Monthly archives: January 2010

The strays of Moscow

There have beenpacks of stray dogs in Moscow at least since the 19th century and during that time the pressures of scavenging and surviving amongst humans has led to the evolution of a new breed, itself made up of smaller, more specialist packs. Most famous of the specialists are the metro dogs, which live near or in underground stations and have in some cases learnt how to use the trains to get around.

Trailer Time

Sherlock Holmes. With dinosaurs and dragons. It makes perfect sense. Asylum make cheap rip offs of popular films. Wired did an article on them, which mentions this version of Holmes. (via io9)

The girl with the dragon tattoo.


A Dangerous Man. Seagal! I thought he only made straight-to-dvd stuff these days.

Reel Injun. The trailer’s incoherent, but it’s telling me the film’s got all the right elements.

<a href=";from=sp&#038;fg=MsnEntertainment_MoviesTrailersGP2_a&#038;vid=1b9d070f-aff2-47f6-8a86-9b2b44ec4fc6" target="_new" title="'The Losers' Exclusive Look">Video: &#8216;The Losers&#8217; Exclusive Look</a>

The Losers.

Another clean page from a dirty comic

To limber up before starting work on Point of Contact I’ve done a short erotic tale. It’s called An American in Paris, and this is the splash page.

The tale is a flashback featuring Kerry, one of the characters from my previous naughty comic Shall We Take A Trip?, who’s reminiscing about the time she met her penpal in Paris. Can you guess what happens?

Looking at it now, it appears Kerry (on the right of the page) is about to fall over backwards. I knew she was leaning a little as I drew it, but I had to look at it from a distance to see the problem. That will be remedied in Photoshop tomorrow.

Are small breasts illegal in Australia now?

Australia’s government seems to be going through some sort of moral panic at the moment. This press release from the Australian Sex Party details new and dumb restrictions on the content of adult material. Depictions of female ejaculation are to be banned, presumably because someone- like Queen Victoria and lesbians- doesn’t believe it really happens. (TMI, but I’m confident I’ve seen it in real life. Not as spectacular as porn would have you believe, but definitely not urine and something more than mere lubrication.)

Another, even dumber, crackdown is on models with smaller breasts. The Sex Party asserts that material featuring models with A cups is being restricted because, somehow, it’ll excite paedophiles.

I just read 25, 000 Years of Erotic Freedom by Alan Moore, which is basically a long essay on the history of smut with ample illustrations and gorgeous packaging. One of his conclusions is that the state of the eortic arts in the English speaking world (actualy he just calls out Britain and the US, but I think we can add Australia now) is so awful precisely because of the efforts our governments make to restrict discussion of sex.

There’s too much low quality, demeaning and insulting (to both sexes) porn out there, and it’s not because there’s too much freedom. It’s because many of the people who would create interesting, challenging, life affirming, sex positive and gorgeous work are scared off by the threats of censorship and worse. By saying that one aspect of women’s sexual experience is too vile to be discussed and that a particular body type (a body type I prefer- I’m Not Safe For Australia) shouldn’t be seen, Australia’s government are doing great harm and little, if any, good.

Right. I’m off to draw a page of comic art which may be illegal in Australia.

via BoingBoing Ms Naughty and several other sources

Do I want an iPad?

The greatest thing ever in the history of everything was announced on Wednesday. I was in the pub, so I’m only just starting to follow the hype.

Just a few of the pieces I’ve seen-

7 Ways the Apple iPad will affect Filmmakers and Creatives

Did You Hear? The Apple Tablet Is Gonna Save Comics, Too.

I haven’t been following the hype, and even I’ve read speculation that The New Flatness will save, in no particular order: Book publishing, newspapers, magazines, music, textbooks, games and the music industry. Also: The Whales, the Children, the Tiger, The Cheerleader/World, Energy, Ferris, and The Last Dance for Me.

So yeah, once it’s got all that sorted, it’s gonna save the comics industry. No, really; for months the comics press has teemed with forward-looking headlines both bold (“Apple Tablet Will Restore Comic Books to Former Glory”) and coy (“Could Apple’s iSlate Tablet Be a Digital Game-Changer?”)

