Monday, December 08, 2008

movie still 5

two shots from the opening of the film 'sunset boulevard' (1950). the second one of the man floating in the pool provided a technical challenge for the camera crew without the use of underwater cameras. instead, they placed a mirror on the bottom of the pool, heated the water to a level that didn't effect the clarity of the reflection and then shot downwards from a platform, recording the image reflected in the mirror. all technical aspects aside, the shot is stunning and helped to make the film a classic...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

camera fun

a couple of weeks ago i fulfilled a long ambition and purchased a new canon g10 camera. i've had my eye on the g series for ages, and to be honest this is the first really nice camera i've owned. the g10 follows in the great tradition of range-finder cameras, yeilding beautiful photos from a convenient and easy to use package. enough of the review!

it was my little baby when i got it but anna has become besotted with it. she wandered off into the garden a few evenings ago at dusk and when i went out to see what she was doing i found her over the fence in the neighbour's back yard.

our neighbour recently passed away, and he'd built his house and lived there for about 50 years or so. it's a nz classic - weather board painted a vibrant sky blue. i've always loved the look of it. our little house and his were the original inspiration for my safe little world concept. in fact a picture that i took of his house (which i then drew on) was the first place i used the term 'safe little world'.

anyway, in his back yard he has a little shed - a kind of haven with a comfortable chair, work bench and tools in it. i'd wanted to photograph it for a long time. the place is currently vacant and anna had gone over there and wandered into the shed.

i went over too, and what resulted were some very nice pictures that we took. the golden light of dusk was falling perfectly through the shed door and we were armed with my g10. here is some of what we got... (anna took the first two and i took the second two)

[on the headphones: 'vaka (live in vienna 2002)' by sigur ros. download it free here.]

Sunday, October 26, 2008

movie still 4

got movie stills coming out my ears - i'll have to post them more often. this one is from the film 'black robe', the moment just before the huron tribe accepts christianity...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

the transcendent nodes of SP08

before i leave well enough alone and stop talking about the semi permanent 08 design conference, i want to mention four moments i found particularly profound - nodes that occurred during the two days of the event and seemed (to me) to transcend the normal talk about design.

it seemed to me that abstract notions, altruism, emotion, passion, love (...) were much more present at sp this year than other years. perhaps as a reaction against the superficial, mechanical, commercial aspects of design, the speakers were expressing 'deeper' desires, flirting around the edges of art, and aiming to express something with more meaning. here are four examples that struck me particularly...

joel gethin lewis talks about hiraeth. joel gethin lewis: an interactivity designer (for want of a better phrase) who combines artistic and technical smarts to create incredible and mind-blowing interactive spaces. to date most of his work has been with uva (see to believe).

as part of his talk, he spoke about returning home to wales, to his roots, exploring the countryside, seeing a rare red kite soaring through the air, and experiencing firsthand 'hiraeth'. hiraeth is a welsh word that means something like 'a sense of place' - connectedness to land and the place you come from. it seems that this experience propelled lewis into a more art-based working method. he is now working exclusively with open-source solutions and sharing his research with the world.

karsten schmidt quotes from judges 5:5. karsten schmidt: a designer (perhaps mad scientist genius) who designs by writing computer code and allowing his code to formulate visual output based on the parameters he programs.

his talk was very philosophical. we said that everything is moving if you look at it long enough - nothing is static. even mountains are moving if you look at them long enough. at which point he quoted judges 5:5, "the mountains melted from before the LORD". actually he quoted "the mountains flowed before the Lord" (maybe his own english translation from german). young's literal translation has it, "hills flowed from the face of Jehovah". his point being that the mountains are moving, you just need to be God to observe it (ie around long enough).

personally i found it very nice that he was using a biblical passage to illustrate his point. he later went on to give us the disclaimer that he actually doesn't believe in God. he said that the randomisation in his work is one reason. my personal take is that his work definitely doesn't imply a lack of God. the randomisation that is inherent in the work steams from source code that he himself programmed (the code itself is not 'chance'). showing, i think, that the 'randomisation' we see in nature could steam from a generating source code programmed by a master programmer.

kate bezar quotes 1 corinthians 13. kate bezar: was a business consultant who chucked it in to follow her passion and create an interview magazine about ordinary people achieving great creative things (called 'dumbo feather, pass it on').

