Friday, 30 July 2010

Day 211, on which John discovers more epic faces than he could ever imagine [30.7.10]

Dag to hundrede og elleve. I've been feeling quite strange today. Perhaps it's because I'm leaving for a week tomorrow, so I'm trying to tie up all the loose ends I've left. The main reason why I had loose ends to begin with is because I was really busy at the start of the holidays, then I went crazy with buildings stuff. Now I need to finish these things off, or else I'll leave them for a week.

So, I finished my review of the Nightly News at Nine Chapter 1 DVD, which David M. Pickett so nicely sent me a copy of, and I've arranged to talk lots and lots with Zack to revamp Brickspace. All is good.

OK, now what's all this 'epic face' stuff about? OK, let me explain. The usual thang on the internet is a series of pictures that say: "EPIC FACE" "EPIC FACE" "EPIC FACE" "JIZZ. IN. MY. PANTS". These captions are written on or said over four photos of someone making really odd faces, usually clenching their teeth or other 'jizz in my pants' faces, and the final one is the most epic.

Now roll up, roll up, for this evening I have a series of epic faces made by a guy named Søren Rasted. Here's the lowdown: Søren is some old guy (40-60) who used to be in AlphaBeat, a famous Danish band. Now he's started up a small band called 'Hej Matematik' (Hello Mathematics) with his nephew Nikolaj Rasted (yeah, they're like that in Denmark).

In Hej Matematik's music videos, both Søren and Nikolaj wear black suits and seem pretty cool. However, Søren thinks he's the height of coolness and wears Converses. He thinks he's so cool that he can make stupid hand gestures that go along with the music, but in fact he looks like a total dick. I don't have anything against him, Hej Matematik's music is great, but Søren is actually hilarious to watch. See:

Before you see the funny gestures for yourself in real-time, here's a JOHNSPACE summary:

Plus two extras:

Shown here best in another music video of the Rasteds', Søren tries out his double-pointing-finger epic face. In other places it looks like he's doing the Fonz's "eeeeeeyyyyy!".

And, finally, Søren's hoeplessly deluded notion that being a plane will seem cool to the kids. Ah, Søren, you old kanoggle.


ps. OK, I'll see you in a week's time! I may be able to blog from Portugal, but I won't guarantee it. AU revoir!!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Day 210, on which John watches Inception! [29.7.10]

Dag to hundrede og ti. Woah, what a day it's been. Very, very busy, and I watched Inception too (more on that later). I also tried to update my Tumblr a bit, and failed. I really need to review my Tumblr situation - what am I going to use it for? I'm thinking of using it as a scrapbook, for photos or MOCs I like... however, it's hard to escape the Tumblogs that are all about love and great quotes and stuff.

Perhaps I should try a little bit of that? I don't think my constant mocking sarcasm would go down well with the Tumblr girls. Examples of the sort of stuff I'd say are: "Love is a second-hand emotion, much like the pain of getting lung cancer from passive smoking" and "No, I don't understand love. I sometimes misspell it as 'loev'.

So, Inception. Some have called this Christopher Nolan's Avatar, and whether it's in that league or not, it trumps Avatar big-time.

Let's start with the plot of Inception. This may seem like a big-budget blockbuster, but in terms of script it's anything but. The script is a maze of clever concepts, unique plotlines and vaguely interesting characters (with the one exception of DiCaprio's character). The ending, in particular, is stupendous. It all builds up, and up, and up- until you are following five separate scenes at the same time. And, if you're clever enough (ie. you possess the brainpower to do a simple Sudoku), then you'll understand it.

I spoke to one of my friends later who said he didn't understand it at all, but I understood it completely (even more so than Moon, which I am still understand bits of on my fifth viewing). I guess you just need to pay extra-special attention to this film. Eyes peeled.

So, with a fantabulous plot in one hand, is the other hand similarly awesome? If that hand is the cinematography and effects, then oh boy yes. The effects aren't flashy, but there's an awful lot of them and they're flawless. In particular, the scene in the corridor (see pic above), which features dynamic gravity changes, and zero-G. There's also a sequence featuring Leo DiCaprio and Ellen Paige in between two mirrors, with the infinite-mirror effect achieved perfectly. No cameraman, no rough edges, nothing. Flawless. Perfect.

Oh, and a side note: there's an infinite staircase in it! Wooh! Y'know, the staircase that is always going up (or always going down)? The one in the Escher artwork? Well, that pops up twice in the film. So, yay for paradoxes.

The final sequence of the film is a killer. Literally, it left me speechless for several minutes. I just wanted to sit there and scream "GAAAAHH!!" - it's a cliffhanger, much like the ending of The Italian Job but much more slick and cliffhanger-y.

So, there we go. Inception. I don't think it's quite knocked Moon out of its place as my favourite film, but it's certainly up there.


Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Day 209, on which John returns to John-Apoc [28.7.10]

Dag to hundrede og ni. Well, here we are. Thursday. It's getting closer and closer to Saturday, when I'm off on holiday. I have no idea what I'm going to bring; I really don't like to think about it. I hate holidays when all you do is sit on a beach and soak up the sun. What a waste of my time; I'd much rather be doing something. The one thing I enjoy about holidays is going to a foreign country and soaking up the culture - and for where I'm going in Portugal, it seems like it'll be tourist country. No Portuguese for me then.

