Friday, 27 February 2009

Fake charity backlash

Rather amused at reading the comments on this piece. Devils Kitchen started a website called which outs charities who receive huge amounts of funding from the state, and are therefore beholden to the state and essentially government agencies rather than what people usual interpret as charities. Charity Finance posts an article decrying such a website with bluster from Help the Aged.
A spokesman for Age Concern denied that accepting money from government inhibits its ability to speak out for older people.

"This has been clearly demonstrated in our recent advocacy work criticising the Government's failure to address increasing fuel poverty and the scandalous state of the social care system."

A spokeswoman for the Internet Watch Foundation, which the website argues is using EU funds to encourage state regulation of the internet, said its EU funding is spent on a hotline for the public to report illegal online content.

"Over 75 per cent of our funding comes from the internet industry, as you would expect from a self-regulatory body."

"We don’t fundraise so we’re not a charity in that sense; the decision to apply for charitable status was more about making sure we are accountable."

A spokeswoman for Alcohol Concern said none of its government grant is used on its lobbying activities.

"There’s no consideration in terms of being critical of government when thinking about funding."

"We are primarily a lobbying charity, we don’t really do public awareness, and if the fact that we get a grant mattered to the work we do we wouldn’t be able to do it."

Whilst Devil's Kitchen has a fine fisking of the piece
Of course you criticise the government. You criticise them until they do something and when they finally do it you criticise them for not going far enough. That is the modus operandi of all lobbyists, which is why, whenever the government does anything, you can bet your last nugget that some twat from a fake charity will turn up on TV saying "we welcome this move but the government needs to go much further."

The government funds these groups because they help it create a fake compromise while bypassing public opinion. Here's how it works:
  1. The government feels like giving you a good kick in the bollocks.

  2. You don't want to be kicked in the bollocks. You just want to be left alone.

  3. A fake charity turns up wielding some bogus study and demands that you be kicked in the bollocks and pelted with turds.

  4. The government conducts a bullshit consultation with some other fake charities and, in the spirit of compromise, concludes that you will be kicked in the bollocks but not pelted with turds.

Result: you get kicked in the bollocks. The government wins.

And if the charity is very good at its job, this will be quickly followed by the fake loophole:
  1. The fake charity produces a study showing that being pelted with turds is not as bad as taking one in the Jacob's. They say that the government is being inconsistent by allowing people to kick you in the plums but not pelt you with turds.

  2. The government agrees and, having set a precedent, it can't be seen to allow one and not the other.

Result: You get kicked in the bollocks and pelted with turds. Democracy has prevailed.
It always amuses me so much more when the comments on a post are unanimously against the thrust of the article.

A Danials
February 27th, 2009
A DanialsOnce I got past your 'duff link' (reprehensable) to the fake charities site and read some of the info, I have to say I am in agreement with the Devils KitchenA Danials

February 27th, 2009
Michael"A spokeswoman for Alcohol Concern said none of its government grant is used on its lobbying activities."

Alcohol Concern received £4,991 in donations in 07/08, while it received £515,000 from the Department of Health.

So what did they do with the half a million pounds then if it was used on its lobbying activites?

If you think that isn't a fake charity then you need your head seen to.Michael

Rob Fisher
February 27th, 2009
Rob FisherI don't think DK's argument is "charities accept government money therefore they can't do their jobs properly".

Rather, the arguments are that a) if people aren't paying voluntarily then they don't care about your cause and you shouldn't be lobbying the government for it and b) since the government uses lobbying charities to justify legislation it looks suspiciously like the government is paying for the lobbying it wants.Rob Fisher

Define Pop

Not quite sure who's got me onto the Spotify thing, its like the 21st century's answer to Napster I guess. Crikey, was that a century ago?

Anyhoo, we're a day into London's Popfest, where loads of indiepop bands are playing. Its a small niche genre, with only a handful of fans gathered under a word that has pop in it.

Lets do some cross validation, and make of it what you will. Below is a list of bands/acts/artists playing the London Popfest and how many of their tracks appear on Spotify.
  • Comet Gain (29)
  • Another Sunny Day (1)
  • The Hit Parade (1)
  • Action Biker (nil)
  • Allo, Darlin’ (nil)
  • Betty and the Werewolves (nil)
  • Gregory Webster (nil)
  • Harvey Williams (nil)
  • Help Stamp Out Loneliness (nil)
  • Julian Henry (nil)
  • Let’s Whisper (nil)
  • Liechtenstein (nil)
  • The Loves (nil)
  • The Middle Ones (nil)
  • Milky Wimpshake (nil)
  • Pelle Carlberg (nil)
  • The Pete Green Corporate Juggernaut (nil)
  • Pocketbooks (nil)
  • The Razorcuts (nil)
  • The School (nil)
  • The Smittens (nil)
  • Tender Trap (nil)
  • Town Bike (nil)
  • Zipper (nil)

Over here, Spotify have a blogpost about what to do if they don't have anything by your favourite artist.