as if one creative quoting from the bible wasn't shocking enough, kate bezar did the same by quoting from 1 corinthinans 13, commenting "i bet this is the first time you've heard the bible quoted at a design conference" or something like that. she quoted, "when i was a child, i talked like a child, i thought like a child, i reasoned like a child. when i became a man, i put childish ways behind me." it was a scripture that she recited en masse as a school girl during school assemblies.

kate's angle was that by starting 'dumbo feather', following this scripture is exactly what she was NOT doing. she equated the business world she was once in to "putting childish ways behind" her, and that starting 'dumbo feather' was rediscovering and embracing a childlike approach.

i can't resist critiquing this. i think it is totally brilliant that she ditched the commercial world for an enterprise like 'dumbo feather'. in fact this is totally compatible with christianity, which (in part) calls for people to favour deeper, more beautiful things over materialism. as it happens, kate has taken the scripture out of context, because the verses immediately proceeding her quotation basically state that there's no point doing anything unless you do it with love. which is an idea she's embraced by starting 'dumbo feather' - she is now using love as a driving force, where love was absent from the grind of her former business consultant life. st paul's meaning in 1 corinthians 13 is that the more advanced way to do things is through love. the bible in no way denigrates a childlike approach to life. jesus himself said, "unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (matthew 18). i think she took a step closer to the true meaning of 1 corinthians 13 when she started 'dumbo feather' rather than a step away.

danny yount's sea anemone. danny yount: a title sequence designer responsible for such things as the opening titles of 'six feet under' and the end titles of 'iron man'.

the finale of sp08 for me was when yount put a picture of a sea anemone up on the screen, and said something to the effect of (and i wish i could remember his exact words), "this sea anemone sits on my desk. when i need inspiration i look at it closely. look at it - it's perfectly designed. God has surrounded us with an amazing creation. so when you need inspiration, look around you."

Sunday, September 28, 2008

movie still 3

here i am skiving off from what i said i would post about next (again). here are some movie stills from the film 'control' about the life and death of ian curtis (lead singer of joy division). the film is directed by famous photographer anton corbijn, so you would expect some lovely black and white visuals... (click on 'em to see 'em bigger like)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

SP08 (part 2)

day two started with one of the speakers i was most looking forward to - derek henderson. he is one of new zealand's most respected photographers and seems equally at home photographing models in venice as he is photographing the deserted streets of backwater new zealand towns. i wasn't disappointed - he showed us a lot of his work and added anecdotes to each of the images. interesting stuff.

sea design were next. i actually can't remember too much about their presentation - probably due to the fact that i've taken so long to get this review posted, but also maybe because it didn't make a huge impact on me. when i was researching for this post, though, i visited their website: home page = wow. check it (refresh it to see different background images).

then dumbo feather after lunch. kate bezar is a new zealander based in australia - a st cuths girl turned management consultant turned magazine publisher. her magazine 'dumbo feather, pass it on' is an interview magazine that talks to ordinary people achieving great things. kate's story is a classic 'getting sick of corporate world so decides to follow her passion and using all the money she made in the corporate world to do something new and altruistic' story. her talk was based around that theme. i don't mean to sound sarky about it - it was a good talk.

debaser are an australian design agency that specialises in album cover design. they had some nice work and it was interesting to hear about their experiences and the processes of album art.

after afternoon tea was danny yount - i think i might have a new hero. he's a seemingly ordinary guy who ended up in the business of creating title sequences for movies. for me this is fascinating because it often involves typography in movement. danny yount designed the opening titles for a fairly successful tv program called 'six feet under'. his recent work includes the end titles for 'iron man' and 'the invasion'. he has also recently finished work on the new guy ritchie film. fantastic talk.

the superstar of the event and the supposed headline act was stefan sagmeister. he's fairly famous (to say the least) in design circles. he's the sort of guy that people will pay any amount of money to design whatever he likes. that puts him in a whole different universe from most of the people at the conference. he talked us through a project he's worked on called 'things i've learnt' or something like that. it's a famous project that most of us had probably already seen. he didn't seem too worried about the time constraints and was still going when i left half an hour after the finish time.

morning and evening - the second day.

