...being the blog of steve kirkendall egomaniac-about-town

29/03/10

Lardwatch #44 (back on track with the anti-snack attack)

Yes, after a break of three weeks I am dragging my ever-wobbling frame to the blogging machine to give you further news about my status as worst dieter ever. The latest hiatus in this dieting diary was caused by the crushing blow that saw my new exercise regime of cycling, swimming and generally not standing still, actually deliver a weight gain of two pounds. The following week I kept those pounds and the week after that, I couldn’t even face the scales. I did, however, start to cut down what I ate for lunch (after shooting myself in the foot with well meaning salads that were, unfortunately, smothered in olive oil) by having only a roll with a simple, single filling with an apple and maybe a soup (or maybe not). And guess what? That small reduction of fat feeding has actually shed two and a half pounds!

Fingers crossed for more weight-loss next week…

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24/03/10

Comics – I buy ’em ’cos I love ’em!

Team K went to London last Saturday for a quick whizz around town. After Madame Tussauds, Dinosaurs Unleashed, Selfridges (nice site by the way) and Marks and Sparks, Number One Son and I left the girls at Paperchase while we went to my favourite comic shop Gosh – hooray!!

Excerpt fro 'Rocketo – Journey to the Hidden Sea' by Frank Espinosa

Restrained as always (*ahem*) I only bought four things. I picked up the seventh volume of The Comics Journal Library with Harvey Kurtzman. I also nabbed the second volume of the three-time-Eisner-Award-nominated Rocketo, Journey To The Hidden Sea by Frank Espinosa (Number One Son asked if I had the first volume – I didn’t, but a quick visit to Dr Amazon took care of that) – I picked it up because I fell in love with Espinosa’s illustrations which were like some wonderful mash-up of Kirby, Cooke, Pope and Toth (see sample panels above). The story concerns a post-apocalyptic Earth, populated by a new breed of humans. Among them are the Mappers who explore this new world, guiding humanity along the way. Rocketo Garrison is from a long line of Mappers and we follow his adventures as he navigates both this new world and it’s dangers, accompanied by his trusty band of comrades. I don’t want to say more as I don’t want to spoil it for you, but you should find these books and give them both a right royal reading. I don’t usually like this kind of story, but after the brilliantly sophisticated illustrations pulled me in, my imagination was set ablaze while travelling through Rocketo’s world. I loved the supporting cast (including the Kirby-esque Spiro Turnstiles) the baddies and the other fantastic creatures you’re introduced to as the story progresses. It’s a shame I’m reading it out of sequence, but I’m just grateful I finally discovered it as embarassingly, this book was published in 2007. But hey, better late than never, eh?

Illustration from 'Ghoulash' by Samuel Hiti

My other purchases were two other fabulously illustrated books, Ghoulash (sample illo above) and Death Day Prologue both by Samuel Hiti. Hiti’s wonderful brush strokes reminded me again of the aforementioned Paul Pope, but with a style of his own. His story telling and character design are first rate too. You can read Death Day Prologue and the first two episodes here though I’m keeping my eyes peeled so I can get my mitts on the printed versions.

Images © 2010 Frank Espinosa/Samuel Hiti.

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12/03/10

Astro Boy – The Movie

Still from Astro Boy, the movie

I took Number One Son to see Astro Boy, Imagi Animation Studios’ movie of the long running series created by the late, great god of manga, Osamu Tezuka. I wasn’t really expecting much as I thought it might stray too far away from Tezuka’s version and worried it might be given a Hollywood-type makeover, instead they remained pretty much faithful to Tezuka’s manga.

The CGI animation was superb and I really loved the design of the robots Imagi created as well as the design of the buildings and interiors for Astro’s home, Metro City. My only small quibble came from some of the voice acting which at times I felt was a little lacklustre, which was surprising given the acting talent attached to this movie (Freddie Highmore, Nicholas Cage, Donald Sutherland, Samuel L Jackson). However, both Number One Son and I loved the movie and will be grabbing the DVD when it’s released on March 16th. Check out the fantastic Astro Boy movie website for more info, trailers and other goodies.

Image © 2009 Imagi Crystal Limited/Summit Entertainment LLC/Tezuka Productions Co, Ltd.

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09/03/10

What does your website sound like?

