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Matooke

SK Simeon’s new music video ‘Matooke’ just launched, animated by yours truly. Celebration time!

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‘Oh Canada’

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I recently had the pleasure of working on the music video for Missy Higgins’ beautiful, heart wrenching song ‘Oh Canada’. Directed by Natasha Pincus and working with animation director Nicholas Kallincos, it was a wonderful project to be a part of.

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I worked on the bird sequence and the hand, both of which played into my strengths and interests as an animator. When I saw the final video with my partner, both of us had tears in our eyes.

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You can see the full clip below.

A Touch of Grace: Shadow Warrior

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Selected stills from my work on Demi Sorono’s solo theatre show at Melbourne Fringe, A Touch of Grace: Shadow Warrior. I had an incredible time working with the loveliest and most talented crew you could wish for. Special thanks to Phunktional & director extraordinaire Gerard Veltre, musical mastermind Julez aka Turtle Jones and of course the incomparable Demi Sorono aka Demolition B-Girl herself.

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Bat Ravensson

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Bat the Raven is my all ages graphic novel, which I had the pleasure and privilege of working on as part of the Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship program last year.

 

Showreel

Here’s my new reel, now with added silliness! Lots of new, fun cartoony stuff, lots of other odds and ends. Enjoy!
Music: ‘Quincas Berro Dágua’ by Beto Villares.

Bugle

My entry for the Bugle Artwork/Logo competition http://thebuglepodcast.com/?p=456 A rare vector illustration for me. I’ve finally found a way of inking & colouring in Illustrator that is not intensely annoying/unsatisfactory/slow. Progress.

Also, you should all be listening to the Bugle Podcast. It is hilarious.

Chemistry

barkingowlstudio:

~SebFowler~ theme of the week: Vampires.
Which one is the vampire? Either? Neither? Do they simply wish to devour each other? Intrigue!

Giant

barkingowlstudio:

Theme of the week: Giants | Giant gets a haircut.
Loose sketch on scrap paper, done in a movie theatre, waiting for the film to start. Inked at home with sumi & brush. 

Seb Fowler

I am excited to announce that I am now part of Barking Owl Studio. We’re giving ourselves the challenge of creating artwork to a weekly theme. Thus, I am reblogging my own work, this Theme of the Week being Giants. More on Barking Owl soon…

Tipping Point

With the semester over, so it is that my film is finished. Tipping Point has been described (by me) as:

A fluid, fast paced animation about two ordinary people who have had enough.

In a way, it’s the culmination of things I learned over the last year, mingled with my existing interests and visual sensibilities. This was a completely different technique to anything I’d tried before, so I thought I might document the process a little.

Firstly, it was animated in Photoshop. Why would you want to do that, I hear you ask? Basically, because I wanted more natural linework and fluid movement. I knew I’d be working mostly frame-by-frame anyway, which is basically all photoshop is good for in terms of animation. I wanted it to have a natural, hand drawn feel, without the rigmarole of animating the whole thing on paper and filming it.

Secondly, I used a lot of rotoscoping and filmed reference. I hadn’t necessarily intended to from the start, but after filming and rotoscoping a test shot, I loved the way it looked and ran with it.

The other technique I tried was using heavily treated video backgrounds, which mostly came about through necessity and the stellar advice of Dr Chris Barker.

In my next post, you’ll see tasty treats from the film in my new showreel, which I’m working on now…

The Manuscript

Since I finished it a few weeks ago, it’s high time that I post my minor project here for all to see and read about. It’s called The Manuscript, the reasons for which probably won’t become apparent, because the scenes that reveal the reason behind the name aren’t there. They’re for the director’s cut, coming whenever I finish it.

It’s a stream of consciousness style piece of hand drawn animation in which a briefcase changes hands and is taken on an unusual journey. All hand drawn animation, with hand painted backgrounds and an acapella soundtrack all done by yours truly.

The Manuscript from Sebastian Fowler on Vimeo.

Project Ephemera launch

Ephemera the exhibition. Behold!

Join us on Monday 16th of May from 6pm for the opening. Field Gallery, Level 3, RMIT Building 36, 393 Swanston St.

More details and documentation of each team losing their collective grip on reality at http://aimincamera.com/

This is what my classmates and I have been driving ourselves crazy over for the last few weeks. ‘An interactive journey through the mind’ made in the 3D realtime games engine Unity.

Being on the production team, I was tasked with making stuff. Since hardly any of us knew 3D, it was a steep learning curve with lots of swearing at computers, wild flailing, muttered threats and cries of anguish. We got there in the end though. Pablo, our team leader, showed exceptional patience with our bombardment of questions and freakouts. I know more about 3D than I ever thought I would, so that’s cool.

The other teams and everyone else involved did exceptional work too. It’s been a wild ride that’s brought us all closer together. The good kind of ‘closer’, not the ‘close enough to knee you in the crotch’ kind.

So I’m back to concentrating on my own stuff now. I’ll post some concept art for the new Thing I’m Working On soon, with some other random sketches.

On another note, I can’t believe I forgot to post the more finished version of my Picklet, Fribee Furor. Check it out. There are Dogs of War in it.

Read the brief

Or don’t. This one’s for uni and it’s an example of the kind of things we’ve been responding to with each of the assignments you’ve seen me posting here. This time, we’re flipping the tables and it’s us who write the briefs. Here’s my example, titled Sound and Motion.

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Picklet Power!

Anyone with an interest in web comics or picture books, tune in now. If you’re interested in producing said things for i-devices (phone, pad), TUNE HARDER! Picklets are essentially a way of producing simple interactive books/comics for i-things. More info and a demo at the link above. Stewart Haines, creator of Picklets, introduced our class the world of picklets the other week and I immediately saw the potential for comicking and wanted to make one.

More recently, Stewart brought in Melbourne comics artist Ben Hutchings to give us a demo of what he’s been working on with Picklets. It’s going to be one of the flagship picklets and it’s awesome. If you check out his site (link above), you’ll see some shots of his work in progress. Imagine it in motion. Glorious.

Now, I’m in the midst of my own. I’ll post the full thing when I’m done, but it’s silly little idea about dogs chasing frisbees that gets a bit out of control. Here be some dogs for ye to gawk at:

The workflow, once you’ve got everything set up, is pretty simple. You don’t need to know anything about coding or app building. All you need is a google account, dropbox with a public folder set up, and some Photoshop skills. Instructions and the all important script over at the Picklet Builder.

You download a script for Photoshop, which you run to set up your picklet template. Once you’ve got all your artwork into the template, you run the same script again to export it to your dropbox. Jump into Chrome and sign into the Picklet Builder using your google account, then start fiddling and making things move. You can even save drafts which you can send to people.

More on this later, when it’s closer to completion. For now, I’ve got backgrounds to draw.

Storyboarding

So here’s a little ditty that I whipped up the other day titled NeedleBoy in Grooveland. It’s actually the second storyboard I’ve done this year, but I’m not the owner of the source material for that one. It’s more technically complex, took me ages to draw and was a bit of bitch, so I wish I could show it. There was a full band with a horn section, dancing party people, a desert island and more. But enough taunting with untouchable treats, on to something I can show!

This one’s basically a little story I came up with about a little robot needle dude who gets dropped into the groove of records and acts out the music with different parts of his anatomy. Legs bounce as the bass line, forearms act as the guitar strings, speaker bits as drums, mouth for vocals, etc. The poor little guy gets stuck and starts skipping, he takes control of the situation, then other things take control of him. It’s all very emotional. Anyway, here’s the storyboard.

NeedleBoy Storyboard SF

And while I’m at it, here’s the original concept sketch for NeedleBoy in Grooveland:

I found the storyboarding process not too difficult, probably because of my years of (thinking about) making comics and reading tons of comics. Plus I love drawing and expressing ideas visually comes pretty  naturally.

Yes, Needleboy will be a bitch to animate, but I’d like to make him into an animation at some point.

There is no used-by date on art

So, here’s a not-so-fresh batch of drawings from Dr Sketchy’s last month. I’m usually faster at posting these, but they have no used-by date, so here they are.
In February I did a lot of experimentation in different media. March was all done in soft lead pencil, possibly because at that point my brain could not handle simple changes in technique and media.
Anyway, to give these historical context, this session was pretty soon after I completed my 200 Drawings animation. I had crammed a lot of drawing into a short amount of time and learned some things in the process.
Some of those things were:
Speed: I could get more covered in the shorter poses than I used to be able to.
Endurance: Whereas I used to get drawing-fatigue by the end of a session, this one over and I thought “Huh, that was easy.”
Form: I feel like it came more naturally to quickly cover the essentials and then go back for the little extras and details.
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Special shout-out to Lahta for coming along and bringing the skills.
Dr Sketchy’s Melbourne. Last Sunday of every month at The Order of Melbourne. Come one, come all.

Alchemical tinkering

This little piece, for a brief called Form & Image, was an experiment I’ve been wanting to try for a while now. Keen observers may have noticed me mention the open drawing project (free application) Alchemy. This was basically what I used to create this animation. Speel to follow.

Here’s a very brief run-down of the process: Set Alchemy to automatically record what’s on the page to a pdf every 5 seconds. Torture photoshop by making it import hundreds of pages of pdf to individual images and spit them back out again at chosen screen res. Use Quicktime pro to convert image sequence to video. Chop it up and play with the timing in Final cut.

I’ve been using Alchemy for a little while for various things. It’s basically very good for quickly generating ideas and forms, playing around with quickly creating images that you can then play around with in other programs and fine tune.

Alchemy has no undo/redo, no layers, etc. It has a range of interesting tools to play around with image creation & manipulation; mirroring, using pressure, random colour changes, distortion, controlling the line weight with mic input. Part of it’s beauty is the way it can save and export to various formats.

I’ve used it to create interesting backgrounds, which I then used in photoshop. I’ve played around generating random shapes, which I would try to find form and character in to base ideas off. Here’s one of the more clear examples:

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The bottom images is character hand drawn & inked based on forms glimpsed in Alchemy creations.

So basically, have fun, experiment and play.

Show & Tell

Alright, it’s been a while, so lots to catch up on. Since our last communication, I moved house, made a couple of animations and have been working on a big website launch, amongst other things. The pace of my life seems to have increased ten-fold, but enough of that. On to showing things.

One of these days, I’ll get around to scanning & posting some more recent drawings, particularly of the last Dr Sketchy’s and I’m sure I’ve got some fiction and story ideas lying around that might be of interest to someone.

So here’s my response to the Agents + Behaviours brief we were give a few weeks back. This was basically me trying to do some expressive character animation.

Voiced by the lovely and talented Joana Pires (and myself). You’ll notice that I went with a variation on one of the character in my concept sketches in my last post.

While I did have fun in the end with this, it was an incredibly painful process to begin with. Firstly I struggled to settle on an idea and method of production, torturing myself over various approaches. I settled on one, did a lot of drawing and tests, which turned out awful and I ditched them completely.

While I had planned to do a lot of this hand drawn, I ended up producing it entirely in Flash, with tons of hand drawn roughs and thumbnails to figure out the motion. The backgrounds I painted in watercolour. I would have liked to work on the soundtrack more and played a little with lighting and effects, but there you have it.

Also, I had a lot of fun drawing the disapproving hobo in a dress. K, time for sleep now. Next up, my Alchemy animation…

Angry pants

So, the free internet connection I was using earlier managed to eat the first post that I was so lovingly crafting. The one I had written was in part about making mistakes, so the fact that I managed to lose the whole thing before posting it makes my angry pants even tighter and more bitter. Chew on the angry pants and taste their bitter fibers!

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… Moving right along.

I have come to the conclusion that it’s good to think about characters before attempting to draw them. Der, right? This was something I already knew, but when I was attempting to design a character the other day, I seemed to forget the thinking step and went right into drawing.

Now, I do remain a proponent of aimless doodling, don’t get me wrong, but when you’re drawing something for a purpose or attempting to design something, it pays to give it a little thought first.

I had come up with a couple of pages worth of rough doodles that I wasn’t happy with when I suddenly thought “Hang on…”

So, I sat down and thought for a while, jotted down some typically hasty and illegible notes, then proceeded to draw with a plan. Much better.

Here’s a bunch of concept/character sketches, in order of progression.

Obviously I’m testing out a range of characters and ideas here, so it all gets a bit jumbled, but it did feel better once I had more of a plan. Next up: Less of the bleeding obvious…

As promised…

Here are some drawings of ladies. This one in particular being Vivianne Van Kitty from last month’s Dr Sketchy’s. This was a rather eclectic session for me, not in style, but medium. Basically I tried a bit of whatever I had on hand on the day, so starting from pencil, moved to colour pencil, to ballpoint pen, to brush pen. This bunch were done in the session:
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Often I’ll take some of rougher pencil ones and use them for inking practice at home, and this time was no exception, so here are the fancier ones I spent more time on. They’re a bit more refined and don’t have the loose spontaneity of the in-session ones, but it’s all good practice.

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And while I’m at it, here’s some more recent stuff. I was doing a lot of portraits of people over on Whitechapel, from this fantastic thread where people post photos of themselves for you to draw. It’s going great guns this year. Here’s a couple of my humble offerings.

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And now something I just did for fun, for a friend.

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In other news, Os Mutantes were phenomenal on Friday night. I cannot recommend their music enough and they were such wonderful, energetic, enthusiastic performers. Joyous all round.

Speaking of energy, I’ve always like Sam & Dave’s music, but I had no idea they were such amazing performers. Dudes could put on a show, click through for ‘Hold on I’m coming’ 1966. Legends.

Remake/Remodel fun

Here’s a quick selection of my recent pieces from the Remake/Remodel threads over at Whitechapel. I find they’re a great art exercise, full of interesting ideas, and a lovely excuse to draw demented things. The sense of participation and seeing what everyone else comes up with makes them a lot of fun.

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This Ace of Space character, I based on Motörhead’s Ace of Spades, going for a bit of a Mad Max feel.

shintosamurai_wc_1280This Shinto Samurai may be my first fully watercoloured R/R and he is stabbing wildlife while standing on pillars in the ocean, naturally.

Mr EThis here is Mr E and his shapeshifting gnomic friends, outside his forest cave. Less in keeping with the theme than an excuse to draw a crazy dude in jodphurs surrounded by odd little creatures.

Holiday Sketches

Yes, I was away for a brief jaunt to Malacoota, then Sydney to see my extended family (hi relatives!). Good times were had by all. I’ll talk more about that in my next post, with some photos from the trip. This one’s about the sketches.

Firstly, a set of cards I painted for my family. The popular favourite was Lil’ Wayne shark.

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I experimented with a new travel art kit idea, so I could sketch and ink on the road. Aside from pencil and an ultra-fine pen, I got two Japanese brush pens. One fine, filled with black ink, slightly diluted so it runs better. The other one is nice and fat, with heavily diluted ink so I can use it for washes and shading.

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Using brushes while traveling has always been a pain in the arse, because not only do you need to carry the ink/watercolours and brushes, but you need to set up a receptacle for holding water and have a flat surface to put these things on. With pre-loaded brush pens, you can whip them out anywhere and work on something. I loved it. Here are a few results, click for largeness:

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Next up: Photos from the trip. Next week: Back to some illustrated fiction or a short strip.

Happy 2010, funbugs. Big love to you all.

Who Invited That Guy?

Here we are again. I bashed this one out earlier in the week and thought, ‘surely I’ll come up with something more sane’, but why would I want to do that?

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Who Invited That Guy?

In a modern, high class function room atop an illustrious inner city hotel, Eric thought the cocktail reception seemed to be going well, as an unfamiliar face strode up to the circle of colleagues he stood with, nibbling on a cabbage wrapped hors d’oeuvre.
“This room is clean enough to perform several invasive surgeries in, is it not?” Bellowed the stranger.
“Heh, I guess it is rather spotless” replied Frank from accounting.
“Say, where are you from, Mr…?” Asked Jenn the services manager.
“Joe. I am Mister Joe and I hail from the feudal monarchy of never mind! Furthermore, I have urgent business to attend to. I bid thee adi-due! Bon evening, esteemed brethren” Mr Joe babbled, scuttling off in great haste.
While his behaviour seemed a little odd, he was ordinary enough in appearance and Eric found his presence not entirely unsettling.
“What a strange fellow” remarked Jenn.
“Funny, I was about to say, what a dick” Frank replied.
“Your voices are still audible to me and I am not a phallus” barked Mr Joe’s voice from across the room.
Conversation paused momentarily and glances were shot in Mr Joe’s direction, then the reception resumed in high spirits.

~~~

I may not be able to get one in next week, as I’ve got a hectic week coming up, then heading up the coast on the way to Sydney for the big family Christmas. I’ll be taking my laptop and some art supplies, so no doubt there will be drawing and writing done and I’ll have stuff to show when I get back.

Merry festivities!

The Wild Frontier

A little late but here we are again. Toying with first person and genre for a change. I have a strong feeling that next week will be my most idiotic piece yet, so stay tuned for that one. Until then, enjoy, comment, say hi.

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Click on the image for a brief explanation of my process and larger sizes on flickr.

~~~

I’ve always loved westerns, but never wanted to be a cowboy. I can’t grow a beard, my face is not weathered, my hands are soft and horses take a peculiar disliking to me.
Yet, here I am, outside a saloon, about to face off with Toothface Taylor after sticking up for Laelene the prostitute, when he was liquored up and getting slap happy.
While it’s terrifying and not nearly as cool as in the movies, I do feel pretty fucking rugged. Do I actually stand a chance? Well, I have played a lot of lacrosse, my reflexes aren’t bad. I was ok at the shooting range and I always kicked my brother’s arse at Halo. He’s still drunk from last night. Maybe I won’t die.
Ooh, we’re starting the walk. I’m sweating a monsoon. Stay calm. Focus. Spin, draw. Oh, he’s fallen over.
“Do I still have to shoot him?” I enquire. Nothing. Thanks guys.
What’s he doing? Writhing around with his hand in his… Right, he’s trying to draw. Guess I’d better shoot the bastard. Squeeze bang. Is he dead? He’s still moaning. What do I do now?
What am I even doing here? These people don’t need insurance.

Man on a Train

A little early this week, because I can and because you’re all so wonderful. Another 200 words, another illustration. Enjoy.