it really was good having the event as two days this year. at the end of the first day i wondered how i was going to absorb another day's worth of info but i was ok after a nice sleep. you run into problems when you put designers in front of a large audience - a lot of them probably never dreamed that they would be hauled away from their macs and placed in front of a vast auditorium of people. but the proportion of speakers that were able to make that transition well was higher this year than the other two years i've been. i think the organisers of this event should be congratulated because they are clearly trying to bring the latest thinking about design to new zealand. that means that we are getting the benefit of a vast amount of cultural capital every time this event is held - and i think this was particularly true this year.

i'm not finished posting about SP - next i'm going to write about some interesting highlights. meanwhile here is some design work from the speakers (in order of appearance):

Thursday, September 04, 2008

sgt. james brown gets it on

yes, i know i'm supposed to be posting part 2 of my sp08 review - it's coming. meanwhile here i am getting distracted by yet another triviality.

i get a fair bit of spam through my inbox and take great delight in the sender names that these emails come from - some of them are just brilliant - here are a few i've collected in the past: mauricio lee, consuelo hobson, ernesto mcclellan, ruthie salazar, ringleader e. artifact, hartford v. vestibule, jesus jolly.

great stuff. so you can imagine my delight when this morning i received an email from one sgt. james brown.

normally i immediately delete these things without opening them but sgt. james brown! now that's what i'm talking about. turns out to be one of those 'nigerian' scams. but sgt. jb is determined to quell any fears that i might have about this being non-legit.

to quote sgt. brown: "It’s true that one has to 'be hesitant of such a transaction' but you must know that Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serve to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil can become a source of beauty, joy and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such."

quite a philosopher is sgt. jim. turns out though that this is blatant plagarism. this is in fact a quote from henry miller. how can one trust such a plagariser? and here i was about to assist sarg in his transaction - lucky i checked first!

and now for the REAL james brown (got it here) (the irony of the fact this appears to be a picture of james brown leaving prison does not escape me):

Saturday, August 23, 2008

SP08 (part 1)

for the first time, the semi-permanent design conference was held over two days this year. and that really is too much to talk about in one post, so i'm going to break it up into two with a third part that talks about my personal response.

the day launched with marion bantjes from canada - one of the best speakers first up. she presented really well and showed us some lovely work. her trademark style is lots of curvy lines.

she was followed by design by pidgeon from australia. this was real solid work by david pidgeon with some nice ideas. the session wasn't hugely rivetting from an entertainment point of view and included a lot of discussion about the australian pavillion at the venice benninal.

after lunch it was joel gethin lewis and i was tremendously excited about hearing him after he spoke on behalf of uva last year. this welsh kid is an absolute genius - and i think i might mean that literally. having told us about the work he did with uva for massive attack and the interactive regent street christmas lights, he went on to tell us about his new projects involving utlising open source software in visual art and media. some other things about lewis: he got a job as a game interactivity tester when he was 14, worked for ibm when he was 17, and has a science degree and a fine arts degree.

then it was collider from australia with designer andrew van der westhuyzen presenting. this was fairly well presented and i particularly enjoyed discussion about the work they did for the mtv australia awards which including a very cool photo shoot using high speed cameras.

after afternoon tea we heard from the wilderness and it was blimin' nice to hear some nz voices. this was co-presented by a guy named kelvin who i once had coffee with to talk about an alternative christian arts magazine idea (which as far as i know never eventuated). so it's interesting to see that he's become one of nz's finest designers.

and the day was rounded out by toxi (aka karsten schmidt). this session was a real mind-bender. schmidt does all his design by source code. so instead of drawing something in illustrator or photoshop he writes computer code that draws the object by itself. he is big on creating randomised elements. he was adament that we should all go out and learn how to program so that we could get on that wave. it was also a very philosophical talk and i'm going to put him in the genius catagory too, and maybe even the mad scientist sub-catagory. while it's unlikely that many of the designers there will go out and start creating the way he does, it was nice to have the framework of our brains stretched.

and there was morning and evening - the first day. i'll review day two in the next post.

some images (in order of appearance):

Thursday, August 21, 2008

jamie strange let loose in the wild

i'm still procrastinating about posting about the things i was going to post about. but other interesting things keep coming up.

i should have mentioned that we finally finished work on the album art for jamie strange's album - he's had some copies printed up and is unleashing it on the music world as we speak.

i think he has achieved something pretty cool with this album - he's showed incredible determination in seeing the project to this point and deserves plaudits for this. i should be focussing on his work with the album, but instead i'm going to get all egotistical about it and point out my own appearances on the album. apart from working on the album artwork with my esteemed colleague mr roland bart ebbing, i also have a couple of tasty vocal appearances.

