Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Day 243, on which John describes the new Brickspace in more detail [31.8.10]

Dag to hundrede treogfyrre. Happy tuesday to you all! I managed to get little/no sleep last night, and yet I'm hyperactive this evening! I'm also sipping coke from a little cup and pretending I'm Cary Grant with spirit of some sort. I watched part of an old Cary Grant film today, that's why I mentioned him. Well, I mean, I watched a Cary Grant film today. They're all old. But he's so funny. He got wet paint on his shirt in this film, oh gasp! Cary, you schmexy beast! Gettin' all wet like that! Mee-ow!

OK, weird Cary Grant ramblings over, let's get to the meat of this post:


It's all handily stuffed in this meat-themed suitcase. Meat in a meat-themed suitcase. Clichéd, perhaps, but delicious. Bacon, maybe. Let's find out.


Here, ladies and gentlemen, is your first look at the new Brickspace! I uploaded it to Flickr simply for its comic value (making up placeholder text is fun), but I now realise it's good to get some feedback on the design. This screenshot shows the comments section on an article (à la Brickspace Opinions), which is above with the boring placeholder text. Notice the colour scheme: you can see the yellow colour (I'm still preserving yellow of Brickspace no matter what), black and the two shades of grey. The lighter shade will need to be made darker because it won't show up on some screens. That's a job for later on.

Notice also the beautiful use of Helvetica Neue, and the kind of alright use of Chaparral Pro. As I said, it's going to have to be switched when I get to HTML5, but until then it's just going to sit there and look pretty. I only use Helvetica Neue in bold for this, because Chaparral can deal with the thin, body text and it helps restrict my Helvetica use and give the serif font a bit more airtime. If I had chosen to use a normal weight of Helvetica, then I'd barely ever use Chaparral, and I can't have a whole site in Helvetica because it's going to be embedded in HTML5 anyway.

I've already received feedback from Lord of the Dance Dano (wait, wut?) that I need to change the 'sez' to 'said' or 'says', so it's more formal. Which is a shame, because I quite liked to give the site a bit of informality, like Flickr. But I think 'sez' is a bit too nooby. Any other comments on this design? Please comment below! I need to find a better way of showing a comment reply, and also include a 'reply' button on other comments (tee hee hee, I forgot that)...

~John

Monday, 30 August 2010

Day 242, on which John gets back to Storybuilder [30.8.10]

Dag to hundrede toogfyrre. OK, the domain name has now settled in for two days, but it's not quite ready yet. The gods that are Google say that it may take up to four days for the new address to link to this site from all references, so I guess I'm halfway there. In other news, I've been very busy building and being productive, so wahoo.


I've still been working on Brickspace; I now have three pages of the site mocked up in Illustrator, and all to size with all the details and notes. Currently that's the homepage (very important), the Opinions homepage (also important), and the page for one article in the Opinions section (kinda important). I'm keeping a very strict graphics scheme, with only two colours, a grey, and black and white. There's also two main fonts: Helvetica Neue Bold for the headers and titles (which will hopefully be embedded in HTML5), and a nice-looking serif font for the body text. At the moment I have it on Chapparal Pro, but that will have to be changed before I convert the pages into HTML. Times, perhaps? It looks so boring, though...

OK, moving on to other productive things I've done today, we have my third contribution to the Group 2 in the Storybuilder Flickr group. Quick summary: five people each take it in turns to write a few paragraphs and make a MOC to illustrate part of a story. The story carries on with the builders on a cycle. I am the first builder in Group 2, and we got stuck with the theme of Cyberpunk (which I twisted a bit).

The story so far goes a little like this. Basically, there's this guy working on an Octan oil rig, under the eye of the computer NATE who does everything and the guy just watches. Then the guy finds a way to escape, and is rescued by some coast guard people who then take him to land where he eventually makes his way to some rebels' hideout. There, they tell him that NATE is evil and Octan are too, and that they must disable NATE to stop Octan dominating the oil market or the world or whatever. Anyways, they send him to an Octan recruitment centre, with a new ID and everyfink, and then he joins Octan again.

Unfortunately, they capture him and tell him that they've been tracking him ever since he left the oil rig because he has a chip in the back of his neck. Some evil guy from Octan has a console which can make the chip give our protagonist an electric shock. The evil guy then says that the main guy will be driving a massive ship, the Dreadnought, to destroy NATE. Basically, to make things even more complicated, NATE is good and it's stopping Octan from being evil, so in fact the guy should trust NATE but he didn't. Anywho, the ceiling collapses for no fucking reason, and the evil guy is squished. So our heroic protagonist runs off, grabs a powersuit and proceeds to burn the entire Octan complex down, so that they can't destroy NATE, 'cause NATE is our friend now.

And that's when we get to my chapter, which can be found here:


My chapter basically says as follows: our main guy has lost the powersuit but destroyed the Dreadnought. The complex is burning and falling down, and the guy is just about to escape but then he feels a pain in the back of his neck. Out of the flames emerges a man with a console, who then says "You seriously thought you'd get away?". DUN DUN DUNNNN!!

~John

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Day 241, on which John talks Brickspace [29.8.10]

Dag to hundrede énogfyrre. I have happy news to announce; JOHNSPACE now has its own domain name! "At last!" I hear you shout, and be reassured I'm shouting that too - it's a momentous occasion! Let it be known that Day 241 was the day that JOHNSPACE finally crawled out of its previous reincarnations, dropped the crescentstudios.blogspot.com URL and has finally become johnspace.org! Sadly johnspace.com was already taken, but I kinda prefer johnspace.org. It makes the blog seem more friendly, more inviting - like 'hey, we can only afford a .org address, we're just an organisation, not a big corporation'. That was the reason why Brickspace is brickspace.org, too.

Speaking of Brickspace, I've got some stuff to chat to you about. Well, to be honest I'm just chatting to myself about it, but you're there to listen if you like. Basically, Brickspace is going to undergo some quite large changes in the next four months or so. I'm hoping to get the entire revamp finished by the new year, when I can finish this 365 project and focus my attention equally on either blog.

The biggest change that you'll see in Brickspace is the change of content: we're removing the News and Tips&Tricks posts because they take too much effort to keep posting. We're leaving them to other blogs, and in doing so making Brickspace more specialised. The main reason why we're having this revamp is because Brickspace can't cover everything, and since we don't want to only blog one genre of MOCs we're going to get rid of some of the types of content that we currently blog.

So, with News and Tips&Tricks going out, and with Interviews being debated over, we're leaving the blog just three simple types of content: creations, Brickfilms (which there'll be much more focus on) and 'Opinions', which will be when Brickspace Opinions merges with the main site. You'll have to wait around to see quite how that's going to work. Tee hee.