The Morning After The Night Before – Comic Industry Wakes Up To The Apple iPad

Apple Event to Focus on Reinventing Content, Not Tablets

I may have to start saving for an iPad. It won’t be as good as all the hype, but it will be phenomenally popular. And it looks like there’ll be an iTunes extension for books. I’ll skip over the ebook readers I’ve been pondering for a while for the product that’s going to be in the most backpacks in a couple of years. I want to produce content for it, so I should get one to see what works best and maybe even to use whilst producing some of that content.

It seems I’ve finally- after years of resisting Macs (of my own, I did borrow time on Damian’s to do some video editing), iPods and iPhones- fallen for the Apple shiny. I’m ready to be assimilated into the iBorg now.

40 things to do now I’m 40

A few days before my birthday some of the tykes I know invited me to join a Facebook group called “40 things to do before I’m 40”. I thought they might be making fun, or looking for a long weekend, but it turned out to be something started by a friend pondering what he should do before entering his own fifth decade.

I’ve been thinking about it, and it seems like it’s time to draw up a list of things I ought to do . A few years ago I put together a 100 Things To Do Before I Die list. It’s still lurking in the bowels ofn the site, but I haven’t checked how I’m doing on it for a while. Reading it through, it’s obvious that some of it was dumb in a way something dreamt up over several sessions in the pub was bound to be. But other bits will make a good basis for the new list.

Working my way through the list, here are a few keepers-

Cycle the Coast to Coast.

Follow the route of the M60 by bike. (There were plans afoot late last year which would have made this happen. I’ll have to see what happened to them.)

Climb the highest peaks in each country of the United Kingdom.

Learn to juggle.

Build a model village.

Visit the beaches of D-Day, and the little town of Quenast my grandparents’ house was named after.

Visit Pearl Harbour.

Own a Land Rover.

Have a bike for every day of the week. (With access to a garage full of bikes you could argue I’ve achieved this one. Expect none of them are in full working order at the moment and as soon as any one is it gets sold.)

Give a grand to charity.

Do over a hundred miles on the Bogle Roll. (I’ve not started training for this year’s yet. Maybe next time.)

Fly in a hot air balloon.

Get a piece of art displayed in a gallery.

I may yet rescue some of the others from the original list, but these’ll do as place holders. Any suggestions?

That would be why I couldn’t pump the tyre up

I had to unscrew this from the tyre. Apart from that, the bike I’m working on is in good condition.

Attack of the dancing robots

The Sony Rolly is an egg shaped mp3 player that dances. And has flashing lights. That you can program with your own moves and choreograph its dances. Then you can upload your moves to Sony to share with others. It’s realy good at confusing cats.

It’s incredibly silly and gimmicky and… and I want one. I have no reason to, but I really want one. I think the appeal’s been built into the design, and I suspect there’s some evil aspect to this. When the Rolly population reaches a critical mass the order will come down from SkyNet and suddenly your cute little mp3 player will sprout blades, crank up Ride of the Valkyries and start chasing you through post apocalyptic junkyards (or old quarries, depending upon the budget).

You can get your Sony Rolly from Amazon, though at the moment there’s just the one available and it’s listed at well over the recommended price because of its rarity.

I’m not the geek I used to be 3

I've forgotten almost everything I dvds knew about the command line and couldn't work out what was wrong with Windows this morning. In the end I created a second version of xp which I boot instead of the shafted one. On the plus side I didn't delete all the stuff I've done since the last backup.

Time was I might have known what had gone wrong and not had to resort to the dodgy and slapdash solution I employed. I'm not handing in my geek card, there are still many ways in which I'm qualified, but I have forgotten some of the basic skills.

Better books for Eli?

Warning This blog is based upon, and contains, spoilers. I may revise it after watching The Book of Eli and you may not want to read it until you’ve seen the film.

The Book Of Eli opened last week and I’m going to see it on Wednesday. On the surface it’s your standard post apocalypse tale, with Denzel Washington wandering through the desert beating people up. And it has Gary Oldman as the bad guy- he’s usually fun.  So I’m optimistic.

