Bottom of the Deck – 15/12/22

botdcardEvening everypeoples. I suppose it’s almost evening, even though the sun is still up, but it’s late afternoon. “Prevening” I believe is the word The Big Bang Theory coined…

This will probably be my last blog post for the year, I’m sure anyone who would potentially be reading this is going to have far better things to do than read my ramblings between now and 2016; I’m going to be in a different city again starting Thursday, so I’m in the same boat. But when I get back to Cape Town next year, there’s going to be some minor changes around here, although they will hopefully have far-breaching impacts. Yes, this is me getting my New Year’s resolutions out of the way now.

First big thing: This is supposed to be an art blog, and I’ve been severely lax about uploading art. Oh sure, there’s my portfolio and my showreel which I need for my ongoing job hunt, but there’s a severe lack of personal and “casual” art around here, mainly because the college stuff took up so much time. Well, it’s goodbye college, hello real world, so time to start doing the stuff I’ve been too busy/distracted/exhausted to do! (Or at least as much as I can until I get a job…) I’ve already got an idea for a short animated sequence that I’m going to jump on as soon as I’m back at my light-table.

Next big thing: I’m considering giving Patreon another shot. I tried it out for a while at the beginning of this past year already, but I may have set my expectations a bit too high, because after two months and no responses I got so discouraged that I shut it down. This time, I’m going to start small, start slow, and exercise patience; even if it takes all year to get a single pledge, the Patreon will endure. My next big personal comic project will be going up there, and I will be throwing a lot of effort into it, I want issues printed and ready for FanCon in May. Keep your eyes peeled for when the updates begin.

Third big thing: My belly. Self-explanatory. Let’s see how long that one lasts…

Now, time for the alien elephant in the pop-culture VIP room: Star Wars (don’t worry, no spoilers, promise!). I saw The Force Awakens on Saturday, and I was blown away. I had a smile on my face the whole way through and then for a couple of hours after to the point where my face actually hurt. In the few days since then, I’ve been thinking about exactly why I enjoyed it so much (because I remember having similar reactions to the prequels, and hindsight was not kind to them) and came to the following conclusions: the film is good. There is no question about it, this is a solid, entertaining film that hearkens back to what made the original trilogy great. The new characters are interesting, likable, and mesh with the returning characters in a way that feels natural and fun. The special effects are what we’ve come to expect from a big-budget Disney film, and the pacing never feels too fast or too slow.

The only major criticism I could give it is that it may rely a little too much on nostalgia; the references to the original trilogy are numerous and sometimes a bit blatant. Does this make it boring and/or cliched? Not at all, it’s actually like an Easter egg hunt for die-hard fans, and a good incentive for newcomers to watch the previous films. The downside is that it doesn’t try enough new things; it’s up there showing off that it’s a Star Wars film, and is recognizable as one for more than just the fact that everyone knows where lightsabers come from.

But when you remember that this is the beginning of a new trilogy, it serves as the perfect gateway; it’s meant to remind those jaded to the franchise, and to show the next generation of fans, exactly why Star Wars is a great story. A New Hope came out almost forty years ago, the re-release was over twenty years ago, and in that time some of us may have forgotten just why we were drawn to it in the first place. The Force is indeed awakened by this movie; it is awakened in the hearts of every Star Wars fan and it is saying “Remember.”

So that’s my last ramble for 2015: personal motivation and nostalgic gushing. Hope you all enjoyed it, have a wonderful holiday season, and I will see you all in the New Year.

Ciao for now.

Bottom of the Deck – 15/12/15

botdcardEvening everypeoples, I am coming to you from the opposite side of the country right now. Wait, I went to the opposite side of the country from my hometown at the beginning of the year, but since I live there now, does my hometown now count as the opposite side of the country? Semantics, how do they work?

Anyway, not too much to talk about, I’m planning on taking my holidays very easy, because when they are over I’m going to be diving head first into the job market, and isn’t that going to be just a lovely time? I am looking forward to finding a job that suits my skill set, but given the nature of the workplace these days, I may just have to hope for a miracle. Still, plenty of free time to beef up my portfolio while I’m waiting for replies to the tidal wave of emails I’ll be sending.