Went to the first night of the London Popfest with my missus last night.

Reviewish things are here, here and here and check out the slideshow of photies below

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Money Saving Idea #1 Grow your own garlic week 3

Garlic 26-FEB-2009
Originally uploaded by manc_ill_kid
Its Thursday, so its time for another gardening update.

This is the wee chap on my windowsill, I shall call him Darren, he is my imaginary son. He's garlic, but I still love him.

The way he pokes his wee leaf out, its so cute.

I've decided to grow him a family of other plants so he doesn't get lonely, you know, to give him people to play with.

This is the sweet peppers I'm growing from seed. I made these stuffed peppers yesterday and wondered what would happen if I planted a load of the seeds in one pot. I hope they take.

This is Sharon, she's also garlic, Darren's sister I guess, she's not as grown up as Darren. I hope she takes as well as her brother has.

These are the twins, they're the same age as Sharon. They don't have names yet. I'm growing them on the other side of the yard, I dunno how much sunshine they'll get there, but other plants seem to grow, so they should be okay.

This is my potato trough. There are two potatos buried in there, Neil and Andy, I've named them after my old scout leaders. They've been growing for about two weeks now. I wasn't sure if they'd take or not cos I just planted them cos they were growing rooty bits in the fridge. To check, I dug up Neil.
He seems like a happy potato.

Daily vacancies update 26-FEB-2009

Carrying on from yesterday's post about job vacancies in the UK based on how many jobs Reed have, here's today's graph, still going downwards.

Its a fall of 1.19% from yesterday and 4.49% from seven days ago.

Extrapolating up for all vacancies in the UK, there's about 444,495 vacancies now.

Good luck.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Job Vacancies

I am unemployed. I was made redundant about three months ago, for the first month or so I was applying for as many jobs as possible, on loads of websites, and every week rifling through the database at the job centre, engineering jobs, media jobs, marketing, temp, admin, just anything really, but nothing came of it.

I had dozens of GCSEs, a few A-Levels, a degree, a decade of experience in the electronics manufacturing industry, in depth knowledge of London and Glasgow indie music scenes, and about 25 years worth of creating stuff on computers. None of these things seem to be helping me find work.

A few weeks ago, in Prime Minister's questions there were around 500,000 job vacancies in the UK, down from 600,000 he was quoting a few weeks earlier. I dunno where he gets his figures from, are they accurate, how much rounding is there, how up to date?

That was a fortnight ago.

I've been tracking the number of vacancies each day on, which I guess could cover a quarter of all vacancies in the UK.
Their total vacancies have fallen by about a 5% in the past ten days. In fact, it looks like the loss of jobs available is accelerating. Its getting harder and harder to find work, its getting a whole lot worse.

With a bit of extrapolation, from uncle Gordon's figure of 500,000 vacancies a few week's back, now we're on 450,000.


I'm in Starbucks. Cappucino, chocolate cake, rather drained.

I ran out of petrol in Hampstead and had to push my car to a parking space before wandering a mile towards Belsize to find a petrol station. Can of petrol long walk back to car, crisis over.

The Just Joans always make me think of this girl I used to know. Their first ever gig when it was just Dave and just Chris, we went there together. There's a video on YouTube and bootleg of the show I can still hear her in the audience when the tracks come on random.

The first Just Joans EP on WeePop had a track called Bellshill station about a girl left in Scotland whilst her boyfriend went away to London. It was the other way round for me and her. But the track encapsulates the sentiment perfectly.

A year later, I headed to London myself, but we were too far apart. I'm not the most gregarious of people, I'm crap at staying in touch. But with her I made a conscious effort not to, what right would I have to call her up or send a text, to stride back into her life regardless of what she was doing. On the latest Just Joans EP Love and Other Hideous Accidents there's a track called Let's Not Stay In Touch, I think its the same sentiment.

We saw each other once or twice, but that was it.

We never hung out in London, we never went to the pub or chilled in a park in the sunshine. We never watched DVDs together, falling asleep on my settee. We never saw each other in a club and got hideously drunk. We never plotted and schemed, and went crazy, the regular poker and scrabble nights never happened. We never bumped into each other in the street or Tesco and shared a lift home. We never borrowed tupperware or swapped recipes. We were never just in the neighbourhood and popped in for a brew. I never said goodbye.

