Wednesday, 23 June 2010

The Moon-paintings of Wetherilliius

I one day hope to discover something magnificant and have it named after me. The closest thing so far is 2128 Wetherill, a main-belt asteroid discovered in 1976 by scientist Eleanor Helin and named after scientist George Wetherill. It's wiki page was recently vandalised, and it's claims upset me greatly.

In the meantime this is the most recent double page spread from my space diary which I started back in february when I first got my telescope. You can actually physically watch me learning luna geography as I go. The only thing's I've observed were the blinding light of Venus and the tiny wonderment of Saturn and they dont make very good paintings. The picture on the left is in pen and the picture on the right is acrylic paint 24 hours later. Its amazing to see how far the terminator travels in that time, revealing more magical sights.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Pioneer One. Yes. Yes. YES.

So there I was downloading a wee bit of music on bittorent (yes I know very naughty) when this advert came up. A lady in a Soviet Cosmonaut space suit. And I was. Hang on. Turns out, released only a few days ago was the first episode of the very first independently produced exclusively for peer to peer sharing television show "Pioneer One" and though I was dubious I hit the download button. I'm the kind of person who wants *everything*.

Firstly, the camera work annoyed me. I have experience in making and direction low budget independent films and personally I think the director of photography needs a kick up the bum. But after a little while I started feeling this strange sensation in my guy. That same feeling I got when I watch Star Trek Voyager, or Star Wars, or Fire Fly or Back to the Future. A warm fuzzy sensation. A feeling of "I'm not quite sure whats going yet but I *like* these people. They are beginning to feel like...friends." I know, its sad, but who doesn't like to cuddle up with the TV remote and watch a group of misfits solve mysteries. This is what Pioneer One feels like it could become.

If fans donate enough money to actually MAKE the next episode. I need to mull it over the next few days before I decided if I want to part with my money in return for more warm fuzzy feelings but theres a few things that will help sway my decision. Firstly, it has MARS in it. Have I mentioned yet? I LOVE MARS. I was born on Mars, y'see. Ok not really but you get what I mean. And this show is about the human exploration of Mars. Kind of. And well, though I'm aspiring to be an illustrator (you can tell by the amount of art I've posted on this blog!) I actually want to be an Astronaut. And not just some rubbishy space shuttle Astronaut (keep up the good work, your my hero Nick Patrick), I want to be the first person on Mars.

So this show plays on my child hood dreams and thus is full of win. Here, see for yourself:

 Website with download link


Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Sunset from my Balcony

My balcony - where I do all my astronomering - has a great sunset. Its a westerly facing window, and that bright dot to the left of the left chimney is venus. It sets everyday between those chimneys.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Brother Finishes 850 Mile End to End Solo Walk

My brother Sam finished his end to end yesterday with an emotional final limp across our makeshift toilet roll finish line at Lands End. Its got me thinking about doing one myself. Bicycle across America? Hmm...

The music is the World Map Theme from Final Fantasy 7, composed by Nobuo Uematsu. Sam requested it especially, I think I can understand why.

If the screen is too narrow to veiw the whole width of the video you can view it directly here:

Sunday, 6 June 2010

End to End (and everywhere in between)

My older (and only biological) brother playing drums with his band "Jukebox Fury" in an open air concert yesterday. It was really a concert, it was a fun day. They were in between the penalty shootout and sponge-throwing. My brother is a natural guitarist and played lead in his old band "Mary Jane", but they broke up a few years ago when he moved to Finland and got married. Now he's divorced, back in England, and plays drums. Honestly, he sucks, but I can understand why he maybe doesn't want to face his guitar again. Maybe it reminds him of better times with his best friends? I think I can relate, I was a clasically trained pianist for 5 years, but now I prefer to suck at guitar and have fun than be good at piano and have no fun. The reason he looks tanned and rugged is because he just walked almost 1000 miles from John O'Groats and will end up at Lands End on thursday. This gig was a stop off as he passed through. It suddenly struck me how much he looks like my Dad. Click to make bigger.

His (wholy unique due to childhood other-brother-play-fighting-face-smashing-banister accident) grin is sarcastic, by the way.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Some Art

These are experiments I did for a module back over christmas; I was making a few pages for a graphic novel. Unfortunatly the goal of the module was not to finish the graphic novel but just to design and produce a couple of finals. It's Echo the Space Pirate, about a space pirate on Mars (really!?) set a 1000 yearsi n the future. This page was to experiment using different materials, I eventually settled on a mix of water colour and oil pastel. Joe Smoke is pulling a lever; had problems making it not look too phallic.
Click to make bigger.

Friday, 4 June 2010

I For One Welcome Our New "Alien Bug" Overloads (from Titan)

I cycled almost 40 miles today across the Devon countryside. Seems pretty miniscule compared to the distances and achievements of Cassini. Everybody already knew there was something amazing going on on Titan, Saturn's largest moon. So huge as to be almost planet like, with methane seas and mountains of rock; they call it the most Earth-like body around and now scientists think they may have evidence of the tentitive signs of life there.Read more here. Now, using the Dailymail's words, they reckon hydrogen gas is "mysertiously disapearing" because it's being breathed by "alien bugs." I hate the DM at the best of times but guh. Talk about confusing the average Joe. The alien bugs! They will scream. The Alien Bugs will enslave us all! Here is an artists impression (ok, my impression) of said "Alien Bug":

(Really shows my 1/3rd of an Illustration Degree huh?)