jamie gave his album to hamilton student radio station max fm and they have added three of his tracks to their playlist - two of those tracks have me on them... a brief punk vocal on 'rockstar clone' (currently max fm's most requested song) and some spoken word on 'screaming without words'. you can visit the playlist page here. but because it will change one day i've immortalised the moment here (click on it to make it bigger):

and because i know you're anxious to know what words i speak on 'screaming without words', here is a transcript (i wrote them especially for the song):

All the time I thought you knew, compressed by this distorted voice
My silent world drowned out by the city's long low hum, and groans that words can't express
The sound of traffic with our conscious minds
My stream of conscious thought against my subconscious thought
I wrestle with this dark angel morning through night
'Til night fades and is carried away by dawn
All the time I thought you knew, all the time I thought
And here it all begins to fade away
I'm screaming without words to say

i'll post some images from the jamie strange artwork in a later post...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

guitar hero

i've got a billion little things in mind that i want to post about - for one thing i got back from the semi permanent design conference on monday, and i want to review that. and i've come across some more star wars stuff. and more cool stuff. and i've got loads of movie stills. i guess i'm just going to have to try and post stuff more regularly.

but instead of posting about any of those things, i'd like to draw your attention to a particularly nice piece of music/video from my friend mark laurent who is a particularly fine guitarist...

here it is now:

Sunday, August 03, 2008

movie still 2

here's the second installment of 'movie still'. this time a little bit of kubrick magic, and no matter what anyone says about space odyssey 2001 it is undoubtedly a stunning film visually. i got so lost in the visuals that i only remembered to capture a few frames - but virtually every shot in that film could be captured - especially once the film moves beyond the annoying apeman opening scenes. my favourite shot is the last one below...

Monday, July 21, 2008

20,000 tracks under the sea

i've blogged before about the inane sense of enjoyment i get from watching as the music i'm listening to on my computer appears on my page.

that enjoyment doesn't seem to have waned in the over two years. so you can imagine my excitement (perhaps) when this morning i hit 20,000 tracks played since joining in may 2006. that's a fair bit of music listened to (an average of about 25 tracks a day).

my milestone roughly coincides with a redesign that have just launched. i'm getting used to it but i feel like it is less destinctive now and more like facebook. the functionality is pretty good - an improvement i think.

anyway, here's a souvenir of the moment i accomplished the 20,000 mark (click to enlarge or download it as your desktop wallpaper!)

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Anna, my wife, has just launched a blog about her designer jewellery line... check it:

Saturday, June 28, 2008

movie still 1

another new regular feature for my blog: movie stills. one of the biggest things that attracts me to a film is the cinematography. i can sit and watch a film that would ordinarily be 'boring' and love it for the camera work. when i studied film at university i remember coming across a comment that in the great movies you can take an individual frame, and composition and lighting-wise it will stand up as an image by itself.

often when i'm watching a dvd on my computer i'll see a shot that i particularly love and the photographer part of my brain tells me to press "c" to capture the image using the dvd software's in-built capture feature.

over the last couple of years i've gathered quite a nice little collection of movie stills on my computer, so i thought it might be cool to start posting some of them on the blog. the range of movies is very wide - from established 'classics' to more recent films. occasionally i might even post an image from a film that i have forgotten the title of....

so here goes - movie still 1: 'noi the albino', and actually this film is too beautiful to post just one image...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

star wars news episode VIII: the drunks of mos eisley

to quote the late great obi wan kenobi, mos eisley is a "wretched hive of scum and villainy". situated on the planet tatooine, legend has it that it became the capital of the planet when jabba the hutt moved part of his crime empire there (source: wikipedia).

in the town of mos eisley is a rather infamous bar called the mos eisley cantina which has a house band called figrin d'an and the modal nodes.

we all know that it is not a very nice place because we have witnessed firsthand how han, luke and obi wan got on when they visited. the mos eisley cantina is full of drunkenness and general debauchery. what better place to set a drink drive commercial in then?

click on the link below and see a public service announcement from 1979 in which a caring member of the mos eisley community helps out a drunk buddy... and let it be a lesson to you!

this episode of star wars news: news from the dark nether regions of star wars fandom what brought to you in association with the quote:

"watch your mouth kid, or you’ll find yourself floating home." - han solo

Sunday, June 15, 2008

something cool one

here's another potentially regular slot - let's call it 'something cool'. that title can be like 'ironic' because we all know that a blog slot that was truly cool would never call itself 'something cool'. dig?

so here's something cool: the band 'tilly and the wall'.

what makes them cool: they are an indie band that has a tap dancer instead of a drummer. the story goes that they were missing a drummer and had this friend who was a tap dancer so they asked her in to tap some rhythms for them to practise to. they thought it sounded so good that they added her to the line-up. so now, when you go to a tilly and the wall concert, on the riser behind the band is a tap dancer instead of a drummer.

you think that sounds a little bit naff? well it is potentially but listen for yourself... at betterpropaganda the song 'pot kettle black' has serious attitude (don't blame me, it has a bit of bad language).

Friday, June 13, 2008

star wars news episode VII: beware of the ewoks

yeah! in yer eye george lucas! i managed to produce VII episodes of my franchise! and it really wasn't that hard.

now, on star wars news: news from the dark nether regions of star wars fandom i do bang on a fair bit about stormtroopers. it's because, despite the fact that they work for the dark side, they're cool.

so anyway, today i got wind of a cool-sounding project by eight illustrators paying tribute to star wars by interpreting elements of the original movies in their own way. the book is called 'harvest is when i need you the most'. (a reference to uncle owen's impassioned speech to luke near the beginning of the first star wars movie - but you already knew that.) i found out about the book on drawn and you can see the book website for yourself here.

this particular frame (by branden d lamb) took my fancy. damn ewoks...

this episode was brought to you in association with the quote: “aren’t you a little short for a stormtrooper?” - princess leia

viewmaster goodness

i've been meaning to tell you all about anna's new jewellery range. and i fully intend to - i'll do a big post on it soon. in her hunting around for cool stuff to put on the end of a chain, anna came across a rather fantastic black viewmaster on trademe.

so we bought it. it's a 1950s model (i think) manufactured in belgium (yes belgium of all places), we think it's made of bakelite which makes it even cooler. it is nice and heavy and has a serious industrial-feeling mechanism. it came with its original box!

here it is now:

Thursday, June 05, 2008

star wars news episode VI: fightchix

i've become very aware in recent days that there's something that star wars news (news from the dark nether regions of star wars fandom) lacks: hot celebrity gossip. cutsy pictures of stormtroopers are all very well, but what this news series needs is something with a bit more bite.

right on cue comes this excellent and exciting news piece.

it turns out that george lucas's daughter, amanda, quietly slipped into new zealand last week. all true star wars fans will know that "Amanda has ... made an impact on the big screen, appearing in the most recent Star Wars trilogy. She was dancer Diva Funquita and the voice of Trade Federation battleship communications officer Tey How in Episode I The Phantom Menace, Outlander Club patron Adnama (Amanda spelled backwards) in Episode II Attack of the Clones, and Senator Terr Taneel in Episode III Revenge of the Sith." i can't believe you didn't know that.

but here's the really awesome bit. she came to new zealand to fight in a mixed martial arts event called 'princesses of pain'.

just because she's the daughter of someone famous, doesn't mean she gets treated any differently. 'princesses of pain' promoter (that's a lot of alliteration) belinda dunne says, "Within her team-mates, none of them really give a crap (about her links to fame)."

wearing a shirt with the catchy phrase 'fightchix' on it, amanda 'powerhouse' lucas fought against nz kickboxer nicole kavanagh who, by the look of this picture, managed to inflict a certain amount of damage.

my mate johnnie b has been trying to get close to george lucas for years. if only we had known that george's daughter was visiting maybe we could have set up a date or something. unfortunately john is in the uk at the moment, and as it turns out amanda 'powerhouse' lucas's "American bodybuilder fiancee" might have had something to say about it.

original story on stuff.

this episode of star wars news was brought to you in association with the following dialogue:

[a large-eyed creature gives Luke a rough shove and starts yelling at Luke in an alien language which Luke doesn't understand...]