So, for the first time, I can say this is John of johnspace.org, saying goodnight.

~John

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Day 240, on which John shows off the best Danish songs [28.8.10]

Dag to hundrede og fyrre. Apologies for the missed post yesterday, guys. Unfortunately, I do actually have a life sometimes, so parties that I attend inadvertantly mean me missing a blog post from time to time. I'll try and stop it happening, but when I arrived home early this morning, it's kinda pointless to write yesterday's post. So sorry again, and let's not hope it happens again. Well, let's hope I get invited to more parties, just not miss more posts.

OK, so here's the thing. At the party last night, I somehow got into talking to someone about Danish music. Nevermind how, I was happy enough to be talking about Denmark, let alone Danish music. OK, so maybe I brought the subject up. But anyways, the people I was talking to were all 'Danish music isn't good', and I was all 'yeah it is'. So, as conclusive proof that Danepop > every other type of music, I figured I'd lay out a playlist of the best Danish songs I know.



First up is everyone's favourite Danish talent show-winning singer, Sys Bjerre, with her song Alle Min Veninder. OK, it's a silly music video, so just don't watch the video; listen to the music. Most Danish people hate it because the lyrics are awful and cheesy, and so I won't tell you what they mean. You just enjoy the song.



Next up is silly Søren and his nephew Nikolaj, who make up either half of Hej Matematik, and here's an acoustic version of their song Legendebørn. It's nice and soft and lilt-y, and whilst it's not as good as the normal version, it's very close and it's better to watch for Søren's awful 'tache, which looks like he has some moss-like growth above his mouth. Heh.



Whilst we're on the topic of Hej Matematik, here's their biggest hit, Party i Provinsen, which I thought was Swedish for a long time as it was played on ANR. Luckily it's not, it's quite a good club-song and it's got a hilarious video. Remember all those epic faces of Søren's? They're all in this video. Watch watch watch.



No playlist of Danish music would be complete without my favourite song, Lidt i Fem by every Danish girl's heart-throb, Rasmus Seebach. He looks alright on the album cover of his cleverly-title album 'Rasmus Seebach', but in this video you see that you shouldn't trust a singer by his album cover. Anyways, video aside it's a great song. His best. His only decent one, in fact. The rest are all slow and boring, but that's what pulls the Danish girls I guess.



Up next in John's star-studded Danemix is the annoyingly catchy tune by Burhan G, Jeg vil ha' dig for mig selv. In other words, 'I will have you for my self'. It's a bit rappy, but I couldn't ever get it out of my head. It became my Danish anthem for a long time, and it was a great coincidence that it was the first song I heard playing on the radio of the taxi I got in to go from Copenhagen airport to my hotel when I first arrived in Denmark. That gives it more meaning to me that whatever crappy lyrics Burhan G put in.



You didn't think I'd forgotten this track, did you? Of course not. It's Nephew with their anthem for the 2010 World Cup, The Danish Way to Rock. Intended to spark patriotism in all the Danish football team (landsholdet), this song sadly didn't work that well, and Denmark lost the World Cup. But I liked this song, anyway. Good for Nephew, helping Denmark's footy spirit.



And finally, for those of you who are into people like Kate Nash, I have another song here from Sys Bjerre. It's called Malene, and it was her first big hit back in 2008 after she won X-Faktor. It's not bad, actually, and whilst it's not my type of song, it's Sys Bjerre's other type of music and it may be better than Alle Min Veninder for some people. Sys Bjerre is either all cute and ditsy, as in Alle Min Veninder, but she also has a rough side, and you see that in her songs like Pik (which literally translates to 'cock', guh), and this music video. But anyways, here it is. You choose for yourself.

That's pretty much my playlist as of now, folks. I'd show you more Hej Matematik songs but I wanted to have a range, so there you go. Enjoy, and I hope I've shown you that Danish music is good!

~John

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Day 238, on which John chats about Wallpaper* Magazine again [26.8.10]

Dag to hundrede otteogtredive. Well, here we are again. Another meh day. But anyways, we have a hopefully-interesting post about magazines today to discuss. I'm not totally sure about it, since I haven't written it yet, but let's hope it's going well. It's scary to think that there's only a week left of my holiday; it's five down and one to go but it still feels like it'll only take a second, and then I'll be doing schoolwork again. Ah well.

So, magazines. One thing I really need to work out - because I'd like to try a magazine project someday - is what magazines are really for. It seems that there's too large a variety of magazines, so much so that the definition of a magazine is lost.


We'll start with my current favourite magazine, Wallpaper*. Wallpaper* is a magazine for design, fashion, art and lifestyle, so it combines everything I'd need a magazine for. But what is Wallpaper's purpose? (I'm giving up on the asterisk) It is, I guess, like every type of media, to entertain. It entertains me to read it and see the design and fashion. It's a pass-time, something to do. And the best thing about magazines is that they're there for you at any time. So perhaps a magazine is a form of entertainment that is portable, a resource that you can dip into whenever you like for instant enjoyment and knowledge?

Another good thing about magazines is that, unlike many other forms of media, they appeal to your touch sense as well as your sight and your mind. Reading a magazine is a very tactile experience, as I think was best shown by Wallpaper's recent Wallpaper Handmade issue, where six different types of paper were used to give a wide variation of textures to the different sections of the issue. Half of the fun of creating a magazine should lie in bending the format: a magazine is set out like a book, with pages and a spine, but magazines for me are places where that format can be manipulated and experimented with.

So it looks like I'll need a bit more research before I'm ready to try that magazine project of mine. The magazine format seems like an interesting playground for paper art with folds and the interaction of elements on a page with the page itself.

~John

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Day 237, on which John something something something [25.8.10]

Dag to hundrede syveogtredive. So, what's new? Meh, not much. Did a bit o' this, a bit o' that, finished off the day with some graphics stuff. So not particularly interesting, to be honest. But I did make some little smilies, which we'll get onto in a sec. For the record, today's post title is meant to be 'something something something', it's called a joke, or  a witty thingy. For the 'lulz'.

OK, smilies. Everyone has a smilie set on their chat software, be it AIM, Skype, MSN or a chat room. Even Facebook has its own specialised smilie set, though it isn't particularly good. So perhaps we need a universal set of smilies, ones which actually mean what you want them to mean, ones which don't change the simple emotion of ':D'. ':D', or ':)' are so simple in their meaning that changing them for the sake of a good-looking graphic. The Facebook smilies in particular are very shitty.

So our first smilie of the JOHNSMILIES collection is the classic smiling face, or ':)'. I've decided to use the Futura font to create the basic forms of the smilies, and I've tried to adapt the characters (a colon, or bracket, or capital D) in only the most needy cases.