__________.__________

An inter-city high speed train is cruising along between mountains and over rivers. Sadie, tired of staring out the window, casts a glance around the car. A grandma playing cards with her grandson. Bored looking business man nodding off. Young scruffy guy stands up to get something from his bag. He checks his watch, pulls on a spray jacket and zips it right up, then puts on his small backpack and clips all the buckles up tight.
‘Typical, hot dude’s leaving me with spoiled grandchild, drooling suit, fatty and the giggling bimbos.’
He runs a hand through his hair, catches her looking, then reaches into a pocket and pulls out what appears to be a small pick.
‘Busted. Now what the fuck’s he going to do with that?’
He steps to the window, turns his face away and whips out his wrist, shattering the window in an instant, then hops onto the sill. Squatting on his haunches, he casts a last look around the carriage, tightens a hood over his head flings himself with full force out of the window.
‘Well that was fucking cool’ Sadie smiles to herself as some gasp in shock and others scream in terror.

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Preservation

Back in the game with my weekly illustrated flash fiction. Story below.

Space Captain

“You’re terrified, aren’t you.” Thelma whispered to Byron.
“I prefer to think of it as a highly developed sense of self preservation” replied Byron, stepping up to the platform. “I’m thankful, for if I were less frightened, I may not have lived as long as I have.” He paused, attempting to compose himself. “Although these shakes are irritating” He gave her hand a brief squeeze and mounted the platform, surveying the crowd before him.
“Right you parasitic germ sacks, I am your leader now. Thelma here, is your queen. Treat her as such and she will reward you. Not in the many incredible ways she rewards me, but rewarded nonetheless. Treat her as less and you won’t live long to regret it. Now, you can jump on board or get thrown off screaming. Who’s with me?”
A roar erupted from the small crowd, fearful of showing a lack of enthusiasm.
“Jeffries here, will assign you positions. Form an orderly line and no fighting. Now!”
As the assembled crew jostled into line, Thelma and Bryon stepped down, strolling towards the ship.
“There, that wasn’t so bad, was it dear?” asked Thelma.
“Actually, I found it rather fun.”

Catastrophic, manfunctioning death-failure of epic proportions

I was planning on getting another illustrated flash fiction piece up this week, but unfortunately the hard drive in my laptop died in a rather dramatic fashion, with little hope of recovering any of the data.

This means, not only have I lost any pieces I had already written, but I’ve also spent most of the last few days trying to figure out what to do and attempting to get a laptop again. I have also been madly rushing to figure out what to do about the two jobs I had been working on when said computer went kaput.
Anyway, the computer should be back in action in the next couple of days, so although I’ve lost a lot of work and data, I’ll be able to get back on track.

In the meantime, I feel bad about starting something and not seeing it through, so for this week, please accept these drawings from a recent Dr Sketchy Melbourne ‘Under the Sea’ themed session starring the lovely Miss Vesper White (as Octogirl) and Rollergirl (aka Hayley Gray).

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(above inked after the session, below done on the spot)

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click through for full size

I’ll be back on track next week, so please stay tuned for more ridiculous stories and illustrations soon.

Dinosaur Fights

So this is my new plan. Weekly flash fiction, with accompanying illustration.

Week 1: Dinosaur fights.

Dinosaur fights

Crawling out of his bunker, Clarence surveyed the damage. Not bad. The collapsible fence was a great investment. Otherwise, the oak tree was split and the vehicle had a few more scratches.

The dinosaur fights were becoming more regular. Aside from having to wait out the fights and the property damage tolls, the dinosaurs weren’t bad neighbours. The camera he’d installed to watch the house from the bunker kept him entertained and let him know when it was safe to return.

Looking north, Clarence watched a lasso-gun mounted rover chasing the stegosaurus into the hills. Fucking cowboys.

Every Monday til I get sick of it. Comments welcome. Bonus illustration because I was running with a theme:

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First watercolour painting in a long time.

Cartoony goodness

Firstly, a quick note to say that I have a plans for a new creative venture in the works, which will involve more regular activity here. Nothing colossal or earth-shattering, but a bit of fun to keep the artistic juices flowing.
For now, here’s a quick 10 panel comic, with no words, that I whipped up over the weekend:
The Quest

Life

I just realised I haven’t posted here since I left Bali. So, what’s been happening? Obviously not much writing, but if you follow me on flickr you’ll have seen all my drawing. Here’s but a small selection:

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I’ll post something a bit more wordy soon.

the Return

That’s right, I’ve finished up here in Bali and will be back in Melbourne on Wednesday. I’ll be in touch with all of you Melbourne peeps soon to catch up and hang out.

I haven’t been able to write here as much as I would have liked, but I do have plenty of stories. You might just have to get them off me the old fashioned way.

So, what have I been up to? Other than work, drawing as usual. Click through for larger versions on my flickr:

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I seem to have missed reporting on a couple of recent road trips/weekends away, so… From Padangbai a couple of weeks ago: ‘Man sleeping on a truck’, ‘Reflections from the Pier’ and ‘Kapow Hole’.

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And here’s a couple from another long weekend. A lovely trip out to Nusa Lembongan/Ceningan, a small island just off the coast of Bali.’Lembongan from a fancy hotel I can’t afford’ and, a personal favourite ‘Dudes carrying dudes off a boat’.

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It’s been an interesting time and a great experience here. For my friends in Indonesia, take care and I’ll miss you. Keep in touch online; you know where to find me. For my friends back in Oz, see you soon!

Bits and bobs

So here I am, up late working, fiddling with the Gallery page. I’ve been pretty flat out lately, as my assignment is fast coming to a close and there’s tons of work to still get done. I spent most of a week helping out at our pilot Media Training Workshop, which was fun, then sick for a few days, which was not. Aside from that, I’ve been thinking a lot about what to do when I get back, looking for jobs and trying to get everything in order. As always, there’s been plenty of drawing weird crap, in this case literally.

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Furthermore, I’ve been continuing to do the occasional REMAKE/REMODEL over at Whitechapel, such as this charming lass, the Woman with a Black Heart.

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And, because I get silly ideas more than infrequently, here’s a flying punch in the head, for no apparent reason.

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Photo Dump!

Well, it’s been a while since I actually posted anything here, but if you follow me elsewhere (flickr, twitter, tumblr) you’ll know I’ve been doing… Stuff.
Lots of that stuff has been work, but some has also been drawings and roadtrips and taking photos. I shall dump some of these here and attempt to create a story by explaining each image. Wish me luck!

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Dead thing in my bathroom

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Live thing in my bathroom

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We went on a bit of a road trip the other weekend, because it was a long weekend. Just kind of drove all over Bali and stopped to check out whatever took our fancy. These are from that roadtrip (will update if I can remember/find the names of all these places).

More below. Left: in the general vicinity of Tanah Lot. Right: Goats.

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Left; Deasy & Eva at Tanah Lot. Right; This place reminded me of James Bond settings from the 70s. It’s actually around the site of a planned, but uncompleted giant statue of the Hindu god Vishnu and a Garuda, down near Nusa Dua.

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The mighty torso of Vishnu (left) and my little friend (right).

That’s all for now, but stay tuned for more soon. Coming up next: Sketch Dump!

Bro-mania!

I upgraded to the new version of WordPress and thought I needed a slightly newer look to the site, so here it is. Similar to the old, but lighter. I wanted to get away from the white on black, because it can be harder to read. I had been ignoring that rule because it looked cool. I may get around to making a new header image one of these days too…

So, lots of interesting happenings over the last while. Christmas was a nice quiet affair spent with friends from the office. New Year’s was another quiet one because I was ill. Deasy, a friend from the office, was planning a trip to her hometown (near Malang) and from there a hiking trip with friends up around Mount Bromo. I joined, along with Nina and Ollie for the latter part, so we headed off on what turned out to be about a 14 hour bus ride (including ferry jaunt) to Malang. After arriving and hanging out with Deasy’s family, we went for a swim in a large river/spring fed outdoor pool, situated down a beautiful mountain path through rice paddies and farms.

On the way back from the swim it bucketed with rain and we were all completely soaked. I was sick that night and the following was New Year’s. It was a strange virus that just gave me really bad headaches and body aches for days, so I spent a lot of time sleeping.

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I wasn’t quite recovered when we got to Ngadas, the town near Bromo (and highest village in Java), so when everyone got up at 1am to climb Bromo and watch the sunrise, I slept in. Luckily, after the extra sleep and more breakfast, I felt much better, so in the afternoon I went and joined everyone. This involved jumping on the back of a bike with the son of the tour guide and hooning off over the rough mountain path, down into the caldera that Bromo rises out of.

It’s a stunning area and we spent the rest of the day looking at different areas around there, napping by the side of a small lake and having a grand time. The next day we spent all hooning around on the back of bikes with the local ojek yahoo squad, then hiked around the mountains a bit and watched Semeru erupt a few times with puffs of smoke & ash. The whole area is so high and cool (climate) that it doesn’t look or feel like Indonesia. All the plants are different to the tropical flora you usually see around. The people even dress more like mountain folk, with sarongs wrapped around their shoulders in a poncho-like arrangement.

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Later that day it was time to head back and we were all exhausted as we sat around waiting for another mammoth bus ride. It was an incredible trip and I’d love to get back up there, hopefully in full health, and try to climb Semeru. It really was the most stunning place I’ve been in Indonesia so far.

Lots of cameras out on the trip and mine was back in action, so here’s my full set. You should also check out Deasy’s and Ryan’s, because they’re great and got shots of things I missed.

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Perth, new house and things

Sorry for yet another extended radio silence. As you’ll see, I’ve been rather busy and it’s been the silly season to boot.

The trip to Perth was a wonderful thing. Everyone was very welcoming and kind, the wedding was lovely, I went to the beach, hung out with great people. All round good times. Unfortunately, no photos, because my camera is not well. It may be recovering, but still touch and go.

The night I got back, I moved into my new place with Eva, another AVI friend. The new house has been… interesting so far. It turns out the lady we got the house from had 4 boyfriends on the go and it all got too much to deal with, which is why she was moving back to Australia. Yes. It also turned out that we were allergic to the house. Since we moved in, we had 2 days of intense, zombifying hayfever. When we finally got the time and energy to do a big clean up, including bleaching the walls in case it was mold/mildew, it got better.

Otherwise, the place is cool. We’re constantly kept entertained by the endless procession of strange wildlife in our house and yard. For starters, we have a part-time dog we’ve named The Darkness (see Rick James/Charlie Murphy on the Chapelle Show), who wanders in when he feels like it to hang out. A bat got loose in my room one night and flew around in circles for about 10 minutes before it eventually found the huge wide open doors and escaped. We also have various oversized insects, tadpoles, geckos, etc. The other day when I was sitting on the porch/steps reading, a funny little frog leapt into view, right in front of me and stared at me for about 10 minutes. Thinking my camera was broken, I ducked inside to get my sketchbook and once I got out and sat back down, he became very energetic and jumped and climbed everywhere. It even launched itself straight at me at one point, so drawing conditions were rough.

Tonight, I’m about to head out with Nina and Ollie to Malang, where a friend from our office comes from. She’s up there with some friends and we’ll all be going up a big mountain and hiking back for a few days. Should be fun! Cath you on the other side.

Here’s a silly thing I did the other day for fun. Photo by Lepa

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Public Service Announcement

Due to the untimely demise of my camera, you won’t be seeing any new photos from me til I get it fixed or buy a replacement. Never fear, I will endeavor to keep you entertained with drawings in the interim. Carry on…

Saturday night bugfest and fest

For the last few days, there’s been swarms of a certain kind of bug around and just after sunset. Sometimes, a few will get inside and spend a couple of hours flying into lights, droppings wings, flying into people and generally being annoying. This afternoon, we forgot and had the doors wide open over sunset and for a while after the sun had completely set. By the time we noticed, tons of the bastards had got in and were flying dementedly around the lights.
The only plan of action Nina & I could think of was to turn off all the lights, open the door back up and lead them outside with torches. It was a rather successful operation, but did result in a lot of bugs flying into us, which made for a lot of swearing and flailing on my part. Being not the most intelligent of bugs, there were quite a few stragglers, which I took to ushering out with judicious use of a thong. The really irritating ones that kept flying into me got swore at and batted out of the air (with aforementioned thong).
Meanwhile, Ollie was upstairs with hundreds of them, taking photos of a tokai (huge colourful gecko) having the feast of it’s life. He then quietly and calmly dealt with the situation, which I assisted with when I was done downstairs.

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Then, there was a massive (by Ubud standards) outdoor all ages concert on the soccer field. Everyone was out for it and the streets were lined with motorbikes. They’re always lined with motorbikes, but this time it was several layers deep and on streets that would otherwise only have a few bikes.
The concerts spin me out. Tons of crap pop groups, boy bands and girl bands. Some had co-ordinated outfits, others just plain slutty ones, some even had co-ordinated dance routines. There were also stands selling ice cream, fairy floss, corn, inflatable thingies, etc.  At one point, part of the crowd were clapping along to electronica.
Basically as soon as we got there, we decided it was beer time and went to a small expat bar off to the side of the soccer field, where we could still see a little of the action. At one point, a pickled old white bloke went and had a nap on the raised platform behind our table for about an hour, then got up, moved to an outside table and continued drinking and smoking.
As we were going home, concert still in full swing, the band playing were apparently too hardcore and risky for an earlier timeslot. Unfortunately, their version of hardcore basically meant fast pop-rock with crap singing.

Ah, yes. I finally got some drawings on the computer, so here they are. Ideas for REMAKE/REMODEL: Irma Vep, over at freakangels.com/whitechapel/ Photos of drawings.

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Bowel movement man (100 words)

“I’m sure I don’t need to bore you with the details of my bowel movements, but I will…” He intones soothingly to some horrified girls in tiny skirts and plunging tops.
It’s the man in the beige suit jacket with the slicked back hair. Sadly, she thinks, as she drifts though the bar collecting classes, he is only one saving me from a night of excruciating boredom. The throng of tight-shirted, waxed chested, immaculately groomed and toned homo-erotic homophobes, might otherwise impel her towards violent suicide.
Bowel-movement man seems pretty cool by comparison. He beams, while frightening more young women.

Contraption: 100 words

“This is not going to work” Hadley insists, eyeing the contraption.
“Dude, it so fucking is” Dean grins, donning his helmet. Sunlight streams in from the broken wall, reflecting off the rails, winking.
“If you die, I’m not responsible. And I’m not telling your family.” Hadley shouts from behind protective glass.
Dean looks back and gives the thumbs-up.
“Dickhead.”
The crash test rig jerks into motion, rapidly accelerating, then slams violently into the end. Hadley stares at the empty chair at the end of the rails, the daylight through the hole in the wall and he begins walking towards it.

Not a replacement

Last weekend, as promised…

Saturday was by far the less eventful day, as all I really did was go to a life drawing class and buy a helmet. The life drawing was great and it was the 1st time I’d tried straight watercolours/brush ink in life drawing. Sooner or later, I’ll hijack the scanner or give up and take some photos of the work I’ve been doing.

Having a job and a life again leaves me with less time for things like writing and drawing, and the tropics seem to sap me of energy. Once I’ve set myself up with a desk and got my drawing paraphernalia in order, I’ll get back into it more seriously. There’s a story idea that’s begging to be worked on, once I can set aside the time.

Sunday was the biggie. Nina, Ollie and I set off at an ungodly hour of the morning to go and meet their friend who lives in a small village up a mountain surrounding Lake Batur (one of the biggest lakes on Bali). They were one bike, I on another; only the third time I’d ridden a motorbike. Considering my lack of experience, I think I did quite well, especially given it was 2.5 hours up and 2.5 back. There were two minor incidents and no injuries. One wasn’t my fault and one was just me being crap. No, I don’t care to elaborate, thank you.

So, after the monster ride there, we met their friend, Pak Yodi, and headed straight up a very steep mountain to where Pak Yodi’s village is. It’s a big climb that the locals do, often several times a day, sometimes laden with large bags of rice, onions, etc. Beautiful views straight down to the lake and across to other mountains, so at least they have stunning scenery for their toil.

It was quite an experience getting shown around by Yodi, who is basically in charge of a whole village up there, who have it pretty rough. It’s a poor farming community, earning nothing from the tourism trade that most of Bali runs on.

After visiting the temple, his friends, his home, the holy well, the new school and his unfortunately unwell mother, we had to head back, hoping not to ride too much through the darkness and needing to return the bikes. The only photos were from the ride home, because somehow, it didn’t feel right busting the camera out up there, though I’m sure it would’ve been fine. Sometimes, rather than document physically or digitally, it’s good to simply commit the experience to memory.

It was an pretty exhausting trip, both mentally and physically, which took me several days to recover from, but it was all worthwhile. The concentration and stress of riding the bike for 5 hours was pretty draining, without the mountain and all the rest.

When we got back that night after the hours of inexperienced motorbike riding and precarious steep mountain paths, there was one last danger in store. As I was relaxing and preparing for bed, I went to pop outside to turn the outside light off. Opening the door, what should be nestled up against it but a snake. It was night, so the little fella was cold and slow, plus it was quite a skinny little thing, so I snapped some shots before it slithered groggily on it’s way. But you’ve already seen those photos, so I essentially ruined my own story. Good on me.

This week it’s been all work and meetings. I’ve decided to introduce musical interludes at least once or twice a day now, to keep things up-vibe interesting. Yestreday’s selection was ‘Love Will Bring Us Back Together’ by Roy Ayers (shout out to Dave). I think today, in honour of Nurock & Cystem‘s ‘Gangster Friday’, some Little Wayne might be on the cards. Meltdowns, Meters and Curtis Mayfield might be on for next week…

Happy Birthdays to Sunaree, Peta, Jesse, Ollie, Brad and whoever else I may be forgetting.

Rest in Peace to my iPod. You served me well for many years and I thank you for all the good times and tunes.

Testing

I am mostly posting this to test out my new email rss subscription function. There will be a real update soon involving climbing mountains, riding motorbikes, and a snake (no, I don’t mean riding a snake), but right now my brain is mush and I should be working.

You can see the pictures from said events over at my flickr for now (bar the snake riding and mushy brain), few in number though they are. This post may disappear, magically transformed into something coherent, once my ability to think and write return.

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Ooh, my flickr plugin works again!

Here is the email RSS form thing I mentioned, but I’m only testing it now, so no guarantees.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Carry on.