I'm going to miss the remote chance of any of that happening. We're in different cities now.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009


Usually I silently grumble to myself about the London blogger interview series at the Londonist site, Jaz off of the internet interviews her blogging friends, its going to be a long long time before I get mine. And I'm always a little not confused, but, well, I dunno, conscious I guess, that maybe its the size of the British blogosphere, or just the different segments of it, cliques even, that none of my round of political blogs are London blogs and neither are any of the sites covered on the Britblog Roundup.

Anyhoo, the latest interviewee is Andy Bargery from London Bloggers, he's a fine chap. The London Bloggers Meetups serves the same encouraging role in my online ventures that Idleberry did in a previous life, without it, I wouldn't be here today.

The latest interview also features a photie where my head plays a prominent role (back of head, long hair close to camera), so its almost as if the article is about me.

Eagle-eyed Britpop fans may also spot the bass player from Suede in the photo, he's worth 15 London Indie EyeSpy points.

Another London Bloggers meetup this evening, in about an hour's time. I better get shaved and get my skates on.

Origami Crane - A step by step animated guide

Following on from last week's thrillingly instructive guide and animation for folding an origami flapping bird, this is an animation showing how to fold an origami crane.

The crane is a little bit different to the flapping bird, it looks better, but it doesn't flap its wings when you pull the tail.

This one only took a day to draw, well, I used bits of last week's animation, and also added some more frames to make it smoother and flow more pleasingly.

Is anyone following these animations and making their own birds?

Monday, 23 February 2009

The Just Joans - Love and Other Hideous Accidents - a review

Just received the new Just Joans EP from WeePop!

Its ace.


The 'If You Don't Pull' track that I've been raving about for months and months since I heard it last summer, it sounds too much like it was recorded by the 2007 Just Joans, rather than the 2008 live experience or whatever disillusion I have of them in my head. The track needs a beefier chorus, the backing vocals need more more.

Here, I've found a poor quality playback of it on YouTube, worth a listen if you really need to hear it.

Hey, that video's got the same cat as the old System Error video

Anyhoo, Row and Katie do a fine job on the chorus, but they're too sweet. It needs a choir, here, check out these choirs, pick one, any one, and imagine if they were singing the 'If you don't pull, Then you'll have to walk home on your own..." refrain.

The Parsonage
The Choir With No Name

Being a DIY kind of chap myself, I could probably record myself a remix with me doing a multi-tracked chorus as I prescribe.

...what do you know, the old trick of using headphones as a microphone doesn't work with Apple iPod headphones, or any of the in-ear headsets that come with mobile phones these days. What happened to make modern technology so difficult to hack?

So I go though my old gig kit, I've got dozens of proper microphones, but no XLR to 3.5mm cabley connectory things. I did however discover a Zoom Multitrack digital recorder which I swear I've never seen before in my life. I had an old cassette fourtrack, back in the day, but that's away now. No microphone solution there.

Success however lies in my Blackberry's voice note app. Maybe not quite good enough for a proper musical recording, but hey, it's up to my usual standard of recording quality...

Hmm, actually, I think it's a regular C-F-C-G type thing with Am noodles, I could rustle up my own cover as soon as I can memorise the secod verse.

We pay for this?

Uncle Devil's Kitchen covers a new report from the Taxpayer's Alliance on minister's in the European Parliament all being rather corrupt, having massive pay rises, at the same time as their economies are going down the tube. They know about it, but as they're we're paying them they're not doing anything about it.

The Galvin Report, named after Robert Galvin, the Internal Audit Official whose name is on its front cover, was written at the end of 2006 as an audit of the expenses and allowances claimed by a sample of more than 160 MEPs. The existence of the report was kept secret until February 2008 when news of its existence was made public by Chris Davies MEP. Even then, its contents remained secret and a select group of MEPs were only allowed to read the report individually in a locked and guarded room. Now published for the first time by the TaxPayers' Alliance, its findings include:

* Serious and repeated anomalies in payments for office assistance and services, including money being paid to seemingly irrelevant firms (including a creche and a company engaged in "the trading of wood"), and to companies which on further investigation did not exist, were untraceable or had registered no financial activity in their accounts. Some MEPs were found to be paying out their full assistance allowances, but had no assistants accredited or registered with the Parliament.

* A culture of huge "bonuses" being paid to staff members or handling firms at the end of the financial year, ranging from 3 times to 19 and a half times the employees' monthly salaries. Large "layoff" payments were also made to MEPs' staff without justification being provided.

* Loose rules which allow payments to be made without invoicing, and only require bills to be provided 12 months after payment. The audit found that less than 5% of audited accounts actually submitted the required documentation by that 12 month deadline.