Dr. Evazan: He doesn't like you.
Luke: Sorry.
Dr. Evazan: I don't like you either. You just watch yourself. We're wanted men. I have the death sentence on twelve systems.
Luke: I'll be careful.
Dr. Evazan: You'll be dead!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

star wars news episode V: stormtroopers v the bill

i once read a book called 'ss-gb' by len deighton - a novel about what it might have been like if the nazis had occupied great britain in WW2. in particular, it is about a british police detective working in the london police force after it has become answerable to the german ss.

well, that's all fine and dandy, but what if great britain had been conquered by the empire? what then eh? i think this picture gives us a bit of an insight into that situation. clearly the empire's stormtroopers (more heavily armed and equipped, not to mention backed by the entire authority of the empire) have the bill exactly where they want them.

the original of this pic is here and i first saw it on boingboing.

this episode of star wars news: news from the dark nether regions of star wars fandom was brought to you in association with the quote: "i'd prefer a straight fight instead of all this sneaking around" - han solo.

Friday, May 23, 2008

star wars news episode IV: the colour of vader's money

star wars news: news from the dark nether regions of star wars fandom, or in this case from the dark side of the force.

the empire really had their systems and government structures together, a pretty well oiled machine.

today we have a rather interesting artefact from the imperial economic system - bank notes used as currency throughout the empire during the time of the rebellion.

these bank notes were designed by one j. scott campbell (aka diablo2003) (also happens to be an artist for marvel). i came across them on ffffound image bookmarking, but they were originally posted on deviantART. the blurb on deviantART says that j. scott designed them as a guest artist at a star wars fan day. read more about the bank notes here and more about j. scott campbell here.

this episode is brought to you in association with the quote "i find your lack of faith disturbing" - darth vader

Monday, May 19, 2008

star wars news episode III: stormtroopers just wanna have fun

i sent this link last week to a few friends, but it was one of the inspirations for star wars news: news from the dark nether regions of star wars fandom, so it needs to be shared.

a flickr user (one Doctor Beef) has taken to documenting the secret lives of stormtroopers. the flickr slide show is here. but here's my favourite pic [sometimes you see a photo and think, 'damn i wish i'd taken that photo' - this is one] and the Doctor Beef caption that goes with it...

The guys insisted we stop at the beach so they could see the lake, then got mad when they discovered it was frozen over and we put them out on the ice.

"We're not Snowtroopers," said TK-327.
"BRRRR" was all I could hear from TK-704.
"It was HIS idea to come out here, not mine," shouts an accusatory TK-218.
TK-315 wasn't so bothered - he'd filled his mug with hot coffee from Teolly's cuppa before we got out of the car.

this episode was brought to you in association with the quote: "you could use a good kiss" - han solo.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

the man

i'm sick - i've got a head cold thing. strangely, when i've got a cold sometimes i get more creative - it's almost as if the cold creates a kind of insulation against extraneous data and my mind settles into its natural tendency (ie to make things). or something like that anyway. a similar effect is the half awake zone as you drift off to sleep. or when you get away from work and have a proper holiday - inevitably the things you love doing most come to the front of your mind.

anyway, a few days ago i was doodling and came across an interesting little character, which i refined over the last few days and practised as i watched dvds (ken burns's documentary series on jazz). today i finally drew a version that i was happy with (he's a bit random the way he comes out on paper when you draw him freehand). so i scanned him into the computer and cleaned him up.

here's the little blighter now:

he's designed to be drawn quite quickly with just a few strokes. it's amazing how much he and his brothers change their attitudes and stature as they randomly appear on the page.

this version has been put through illustrator's live trace 'inked drawing' process and then tidied up a bit.

i'm wondering if subconsciously his rather rotund little figure is influenced by louis armstrong and charlie parker.

chur little bro.

on the headphones: 'crosstown traffic' by jimi hendrix from the album 'experience hendrix'.

Friday, May 16, 2008

star wars news episode II: vintage star wars

hello, and welcome to the second episode of star wars news: news from the dark nether regions of star wars fandom.

most people assume that the star wars movie that came out in 1977 was the first one (even though it was actually episode IV). in fact, thanks to recent film research, a much older version of star wars has been unearthed, dating back to the silent film era.

youtube is the world authority on rare and hard to find film, and so now, for your viewing pleasure, the original star wars movie (unearthed by neonstz):

this episode of star wars news brought to you in association with the quote: "help me obi wan kenobi, you're my only hope." - princess leia