Code Organ home page

Do you have a blog or a favourite website? Visit Code Organ, pop in the URL and hear the code sing!

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08/03/10

Lardwatch #43 (change done come)

Well, now I woke up this mornin’… them two pounds done come and gone. And folks, they’ve been the hardest two pounds I’ve ever shed. I have been swimming like a looney and I have also started cycling to work again. When my boss, Mr Matt ‘20-miles-in-his-lunch-hour-yeah-just-a-short-run-really’ Bullock, heard I that had brought my bike in last Friday, he suggested a 12 mile bike run at lunchtime. We only did ten in the end as he could see I was struggling, but that ride, added to the cycle to and from work, brought the total of miles cycled that day to a grand total of 20. Blimey!

I also had the most active Sunday in years yesterday, combining as it did a freezing seven o’clock in the morning near-ten miles cycle ride to Wymondham, then two hours running around a forest playing Skirmish with Joe at Indy’s birthday party and then an hour cleaning blitz around the house with the Dyson on our return. Phew! Hopefully that will have kick started the next two pounds to exit my frame. Actually, I had a really nice moment yesterday after the Skirmish game – one of the other grown ups said to me “It’s when you run around for two hours that you realise how unfit you are”. I didn’t say anything, ’cos I wasn’t tired. How smug am I? Let’s see if I’m still smug next week…

Below: That’s me on the extreme right, post-Skirmish trying to look hard. And failing. Picture by Claire Holmes.

Steve Kirkendall with Joe and others at Indy’s Skirmish birthday party.

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05/03/10

Fri-llustrator-day #37

'Beard Function' print from Damages Exhibition 1997 by Joe Magee.

This week’s Fri-llustrator is the artist and film-maker, Joe Magee. He began his career as an illustrator working for newspapers, contributing to The Guardian, The New York Times and Newsweek among others. I first saw his work in The Observer, fell in love with it and have followed his career ever since. He famously got sacked from The Daily Telegraph for superimposing ‘certain messages’ (ie rude) in braille on the illustrations he created for them. How any blind person could have read, and therefore taken offence from them remains a mystery (the Telegraph never embosses its type or images).

Palm Reading, 2003, print by Joe Magee

Nowadays he’s a grown-up artist, making award-winning personal work (last year he won a D&AD Award For Outstanding Achievement) covering a wide base of disciplines from print making to moving images (he ran film-making workshops in Vietnam and Singapore for The British Council in 2008) and producing multimedia for Bill Bailey’s stage shows. Also in 2008, Mr. Magee was the focus of a special issue of WERK, a limited edition arts publication based in Singapore.

Steve Jobs, illustration by Joe Magee

See the broad range of his work at the Joe Magee website, Periphery. Featured here, from top:- Beard Function 1997; Palm Reading 2003; Steve Jobs, illustration for The Guardian (forgive the reproduction, it’s from my pin-board).

All images © 2010 Joe Magee

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04/03/10

Laughing at the clients from hell

"Your hourly rate is okay, as long as you don’t need more than an hour. And you can show me how you did it so I can do it on my own next time."

Are you a web designer? Graphic designer? Maybe another type of designer? Whatever you are, you are sure to spend the rest of the day laughing like a drain at this clients from hell site, featuring real quotes from real clients that anonymous designers have suffered. For some reason, I imagined Fred Willard saying most of these quotes, which made it twice as funny.

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03/03/10

Dead unlucky

Hearse being towed away while funeral party watch.

Does this tow-truck now have one-hearse power?

Via our man in Hackney.

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02/03/10

Comics go crowdsourcing

Comic strip panel from High Moon by David Gallaher, Steve Ellis and Scott O Brown as featured on Zuda.

Love comics? You’ll love Zuda. Artists and writers are invited to upload their creations to the Zuda Comics website, where once accepted, the strips are voted for by Zuda’s readers. The winning entries are then granted their own running series. The high quality of the work raises this project head and shoulders above the usual web comic sites and the interface is superb. But we should expect nothing less from Zuda’s parents, DC Comics.

There are some terrific strips. The ones that got my vote were the western werewolves of High Moon (above), the sci-fi manga/bande dessinée style of Goldilock and the noir-ish Night At The Western.

Via @Ske7cher

Image © 2010 DC Comics.

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