Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Leeds Day 4: Sunday [image heavy]

Spent all day with Neil and Jody et al. Another busy day of bands, kicking off with From Autumn To Ashes, then across for Senses Fail, Nine Black Alps, Juliette and The Licks, Dinosaur JR, Kings of Leon, and the Foo Fighters.

Today was a really good day, it was compliment central for Pruvaloo! He got told he was cute, that he looked like Jesus, and 3 people told him he looked like Johnny Depp in the film 'Secret Window' when he wore Neil's £3 glasses that were bought just a few hours earlier. Result.

In between bands we headed back to their tent for all kinds of drunken madness, including but not limited to sticking the jaffa part of Jaffa Cakes to Anna's face, drinking vodka and RedBull from one of Anna's wellington boots, dragging Jody the length of the campsite on a half inflated inflatable sofa, and Pruvaloo having his hair put in pigtales and being told he looked like Mel B from the Spice Girls. Pictures are supposed to paint a thousand words, so they will probably give you a better idea of what went down. (usual drill, click for larger versions)

Leeds Day 3: Saturday

It's 12.26pm and I'm drinking Archers and lemonade. I have nothing to do for the next 3 hours. The life of a lush. Yesterday was so fucking cool, the people in the tent next door were singing an acoustic version of 'Substitute'.

Saw The Subways, Elbow, The Coral, Queens Of The Stoneage and The Killers. Some Piccies (click for larger versions) :

I also bumped into Josh - he's another lad who lives very near by. I spent the week with him in Germany back in 2000, but I haven't seen him much since then. Infact, last time I saw him was when Neil and myself last went to The ZooBar. He's a DJ there, I was talking to him, something came up and he had to leave for about ten minutes, so I was stand in DJ. It was fun seeing everyone asking my for songs, and seeing as I was drunk, I was promising them I would play
whatever they asked for. Sorry Josh!

That night I got a call from Pheebs. As if it wasn't hard enough trying to keep the memories of last year out of my head. I always have to answer her though, because I feel so guilty if I don't. What if she needs me for something sometime? Not that she would, I'd be the last person she'd want, but I still feel the responsibility. I ended up drinking more Archers and crying myself to sleep.

Leeds Day 2: Friday [image heavy]

Spent all of today watching these bands: My Chemical Romance, TurboNegro, Alkaline Trio, Funeral For A Friend, NOFX, Iggy and the Stooges, Marilyn Manson and Iron Maiden. Some Piccies (click for larger versions) :

Got myself a T-shirt then headed back to the tent to spend the night with 'Mari J'.

Leeds Day 1: Thursday

Ok, first of the posts about my trip. Some of these could and probably will get kinda long, and there's a fair few photos, so sorry to anyone on dial up internet! I've cropped the piccies down to a fairly reasonable size, the original ones are huge, well over a thousand pixels.

- - A quick note about the camera - its a cheap disposable one, I got the photo place to put the piccies on a cd for me. They aren't great quality, they aren't lit, or composed properly, but they are snapshots. Enjoy. - -

It's just before 8am and I'm loading the car up with all my stuff, before setting off to join in with the Thursday morning rush hour. In all fairness though the traffic wasn't as heavy as I'd expected. Infact, most of the drive to Leeds was spent traveling on a practically empty motorway - which was pretty cool. Nothing much happened, past a lot of really nice countryside, it's so weird how on the one hand there is the city centre with all its cosmopolitan shops,
trendy cafes and over priced fast food outlets, yet on the other, there are rolling fields of bright red poppies, and towering corn. It's fantastic, and even better, it's only about a 30 or 40 minute drive from my house.