* Widespread failure to comply with tax, company and social security laws. 79% of transactions that should have been subject to VAT displayed no evidence of either VAT payment or exemption. 83% of the companies through which MEPs paid their allowances for office services failed in their legal obligation to register with the Belgian national company database. 90% of contracts for self-employed staff had no evidence of legally required social security payments being made. 26% of assistants and 64% of paying agent firms used to employee staff displayed no evidence of social security payments being made.

* Evidence of MEPs using their allowances and expenses to bankroll their political parties is also revealed. Many MEPs make set monthly payments to their own political party for secretarial support, but receive varying numbers of staff in return, which raises questions over whether the payments are really simply donations. Some MEPs are found to be claiming for projects such as web sites that are actually promoting their political party rather than their work as an MEP.

When can we start setting fire to these people?

I'm pretty sure we didn't vote for them to get so much money, and indeed at every opportunity to vote on such matters the people of European Union and the UK have said no, yet still it happens.

Is it possible to cleanse with fire without going down the Reichstag route?


I'm in Starbucks in Borders at Brent Cross, I come here every morning to avoid a £120 fine for parking outside my flat. The £2.35 a day for cappucino is more agreeable that subbing Camden Council.

The service here is lovely, the serving women recognise me now, the smile of recognition is better than any chocolate sprinkle. Although there was a wee moment of awkwardness last week. I'd had one or two coffees at home on the Thursday morning and I feared over doing it on the caffine, so as I queued and gazed at the price board, the resolved to have a hot chocolate. The cute blonde serving smiled at me, "cappucino sir?" She ventured, "erm, no actually..." She flushed a little and my, did I feel awkward.

Today they are giving away bags of Fairtrade ground coffee, Cafe Estima Blend, it smells nice.

Hmm, is Fairtrade a brand unto itself, or an econo-political concept?

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Saturday, 21 February 2009


17p banana, wrapped in plastic on a plastic tray. Well done Morrisons.

You didn't get the memo about packaging then?

Friday, 20 February 2009


Originally uploaded by manc_ill_kid
Actually, I'm not sure about this one.

Politicians easily get confused about stimulating the economy. They flap their arms and talk about doingt hings and helping, but just pour money into blackhole, money that they don't actually have.

I'd vote for someone who does nothing and lets me get on with my own thing. Lets failing businesses collapse, and lets new businesses pick up in the rubble.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

The Mastercard Brit Awards

Originally uploaded by manc_ill_kid
Just watched the Brit Awards sponsored by Mastercard, and The Pet Shop Boys receiving the lifetime achievement award.

They don't make them like they used to.

This is a picture of Bill Drummond from the KLF and their 1992 Brit Awards appearance where he pulled out a machine gun and showered the assembled audience with blanks. You wouldn't get away with that these days.

Or would you?

Is it just that no one is audacious enough to try it?

Origami Flapping Bird - A step by step animated guide

Following on from yesterday's thrillingly instructive guide to folding an origami flapping bird, here it is again, but as an animation over on YouTube.

Only took a day and a half to draw and colour in. As usual, I used my Wacom tablet, Photoshop and Windows Movie Maker.

Burning 100 calories / Fun

Over on London Bloggers, there's a competition sponsored by Bacardi Breezer 100. Its this new version of Bacardi Breezer with only 100 calories per bottle. The competition is to answer the following question:-
Bacardi Breezer 100 calories has just that, 100 calories. The most fun I’ve ever had burning off 100 calories is…

So, just what is 100 calories, what does it look like, what does it feel like? Well, using the magical power of the internet we can scrape together the following table.
Activity Calories per hour Time for 100 calories
Running 800 8
Rock climbing 748 8
Jogging 390 15
Fishing 204 29
Sex 102 59
Sitting at computer 91 66
Eating Celery 90 67
Ironing 90 67
Sleeping 61 98

A few caveats are required.
  • That figure for running, it depends how fast you're running, a full out 100m sprint uses around 1000 calories per hour, but you can only keep it up for a minute or so, and a more gentle running only takes 500 calories per hour.
  • There's much discussion online about eating celery, eating is about 110 calories per hour, and each stick of celery provides about 1 calory, I reckon in an hour you can eat maybe fifteen sticks before being 'full.
  • Sex, I dunno, maybe the site I got the stats from was wrong, or does it differently.