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

star wars news episode I: namby-pamby jedi cameraman

a bit about me and star wars: i was released the same year as star wars - 1977. when i say 'released' i mean 'born'. my older brothers (10 and 12 years older) were into star wars and i grew up with it.

when my brother rob went on his oe to europe he came back with a range of fantastic star wars toys for me, including a speeder bike, x-wing fighter and a laser canon. one of my friends ben was also into star wars in a big way and we had epic games with our star wars figures and vehicles. he had a millennium falcon and an at-st walker. when we got to be 11 or 12, ben went off star wars and agreed to sell me his at-st walker for $10. i'm still the proud owner of that walker - albeit slightly guilty as i know ben has regretted the transaction in later years.

needless to say, i love all the original star wars films and saw return of the jedi when it first came out at the movies (plus a couple of ewok movies but we choose not to discuss those). i am deeply ambivalent about the newer star wars movies and lay much of the blame at the feet of george lucas's poor dialogue writing abilities. the dialogue of the first three movies was saved by harrison ford.

i welcome and embrace your own comments about stars wars and your personal recollections.

and now for star wars news episode I: so in view of my star wars fascination (and i should say i'm not one of those guys who dresses up and goes to conventions - although one day i would like to own a stormtrooper helmet) i come across quite a bit of star wars ephemera on the net and most of it is just too good not to share.

in this video, two members of the 'jedi faith church' of holyhead in the uk are attacked by a drunk guy wearing a black plastic bag, wielding a crutch and yelling "darth vader!" and, in what is possibly the most namby-pamby jedi moment since luke skywalker sulked about going to town to get some power converters when his aunt and uncle wanted him to do chores, the jedi cameraman upon being hit with the crutch says, "ahh, that's really quite painful."

where i found out about this news: boingboing.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


just a few days after ed hillary died, another important nzer has passed away. hone tuwhare wasn't as famous as ed, but he played an important part in nz literary history. he was a well-loved nz poet - accessible, witty and insightful. in 1964 he published 'no ordinary sun' - the first published full book of poetry by a maori written in english. it remains in print and is in it's 10th impression. he was also known for his collaborations with visual artist ralph hotere.

one of his best known poems is this one:

I can hear you
making small holes
in the silence

If I were deaf
the pores of my skin
would open to you
and shut

And I
should know you
by the lick of you
if I were blind

the something
special smell of you
when the sun cakes
the ground

the steady
drum-roll sound
you make
when the wind drops

But if I
should not hear
smell or feel or see

you would still
define me
disperse me
wash over me

[image from]

Friday, January 11, 2008

sad day

i was just out delivering some work and noticed that the flag at tauranga airport was at half-mast. and then i noticed another one further on that was the same. i thought, "who would warrant that kind of respect?" and my first thought was "sir ed hillary". sadly, when i came home to check, it turns out that it was in fact ed hillary who passed away today.

ed hillary was easily the most famous new zealander alive - he and nepalese sherpa tenzing norgay were the first people to reach the summit of mt everest. or as he put it "we knocked the bastard off". he came to personify the typical kiwi bloke - no fuss, just get the job done sort of attitude.

he was an all-round adventurer and travelled to the north and south poles - the first man to achieve the everest, south pole, north pole trifecta. he was also a humanitarian, tirelessly working for the nepalese people. tragically, nepal claimed the lives of his wife and daughter in a plane crash in 1975.

it's sad that he's passed away - it's a loss for new zealand. at 88 he had a good innings, and will always be considered a legend.

[image from wikipedia]

Saturday, January 05, 2008

5 days into 2008

this morning i watched a biopic on jackson pollock starring ed harris. it was a pretty good film. i can never watch a movie about art without wanting to do something of my own. ever since taking pictures in alleyways in town a few days ago, i've had multiple ideas firing around in my head about how to use them.

watching the pollock film gave me the idea to just get on with it and see what emerges. i decided to start work on an idea i've had for several weeks. like the last piece i did (the plastic stag one) it was a long-term idea that really evolved when i started playing with the elements.

it incorporates the following elements: one of my alleyway photos, my standard artwork of me (blindfolded and degraded), an image of blue sky over the suburb of bureta, the safe little world brand, and as a little bonus, a map of tauranga (bureta to central city) that covers the area where the alley is, taken from the perspective of where the blue sky is.

on the headphones: 'thou shalt always kill' by dan le sac VS scroobius pip. check it (you won't regret it).