So after a long queue we finally find somewhere to camp. The air is heavy with the smell of a certain herb, lets call her 'Mari J' and if Pruvaloo isn't mistaken, the atmosphere has a slightly green tint. Two trips to the car and back and all the stuff is unloaded and unpacked. I've definitely brought too much with me. Better to have too much than not enough I guess, although I'm not sure my hands, arms or shoulder blades would agree. Laying down is a painful

My timing seemed to be excellent that day, I'd just got inside my tent when a thunderstorm hit. Luckily though it passed fairly quickly, so I decided to go and scope out the lay of the land - I needed to find someone selling programmes anyway. After wandering around for a while I manage to spot someone, and after handing over seven quid, Pruvaloo now knows the running order of the bands for the whole weekend. I also spotted lots of cool shops - I find a nice
hoody. I also see loads of 'herbal highs' stalls selling everything from Poppers to N2O to Salvia. I decide to head back to the tent and get some more money.

On my way back I bump into Neil, now Neil is my mate from back home, he only lives like 10 minutes walk from my house, and I've been skating with him for the past 6 years or so. Out of all the people there, and all the places he could of camped, he's based all of about 10 tents behind me. What are the chances of that happening eh?

I head back to the stalls to buy that hoody, and meet 'Drugs Girl. First of all, I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name, and I was fairly tipsy to say the least. 'Drugs Girl' is a young lady from London, who was warning people about the dangers of doing illegal drugs.

"Enjoy the festival. Don't do drugs"

I talked to her for ages about how it was stupid to pay so much money to be there and then get so wrecked that you couldn't remember it - which is a very good point, and very refreshing to hear amongst the clichéd portrayal of the Club 18 - 30 youth of today.

"A is a no no, B is ish but C is alright"

Turns out she had applied to my uni too, but she's going to go to Edingburgh this September to start an English course. We hugged and went our separate ways. I really wish I'd of invited her back for a drink, but I had other things on my mind. I know I'll never speak to you again, but I hope you had a good festival 'Drugs Girl'.

Random quote of the day: "At least it's not a Humphrey badger!"

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Goodbye, Farewell, auf Wiedersehen, Adieu.

Last post until after the festival I promise. Everthing's ready, Rob should be coming over later tonight, so right now Pruvaloo is left with nothing much to do with himself. He hates it when it's like this, when there's nothing to do but wait.

When he gets back expect an influx of pseudo real-time posts and photo-dumps. Why? Well because some of you may be interested. Some may not. But I think it would be quite nice to have some kind of tangible remainder from my trip.

But are these posts tangible in the first place? Sure they are able to be perceived by the mind, they may even provoke emotions. Right now Pruvaloo isn't too bothered. He'll call them pseudo-tangible. That makes even less sense.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Pack it up, ship it out.

Hope the new banner meets with approval (the design is linked in with my new look portfolio site, which should be going live sometime next week), it's hopefully all contemporary and cutting edge. Hopefully.

I'm sitting looking at a vast amount of camping stuff, metaphorically of course because in actual fact I'm looking at the computer monitor, and wondering if it will all fit in the car, if I will be able to carry it all, and in truth, if I really need all the things I'm taking. I've tried to keep it to the bear minimum, essential items: food, clothes, a tent, various chemicals and the like. The bottle of La Fèe Absinthe is looking at me, her dark green eyes tempting me to sample her 68% abv goodness. But Pruvaloo will be strong, he remembers all too well how his first date with Mademoiselle Fèe went. The first few hours were a mix of heady fun and singing - brought on not only by a high alcohol content, but also by the traces of wormwood (Artemisia absinthium). The final few hours were gut-wrenching. He's going to treat her with a lot more respect this year.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A (hopefully) quick rant...

Ok, first up what did having a double dose of 0.3% hypericin in my body do for me? Apart from giving me a herby taste in my mouth it gave me a night of deep sleep. Usually i only experience this kind of sleep when I'm ******, so the experience isn't new. The experiment continues.

Now, onto my rant. It's about web designers, or the way that everyone seems to think they are a web designer. Think about this, to become a doctor you have to go to medical school, and have many many years training right? To become a pilot, again, you have to have years of training. However, there seems to be the attitude that if you give someone a computer they instantly become a graphic designer or web designer. This is utter bollocks.

Would you trust a doctor who had no formal training? God no, so why the hell put up with this influx of sub standard design that I've noticed lately.