*Edit to add: More tests! I’m testing how to get stats on downloads from the site, so here’s a couple of options for things to download from me. So, if there are any English teachers out there, or people looking for activities to help with teaching English, here’s the book of activities compiled from my time working on VoiceBox.

VoiceBox English learning activities book.pdf (2.7mb)

Or alternatively, try this 30 second clip of my soothing barritone guiding listeners through parts of the body for an English exercise. bodylesson1.mp3

Crazy weekend

What a wonderfully odd weekend. To set the scene for Friday night… Actually, I’ll backtrack a little. So, right now, while I look for a place of my own, I’m staying with Nina and Ollie, a couple of volunteers who were in my previous intake when I went to Jakarta. I also work with them both and they’re great people. Last week, a friend of theirs came over, with one of her friends and we all hung out and had a bit of a chat. Ray, the friend of Dewi who we’d just met, said he was getting married next week and we should come along. So that’s where we ended up on Friday night.
Dewi, with her family, came and picked us up, and took us to the wedding/party in Denpasar. I’d never been to anything like it. Set around a beautiful pool and garden, there were bongo players, fire twirlers, guys on stilts, belly dancers and more. Scattering the garden were some beautiful b/w female portrait paintings. It was all very very cool. We didn’t stay long, because Dewi’s little man was a bit sick and he got tired and hungry, but I’m sure the party and many varieties of entertainment went long into the evening.

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Saturday night, by contrast, was a quiet night in with a twist. Having attended some films at the Balinale, we ventured home in the evening to discover a particularly rank smell coming from the kitchen. It smelled like something dead, but after a decent investigation, we decided it was something in the garbage and took it outside.
After dinner, as I was preparing to do the dishes, I discovered the smell was still strong near the stove. At first I though maybe something got into the oven and died, then a swiftly dismissed thought of it being under a burner. It turns out the smell was coming from behind the front panel of the stove, where all the knobs are. Upon removing the front, Ollie and I discovered the culprit;  a small gecko had gotten in there and fried himself on the wires leading to the spark buttons which didn’t actually work, because the wiring had been demolished. I didn’t get a photo because I was too preoccupied with getting rid of the awful smell.
This was far from the strangest thing, however. It turns out, there was a whole tube of Vegemite under there, between the stovetop and the oven, and the whole underside of the tube had been eaten out by (presumably) rats or mice (observe image). Somehow, not only had the rats stolen the vegemite, but they had found their way into the bottom of the oven and scaled the gap in the side, with the vegemite, to get it up and eat it beneath the stove, where they must have been nesting in the insulation.

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Sunday, not only did I ride a bicycle for the first time in probably 8 years or so, but I also learned to ride a scooter, so that was exciting. I tell you, riding a push-bike up hill, for the first time in years, in this climate, is bloody hard work. Maneuvering a motor scooter at low speed is also quite an art to master, as the accelerator can tend to be pretty touchy. That said, all went well and there no injuries and no damage to the bike, other people or property. I’d call that a win in my book. Ollie and Nina provided great support and the use of their quality helmets, plus we were on quiet back streets and not exactly being speed demons, so it was a pretty safe affair.

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Firefly and Nocturnal Happenings

Just now, as I was sitting here drawing, a firefly somehow found it’s way inside and landed on me. It moved off quickly, but I did get a chance to observe it up close. Fascinating little things they are. Quite unassuming looking, almost like a small moth, with a black head and a small tan neck before the tan wing/body section. Less than a centimetre in length, but more than a half.
The light they emit comes from a quite a large clear section of tail/belly and on this one it was a very bright green light, which flashed and pulsed like an LED. I did notice a faint glow once, but usually it’s either off or on.
The things you notice when you look hard enough and pay attention. I had also noticed an interesting insect shape against the window, which I’d planned to investigate. On closer inspection, it was a large moth, probably 3-4cm in length. What I hadn’t noticed before, was the little gecko off to the side, watching it intently. As I was trying to catch a photo of this gecko on the hunt, it leapt and caught the moth, both hitting the floor and disappearing from my view. A minute or so later, the moth reappeared, scuttling up the window, so obviously it was too large for the gecko. I suspected it was a little ambitious, but it did well, even if it didn’t get a meal from it.
I also saw a tokai (larger gecko, approx 10-15cm) go for something, then run off.
That was all rather magical. Who needs a TV.

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*** Written the other night.

It’s been a long time…

And a lot’s been happening. For starters, I’m now in Ubud, Bali, getting started on my new assignment with AVI and IDEP. It’s all been pretty crazy and I kind of jumped right in, but it’s also been really good. Everyone’s been very friendly and welcoming and IDEP does a lot of really interesting, exciting work.
Not only was everything really busy and crazy before I left Melbourne, but I found myself with less time online and concentrating on other things, which is why this blog’s been silent for a while.
After a while at home, settling back in, figuring things out and trying to find work, I actually managed to find the head-space to start writing again. Not simply writing observations and life stuff, but ideas for stories and projects, which was extremely exciting to have back.
For quite a while, I was just adjusting to things and I had also been focusing on drawing/art projects; trying to work on my characters, forms, anatomy, depth, backgrounds, everything. It’s what I needed to be doing at the time and it helped a lot. In amongst all this art practice, I’ve had a number of small projects running for different people and the two ran into each other.
The last week, and the last few days in particular, before I left, were just crazy catching up with everyone. I loved every minute of it and was exhausted by the time I hopped on the plane.
Other highlights from Melbourne include seeing Black Francis at the Forum with Bill and the Graveyard Train with Lepa, my bro and his friends. Well worth checking out if you’re in Melb, and they’re playing a lot of gigs at the moment. Also; Sat book market at Fed Square, Dr Sketchy, public transport that you can draw on and walking to Melb Uni from Northcote over Merri Creek and through Edinburgh Gardens.
I think I’m going to enjoy Ubud. It’s a small, friendly town and there’s just so much nature. This morning we saw a monitor lizard climbing way up to the top of a huge coconut tree, followed by a squirrel several minutes later, who turned and fled once it found the monitor. There were also several other varieties of lizard, chickens with baby chicks, ducks, cows, spiders, butterflies, and so on. Everything just thrives in this climate, though the heat and humidity does take it out of you.

*Written a few days ago.

eNegligence

I seem to have been absent for quite a while, most likely because I don’t have internet at home or a job to use it at, but that’s no excuse. Not really having much to write about is probably a better excuse, since I haven’t actually been doing anything particularly exciting. What I have been doing is a lot of drawing and catching up with people, so in case you haven’t been following my photos on flickr, here’s a bunch of newies:

These are just a few random drawings…

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The pancake one was for a little silliness with my good friend Lepa and the other 2 are comic/cartoon 1-pagers, just for fun and practice.

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More when I have more things to write about…

Back in Melbourne

Yes, I’m back and getting settled after an insane experience trying to get back. First, there was the problem with the ticket. The travel agent had forgotten to confirm my flight and it got canceled. I found this out a few days earlier, but they said it would be fine and they’d call me to confirm it was all good. On the Monday I was supposed to fly out, I had received no call and it took most of the day to get the ticket sorted. I got a cab straight from the agent to my kost, where I got the driver to wait while I finished packing my stuff and handed the key over, then headed straight to the airport.

At the airport, going through immigration, the guy took a long look at my passport, decided there was a problem and pulled my aside into the office, where I was told I’d overstayed my visa and if they followed procedure I’d have to pay 25mill rupiah. After showing them more documentation while looking innocent, frightened and confused, they let me off without paying anything. There’s more to this story, but I left shaking a little and paced for a while before grabbing some food.

Arriving in Sydney I should’ve had plenty of time to make the connecting flight to Melbourne, even factoring in the bag check and customs, but something was wrong. The lines through customs were ludicrously long and long. By the time I went through they were running all the way back through the baggage carousels. Then, transferred by bus to the domestic terminal with more long lines to check back in. Luckily, something else went wrong and I made the flight quite easily because it was so delayed.

2 hours late and exhausted (mentally, physically, every which way), I was back in Melbourne, ready to crash. Thankfully my folks were to pick me up, though my bags were not there for me to pick up. I was too tired to worry or care and they came later that night, home delivered.

I’ve been back almost a week now and getting used to the cold and being back in Melbourne, which has been both easy and pleasant. I’ve been relaxing, drawing and catching up with friends. I’ve really been enjoying the quiet and being able to easily walk everywhere. This led, the other night, to roaming around on my way home taking lots of photos, which you can see in this set.

Lots!

Much to catch up on, so I’ll just jump right in. Ready for cuteness?

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I found this tiny little dude on my desk when I got home the other night, hiding under an old bus ticket.

Now, time for a new cartoon. The Morning Monster!

Morning Monster

To quote myself from flickr:

I start work at 8am here, which in my view of things is very wrong. Laundry is included in my rent and occasionally shirts come back with unexpected buttons done up, which you fail to notice when you’re half-awake, resulting in this type of situation.

So, a lot’s been happening recently as I prepare to head back to Melbourne next Monday. Most of the work is finished up and you can now see the sites at http://foundation.pekerti.com/ and http://pekerti.com. There is also http://seukeaceh.sebfowler.com, which is probably the prettiest, but hosting hasn’t been secured for it yet. Moving the sites was quite an ordeal, which I won’t go into because, frankly, it’s very boring.

I have been drawing a lot more in practice/preparation for a couple of new projects that I may be getting involved in. I’ve been trying to draw a lot more from reference; sometimes found photos, sometimes snapping myself in the poses I need using Photobooth on my laptop. Last night, I paused the dvds I was watching occasionally to do a quick sketch of the scene. When I’ve got them done and scanned, I’ll put up the sketches and maybe compare the photo refs of me in dumb poses with the final results (if I like them).

Last Saturday night, I went with a couple of friends to a big Korean restaurant. They’d never had Korean before and I love it, so good times for all. In case you’ve never had it, Korean food rules. It’s designed for sharing and you get tons of little side dishes. By the end of the meal, you can’t see the table underneath all the bowls, plates and dishes. So much food! So good!

***Elsewhere***

I just got an email from Sarah Bleby, who arrived as an AYAD in Mongolia not long before I left. Her blog, which I had not previously been aware of, is incredible. Really interesting stuff regarding the arts scene in Mongolia and much more. For some telling images of the post-election riots, check out this set on william…’s flickr.

One of my photos was featured last week on http://indonesia-zsolt72.blogspot.com/, a great Indonesian photo-blog that manages to capture all of the aspects of life I fail to here, which are many (particularly those involving people). Zsolt, who runs it, is quite the traveler.

Those in Melbourne, I will see you all very soon. Cheers!

More cartoonies

Here are a couple more cartoons, because I love you.


The idea for that last one came from me eating a banana. I was gesturing stupidly with it and the banana broke off and fell on the floor. Good on me.

I’ll write a real update with some actual news soon, but for now not a whole lot to report.

TOONS!!!

I had a strange and wonderful night last week wherein tons of weird ideas barged their friendly way into my brain-space, eager to be hastily scribbled down; which I did. So, starting this week, I’ll be putting some new cartoons online, every week, right here.

You can expect weirdness, monsters, food-violence and awkwardness. Here is the first taste:

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It’s amazing how many more hits you get on flickr when you use words like “crotch” in your tags.

Work has been good. I’ve been working on a new site/logo, which I might show here soon. No links, because I’m working on it on a local build, rather than online. Doing a local build basically means I have a server set up on my computer, running everything I need for the site to work, so I can work on it and see exactly what it will look like and how it will work, without having to be online or rely on unpredictable connections and bypassing the ftp process. It makes everything much faster and easier.

I also caught up with some lovely folks over the weekend and did some people watching at the malls.  There was some big hair and big belts.

Misc.

Firstly, my brother has a new exhibition which just opened, running til the 26th of July at Until-Never Gallery in Melbourne, so if you’re in Melbourne, be sure to get down and check it out soon (and buy something!*). Details here:

Until Never presents
FRED FOWLER
Highland Chamber

OPENING UNTIL NEVER
6PM to 8PM Wednesday June 18 2008 (until July 26)
Gallery hours :: Wednesday to Saturday 12-6pm
2nd flr 3-5 Hosier Lane Enter from Rutledge Lane Melbourne CBD AUSTRALIA
http://until-never.blogspot.com/2008/06/fred-fowler-highland-chamber.html

*He didn’t ask me to say that, he’s just really good and deserves your money.

***

This weekend has been a trip. On Friday, I had a long, intense day. After a late night working on a job application, I had a rather busy morning. After lunch it was a marathon, brain melting meeting, then I oozed myself home.

Not long after that, my friend Edo took me out to the computer/celular technology expo. I’d never been all the way into town on the back of a full sized motorbike, just shorter trips on smaller bikes. It was great fun. Much more crazy and intense to experience the traffic on a bike, as opposed to the bus, which much of the time has it’s own lane. Edo had warned me to wear a jacket, because of the pollution, and rightly so. You see it and feel it walking around, but on the bus you’re sheltered. On the bike you’re right in the thick of it and it hits you with every sense. Great experience regardless.

The festival itself was pretty fun. We just wandered around and looked at fancy new computers, parts and phones for while. There was music, little events and pretty girls handing out flyers everywhere (which I refused and Edo took, ending up with a sizeable stack). Then we ate and headed back through less intense traffic.

***

Saturday was another interesting one. Slow morning, then I headed into town for a few things. The bus was particularly nuts. When I went to change bus, there was a bit of a crowd, but not like peak hour. We waited. And waited. Usually, they’re along every 5 minutes or less, at least one of the 2 lines that go through that stop. I’ve previously had 4 or 5 of the other bus line come before the one I wanted. I’ve also had several busses go by only letting a handful of people on before I finally got one. These events are not out of the ordinary. This time, there were no busses, on any line, for about 20 minutes. We were all standing, packed in. There’s no air conditioning and very poor ventilation in the shelters, so you swelter. Some jerk kept moving around and bumping me too. There’s always one, wherever you are, whatever crowd you happen to be in.

Walking home from the bus shelter at about 10pm, a guy calls out to me in English and I respond. Happens all the time. This guy was very friendly and beckoned me over, asking me lots of different questions in very good English, so I sat down and chatted with him and his girlfriend for a while. This is a big rasta dude with dreads going by the name Bob. He’s from East Indonesia and used to be a tour guide. He was in a reggae band, but they broke up.

Long story short, we hung out for a while, he showed me his kost, we sang some songs, I showed him some drawings and I headed back home. Bob’s an artist too, so he showed me his paintings; a landscape, a village river bathing scene, caricatures of Einstein, Che Guevara and Bob Marley. He also had one of the holy family and a Jesus – crown of thorns one, because Bob’s a Catholic. Everyone at his kost popped in to meet me too, and they were a funny, interesting bunch.

A completely unplanned, random Saturday night with reggae band Bob who I met on the way home.

***

Last night, the one thing that made my whole bus journey was the old guy wearing swimming goggles for sunglasses. Awesome.

An Ordeal, 7 Songs and the Cute

Well, that was painful. I just tried to log into this very site, as usual and what ensued was disastrous. Firstly, it went to the login page, rather than signing me in automatically. Fair enough, I think. Maybe I cleared the browser’s cache or something and forgot. It happens. I try to sign in. “Incorrect password”. It’s the password that’s saved, that always works. How can this be wrong? Ok, consult secret passwordy thing, try that. Still no luck. Try any combination of things that could possibly work. No. Check saved passwords in browser and try those manually. No. How can this be? What is wrong?

1st thought: Someone has hacked my site. Automatic reaction after the PayPal saga. But why? I hardly draw much traffic or attention on this site. Forget that for now. Just FIX IT.

Try the “forgotten your password” option. Email and username not matching. Oh, come on! Try other email addresses. One finally works, which is my site’s actual email, which came with the hosting. I never check this because a) nobody knows about it, b) it’s always full of spam and c) the email clients for it are a pain in the arse and I don’t use Thunderbird anymore.

I successfully sign into that one, expecting tons of spam, but the new ones should be right there, right? No, I wade through 5 pages of SPAM FROM THE FUTURE to get my new password.

Right now, I am waiting for the 8100 messages to load so I can delete everything and never use that email again. Ever.

***Pause, breathe. On to nicer things***

On practically every blog/site I’ve looked at today, the 7 songs meme’s been around and while I haven’t been officially tagged, I did a quick 7 over at Whitechapel and thought I’d post them here too.

Weird combination of factors going into my music choices at present. New awesome headphones means I want lots of stuff that needs them. Frustrating bus rides means I often want something loud, dark or can sing along to; preferably all 3. Otherwise, I’ve been listening to lots of instrumental stuff while working, because I find it hard to concentrate with lyrics.

  • “Kindergarten” – Faith No More
  • “Retrovertigo” – Mr Bungle
  • “Colony of Birdmen” – Mastodon
  • “War Face” – Killarmy
  • “Avril 14th” – Aphex Twin
  • “Daytona 500” – Ghostface Killah, etc. from the Radiohead “Me and This Army” Remix album.
  • “Curious” – Kode 9 & the Spaceape

Yeah, that’ll do.

Unrelated: I’m very tempted to post links to the many incredible webcomics I’ve come across recently, but will stop myself and add them to the links in the sidebar, so check that if you know your tastes somewhat coincide with mine.

***

Finally, something cute I designed yesterday, which may or may not be used, but I kind of like anyway. I don’t often do cute, so lap it up while it’s here.

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Awww…

So much more I want to talk about, but it can wait for now. You can expect more soon.

New Drawings

I’ve been working on some new stuff, using ink washes for shadow. Hoping to apply to more stuff soon… Here are some of the results:

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There will be more soon, as I work on a few different ideas, so keep the occasional eye out here.

***

If you aren’t already, you should be reading FreakAngels, every Friday. Written by Warren Ellis and beautifully illustrated by Paul Duffield, and it’s free. 6 pages of full colour goodness every week. Go now and read from the start.

Notes and news

So, it’s been a while since the crazy weekend of bus and general madness. This week’s been pretty quiet and I’ve been getting a lot done. Some of it work, some of it plans and arrangements for when I leave, some of it just drawing and playing with ink.

The previous week was just me and the office boy hanging out, while the rest of the office was in Jogja having an annual meeting with the producers of their products. We didn’t do a whole lot, but it was good and relaxing. I got a surprising amount of useful work done, especially clarifying a few things for the project in my mind. Basically, I’m feeling a lot more on top of things, which is good, given that I only have a couple of months left.

