What? It’s not spring 2005? It’s the end of 2005? Dammit, this happens every year. I just get used to it being 2005, I feel like I’m in the swing of things and then it goes and ends before I’ve even noticed summer coming.
Right, that’s it. This year I am making a resolution to enjoy summer more. And to get my doctorate. And to make a decent living from being creative rather than living on a little more than a pittance. Hm… These aims might be a bit contradictory…
‘Have a good, safe night everyone and I’ll see you in 2006.
To the future! Ho!
Merry seasons everyone, here’s my new Mittens animation:
While I’m here, don’t forget last shipping dates in my shop are drawing very near:
Western Europe 14th
If you would like something then please order as soon as possible!
Hurrah! At bloomin’ last I can take credit cards in my shop.
I can cover Visa, Mastercard, Switch/Maestro, Delta, Solo, Electron, and even Purchasing (if you’re lucky enough to be trusted with one of those).
Shipping dates are getting close for Christmas though:
Western Europe 14th
Don’t hang around!
Shoppity shop shop
Based on my Mittens series (in case you’ve no idea what I’m on about).
I’m also working on having full credit-card facilities up and running by the end of next week, so if you don’t like Paypal you only need to wait a little while before another option is available.
Circlefish Flash game
It’s simple to play, just use the arrow keys to guide your dot and collect the numbers in the right order. If you hit the wrong number you have to start again. It’s as easy as that… In theory!
As always, if you like it, please pass the link on to friends or forums you’re on.
It seems that there might have been some problems with a password protection system interfering with my shop but that should be fixed now, so if you tried buying something before please pop back and give it another go.
Additionally, if you dislike Paypal, I’m in the process of getting full credit card facilities set up so people don’t have to use Paypal anymore. That’s a few weeks away yet, but I thought I’d keep you posted.
While I’m here, don’t forget to start shopping trips to Amazon .com and .co.uk from the search boxes on my site! Thank you!
Right, I’m off to work on the introduction to my thesis for a while. It’s the last chapter I’ve got left to write. It’s very exciting to at last be so close to finishing!
Did you know you enter into an agreement whenever you buy a CD from $ony? The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a virtual rights campaign group, have read through the 3000 word end-user license and kindly summarised the highlights:
1. If your house gets burgled, you have to delete all your music from your laptop when you get home. That’s because the EULA says that your rights to any copies terminate as soon as you no longer possess the original CD.
2. You can’t keep your music on any computers at work. The EULA only gives you the right to put copies on a “personal home computer system owned by you.”
3. If you move out of the country, you have to delete all your music. The EULA specifically forbids “export” outside the country where you reside.
4. You must install any and all updates, or else lose the music on your computer. The EULA immediately terminates if you fail to install any update. No more holding out on those hobble-ware downgrades masquerading as updates.
5. Sony-BMG can install and use backdoors in the copy protection software or media player to “enforce their rights” against you, at any time, without notice. And Sony-BMG disclaims any liability if this “self help” crashes your computer, exposes you to security risks, or any other harm.
6. The EULA says Sony-BMG will never be liable to you for more than $5.00. That’s right, no matter what happens, you can’t even get back what you paid for the CD.
7. If you file for bankruptcy, you have to delete all the music on your computer. Seriously.
8. You have no right to transfer the music on your computer, even along with the original CD.
9. Forget about using the music as a soundtrack for your latest family photo slideshow, or mash-ups, or sampling. The EULA forbids changing, altering, or make derivative works from the music on your computer.
This all seems massively draconian, but it also makes me wonder what other products have similar restrictions on them that I may have unknowingly broken.
Additional: $ony are now being sued over the rootkit software.
If you’ve not already updated your version of Flash player then now’s a good time to do it. After years of getting away with being a very secure system, Flash Player 7 has had a vulnerability revealed ‘that could allow the execution of arbitrary code’, in other words it could allow a website to install nasty stuff on your machine.
It works by creating a specifically broken form of a .swf file that permits code to be run that wouldn’t normally be permitted by the Flash Player. Flash Player 7 has been around for a few years now, so it’s a good sign for its security that it’s taken this long to come to light, but now is a good time to upgrade to Flash Player 8.
It’s free and easy to do, just follow the instructions here.
You can find out more about the vulnerability here.
Upgrading also means that you can play the latest Flash content, which has some very cool graphical effects, and other cool stuff that animators love.
I’ve had a fair few emails from people asking for Matazone stuff over the last few weeks and I’ve finally got my hands on the remaining stock of Little Goth Girl things from Blue Banana. I’m not going to keep going with them, so everything made by them in my shop is the last stock: if you miss it then it’s not coming back.
Sorry chaps, the tops are all for ladies, that’s just the way that Blue Banana did things!
To get things rolling I’ve got a deal going on the Little Goth Girl ‘bowling bags’, which have a cool retro-50s style to them. Usually they are £12 but I’ve knocked them down to £7.50. This offer will only be running until the end of this month (November) so grab them up before they go back to their usual price!