So, værsgo, here's your classic smilie. All the facial features are on guides (using Fireworks CS3 for these), so it's easy to change the details yet keep the same placement on the face. The face outline needs to be a bit thicker, as these will be shown small like this:


Then we have the ':P' face, where the guy is sticking his tongue out. This was hard to do because I had to keep the thickness of the lines in the P appropriate for the face (ie. the same thickness as the bracket in ':)') whilst still keeping it large on the face (the only way I can make the lines thinner is by making the entire P smaller, I ain't editing the vectors of Futura, that's blasphemy).

Then we have the winking face ';)' and the unsure face ':\', which both feature mouths at angles. The mouth is at an angle on the winking face because it seemed much better to show the face from a seemily top-right-down perspective due to the winking eye graphic (the bottom of a Futura semicolon, of course).

Moving swiftly on, we encounter the happy face, ':D' and the O-face, ':O'. The problem with Futura's Os is that the capital O is completely geometric and circular, but its line is too thin (which is strange, because it's got a massive counter to make up for). The lower-case O is too classically proportioned, and has lines thicker on the sides than on the top and bottom. That way, it looks odd when rotated or even on its own. So I decided on the upper-case O for this smilie.


Next up is the angry face, or '>:)', which uses a greater-than sign as the eyebrows. The problem with applying it to a graphic is that it needs to be smaller, but still maintain its stroke width. So anyways, here's the best I can do. I'll probably change it sometime.

And finally, we have what I call the 'Dano emoticon', ie. the emoticon that you use after seeing something which can't be unseen, something which burns your eyes so deep that you know you've lost ever ounce of your innocence. Basically, stuff Dano links to. Here, the lowercase Os are used as eyes because the difference in thickness is not as noticeable, and the mouth is an underscore.

~John

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Day 236, on which John reminisces about Denmark [24.8.10]

Dag to hundrede seksogtredive. Welcome to episode 236 of John's life. Coming up in this thrilling installment of John's never-ending (until roughly 2070) story: John looks at some glasses in an optician's, he then proceeds to do little else for the rest of the episode. Don't forget to check out this exciting chapter in John's equally-exciting life! Coming to a cinema near you... sometime soon... around now... should be soon...

Oh, here it is. Screw the optician's, this post is about Denmark. Which automatically makes it more awesome than any other post. Ever. In the whole history of the world. And the universe. Full stop. Overall. Totally. No exceptions. At all. Ever. Stay tuned for sheep, as well.

Rememberez-vous, all photos are from John Too.


First up are a few pics of Billund. Billund, you should know, is the home of the Lego Group and is pretty much a town built around a factory. As a result, it's very small and very desolate. In this picture you can see the town hall, which also doubles as the church, which triples as the library, and which quadruples as the Billund archives. It's like a 'town essentials pack', all in one building. And it's quite snazzy architecture, too. Like, Danish 50's retro architecture. Very interesting, but very, very empty!


Now we move further into Billund town centre (though that's basically just a few steps, considering how small it is). One of the quirky details about Billund is its photo club (fotoklub), which has only six members and three notices! I took this shot to show just how empty Billund town centre is on a Thursday evening, and the photo club is a fitting metaphor for small-town Denmark. The lighting was very harsh, as well. Reminded me of Portugal in that respect.


Here we have an idyllic shot from Copenhagen. I visited Billund in the middle of my trip, but to make things neater I'm doing all Copenhagen pics in one go. This photo was taken from Tivoli Gardens, which are totally unique to CPH. It's actually crazy, if you think about it objectively. Imagine a Victorian 'pleasure park', with licorice stalls, shooting galleries where you can win big fluffy animals, and a lake where you can go on a boat ride (pictured here, bottom). That's Tivoli Gardens. It's been kept pretty much the same for the past hundred years, though there are some more modern rides for the kiddies who can't respect Tivoli's history. There's even live jazz music which Danes come along in the evenings to dance to. It's fantastically unique.


This building here may look like your everyday office building, but it most certainly is not. It's Den Kongelige Bibliotek - the Royal Library, which I mentioned briefly as it was inspiration for the Ishøj House. It's the only building that gives you vertigo when you look up at it; it's seriously scary. If you go to the corners in particular, it can really make you feel dizzy. It's a black slab with crazy angles, named The Black Diamond for good reason!


Here's the corner. This photo hasn't been rotated or anything; that's actually what the building looks like when you look up at it. Argh!


This final shot should give you a good idea of what the Rådhuspladsen in Copenhagen looks like. Rådhus (like German Rathaus) is the town hall, and pladsen means 'the square', so Rådhuspladsen means 'town hall square'. It's not as picturesque as Nyhavn and Christiansborg, but it's still Copenhagen - just a little more urban. Note here the street lamps in Zealand, which are hung from poles on either side of the streets to hang in the middle of the CPH roads. This is so much better than normal lampposts, which only light up the side of the road.

I conclude, Denmark is awesome.

~John

ps. A sheep, for those of you who remembered I promised one at the start of this post.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Day 235, on which John thinks about designing furniture for public places [23.8.10]

Dag to hundrede femogtredive. Well, it's monday. The week started. That week I was dreading yesterday. But it doesn't seem too bad so far. I managed to churn out a few JOHN Collection items, the first individual ones in quite a while. It's good to know I'm back to doing it, but it's worrying that the year is slipping away and I have only photographed one of the four atmospheric scenes I need for the third Collection. Ah well, keep building away.

OK, public spaces. There's a wide variety of public spaces to design furniture for, but basically it's all based around the same concept: waiting. You need to wait at an airport, or a train station, or in a park, or in a doctor's waiting room. It's all about sitting down and occupying yourself until something happens, and/or making the best use of the public space possible.

We'll start with indoor solutions. What better example to begin with than an Eames tandem seating unit:


The Vitra website where I borrowed this photo from says that the seats are designed for airports or train stations, but I think they're just for airports. Airport seating needs a certain kind of luxury, because you'll be waiting for a plane for longer that you'll be waiting for a bus. The problem with public seating is that, no matter how nice you make it look, it can't look too nice. Not because you don't want people to nick it, but because there's always details unique to public seating which look ugly. Here you can see Charles and Ray Eames have tried their best, but the underside of the seat is pretty ugly. The sleek seats just descend into a boring floor fixture.

But is there any space for style in public seating? I very much doubt it.

Here, the Eames have tried again to include style in public seating. This time the legs are a bit better - still too table-like for me but whatevs. This kind of modernism would not be fitting for many airports or train stations, because so many people are using them. The more people that use the seating, the more opinions on style you have to consider when designing. And that's why public seating turns out bland and boring, so it suits everyone.