I don't delve into Post-Apoc very much, but when I do, I really enjoy it. It's lots of fun and it's a really open theme to build in. I've only made one proper Post-Apoc MOC, the Hope and Glory Towers for the Blood in the Snow contest a few months back.

So, here I am, back into the genre, with a little minifig. Wooh. Yay. He's got a sausage too, which - for teh record - is for food. Bloody builders on Flickr wondering about other uses for a sausage in the post-apocalyptic wilderness. That guy is a man, not an animal (which, I guess, means that whatever the dog does with the sausage is OK). Dispute over.

I really need to get back into post-apoc. If I can just master building rubble, I'd be good to go on a number of projects. For example, in Hope and Glory Towers there is a rogue traveller who visits the group living in an abandoned block of flats. I was going to follow him as he travels through a desolate post-apocalyptic wasteland, meeting survivors living in the remains of a once-great society. This fella with the dog will (if I make the vignette, eventually) be a drug/medicine dealer operating from a moored tug boat. I took some photos of a great little boat when I was in Portsmouth, so I'm going to use that as a reference.

But that vignette will have to wait until I finish my Neo-Futuron project, and not to forget JCiii, which is going real slow at the moment. Jeez, I have a full list of stuff.


Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Day 208, on which John gets back to building [27.7.10]

Dag to hundrede og otte. Believe it or not, I'm back to normal. Back to being productive - which is my normal. I've had an amazing day of building today. I had to build my entry to Storybuilder (a MOCtag-like continuous story between several builders), but that led me to finish off some other MOCs and do some other little ones, which I was really happy about. In particular, I made a little post-apoc minifig and photographed it Zeessi-style. Stay tuned for that.

So, quickly onto my Storybuilder entry. This second one is much, much better than my first one, as I had more time to prepare and it was one of my scenes, not just a vignette. With my scenes, I can be much more creative and get out my lighting skills, hee hee!

So, here you go, Storybuilder Group 2 Chapter 6:

I never thought I'd be saying this, but I'm going back to Octan. Goddammit. The mysterious man in the warehouse had orchestrated my escape from the Rig, so I guess I owe him something. But going back to Octan? Back to NATE? Back, possibly, to the Rig? I don't owe him that much.
NATALIE had arranged a whole new identity for me; what Octan are doing to find their missing oil rig worker we don't know, but I need to be hidden. I've got some crazy new name (for a computer, NATALIE has a strange sense of 'humour'), new clothes to help me blend in, and an agenda to get back into Octan.
So, here I am. A couple of blocks up from the warehouse district, still in the slums of the city, and shining brightly from underneath an apartment block I see an Octan recruitment centre. I try to forget the last time I was in one of those, sitting down next to a recruitment advisor amidst the calm, reassuring atmosphere and being reeled into Octan like a fish on a wire. The moment you walk into the recruitment centre - if you're weak, as most people are when they turn to Octan - you're working for them.
And now I'm going back. With fake qualifications as well - some I've never heard of - to get me a job in the Octan Headquarters. My instructions from the mysterious man? Get a job, get into the Headquarters, receive more directions, take down NATE.
Here goes...

And with that, nighty-night!


Monday, 26 July 2010

Day 207, on which John suddenly realises how much he's changed in the past year [26.7.10]

Dag to hundrede og syve. Woah, what a day it's been. I haven't even done anything but I feel so tired at the moment. I seem to be complaining about my being tired a lot recently; I can't help it! It's not just the tiredness of everyday teenage life (which is tiring, believe you me), it's catching up on the last three weeks of manic doingstuffness.

I don't think I was constantly tired like this last year. It's actually crazy to think how different I was last year; how much I've changed since then. I've mentioned before how people I know have changed massively in a year - from rediscovering them on Facebook - but it was only today that I saw how much I myself had changed.

For example, from my Flickr photostream I can that on this day last year (26th July 2009), I posted the above graphic and explained how I went to see Moon in the Curzon cinema in London the night before. Funnily enough, I just rewatched Moon today.

I have changed a lot since then. Both in how I am and my social life and also in my skills and style. This time last year I am quite pleased to know that I was already rocking my current quiff-like haircut, and not my stupid lanky fringe. However, I was very different in how I acted. It's not something that's necessarily noticeable, but I have changed a lot in that aspect since last year. I like to think I'm a lot cooler; in any case I'm a bit cooler.

I have also changed a lot in what skills I have. Looking back at my MOCs of July last year, we can see stuff like my Multivac van, which I look back on now with contempt. I have concentrated more on building and less on blogging over the past year, as I think is mainly evident by how I was at STEAM. I remember clearly that I seemed like a bit of a silly young blogger at STEAM last year (early october) - Everyone seemed to refer to me as 'the guy from Brickspace', no one had heard of me and I was not a very good builder. I said a lot of stupid stuff there, too. But what's happened since then? Well, most importantly, the JOHN Collection. That's put me on the map. I'm not terribly popular, but at least I'm known for something; there at least I have some identity. Plus, I've kept my profile pic the same since then. A bit of brand consistency never hurt anyone.

But here's the clincher - will I talk about myself in the same way in a year's time? Perhaps I will. Probably. I feel so sure of myself now that I can't really consider myself looking at the current me with as much disdain as I look at my past self now.

