at writing an Opera, “Prima Donna”, performed as Judy Garland, and is in the process of creating new work which will doubtlessly change my perception of the possibilities within music once again.

Seriously, if you have never listened to Rufus, or indeed given him a second chance, then you really should. He comes from a family that makes music great until they DIE, so with any luck we’ve got years ahead of us to enjoy his work. I’ve selected a few of his songs to dot about this Retrospectivism piece… but felt I needed to write more than usual to truly demonstrate the love I have for his work.

Listen. Enjoy. Spread the word.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Guerilla on a Bike

Outraged Cyclists in New York City decided to repaint a removed bike lane, captured on video:

It has been reported that two men were arrested yesterday for trying to re-paint a bike lane on a 14-block stretch on Bedford avenue in Brooklyn. The bike lane had recently been removed by the city because of complaints by some local groups (the usual stuff about having fewer parkings and “hurting local businesses”).

The video contains a manifesto about saftey for cyclists.

Source: TreeHugger

Sunday, 6 December 2009

So this is Birthday... And what have we done?

The famous opening line from John and Yoko's 1970's hit song, "Happy Birthday (Year Is Over)".

Written in Octember of 1971... But today that song has a particular relevance to me... as it is my birthday.

Birthdays are weird things, you know... You spend much of your young life wishing for them to come quickly, and then as you age you begin to hope that they come around less and less often. I mean... with many of my current circle of friends, I don't even know their birthdays, as they don't really want it to be a big deal. It's kind of embarrassing having a "ME ME ME" day, right?

Anyway, I've always had a strange relationship with my "annual womb escape remembrance day", as... although I have fond memories of my childhood birthdays, I had a lot of shit parties in my early teens.... And because of their total suckiness (versus the good times kid birthdays), they really put me off making a big deal about my yearly shame.

In fact, I'll quickly tell you this, the main culprit for this Birthday vibe-kill, was from when I was about 12 or 13... I was in American Air Force schooling in Croughton, England, and it was a couple of weeks before my birthday. I decided to have a party, invited everyone and their dog, got my mum to get truckloads of snacks, and then on the day I sat nervously and waited in my front room for all the guests to show up.

Well, rather dissappointingly only TWO guests showed up. One was this weird kid I sat across from in Social Studies Class (Who once told me about how he had to get an operation on his twisted ballsack), and one was my local youth group leader.

Sweet party.

When I went to school the next week, everyone ran the excuse of "thinking it was the week after" or whatever, but seriously... whether or not that's true. Fuck you.

...And I know that everyone has had shit birthdays, but that stuff sticks in your head right?

In any case, today I venture further into my adulthood, and intend to celebrate it with a modest meal at my favourite local restaurant. If you want to celebrate it with me, have a Budweiser in my name wherever you may be.

Retrospectivism - Saul Williams

This article is part of my regular "Retrospectivism" feature. (Yes... that's right... the feature I specifically created a word for. What of it?)

This week, I look back at a few of my favourite points in Poet/Rapper Saul Williams's career.

If you read my Rapper/Actor Blog you'll know I'm not the biggest fan of artists who spread their talents thinly across many plains of expression. And While Saul Williams has released albums, written books and appeared in films/TV I consider him an altogether different beast.

Saul Williams is a poet at his very core. In his art, books, music, and even in his film and television roles (notably 1998's Slam) he lives and breathes the art of words. His care for his art and expression is what makes him so unique, and so underrated in his every endeavour. And while he has toured with acts as large and diverse as Lauryn Hill, Nas, Nine Inch Nails, poet Allen Ginsberg, DJ Krust etc etc, he remains an underground alternative to everyday Hip Hop.

And yes I will agree, this IS Alternative Hip hop. He drops intelligent, personal, emotional & political vocals with the ferocity of a 70's punk, the fearlessness of a folk musician, the bombast of a preacher and the imagination of a prog lover. He's the genuine article and there's no one like him.

I've selected a few of his tracks/performances so you can get a feel for his work... but with the kind of artist he is... you need to delve deeper to really get the full sustenance he has to offer your soul.

His poetry book "S/He" is an amazing account of the decline of a relationship (specifically with the mother of his first daughter "Saturn"), and his book "Said the Shotgun to the Head" is literally FULL of prose I wish I had come up with.