But is there any place for function in public seating, beyond providing people with a place to sit? Sadly, no. With function comes specialised parts, such as the legs on these Cone chairs from Verner Panton (a design classic, owned by Vitra, not sure why it's in their Public Spaces set). The function is that users can move the chair around, but that means it can't be too heavy. Which means it could fall over. Which means it could get broken or worn. Which means it will need to be replaced sooner. And public seating is different from private seating in that it should last much longer.

So perhaps we should refine public seating down as far as it can go? Right down to its function. Strip it of form, strip it of 'cool features', strip it of anything interesting. What do you have? A block with a seat on it. You've got to have comfort, so you may as well make it a indented seat or something with a dip for your bottom. You can't make it fabric or leather, 'cause that gets worn. And you need to make it lots of seats in a row, like the Eames' tandem seating. Comfort and sheer quantity are the two things which make public seating perfect. It needs to be comfortable to sit on, and you need to be able to seat a lot of people so they can all wait together. I just wish public seating would be designed more for socialising, because when you're waiting there's nothing better than to have a chat with other people who are waiting.

~John

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Day 234, on which John finally shows his holiday snaps [22.8.10]

Dag to hundrede fireogtredive. Oh dear, it's the end of the week. Usually when it's the holiday, I haven't a care in the world. Unfortunately, with two weeks left to go, the things to do are packing up. I kinda wish I could stay here on Sunday afternoon forever, to soak up the week and forget about the future. We all hope to forget about the future, yet it keeps throwing itself at us. Is there such thing as a future if it will eventually become the present?

OK, holiday snaps these are not. As you know, I try a little harder than 'holiday snaps' in my photos, especially those taken with John Juniour, my 20-year-old Canon A-1 film camera. Go check out more 35mm pics on my photography-devoted Flickr stream, John too. It's a second photostream I set up a few weeks ago to be a parallel to my current stream, but less popular of course.


Our first photo is of the tree in the back garden of the villa I was staying in, in the Algarve, Portugal. We'll doubtless get onto the Denmark flicks tomorrow, but for now it's Portugal. The problem with Portugal (apart from the heat and the stupid language) is that it's hard to place a mood for it. I take photos to capture a mood, so that meant taking decent photos of Portugal would be hard.
Part of the reason Portugal didn't have much mood was because it was all tourist-land, where there are advertisements and - funnily enough - tourists everywhere. So I had to resort to taking photos of trees, which I don't do too badly. So next up to try was the architecture...


This is the classic architecture that you'll find in tourist towns, this one's Carvoeiro. Sure, it's purty, and it's nice and white, but it's not particularly interesting. I'd appreciate bland and white architecture if it were modern, but this is faux-Moorish. And it's good to show the very bright nature of Carvoeiro, but otherwise it's pretty useless.

However, there was one place in Portugal that I loved.


Say olá to Monchique, a small mountain town in the Algarve. Well, it was all the in the Algarve, but you know what I mean. It had all these little backstreets, alleyways, and various dilapidated buildings, all set on a hillside, overlooking the countryside. It would have been boring if it was like Carvoeiro, but it wasn't. It was run down, with flaking buildings and abandoned, overgrown gardens everywhere. It was great.

This shop looked almost Googie-esque in its retroness. Mmm, retro.
Your classic run-down buildings shot. I'll have to reupload this after I P'shop out the dust and scratches
Now this house was run-down. With a bent fence in the foreground.

One thing I saw a lot of in the Algarve was renault R4s. It became almost like a motif of the holiday, seeing how many R4s were in each Portugeuse town we visited. When I saw this one in Monchique, I couldn't resist taking a photo of it. Low-angle. Not sure about the concrete wall at the bottom, but that was just how it was. Renault R4s are awesome, by the way.

Tomorrow: John's photos from Denmark! Until then, find more photos at John too.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Day 233, on which John says some stuff about notice boards... oh, just read on [21.8.10]

Dag to hundrede treogtredive. Yay, I got my film back today! Developed by my local photo shop! And not too bad, either. There's an annoying line on many of the negatives, and I'm pretty sure it's from their developer. I can always take it out with Photoshop, but then that requires effort. Who knows, next they might just start writing on my negatives! Heh, nonetheless I think I've got some good shots. A lot of the photos look similar because they're all film-y. They have the same colour tone, and the same mood. Which is annoying, because the whole reason I take photos is to capture a certain mood.

OK, onto notice boards. I'm designing one for my bedroom, so I guess I'd better start working out what it's going to be like and what I will use it for. Yeah, I don't just buy them from the shop!

What's a notice board for, primarily? Bear in mind I'll be using a cork board as the basis, with drawing pins. So I'm attaching things to the board with drawing pins, and they'll be hanging from the pins. So doesn't that mean we'll be wasting cork space underneath these things? They'll be hanging over other things. That's both a waste of space and you can't see half the stuff on the board.

Solution: make the board in a horizontal strip shape. That way, no space below is wasted and it's almost like a coat rack. Perhaps you could even have it buy the door so you don't forget important documents on the way out. It's a shame that pins take time to take out of the document, and put back in the board. And they're pointy, which is a safety hazard. Even still, strips of cork board (with decoration, border, other stuff) might be a good idea. However, the space I have to work with is taller than it is wide, so that is out of the question.


Here's a classic notice board design. The main problem I have with this is that there's a border. Sure, it looks nice around this collection of photos, clippings and colour swatches, but with a messy board it is wasted. You don't want to frame your mess of documents, clippings and scraps of paper. They're not a pretty picture, they're a functional part of the room. So, whilst they should look nice, let's get this away from a photoframe. Firstly, the frame (if there is one) should be flush with the cork, otherwise it bends papers that overlap the edges. Secondly, there should be some sort of system to catch papers if they fall. This happens often, and you only need a little lip to catch them. Maybe an indent or a little channel between a jutting-out frame and the board.

Well, this seems like a topic which will carry on to another day. Until then, bye!
~John

Friday, 20 August 2010

Day 232, on which John discusses brand power [20.8.10]

Dag to hundrede toogtredive. Okey dokey, Friday. The end of the week (weekends don't count, fool). Only two more weeks to go until I'm dragged, kicking and [silently] screaming, back to school. It's gonna be tougher than ever, more work than ever, and doubtlessly more boring than ever. Then there's the mock exams, then there's the exams, then there's the results, then there's the other exams the year after... let's not think about that.

Now, I was intending on starting this topic by saying 'I don't believe in brand power', but that's wrong. Of course I believe in the power of brands, because brands can have enormous power, and can command the markets like some sort of Poseidon over a commercial sea. Take Apple, for example, with the iPod. That rules the MP3 player market, and because of that domination Apple has become a by-word for quality and innovative technology.