I guess we'll have to wait and see.


Sunday, 25 July 2010

Day 206, on which John apologises for yesterday [24.7.10]

Dag to hundrede og seks. Yeah yeah, sorry about missing yesterday's post. I know I shouldn't get complacent with this blog, and I shouldn't take missing days lightly, but there was no way to blog yesterday. Well, actually, I could have blogged at 1:00 before I left to rehearse for my second performance, but I always like to do it at the end of the day so I can summarise the latest 24 hours in my life. I also didn't realise that the after-party (which is always held after the final performance of a play) would go on for as long as it did. So, by the time I got home at 1:00 this morning, I don't think there would have been much point in blogging for yesterday.

The big news of today is that the Bricks in Motion Avant-Garde competition deadline has passed. Every year, Bricks in Motion (the main Brickfilming website) holds a big competition. This one was announced back in September last year, so Brickfilmers had a long time to prepare. So, lo and behold, the first entry I've so far seen, The Magician by Zach Macias:

Read my full review of it here on Brickspace. Hold tight for some discussion about the competition.

By avant-garde, Philip Heinrich (BiM admin) meant pushing the boundaries of both filmmaking and Brickfilming. It means going outside of anything anyone has done before. Breaking the mold of filmmaking techniques and plot formats. Unfortunately, Zach Macias has here provided us with an example of an adequate entry. There's nothing new to it; bricks-in-time-with-music has been done before, and the whole 'infinite expanse' concept well has been well and truly sucked dry by everyone else.

Seriously, guys, I want to see something revolutionary. A touching, heartwarming Brickfilm drama. Something that will make me sympathise with the characters. Something that will make me cry. Something that could stand up against normal films. Something with a twisting, intricate plot that drags you in and doesn't let go.



Friday, 23 July 2010

Day 204, on which John does some acting [23.7.10]

Dag hundrede og fire. Remember last week, when I said I was the tiredest I've ever been? Well, I take that back. This is the tiredest I've ever been. And the worst thing is that I can't feel it. I'm sure that I must be on my last legs by now, but I simply don't feel tired. Overtired, yes, but not tired. Not yet. I guess I've just been so busy in the past few days that I didn't have time to notice it.

So what have I been up to? Well, some of you may know that I'm a keen actor (amongst a myriad of other interests), and like most budding actors I go to a theatre group. We have been working our butts off all week preparing, and our first performance was this evening. We even spent the whole day at the theatre preparing and sorting out our lines and costumes. One of the best things to do is, as we did, walk into town in your costumes. Lots of laughs to be had (and also annoying shopping centre staff kicking us out)!

I also managed to get myself the job of doing the publicity. Don't get me wrong; I love doing it, but it's a lot of work, especially as I needed to create twenty posters within 45 minutes. Believe me - that is hard work! It would have been much better if the actors I needed to photograph would actually turn up before an hour before the performance, which is when they sauntered in. So, I took the photos, dashed home, edited them (sorry to my computer for shouting at it; I was getting panicky), printed them out and dashed back to the theatre to put them up in time for the interval.

Jeez, it's been a llloooonnngggg day!


Thursday, 22 July 2010

Day 203, on which John talks about modularity [22.7.10]

Dag to hundred og tre. Woah, what a day. It feels like a lifetime since I woke up, and yet it's been less than it normally is. Due to it being the last day of school yesterday, my body decided to catch up on a whole year's worth of sleep and I managed to sleep through the rest of my family's morning routines and woke up at 1 o'clock in the afternoon!

But anyways, onto a proper topic. I was just watching a programme about the building of the biggest building in Spain: the Torre Espacio (which sounds a lot like it could be the name of a Seat car). It has 57 floors and was completed in 2007, in the centre of Madrid. Apparently it's more than twice the height of Madrid's next tallest building, so it towers over the skyline. And here's the thing: it was built floor-by-floor, with one floor being completed each week. Each floor is the same apart from the outer shape of it (which creates the bendy shape you see below), and it's all made of concrete!

But is this sort of modularity a good thing? Does it pay off? Well, I think that I can conclude that it does pay off if you're in a hurry. I recently visited Le Havre, in France, which was bombed in the War. As a result, the residents flattened all the rubble and started again. Several architects were commissioned to design the new town, and they used a modular system on which to work. They divided the town up into a grid of 6.24m segments. One building may be three modules wide: 3x6.24m. A road may be five modules wide: 5x6.24m. And so on. This was extremely useful as it allowed the architects to work out the land use really quickly and really efficiency. There wasn't any bother about who owned what land, or what land was farmland, because it had all been bombed. But the architects didn't want bother; they simply wanted to rebuilt the city as soon as possible. So yes, a modular system can be efficient and very useful... but what ever happened to free thinking?


Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Day 202, on which John is finally on holiday [21.7.10]

Dag to hundrede og to. Well well well, what a great way to end the term. Not just the term, but the whole year. But I'm so glad it's all over. Yes, I do enjoy it at times, and yes, it's been great fun recently (film club, school trips, etc etc), but it really does get tiring at times. But hey, it's all over. They say it isn't over 'till the fat lady sings, and when we sung in assembly today I'm pretty sure all the fat female teachers sang too. So it really is over.