Sometimes, I wish I could take photos on the bus. You see some of the weirdest things, but they go flashing by. One example, which I must have gone past 50 times without noticing, is a strange little area at a huge intersection. There’s solid concrete walled compound on one corner (not sure what’s in there). Right in the corner, next to the road, you can see a small area where people live within this compound. Right there is a person sized hole busted through the concrete at ground level. Above the hole, graffitied on the wall, with an arrow pointing to the hole, is the word “Warung”, which is basically a small eating place*. So, you can crawl through a hole busted into a concrete wall for a quick meal if you feel like it. You’d hope it’s cheap for the mode of entrance, though given Melbourne’s definition of an exclusive/cool bar, the more hidden and difficult to get to the better, so who knows. I’ll try to get a photo…

The other one today was Radio SBY. This is another I’ve gone past countless times and did think a little odd at first. SBY is shorthand for the president of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. So, the president has a radio station, or a station named in his honor. Fair enough. He has an album of love songs, why not? Strange thing is, the station’s frequency is 666, which I suppose may not have any significance for Muslims (or me for that matter). Still weird though.

*Warung is an incredibly flexible word. Wartel is a little place where you can make phone calls, warnet is a small net cafe, etc.

Right. Do I have any decent drawing I haven’t posted here yet? Of the ones that I’ve scanned…

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And, a small portion of Jakarta from the top of a  mall.

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The Groping and the Rooster

When I turned up to work on Friday morning, I was told that I have to be at work at 7am on Saturday, to go to Bogor for a tree planting ceremony for Fair Trade Day. Friday night happened to be one of the rare occasions I was actually going out for a drink with people, which I was looking forward to a great deal. Getting up around 6am after Fri night drinks wasn’t ideal, but I was keen to check out Bogor and it sounded like it would be fun (which it was).

On the way to the drinks, I had some trouble on the bus. Basically, I needed to get to an obscure little stop on a line that I use frequently. The strangeness started when (as usual) I had to change buses and there was a huge, packed crowd, waiting to get on the next bus. This is all standard fare, but what was not so standard was the hand on my arse while waiting. At first, I wasn’t sure if I was imagining it, or if it was something else on my butt, then I leaned a little forward to get away from it. Lo and behold, it moved with me! I was still a bit miffed, but when I felt some distinct finger movement, my suspicions were confirmed.

Now, to see if I can find the perpetrator… No. It was so crowded I could hardly move to see, but I think it may have been the small middle-aged woman with the shopping bags.

So, after the groping and finally getting on the bus, it skips the stop I need to get off at, which is right at the start of the line. The bus is so crowded I can’t get off and I’m not sure if it’s just taking a slightly different route, so I stay on. Till the end of the line. Then all the way back, making what should’ve been an easy 45min trip 2 hours long, stressful and tiring.

When I did finally get there, it was a lot of fun. The drinks were unusually reasonably cheap, so I got my first scotch in about 4 months. The company was great and a band started half way through, who were doing old cover songs pretty well. The animated guy with the fancy mullet type haircut was a highlight.

I was awoken briefly just before 4am on Sat morning by a weird sound. It sounded like someone outside my room whispering hoarsely, like something out of a horror movie, someone trying to freak me out. I lay and listened a little more, wondering when the scratching or the axe through the door would come. The cadence was familiar. I realised that it was actually the rooster across the street, trying to do his morning crow, but he had no voice. It’s impossible to adequately describe; sad and creepy are a start. It just kept going. Eventually, it stopped and I drifted back to sleep til my 6:15 alarm.

::Bogor::

The work trip was quite fun. The place we were heading to was actually a property that my work owns, about an hour out of Bogor, or 2/3 from Jakarta. It’s a nice little plot in the hills where they’re planting various useful fruit trees and others that used in making some of the products.

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The people from my work are very nice and we just hung out there for a while, did some planting and took some photos.
On the way back, we stopped off at the palace gardens in Bogor and took some photos, which you can see here.

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Saturday night and Sunday have stories too, but it’s too much to get into for now.

Happenings

This week has been a surprisingly productive one, with today being the exception. I fixed a few things that had been bugging me and started work on some new stuff. Next week may be a different matter, when all the staff are out of the office for the week.

Tonight is a rare one for me in Jakarta; heading out for a drink. This morning I was told that I need to be at the office by 7am tomorrow to go to a tree planting thing out at Bogor for Fair Trade Day, a couple of hours away. Should be fun, though getting up before 7 will not be.

I’ve been getting more time for art and drawing recently and am getting back into it, trying to work towards a couple of things. Here’s a few of the newer ones, with more on the way soon.

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My brother has a new site, with some of his newer works up there. He has mad skills, you’d be advised to check it out http://www.fred-fowler.com/. I’ll pimp his new exhibition soon too.

The Best

I just got back from what was an amazing little holiday with Sunaree in Bali. We spent most of our time at a beautiful little spot in North Eastern Bali called Amed, chilling out, snorkeling and eating great food. We also hung out in Sanur a few nights with my friends Yvette and John, and one night in Ubud, catching up with Nina and Ollie.

Working backwards, because I’m exhausted and can’t think properly, yesterday was huge and bitter-sweet. After 2 perfect days, I had to rush off to the immigration office to sort out my visa.

It’s been a crazy time since getting back to Jakarta. We had one day together, relaxing and had a great night going to the movies and eating sushi. Monday, I unfortunately had to run off to the immigration office to try to sort out my visa, leaving Sunaree alone for most of the day, before coming back and taking her to the airport. There’s a long story behind the visa thing which I won’t bore you with.

Our last day in Bali was even nicer, though somehow I managed to forget to charge the camera, so no shots of the beautiful sunset dining on the beach, the seafood extravaganza (©Fred Fowler), the boats, the lights, the planes or the horde of strangely dressed, excited Chinese tourists doing funny poses.

Now for things I did get photos of: monkeys in Ubud. Yes, though we wanted to ride bikes down from a crater-lake nearby, time was not on our side, so we went to the Sacred Monkey Forest instead. The name was not just symbolic, but very representative. Monkeys everywhere chasing each other over sacred temples in a forest. So great.

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Ubud is a really nice town and I’d like to go back, since we only really had a day and a half there. Galleries and art on sale everywhere, lots of things happening and I kept hearing about things that I’d like to do, but didn’t have time for. The only annoying thing is not being able to walk anywhere without 2 guys asking you if you want a taxi. It’s not that big a town and there’s lots of stuff to look at while you walk. Nobody takes them, why do they try so much? It boggles the mind.

Prior to Ubud we had a lovely few days in Amed in a beautiful little resort type place built in traditional style with local materials. It was also right on the beach, where there was good snorkeling, so we spent a lot of time doing that and just relaxing. Tip; black sand beaches are scorching hot in the sun. Feet will burn.

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So, there’s the very brief rundown of the trip I wrote earlier in the week, but only just finished. Since then, I’ve been back at work, had a day off for Christ’s ascension and  am about to head back to the immigration office, to pick up my passport, hopefully with a shiny new stamp in it.

Away!

You probably won’t hear from me for the next week or 2, because I’m going on holiday to Bali with Sunaree. I’ve been very much looking forward to this and have been busy planning when I haven’t been working. Very exciting! See you when I get back… I promise there will be some pictures finally. Cheers!

Where to start?

My new column’s up on ArtsHub (I’ve had a monthly column there since the start of the year). The only reason I haven’t mentioned this before is that it’s a subscription site, so unless you’re a member, it’ll just be a tease. This one’s about Indonesian street art, which I’m sure I mentioned while I was in Jogja.

http://www.artshub.com.au/au/news.asp?sId=171320&ref=#

Things are going pretty well here. Work is chugging along with the usual highs and frustrations. I’m still enjoying the new accommodation and new company there.

The weather this week has been pretty nuts. Basically every night this week it’s poured with rain at about 6 or 7pm for a few hours, sometimes with quite impressive storms. Last night was a funny one. Walking home from work as the sun was setting, it looked like the clouds were preparing to dump on me before I got home. An hour or 2 later, heading out for dinner, most of the clouds had cleared, but lightning was flashing off in the distance. Eventually, as I was drifting off to sleep I heard the rain start. Think it was playing games with me.

(Unimpressive*) Storm Pics from my room!

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*The storm itself was impressive, just not my photos, as you can see.

I really need to get some audio grabs of the street seller cart guys. There’s several distinct varieties, with escalating in hilarity. The simple tapping of spoon on bowl/plate, the shouting out of something vaguely resembling the word of what you’re hocking, the straight whooping/shouting guys (no resemblance to words), then the jaunty jingles, which usually belong to the bread guys (“roti roti”, “sari roti”, etc).

You may have noticed the Twitter updates in my sidebar, so if you have a Twitter account, say hi.

Bali plans are still, well, being planned. Needless to say I’m getting excited.

Back to tooling around with things and maybe lunch. Yes, that would be a good idea.

Work in progress!

New Pekerti Header (in prog)

 {Edit} I finally got to a scanner and just uploaded a whole bunch of recent sketches to my flickr.

Notes and News

Firstly, I am getting giddy and excited because Sunaree is coming to visit me in 2 weeks! Hooray! We’ll be heading off to some (hopefully) quiet part of Bali and enjoying some time together in the sun, on beaches, etc. I’ve got some friends to visit there too, which should be nice.

Lots of work to get done before then. The work is coming along well and I feel like I’m being pushed in new directions, working on many designs in themes I’ve not yet tried. It alternates between exciting and frustrating, depending on the day and the mood. Either way, some good work should come out of it… [Side note; the colour scheme was kicking my arse earlier on, because the old design’s very brown-centric (a Javanese thing). I’ve done some experimenting with earthy tones before, but never had brown as an integral part of the design. It makes things tough when you’re trying to make it more modern, exciting and interesting to a foreign market. Somehow sepias just don’t pull that off.]

—–

This weekend was another slow one, which was ok because I got some drawing practice in and spent a lot of time reading. Part of the slowness was my fault, when I changed my number on Friday night, then missed a message about going out.

Highlights from the weekend were hanging out with the guys from my kost (boarding-house style accommodation I stay in) and soccer. A lot of kosts are segregated and I’m (obviously) in a male one with a whole bunch of other young guys. They hang out in the common area watching tv, playing guitar and, as you’d expect in a building full of bachelors, talk about sex. They’re an entertaining and welcoming bunch though.

Soccer last night was, like my first time, intense, draining and fun. Everyone seemed to agree that it was tougher this week, because we had less people and played with some local guys, who were really good. I found it easier this time though, because at least I knew what to expect. I’m less sore than expected, but usually it’s worse the 2nd day, so tomorrow’s the real test.

Somehow, in amongst it all, I managed to avoid 2 storms. One happened Saturday, while I was online in a cafe in a mall. I was in the middle of a Skype conversation and there was a huge crack of thunder, then the skies opened. On Sunday, heading into soccer on the bus, I could see clouds of doom building around the city. The doom clouds kindly waited til after we got to the (roofed, netting walled) pitch to dump, and by the time we were done, it had finished. Very convenient.

Lots more designs and drawings, both for work and fun, shall be posted in the near future. Some need scanning (still not working) and some I’ll export or screen capture.

Notes from the weekend

#1 – After dinner and buying banana pastries (fantastic) and donuts, I stopped off to get sop buah (fruit soup; basically a variety of fresh fruits sliced up into a cup then doused with milky syrupy juice). While waiting at the juice stand, an old guy comes up to me to beg. He’s quite smiley and friendly and when I shake my head to say ‘not this time’, he grins and gives me a thumbs up, then raises his hand up to marvel at my height. I reply with “tinggi, ja?” (tall). He agrees, impressed I know the word, then wanders off smiling.

***

SAT – Moving kost this morning was an interesting/nice experience. It was a little awkward leaving the former one, but Ibu Olga took it amiably. Icue and her friend Lukman (who I’d never met but lives in the new kost) came to help me move. He had a bike, she walked. Lukman took the 2 smaller, heavy bags on the bike, I started walking with the big backpack and Icue carried the groceries bag. Not far down, Luckman stopped and got me to hop on the back of the bike. I was hesitant at first because of the weight of both bag and myself, considering what he was already carrying, but it was all good. It was a little hard work and hair raising, because the bag being large and kind of top-heavy, made it harder to stay on/balance, especially while accelerating. No dramas though, we all survived.
I was hanging out in the room, alone, wondering if I’d made a mistake, leaving the little community I’d started to build up around Ibu Olga’s, when there was a knock on my door. It was the people who run the kost, wanting to through the house rules/papers. They’re really nice and friendly and relaxed. They’d also lived in Sydney for 5 years, so we had stuff to talk about.

Aside from that, there’s more privacy and autonomy, the room’s larger and there’s less outside noise (no construction site on the other side of my wall). A lot of other people live in the building who are a similar age to me, an there’s a common area where we can hang out and watch tv and things. Should be good…

***

General notes:  The center of Jakarta is hug and sprawling with massive office buildings and huge malls everywhere. I guess what you’d expect in any large metropolis (or megatropolis or whatever it’s classed as). Thing just seem bigger and more extravagant here, though it could just be the contrasting poverty so close by. There are a few things I’ll eventually get photos of, but every time I see them, it’s whizzing by on the bus-way. My favourites right now are Da Vinci Tower, glimpsed yesterday on the way home. It’s a massive gothic style apartment building that looks straight from Gotham city, complete with statues and gargoyles. The other is the mammoth fountain near one of the biggest, fanciest malls. It’s the centerpiece of a roundabout and must be seen to be believed. So I’ll get a photo soon. The name escapes me for now…. Otherwise, there are some huge Sukarno era bronze statues and more skyscrapers. And Monas, the national monument.

Breaking things

I’ve just finished upgrading to the new version of WordPress and would like to see if it fixed my comments problems, so if you can try to leave a comment and let me know if it works, that would be great. I have my reservations…

Meanwhile, I have a snapshot of some of the work I’ve been doing here.

Pekerti test site

Click to enlargen

I may or may not have mentioned that I also have a column, which I should start putting on here, or at least linking to.

This weekend should be pretty busy. I’ll be drinking on Friday night, probably moving on Saturday or Sunday, then most likely playing soccer on Sunday night. Somewhere in there I’ll also be buying dvds. I got part of the first season of Studio 60, which got me hooked,so now I need the rest.

On a less overcast day, I’ll try to get some photos of the houses in my current area. Some of them are whoppingly huge, though they probably have 20 people living in them. My neighbourhood isn’t even a classy rich part of town; there are some really gargantuan mansions elsewhere, with probably only 4 people living in them (with 1.5 servants for each person). Over there, they may not have heard of my suburb. Nevertheless, there are some big ones near me.

 

Tree hands

Well, here are some things I’ve been working on as an idea for something at work, though I may not end up using any variation of them.

I’m fighting with the scanner, so no sketches for now. These are from scans, but then the computer I was using to scan them stopped working and no drivers exist for macs for this scanner.

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Logo

This is first of what I hope will be a flood of posts with images soon. I’ve now got access to a scanner, and there are a few things I’ve been designing at work that I’d like to put up.

I knocked this one up last night in Illustrator, based on how I sign my initials.

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Coming soon: tree hands, header/site designs, sketches (old and new)… Stay tuned.

Also, if you could leave a comment here, that would be great. The system may or may not be working with all the tinkering I’ve been doing.

Thoughts

As promised, the site’s got a bit of a redesign, which I may or may not keep working on. I’ll get some new images up soon, once I start scanning and taking photos. This weekend turned out to be a bit of bust and I didn’t do much or get out of town for the whole 4 days. Now further notes on life here.

—–

For Dave, the VoiceBox crew or fans who might be reading this, I’ve seen something you’d appreciate here in Indonesia; real Street Karaoke. People walking the streets with a backing tape, amp and mic, annoying people for money. Fantastic to see. Not usually as good as the bands of up to 5 people who wander around the street restaurants playing for cash, but entertaining nevertheless. I particularly like their tactic of having the amp turned up really loud, so people have to pay them to away. There is no such thing as a public disturbance here; disturbing the public is a way of life here.

Something that just astounds me, having seen and been part of the inner workings of a tv show, is this show on tv here called (I think) Superstar Idol. It’s a live talent style show that runs for 5 hours, 5 days a week. That’s a total of 25 hours to fill every week and it’s hosted by just 2 guys, who have incredible stamina and energy. They’re backed up by the panel of 3 judges, which consists of one middle-aged woman, a large transvestite and a crazy bule (white guy), who also dresses rather effeminately. The talent show side of it is all about pairs; sometimes husband and wife, sometimes friends, sometimes mother and daughter, you get the idea. They get introduced (and sometimes mocked) by the hosts, then get to pimp themselves to the audience for a while before doing their song or 2. Afterwards, there’s the usual judging, interspersed with random antics. It’s pretty entertaining, but for 5 hours every night; pretty insane.

Intentions

While I’m here and on a posting roll, I’ll just say that I’m planning some changes on this site pretty soon. Since I’ve been working on the Pekerti site, I’ve learnt a few new things that I should be able to apply to this site pretty quickly and easily, once I find the time/energy. Working full-time on web design doesn’t really make you want to tinker with sites in your spare time, so I’ll get onto it when I have a decent break from work, or when the site’s done and I’m concentrating on training or other things…

I’ll have access to a scanner next week, so expect a flood of drawings either here, on my flickr or both. Tomorrow I’m in all likelihood going on a trip to Bogor, not far from Jakarta, but up in some mountains, where there’s a palace, botanical gardens and apparently tons of animals. Must remember the camera and hope for some goodness.

Sore

Sunday was a bit of a big day for me. I caught the Trans-Jakarta bus way into town to meet another AVI, Alice. I’m starting to get the hang of the bus-way, since I’m using at least once a week. It’s a recent system which everyone says is a great improvement. It goes all over town and has it’s own dedicated lane, so it cuts through the traffic. It can still be effected in really bad traffic, because other jerks start using the bus lane. It’s still the best way for me to get around and at about 40 cents to anywhere who can complain.

