Category Archives: Cool things

Explosions and knitted jubblies!

What do people do in offices? Many people have wondered this, and the answer is find videos of huge explosions.

This really is incredibly huge. I really hope that the area was cleared before it happened.

This one is funnier, firstly because no-one was nearby (a lack of fatality always helps joviality, I find) but also because the explosion was rather larger than they were expecting due to a ‘sunken WWII barge which they didn’t know was there’.

This is something else that a friend sent me: knitted chesty-bumps that are being used in hospitals. How odd!

Don’t forget, Trouble Down Pit is still being updated twice every week, Mondays and Fridays.

How to draw lips: some good tips

Over in my webcomic I’ve introduced a female character called Kitsune. One of the things that I discovered when I was drawing her is that I didn’t have a systematic approach to drawing lips. This was a pretty odd experience for me, because I’ve been drawing and painting all my life, but suddenly I’m working in the static cartoon style and my old approaches just don’t work for the medium.

I had a look around for some inspiration on the net and found three really nice pages:

for creative style and inspiration, I love Funny Cute’s lips. Katie Rice, who’s worked on for people like Spumco (best known for Ren & Stimpy), did a really good post showing lots of close ups of different lip styles. She has some really nice tips in there for how to achieve a similar exaggerated look to her own. The images don’t all work as well as each other, but the number of them gives you the chance to compare and decide what you think is best.

if you’re looking for something more realistic or manga styled then try this tutorial from PolyKarbon. The images are pretty clear, but there are some nice tips in the text as well so it’s worth taking a few minutes to read.

finally, there’s this one from SheezyArt. It’s not the best bit of drawing in the world, and it’s very light on technical details, but it was actually a big help in thinking about the process of drawing in the cartoon style. I come from a background where I mix a load of paint then create the lips with a sculpted stroke of the brush, so it was useful to see the cartoon style broken down into simple steps like this.

‘Hope some of you find these useful!

Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters

Did you know that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are comming back to the cinema? Amazingly, the trailer looks pretty cool.

In the meantime though, why not have some fun and read through some of the old Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters comics?

Designed as a parody of the TMNT, which were already a parody of Frank Miller’s comics to begin with, the ARBBH were a short-lived bit of fun. They even released 3D comics, and you don’t get much more retro than that.

I’m running a web-comic!

For those who aren’t on my mailing list, I’ve started running a web-comic, Trouble Down Pit.

The reason for this is simple: I just haven’t got enough time at the moment to produce animations on anything like the regular basis that I would like, so this way I can do a few panels in an hour or three and put something online that relieves the pressure of ideas-build-up in my head. Seriously, it can get quite painful if I don’t do anything about it. The doctor says I might explode. There’d be bits of Mata spread over a radius of precisely 1.4 miles, and you wouldn’t want that would you?

The comic will be updated every Monday and Friday, including a little bit of bloggy stuff beneath it. I’ll be keeping this blog running for ‘general cool stuff’ and the comic blog will often be more related to the comics or media.

Burning Man on Google Earth

Those of you with the marvellously fun Google Earth software might want to check out the map of the site this year.

Click this link to download and open a Google Earth link to the site. It’s actually slightly to the north-east of where that link lands you. People will be adding on the shapes of their camps over the next week-or-so, making for a 3D virtual version of the Burning Man ‘Black Rock City’. Aren’t computers cool?

(You’ll need the Google Earth software to make that link work. If you don’t already have it then you can download it for free here.)

Burning Man TV

So, if you’re still here and reading this then the chances are that you won’t be going to the Burning Man this year. I’m really missing it, it’s been four years since I last went and I was hoping to keep to a ‘every three years’ pattern. Nonetheless, the joys of broadband, the miracle of decent streaming video (brought to us by the superb new suite of video tools in Macromedia’s Flash 8) mean that we can see updates from the Burning Man all through the next week.

The videos will be going online here over at TV Free Burning Man. I can’t wait to see what people are getting up to, but it’ll be will a little sadness that I’m going to be sitting around in offices and working when I could be out in the glorious desert.

Do you know what the Burning Man is? If not, there’s also a nice little 5 minute documentary on that site about the event… Although, with over 35k citizens of Black Rock City every year, you will tend to find that there are 35k different answers to just what the Burning Man is, and what the Man means.

I really miss it.

Offset your carbon with Coolingman!

The people over at Coolingman have calculated that the Burning Man festival generates around 100 tons of carbon waste, so in the spirit of ‘leave no trace’ they have set up a trust to counteract this impact. They are people after my own hearts, because their target is not only to ‘leave not trace’ but to ‘leave things better’: they are aiming to offset 110 tons of carbon.

There are three ways to do this: planting a tree (cool), donating your business’ offsets (good, but not practical for individuals), and donating to fund the offsets of environmentally friendly carbon projects (the easiest). I’ve gone for the latter, and since I’ve been to the burn twice, flying from the UK each time, I decided to donate $20, which should counter my environmental impact not only for the burn but also for a fair bit of my entire year! If you want to donate through PayPal or via credit card then there are instructions here.

Carbon neutral living is tough in the Western world, so funding groups who are counteracting it is a great way forward. We all have to take responsibility for this.

The Internet is not a truck

People who read too many things online have probably heard about the great speech given by Senator Ted Stevens last month about the internet. In it he made many profound (i.e. completely incomprehensible) statements about the state of modern technology. Now, for your listening pleasure, you can hear the edited highlights remixed into a dance track. Groovy and educational. Hurrah!

In other news, I’ve got my PhD viva tomorrow.

Also, my boiler is leaking and the actuator is making a very loud clonking noise that wakes me up. The plumbing in my house is cursed. We only had a plumber over fixing the leaks yesterday, they installed the boiler earlier this year, and it took four attempts yesterday to make it appear that the pipes weren’t leaking, but it was tricking us. I think I shall call a priest and have the house exorcised; it’s the only rational thing left to do.

Best dog toy ever

This has got to be the best dog toy ever. Essentially it looks like a huge tongue sticking out of your dog’s mouth.

It’s a fun idea, but it’s worth visiting the page for the photos at the bottom. Just scroll all the way down and click for happy-dog goodness. If these photos don’t make you smile then you have a cold, cold heart (or an intense phobia of dogs).

Puns and puzzles

I’ve made another site!!

It’s like StickScene, except there puns and visual puzzles instead of films. There’s 30 to play at the moment, but more are being added every day. If you like it then please pass the link on to your friends!

Also, if you can think of any puns or puzzles that you can illustrate then feel free to add them to the site. If you have a StickScene login then that will work on PunScene too.