So, what's in store for the next six weeks? Well, let me lay it out for you so you can get the general gist of what I'll be blogging about:

Firstly, I'll be away from blogging (should really be abbreviated AFB, tee hee) for two weeks in the middle of the holiday, as a result of my going on what the Americans call a 'vacation' - to Portugal for a week (yawn), but before that I'll be taking a plane off to my homeland, Denmark! Woo, I can't wait! I'll be in Copenhagen for most of the time, but I'll also be popping round to Billund in Jutland to go to the original Legoland and to hopefully get a glimpse of my idol, Lego CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp.

Aside from going on my 'vacations', I'll be staying in sunny England and doing my own thing for four weeks. Quite exactly what this will entail I have not yet decided, but I am determined to design and make a piece of furniture of some kind (at the moment it's looking like it's going to turn out to be a footstool, 'cause they're small). Then, maybe, I'd like to finish my two big MOC projects: the third JOHN Collection and  Neo-Futuron story. I'm also going to be working on revamping Brickspace with Zack.

So, looks like a packed holiday!


Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Day 201, on which John watches Juno [20.7.10]

Dag to hundred og én. Well, here we are. Day 201. Yours truly continuing to blog, going for gold (or at least Day 300). So, I guess we'd better get on with it, since this 365 project is gonna be around for longer than you would have thought. That is, of course, if you thought it would end at Day 200. If you thought it would end at Day 365, then you're correct, it won't go any longer than that. Unless, in some crazy state of delirium, I decide to carry on for another year. Let this be a lesson to you, future John: please, don't.

I'm sure a lot of you have heard of the cult film Juno. Made back in 2008, it's about the story of a teenage girl called Juno (Ellen Paige) and how she deals with her sudden underage pregnancy, her douchey boyfriend, and the dysfunctional adoptive soon-to-be parents of the baby.

OK OK, don't hit me. This ain't no drippy drama. It's no chick-flick, it's no full-out comedy like Knocked Up. It's a very well made mixture of all three. The reason why it's a cult movie is because it's packed full of great sequences. The title sequence, for instance, using sketch cartoons as Juno walks through her town, has seen parodies appear all over YouTube. Also, the format of dividing the film into seasons, then having the name of the season appear in big, sketchy-font letters as a title. I must have seen at least five separate rip-offs of that font available on free font websites.

So, style aside, what makes Juno such a good film? I think it has everything to owe to the script. It's written by a blogger called Diablo Cody (I know, right?), and the dialogue is quick, witty and fantastic. It's smooth, to-the-point, and perfectly expresses each of the character's unique personalities. Juno, especially, talks in a unforgettable 'noughties-cool-talk' vocabulary, with references to popular culture all over the place. Then there's Juno's rather naïve, wimpy 'boyfriend', played in the usual fashion by Michael Cera. Cera, as I mentioned, acts in his usual way, which here is exaggerated quite a bit to show just how awkward he is, especially when finding out he's made Juno pregnant (she tells him she's going to get an abortion, and he says "well that's wizard!").

The rest of the cast is sprinkled with famous actors, notably Jennifer Garner as the control-freak wife who will adopt Juno's baby. Her and her wants-to-go-back-to-his-days-of-being-in-a-rock-band husband make up an excellent pair of characters that really made the film for me. Of course, it's not without its flaws (missed out a few loose ends at the end, which we kinda need to see), but the final scene is satisfying enough to iron them out. D'aww, I'm such a sucker for sentimentality.


Monday, 19 July 2010

Day 200, on which John celebrates! [19.7.10]

Dag to hundrede. Woah, we've reached 200! What a feat! What amazement! Gasp! Oh may gawd! OK, we'll talk more about that later. Now onto my day, which to be honest was pretty crappy. So, it wasn't really the best that Day 200 could have been. I guess we can't have everything, right? What makes it worse is that I've been pretty grumpy this evening, so this post won't be as good as it could be.

So, yay! I guess I can finally celebrate! It doesn't seem as momentous as Day 100, because I've managed 100 days before - but I'm still pretty proud of myself. Also, I had to skip five days last week and so it's not a full 200-day run. So boo hoo. 195 days, at least. I guess I can be safe in saying that if I could have blogged on those days, I would, but I couldn't.

Onto our quick thanks.

Firstly, to all my readers (whose number has dwindled annoyingly as of late): Zack, wherever you are; Harry, though you should really update your blog more often; Tim, you know who you are; and of course Matti!

To Blogger, for still putting up with me.

To Flickr, for being really awesome even though their redesign turned out to be quite cold and not as friendly as they've been in the past.

To Denmark, for continuing to be the awesome place it is. Only three more weeks until I get to finally go there! I can't wait!

To my internet, for putting up with my excessive surfing (for the most part), but I'm still pissed with you about this slow connection tonight.

To my stupidity, which has dragged me into many a hole over the past 100 days. How I wish I hadn't made those mistakes, but we just keep moving forward - no time to turn around and see the past.

And finally, to my brain, for continuing to churn out all those MOCs, graphics, blog posts and all that other shit too. I owe you a lot, big guy. Where would I be without you?

Unlike Day 100, I sadly don't have a coke with me. I'm trying not to have so many fizzy drinks at the moment, mainly because I'm paranoid about my diet like that. But still, it's a momentous occasion. Grats to me and all you reader folk.