I met Alice at Plaza Indonesia, one of the many huge and extravagant malls in the center of town, where all the obscenely rich (and just ordinary rich) Jakartans hang out. Afterwards, I met Jon to go to the weekly expat soccer game. It was my first time there, the first time playing any sport in a tropical climate and it was crazy. I don’t think I’ve ever sweated so much in my life. I had to pace myself so I didn’t pass out. It was intense and now, 2 days later, I’m still very sore and walking like an enfeebled old man.

For some reason, I find walking around at night nicer than in the daytime. All the street sellers are out with their carts frying various edible goods, making juice or whatever their specialty happens to be. It’s a more interesting, exciting mood. It’s not as stiflingly hot and sticky. It may sound harsh, but at night you also see less of the dirt, rubbish, open sewers, etc. It just doesn’t look so bad in the darkness. The strange, ugly street cats with stumpy tails and various battle scars and ailments are less disturbing to look at.  These are definitely not the same breed as the graceful, androgynous felines of Western countries. They are decisively male and female. They still have their junk intact and on proud display. You don’t want to go near them or touch them in any way, let alone pat them.

The place is crawling with all kinds of life. There are some whopping great rats and cockroaches. The open sewers beside the road teem with… some little squirmy-fishy-things. There are some cool ones too. I mentioned the bats and geckos earlier, but when it rains, you see the occasional frog too. It’s funny to watch their strange, fluid, ploppy jumping. It’s like watching a half-filled water balloon with legs.

The reason for the lack of photos is more complicated than you might think. There probably won’t be many photos from Jakarta. It just doesn’t feel right pulling  a camera out here. Being the only whitey in the neighbourhood, you’re watched everywhere you go. Not in an obtrusive, being followed kind of way, it’s just the fact that so many people are on the streets at any one time and you stand out. Even getting a photo of the center of town would be hard because there’s no fixed center. It kind of sprawls in all directions and gradually the buildings get less tall. I’ll try later, but no promises. Most of the photos will come from trips out of town.

I might go away for a day or 2 this weekend, because it’s a 4 day weekend here. Thursday is the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday and Friday is (Easter) Good Friday. There are a lot of public holidays here because they have them for all denominations. Last month there was a one for Chinese New Year, a couple of weeks ago, one for Nyepi, a Balinese holiday. Now an Islamic and a Christian.

Alive

So, I’ve been here for a couple of weeks now, and it’s all been a bit crazy, which is part of the reason I have struggled to write anything here. A couple of days after I arrived, I came down with a stomach bug, which lingered for a week and drained me of all energy. It was pretty miserable and I was seriously regretting coming.

Now that I’ve recovered and have been healthy for over a week now, I’m settling into the place more and starting to enjoy it. Being able to get around, meeting a few people and finally feeling up to doing things I normally would, like exercise and draw, has made things much better.

The accomodation situation is a little weird at the moment, but that’ll change at the end of the month, so I’m pretty relaxed about it all.

I have so much I want to say about this place, but right now, I need to get to the supermarket before it shuts then get some serious sleep. I’m also getting attacked by mosquitoes, while tiny ants are crawling around on my computer.

Basically, I’m alive, work is good, life is improving and I’m starting to have fun here. More very soon…

Off to the big J

So, I’m just wrapping up language training now and will be heading off to Jakarta on Saturday, starting work on Monday. All pretty exciting and somewhat frightening. Would be better if I wasn’t still struggling with ailments. I’ve been getting pretty relaxed and comfortable here in Jogja, so it’ll be a big change of pace hitting the big smoke and starting work. I did have some grand plans for my last week, but afternoon classes and a throbbing ear don’t make adventures easy.

Geckos are cool. I spent a while at dinner tonight watching one creep out from under the TV, then he’d eat a few ants and scamper back. Usually they’re on walls and ceilings, but this one was getting a fine feed on the ground. There are some really tiny cute ones around too. Oh, and the bats. They are amazing. A few times, some of us have been sitting at the table upstairs, which is probably not best described as an upstairs patio, but I can’t think of anything better. Anyway, the bats fly through it; essentially flying into a room, around it, then straight out again. Show me a bird that can do that quickly and without flying into anything, getting stuck, scared and or crapping everywhere. I like birds, but you have to admire the navigational skills and agility of bats.

Yesterday, after a couple of days of build-up, we had a huge dumping of rain. It has been raining at least a little most nights, but after a couple of days without significant rain, it bucketed down in pissloads for hours. I waded to class through it, wearing my bag on my front under my jacket, giving me the healthy bulge of a pregnant woman. Before that however, I tried to take some photos of the rain, for those in less soggy climes.

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As I type this, the TV in the cafe is on Star Sports, which is showing an x-box soccer match. Guys playing video games is being televised as a sport, with serious commentary, production values; the whole deal. Something is seriously wrong…

Here is me looking vaguely concerned.

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Hello.

Long week

This week’s been a rocky one and a good reminder of why the tropics aren’t always as idyllic as they sometimes seem. The heat and humidity mean that everything grows at an alarming rate, including infections.
On Monday or Tuesday night, I was feeling a slight tickle in the back of my throat, like that of an impending cold and while I tried to take it easy, I ended up having a pretty bad sleep for no apparent reason and woke up, not only with the cold, but an outer ear infection. I went to bed without even feeling it, then halfway through the night I could no longer sleep on that side because it hurt and was uncomfortable.
As the routine here is breakfast at 7 every day, if you want to sleep in, you get up, have breakfast, then head back to bed and try to snooze for another hour or 2. So, that accomplished and still feeling like death (who’d been punched in the ear), I headed to class then decided I was too ill. After some handy advice from John and Yvette, 2 nurses/trainers/educators going to work in a hospital in Bali, I shot down to the Apotek (chemist) for some remarkably affordable antibiotics. When you’re paying less than a dollar for a full course of antibiotics, you start to realise how extortionary prices can be elsewhere.
A couple of days feeling like zombie who’s been attacked with clubs and I was much better. Pretty much back to normal now.
So, that pretty much took the excitement out of the week, or was the excitement for the week, depending on your perspective.
There were further developments in the paypal debacle, which I won’t bore you with; suffice it to say that I have all my money back now.
This morning, Yvette and I headed out to see the Borobudur Temple, a couple of hours out of Jogja. A very impressive site in a beautiful location, if a little overrun with tourists and people tenaciously trying to hock trinkets to you. We were rather proud that we did it on our own on local buses, not through a tour. All the credit must go to Yvette however, because she did all the research and knew what we were doing.

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I also have an interesting possibility in the pipeline, which I’ll elaborate on later, when I know more about it.
So, after this week I’ll be heading to Jakarta and starting work. I’d say you won’t be hearing from me so much because I’ll be too busy, but it’s sometimes good to unload here and I’m more likely to write things if my life is eventful.
I hope to scan, or at least photograph some more sketches soon. It’ll be great when I get my own place and can spread out get my art stuff set up.

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Looks like WordPress is playing up on me for the while, so just head over to my flickr to see some recent photos. Will post them once I fix whatever’s wrong. (*Ed. Fixed itself. Sweet.)

Stallone and Pele Vs the Nazis, a volcano, murals and too much coffee.

So, as I write this, I just walked into the cafe and there’s a movie playing on the tv featuring Stallone, Pele and Michael Caine playing football against the nazis. I’m sure if I’d know of this movie’s existence before, I would’ve sought it out and watched it. Upon googling “stallone pele football nazis”, I discovered the movie is called Victory, made in 1981. Who would’ve thought such a movie existed?

Ok, time to backtrack a bit. On Saturday night, rather than the usual fare, myself and the other AVIs decided to climb a volcano. The tours leave at night and you climb through til sunrise, because at any other time of day, it clouds over and you can’t see anything. Unfortunately, when we climbed, there hadn’t been the usual afternoon downpour earlier that day, so it was clouded over for us anyway. I must admit, we didn’t make it all the way to the top, because once we reached the plateau, about an hour from the summit, we were exhausted, it was freezing cold, blowing a gale and so cloudy we’d have no view anyway. We decided to get away from the plateau, where the cold wind was strongest, and hunker down in a cave to watch the sunrise before heading back.

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Despite the difficulties, it was worth it, as you can see from the pictures I took on the way down. Surprisingly, I wasn’t as sore as I was fearing the day or two afterwards.

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On the way back from the mountain, at about 8am, after not having slept, I was taking photos from the van. At some point, I passed out, camera still in hand. When I woke with a start, almost home, the camera wasn’t in my hand, so I figured I had put it back in my bag and thought nothing of it. About an hour later, I get a call from the tour company saying they have my camera and I need to come in and pick it up.

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The next day, I head in there, get the camera and walk the long way home from the center of town. Near the main street, a bridge crosses the river and on the steep banks, there are some great, colourfully painted little houses, which I’d been meaning to photograph and did. Taking one of the longer, alternative routes home, there’s a long wall enclosing some kind of compound, which is covered in interesting murals I’d also been meaning to capture. It turns out, they all carry some kind of environmental, social or health and welfare message, so must have been commissioned by the city.

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More commentary on all the pictures in this post if you click on them and see them in my flickr. Za.

I think all the coffee I drank today is slowly working it’s way out of my system. I had one or two before class to wake me up, one between classes to keep me awake, then accidentally got locked out of my homestay, so I wandered around for a while, drew stuff, then got another, unexpectedly strong coffee. When I got here I was buzzing so much it made typing hard… I came here to get some work done, but there are guys near me playing Guns ‘n Roses, which is making it hard to concentrate… OK, they’re gone now. To work it is!

Jogja update

Well, I’ve just done my first week of language training and it’s been a good week. Think I’m adjusting to the tropical climes finally, which is nice. Been getting out and doing a few things, the next of which will be climbing Mount Merapi, a volcano, tonight/tomorrow. Should be good fun. We get picked up at 10pm, start hiking around midnight and should be at the summit for sunrise, around 4am. I love ridiculous adventures.

Earlier in the week, we headed into the bird market, near the center of town. It was interesting, but a little disturbing. It wasn’t just birds, but all kinds of animals in small cages, probably not being fed or hydrated enough. Off the top of my head, there were mongeese, turtles, bats, monkeys a woodpecker and many more.

Another day, I went for a rather expensive swim at a fancy hotel, which was very much worth it, especially considering the real, hot shower and the free juice from the bar included in the price.

What else? We checked out the Kraton, the sultan’s palace, which was pretty interesting. We then went to a batik material making co-op and shop, where we got to see them making batik. A long and complicated process, which makes you appreciate the effort that goes into good batik.

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Last night, we headed into town to get a feed, then watched a shadow puppet/gamelan performance. While eating dinner at a street restaurant, we were serenaded by a 5-piece band (including banjo). By serenaded, I mean, they played us a couple of popular songs. Funny stuff though and they weren’t bad. The performance was pretty interesting too, but we came in late and couldn’t follow the plot.

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Also, for some reason, I keep seeing the same crazy transvestite around town. It’s weird.

By “we”, I mean myself, Nina, Ollie and Yvette, my fellow AVIs here doing language training.

I also got out and took some photos of the murals around the place, which I’ll post more of later. I’ve had time for sketching too, but no scanner.

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OK, I’m racing the battery here and have been the internet way too long today (dealing with fraudulent purchases on my paypal, which seem to be all sorted now). More soon, hopefully with pictures from the volcano!

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Also, go and read The Gloom, over at The Chemistry Set if you’re into hilarious comics. Enjoy!

Here in Jakarta

Right. It’s been a long time, but here I am. Hectic times over the last few weeks; lots to get organised, packed and done. Apologies for the e-neglect. Some of that was due to getting out and seeing people, so at least I haven’t been completely neglectful.
The 3 days of briefing was great; relaxed, jovial and people were really nice, experienced and interesting. I should probably have spent more time getting prepared, but it felt more important to catch up and hang out with people when I could. Abruptness forces you to adjust fast anyway.
Surprisingly, I managed to fit in quite a bit of drawing, some of which has been appearing online, some of which has not and will be when I get to a scanner. I’m kind of sketching every day, not as a rule, but more out of habit and because I feel like I need to. Most of my art supplies came with me, so I’m hoping to keep it up. I enjoy drawing characters and people, but don’t often spend long on scenery, which I should work on to be more rounded.
While out and about Melbourne town, I caught some shots of North Melbourne station (I don’t think you’re allowed to take photos at train stations, but shhhh) and a few other places, thus:

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Hmmm… Guess I haven’t really mentioned what I’ll be doing. The plan is to spend a few days in Jakarta, then head down to Yogjakarta for a month of language training. Yogja sounds like a beautiful place with lots of art, interesting places to see, and close to beaches, not to mention the volcano. After that, I’ll head back to Jakarta and start work. I won’t write anything about the job til I start it, but the organisation sounds great and I think the work will be fun and hard.

So far, what I’ve seen of Jakarta (not much) has been huge and busy. Should be an exciting place to live and work in. Just to give you some idea, essentially the entire population of Australia is within Jakarta city. Counting the greater Jakarta area, it goes up to somewhere around 35mill, from what I’ve heard.

Communications should be more regular from here on. I hope I can get out and take some photos soon and look out when I get access to a scanner. Trouble.

Friends

A new one I just did for http://friends.neonspice.net/, a very cool little project linking drawings through linking hands (you’ll see).

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While I’m here, I should let you know (probably should’ve a while ago) that I’ll be heading to Indonesia on the 30th of January, barring anything unforseen. I hope I can catch everyone before I head off. Lots to get done and organised…

Returned from Catland (Turkey)

Yes, it’s been a while since I wrote and I was planning to write more from Turkey, but it was a pretty busy holiday time, then I got sick, sleep deprived, then jetlagged. It was an amazing trip, with lots of interesting historical buildings and ruins, vast quantities of great food and many cats. Seeing Sunaree again was very special and it was great to meet her family and friends.

All of my photos from the trip are on flickr, so go straight to the set here, or click on any of the highlights below…

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Too many stories… Don’t know where to start… Get back to that later…

Since I’ve been back, I’ve been busy drawing and working on a few things, so here’s a sample:

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Made it to Istanbul

It was a long trip and I’m pretty exhausted, but otherwise well. No horrible mishaps, no really interesting stories. I didn’t end up venturing out of Singapore airport in my 8 hours there, because I was feeling pretty tired and crap. I did spend a lot of time on the rooftop garden there though, so at least I got some kind of fresh air. I say kind of because it was a smoking area, but it was also a sunflower garden, so there big fans blowing moisture everywhere.

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Dubai was at 3am, for 1 hour, so not much to report from there. The lights were kind of interesting and pretty from the plane; the bay looked nice and it was much flatter than I expected. The airport is enormous. Gargantuan. Mammoth. Etcetera… I also enjoyed the 3am experience of it, because at that time of the day, all you get is people passed out all along the corridors. It give you that surreal feeling that you’re either walking through a refugee camp (or what I would imagine one to be like, obviously with more affluent refugees), or a post apocalyptic/zombie movie.

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It was only just getting light when we got into Istanbul, but I did get to see some snow capped mountains in the pre-dawn light, which was nice. It’s overcast and cold here, but nothing I haven’t handled before. I had a little explore today and what I saw looked great (lots of interesting old buildings and maze-like cobblestone streets), but otherwise just chilling and napping at the guesthouse, because I’m knackered.

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More soon…

Gallery, news and new things

So, now I finally have a more accessible and usable Gallery, for my art. You can see it here: http://sebfowler.com/gallery/ or click the link in the header bar. I’ll keep playing with it to iron out the kinks and make things more interesting, but at least it’s there for now.

News: I’m going to Turkey over Christmas and New Years, to be with Sunaree and her family and friends. The more I find about Turkey and Istanbul, the better it sounds. Look forward to some updates from there over the next few weeks.

I have other news, but I’m keeping vague and secretive about it for now…

Things: Here is a woman and a whale, which I watercoloured from a pencil sketch from the latest Dr Sketchy session. The rest can be seen here.

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Now, for a one page, not-safe-for-work comic I like to call ‘A Drunkard’s Dream’. While I didn’t actually dream it, I did come up with the idea while a little hungover. Not entirely sure I nailed it, but ah well. That’s what happens when you don’t take the time to do proper layouts.

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Notice anything?

I’ve just changed the look of site, testing out a new theme, mainly because I was having trouble with a new plugin on the old theme. I’ll tool around with it and see if I can make it a bit more interesting. I’ll post some new art over the next few days too. For now, here’s one I’ve been working on.

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Holdup!

More stuff

So, while on the hunt for work, I’ve had a lot of time for drawing and the like, so here’s a bunch of new stuff.

My favourite would be the new cartoon/1page comic, probably because it took so long. Enjoy!

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Click pic to embiggen. Comments encouraged (for all images).

I guess these two would be the ones that took the next longest amounts of time, following that system.

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Technically this one took longer than those above, but I didn’t want to post it that size, so you can view it at your own discretion if it pleases you.

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Continuing on the diminishing size theme, I shall now just post a link to the set on flickr for the sketches I did last night, while attending Dr Sketchy’s Anti-Art School, Melbourne. Great fun, great venue, great model, great music. Pity my sketches aren’t so great, but there’s always time for improvement. Anyway, I highly recommend it if you’re of an artistic/burlesque bent. My sketches from the night here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sejibodo/sets/72157603327982851/

Other than that, not much to report. Um… Yeah.

Neglect… Sorry!

Deepest apologies to all for my neglect of this site for the last while. It’s been strange being back in Melbourne, settling back in. I was in Sydney for a week, not online, so that excuses me for one week I suppose. It was great to catch up with the family up there; sorry to those I didn’t make it to. Swimming in the ocean was also great.

I guess I just feel like I haven’t otherwise had much to report on; I’m just looking for work, swimming, running, skateboarding and occasionally hanging out with people and catching up. Last weekend I was up near Beechworth for Peta’s birthday, which is a nice little spot and was lots of fun. It’s an old gold rush town a few hours north of Melbourne.

Pictures here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sejibodo/sets/72157603244273593/

The break in work has given me plenty of time to sit around sketching and things, some of which are appearing on my flickr. At the moment, I’m enjoying working in ink and watercolour. The ink with whatever means I feel like; brush, nib and for a while, rapidograph pen (though the cheap crappy one I was using crapped out). I know I should be doing more digital work, getting back in practice, but I’ve been enjoying the traditional mediums. Here’s a quick one from yesterday:

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The major news is that it looks like I’ll be going to Jakarta, Indonesia, on another volunteer position in late January or early Feb. I’ve know about this for a while, but wanted to wait til it was properly confirmed. This one’s only for 6 months and doing similar work; web design training.