So, what is the most fun I personally have had burning 100 calories? I guess that's all in relation to fun. So if we ignore all food (and drink) based enjoyment, and for modesty ignore all sex based fun (thats most nights out and crazy adventures during first few weeks of relationships), my great database of fun activities spews forth this list.
  • Seeing the Boo Radleys Manchester Academy 1995
  • Running 10K in 35 minutes 2008
  • Paintball with Scouts 1993
  • Outdoory things at Patterdale Hall 1995
  • Expeditions round the Lake District 1996
  • Gigs with Deep Fried Wolfknuckles 2007

Actually I think I ended up quite drunk at the Boo Radleys show and the Wolfknuckles gigs, so I can't count them. The Running 10K thing was fun, exhilarating even, but well, on refection, it was a little boring. Patterdale Hall and Lake District stuff spans too wide a period, so I think the most fun I had was the paintball thing in Stockport with Scouts in 1993, I guess 10 minutes of that would kind of count as the most fun I've had burning 100 calories.

Hmph, there's got to be more fun things I've done which didn't involve booze or food.

Think, think, think.

Maybe I should try sky diving or go bungee jumping, is there still time? Does being in free fall even burn up calories?

Tuesday, 17 February 2009 the b/w blurred style

My carefully crafted style of taking crap black and white blurred photies of bands seems to be catching on. Yon guitarist from top Liverpudlian pop-punk band Town Bike, Morgopolo, is using one of my flickr pics as his profile pic.

That kind of validates it as photographic genre aye, I just need a catchy name for it.

Origami Flapping Bird - A step by step guide

Here's how to make an origami flapping bird.

Start off with a square of paper, I use post-it notes cos I hope one day they'll pay me lots of money or hire me to be some kind of brand person.
You're going to want to fold it in half to make a big old rectangular shape, try to make sure the corners line up proper.
Then fold down one of the folded corners so you get a diagonal crease from the flappy corner to the middle of the top ridge.
And do the same thing on the other side to make a big triangle with lots of paper edges on the bottom.
This bit's kind of complicated, you're going to want to open up the bottom and squash the whole thing into a square. I have faith in your intelligence dear reader, and faith in your spacial awareness and dexterity. Good luck.
Now fold up the two lower edges to make a kind of kite shape.
Turn it over and do the same thing again.
You now want to undo those kiteish folds so we're back to that square thing again. If you want to pursue a career in origami in the 80s and 90s then you'll need to know that this fold is called the 'Preliminary base'
Now some more pre-creasing, can you fold down the top triangle so that its like the cross bar of the kite-like fold we did earlier.
God knows how to explain this next operation, we're just using all thse pre-creases to open up the Preliminary base and make a bit old diamond shape.
If you managed that without any problems, turn the paper over and do the same thing again. Again if you were to pursue a career in origami in the last century, you'll need to know that this diamond thing is called a 'Bird base'.
You're doing well, with this level of expertise you could probably pass for a children's entertainer or a classroom assistant. Lets pretend what you have before you is an open book, with pages on the left and right, what we want to do is turn to the previous page. And then turn over the whole piece and do the same thing.
The two sticking up bits will become the neck and the tail of the bird, lets gently pull them apart a wee bit, this will cause the body to open up a bit, that's fine, just squash it flat again.
Almost finished, what you need to do now is fold down the head part. Again the neck will open up a wee bit, no worries, just squash it flat when you've got enough of a head.
That's you done, you just need to spread the wings a wee bit to make it more like a bird in flight.
Now, a few important things to note.
  • Its not a crane, its a flapping bird, the crane is something a tiny bit different
  • This is probably your first attempt, so it'll look crap, try it again and be more precise with the creases
  • Also, it probably isn't going to flap, it takes some degree in engineering to get these things to flap like they're supposed to, it'll probably just tear if you try to make it flap
  • If you really want to try to make you 'flapping bird' flap it's wings, hold its 'breast' (the bottom of the neck, pinching just a little of the wing) and pull the tail outwards


Where can I find a failing restaurant in amongst lots of other restaurants? One that would be interested in trying something different?

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Monday, 16 February 2009

Song identifying

Can someone identify this song please?


It seems to be a Scottish number about signing on the dole, and its quite amusing. I think its oldish, no more than fifteen years ago, a little Half Man Half Biscuit-ish, but god knows who it is and how it got onto my computer.

Hmm, I think they're Rangers supporters.


Animation with Windows Movie Maker: a step by step guide

Aw man, Windows Movie Maker, the video software that comes bundled with Window XP is really annoying for doing animations with, but for some reason I soldier on.

This is my latest effort:-

Here's a step-by-step guide for how to do this sort of thing.

1. I sit at my computer, with my Wacom tablet and I draw what I can see around my desk, mostly my bedroom.

Just two or three pictures, what's behind, what's to my left, what I can see out the door. I draw them in an old old copy of Photoshop in black and white, then adjust the threshold to give me a line drawing.