Of course, as I spend too much time on the internet, I’ve read some spoilers.  I know that the book Eli carries, and that everyone’s so desperate to take possession of, is the last known copy of the Bible. Hearing this, some folk have stepped up and declared Eli an evangelical film. Though with the premise being that the apocalypse was the result of a huge holy war and a plot about religion being used to control people maybe some of us won’t get the same message from it.

If I was Eli I wouldn’t be toting around a Bible, especially not if I were surrounded by reminders of the sort of horror wrought by those who preached it and other holy texts. It would long ago have been consigned to fire lighting or toiletry duties (some of those good books are made from really soft paper) and I’d have gone raiding abandoned Waterstones for more useful literature.

For day to day survival how about Outdoor Survival Handbook: A Guide To The Resources And Materials Available In The Wild And How To Use Them For Food, Shelter,Warmth And Navigation and Food for Free? For longer term plans there’s The New Complete Book of Self-sufficiency and The Off-grid Energy Handbook. As an introduction to the sort of thinking needed rebuild a civilisation I’d grab something like A Short History of Nearly Everything and maybe Engineering: A Beginner’s Guide to explain some of the basic principles of construction.  The list could go on.  Over time I’d build up a library of such informative material, and set up a school to make sure others could read and use them.

The Bible’s an important book to a lot of people. But if you’re rebuilding civilisation, particularly after it’s been destroyed by superstition, it’s one of the last books you should be referring to.

Trailer Time

It’s been a while since I did one of these posts. A few upcoming films that look interesting-

From Paris With Love. John Travolta does his over the top crazy act again. I can almost forgive him his Scientology and Battlefield Earth so long as shit keeps blowing up.

Kick Ass. Based on a comic by Mark Millar, who also created Wanted (the comic, which became a very entertaining, if silly, film). For some reason I’ve never been interested in any of Millar’s comics apart from The Ultimates. But the films look great.

How To Train Your Dragon. Because I’m a sucker for cgi stuff.

Repo Men. Yes it’s got Jude Law in it, but it still looks interesing.

Karate Kid. Yet another remake, but it does have Jackie Chan.

A quick look at the political blogosphere

With an election due soon I thought I should start looking for good British political blogs. I had some fun, found out a lot and worked out some of the background to Sounds of Soldiers through reading US political blogs in the run up to the 2008 election. Perhaps I can do something similar for the UK. A while ago I started adding poliblogs to my Bloglines account and following their updates. Some I’ve been reading since before Christmas, others I haven’t even looked at yet. Here are my impressions of a few of them-

Worst first, I think. I’ve been reading Guy Fawkes’ blog since before Christmas, though it quickly descended into waiting for something worthwhile to read. It hasn’t arrived yet. GFB is a very popular blog, as ‘Guido’ won’t fail to tell you as often as he can. It may have done something to get into that position in the past, but nowadays it’s all about throwing out red meat for his ravenous commenters to rant about. He also has a habit of referring to himself in the third person, which is about right for an obnoxious, self important blowhard. And a dumb one at that, he jumped right on the ‘Climategate’ non-story before Christmas, pretending that the hacked emails somehow negated all the evidence about climate change. I’ll carry on following Guido, but I’m not expecting anything interesting.

And another thing…. is the blog of Tom Harris MP. Unlike Guido, Tom puts some thought into the point of his posts rather than how to score cheap points with them, even if they do occasionally read as if he’s gone through them with an eye for spin. Whilst I don’t agree with many of his points it is nice to see an attempt at communication.

Harry’s Place is full of long, dense posts that probably reward careful reading. It’s just a shame my attention span’s so

Iain Dale is what Guido might be if he wasn’t so desperately trying to impress people. He’s very obviously of the right, and has the occasional point scoring jibe at Labour or the LibDems, but does it with a much lighter touch. You get the feeling that if you were dining with him at Le Caprice the conversation would about something more interesting than how wonderful he thinks he is.

Enough for now. I shall return to this subject again soon. And probably even more until the election.