My decision is to carry on until Day 300, then I'll rethink whether I want to carry on or not when I get there. Brickspace isn't doing too badly, but I still think I can salvage it over the summer whilst blogging every day here on JOHNSPACE.

One last thing: the next 20-day challenge is to have one clear, interesting topic each day. No exceptions. Sometimes I slip out of the format, but I need to stay in it if I want more hits here. So one big topic each day; examples include design, art, philosophy, fashion, sociology, science...

So, one last skål (Danish 'cheers') for all of you guys, here's to another 100 days!


Sunday, 18 July 2010

Day 199, on which John gets all design-y with T-shirts [18.7.10]

Dag hundrede nioghalvfems. Oooh, oooh, oooh, it's the day before the big day! Bit woop! Huzzah! Whilst it's exciting, there's still the issue of whether I will carry on after Day 200 or not. At the moment, I'm unsure. I'd like to carry on to see whether I can create some more great blog posts, but at the moment it doesn't seem like I'm blogging all that well, so ho hum.

Oh, whilst we're on the topic of this blog (though we're always on a topic on this blog), go check out the updated Crap Filter, with content all the way up to yesterday's post. It's been ages since I updated it, but I really needed to in time for Day 200 - as I seem to remember I did with Day 100. Fun fact: yesterday was the first time I'd mentioned ANR in 100 days (according to the Crap Filter): Days 098 and 198! Funny, eh?

Anyways, as you know I've tried my hand at T-shirt design in the past. Today, as a result of being very bored, I updated my Zazzle account with lots of new designs. I've had two sales now, which I'm quite proud of, but I need more! I've put my royalties down as low as they can go so I'm only earning £1.20 of a £13 tee. You know you want to buy a shirt... you know you do...

One of my favourite designs, Copyright


Saturday, 17 July 2010

Day 198, on which John returns to this blog, after oh so long [17.7.10]

Dag hundrede otteoghalvfems. Ah, I'm so glad to be back. Back to this blog, back to my computer, back home. It's been too long. Well, it's been five days, which isn't really all that long, but it feels like it's been a long time. So I'm playing some ANR to get me back into my usual routine.

So where did I go? Well, I went on a very tiring school trip to a town called Portsmouth in the south of England. Yeah, I live in England. You should know that by now, pfft! Do I have to do everything around here? I guess so. Anyways, this trip was packed full of things to do and places to go, and people to see.

I really enjoyed it. No, not the whole no-blogging part, but I enjoyed the trip itself. Lots of fun. Plus, I didn't get homesick. I am notorious for getting homesick, apart from one time when I went to Belgium and got so caught up in the culture and language that I forgot about home.

Unfortunately, Portsmouth was not a chance to hear a different language, or see a different culture and different design/architecture styles. However, I did manage to use it as a chance to get some research for MOCs or designs. I brought my camera - strangely enough not for the purpose of taking artistic photos - and snapped any interesting things I saw. Portsmouth is a port, and I found some great tugs and ships and harbours which I recorded. I'm hoping to translate them into Lego sometime soon, or just keep the photos for inspiration later on. I really love harbour areas, the whole container ship idea, with cranes and dry docks and what-not. There's a sort of griminess to it which is a look I find intruiging.

So, school trip over, it's back to normal blogging from now on. And only two days left until the dreaded 200!


ps. Ooh, I got home to find a parcel from a Brickfilmer, containing a DVD of his films he had offered me to review on Brickspace. I haven't watched it yet (partly because I don't want to take it out of the very professional-looking wrapping), but it looks great and it was very kind of the Brickfilmer to send it to me. Plus, it has a quote from me on the back! Woot!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Day 192, on which John shows off his new photos [11.7.10]

Dag hundrede tooghalvfems. Well, here we are. Sunday. The end of the week. And what a week it's been - the busiest of the year so far for me. I think I'm over it now; I've recovered. And just in time for a five-day school trip, as well. So this is farewell until friday, sorry guys.

OK, onto what we're all here for. The best pics from my first ever two rolls of 35mm film. Most of the photos were good, to be honest, but I don't want to clog up my Flickr so here are just some of them. The first roll was very grainy, but I managed to get some awesome 'Caiti Anne flare' on this shot:

Roll 1 Photo 33. © John 2010
Secondly, my roll of colour Fujifilm. Firstly, there's this rather nice shot of a branch of a tree from the countryside:
Roll 2, Photo 15. © John 2010
I really love experimenting with depth of focus: the camera is now set permanently on ƒ2.8 for some really short DoF shots. Oh, by the way, the above photo is what the Flickr photographers would call 'sooc': Straight Out Of Camera.

Roll 2, Photo 30. © John 2010
More DoF love...

Roll 2, Photo 32. © John 2010
Another good DoF one from the countryside. Once again, manual focus failed me and the bit I wanted to be in focus was slightly out. Really annoying. But it's not as if it had an autofocus option!

Well, that's all from me for the next five days. Au revior!


Saturday, 10 July 2010

Day 191, on which John scans in some film, yay [10.7.10]

Dag hundrede énoghalvfems. Yay, saturday. I woke up today really grumpy, but the catching-up-on-a-week's-worth-of-sleep hangover has slowly faded throughout the day. Unfortunately, the heat hasn't. It's just annoying now, meaning every time I move one leg I'm covered in sweat (exaggeration, by the way). You can't do anything, you just have to sit inside your house and moan about the heat. Which is precisely what I'm doing now. A Brit, moaning about the weather. Typical.