So far, holidays have been very chilled, it’s been great seeing my parents again after nearly six months, and settling back into my old house has been very natural, although being back in a single bed is rather jarring; I’m used to having space to stretch out and contorting my body to fit a cat somewhere on the end. I’m also without most of my artistic tools, such as my computer and light table, but all I really need is my sketchbook and my notebook to satisfy my creative outlet. I’m also catching up on a lot of the graphic novels I subscribed to, really should change the delivery address now that I’ve made the choice to move out permanently…

I’ve also been prepping for my upcoming D&D game with my uncle’s family in Joburg; after my first taste of being a Dungeon Master, I am really really keen to do it again. Over the past few days I’ve made my own DM screen, dusted off and repainted my old dice box, and am currently making quick-reference notes for all the encounters likely to happen in the campaign. It just saves me having to scroll through pdfs repeatedly, which was a problem I had with my first game; I actually ended up making some of the encounters too easy because with all my jumping around I forgot to include half the monsters. Well, not this time; my next set of adventurers are going receive multiple goblin boots to the groin and they will like it, dammit!

Also, I’m going to see the new Star Wars on Saturday, so no spoilers please!

That’s all for this week, hope the holidays are treating you all well.

Ciao for now.

Bottom of the Deck – 15/12/08

botdcardAfternoon everypeoples, getting one of these out before the sun goes down for a change.

Main reason for this is that college is now finally over, and hopefully for me, it will be for good. I have to say I was a lot more emotional on Friday than I thought I would be; it’s just been such a point of consistency for me ever since I moved across the country, and now that I’m done with it, it’s kind of a strange feeling. Next year is going to be very different…

But before that happens, I’ll be taking a nice holiday break when I head home for Christmas this Friday. It’s been nearly six months since I last saw my parents, and a couple of years since I saw most of my Johannesburg relatives, so it’s going to be fun. It does mean I have to get a buffer done for Elements of Eve to tide over the two weeks of updates between now and Christmas, which I should really be working on right now. The heat is making me lazy and the latest episode of Critical Role left me so emotionally hyped and drained that I’ve barely been able to sit still all day.

Speaking of D&D (segue skills, recognize!), you guys may remember last week I spoke about my attempts to finally organize a game. I am happy to say it went off without a hitch (although one of our players was rather reluctant and we had to keep it a secret until it was too late for her to back out, might not see her play again) and a good time was had. I got to express myself a little as Dungeon Master, and the players surprised me at a couple of turns, despite the fact that I had been overthinking to the point where I thought I had all my bases covered. Ah, sweet naivete… Highlight of the evening was when the party managed to surprise a goblin underboss in his chamber, unleash a flurry of attacks before he could do anything, and then finish him off by swinging another goblin at his head and breaking his neck with the impact. Bottom line, we had a good evening, and even if we never get to play again, I’m still glad for the experience. Good practice for when I hopefully DM a game for my uncle and his family over Christmas.

That’s all my geeky news for this week, I will still upload some bloggery during my stay in Durban, but since I’ll be spending my Christmas week in Joburg, there won’t be a blog post on the 29th; I’m sure you all have much better things to do during that time anyway.

Have a good one folks, ciao for now.

Bottom of the Deck – 15/12/01

botdcardEvening everypeoples, bit of a late upload tonight, my evening has been rather busy.

Not that my day wasn’t busy too; it’s the last week of college, so now comes the time for us to neaten up everything and make it presentable to be handed in. This has a bit more significance for me, because it will finally be (I hope) the last time I will ever have to attend college. I’ve already graduated from two separate institutes, and this past year has been an additional learning course to supplement my Higher Diploma, and I think it’s about time I called it and got out into the world proper. Though I don’t have much choice in the matter, I doubt another year of education would be financially viable, and I seriously need a job I can apply my skills to…

In the meantime, I’ve been applying skills in other areas. I got my first ever taste of playing Dungeons and Dragons last week thanks to a chance encounter with a DM at a Magic: The Gathering tournament. He was nice enough to give myself and a friend a quick demonstration game, and now we’ve both been raring to play again. The trouble is convincing other people to join in without them looking at you like you’re mad; I’m hopeful though, and with a potential group forming I’ve been drawing up character sheets all evening to make the experience streamlined. This will also be relying on me being a decent Dungeon Master and keeping the players entertained; I only pray that I’ve watched Critical Role enough times to absorb some of Matthew Mercer’s uncanny DM skills. I have literally been losing sleep thinking about how I’m going to run this adventure, and I didn’t even write it; it’s a pre-built adventure that I can follow on a computer screen, it can’t be that hard, right? Right…?

Anyway, I’m going to bed now, I think I’ve looked at enough stat charts and character biographies to knock me right out. Unless I spend the entire night mulling them over in my head and attempt to anticipate everything that might happen oh dear god not again…

Ciao for now.