OK, think that’s it for now. I promise to be more attentive from now on…

Back!

So, I know this has taken a while, but yes, I am back in Melbourne. I got in on Monday morning after almost 24 hours of travel and several nights of very little sleep. The last week in Mongolia was hectic, but really nice and fun. Thanks to everyone who made it special.

So far I’ve been sleeping a lot and catching up with people. It’s weird to be home, but I think I’m adjusting. I’ve already been swimming twice and there were a ton of books waiting for me here, which I’ve been getting into solidly.

At the moment, I have a few things to work on and sort out, but nothing too pressing. I could be heading off overseas again (for part of) next year, but I’ll confirm that and give more details later. For now I just need to relax and work on getting something paying for a few months while I sort myself out.

For proof that I’ve actually been doing stuff, check out my new pdf portfolio, which I put together this week. It’s mainly for illustration/design work, so if you like the random sketches and things I post here, check it out. 10mg, so you’ll want a decent connection.

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Here’s some random sketches and a pic from my computer.

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Last post from the field…

Well, probably the last. Where to start?

First things first, I got back on Tuesday from the Eagle Festival in BayanUlgii, which was just incredible. That region is so different from the rest of Mongolia, because it is near the border with Kazakhstan, so the area is mostly Kazakh. The buildings are different (lots of low, flat roofed houses), the gers are different (higher ceilings and more decorated), the people mostly speak Kazakh, not Mongolian and they’re Muslim. The landscape is beautiful, with some of the highest mountains in Mongolia, snow capped now that it’s getting into winter.

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The journey started in an interesting manner, with our plane being diverted due to bad weather. Instead of landing in Khovd, where we were meeting people to get a ride to Ulgii, we landed in Ulaangom, the capital of Uvs aimag. Due to timing and logistics, we ended up getting a car straight from Ulaangom to Ulgii and arriving at midnight, with a random herder we’d picked up to help us get there.

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At this point it might be timely to mention the we in this affair (no pun intended). Sunaree and I happened to be on the same flight as Jake, another Peace Corps volunteer who was heading to the festival, his father, Kevin and his step mother Lisa. They were great people to be with, having two people seeing the country with fresh eyes and us vets seeing a new part of the country.

When we got to Ulgii, we met a whole bunch of other Peace Corps volunteers, most of whom live in Khovd, about 6 hours away from Ulgii by car. One of their students, Berrickbold (I hope that’s vaguely correct spelling) is Kazakh an has family in Ulgii, so they kindly took all 11 or so of us in for a few nights.

The festival itself started the following morning with a parade in the town square, which was actually preceded by mingling and photos in the square. All the eagle hunters were out in full garb on horseback with their eagles. The parade began in proper order with some kids from the local schools and kindergartens on floats in cute costumes, then the eagle hunters rode through on horseback.

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The actual festival is held a short way out of town on a plain just in front of some mountains. The early events seemed to consist of the Eagle hunters down on the ground getting their eagles to fly down from the top of the mountain to land on their arms, with some meaty incentive. Apparently at least one eagle a year instead does the bolt for freedom and it looked like one headed that way, around the mountain and off into the distance.

There were some arts and craft stalls around, with lovely intricate Kazakh wall hangings and rugs spread over the ground. Everyone bought lots of stuff, including me.

That night, we stayed with a different Kazakh family and bought some kaz at the market, a traditional Kazakh horse meat sausage thing, which they cooked up for us for dinner. It’s basically a lot of seasoned (ie. salted) horse meat, skewered on rib bones and stuffed in intestine, then boiled for a long time, cut off the bone and eaten. That might not make it sound great, but it was. As were the horse buuz (dumplings) available in one of the food gers out at the festival.

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The next day’s events were a bit more exciting, particularly the horse-back pelt tug of war competition. This is where there are two guys on horses, one picks up a big animal (I think fox) fur from the ground, then they play tug of war with it, on horses. Sometimes they’d slap their horse or the other guy’s to get it moving and catch the other guy off guard. Often, they’d crash through the crowd, who would also slap the horses to make for a more entertaining spectacle. Once, a guy watching on his own horse in the crowd, managed to get caught up with the two contestants and rode along with them at full pace, slapping their horses for more speed.

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There was the obligatory horse race (on both days actually) and some awards, then the final event. The main event is when they let loose a wolf, then a fox for the eagles to hunt down and kill, which I wasn’t highly anticipating it must be said. The wolf was already injured, it’s front legs and jaws bound, so it was a pretty cruel show. Luckily the eagles dived in quickly, then the crowd rushed in and it was over. Similar fate for the fox. Not pretty, but we all knew it was coming.

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The following day, we check out the Ulgii market, then headed to Khovd, where we got ourselves sorted, ate, then went drinking and dancing. Good times. Doug put Sunaree, Jake and I up in his lovely ger, providing us with eggs and great coffee in the morning. Stellar work.

Now, back in UB, I’m running around trying to finish everything off and get things organised. We had a great last bash for our intake (17), who are all leaving on Friday (tomorrow) except me, on Sunday and Bek, several weeks from now. Really great times and thanks to everyone who made it out and gave their kind words, company and great dance moves.

Last night, Dave and I said goodbye to our work, ESPF, who have provided great support and friendship for the year.

Feels so crazy to all be coming to an end.

With lows getting well into the negatives (almost -20), winter is definitely on it’s way now. Of course, the more telling sign is that I saw my first frozen vomit of the season today, heralding the icy months to come. Huzzah!

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Now back to an Aussie summer. I’ll keep posting stuff here as long I have stuff to say, so don’t forget me. Cheers!

All the rest of the Eagle fest pics on my flickr in this set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sejibodo/sets/72157602379912737/ 

Been a while

Sorry about that, but things have just been crazy here. Work’s been busy during the week and I spent basically the whole weekend out at various places.

Thursday night (not part of the weekend, I am aware) was Lisa Fink’s poetry reading. She’s a Fulbright Scholar who’s been here translating Mongolian poetry and working with great Mongolian poets. The event was held at the Union of Mongolian Artists gallery, which is a place I’m always happy to have an excuse to go to. First, three great Mongolian poets she’s worked with over the year read out some of their poems and she read her English translations, then she read some of her poems and one of the Mongolian poets, Degi, who also translates, read her Mongolian translation of it. It was a great event and really interesting poetry, which I’ll have to remember to get books of. Lisa is great and has a far more enlightening blog than me.

Friday was Amy’s birthday and we all had a lovely dinner out, then headed back to their place for a rowdy night of drinking, dancing, spanking and breaking things (I was not party to all of these events). It was just like the old days when we first arrived in winter, with the crazy house parties (there’s little else to do in winter).

Saturday and Sunday I was also out a lot. Monday night, Sunaree, Kip, Annie (with a far more amusing blog)and I went to huge hiphop concert. It was most awesome. One act was a group of about 10 guys in black going mental, one song sampling Eye of the Tiger. In one they also shouted “tiimuu” a lot. Another was who I’ve dubbed the Mongolian Kanye, who did a pretty cool song, then rapped to a country/western song. At one point a couple of kids came out and rapped, one of whom had more stage presence than most of the other performers. He did a few songs with older guys and blew them away too. Oh, and how could I forget the dancing girls who came on with one act wearing white fluffy undies that looked a bit like nappies. Classic night.

More pictures and a story from the Gobi

So, I mentioned Dave’s photos, which are cooler than mine, and you can check them out here:
http://www.flickr.com/gp/10479307@N04/a716KN

There are some great ones of us jumping and doing stupid things off the top of a huge sand dune. Funny story from that actually. In the morning, most of us went to climb this giant sand dune, which is apparently 700m tall. Damn hard work, as it was steep and soft sand. After we made it to the top and caught our breath, Dave and I filmed a quick piece for VoiceBox, set the camera down and went to play. We found a nice point to jump off, the switched between doing crazy jumps and photographing the other. We got very sandy and dirty, then headed down, running in giant leaps and rolling.

By the time we got back to camp, we were exhausted and dehydrated. The first thing we were handed? Vodka. My response? “Just give me 5 minutes, I need water first.”

The second thing we were handed? Home-brew camel vodka. Distilled from fermented camel’s milk. The cup was large and I drank as much as I could handle, then passed it back. It was surprisingly smooth, but the strong and distincly animaly aftertaste was less than pleasant.

After that, we had khorkhokh (I’m guessing at the spelling here), which is most of a goat or sheep (with some onions, potatoes and carrots), chopped into large chunks then pressure cooked in a big metal container with hot rocks.  Good fun to watch and make with very tasty results.

Hopefully I’ll remember more stories later (there’s one about disco gobi camping and a road story), but for now, I’ll leave you with some new ones from the sketchbook.

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Returned.

Yes, back from the amazing Gobi tour ’07. Thanks so much to Sara, Batbold, Eegi, Urunga and everyone involved.  It really was fantastic. I’ll elaborate with stories later, but for now just head to my flickr and check out the photos. Some have descriptions, which will explain parts of it. http://www.flickr.com/photos/sejibodo

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Starting to get back into work now after 10 days in the countryside, a recovery weekend which included writing a job application, and my birthday yesterday. I had a great day and thanks to all for their messages. Thanks most of all to Sunaree for making it really special.

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I’m heading back to Melbourne in just over a month now and there’s a lot to finish up. I’m thinking about my options and things are starting to come together finally.

There were a lot of great thing about the trip, but one of the more unexpected ones was that it gave me a lot of time to think. A lot creative ideas that had been stagnating grew and took form, which I hope to bang out on the computer soon and start working on more seriously. It was lovely kick in the pants.

In time, I plan to turn this into more of a portfolio site and make the art and sketches more accessible.

Much more soon…

Trip and misc.

Just so you know, I’m heading off for a trip and will be back around the 1st of September. My work is kindly taking Dave and I on a trip to the Gobi and up around Kharkhorin (the old capital and a lovely dark beer), before we head home in mid October. Should be fun.

Work-wise, I’ve got a lot I’d like to do before I finish, so this should give me some time to get it straight in my head before going ahead. I’ve been thinking a lot more about what to do when I return and a few ideas are starting to come together, make sense and feel like a semblance of a plan. We’ll see.

In the meantime, I got an email from the lovely Shaya, a former AYAD from my early days here, who has an amazing opportunity for the right person. The Lotus Foundation do great work here in Mongolia and Didi would be a fantastic person to work for. Anyone interested should contact me by email or in the comments and I’ll pass on Shaya’s info to you.

Didi Kalika, the amazing woman who started and still runs Lotus Childrens
Centre, an orphanage for about 140 children in Mongolia, is desperately
looking for a volunteer to assist at Lotus during the winter period, from
October 2007 – March 2008, to help her in the administrative running of the
orphanage. Duties would include daily administration, as well as marketing
(both the vegetarian cafe and orphanage), and closer management of
donor/stakeholder requirements. There would be a lot of scope to introduce
some much needed business administrative systems, including donor management
programs to the organisation, and really comes down to “how long is a piece
of string?”.

If you know of someone who would be interested in this sort of assignment,
could you please let me know. Lotus would be able to assist with 3 basic
vegetarian meals a day and probably some modest accommodation,however, I
think it would be useful for the person to have some extra money up their
sleeve to help them with the occasional splurge/treats, (as one can
occassionaly desires in Mongolia !) Any suggestions you can offer would be
helpful and most appreciated, as time is running out.

It would be a really rewarding and challenging assignment, if not for the
fact that the person would be working with a very ground level NGO and an
amazing individual – Didi. I was considering going back myself to do it, but
I don’t think my body could cope with another Mongolian winter too well….
(!)

If you are interested or know of anyone who could be interested in an
assignment of this kind, please give them my email address or phone number
on 0408 838 463. I would be delighted to chat with them over it.

I’ve attached a very basic presentation on Lotus fyi. The website is also:
www.lotuschild.org for
anyone who is interested. Please contact me directly
on it and I will liaise with Didi.

Later!

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Food issues

Yes, food has been causing some trouble recently.

The other night I managed to give myself food poisoning by eating some leftovers that apparently I didn’t refrigerate fast enough. I was really hungry and thought they’d be ok. My bad. Woke up at 4am for a quick vom and again several hours later. Spent the rest of the day on the couch watching bad TV or sleeping. An Ice T plane hijack movie kept me entertained for a while, the rest I can’t recall. Pretty much fully recovered now, so back to my usual massive appetite.

On Saturday, events conspired to stop me eating. Not altogether, just dinner, but it was still a meal missed. I popped out for a mission that was cancelled just before the bus took me away and headed back home. On the way, in the small laneway that leads to my apartment building, two drunk guys shouted out at me. “Hey! English!”

I turn.

“Fuck you!” one shouts, giving me the finger.  I look at him with a ‘Good on you’ expression, gesture dismissively and keep walking.

“Hey, wait”. They chase after me, trying to apologise, then grab me and try to talk to me. Between their drunken bullshit and my poor Mongolian, not much is communicated, but I play along. Soon, another drunk has joined us and is trying to drag me away from them. Not to save me from them, but to hassle me himself, albeit in a more friendly manner.

So, now I have 3 drunks annoying me and they try to drag other passers-by in to help translate.  It’s a bit of a scene, but not out of hand. During all of this, the biggest and most obnoxious of them keeps grabbing my arm if I try to go anywhere and occasionally patting my hair. Creepy.

By the time they realise I’m not going to drink with them and they let me go, we’re right outside my apartment building. I don’t want them to know where I live, so I go around the corner to Sunaree’s new place, after checking I wasn’t being followed.

15 minutes later I try to head home for dinner, before meeting people out for a drink. When I round the corner to my building, it looks like they’re hanging around outside the store at the other end of the street, so they’d see me if I tried to go home. I quickly about-face, give up on dinner and go straight to meet everyone, where the vodka flows. I show remarkable restraint on my empty stomach and have no ill effects the next day.

It certainly wasn’t a traumatic incident, it was just kind of irritating.

Monsoon!

Last week, the mobile phone company here, Mobicom, sent out messages to warn about flash floods here in UB. My friend sent me a similar warning, which apparently the government sent out. The weather was fine, then a little overcast for a few days and I thought nothing of it.

Yesterday, it seemed a little cloudy, so I brought my rain jacket to work. I was otherwise in shorts, a shirt and runners. It looked gloomy as I was leaving and had been raining earlier, so I put on my jacket and headed out. Half way home, waiting to cross the road, a car drove through a huge puddle, soaking my shorts and legs. Not long after, the rain started. Heavy at first, then bucketing. It was unbelievable. I hadn’t seen rain like that in years, let alone been caught in it. The last time was in Lae, Papua New Guinea, where they get up to 4m of rainfall a year (if I remember correctly). Compare that to Mongolia, where yearly rainfall is around 375mm to 500mm per year.

Moving on… As I mentioned, I got caught in the middle of the downpour and ran for cover. I wasn’t too worried about getting wet, because the jacket was protecting me, but I was worried about my bag, which yesterday contained my laptop, my camera and my external hard drive. As I sheltered in a doorway, I quickly removed my jacket, put my bag on backwards and put my jacket back on over it, giving me a lovely pregnant look. My shorts already soaked and my shoes starting to go, I had little to lose, so off I splashed.

I arrived home drenched, my shoes squelching, but my bag and torso safe. It was actually quite fun to have that kind of experience again, out in the rain, not caring about getting wet. It was like being a kid again.

The Mod

On Saturday, I went hiking with Sunaree, Jay, Zach and Amy, over the mountains to Zuunmod. Zach and Amy are a Peace Corps couple who live in Zuunmod and Jay is an ex Peace Corps who’s now back helping to set up a law firm here. All great people.

Anyway, we left nice and early, anticipating a long hike. It started well, heading down to Zaisun and climbing over Bogd Khan Uul. At the clearing at the top of Bogd Khan, we almost headed the wrong way, but asked 2 guys picknicking in their underwear (we don’t judge), who led us in the right direction.

It was sometime after that when we lost our way. It’s not like there was any danger of us not getting there; we knew where we were headed, we just didn’t end up going the most direct route. When we realised we’d gone too far, we scooted under a (very rare) fence and tried to get back on track.

First, we got told off by a guy who wanted us to register somewhere, who thought we might have something to do with forest fires (some of the range burned last weekend). Then, closer to our destination, another guy came up and told us the way to get out. He was polite and friendly, but obviously knew that we weren’t supposed to be there. All this time, we didn’t know why the place was fenced off. It turns out that we were in a special reserve for elk/red deer, of which we saw none.

So, once we got out of there, we were on the actual (vehicular) road to Zuunmod; not exactly where we wanted to be, but good enough. We arrived tired and sore and headed straight to the only Korean restaurant in town to recharge, then off to Zach and Amy’s ger for the night.

The bus back in the morning took under an hour and unlike most microbus’ here, full, but not overcrowded. The 45 min drive felt like nothing compared to the 8 hours we spent hiking there, but all the fun and stories come from the hike and what does the drive have, other than speed?

No pics yet, because I didn’t take my camera, but I get one or 2 from Sunaree. The pic below is from a (very poor) HDR test and is one of the corridors at Mongol National TV. Read up on it at the wiki link above if you’ve never heard of it. It’s the kind of concept I find interesting, although you really need the right subject, which a fluorescent-lit Soviet-era corridor sadly is not.

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Forgotten stuff

Right now, I’m sitting in my office. Staff have been wandering around swatting flies all morning. The last 2 days have been hot. Not 48 degrees hot like parts of Europe, but hot enough for people to complain. Batbold told me yesterday as he was heading out that he might melt.

So, the day before I flew up to Murun to meet my parents, I went to Quiza’s only concert for the year. It was great. A really top notch concert. Not only did he have several guests, which I’ll get to later, but he also had a live band backing him for a decent hunk of it and a graffiti crew painting live in the background. Most of the people who had done tracks on his albums came on to do their songs, like BX, a popular R&B singer. The real surprise was MC Hunger, a Japanese rapper who was in town, who came on and did a few track. Dude was incredible. Good stage presence and some really different styles. Will have to get his CD somehow, don’t think they sell it here.

I’ll post more about the trip soon, once I’ve got some work out of the way.

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For now, if you feel like some Mongolian R&B, check out BX’s ‘My Love’ clip on YouTube.