For all you cool design kids out there, hear this, just because you can make a CSS style sheet, just because you can code HTML and PHP, just because you don't get out of bed unless a page is 100% Flash, just because you can put code in your site that changes the cursor from the standard 'arrow-head' to a cross-hair....it doesn't make you a designer. So stop it and go back to playing with your dolls or your football.

It just gets on my nerves that so many sites, and it has to be said, so many blogs, are designed simply because the person has the technical ability, rather than the aesthetic skill. I've been on sites where the only area for text is a tiny box in the middle which can fit about 3 words across it before you need to scroll down. I've seen sites that use fonts that are not only impossible to read, but that are in the most garish colour imaginable.

Now, if that's how your site looks and that's how you like it, then fair play to you. If it makes you happy then by all means ignore everything I say. But if you code a site to be like that just because 'it's cool' I've got some quite shocking news for you. It isn't. Grow up and stop pretending to be a designer, to be something that you sure as hell ain't. And you know all your designer kid mates, they aren't cool either. They are all arses.

Any designer worth his, or her salt knows that the main aim of design is to not only be aesthetically pleasing, but to also be functional, this is so true of websites. A website that looks pretty will keep someone's attention for about 3 seconds. A website that looks pretty and is actually useable by the person on the other end of the mouse will keep their interest for so much longer. It will also mean that they will return, hopefully regularly, as your site is not only gorgeous eye candy, it's also a pleasure to use, and makes the internet a joy.

Ok, maybe that last part is a bit OTT but I hope you can all see where I'm going. Design websites for the sake of design, not for the sake of putting in every fancy effect you've just learned to code.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

A tale of three towns...

So after travelling to 3 seperate towns today I still don't have everything for Leeds. Typical eh, the one thing I want is the one thing that's sold out. There was one good point though: pruvaloo was being propelled at just over 60mph, on either side of him were lush green trees. The sun coming in through the open window. It felt such a good time to be alive at that moment.

Just been to see 'Unleashed'. Doesn't really break any new ground, but it's a good way to fill a couple of hours. As you can tell, I'm not in the best mood to be posting this.

I got some St John's Wort today, so I think tonight I'm gonna do a little experiment, see if they do anything for me. As well as being used to treat depression, and anxiety, the extract is also meant to be good for giving a sense of well being. Which is something I could use right about now.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I should...

I should be getting on with something, but I decided to start making a list of the stuff I need to get for Leeds, and I stumbled across a brilliant little website - www.virtualhuddersfield.com. It lets you take a virtual taxi around town, and also has some really funky live webcams. I must of wasted 20 minutes just watching people walk around.

I've also got a rough idea of what stuff I need to get, so it's off to Cleckheaton on Saturday morning, and Huddersfield in the afternoon. Im not a fan of shopping on weekends, which is why I plan out what I need to get, then its straight into town, get what I need and straight out agian - avoiding stress, not being able to park, annoying people who insist on walking so slowly infront of you but who don't get out of the way so you can get past, and of course local urchins.

I should really get on and do something constructive...I doubt I will.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Two hundred and four pounds and seventy eight pence

I thought seeing as Leeds fest is looming and the ka is going to have to transport myself and Rob, and all our belongings that I should really give it some much needed TLC. Thing is I didn't realise it needed £204.78 worth of TLC!!

Its a good thing work seems to be quite reliable at the moment though. Im nearly done with the anime character, and the company Im working for have started talking about making another character, doing some more character animation, and also adding some FX (note the technical lingo) to an intro .avi that they want to make - particle effects, and basic Reactor stuff, so that should be good.

A guy from uni's also asked me to make some mock up concept images for a gaming clan to potentially use as a logo on a T-shirt. I want to try and help him out if I can, but the thing is I've got more than enough work on just at this particular time, which has already been payed for. Im hoping I'll have time to knock something up tomorrow...

I managed to catch a glimpse of my elusive new neighbours. Im sad to say they aren't a group of nurses, just an ordinary family. How dull.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Oh boy...

Do I have a lot to get off my chest. If you have prior arrangements or appointments cancel them now, lock the door, pull the curtains and settle down with a glass of something nice - you might be here a while.

