Lilly and I have made it back to Austin TX, to visit her folks for a Holiday holiday, and enjoying the easy life right now! America is a special place. This isn’t my first visit, so despite only being here a couple of days, I am beginning to spot some of the terrifying things about the States that only an outsider would notice. I was pretty unimpressed to see pharmacies sell cigarettes here (sure they sell a load of other tat too, but selling cigarettes just seems counterproductive), but I also discovered something worse when out for a little walk to the nearby grocery store:
These two signs are either side of an intersection, which is what made me notice the issue at hand- as much as I tried to get them into the same shot, it didn’t work as there was a big old tree between them, but hopefully it conveys the desired point-
Petrol is CHEAPER thank milk here!
I like to think I’m not some green hippy eco-warrior, but I do consider myself reasonably environmentally aware, so this just seems really really wrong. I don’t get how a substance produced from finite resources, and which causes pollution and war, can be cheaper than a liquid produced from cows. And there are a lot of cows in Texas too!
To think Americans complain about the price of petrol too- for any readers out there who aren’t so good at maths, at current exchange rates, that works out to about 39 pence a litre. The last time I filled the vespa up it was about £1.15 a litre, so that’s about a third of what we pay in the UK.
Maybe Berocca Obama should do some european-style taxation on petrol- he could use the income to bail Arnie and the rest of the country out, and it might make the environment a bit happier too.
I had forgotten about this until this morning, when I woke up and found an email from Tony telling me it was alive- the first loosely-Trickartt-related iPhone application!
Hospital have been wanting an iPhone application for a long time- it got to the point where Tony was trying to convince me to make an app myself (I wish I could, but I am still wrestling with PHP as it is). He was trying to tell me to remake the Grooverider Soundboard then cut them in on the profits (I think he’s been reading too many App Store gravy train reports), so I suggested as a joke that we should make a Tony Colman soundboard from his podcast.
(Un?)fortunately, after a day or two, he decided he liked the idea- so that much he enlisted Phil of Code Army to make it happen. Riley went through the archive and got some clips together, then I did some graphics for the interface, which Phil then tied together and (I assume) sent into the black hole of iPhone app submission. And here it is!
It’s pretty simple, and pretty crass, but Phil was kind enough to put my name in the credit on the app store (pictured above) without me even asking, which was nice of him! So there we are. I am now in iPhone Territory!
Happy December, internet folk! After a few weeks of tinkering, begging for supplies, doing test prints, whittling and re-engineering, Lilly and I have finally made our first useable letterpressed product- some christmas cards to send to friends and family!
I hope I’m not an idiot and can’t actually do this, but I really wish the fullscreen toolbar in aperture went the other direction. I mean, having it horizontally across the top makes sense if you have a 4:3 screen, but you can’t by any Apple computer that doesn’t have a 16:10 screen.
Aperture’s usual toolbar position. Look at all that wasted space!
…and my more efficient version. Nice snacks huh?
Note that it even fits on a 1280×800 screen (the smallest size Apple makes now), but this really causes me the most frustration on my dual screen setup!
If you’re using Aperture, then you probably have a digital camera, so you probably have photos in 3:2 or 4:3, so if you’re using aperture in fullscreen mode, you’ll almost always have wasted space on the left and right, so why not put the toolbar there instead of making the photo you’re trying to look at smaller?
So here is my ‘doesn’t this make a lot more sense?’ mockup of a vertical toolbar. Not that anybody is going to read about it or care. Who knows though, maybe someone will, and I’ll see this implemented in a future version! I can hope can’t I?
Me being me, someone who likes to make stopmotion things and having an occasional fancy to make random flash-based toys, I decided to make this this afternoon- a virtual version of Lilly’s letterpress!
It will run by itself, but you can mouse over it to make it work yourself too! just move your mouse up and down over it!
If you know your letterpresses, you might be a little confused by the ink disc ratchet. Yes- it’s something I made myself, out of an old scrap of metal, and a cent I have had knocking around on my desk for ages (it wasn’t heavy enough on its own and Abraham Lincoln was happy to help!). The original one was very broken, too short, and not well attached, so I made this replacement on the weekend. I didn’t have a bolt of the right size though, so it is currently being held on with a small screw and chunk of wood. I’m not really sure if it looks or works anything like it is meant to, but it seems to work!
If you are curious to what we’ve been printing so far, you’ll probably find it on my Flickr. This weekend, we made our first prints with the litho ink I scored last week. Cool!
I went to Hospital’s offices at The Purple Gates today, and while I was there, I managed to pick up some finished copies of the new Future Sound of Russia album. I think it isn’t out for another two weeks yet, but Hospital themselves have started Pushing it around the internet, so I figured I could do the same too!
As you should be seeing above, I managed to slot a tiny drawing of a space dog into the artwork as a tribute to Laika and her contemporaries. Poor animals! It’s probably not too hard to find now you’ve seen the above image, but see if you can spot it if you have a copy of the album yourself.
Anyway, like all good Hospital record covers, the artwork is a nod to another obscure artist- under the usual direction of Chris Goss, this cover is based on a really handsome old poster by a Russian designer called Alexander Rodchenko. Hopefully my Sputnik additions and hand-drawn type add a bit of my own artistic merit to it though!
So if you’re into Drum & Bass (and let’s face it, you probably are if you’re sitting here reading this, as nobody seems to know me outside of this little world), go buy the album!
The Letterpress I got Lilly for her Birthday saw a little bit of action this weekend, in the form of this bumble bee, named princess wings.
Princess wings was a picture I drew Lilly a few years back of a bumble bee with fake wings tied onto it. I spent the weekend carving it out of a random chunk of MDF that happened to be hanging out here, and ran it through the press today. Unfortunately, when I was carving, I didn’t do too well at carving out her eyes (I managed to carve them right off), so considering the abundance of googley eyes I find in my posession, I thought I’d add a couple of those instead!
To my surprise, it worked! I think we might need some better ink though- we’ve been using block printing inks as we couldn’t find anywhere in London that sold proper letterpressing ink- I think eBay is going to be the answer for that.
Be sure to see more adventures from the letterpress in the future though!
A week or so ago, I made these! It is a dodecapus (it has twelve tentacles, see), and a portrait of it, painted on the same fabric it was made of. Cool! If you have been following my Flickr, you should have seen it already, but if not, here it is! 🙂
In case you haven’t ventured over to my flickr to see my creative stream of consciousness that is my Something Creative Every Day project, here is the past month in action. Well, I suppose it’s a little over a month as I’ve missed a day here or there, but it’s 28 days in all.
Who am I kidding, I’m just putting this here for my own pleasure, to remind myself how much creative nonsense I produce! Is that bad?