My favourite festive tune: Kidnap the Sandy Claws (Nightmare before Christmas) – Korn cover

Nightmare before Christmas completely changed my life. I was two or three years old when this came out in cinemas in 1993 and I was enthralled. I actually think this was what lead me to become this tiny goth fanatic at such an early age. It lead me to Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Hammer Horror, Edgar Allen Poe, Dracula, Frankenstein…the list goes on and on.

This song combines my love for this movie and my love for KoRn whilst also being appropriate for Christmas times. I hope you enjoy.

I have grown out of metal slightly but this year in keeping with my anti-festive spirit, I have been listening to a lot more than usual. Though the “anti-festive” thing isn’t strictly true, I always have a good time at Christmas. This year was no exception, I just wish I wasn’t so anxious about a lot of other things. Having Uni work to do over the festive period has not really helped my stress levels.

However, I hope everyone has had time to relax and spend time with their loved ones. I’m thankful that the year is nearly over and looking forward to experiencing a kind of symbolic rebirth on new years. Happy holidays and roll on 2015!

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Obligatory Christmas post – Nearly 2015

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So 2014 is nearly over and I can’t wait for the new year. It’s actually been really really tough for me this year so I’m hoping that things will start looking up soon. I think we all could do with a break so I’ll leave you with this thought:

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great” – Zig Zaglar

Merry Christmas everyone. Thank you to all my followers – you make all this time spent writing worth every second. Big love and thank you to all my friends and family for being there for me. And of course, my incredible fiancé to whom I owe my life and sanity.

Love Jay xxx

Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror – “White Christmas” Series 3 Christmas Special

To be honest guys, I am completely sick of all the horrible festive advertising that is being plastered over my eyes every time I leave the house, turn on the TV or open my laptop. Like Russell Brand has quite vocally expressed, I am appalled at the content of the most recent Sainsbury’s advert. I have been feeling a little bit “Grinchy” this year since I am already half-way through my overdraft and enjoying the broke-ass feeling well before the big day. Which is why I really loved that the latest offering by Charlie Brooker was so refreshingly dark and sinister for a seasonal special.

Jon Hamm as Matt in Black Mirror: White Christmas ... along with the razor-ship wit, a very human stAs I’ve been following this series from the beginning, I will continue to outline the synopsis without giving away any major plot lines. Since Black Mirror has now been added to Netflix, it’s no surprise that our American friends have been watching too! I don’t usually watch TV but I tuned in for this. This episode has a transatlantic cast and features the incredibly handsome and witty Hollywood star, John Hamm (Mad Men…etc) and of course, Rafe Spall who has appeared in previous Black Mirror episodes.

This is a world where everyone has been installed with a series of digital implants in the eyes and brain and is also possible to make a copy of an individual and store the data as software in a little box called a cookie. In Brooker’s dystopian version of the near future, it is also possible to block people as you would on Facebook except that you completely cut off contact with the individual. As in they, effectively, disappear from your life. You can’t hear or see them, they even disappear from photographs.

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The episode starts with two divorced men stuck working in an arctic outpost at Christmas. John Hamm’s character, a disgraced relationship guru tells Rafe Spall the story of his last and late client. He gives shy men real-time pick up advice through the chip in his brain. It is revealed that he witnessed the murder of his client and as a result, his wife blocked and left him. Both characters have dark secrets to hide and is revealed slowly throughout the show.

I won’t reveal anymore about what happens in the episode. I completely guessed the ending by Part 3 which made it a tad predictable but it raises some important points from a “technophobic” perspective. It seems to paint a negative picture of a more connected society and doesn’t show any positive outcomes to having this technology. I suppose when high technology meets with human needs and desires, it can only end up with people using it for their own means.

The Last Unicorn – A new discovery

I recently ordered an excellent book online called “Geek Wisdom: The Sacred Teachings of Nerd Culture”. On it’s recommendation, I dutifully googled “The Last Unicorn” written by Peter S. Beagle in 1968. It is considered an american classic and is commonly found on bookshelves next to Black Beauty and others in the pony book fiction genre. Don’t be turned off yet! The story itself is so stunning – the spiritual successor to Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz, mix that all up with fantasy, romance and adventure. It’s my new favourite thing.