My anime project is going quiet well, it should of been signed off an hour ago, however, I've had my deadline extended, so infact it wont be signed off until this time next week, which means that a) I can sleep and b) go about finishing it off in a more leisurely way, which is good considering I have myself another job on at the mo.

Someone I used to work with has decided that she wants a new PC, and as I've done some upgrades for her in the past, I guess I was an obvious choice. Yesterday afternoon I drove down to her flat, just to go over what she wanted, and to collect some money for the bits. Nice easy work and well paid :D now all I have to do is wait for all the parts to arrive then I get to put them all together, at the moment my floor is looking like some kind of techno-mess. Imagine the innards of a computer spread across a floor, and thats what it looks like....infact, you don't even have to imagine it, heres a pretty picture to break up all this text.

Pretty messy huh?

Anyway, back to yesterday, on my way back to the ka I met Doz, who I haven't seen for ages. Spent like 20 minutes looking around his car, since the last time I saw it the double exhasuts have been replaced by one 4 inch bad boy, a huge Blitz induction kit (with direct air feed through one of the headlights), and a swanky set of Team Dynamics alloys have been added.

When I get back I find that the house across the road finally has new people moving into it, speculation that my new neighbours are infact a group of young, single, attractive nurses can't yet be confirmed or denied. More on that one as and when I find stuff out ;)

So I was in quite a good mood this morning, that soon changed though when I checked my emails. So **** had sent me a message telling me that I needed to log onto this dodgy website and enter my PayPal username and password because they were updating their records. I doubt said **** will ever read this, but just in case, here are my tips which may help him to be more successful.

Tip the first: when writing your email, make sure the words are spelt correctly, also making the body of the email a huge .gif instead of text isnt standard practice for PayPal.

Tip the second: use some simple html to hide the url of the website you direct me to, there is no way that I am gonna enter my details when I can see that the address is something along the lines of: http://www.im-a-proper-loser.com/my-paypal-scam-that-no-one-will-notice.html

Tip the third: don't send said emails to me. Believe it or not, I am both computer and internet literate. That means that I know what your little scam is. It also means that I know how to take your domain name and use it to look up your name, and your address, and your email address. Which is what I did. I then sent a really friendly email telling this **** that he should say sorry and promise to be a good boy otherwise I would bascially make his life a living hell.

Wonder which option he'll take?

Finally, I also got a new webcam today, so expect some hairy pics, ala below:

Right, I think thats about it for today, oooh, just quickly, Bitkari has made the Absence website, there's not much content on there at the mo, but more will be added over the next few weeks and months as the development starts in earnest. If you want to check out what we have at the moment you should saunter over to the Absence website

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

All mine are, shall we say, without labels

Walking through a city centre with friendly faces is without question cool.

Got up reasonably early today, packed my PS2 and some games, hopped in the car and headed off down the M62 to uni. Its a amazing how nice it feels to just drive when the sun's shining, I found one of my old CD's that I haven't listened to in about a year too, sounds stupid but it brought back mixed emotions. Some songs I had such a grin on my face, others nearly had me in tears. Funny how we associate songs with moments or feelings in our lives, kinda like a safety net - but it's nice to revisit those places sometimes.

Fast forward to uni...met up with Matt, got some food from the pub, then Rob (the guy I'm going to Leeds Fest with) showed up. Headed back to uni, got the PS2 fired up. We spent a good few hours beating the hell outta each other at Tekken, BurnOut, Pro Evo.

Seeing as it was a fairly nice afternoon, which is good enough reason, we packed the stuff back into the cars and headed off for a half hour walk into Manchester city centre. It was so nice to just stroll around in the sun, deciding what random chants we could use at the festival. I think a favourite is 'Todd Gantlzer'. This is only funny obviously if you know this individual, and as Rob and myself both know/knew him, it's all good. Where am I going with this paragraph? No where really, it was just a nice, if not everyday, experience.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Pause for thought

I've spent most of today working, which feels quite odd. On the one hand it's nice to have something creative to do to break the boredom of the day, on the other hand it feels weird working on a weekend...after all, that's why I quit my last job, because I wanted my weekends back.