Personally I think it's great news, microscopic organisms writihing around in the bizzare neon-green glow-in-the-dark-lakes (probably not, but a girl can dream). I love that exploration continues despite politics, budget cuts, the cancelation of my beloved Space Shuttle (which I am currecntly building a model of, pics later.) Here are some actaul select DM comments:

"Bob, why would you want to disuade me from my faith? How does it effect your animalistic lifestyle?"

"Could they nip down to Eastbourne now and see if they can detect any signs of life here please?"

"The UK Government is to open a "Job Centre" on Titan in 2011 featuring many construction jobs and jobs for electrical engineers and the like."

"If we find life, it will be another sacred cow of religion slaughtered IE that we and our planet were specially created by God for us."

I don't know why I read the Dailymail website, it sets out to destroy every thing in my life (my sexualliy, my left wing liberal beliefs, my athiest-ness, even my gender and age [filthy, sinful, wastefull student!!!!] ) It reports on things alot of other new sites dont. Maybe I go there looking for a fight. Like Herminone says, in Harry Potter book number *mumbles* "It's good to know what the enemy are saying about you." and I think thats true. Reading DM reminds me I'm living my life the good way (I hope.) As long as I do, act, say and believe the complete opposite of what it and it's users say I should be on the right track. Now, a pic, from Cassini. Saturn's rings (which I see very often through my own telescope.) with the moon Epimethus and Titan.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Photo Post - Melissa

Theres a long story behind these photo's. My first year at Uni I took over 5000 photographs on the Nikon D40 DSLR (which is like the cheapest most basic DSLR there is). I edited them down to just over 2000 photographs. The pictures aren't really of work, and not many of them are drunken nights out. They're just pictures of our progress, getting to know each other, getting to know ourselves. I remember I even took photos on my first day. I wanted to document every tiny thing. Sometimes it annoyed my coursemates, I think theyre getting used to it now. I havn't fully explained to anyone why I've been taking these pictures. It all stems from my anxiety that I wasn't ggoing to flourish at Uni, that I was goingto wilt and die. I really thought that. I though I'd turn out like Russel Crowe's charecter in "A Beautiful Mind" because I wouldn't be able to cope.

Anyway, just as I was getting ready to start Uni back in september I was listening to the complete soundtrack of "Avenue Q" alot. People's first experiences of this musical are usually finding anime mashup videos to the music "If You Were Gay" or "The Internet is for Porn" but most people havn't head the whole show. It's tender and pensive. One song that really resonates for me is "I Wish I Could go Back to College" . That one line: "I wish I had taken more pictures." When I first heard that I was like, whoa, this is going to be the most important 3 years of my life and I can't let it slip by. It dawned on my how important these pictures when I look back after one year at this picture:

Lets begin.
First day. Thats the sun rising. I was there at 7:30am. I wanted a head start.
Staying behind to some more work with Benj (who was humerously drunk with exhaustion), Peter and Melissa on October 14th. Melissa died of Sudden Death Syndrome very suddenly on the 28th of October. It was a shocking blow to us all and I think it changed the dynamic of the group. I think it brought us all together. I was very insular then, shy and still getting adjusted. I looked over at the desk that Melissa, Elora, Rachel and Sophia shared and saw them giggling away, close, as if they'd known each other for years, and I always wanted to go over a join them. In reality we'd only known her for almost exaclty 1 month. It was a very strange form of berevement, it was like we were mourning for the future. Feeling grief for someone who would have been one of my closest friends.

29th October some folks arranged a beautful memorial. They went out and bought a whole load of helium balloons and less than 24 hours of hearing of Melissa's death (an emotional sponteaneous meeting called by Ashley, our tutor, one ordinary morning. The only time, and probably last time, I've seen my tutor cry.) over a hundred students, 1st year, and most of 2nd and 3rd year descended on Plymouth Hoe. On that very gusty day she and some students said some words, and we released the balloons. I was shocked how fast they flew away.

We wrote little messages to Mellissa on them. I wonder who found them in the end. I think it was the perfect spontaneous expression of loss. It would be 3 weeks before the funeral, which about a dozen of the class attended. It was about a 3 hour coach trip away, and while I was planning to go the date was changed and clashed with an event that I had promised myself to months ago and then hundreds of people were relying on me (I was chairing a debate between 2 competing schools about the ethics of the BNP) and I was unable to go. However, one unseasonably warm and clear December day Mellissa's mum Sandra and her young son appeared in the studio, clutching a dusty urn. It was the first time I met her, I didn't know what to say to her, and saying her young son was heart broken.
I was touched that Sandra wanted to scatter half of Mellissa's ashes in my home town Plymouth, where she only lived for month.
For the rest of the year we didn't see her family again, though a few of us stayed in touch. I sent Sandra a few messages on facebook of all places. Around Christmas, Easter, Melissa's birthday, a few words to let her know we were thinking of her, and Mellissa. Last week, as we wrapped up our first year with a big exhibition of the years work Sandra appeared in the studio again, with both her yound chrildren and infront of a big crowd of my friends, fellow students, parents and members of the public presented me with this:

 I was pretty much blown away. Firstly, of the 45 people in my class (granted, by the end it had whittled down to about 35 due to dropoits) Ashley chose me. I spend the amount of hours in the studio a week, sometimesd up to 70 but I'm by no means the "best", certainly not technically better than anyone, definatly not the most talented, I just put in so much effort. I didn't think Ashley ever noticed, but he did. Secondly, to be presented an award in honour of the dead person is a huge honour. Thirdly, to be presented an award in honour of a dead person I actually knew has left me reeling with a mix of strange emotions. Mostly happy ones, but still, looking at back at these photos I know 100% I'd rather have Mellissa back and gotten to have known her better, than be noticed.