Apple's brand power has made the iPad - a difficult product to place - a massive hit

OK, so that sort of brand power is OK with me. Mainly because I respect Apple and I do truly believe that every product they come out with is better than anything else on the market (ish). They manage their product range very well, and none of their products have stupid names like 'i55000 XIX gt'. So good for them.

However, there is another sort of brand power that I don't like. A sort of brand power that removes all logic and simple better-products-than thinking and replaces it with 'I'll buy that because it's [brand name]'. This is the sort of market domination that spreads like a virus. Say one of your friends gets a new  handbag, and she says 'oh, it's Gucci' or whatever. Her total adoration and fanhood is infectious, and soon enough you'll be saying 'Gucci? Wow, that's good!' for no real reason. I've seen 'designer handbags', and they're mostly shit. Half the appeal is because it has a good logo on it.

And yes, this is a fact of life. That slapping the words 'Gucci' on a handbag will make it sell, and that buying your jeans from Levi's will make them somehow worth the £80 are common beliefs in commercial culture. It may be a fact of life, but it's certainly not something I'd like to be a fact of life.

You won't catch me with designer clothing, bought simply for the logo. It's a deterioration of the market that is based solely on big brands that succeed in becoming bigger and bigger by having expensive prices for their logos. In that way, I prefer the design market. There, you may have big brands (Vitra, or Alessi), but the focus is on the designers. And it isn't on the designers who create chairs with the most bling, or with a Gucci logo on it. It's on the designers who create the best stuff, like Charles and Ray Eames.

So maybe I'm still right when I say 'I don't believe in brand power'. Of course I believe it exists, but I don't think it's right. We'll never be able to remove it, but oh, if we could... the market would be a much better place, and everything would be more to my liking. Then again, if everything was to my liking, we'd all be speaking Danish. I can hope, at least.

~John

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Day 231, on which John briefly mentions style [19.8.10]

Dag to hundrede énogtredive. Welcome to day 231, a normal Thursday in year something-or-other of John's happy life. What did John do today? Well, he went out. Not something he does often in the holidays, but he did it anyway. Where he went, what he did and who was there is a totally different matter and you can politely not mention that. Then he rounded off the day by talking about himself in third person.

Oh, third person talking aside, I photographed a bunch of minifigs when I got back. I'm taking part in Zeessi's minifig challenge (one a day for 10 days), but post-apoc instead of Star Wars. Whilst I have quite a collection of Star Wars minifigs, I'm over it and I'd like to stay over. ie. not jump back over the 'over' fence and get interested in Star Wars again. I buy some sets for the minifigs, but they're shitty sets and the movies took over the first ten years of my life so let's not give them any more.


So, style. Let's say I passed some shops when I was out today. Just hypothetically, of course. So I hypothetically passed these shops. I also noticed the clothes in these shops (they were clothes shops). Hypothetically. And I started thinking about style and fashion and what-not (this wasn't hypothetically or else this post will be hypothetical and it will get confusing). Not something I'm usually interested in, but I have a clear opinion on style.

Does anything ever go out of fashion? In terms of clothes? Well, I don't think so. Maybe, for a bit, but it will always come back into fashion. Whilst I don't think that we're stuck in a loop of all the same types of clothes/patterns/etc going in and out of fashion, I think we have a natural affinity for old styles which can bring old-fashioned styles back into the limelight.

This poor lad has been made to wear 'stylish braces'. That's why he's so sad.
One day, someone at a big fashion brand looks at some tapes from the 1970s and thinks 'you know what, those braces (on shirts) look really cool. Maybe we could reinvent them'. And thus, braces are slowly coming back. Firstly because they're 'retro', but then they become commonplace in fashionable clothing (pftt what would I know about that pfft). And, a few months/a year later, people don't think of them as old any more. Of course, they don't exist quite the same as they did before, but they are generally what they used to be. With modern styles applied, of course.

Another example is when floral patterns came back, for wallpapers and clothes. Here I have a distinct opinion: one of hate, and disgust. On wallpapers floral patterns bring a sense of nostalgia and intricacy, but after a while I just think 'couldn't you have something simpler that doesn't distract me from what's in your room?'. That's actually my argument against any sort of patterned wallpaper, so maybe I'm not the one to ask. As for floral patterns in clothes, I'm indifferent.

And so the floral patterns of the 1960s are back with us. However, with all these old styles coming back into fashion, is there any room for new styles to emerge? Is there even such thing as a 'new' style, or will they all be simply combinations or adaptations of old styles? I'd like to think that there are new styles, but we simply can't predict it because, if we knew there was going to be a new style, we'd put it into action and it would be a current style.

So next time I hypothetically pass a shop, I'll hope for something new. Retro is great, but sometimes it's good to have something so modern, it's simply that. Not retro, not old-school, not an adaption of something from the 1970s, but something new. And, for god's sake, let's have some simple clothing. No more floral mess, no more intricate checked patterns and meaningless T-shirt designs. It's about time we had some simple fashion, something bold. Hypothetically, of course.

~John

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Day 230, on which John explains the Ishøj House's backstory [18.8.10]

Dag to hundrede og tredive. OK, we're back on track now. Missed out the post on Monday, speed-typed yesterday's post, but today we're back to usually. Quick survey: who here's watched the Ridley Scott drama Matchstick Men? It's a very, very good film. Such a shame it has an 'iffy' ending. I say iffy here because there's no other way to describe it. Sure, it wraps up all the loose ends and it's a happy ending and all, but there's something unsatisfying about it. Like it would be a good ending - but we don't want Matchstick Men to end so sedately. It's very similar to Duplicity in terms of ending. Huh, I guess you win some and you lose some, Ridley. The imagery and cinematography is spotless, though.


Ah, the Ishøj House. 23 comments and 30 favourites on Flickr in little over a day. My most popular Flickr photo yet, though Flickr doesn't think so 'cause it's only got 500 views. 50 favourites across my photostream yesterday, would you believe it? I won't get popularity like this again. I strongly doubt I can pull something so unique and well-built as the Ishøj (iss-hoi) House again, sadly.

Here's the backstory. The Ishøj House is very ironic in my MOC-building timeline. I've had project I've been working on for months, but they look like they'll never get finished. Firstly, the third JOHN Collection catalogue, which admittedly will get finished at some point, but I don't currently have the inspiration to barf out a whole scene (and I need three more before my half is done). Then there's my Neo-Futuron project, which I fear I've lost interest in totally. That screwed up because instead of building the next stage in the story, I built the stage after that. So either that sits around until I can get the next stage done, or I switch the order. To tell the truth, I haven't actually finished the stage I said I have 'built'. Darn.

