Saturday, 30 June 2012

Busy Little Bee

Sorry for the late posting of this. I've just had one of those weeks when your head feels like it might implode with all the stuff you have to get done. It's not all finished yet either... but I'm definitely on my way there.

The first thing that's been keeping me busy is some major Hen Night planning for a friend of mine. It's wonderful to try to come up with things that I think she'll love, but massively stressful. I'll be a lot happier once the day itself is here and (I hope) she squeals in delight at what I've set up for the activities. So, I'm a tad stressed about that...

Friday, 15 June 2012

This Is Not The Post I Was Going To Write - The Lara Saga

I just got back from Sweden, after a one night stay to visit Swedish colleagues there. I have a number of cool pictures from Gothenburg - which I will upload at a later date - and was very impressed (again) with how clean the city is, as well as the great weather that I really hadn't planned for.

I caught up on what I had missed in the last couple of days and spotted a post on Kotaku, titled "You'll 'Want to Protect' The New, Less Curvy Lara Croft". It's an interview with Crystal Dynamics' Executive Producer Ron Rosenberg, in which he seems to be saying that players can't see themselves as Lara Croft, that they will instead want to protect her, and a suggestion that she is broken, and "turned into a cornered animal" when faced with, what seems to be, an attempted rape. After reading some of the comments on there and blog posts about it I was slightly less seething (knowing I wasn't alone in having a problem with it), but left with a feeling of nausea; is this really how one of my favourite female game protagonists is going to be treated? Are game developers/writers so unimaginative that the only way they can think to toughen up a female character is to have someone try to rape her? And what the fuck is with the idea that players don't want to be Lara Croft?

Monday, 11 June 2012

The Big Birthday

Happy Birthday to  me!
Today is my 130th birthday... well, it would be if I were a Hobbit so we can detract 100 from that number. I had an absolutely incredible party on Saturday, mainly due to having some of the best friends anyone could ever want. For any of them reading; thank you, thank you, thank you.

I hired a small screening room in central London for the occasion and told everyone to treat it like an exclusive private movie screening - any excuse to get glammed up. I didn't tell anyone what film we'd be watching though, so with much anticipation everyone took their seats and after I thanked everyone (as is mandatory with any film themed night) the opening credits began. There was a cheer when the words "Directed by Paul Verhoeven" came up, and an even bigger cheer when the title "Total Recall" was up on screen. So I obviously chose well. There was much shouting out of lines ("Give dis people air!"), laughter and commentary along with the film; the best way to watch a movie with friends. Afterwards the bar area was booked for the night so much drinking followed.

I seriously don't think I can ever top that as a birthday party, and I'm not sure I want to; turning 30 is a big deal and I don't find it depressing at all. It's liberating. I don't worry about what others think of me, I know what I want from my life (and what I don't) and I'm working on achieving dreams and ambitions. All of this wouldn't have been possible in my twenties, with the insecurities, the confusion and lack of direction. But for the first time in my life I know (roughly) where I want to go, while being open to any opportunities that may come along the way. But most of all, I'm more comfortable in my skin than I think I've ever been. And that has to be worth celebrating.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Feeling Arty

As promised, this is my work in progress. Based on a scene from Spirited Away - I just love the soot sprites!* Using water colour to colour in, and will finish off with pen later. This is layer 2 - still many more to go.

If by some strange chance you haven't seen Spirited Away, then I highly recommend it - it has a fantastic story, magical characters and a really quirky sense of humour. I only hope my little soots will come close to the original. Painting with water colours is something I've not done for years and I'm remembering why I loved it and hated it - at times you feel like you have no control, and the water just does what it wants to do. A bit like writing characters actually...

*The soots are intelligent - and very cute - little workers who throw the coal into a fire always burning in the bath house. They work non-stop to keep the fire going. These guys need a union. They originally look like this:

Soot sprites with their little star treats. I don't know if they
eat them or not but they definitely love star treats.

Jubillee and Train Rides

After a strange weekend full of union jacks, national fervour and rain, I've finally pulled myself out of my bank holiday fog - I still don't know what day it is, but I'm at work, so it must be after Tuesday. For those not in Britain it's hard to describe what happened over the four day break - a strange, en masse, coming togetherness, for a woman who was despised 15 years ago for the exact same stiff upper lippedness that is now so admired. The public are a fickle lot.

Personally I enjoyed what I saw of the boat procession on Sunday (I fell asleep in the middle) and the procession on Tuesday was truly awe inspiring. Not because of the horses - pretty though they were - but due to the huge amount of people gathered around Buckingham Palace, who spontaneously cheered, and sang "God Save The Queen" at the top of their lungs, while Her Majesty looked down from on high. Though I'm far from being a royalist, even I have to say it was jolly nice seeing the genuine affection from the crowds for our monarch, and even more so seeing the, at times overwhelmed, Queen respond to that.

On a personal note, I'm trying my hand at more drawing and painting. When I get home I'll take a picture of the little water colour I'm doing at the moment, though it's no where near finished. Recently I've found myself writing a few hundred words and then drawing, or doing a little sketch and then writing. The two seem to be feeding off each other. I only wish my daily commute was a bit shorter so I'd have more time for both.

And speaking of commute, as everyone in London likely knows, there have been considerable problems on the Central line since yesterday. Which just happens to be the line I use every day. It's truly amazing how much a burst water pipe can cock up a whole line, but that's London for you. On the way to work (via my secondary, 30 minute longer route) I looked at the crowds gathered on platforms and came up with a few lines. Below is my meagre attempt at poetry inspired by those ideas

The Never Train

Look, wait, huff, sigh,
heads down, 
waiting for the never train.

Rush, shove, cough, halt,
heads up,
here rumbles the never train.

Push, move, crush, read,
heads down,
standing on the never train.

Screech, lean, jolt, stop,
heads up,
stepping off the never train.