Well that, and the fact that the work was boring and uninspiring, the pay was terrible, the conditions weren't much better and the staff were, hmmm, quite. Ooh a little outburst, maybe I should write a longer post about my old job sometime.

Back to the present, I've progressed with the low poly character, but it's taken most of the day, and now Im waiting to get some feedback from my client. Doesn't help that there is a 6 hour time difference between us, and the only method of communication we have is email, at least over MSN I could get his thoughts instantly. There's nothing worse than knowing you have a deadline, but being unable to carry on because you are waiting for a reply. Nothing we can do about it I'm afraid, but it is damn annoying.

Taking a quick break for some food I settle down with the days paper, now I'm usually not one for taking notice of them, but I had nothing better to do at the time. I flicked through one of the Saturday magazines that you get inside them until I got to the horoscopes page. Again I hardly ever read my horoscope, but I was in a crazy and adventurous mood, so I thought what the hey.

"People who excercise everyday grow stronger. People who regularly practice a skill become more adept. People who eat a lot become capable of eating a lot more. People who indulge their anger grow irritable. People who frequently criticize others find an ever-expanding list of reasons to be disapproving. Our thoughts and our feelings are like seeds. We reap what we sow. What are you giving a lot of time and attention to? Is it a negative activity or a positive one? Resolve to invest your energy wisely this week and you'll eventually recieve the kind of reward you truly need."

Now don't get me wrong, I well understand the way these things are written, they are so general that you fit your current circumstances around them, and hey presto, it's almost like a complete stranger knew exactly what you were thinking or how you felt.

While I may not believe that these words predict my future, I do think that they are meaningful in a way that perhaps they were not meant to be. I think they do indeed carry with them a message, and for that reason I think they are worth reading, and contemplating.

That was my pause for though.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Welcome (and other things)

First of all I'd like to say hello. Hello. The brighter amongst you may have realised that this is my first post on this brand spanking new blog. A blot on the landscape for eternity. I'm Pruvaloo, suprise suprise, you may also of noticed that I have quite a dry sense of humour, coupled with a liking for sarcasm, which I'm sure will make for a pleasant ride not only for you, but for me also. I hope.

Right, now we're all nice and friendly I'll get down to what's on my mind.

Anime hair.

I don't know if any of you have ever stopped to consider the form and structure of anime style hair, but you really should. It will drive you up the wall. But why am I thinking about anime hair? Well....

I've recently landed myself a job, yes that's right, me with a job (don't worry, I'm as shocked as you are, no serisouly I am) yeah, well, the job is to make a low poly anime style character which is to be used for a video game. I have a deadline of ten days in which to make this character, get it textured and create 11 animations. I planned it all out in my head and decided this would be plenty of time. However, anime style hair has come and stopped me in my metaphorical tracks. The problem is, even 'simple' hair styles still require a lot of detail to make them look anything like decent. I simply don't have the available polys to spend on the hair, so for the past day I've been trying to figure out how to simplify the hair style down. I think I've just about managed it. I think. But we will see tomorrow when I try and model it.

This new project has put my other active project into the 'less active' section. But you don't know about my other project, right?

July saw the start of my work towards my final year project at uni. Our brief is to make a video game, how cool is that!?! (geeky I know) My roll in the team is to act as a 3D artist and also offer some help with the animation. I've made a test character, and was part way through the texture process when I landed this job, so as I said, he's kinda been put on hold. For the next 10 days anyway.

I wont say too much about our uni game except:

  • it's a 3rd person action adventure game
  • it's set in a quasi-victorian world
  • there will be a strong puzzle solving theme, as well as character exploration
  • we're using the source (HalfLife 2) engine

In the near future I'll post up the link to the 'official' website, and also the mini-site contained within my site (which needs the re-design to be finshed off) So much to do and so little time to do it to coin a phrase.

I think that's more than enough for tonight, and a nice amount to amount to a healthy first post. Until next time dear readers, goodnight.