Which is why it's ironic that I managed to create this beauty (don't mean to blow my own horn or anything, but I love it) in two days flat. I had the idea the night before, after seeing Zack's interior and still filled with memories of Denmark, I jotted down TGI (the general idea) in my Moleskine and the next day it became a reality.


The windows
The windows on the sides of the house have been complimented all round. However, I have a confession to make. The one on the far side (right on this pic) was the original, and was only included because I ran out of grey bricks! It's funny how a 'space-filler' can become an integral part of the design. The other window was included to make the wall less plain, which may not be needed as much on the far wall but it's good to have some extra light let into the house.

The bottom pic shows the alternating windows, which were inspired by the windows on the top floor of the theatre building in Copenhagen:

Purty, ain't it?
Similarly, some of the angles on the house are inspired by another Copenhagen landmark, the royal library (Det Kongelige Bibliotek) and its recent addition, the Black Diamond building:

The original library is the brown building on the far-left
So the Ishøj House is very much a Danish building, which is how I like it. It is designed for Denmark, after all!

If I can find someone to lend me space, I'd love to take it to the Brickish STEAM exhibition in October (or something like it)... but until then, I'm thinking of a library or two-story house in the same style. Hmmm...


~John

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Day 228, on which John makes an awesome house [16.8.10]

Dag to hundrede niogtyve. Sorry for the missed post yesterday, folks. My internet crashed and burned last night, but luckily it was just a temporary crashing and burning and it was up again this morning.  So it's not that dramatic, but it meant I missed a post! Gah! I much admit I'm more lenient with missing posts nowadays, after my holidays. I'm not sure whether it's a good thing, but it frees me up a bit. Hmm.


Moving swiftly on, I present to you my best MOC yet: the Ishøj townhouse, a modern one-bedroom house for the Copenhagen suburb of Ishøj!

The description from Flickr should explain most of it, I'm too tired tonight to offer a full explanation.

When I was in Denmark a week ago, I visited the Arken art gallery in a small suburb of Copenhagen called Ishøj. Ishøj was clearly in need of a revamp, and with such stunning ocean views and flat expanses of land, when I came home I was inspired to build a house for Ishøj.

The original intention with this was to have a larger building, but that would have required a BrickLink order and I, filled with inspiration, couldn't wait and went ahead and built it all anyway. It's nice a flat, so it doesn't ruin the view for other Ishøj houses, and it's got a fully furnished interior too. What's not to like?

When I originally had the idea, I wanted to build it in a subtle colour like sand blue or sand green. Perhaps even red, though I feared that would be too bright.

The next morning I began what I thought would be a 'prototype' of the shell in dark bley. I got so inspired that I built the entire thing in that colour. It was easier that way because it wouldn't have needed a BrickLink order. And in a way, it's subtle and simple. And concrete-y. It may have been different (and still as good, maybe better) in a colour, but that'll have to wait for another house.

More tomorrow, guys.
~John

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Day 227, on which John discusses architecture [15.8.10]

Dag to hundrede syveogtyve. I've had a very, very good day today. I had an idea for a MOC last night, prompted by my Denmark visit and Zack's interior. It's my best MOC to date, a large modern house intended for the Copenhagen suburb of Ishøj. It's got crazy architecture, an 'inferred garage' (you'll have to wait and see) and a fully detailed interior. Booya. I can't wait to show it to you, but I don't think photos will do it justice. I may have to do a Nnenn-style schematic.

I thought I'd chat for a bit about architecture. It's been very important to this latest MOC of mine, and I've started to think about it a lot more. Whilst architecture isn't a career I would go into, it may be something I will delve into in the future. Doing something like Arne Jacobsen would be good: designing a building and all the furniture and details inside it. I love you, Arne Jacobsen. Such a cool dude.

OK, architecture. One thing I found exciting when I built this Ishøj house was how the people interact with it. For me, that's what architecture is all about. You design details in the building that will then be looked at and interacted with by the users for years and years. One simple line on your diagram will mean so much to the user. People own houses for years, so all the features become commonplace to them. An indent in the wall could be where they put a plant pot, or where they stash their lawnmower.

There's something about the everyday use of a house that intrigues me. It's great to think that your house is continuing its use through all seasons. In winter, the users shovel the snow off the road and onto the walls of the house. In summer, they open up the sunroof and open all the windows to cool the interior down.

Then there's the personalisation aspect. Much like my design ethics (see the Crap Filter), it should be clear to see that the house is there to be personalised. Blank concrete walls could either stand on their own as a reflection of the concrete exterior, or be personalised by the user. Making a house a home, as the saying goes. A home is an almost mythical state to achieve for architects. You can't design a home. If you design a house with enough flexibility, the user will provide their personalisations and it will be a home. It will be a place that they yearn to return to every day, one place where they can be themselves, and truly relax. It's all about leaving flexibility options, such as blank walls or a flexible layout.

Of course, another big way of getting the user to value your house design is through memories. And we can do no more to create memories than fit the house with capabilities for as many events as possible: other people staying over (fold-out beds and possible bedrooms), garden parties (wooden floor paneling in the garden, divide the garden into sections so guests can be in groups), or a garage to welcome your son's first car. If the house is in the background of all the users' family photos, your design's worked. As I've said once before, if the user cares about your design then your job is done. It's in their hands, and they care about it enough to respect it and maintain it.

So anyways, that's enough architecture for one day. Expect pics of this house tomorrow.

~John

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Day 226, on which John returns from Denmark [14.8.10]

Dag to hundrede seksogtyve. And, funnily enough, I know how to pronounce that now. Why? Because, as I can finally say, I've been to Denmark! WOOOOOOOT! We'll get onto that later, but now for the main news of the day. OK, there isn't really any. I got inspired by Zack's latest interior work (which is exquisite, might I add) and I'm going to try an architecture/interior, even ahead of the stuff I've been preparing for John Collection 3. Wish me luck.

Ah, Denmark. Wonderful, wonderful Denmark. I actually miss it now, it's several leagues ahead of everything in the UK. And not only because they all speak Danish. Pretty much everyone I saw in Copenhagen dressed stylishly - big thick-rimmed glasses, leggings and jeggings, and something similar to Topman but better. I'm no fashion guru, and maybe it was just Copenhagen Fashion Week going on at the same time, but it was awesome. When you saw someone from behind, you'd think by the way they were dressed they were 16, but in fact they were 60!