I got home this afternoon and, since my parents had said 'no going to that party' on the grounds of my busy week, I figured I'd do something productive. Yesterday I received my first two rolls of 35mm film from the crappy photo store which is the only place left on the highstreet which processes film. Here's the trick: don't get them to print them out for you, just get them to give you the negatives. Then scan them in yourself:

So here's my setup. Computer (not mine, needed a PC) on the left, scanner on the right, film in the middle. Note the instruction manual, because I didn't want to mess with my film (I usually don't use manuals, at all). There's also that rocket thing, for blowing dust and shit out of the film. It doesn't work all that well, as you'll see later. There's also the magnifying thing, which is useless without a lightbox but looks cool nonetheless. Oh, and there's that Fanta can. Ignore that.

I must say I've got two great rolls: one is from an old black and white Ilford roll, which was three years out of date (yeah, film has a sell-by date, 'cause celluloid goes off), and the other is a brand spankin' new Fujifilm colour roll. The Ilford photos have a really great feel to them, and the black-and-white looks wonderful. Some of the photos from the second roll look kinda digital-like, but some of them are really good. It seems film does have the 'magic touch'.

Fujifilm aside, I've gotta get me some more of that Ilford stuff. Mmmm.


Friday, 9 July 2010

Day 190, on which John's week ends [9.7.10]

Dag hundrede og halvfems. They think it's all over... it is now! The week has ended! Or, at least, the weekend is here. That means I can breathe a sigh of relief; all my Film Club and school play and end-of-year things are over. From now on it's just school trips. Oh yeah about that - I won't be able to blog next week until friday, so I'm not quite sure how I'm going to do it. Either I write some blog posts by hand while I'm there then blog them when I get back, or use a friend's internet connection, or just not blog at all. We'll see.

I've been thinking about something recently: what constitutes creativity? How can you tell who's artistic and who isn't? Apparently it's hard for 'non creatives' to pick out 'creatives', but isn't this all some sort of strange segregation? It'd end in prejudice, but the naming of the split between 'non creatives' and 'creatives' is not how I'd like it.

Yes, I think I'm creative. But what about artistic? Well, art is all about expressing yourself. I have a friend who does just that: he's hit by sudden, overwhelming emotions and takes to the canvas to express these feelings. But I don't work like that - I don't have those extremes of mood that he has. In a way, it means I may not be able to create something as emotionally charged as what he produces. But in another way, I kinda like the way I am - it's Scandinavian. Whilst the Italians and Spanish are very emotional and dramatic, the more formal Scandinavians aren't expressive in that way. Yes, that's kind of annoying (Scandinavian romance would be much less dramatic), but in a way it helps me to find a way for my style of creating to be OK. And plus, it makes me more Danish.

For the record: I'm not actually Danish. If you really want to know about my ancestry, it's predominantly English, with some Irish and Czech mixed in. No Danes there. But I'm a Dane at heart, and I know it. Yay.


Thursday, 8 July 2010

Day 189, on which John is tired and can't think of anything particularly interesting to say [8.7.10]

Dag hundrede nioghalvtreds. Yar, this be a tough week. And yar, I be aware that it be endin' soon. Tomarrow, even. So, nart so bad. Enough pirate voices. So what's new? I've got another email on Flickr asking for my permission to use the JOHN Collection furniture; I love getting those. Makes me feel proud, like I've created an archive that people can use. Yay yay yay.

It's amazing how much people change in a year, isn't it? Just saying.

OK, onto a bit of art. Just a bit. For this post, I thought I'd take a look at some of the work from Stefan Sagmeister, a famous graphic designer. I searched for him on Google and guess what? The link to his Wikipedia page was already dark; I'd already been on it! Trust me to have already looked at his Wiki page, hee hee.

Sagmesiter is a big fan of handwriting and using calligraphy instead of pre-designed fonts. He argues that, with handwriting, you can have much more customisation and convey much more emotion and feeling. One of his most famous examples of this is his poster for his AIGA lecture in Cranbrook, Michigan, where he got one of his students (he has a group of assistants who make up Sagmeister, Inc) to sketch the details of the lecture into his skin with a knife of some sort. It's real, believe me; Sagmeister mentions it in his interview for the movie Helvetica. The actual poster can be seen above. It really shows how devoted to graphic design an artist can be. Interesting, no?


Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Day 188, on which John starts his run of short posts [7.7.10]

Dag hundrede otteoghalvtreds. Hmm, this is 7/7, the anniversary of the bombings in London. It's surprising how close I live to where the bombs went off, yet I wasn't that affected by it. Either it was because I was young, or it was because it seems unimportant compared to the horrors of 9/11. It was like Britain's little chance at terrorist-attack-fame, compared to America's goliath disaster. But, of course, it was still a terrorist attack and it was still scary. I guess I just have to worry about that crazy murderer up north now.

As you may know, this week is busy busy busy for me, so don't expect very lengthy or innovative posts in the next three days. School plays, film club, and various other things have meant that my time in the evenings is shortened quite a lot. But hey, I get to run the lighting for the school play, so it's not all doom and gloom.