Gbah

Knackered. Just at work after coming back from a trip with my parents to Lake Khuvsgol and a few other places. We saw some amazing things and it was great to spend some time with the olds after 8 months away. We were very well taken care of by our tour guide Buya, who organised everything, got us from A to B and made sure we were well fed (Martin might say too enthusiastically). There should be more time for stories later, once I’ve got some work out of the way and looked through the photos (some now on flickr).

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The weekend was madness. We headed back hideously early on Saturday morning, in order to have time for shopping and other activities. Back in UB early in the afternoon and almost straight out again to go shopping for presents. I assisted with the shopping and ran back and forth a bit, then sent Megan and Martin off to a cultural show at 6pm, after which Sunaree and I met them for dinner. Many of her intake of Peace Corps (M-16) finished up and headed back to the states this weekend, so after dinner we we went and met 20 or so for drinks.

Sunday morning was time to head to the airport and see Megan and Martin off to Beijing on their way home. Since I haven’t heard anything I’m assuming all went ok. The rest of the day was washing, cleaning, internet and running into people repeatedly. Then dinner and drinks for more departees.

Now I’m sitting here, trying to work out where I was up to over a week ago and remembering all the stuff I need to do. Like sleep.

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Several things

A few things to catch up on.

I went to Darkhan over the weekend to hang out with Sunaree and got back on Monday. It was nice and quite and without the pollution of UB. Very relaxing. In terms of transportation, you can get there by car, (mini) bus or train. When you get cars to other towns in Mongolia, you go to a certain place (in UB it’s Teeverin Tovcho or the Dragon Center) and people shout out the places they’re going and you pick whoever you want to go with. Then you wait til the car fills with other random travellers and off you go.

On the way up I drank some vodka with a businessman, a woman and there was a teenage girl in the front who didn’t drink. On the way back, I was next to an old lady who had a turtle in a box, presumably to give to a grandson or someone. She sang to herself most of the way and the other passengers, both young guys, generally ignored us.

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Today, my parents arrive on the train from Beijing, so I’ll be showing them around for the next few days til they leave on their trip. I’ll join them later, probably after Naadam Festival.

Goodies time! The following are a couple of new pencil drawings, which will be explained when you click on them and go to the flickr page. There’s also some old ones from the yak filming trip to Terelj, like me posing stupidly in front of Turtle Rock.

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This music video is for Quiza’s new single, which samples an old Russian communist propoganda song with kids singing. We actually met him at the studio while he was recording this track. I’m linking to the video because I saw it on TV the other night and thought it was pretty cool. A Mongolian rap video done in South Park style animation. Enjoy!

http://youtube.com/watch?v=-8CqnlRkwwU

No show, just tell

As you’ve probably noticed, I usually like to have something to show when I post, but this time’s just tell.

This week started out in a similar vein to last week. Issy’s birthday on Monday night, which was good fun and a little drinky. Tuesday night was a dinner with AYADs and VSOs at the British Ambassador’s house, which was great (food, people, everything).

Last night I decided to stay at home, sort out the apartment (desperately needed to do some washing) and cook. After getting home and sorting out the washing, I headed out to buy things to cook. By then it was quite late, so some shops were shutting, so it was a pretty decent mission around town. When I got back with the supplies, ravenous and looking forward to cooking, it was after 9pm, the sun was almost gone and my entire block was in a blackout. Only electric stoves here, so no chance of cooking. I’d also forgotten to buy toilet paper.

I had a nice chat with Sunaree on the phone for a while, hoping for the power to come back. After eating some bread and cold baked beans, going overboard with the pepper in the dark and getting some up my nose, I ran out for toilet paper. Because the neighbourhood was out, I went a little further and by the time I got back, lo and behold, the power was back too.

Full after my earlier eating attempt and tired from running around,  (by now it was after 11pm) I gave up on cooking, watched most of a crap movie and went to bed. The end.

New Stuff!

This week has been pretty crazy, but surprisingly I’ve actually got some art done, which I present to you now:

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The first one took a while. Been a long time since I’ve done so much cross-hatching. The second one’s for the Chinese poetry essays project, possibly my favourite so far. The third was actually for work, which you can see in context here.

Last night (Fri) was the only night I ate at home all week. Monday was the photography/embassy thing, Tuesday was dinner with an Australian mining family who invited all the AYADs over, Wednesday I was randomly invited to dinner at a friend’s house on my way home from work and Thursday I went from work to meet Carl, Gana and his friend Bayaraa, for Gana’s going away (he left for Korea for 6 months yesterday).

Tuesday and Thursday I was stupid enough to drink coffee after 8pm and got about 4 hours sleep each night. Last night I was just a zombie at home doing the steam robot drawing while not really watching a movie.

It was a very busy work week, which was really good, but turned pear-shaped right at the end, when I couldn’t access the site, thus couldn’t post any of the work I’d spent the day doing, which is why I’m here now, having just done that.

Don’t know what my plans are now, but I’ll probably just vegetate for the rest of the weekend. Sounds like a plan to me.

Who wants my job?

Seriously. My position will be re-advertised from tomorrow, because of the low number of applicants. If you’re 18-30 years old, have the relevant skills/experience/qualifications and feel like spending a year in Mongolia, apply asap. The jobs will be advertised on the AYAD (Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development) website, here:

http://ayad.com.au/web/public/home.aspx

My position is basically web-design/maintennance/design/whatever. The project is an English language TV and internet project, on Mongolian National TV. It’s been going since December and basically there’s a Mongolian and a native English speaker who co-host the show. Each week we line up an interesting young Mongolian who speaks decent English and interview them. We try to get some language teaching and fun in there too. We also try to deal with some more important issues for young Mongolians. So far we’ve had people like Quiza (a rapper), Degi (a violinist), Orgil (an actor), Onon (WWF species officer), a debating team, a scholarship student, an achaeologist, etc.

Anyway, there will be another AYAD with a journalism background who will basically run the TV and be the co-host. My job is to look after the website and all other design/tech related things. Each week, we put lessons/teaching materials online, which coincide with what’s happening in the show. The project can be pretty flexible. There could be some DVD production, online and print teaching materials production and we’re even looking to expand into radio. It can be what you want it to be.
Anyone interested can email me for more details, or leave a comment at the bottom of this page. The website, to see what we’re doing at the moment, is at http://voiceboxtv.org/

For the Round 2, assignments will be advertized online from Friday June 15 to Friday June 29.

I finish in October and that intake should arrive in September or October.

*Edit to add: There is no way you can overestimate the time it will take to complete the AYAD application. It’s big. Start early.

Another 24 hour bug later…

It feels like I’m sick every second week here. Probably because I am. This was a weird one. My nose started gushing on Sunday and I felt really tired. Monday, I needed to work at home for a while. Encoding DVDs takes a long time and you can’t do much else while that’s happening, so I read for a while and passed out on the couch for several hours. Apparently the bug was still with me.

By the time all DVD stuff was done and I left for work, feeling more rested, it was after 4pm and there was the opening of an exhibition to go to at 6:30. On the way to work, after trying unsuccessfully to grab a snack, I came across something happening outside the National History Museum. It turned out to be the opening of the Roaring Hooves Festival, which I hadn’t realised was free. I knew about it because Dave, Bek and Andrew are participating in the festival with a 3 piece act of double bass, cello, didgeridoo and some khoomei singing. I found those guys and others I knew, who convinced me to stick around and watch the performance. There were some great groups playing in amazing costumes, plus a bit of jazz trombone from Roswell Rudd and the Mongolian Buryat Band. A lovely afternoon out in the sun.

After that, we headed to the pub, where I finally got some food, then to the exhibition. It was an Australian photographic exhibition by Allan Fox (OAM). The Australian Embassy crew from Beijing were there, with the Ambassador announcing the appointment of an Australian consul here in Mongolia. The photos were great and it was good to see Australia again, even though I hadn’t been to most of the places. The wine and food were also good, then Jane, Alison and myself ended up having dinner with Mr Fox. 78 years old and full of stories from years in the public service working in conservation, nature and wildlife.

This did mean of course, that after a small lunch, I ate three times in about as many hours.

beardmoving.jpgA facial hair experiment from a few weeks ago. It is no more.

A long and rambling update (too much caffeine perhaps?)

Strange and interesting week this week. It’s been good for the most part.

For once I was organised with work and got plenty done early in the week, knowing that the end of the week would be busy getting episodes of the show copied onto my computer to make more dvds. That all worked very well, but Friday turned out problematic because of some bastard problems while encoding that I’m still yet to fix.

Monday was pretty much a write-off because I was recovering from a huge hike (and rest of the weekend; not drink-related, but physically exhausting). Carl, Gana and I met up around noon on Sunday and got a car about half an hour east of town, then headed over one smallish mountain, down, then back up Tseteegum the highest peak around UB. Incredible view and a nice, tough climb, especially coming from the direction we did, which was rock hopping most of the way up. On the way back, we headed down to Zuunmod/Manzushir and met Gana’s mates on the way, where they had been hanging out, then cooked fish for us.

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The drive back was fantastic too, because Bayaraa (Gana’s friend) had some great tunes. As soon as we started moving, classic ’50s rock pumped out and we sang along raucously. The rest of the music was great too; a bit of Satchmo, ‘Girl from Ipanema’, a really nice Russian song and more.

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The rest of the week was pretty hectic. Not all that much time in the office, mostly out meeting people, working with them and collecting bits and pieces I needed.

Been a while since an update, so I forget when some of this happened, but one day, Dave and myself went to meet Carl, Quiza (one of Mongolia’s greatest rappers) and BX(a great young r&b singer) for a bit of Street Karaoke recording. Carl’s works for amnesty and has been organising a free concert (right outside my house basically) with some of Mongolia’s biggest acts, to promote human rights. We’re helping to promote it through the tv show and website, while Carl’s been setting up meetings for us to record lines of some of the performers singing ‘Power to the People’. Quiza and BX were doing a radio interview, which got delayed, so we hung out with Quiza and waited for BX to show. When he did, it was hilarious. He met us, got the situation explained, then launched straight into his lines, goofing around for the camera.
Got another small illustration done, which I’ll scan and put up soon. Keeping the hands and mind busy while working on the art skills and techniques, in preparation for some artistic work I’d like to do when I get back. No solid plans for the future, but I think I’d go insane without a creative outlet.

Interesting week ahead. A few engagements early in the week and work should keep me busy, fixing the problem from Friday and some more intersting stuff.

Keeping busy

I’ve been spending a lot of time over the last couple of weeks drawing and playing around with art and illustrations. There are several projects and ideas that have been keeping me motivated. I’ve been reading Scott McCloud’s ‘Making Comics’, Peter O’Donnel’s ‘Modesty Blaise’, Will Eisner’s ‘The Spirit’ archives and a few other things, providing great inspiration.

There should be more soon, but here are some I’ve already scanned:

butterflies harpoon whosehouse

Long weekend ahead and nothing planned, for a good reason, which I won’t divulge right now. Tomorrow is Children and Mother’s Day, so if I’m not feeling like a hermit, I might get out and see what’s happening. There should be stuff going on in Sukhbaatar Square and the Children’s Park which, if I attend, should yield some good photos.

Work has been busier, thus more interesting over the last week, since I conjured up a few things to keep myself busy. Lots of errands to run and things to get done, so I’d better run for now.

Who says I’m afraid of looking foolish?

Had some fun over the weekend. A lot of time spent paying with art/illustration, which I’ll get to later, but for now; the partying.

Saturday night was Dave’s birthday and the aim was to start at their house and move onto karaoke. There were several iterations of this plan, but since karaoke dvds couldn’t be found in time, we tried to find a karaoke venue after some warm-up drinking and eating. This should have been easy, since there are karoke bars on nearly every block of this city, but they were all either not appropriate for our numbers or full. After wandering around in the brisk night air for a while, we gave up and headed back for more drinking, then kicked off the karaoke without dvds. This just meant singing over songs with a mic, without the words on a screen. This was somewhat succesful and I tried my hand at a few number, the more successful of those being Faith No More songs, which I know all the words to.

Less succesfull was my first attempt, when Dave put ‘Satisfaction’ (Stones version) on and forced the mic into my hand. I couldn’t remember all the words, so itwas a pretty poor attempt, but here’s me doing Mick. I did the strut, but there were no shots of that.

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There’ll be some illustrations and sketches up soon, but for now, another silly photo of me, which I’ll probably use as an icon in various places. Yes, I have some facial hair at the moment. It’ll probably be gone soon.

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Catch up

Been a while. Sorry about that. It’s not like I’ve been terribly busy or anything, just had other stuff on my mind.

Anyway, here’s a bit of what I’ve been up to.

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Things have been pretty good here. Aside from today, the weather has lovely and warm. Actually, I lie. There was one day a few weeks ago that had everything, including this very brief but heavy snowstorm:

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On Sunday, I went for a great hike with Carl and Ghana, up the mountain behind Zaisun. We headed straight up the mountain, then along the ridge and found a nice plateau. After a bit more climbing, we decided to head back down the valley, the only problem being, we didn’t find the valley, so we ended up going back down the side of the mountain. More fun that way anyway.

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Egads, this is a struggle. More when the words flow freely.

Eagles are bastards and the tale of the lost shoes

One day, I went out by myself to several places along the Enodin train line, not far from Fujisawa. It’s one of the oldest train lines in Japan, which they run old style trains on, and the route is nice and scenic, going through small towns, along the beach and through lots of greenery. Anyway, at the end of the line is Kamakura, where I got off to go and see a great temple in a park.

While I was there, I got pretty hungry and decided to grab something quickly from the 7-11 on the way back to the station. Walking out, eating my weird hot-dog thing, I heard and felt a rush of wind. I looked at my hand to discover that the thing I was eating was gone and I was left holding the empty packet. Looking around, there was a big eagle absconding with my lunch. Incredible accuracy to come from behind and pinch my lunch without even touching me. All I felt was the rush of wind.

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Another day, I decided to head down to the beach, because it like being a nice day and I wanted to try to swim if it was warm enough. I jogged down to get nice and warm, predicting (correctly) that the water would be freezing. It’s a good half hour run, or 45min walk. The closer I got the shittier the weather.

By the time I hit the beach, it was overcast and blowing a gale, so rather than chill on the beach and get sandblasted, I went to Enoshima Island to climb around the rocks. This wasn’t the most clever idea, since the seas were huge and dangerous looking, it was windy and kind of cold, but there was nobody around and I wanted to make the trip worthwhile. On the way back, I thought I’d find somewhere to sit and watch the impressive seas along the break wall made of these big oddly shaped concrete things.

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So, I set my shoes down on what I thought would be a safe spot and went looking for somewhere good to sit. Suddenly, even though it was already bloody windy, an even bigger gust came along and knocked my shoes off their perch, down into the water underneath the break wall. I tried to chase them, but there a strong current sucked them away, with no hope of recovery. So, I ended up walking gingerly back to Lepa’s shoeless, along a gravelly bike path, getting very odd looks from locals. I had another pair of shoes back at her place and decided it would be better to brave the walk back sans shoes, rather than wandering into a shop without shoes and trying to buy another pair, not being able to explain why I had none on me in Japanese.

Busy times ahead, so more when I can…

He returns

Arrived back from Japan last night to a lovely welcome. I’ll write more soon about the trip and so on, but for now just letting you know that the first batch of photos are now on flickr. Several batches still to come.

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/sejibodo/

Just for a teaser, there’ll be stories about losing shoes, having lunch stolen by an eagle, getting lost, hanging out in Kyoto, geishas and a funny old professor man. Fun times. Thanks Lepa!
Good to be back in UB and back at work with plenty to do. Weather is marvellous here right now. Warm, sunny, no need for jackets.

Japan bound

In case I forgot to mention this earlier, I’m off to Japan for just over a week visiting my friend Lepa. Good times ahead…

As far as Mongolia goes, the lovely random spring weather is in full swing, with strong cold winds, sunshine, rain, snow and whatever else you can think of. Keeps you on your toes. This also means we’re actually starting to see greenery here and last week, the motorbikes came out, which I haven’t really seen since I’ve been here. There are more people outside more off the time and people are using the playgrounds and basketball courts that are abundant.
Workwise, I managed to get everything sorted, so am feeling a bit more relaxed. This isn’t to say I got everything done, but most things are done and everything else is cool for now.

I leave with a new piece for the illustration project and a couple of stupid photos of me. One I took because I was bored, the other was in my winter clothing again when it decided to be cold and snow again earlier this week. Of course, it’s cropped, so you can’t see the big jacket, but you get the point.

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Yak filming!

Many new photos on my flickr, because we went to film an episode of VoiceBox with some yak herders in Terelj. I was a little snap happy, partly because of the yaks and goats, partly because I was taking some for a friend from work who runs a tour company, and partly because my camera was working.

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It was a great day. After hitting the road and waiting for Bolor, we arrived at the camp of some friends of my boss, who had hooked the whole thing up. I regretted having breakfast, because we were fed tons when we arrived. The home made huushur (fried thing with meat in it) was tasty indeed.

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After the lovely feed, we headed off to the yak farm, passing on the way as group of schoolkids on a trip, one of which had hair like Coolio. The filming went off well in the end, because we found someone who spoke good enough English to give an interview after the guy we were supposed to got nervous about giving an interview in English.

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More stories soon, but for now I must run because I have frisbee tonight.

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Read the descriptions on flickr for some snippets…

randomfilmcrew updownyakhorns davecave

http://flickr.com/photos/sejibodo

New drawings, plans in the making and other ramblings on

I got plenty of time to doodle and draw over the last week, so some of that’s now on my flickr. Observe:

standingscene trainthing mountainsriverblossom cloudexperiment hillsclouds hmmm

In other news, I am going to Japan to visit my friend Lepa in a couple of weeks, which promises to be exciting. We’re planning and scheming various activities, which I’m so happy about I might just fall over. I’m going to make it to the beach and see the ocean. Maybe even swim in it. This is painfully cool, having been stuck in a landlocked country for the last 6 months.

This weekend holds in store activities involving yaks. I’ll elaborate later and hopefully show pictures, but for now it’s more fun to tease. Ha!