I saw the Queen at a parade of the Danish navy in Copenhagen! Woot!
So, I think we've worked out that Danish people are awesome. But Denmark is great too. I went all round Denmark, and I've seen the three main communities. Copenhagen, with its city-slickers, even slicker architecture, and thriving shops on Stroget (Illums Boglihus is my sort of place), is a world away from rural Jutland.

One of the ships parading in front of the Queen. There were ships from lots of countries, and at night all the soldiers went for a drink in Copenhagen and had lots of barfights!
Quick geography lesson: the biggest part of Denmark is Jutland, a section stuck to the European mainland. That's where all the farms and countryside sights are. I stayed for a night in Billund, the home of Lego, to check out the Danish Legoland. Billund was barely a village, barren and quite empty. We'll talk more on that another day. Copenhagen is on the eastern tip of a large island called Sjælland (Zealand) to the east of Jutland.

So naturally, Jutland and its rural towns is a world away from Copenhagen. It's all countryside, with the sort of zoos, museums and country walks you'd expect in the West Country of England. It was all very picturesque, in a flat sort of way.

And the third type of Danish town I saw was the suburbs of Copenhagen. They say leave the best 'til last, but this was the worst. We (being me and my Dad) travelled out of Copenhagen to a small suburb called Ishøj. Like Billund, it was very empty. The countryside was quite dirty, despite the sea view. Whilst Ishøj town centre was clean and had some good shops, the town is clearly not somewhere that the residents use for anything other than commuting to the city.

However, the art museum we saw in Ishøj, Arken, was very interesting. It had a lot of art that provoked a large reaction in me, which I haven't really had before. I think it's to do with the mood of the museum - Arken was silent and vast, with large windows showing a long panorama of the foggy grey sea. 'Arken' literally means 'the Ark', and the museum had large metal bolted doors as if it was preserving the pieces of art inside, things which are being kept safe. It gave the art a very sacred feel. There was also a atmospherically engrossing film from Jesper Just about a woman going insane. That moved me.


I'll have more Denmark discussion tomorrow - I need to stop for now, sadly.
~John

Monday, 9 August 2010

Day 221, on which John explains some basics of cinematography [9.8.10]

Dag to hundrede énogtyve. Before we get started on our rant today, I thought I should let you know that I'll be out for the next four days. Yeah, I know you'll miss me. But, I've gone to a better place... Denmark! And about bloody time, too. You'd think if it was my homeland (well not really, but you know) then I'd go there more often, but this is the first time and I'm so excited! I'm going to Copenhagen mostly, but spending a day in Billund because... oh, you know why. Let's hope there's a good Pick-a-Brick wall!

Now, here's something I need to have a good rant about. Cinematography.

Backstory goes as follows: when I was in Portugal, the TV pickings were pretty poor. It was either nonsensical Portuguese TV, CNN, German TV, or The One Show. CNN was boring as hell (sorry America), German TV was entertaining up to a point (the point being, roughly, 30 minutes in when you realise you've watched 30 minutes and didn't understand a word), and The One Show is by its very definition shit.

A german kids' TV show where some Deutche girl had to guess what Star Wars minfig she had in her mouth. LOL?
And that, my friends, is how I ended up watching a certain BBC drama. Names are overrated, you needn't know what it was called, but it was pretty shallow nonetheless. Had that guy in it, the one that always plays jerks. Wore a three-piece suit on BBC Breakfast. I don't know his name, but yeah. That's him. So anyways, I was watching this drama. And, clearly I wasn't watching properly, because all I noticed was the cinematography.

Cinematography = the camera angles and lighting used in TV programmes/films. The lighting was OK in this certain drama, a bit dark and musky but OK nonetheless. So I can tick that off. But the camera angles? Awful!

Here's the main problem:

Numero uno is the placement of subjects in the frame. My Portuguese abode had an old TV, one with an old screen size. Most normal screens in the UK (PAL format) are in 16:9 scale, which is nice and wide, but this TV had a shorter scale. Somewhere in between 16:9 and 4:3 (roughly square; what you Americans mostly use).

OK, so I'm rambling on a bit. Basically, the screen was a bit smaller. And the cinematographer of said show had decided to place the people in the frame (area you see on-screen) right at the edges.

I don't know what this is.
As the caption says, I have no idea what that diagram is. However, it should hopefully give you some idea of how the 16:9 image from the BBC was being cropped down, resulting in me not seeing the characters who were placed at the edges. Accident? NO. Cinematographers are trained in stopping this eventuality. When recording video, there is a watermark of all the screen sizes on the viewfinder of the camera. You need to stick inside most of these lines - though you can probably ignore the 4:3 frame. (whatever stupid idiots still have 4:3 TVs in PAL countries should be shot. Pref. in the face. Pref. ASAP.)

So wahoo. Good choice guys. I love watching TV programmes and not knowing who's talking because they're off-frame. Adds a whole new layer of annoyance. Clap. Clap. Clap.

Luckily, since I'm not stuck with the disappointing platter of channels I was handed through a not-quite-16:9 TV in Portugal, I can avoid that programme. And, if all goes well, I can never watch The One Show again. 

~John

ps. Bye until Saturday!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Day 220, on which John returns home [8.8.10]

Dag to hundrede og tyve. I'm back! After a delayed flight from Portugal, I've returned to 'sunny' England, and boy am I glad. Everything was just how I left it: my computer and its bits and bobs hidden around my bedroom were all easily retrieved. My MOCs were intact, if a little dustier. The only thing that was different was the build-up of emails, Flickr updates and RSS updates that I had to catch up on.

But I've trawled through those and I'm back up-to-date. I gave my bedroom a dusting off, and here we are. I thought, just for the hell of it, I'd take this moment to show you some of the differences between Portugal and American/English civilisation as we know it. Or rather, the differences I noticed.


3. A MESS OF ROAD SIGNS
No one ever really looks at the road signs in different countries, but it's actually quite interesting to see how the signs differ in design and typography from the ones we know. The main problem with Portuguese road signs is the complete lack of consistency.

This is actually fairly near where I stayed :O
In most places, especially on the motorways, the Portugeuse government has been clever and they've adopted the British signage system. Well done. In fact, they nicked the entire system from us. As you should know (it was mentioned in Top Gear once), in the 1950s the entire road signage system of England was redesigned to be consistent and more user-friendly.

The Portugeuse then thought 'that looks cool' and bought the signage system. They stuck their various accents on the letters (though the cedilla was wrong - that's another story) and ta-dah, road signs. However, they couldn't be bothered to change the signs in various places. In fact, you find that the more rural you get, the fewer proper road signs you see. In the photo above you can see four signs, none of which are the British design. D'oh.

2. THEY ALL GO OUT FOR LUNCH
Portugal is pretty low. Pretty low on the Earth, that is. It's closer to the equator than most places I've been before. And that means it's hot. In hot countries they've decided that it's a good idea to close all their shops at lunch.