Our art of the day comes from Mauritz. Mauritz Cornelius Escher, that is: the original MC! This 'ere piece is called Relativity, ie. gravity in relation to what way the stairs are up. Note the triangle on staircases in the middle: triangles appear a lot in Escher's work. Mind-bending situations pop up a lot too. Hence this.

I gotta catch some Zs, guys. John out.


Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Day 187, on which John finds his memory quite persistent [6.7.10]

Dag hundrede syveoghalvtreds. Two days into this week, and things are already becoming complicated. I've taken the 'wise' decision to help out with the next school play. Whilst I enjoy it, and I'm pretty much running the lighting this time, it is a lot of work and it means I need to come into school in the evenings for the rest of the week. Ah well. Just three more days then it's the weekend again.

OK, onto art (I can almost hear Tim groaning from here). And yes, it's surrealism night on JOHNSPACE! (more groans). And who better to look at than Salvador Dalí, the Catalan artist and sculptor.

You'll no doubt recognise this surrealist piece: The Persistence of Memory by Señor Dalí. Fun fact: in real life it's only slightly bigger than a piece of A4 paper. So, shall we get started on this stupendous piece of surrealism?

The key element here is time. You can see that by the clear symbolism of the clocks - but they're melting. Is time melting away? Perhaps it's dying, ticking towards an end. The clocks are 'floppy' - do they bend and change to suit us? The creature in the centre is meant to represent a man (Dalí's surrealism is the height of surreal) - so time is bending to change us. Time is only relative; it's only how it fits around us. It fits differently on that branch that on that 'man'.

But what about the rocks in the background? That's a horizon, that is. Horizons meant endlessness, they go on forever yet they are a finite border. A finite border whose length is infinite. Perhaps this relates to time as well - that time goes on forever, but it's just a line?

What about the closed watch in the bottom-left corner? It's got ants all over it, eww. Well, Wikipedia duly informs me that, in Dalí's art, ants are either a symbol of death or female genitalia. I'm going to take them for death, that's simpler. Death is closely related to time - even that monster looks dead. With time, comes death. The death of time, maybe?

Dalí confuses me. In a good way.


ps. It's Mondriaan, not Mondrian. Hmph
pps. Song of the day!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Day 186, on which John mentions that Timofeev guy again [5.7.10]

Dag hundrede femoghalvtreds. I've just realised it's only 15 days until Day 200 - I'm still unsure as to whether I should carry on or not. On one hand, I'd feel that I have accomplished something big, and I can compile all my favourite quotes somewhere, publish it or something (heh heh). On the other hand, stopping this post-a-day thing will really free me up and allow me to blog on Brickspace more, and all my blog posts will be of higher quality. It's either me being devoted to something for a year, or being free to blog elsewhere regularly. It's a tough call.

Oh, quick piece o' news: I got my first sale on Zazzle! Wahoo! You may remember that I started putting my T-Shirt designs up on Zazzle a few weeks ago, but now I've had my first sale, for my Mudkips tee! Yay! Check out my store here! F'yeah, £1.46! I'm rich already!

Om nom nomofeev
So, who's this unexpecting burger-eating guy? Well, he's a genius - and, coincidentally, an artist. You may remember him. He's my top artist, Viktor Timofeev. Born in 1984 in Latvia, Timofeev now lives in New York. Typical.

OK, onto some of his art: he's a genius at drawing in perspective. He often draws surrealist landscapes in isometric or oblique perspective, with patterned walls. He fiddled around with skips for a while:

And, some of my favourite work of his, he experimented with floor plans of buildings, such as those you see in the TATE Modern booklet, or when designing house layout. This is some of his best work:
'Blue vs Black', © Viktor Timofeev

And, to top it all off, my favourite piece of his, ever ever ever:

'Lanschaft Land' © Viktor Timofeev.
Be sure to check out his website.


Sunday, 4 July 2010

Day 185, on which John only just remembers Independence Day [4.7.10]

Dag hundrede fireoghalvtreds. Yeah, I don't live in the US, so I have an excuse for forgetting about Independence Day. It's a very American thing, we don't really talk about it much in the UK, even though it isn't a piece of our history. In fact, if you asked an average Brit what Independence Day was, there may be a chance of them saying that it's a movie starring Will Smith and Jeff Goldbloom. Speaking of movies, I watched Snakes on a Plane last night. What a funny movie that was - it's what we'd call a Samuel L. Jackson vehicle, ie. the only selling point is that it stars Samuel L. Jackson being a badass mo-fo.

Let's return to Eduardo Chillida. Remember him? That Basque sculptor who experiments in concrete and steel? Remember the Comb of the Wind? Well, here's another piece of his:

This massive sculpture is called Eulogy to the Horizon. A eulogy is - if you want the official definition - something which praises something highly; usually something which has died. For example, a eulogy is usually a poem which is in memory of someone who's died. So this is a eulogy to the horizon... what could that mean?

Why would the horizon die? Perhaps the cityscapes of noisy, polluting cities have killed it. They've dirtied it and destroyed its natural beauty. So how is this sculpture memorialising the horizon? I like to think that it's an archway, showing a segment, a frame, of the horizon. Saying: look, see this beautiful landscape, framed by an ugly concrete arch. Maybe it's saying that if you see through the concrete, the buildings, the cityscapes, then you'll find the landscape still there. In a way, this sculpture is self-contradictory, because it's showing the beauty of the landscape yet does not fit in to it. It is itself a concrete block, a sign of dirty, polluting human culture.

