Bottom of the Deck – 16/02/09

botdcardEvening everypeoples, this is coming to you rather late, because this has been one roller-coaster of a week. By that I mean ups and downs.

Up! I got XCOM 2 over the weekend, and I am loving it! I’ll be the first to admit that I’m terrible at strategy games, which is why I prefer those that have turn-based combat, much less stressful, right? Not this one; XCOM 2 makes up for the slower-paced turn structure by throwing enormous piles of fear and loathing at you. Always having been notorious for its challenge, the XCOM series continues strong, this time including endless multitasking, limited resources, surprise challenges and an escalating difficulty curve that you just have to hold on for dear life to keep up with. I am moderating myself though, I only play in the evenings, or else I’d get nothing done during the day.

Down! I recently was contacted out of the blue by someone I’ve actively been doing my best to avoid talking to for years. I was deliberately trying to stay away from awkward situations, but I guess I still had some issues to work through, which came out in the conversation. One thing led to another, heated words were exchanged, and it now seems the bridge has been burned for good. Maybe I could have phrased my words better, maybe the other person could have refrained from trying to guilt trip me (I felt bad enough already), but at the end of the day I was honest and said my piece. Perhaps now I can finally put this to rest with the affirmation that there will be no further contact, once the “what if I’d said…” scenarios stop buzzing in my brain.

Up! I was hired for a commission yesterday! It’s not much, just a couple of pictures, but it’ll net enough of a profit to afford some food for the next week or two, plus I’ll be able to go see Deadpool when that lands this weekend. The subject matter is also right up my alley; doing work one enjoys is always rewarding spiritually as well.

Down, but Up! I won’t have a special someone to spend Valentine’s Day with this year, given my situation, but at least I’ll get to spend it with loved ones. There’s a family picnic happening with relatives all the way from Canada, whom I don’t get to see as often as I’d like, so that’s going to be a good day out.

Steadily Up! My new ongoing project continues to be… ongoing, and I’m keeping a tight schedule on it. So for my daily drawing, here’s another piece of official art:

air scholarC

Down! This blog post has come to an end.

Up! Sleep time.

Ciao for now.

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.