2. I like to think of these drawings as key frames, for I then work on doing several frames of animation between them, I set them up as layers in photoshop so I can see two images at the same time, and then figure out and draw the image between them. Its a tedious process, but I nuture a high threshold for boredom.

3. Once I've got a few frames I colour them in. Years back, I did an animationy thing drawing on paper then scanning in each frame, it was so time consumed I could hardly be bothered colouring, but it looks kind of better and stops you getting headaches. Anyhoo, this is the hand-drawn and scanned thing I did in 2005 with almost no colouring.

Now in the later years of this decade I feel colouring is the way forward, no shading mind, just plain, almost cartoony colours.

4. Each frame I save as a jpeg, with the same dimensions and PAL widescreen DVD, that's 1024 x 576 I like to think that in the future people will come to worship my works and release them on DVD or something.

5. Then we fire up Windows Movie Maker and drag in all the jpegs. At this point its vital that you save the animation project in Windows Movie Maker cos its crashes every few seconds and its a real bitch to lose any changes you've made.

6. In order to use still images as anything like animation you're going to have to select
Tools -> Options -> Picture Duration

Its not the most flexible, you can only set it to 0.125 seconds or 0.25 seconds. That's 8 frames per second or 4 frames per second Einstein, which in animation terms is as jerky as hell.

And here's a kick in the balls when you render the movie to make a video file thing, it converts it to 25 frames per second. God knows how, neither 8 nor 4 go into 25 without leaving some frame there for longer or less time than the others, there's no escape from jerkiness. Thats what you get for using the free bundled video software.

Christ, I don't know, at 25fps each frame is up for 0.04 seconds, so if you've chosen 0.125 seconds per image, it probably squishes it into 0.12 seconds per image for the first seven frames then 0.16 seconds for the eighth. Its going to look odd.

Anyhoo, I'm getting ahead of myself, there's not much we can do about this, what we can do is select 0.125 seconds per image, 8fps, and then draw loads and loads of pictures. You want ten seconds of animation, thats eight pictures. Say it takes you three minutes to draw each picture, and then another two to colour it in, five minutes per picture, that ten seconds of footage is going to take the best part of day. Luckily, I'm unemployed.

7. Or you can cheat a little and use loops and stationary bits.

I dunno if they're called 'loops' in proper animationy class, and they're definitely not called 'stationary bits', but hey ho, what they are are sequences of three or more frames that you can repeat for a few seconds without any viewer really caring.

Here, check out the weird morphing thing in this animation to kill a bit of time.

The loop has got to be at least three frames otherwise you're just going 121212121 and it gives viewers a headache and make sure it goes 123123123 instead of 123212321 cos viewers can see right through that a mile away.

8. Oh, I hope you remembered to save that a few times in case it crashes.

9. When you get bored, you can render the movie. That'll be
File -> Save Movie File -> My Computer

And then just accept the defaults. Once its all done and you've watched you masterpiece a few times, called your girlfriend round, forced her to watch it, put up with her slightly patronising adulation, kind of like when your Down's Syndrome son has managed to tie his shoelaces for the first time, you know he'll never be a lawyer or a brain surgeon, but there's still hope for a career in banking. At this point just upload the damned thing to YouTube, and get your friends to watch it.

10. Watch it yourself a few more times, with pen and paper handy and scribble down everything you don't like about it, every unexpected jerk or bit that seem to go too quickly, or when you missed out colouring a section. Scribble these down and get back into Photoshop and fix it.

Repeat until satisfied.

Then dream about how one day a bored advertising executive will see your feeble scribblings on the internet, and then email you about doing a thirty second commercial for a well-known brand of dishwasher tablets for thousands of pounds.

Then be rudely awakened from the dream as you realise that that shit was easy, and the advertising executive will probably just get his creative bloke to knock up something identical in a fraction of the time, and do it all using fancy computer software, and charge at his usual rate.

The best you can hope for is a post on Boing Boing before being cast back into your cell once more.

Things to remember when you're fixing all the bits you messed up first time round
  • Add more frames to slow down sequences
  • Take out frames to speed up sequences
  • Don't be tempted to adjust the duration of each frame to slow down or speed up
  • Trace trajectories if you're not convinced elements are in the right place.

The Just Joans - Love and Other Hideous Accidents

New EP from the Just Joans over on Wee Pop!

The nine track EP is about £3, and there's a free download of track three 'Hideous Accident' here

I love the way their sounds has developed. Its probably not appropriate, but I think Hideous Accident sounds like the bastard love-child of Yazoo and Arab Strap, but it still features David Pope's signiture motif of including lines from other people's songs,
"I read the news today, oh boy"

I'm right on the crotch of my over draft, but I've ordered my copy of the EP mostly to hear the recorded version of track five, "If You Don't Pull..." It had me in tears when they played it at the Wee Pop! Birthday show last summer.