The offer on corsets is still running, that’s 10% off their usual price and every 21st corset I sell will be free (I’ll refund the price
of the corset). That’s probably the best deal on professionally made corsets going on the web! If you’re thinking of getting one as a Christmas present I’d ask if you could please order as early as possible (in the next two weeks preferably) because they are only made when the order is placed so time has to be allowed for that and for shipping.
Get ’em while they last!
A friend of mine has been touring festivals with some of my old stock and he’s now selling it off at serious bargain prices on eBay:
Bidding ends on the 13th November.
It’s all gone a bit creepy at Matazone Towers:
Something In Throats
Don’t forget, if you fancy donating then use the links on the top right of the animation pages, or you can buy something from my shop (there should be Little Goth Girl things arriving very soon and the corsets still have some great offers), or alternatively just start a shopping trip on Amazone.co.uk or .com using the search boxes on the pages and my site will get 5% of what you spend. It’s all good.
Well, it’s 7am here. I’ve worked on this animation solidly for a silly amount of hours, so now I think I really should try and get some sleep.
I’ve written here about The Burning Man festival/event/thing before, but here’s a really nice 17 minute video by Jen Friedberg that does a good job of showing how difficult it is to explain the appeal of the place:
There are quite a few interview pieces in the film, which give some nice background to individuals’ Burning Man stories and experiences, but for me I think it’s just seeing some of the art pieces moving that really makes the video capture some of the feel of it… whatever it is!
Once again, I think I’m failing to put the pull of that desert into words, but I think the three person mobile ferris wheel at the start of the video probably does a good job of summrising it, as does the naked guy dancing with two umbrellas 14min 30secs in. His little section, with slightly off-rails interview, summarises some of the contradiction about the event too: you want to go and do things by and about yourself, but half the time you also want to constantly be recording things to show others who aren’t there. It’s sometimes tricky to get the balance right between taking part there and then and taking it home outside of your memories.
If you’ve got the time, it’s a nice little film.
I remember the first time I ever saw anything from the Burning Man. It was some sort of global new-culture documentary show and there was a small section of a man dancing in the desert as the sun came up. I think he was naked, it was pretty clear he’d been dancing a long time, and I suspect that there wasn’t any music outside of his head. I couldn’t tell you why that left such a powerful impression on me, but I wanted to be there.
Due to a massive lack of funds caused by international trade issues out of my hands, the economic slowdown in the UK, and goodness knows how many other things, I’m re-opening my on-site shop.
At the moment I’ve only got corsets by Snobz in there and some badges left from the last time I was running the shop. Little Goth Girl bags and T-shirts will turn up at some point in the next two weeks, but I’m not sure when.
I’m really pleased with the deal I’ve got on the corsets. They’re really good ones and I’ve got them for 10% cheaper than you’ll find (decent ones) elsewhere, plus there’s the chance that you won’t even have to pay for it…
I’ve decided that after every twenty corsets that I sell the next person will get theirs free, so I’ll refund the money for the corset and pop it in the post to them. You’ll never know if it’s going to be you, but you won’t find other websites giving away free corsets!
As usual, I’m pretty sure that I’ve got it all tested, but if you do have any problems with the shop please let me know as soon as possible!
In other news: I’ve got the Halloween animation written, and so I’m going to try and allocate some time to making it over the next few days. I’m really pleased with the way the story has panned out, so I hope that I can give it at least reasonable graphics in time for Halloween. It may end up with a lot of static shots: they also take up a lot of time to draw, but they’re usually faster than animation.
After the massively successful recent series of Doctor Who there will be a new series next year. After that series has finished there will be a new 13 episode series called Torchwood starring the Captain Jack character.
It will be shown on BBC3, a slightly off-mainstream branch of BBC television that generally aims its programming at a slightly more cult audience. The programme is described as being aimed at adults so it will be shown after 9pm. Unlike Doctor Who, that travels around many locations, Torchwood will be set in Cardiff, keeping the same location each week. “The drama features investigators solving human and alien crime.” Who would have thought that so much alien crime happens in Cardiff?
Actually, having met a few people from Cardiff… 😉
“It’s going to be a dark, wild and sexy roller-coaster ride…I can’t wait to explore Captain Jack even more,” says John Barrowman, the chap who plays Captain Jack. Given Jack’s flirting with the Doctor and the writer Russel T. Davies’ history of writing scripts about gay issues (Queer As Folk, for example) I’m going to be very interested to see how this turns out. It should be a good laugh, and Davies hasn’t done anything bad yet. Even his very early work on the children’s sci-fi series Dark Season was fantastic.
Torchwood should be on screens at the end of 2006 after next year’s Doctor Who series has been shown. More details here (BBC News) and here (official announcement with links to interviews).
There’s a new Mr Snaffleburger animation online:
Mr Snaffleburger Dolphin Products
It’s been a long time since I’ve made anything for Mr Sb, so my site really was due an update on everyone’s favourite corrupt corporation. Well… Some people’s favourite anyway… As always, please pass on the animation to anyone who you think might like it!
You’ll need Flash Player 8 to see the animation if you don’t already have it. You can download the latest Flash Player here. This is my first public play around with the new features. There are a whole load of new optical filters that you can mess around with. I’ve tried not to go too overboard with them, but it’s difficult to resist sometimes!