I've been very lucky and have actually seen Saul perform on 3 separate occasions... each time was like a revelation in intensity and truth. If and when he revisits the UK, do yourself a favour and grab a ticket. You'll probably see me there.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Why the fuck do some people consider Eggs Dairy?

Look... this is just a short rant, (because my gripe is fairly self-explanatory) but seriously... why are Eggs commonly considered a Dairy product?

They are quite clearly a meat, or at least a potential one, but for some reason it is popularly misconstrued. I even fully remember food charts in classrooms when I was younger, quite unashamedly putting them alongside milk and cheese in the Dairy Group. And if, like me, you have the inclination to ask people at random what food group eggs belong to, this misconception proves popular... but why?

They share nothing in common with all the other "Dairy Products" that are consumed on a daily basis. They come from a completely different part of a completely different type of animal (an animal that doesn't even produce milk!). And you can't use them in place milk (or any of the other known dairy products) in a recipe.

In fact... as far as I can tell... Dairy is an exclusive term for milk and it's related processed products.

The only real connection with dairy products and eggs, is that both are sold in the same aisle in supermarkets. That is a fact. So in order to make it easier for ourselves to remember, we lump them in.

Pure laziness.

Well... There is also another reason for all of this idiocy which I've uncovered in my research. Apparently, it wasn't until 2005 that Eggs were officially considered a meat product. Up until then they were always represented as "Dairy Related", which to me is a cop out anyway. (You don't pick up a turtle from a beach and say "This is Fish related").

Long story short - Generations and generations of kids (including myself) were taught incorrectly.

Education does not end when you leave school people... so here I am schooling you on food groups... And if you get it wrong again I'll feed raw eggs to your babies and pour milk in your meringue mixture.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

NEW PILL BLOG - 2 Blogs for the price of 1!


Coming soon to a market near you, Gold Pills. That's right, these $425 capsules are both dipped in and filled with 24-karat gold. Ingesting them apparently "increases your self-worth". Which I suppose means that once you eat enough of them, you can start taking your poop to one of those stalls in the mall that buy gold, and sell it to them. By then you'll probably need to just to keep up your Gold eating habit.

An interesting side note, David Icke, (Ex-Sports Presenter, now speaker and writer on conspiracy theories) claims that there is a race of shape-shifting Lizard people living amongst us, and that they snort gold to encourage their transforming abilities. Apparently, that's why gold is so expensive.

So don't be surprised if you are suddenly able to grow that extra limb you always wanted.

Read about Lizard People: HERE

In other Pill related News... are Russians sucking the liquid fun out of alcohol?.

Russian professor Evgeny Moskalev of Saint Petersburg Technological University has evolved a technique that allows turning alcohol into powder and packing it in pills.

“Dry” vodka can be wrapped in paper and carried around in a pocket or a bag. Vodka in form of a pill would come handy at parties when “consumers” would be able to calculate their exact required dosage.

Either that or they could use it to spike people's actual drinks.

Source for both: Geekologie

Vampires? No... Hydrozoans mate.

In the heat of all this Vampire mania.... lets have a look at the world's only true "Immortal Creature": The...

Turritopsis Nutricula

Turritopsis nutricula may be the world’s only “immortal” creature. Jellyfish usually die after propagating, but Turritopsis reverts to a sexually immature stage after reaching adulthood and is capable of rejuvenating itself.

The 4-5mm diameter creature, technically known as a hydrozoan, is the only known animal that is capable of reverting to its juvenile polyp state. Theoretically, this cycle can repeat indefinitely, rendering it potentially immortal.

Found in warm tropical waters Turritopsis is believed to be spreading across the world as ships’ ballast water is discharged in ports.

Though solitary, they are predatory creatures and mature asexually from a polyp stage.

The jellyfish and its reversal of the ageing process is now the focus of research by marine biologists and geneticists. It is thought to achieve the feat through the cell development process of transdifferentiation, in which cells transform from one type to another.

The switching of cell roles is usually seen only when parts of an organ regenerate. However, it appears to occur normally in the Turritopsis life cycle.

Source: Times