I started listening to the audio book online but couldn’t find a complete version. I stumbled onto a full-feature length animated movie that was created around the book in 1982. The artwork and animation is beautiful – I loved the music apart from a few songs that were a little cringey. I couldn’t ignore it, I’m sorry.

I’ll just provide a synopsis without giving away any major plot lines or spoilers. The unicorn is the protagonist of the story and when she learns from a magical talking butterfly that she might be the last of her kind, she leaves the safety of her enchanted forest home in search of others of her kind. On her journey she meets a magician called Schmendrick that agrees to help her on her quest.

After watching the movie, I really wish that I had read the book before I had seen it. I started getting so reeled in from the narration, I had to buy it so I could read it myself. Really looking forward to when it arrives! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy watching this. It’s still worth a watch if you’ve run out of things to do.

Jay’s Ramblings – We are 99.999% Empty Space

The picture below absolutely blew my mind. It’s a concept that most of us learn at school in physics but when it is presented in a visual style like this, it seems even more impossible. This is where I start wondering why we can’t walk through walls or…why there’s something when there should be nothing? Or why solid objects appear solid but aren’t really…etc.

Anyway, all these philosophical questions still exist because they are completely unanswerable. I like to think that the matrix probably exists. There’s no way of proving it doesn’t. It would make sense really if everything that we are is in our heads and doesn’t actually manifest itself physically. It would explain why everything is 99.999999% nothing. But how could the world possibly be a simulation? Maybe everything that we are is an illusion created in our minds. Does that even make any sense?

I don’t actually believe that the matrix exists but wouldn’t everything be so convenient if it was? Everything would make much more sense.

I’m glad I’m not a physicist. It would drive me insane, personally, but I have the utmost respect for those that choose that long and arduous path. The road to seeking new knowledge while sitting right on the brink of the unknowable is a challenging life to lead indeed.

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Rocket Granny and Laser beam unicorns
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The Unfortunate Tale of Mr. Explosion Head – Original pencil sketches!

These are the original pencil sketches that I did for Mr. Explosion Head! Check them out! More stuff coming soon including a video that we are attempting to put together!

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Original pencil sketches – The Unfortunate Tale of Mr. Explosion Head

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#indiesvspewdiepie Game Jam with Arrogant Pixel – As it draws to a close

The Unfortunate Tale of Mr. Explosion Head is the title of the new game from Arrogant Pixel. I think we have physically done as much work as three people could do in 72 hours. I mean, we have barely slept but it is now finally, FINALLY coming together. I finished the artwork a few hours ago and my last contributions to the game have been pretty relaxed and finished in a comfortable time. Assad also has completed his work ahead of schedule and was able to leave a little early.

However, Ben is still furiously beating the keyboard next to me trying to pull the game together as we near the 5am deadline. It’s been a formative experience definitely. I have never been involved in a game jam before so it tested my digital art and time management skills to the limit.

Yesterday was absolutely crazy.  I’ve never done so much in such a short amount of time. Assad was doing some field recording with the zoom mic and composing all the tracks on his Nintendo DS and GameBoy. We now have a really awesome soundtrack to the game!

I’m so glad that I decided to do vector art for the game instead of attempting to digitally paint everything. It meant that I had a super fast work flow. I would sketch quickly with pencil and paper, take a picture of it on my phone and e-mail it to myself. Then I’d transfer the sketch to Illustrator and trace it. I love the flexibility of vector art. Just makes editing stuff and trying out colour combinations really quick to do on the fly. Sometimes that stuff is such a pain in the ass in photoshop.

As guilty as I feel for not doing ANY uni work like I planned this weekend, I’m so so happy.

So, if you want to see rocket grannies or floating spectral unicorn heads that shoot lasers, please do play the game. It’s free and will be available from GameJolt. Check out the links below.

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