This is the siesta, and should not be news to you. I don't really have anything against it, but if it means waiting outside a shop for three hours, waiting for it to open, in the heat of the day, then I think I may have some argument.

1. DON'T TALK TO ME ABOUT THE LANGUAGE
Here's the massive annoyance in Portugal. Before I went, I'd seen some of the place names and looked up some basic words in Portugeuse. It seemed pretty easy, almost identical to Spanish. Hello is 'olá', which is pretty much the Spanish 'hola'. 'Buenos Dias' is 'Bem-Dia' (good-day). So far, so good.

But when I was on the plane to Faro (south Portugal, not Farø, the Faroe Islands), I heard some Portugeuse over the intercom and, to stick to the truth, I WTF'd. It sounded exactly like Russian, only at the end of some words you'd catch an 'alyo', or you'd hear an ñ.

It's a crazy language. There's even a committee set up to make sure it survives. They're trying to preserve it because it's nothing like any other language. It may look like Spanish, or even a bit like French, but it's pronounced crazily different. For example, a town near where I was staying was called 'Cavoeiro', but is pronounced 'cairfuero'. Strange, strange, strange.

But I'm back in England now. Finally.
~John

Monday, 2 August 2010

Day 214, on which John holidays some more, though 'holiday' shouldn't really be a verb [2.8.10]

Dag to hundrede og fjorten. Olá from the Algarve! I'm back to blogging after another hot day in Portugal. You'll be happy (I guess) to know that I've been takings loads of photos with 'John Junior', my old Canon A-1 analogue camera. It's coping pretty well, actually - I always expect it to disintegrate into pieces at a careless whack or bump on it. It's at least twenty years old, but it's surviving. The film winder fell off, but I screwed it back on easily enough. Let's hope it keeps going through the four rolls I have left!


As you know, I can't go anywhere without drawing in my Moleskine or generally doodling, so I have been doing exactly that today. I'd be writing the first draft of the script for my play, but I need my scriptwriting software Celtx for that, and the download prices in Portugal are extortionate.

Righty ho, onto what I've been doodling. After seeing Sunshine again (sorry, I just love that film) before I left, I got interested in spaceship layouts. The interesting thing about the Icarus II, the spaceship in Sunshine, is that Danny Boyle wanted to make it more NASA than Star Wars. It's functional and utilitarian and only what's needed. It includes all the necessary rooms for eight people to live in for several months.

That got me thinking. Let's say we are designing a mining spaceship for five people to live on for about a year at a time. The layout (on two floors, as I have decided - it's a small ship) must be clearly divided into the sustenance rooms (crew's quarters, kitchen, bathroom, oxygen garden, water filtering) and the functional rooms (holding bay, mining drill, mineral processing, central computer core, control deck).

I decided to place the functional rooms around the sustenance rooms, so that the sustenance rooms can be detached as one big block if an error occurs. Once they're gone, the ship is still stable and the crew can survive with food stored in cupboards. There's nowhere to sleep, but one toilet goes with the functional rooms so there's that luxury.

But it's not only the sustenance rooms that must detach. There's also the rock collection bay, where minerals mined from asteroids are stored. This needs to be easily detachable (more so than the sustenance room block), roughly square (like a container), and should not be completely interated with the rest of the ship. You need to land, detach it, pick up an empty one and move off again. It needs to be a fluid process.

I need to go for now, but more of this tomorrow...

~John

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Day 213, on which John reports back from Portugal [01.8.10]

Dag to hundrede og tretten. Well hey hey hey, JOHNSPACE readers! Call me obsessed, but I'm blogging from Portugal! Yup, not even international borders can stand up against my will to carry on the 365 project. Well, maybe they did yesterday (travelling is always a hassle, yeesh)... but no more! I'm back online, and ready to do the monthly letter for August.

In case you can't read the post title, I'm on holiday in Portugal. The Algarve, to be exact. Not my first choice of holiday location, but I'll get my way when I take a trip to my homeland Denmark next week.



Look, there's the hill next to where I'm staying. Nothing special, but I needed to prove that I'm actually here. I also wanted to see how quickly I could take a photo, upload it to this netbook, compress it and upload it. It didn't take that long, actually - unfortunately I had to printscreen-and-paste into Word to compress it, but it's a challenge anyways.

Now, as much as I'd like to blab on about my holiday, and how I wish you were here, and how I wish I wasn't, we've got stuff to do! As you know, at the start of each month I write myself a letter replying to the letter I wrote the month before, and asking questions to myself in one month's time. Here's last month's letter, now onto this month's...

Olá! (Portugeuse for hello)

I'm not in London, funnily enough! Whilst I thought I would (ps. past tense of to think should be 'thunk'), I didn't know the dates of my holiday and so here I am, proving myself wrong. Not London but the Algarve.

I'm so sorry for you, past self, having to live through school. Also the fact that you're stuck in the past sucks pretty bad. So, sorry, but since we're continuing this line of coversation about how many free days I have - I have five more weeks! Woo! Yay!

Ah yes, that Neo-Futuron project. Those blue sails. That BrickLink order. I'm still doing that (though obviously not at the moment), I need to wait for a Pick a Brick Online order to come through, or whatever I find at Legoland Billund next week. To my future self: finish that Neo-Futuron MOC! It's only a tiny part of the entire project anyway, and don't use the "I don't have enough white tiles" excuse again, I know you too well.

So quickly onto my responses from last month. I'm still working on JCiii, and that chair (which looks more like a footstool and a shelving unit at the moment). Making the film doesn't seem like it's going to happen this holiday - it's too late to get everyone together to film it. Maybe in the Christmas holiday, yeah - I'd prefer that because it's colder and I prefer the cold. So that thing that I did in June and that I wanted to do again? Doesn't look set to happen again. Things have gone all confused. Ah well.

OK, so my questions for next month? Hmm, the 1st September - the start of the new school year. I hope you're ready, mate; there's lots of exams ahead of you. Good luck with them. Try and do that June thing again, maybe. Make that chair/footstool/shelving unit! Get that new style that you've been hoping to implement. Something trendy, sleek, and Scandinavian. And, the final challenge of the quickly growing pile: you're hopefully co-directing a play in January, so get a move on working out what it'll be about! Gah!

But until then, you enjoy London and I'll [try to] enjoy Portugal.
Lots o' love,
Me.


See you guys tomorrow!
~John

ps. I really hope I find someone to talk to in this damn country... my family are great, but this year I'd like to find a friend as well. Pref. someone Danish, but don't wanna be picky. Very slim chances of that, though, ha ha!