So what about the shape? My interpretation is that it's there to show that the landscape can be enjoyed with any frame around it, be it a square one, a circular one (through the top of the sculpture), or a strangely shaped one (at the back, from this picture). It's so large that people want to go up and interact with it, and in doing so they move to a place where they can see the landscape through the sculpture - and see that it is still the same, even through a concrete frame.

Hmm, interesting stuff.


Saturday, 3 July 2010

Day 183, on which John tries to persuade you guys that a chair can be art [3.7.10]

Dag hundrede fireoghalvtreds. Ah, the weekend. My saviour from the trials of a busy week. Shame I have to wait five days for another one to come around. Though, I must say I got some stuff done today: I have created a modular landscaping concept for an upcoming MOC. The classic 6x6 baseplate, but with some other stuff in it. Should be really good, if I can make enough modules. I seem to be in a modular mood recently, I'm trying to achieve a modular kitchen for JCiii.

Hold on, don't give me that face. This isn't a chair - it's art. Well, yeah, it is a chair, but it's also art.

It was designed as part of the De Stijl art movement back in the 1920s. This is Gerrit Rietveld's distinctive Red and Blue chair, one of my favourite pieces of art I've ever seen (of course, who knows what better pieces of art the future will bring my way). You should recognise a certain Mondriaan-ness to it: both Mondriaan and Rietveld were close friends with Van Doesburg, the creator of the De Stijl movement. It's all the same style.

So why is this great? It's because of the relationship between function and form. The chair maintains its De Stijl, modular, geometric form whilst keeping its function. It's like there are these two infinite planes, red and blue, that are almost floating, held by a lattice of yellow-tipped poles. And, somehow, this delicate structure comes together to create a seat. It's how Rietveld has created function out of pure artistic form that has made this chair one of my faves.

See? First art post of the 20-day challenge. Yay!


Friday, 2 July 2010

Day 183, on which John realises he missed yesterday's letter [2.7.10]

Dag hundrede treoghalvtreds. Damn, damn and damn again, I missed the monthly letter yesterday. Ah well, I would have been too tired to write something good anyway, I suppose it's better that I've left it 'til today. But it means my first post about art in the current 20-day challenge will have to wait yet another day. Jeez.

So, here's the sitch. At the start of every month, I write a letter to myself. Part to myself in the past, and part to myself in the future. It goes both ways. It allows me to take a subjective look on how I change from month to month, and to keep on top of what my aims are. Anyways, here's last month's letter (you can find the rest on the Crap Filter).

Dear Me/Ich/Jeg/Moi,

Buonjiorno from London! Well, you're in London now (hopefully), so I guess you can say the same. Huh, that makes my point kinda dull.

Unfortunately, past self, I don't have a weekend of any length longer than two days. You may have a wonderful half-term, and at the start of may you had a three-day weekend, but I've got a busy week next week so there's no extra days off for me. Ah well, the term ends in two and a half weeks anyway, I guess I just have to wait.

I'm actually not listening to anything at the moment. I got a nice shiny new BrickLink order today, I've been filtering those into my collection. I managed to get hold of some big trans-dark-blue sails, so hopefully they'll be good for my Neo-Futuron project. Remember to do that this month.

So, my responses from last month. I don't think I've been a dick this month - I understand why I said that last month, but I think I've succeeded in not being a dick. So I can tick that one off the list *tick*. I also did that thing I've been telling myself to do, kinda. Didn't go exactly as planned, but ah well ho hum. I haven't yet used the word 'pare', but I will try to. Let me just remind myself of what it means.

OK, so what are my questions for next month? Hmmm, 1st August... I guess you'd be in the Summer holidays, congrats. I'm sure these next few weeks will be the hardest of the year, but once I get through them I'm clear and free for another six weeks. So enjoy the summer, future me. Finish off a few more JCiii sections, and the Neo-Futuron thing. Make that film. Make that chair. Don't give up on this blog. Do that thing I did this month, but again.

Until then - don't you go losing limbs now!


OK, time for Zs.


Thursday, 1 July 2010

Day 182, on which John makes a speech [31.6.10]

Dag hundrede tooghalvtreds. Yeuch, it's been a long day. I don't think there's much more to say other than I simply want the next two weeks to go as smoothly as possible - I have various deadlines and exams, and that's only academic things I need to remember. There's also the school play, another play I'm doing outside school, film club, and various other events too.

Doubtless to say I don't think this blog will get many decent posts - of course, I'll post every day, but it won't be good quality. Well, why not stick around and find out whether I'm right? There's always the small chance that you may find out more about my actual life, so what's not to like?

So, I'm guessing you want to know about this speech. Well, I gave it to a collection of governors, teachers, students and parents at an information evening about an hour and a half ago. I'm quite proud to say that I don't get nervous speaking in front of lots of people. I often get a little twitchy, and unfortunately I did today, but for the most part I'm calm, cool and collected. And it went well, I thought. I messed up one sentence, but hey - we all do.

OK, I really need to sleep now. Bai.