Its possibly the greatest song I heard last year, and maybe will be this year too.


Guardian p8

"Tropical forests are essentially inflam-
mable. You couldn't get a fire to burn there
if you tried..."

That's not quite what 'inflammable' means, is it? These are the experts, right?

Bah, they changed the text in the online edition

Dear Guardian,

Please can I have a job as a subeditor since the ones you currently employ have a slightly more crap grasp of the English language than me.


Chris Gilmour

Free money

If HBOS needed £17 billion of taxpayers money to stay in business, how come it can afford to hand out £5 a month to current account holders?

That £5 was taken from me my pain of imprisonment, and now it's just being handed out as a marketing ploy to people who made the mistake of investing their money in a failed bank?

I want my money back.

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Thursday, 12 February 2009

Money saving idea #1 - Grow your own garlic

The other day I was stealing a clove of garlic from a flatmate when I noticed it had sprouted a wee green sprouty bit. I feel a bit guilty always stealing garlic, so today I pinched anothe clove and have planted it.

Hopefully it will grow into a whole garlic bulb and I may never have to steal garlic again.

So by planting it I'm saving my flatmates money cos they won't have to buy so much in the future.

I'll endevour to post regular updates of how its growing, aye.

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Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Working on animations

Today I am mostly working on drawing more animation frames. Its still incredibly slow going, just a second or two of video for every ten pictures, but its satisfying and passes the time.

Aref-Adib reckons that its a shame that all my animations only last between ten and thirty seconds and it ought to be a few minutes long to hold folk's attention. He's got a point, but after hours of labour I still feel the need to post the latest fruits on YouTube. If there's nothing to show for my labours, then its almost like I haven't done anything. Aye?

The videos from Window's Movie Maker are still really jerky, its a little annoying, but I want to avoid the hassle of setting the computer clock back to use an old version of Adobe Premier to do it until I'm got all three minutes worth. Are there any other free, easy to use and reliable bits of software that will string together still frames into a video clip?

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Plot of the sequel to Atlas Shrugged

21st Century Rave

Reading this on The Register about how a Facebook flashmob replay of the T-Mobile Ad got an order of magnitude more people.

Original T-Mobile ad

February re-make

I'm wondering whether this is the 21st centuries version of the M25 raves of last century. And although its all about the technology rather than the drugs, I guess the vibe and the kinship is the same. But what's going to emerge as the soundtrack?

Are the music press onto this? Is there even a music press anymore? Can it be a band or a group who make the music, or some kind of mysterious soundsystem?

If I were designing or engineering the sound, it would start with crowd noise and train announcements, but indistinct, no actual words, or twoo distorted to hear words, and there'd be some kind of shibboleth or countdown before conventional 'music' kicks in. Maybe the music would just start off bass-heavy, rhythmic trains before convoluting into something more danceable.

Your polis and security wouldn't be aware of what was happening until the dance music kicks in, but up until that point the rest of the crowd would all be picking up these triggers, these audio cues.

New drawings

First new drawing up on Naked Chicks on Post-it Notes in about three months, Not Safe For Work aye here

Monday, 9 February 2009


I was sat in Borders this morning, as usual avoiding being fined for parking outside my flat, I was reading the Guardian and seems to have developed a wee sixth sense. Whilst the news stories are there printed before me in black and white, I can see the various bloggers debating and commentating on each story, what issues they'd raise and where there would be contention.

I have become one with the blogosphere.
Ministers will today announce a £40m bailout for charities dealing with the effects of the recession, but the lifeline is a fraction of the sum the government was urged to provide at crisis talks last year.

So aye, regular readers of this blog will know I'm a massive fan of Devils Kitchen's campaign against fake charities, those organisations which reside in the Charities Commission website, but only stay in business due to moneys from the government, thus, are Government Agencies, and the rage we feel when they are quoted in news stories supporting and lobbying the government.

Letters From a Tory covers the story here
If charities are to perform their role properly in the absence of government interference, it is essential that they feel no ties to anyone other than the people they help. Giving them taxpayers’ cash is totally incompatible with this aim and crosses the fine line between supporting charities and controlling them. Giving them additional donations may seem like the right thing to do but once this money has been received the operational independence of these charities no longer exists. The sad reality of what you have done is that these charities can no longer claim to be servants of the people because they are now indebted, morally and financially, to the British government.

and Behind Blue Eyes suggests that the public be allowed to decide on this sort of thing.
But if massive government intervention is one of the options, we should at least be able to have our say in the matter. If voters want rolling nationalisations, then let them vote for it. If Brown has the best policies to get us through the recession, then let him stand on a manifesto to push them through. If people would prefer a more measured, affordable approach then they will vote against Brown’s party.