While I’m here, please remember that, if you’re buying something from Amazon.co.uk or .com this Christmas (or any time), start your session using the search boxes at the bottom of the pages on my site and 5% of what you spend gets donated to my site. Amazon doesn’t tell you that you’re doing this, but it works and I’m very grateful for the support.
Amazon.co.uk search box:
Amazon.com search box:
I’ve been working on a Mr Snaffleburger advert for a little while now. It’s looking pretty good, and I finally finished the animation on it today, so now I have the tedious job of brushing up the audio and doing the interface stuff (buttons at the end, intro blurb, HTML stuff, that kind of thing). It’s strange, because sometimes it’s very engrossing and other times I just want it to be over. I think at the moment I’m itching to get back to my PhD so I just want to get this finished, but these are things that you just can’t scrimp on otherwise the whole animation suffers. There’s no point in spending days (or weeks, or months) on something if you’re just going to rush the details. It’s also at this point in proceedings that it’s easy to overlook something. Quite often I upload a new animation at least twice because there’s always something I notice I’ve missed after the first upload.
I’m not at all certain what I’m going to do about Halloween this year. I’ve got one really great story that I’m very excited to tell, but, to give it the presentation that it deserves, it may take a lot of work to produce, and I’m planning on handing in a PhD thesis chapter on the 31st too. I do have another idea that’s suitable thematically for Halloween, but it’s very silly and I’d rather make something scary. We’ll see.
I’ve had an email about the comparison of the Mr Snaffleburger to Fahrenheit 451. I thought I’d put what I wrote in here because similar topics often come up in emails to me.
My Mr Snaffleburger animations are a satire on corporate policies that attempt to restrict the thoughts and expressions of the general populous. By controlling the language that people use you can control the way that they think, and corporate advertising tries to do this all the time. McDonald’s current slogan in the UK (possibly in the US too) is ‘I’m loving it’. That’s not ‘You’re loving it’ or ‘You’ll love it’. By using the first person and the present tense there is the implication that a friend is telling you this information (indicated by the carefully chosen desirable people in the adverts) but also the text will be read by viewers in their own heads. The use of the present tense creates a kinaesthetic reaction in the brain, triggering a strong emotional connection to the advertised product. Think about eating a burger, now think about love, now think of product name X. The resulting combination is ‘Mmmm, tasty Snaffleburgers!’ even if you think that the food is pretty average (at best!). Every person who sees the adverts recites to themself ‘I’m loving it’ even when they know that this blatantly isn’t true.
There’s a system of positive thinking called Neuro Linguistic Programming (usually referred to as NLP for obvious reasons!) which teaches people to think good things as a way of getting the rest of the mind to believe it and make it become true. When you tell yourself something repeatedly the rest of your mind works out ways to make it happen. When McDonald’s get viewers to repeatedly read ‘I’m loving it’ they are programming the unconscious mind of the viewers to feel more positive about McDonald’s products.
The short version: corporate advertising is often pretty evil.
If you like Fahrenheit 451 then you really should read 1984 by George Orwell. It’s full of superb ideas about the use of language for domination of the masses. Books are one of the key ways that we can ensure continuity of learning between generations and are essential for our intellectual survival. Equally, we need to take control of our own media to highlight the things that are being done to us and to create our own messages. The internet has levelled the playing field a bit, so we now have a tool for mass communication available to us that we have to use to counteract messages that are not always in our best interest. We don’t have the advertising budgets to get our message out to people in the same way that large corporations do, but we are still in a stronger position to take back the media than we probably have been since the invention of the printing press!
I’m not saying that all corporations are bad, or that they are bad by their nature, only that individuals need to keep in mind their own goals and not bend to those that they don’t want. I enjoy watching films. I like science-fiction and comic-book heroes. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to go and see the Fantastic Four just because it’s been aggressively marketed at me because frankly it just didn’t strike me as being any good, but I have enjoyed the Blade films (UK link US link) so I’m happy to pay for them. We live in a society where we need to find a balance between keeping that capitalist structure running and ensuring that our own mental well-being is best served by our actions and feelings. We can’t trust everything we are told by those with interests in taking our money, but there’s nothing wrong with spending it if it’s on something that you genuinely do enjoy.
The Old Mutant Songstress
The Flying Spaghetti Monster At Christmas
‘Hope you like the poems. I’m into the last three months of my PhD course (after about six and a half years of work on it) so that’s taking a lot of my time. There will be a lot more animations when that’s out of the way! Working on the thesis takes a lot of concentration, and making little silly things like this helps me impersonate sanity.
It looks like gamers are being nice and charitable. Loads of gaming related companies are doing nice things to try and support the Red Cross and other related Hurricane Katrina related groups.
Bungie (makers of Halo) are selling T-shirts on their site and all profits from their shop in September go towards aid
Everquest II has got a new command added, ‘/donate’ that takes players to the donation site
Even Penny Arcade are auctioning original artwork on eBay
Who says that all gamers know how to do is kill and kill again?
Okay, it’s not very good, but assuming for a quick play:
The Flying Spaghetti Monster Game