Can we have an election now and fix all this? Please.

Capitalists@Work raises the issue of how does the government decide which charities get bailout money.
Moreover, are the ones that need help not already proving they are not good at managing the money?

This made me think about boobs. Everyone loves boobs, babies, men and women too, tits are great. So when they get cancer people donate lots and lots of money to help those poor breasts. Prostates on the other hand are dirty wee things that live up your ass, they don't have many fans. But whilst men don't generally get breast cancer, they do get prostate cancer, and that kills about as many men as breast cancer kills women.

Prostate cancer charities get a fraction of the amount of voluntary and publicity that breast cancer charities do, The Times covered it a few years back. So in situations like this, I reckon there's a good case for the government giving money to specific charities.

Great Money Trick - Back to Front

Back in Glasgow there was a chap who sat near me at work called Joe, he was in a band called The Great Money Trick. They have a new album that available for free download and stuff on Last FM here.

Its called Back to Front, there's six tracks
  • Hanging around
  • Something about nothing
  • You know we know
  • Rings around you
  • No rules yet
  • Same old shoes free

I think musically they occupy similar space to My Sad Captains, but with better soaring lead guitar.

Hanging Around is very BMX Banditsish, they all know each other, these Scottish bands, right? Something About Nothing sounds most like the earlier material from their Country Pop EP, and the guitar reminds me of MJ Hibbett's It Isn't Jetpacks. You Know We Know sounds like Echo and The Bunnymen, Rings Around you is more Stevie Nicks era Fleetwood Mac, No Rules Yet has that lush sound of Camera Obscura. And finally Same Old Shoes is a bit of a slow build up which could go down a treat when the play live.

Their MySpace page if you're into that sort of thing is here or for their own website click here and they'll see I'm sending traffic their way.


Warm fuzzy feelings in the bottom of my tummy as I discover the Derek Draper who runs the Labour Party website Labourist, is now following me on Twitter. Its nice that he takes an interest in me and my little world.

No direct messages or replies to me seeking advice on making lemon icing or moaning about my life yet, but its nice to know he's taking an interest. And the 1,800 other people he's taking an interest in. I can't even imagine how you'd stay on top of following so many people, monkeyspheres and all that.

I see myself a regular commenter on his website, so its kind of neat that he get's web2.0.

I'm not going to follow him in return though, cos the vast majority of his tweets are just links to other sites and he's a bit of a tit.


Someone drove into my car. No damage, but a little bit unexpected. It wasn't an accident the chap intentionally nudged my car.

I was driving a ladyfriend to work and heading home, the traffic was stationary, near some post office depot in Cricklewood. We were stationary and the chap drove into me. I drove few yards forward and the traffic was stationary again and the chap got out to see how much damage he'd caused.

Going by the view in the wing mirror, he was satisfied there was nothing insurance companies should be involved with. I got over my procrastination and got out have look too. No damage, just two small bits of plastic membrane that had rubbed off his bumper.

He shouted something at me about keeping my eyes open, I shrugged, got back my car and drove off, whilst my ladyfriend scribbled down his registration number.

There was some story covered on the blogs a year or so ago about some driver who was cut up on a motorway, he got a mate who was a police officer to run the cutter's registration number and found out where he lived. The guy went round, caused a nuisance of himself, the cutter died of a heart attack and the policeman mate got away scot free.

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Sunday, 8 February 2009


Went to a fancy dress / Victorian era / Burlesque show. I'm not quite sure what I was supposed to be other than Victorian era gent, possibly some kind of engineer or that chap from The Time Traveller.
The drawn on moustache was Nina's idea. She went as Oliver Twist's Nancy, calls herself a seamstress, indeed.
I made me a top hat out of cardboard and then frantically spray painted it black. I admit I was sceptical about whether it would be any good, but iot kind of worked in a Jolly Top Hat sort of way.
They wanted to use it for the meat raffle, but someone had knocked the top out of it by halfway through the night.
IMG_6388 by you.
There were burlesque acts doing their thing. They were dancing and teasing the audience.

IMG_6394 by you.
This one grabbed a hat from a gentleman in the audience and slathered it between her buxom cheeks to the cheers of the male half of the audience, the women however are still recoil horror from the memory.

IMG_6395 by you.
Top Biscuit indeed

Aye, so the burlesque folk were all part of a troupe/class where the teacher / final act of the night was Goodtime Mama Jojo