For a little cultural background, just so you know, all Mongolian names mean something. I know most Western names are supposed to mean something too, but they’re long forgotten meanings that you have to dig up in obscure books or some such, so that doesn’t count. I mean names that translate as Beautiful Girl, Mountain Stream and so on. Yesterday, I was told that the name for stomach, innards, guts, offal, etc. is also used as a name here. Imagine calling your kid Guts. Fantastic. (*Edit. The word is actually spelled slightly differently, so it doesn’t mean offal. Unfortunately I don’t the true meaning yet…)
A Mongolian photographer added me as a contact on flickr the other day. His photos are great and in amongst them I found a picture of two dogs eating another dead dog; something I am yet to see here, but doesn’t surprise me, given the harsh climate in winter and the amount of dogs you see randomly roaming the streets. The other day, on the way to meet someone, I did see a dead puppy, far from the first dead dog I’ve seen here.

I got sidetracked. The dude’s photos are great and on the whole pretty light. If you really want to you can find the cannibalistic dog photo, but otherwise it shouldn’t be too hard to avoid.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mongol/ (I may not agree with the small dog thing)
Looking at his stuff also led me to another Mongolian photographer (in France), who also has some great photos.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ninjin/

Back from the Dead

I’ve finally triumphed over yet another sickness and am once again back in the world of the healthy. This one sucked and took me out for most of last week; the second week long illness in a month. It was weird. Very tired and achey, with constant headaches, but not really any other symptoms. I did develop a cough later on, when everything else was starting to clear up.

Enough of that though. It’s over now. I had a great weekend, mainly because I got out hiking for the first time since I’ve been here. It was myself, Sunaree, Joe and Suzie, and we just went for a walk up a valley in the hills behind the Zaisun Memorial, which is just south of town. It’s a nice area to hike through, because it doesn’t take long to get to, there trees and it’s still frozen. The clean air is always nice too.

upvalley joetree2 bluethings

We were looking for a spot that the others had been to before, which is an area where there’s a natural spring that at some point in the year spews forth water and freezes over in the winter, creating these big, icy areas. We passed it by on the way up, but found it on the way back, so we rushed over and proceeded to try to climb up it, so we could slide down. Of course, climbing up slopes of ice isn’t that easy, so there was a fair amount of sliding around and clinging tenaciously to trees.

slidingsunaree treeice3 treeice1

By the end, most, if not all of us had wet arses, because parts of it were melting on top. Most of us fell over to some degree, but luckily there were no injuries.

UBthroughtrees slippery joesuzie

I was exhausted by the time we got back to town, because I was still recovering from illness, but after eating and sleeping like a log, I was ok for frisbee last night and don’t hurt today, so all is well.

gercamp

I hope we can make this a regular gig.

Camels and new toys

So I was on my way to work yesterday, walking past Sukhbaatar Square and what do I see? Upwards of fifty camels and people in polo gear milling about and riding them.

Sunday was Soldier’s Day and there was a camel polo tournament just out of town somewhere. I had also heard there was a camel festival on the weekend, but that was the extent of my knowledge. What I had come across was a parade for the teams in the tournament. Everyone was just hanging around, not doing much, then all of a sudden they got organised and lined and up and did a lap of the square, then one more, finishing near the steps of the opera house.

What followed were some speaches and traditional songs. It was all so bizarre and incredible. Heaps of old guys hanging around dressed in really cool dels (Mongolian traditional coats/jackets) and hats too. I was unprepared for standing around outside for an hour, so I got cold and left while the speaches were still going, but the bulk of the action was over by then anyway. That was certainly the most impressive thing I’ve seen on my way to work though. Unfortunately, my camera ran out of juice after 3 photos, so they weren’t very impressive, but here they are regardless of quality:

Camels more camels camelpolo

On the weekend, I also picked up some new art supplies, since I’m trying to get more done and I have this illustration gig to work on in my spare time. I’ve never worked with nibs before, but had a little play and decided they have their uses, even for a lefty like myself. Because I’m drawing with them, not writing, it’s ok. Good for precise, intricate work, where I’ve been using brushes, which can be fiddly and prone to screw-ups in that situation. Playing with the tech pen was nice too, because it gives a very consistent line, which is good for certain styles and effects. Observe the experiments:

girlhead dudeheadup dudehead

tech pen — nib — nib

I’m all moved in and settling into the new place nicely. I suppose I should take some pics of the new digs, but since I didn’t get around to taking proper ones of the old place, don’t expect them anytime soon.

It’s warming up here and everything’s melting. Walking around is more hazardous than usual, because there are random puddles, patches of melting ice and mud all over the place. Things are squishy.

New Place

I have found a new apartment and will be moving in soon. Yesterday was exhausting. Went to work in the morning, then headed home and packed all my stuff. I spent the rest of the afternoon walking around town, looking at apartments with a real estate agent (a really funny and friendly guy). The last place we looked at was the best. Close to where I am now, nice place and pretty well decked out. Also seems pretty safe and the landlord was a nice lady. Then I moved all my stuff out (to Dave’s new place til I can move into the new one) and gave the keys back to our old landlord. Exhausted.

Work’s going well now and we’ll be filming some stuff tonight and tomorrow. Should be a great episode this week, which Dave shot in Australia while he was there for a wedding, and edited yesterday.

drinkingmoon_s

This has got to be the quote of the week for me: “…perhaps – some years from now – the first radioactive space stocking will ride up Earth’s magnetic field and head for the planets”

It’s the last line of the article, so if you want to know what it’s about, read the whole thing. Might not be available for long though.

Weird times and some amusements

Things are a bit crazy for me right now, as I’m still trying to find a new place to live and making moving preparations and so on. Work is luckily not too busy right now, so at least that gives me some time to think and sort things out. Explanations would be too long, tedious and embarrasing, so let’s just say I screwed something up. Should all be sorted out in a few days.

Otherwise, some illustrations are in the works and a holiday is in planning, which I’m starting to feel the need for more and more.
And now some links. Firstly, the comic relief that is American politics.

This is a harsh, but hilarious story from the Onion:
“Hillary Clinton Tries To Woo Voters By Rescinding Candidacy”

This is even funnier, because it’s true:

“Priests to purify site after Bush visit”

And now for an article about robots and ethics. How could that not be interesting?

“Robotic age poses ethical dilemma”

inmymemory_s

Freezing Again

After those snow dumps late last week it’s turned back into winter, which should last a couple of week I’m told. Bloody freezing.

I’m over this cold/sinus infection I had, so am now back at work, having a pretty quite week. I expect it to crank up again massively in a couple of weeks, when I’ll get the details on a new job.

Other than catching up on watching lots of things, I’ve gotten the chance to do a little more art recently, and more importanly, the chance to scan some of the recent stuff, which is now up on my flickr. Some of it’s for work purposes, some for another project which I can’t remember if I mentioned, but will (again) later. Naturally, some of it’s just for fun. Explanations on flickr.
weirdpage_s spaceship_s skylineink_s mcpencil_s dudeink

That’s all for now, but should be more soon. If I’m in the mood, one of these days I’ll write up and post some ruminations on things and other random thoughts. For now, I’ll just keep you up to date.

Weekend catch-up

This weekend was good, but would’ve been far better had I not been sick the whole bloody time. Friday night we went out and stayed the night at Bolor’s family’s summer cottage type thing, just half an hour north of town. A lovely wooden 2 storey place. It was all nice and snowy. Took many hours to heat the place, so we were in our big coats the whole time, but that was part of the fun. That, the drinking and the games. Did feel like crap and pass out early though. Ah well.

colourfulcottages cows icebooger dog sv300002

Saturday night was a going away party for some friends, which was also good times. Talked to heaps of people, which may not have helped my throat because it was already crap and I had to keep repeating myself to be understood.

On Sunday, I finally made it out to do some shopping and am currently listening to some new Mongolian music I picked up on that expedition.

Today, I attended the launch of the Khan Bank Foundation, who gave us some money for the project. It was good event; met some interesting people working on interesting projects, watched Altan Urag play a couple of songs (a great band sponsored by Khan Bank) and ate some nice food. There were lots of cameras around, so I might appear in the background on the news. I was also approached by a lady from Mongol National to be interviewed for a show about foreigners living in Mongolia. I gave her my card and assume I’ll end up doing it, because I’m a pushover. Slightly disconcerting.

I have a couple of options for new places to live, which I’ll check out and decide on very soon. Looks like I’ll be living solo, so I’ll post some pics of the new pad when I have one and move in.

Big meeting tomorrow afternoon, which should hopefully have some good outcomes for the show. It’ll at least stimulate some different thinking and should help us make the teaching side of it more useful. Should be some interesting people to meet too, who could give us some welcome advice.

Something hilarious happened this afternoon that had me laughing for ages.

Just near our apartment, there’s this intersection that gets gridlocked nearly every afternoon, usually around 4ish, for several hours. I’m talking serious gridlock where nobody can move and it seems to happen for no good reason. You’ll hear ten people all getting on their horns at once and it’s like that on and off for a couple of hours. The cafe I frequent for their free wireless internet is just near that intersection and when I’m near the window there at the right time, I hear all the horns and chuckle.

So, after this launch, Dave and I got dropped off near home. We jumped out early because we could see the driver would get caught in this messy intersection, which was already ridiculous at 2pm. Dave’s heading back to Australia for 2 weeks for a wedding and he was supposed to be getting picked up at 3:15 at our place to go to the airport. 3:30 rolled around and we were getting a little worried, and a little confused by something I won’t bother explaining. Dave called our boss to see what was happening and she called the driver and got back to Dave. Apparently it had taken him an hour to get to our place from literally about 2 blocks away.

Dave plans to get some footage of that intersection one day so we can show others the hilarity and absurdity. It really needs to be done and photos would do it no justice, if only for the missing horn factor.

Alright, I’d better go and deal with food now, because it’s almost 9 and I haven’t even thought about dinner yet.

Tsagaan Sar, Wrestling and Things

Think I gave myself a bit of a cold running around outside too much yesterday. I was running late for almost everything I did yesterday, so I ran everywhere I had to be, which my body didn’t seem to be too happy about today. Ah well, should clear up soon, then I can enjoy the big weekend that’s planned ahead. There’ll be pics and posts about that too, no doubt.

Let’s see, I believe it was Saturday morning that we went out to a music studio to meet Mongolian rapper Quiza, to talk about having on our show. That was really cool, because he was actually recording a new single while we were there, so we got to watch him record some verses. Very cool track which samples a 1920’s Russian communist propoganda song. Quiza’s one of the only Mongolian rappers who raps about real life, politics and social issues. He’s a really interesting guy and if I can get some translations of his raps off Benj, I might post them here.

recording filmingquiza1 filming

From there we headed out to see some Mongolian wrestling. It was the 2nd biggest tournament of the year, behind the Nadaam Festival one. It took a while to understand what was happening, because they don’t have a conventional ring or mat where 2 wrestlers go one on one. I can’t remember the numbers or the rounds, but basically they throw heaps of them in at once, pair them up and wait for them all to finish. Winners go to the next round and it works it’s way down from there til there’s only 2 left. I don’t know their actual names, but the 2 in the final were dubbed Tower and Boob. Obviously Tower is just massively tall and powerful and Boob has humungous pecs. Tower won, but did himself a injury on the way. Very dramatic. It was a really interesting thing to watch, because there’s a lot of ceremony involved. The wrestlers have to do certain things when they enter the ring. The officials hold their hats while they compete and the hats have tails on them, with different stripes signify the number of competitions they’ve won. There’s also a ceremony to be done when they win, which involves doing a bit of an eagle dance, a little thing with the person they defeated, their hat’s replaced, then they do a lap around a sort of monument thing, then see monks who give them tea and goodies to throw into the crowd. When competing, the wrestlers can go anywhere in the arena, so they often run into each other, officials, monks, photographers or whoever’s in their way. The officials try to keep them in check and make sure they don’t do any damage. There’s also a lot of butt-slapping, which I think is a hurry-up, but haven’t got a proper explanation for. Funny though. Oh, and do I need to mention the costumes? They speak for themselves:

wrestlingwide wrestlingnewround wrestlingblurry

Saturday night was a big party at our place for Cath, because she’s leaving us very soon. Huge party no less. Gargantuan. Mighty. Well, there were several vomiters, many people making out by the end of the night (2nd hand info because I’d already gone to bed, reasons for which follow), a broken door and a dog left behind. It was a great party and people had lots of fun, vodka and there was dancing all night. I ended up going to bed because I was angry about the dog thing (some people we didn’t know brought a stray dog to our party and left without it), then I was summoned to the bathroom to help get someone out who got locked in and they ended up smashing their way out. After another minor debacle, I just said “Fuck this, I’m going to bed” and walked off. Literally.

The next morning was the first day of Tsagaan Sar, the Mongolian/Asian/Lunar New Year. Basically you go around and visit your closest family and friends, in order of age and importance. Everyone makes hundreds, if not a thousand buuz (Mongolian dumplings), which you have to eat many of at every house you visit. You also have to drink lots of vodka and depending on the household, airag, the fermented mare’s milk drink. There are a lot of really interesting customs and traditions involved, mostly to do with greeting elders and so on. I won’t go into any of these because I don’t know enough, but some involve, in no particular order, a tower of bread/cake, a big, cooked, fatty sheep’s back, snuff and knives. I went around with my friend Toko, who used to work at ESP, and visited his grandfather and other relatives. It was really interesting, but I did feel a bit ill by the end and couldn’t really face doing it again the next day, when I probably should’ve. I relaxed instead.

Videos Online and some Well Wishes

So, if anyone’s interested in seeing what the show’s like and their internet’s fast enough, check out the media section of the VoiceBox website here:

http://voiceboxtv.org/index.php/category/media/

I’m even in one of them, explaining how to do Dave’s contortion trick while he stuggles with it. It’s kind of weird.

http://voiceboxtv.org/index.php/2007/02/14/daves-trick-video/

You’ll notice I’m using YouTube for it, because the hosting for the site is limited, so I don’t want to store videos on the site itself. They’re also very convenient to display right on the site, so that helps too.

Tsagaan Sar, the Mongolian/Lunar New Year is this weekend and I don’t really know what I’m doing. It’s a big family thing where you go around and visit all the people most important to you and eat lots of buuz (steamed dumplings) and drink lots of vodka.
Tonight there are several options for parties, events and bars to go and things to see. I still don’t know what I’m doing, but no doubt it should be fun.

Tomorrow night, party at our place because Cath just got a job in Melbourne and will be leaving in a few short weeks. This also means that Dave and I will be moving out of the massive 6th floor apartment, rather than looking for someone to move in with us. Don’t know what I’ll do, but need to sort it out soon. Might live on my own if I can afford to.

And now, I want everyone reading this to head over to the forum and wish my mum a happy birthday for Fri 16th Feb. Click below:

Sledding pics

Those pictures I mentioned in the last post are now online. I finally managed to steal them off Dave’s camera, shrink them and upload them. So much fun. Such great pictures. Pity I can’t take credit for them.

IMG_1756 airborne mefinger 3amigos3

And more…

Sledding and Launch

This weekend was great. Firstly I got rather drunk at a gypsy themed party on Saturday night and danced like a fool a lot. Punch and jelly shots make for a fun night. I was an awful gypsy, because I didn’t really have the time, wardrobe or, to be totally honest, inclination to dress up appropriately. Usually I’d make more of an effort, but it’d been a long day.

We went dog sledding on Sunday, which was wicked fun. Noemi, a French girl we’re friends with, works for a tour company that runs dog sledding on frozen river and lakes in Mongolia during the winter. They’re the only people who do it and it’s an incredible experience. You stand on the sleds and control the speed yourself. I’m still amazed I managed not to have a proper stack. I almost lost it a few times, but managed to hold on. The closest call was when we were going over part of the river that had partially defrosted an inch or two on the top (it’s been unseasonably warm for the last week or so). I slipped off a little, but managed to get back on, but because my feet got a little wet and we were on really slippery ice with no snow cover, my feet didn’t stay on, so I was sliding along on the soles of my shoes, rather than on the sled. Jumped back on ok though, so all good. I got some pictures on flickr now, but my camera died early, so I’ll put some of Dave’s up soon. They’re pretty cool, because the dude that runs the company was leading us and he borrowed Dave’s camera to take action shots of us all.

In the meantime, here are some of my not so cool ones:

takeoff dogs tree

Had a bit of a frustrating day sorting things out with this banner design for the official (belated) launch of the TV show yesterday. It’s all paid off now, because it got back from the printers this afternoon and it looks pretty cool. I’ve never had my work printed that big before; the freaking thing’s 1.2 x 1.8m. I’ll make sure I get a photo of myself in front of it once it’s up. The launch is tomorrow and it show be good fun. Got some press coming, some embassy staff from the US and British embassies, sponsors and potential sponsors and random friends. I’ll be sure to get some photos of that too.

It’s been very busy times recently, which is why I’ve been pretty quiet on the site and forum. Looks like it’ll continue that way for a while, which is good, because I like being busy.

Anyway, there’ll be more soon, when I get Dave’s pics from sledding and some from the launch.

Happy Straya Day!

Indeed. We had a good one for Australia Day here. For starters, we all got the day off. In the morning we went and visited a school for disabled kids, played games with them, sang songs and told them about Australia. It was pretty cool. The kids were funny.

Next we went and had lunch (generously paid for by the program) at a Mongolian Barbequeue place, complete with beer and a complimentary vodka shot. After the lovely luncheon, we all split up, then met back at Sukhbaatar Square for a game of cricket. Awesome fun. I ran around as much as possible to keep warm, which worked pretty well. Took some good catches, bowled pretty badly and batted dismally. The bat was lent to us by Dave of Dave’s Pub, an Enlishman well known around these parts, particularly for the weekly quiz. So, after the game we headed down there and had a few beers, which naturally turned into a few more.

We were there for quite a while, but I left for an hour on a money mission, so I wasn’t nearly as drunk as some of the others. This didn’t stop me from singing along loudly to Queen songs with Andy, the new teacher at ESP. Pretty soon after that we moved on to another place, where a friend of a friend was having a birthday party. A little more drinking and some dancing and we moved on again. Good times. I managed to escape at about 2ish and woke up a bit tired, but not hungover at all.

All in all a bloody good Australia Day.

Only got a few pictures of the cricket and nothing else. Apologies.

cricketsquare4 cricketsquare3 cricketsquare2 squarecricket1

Also recently on my flickr, an ice monkey and a Mongolian burn crew tag that’s been burnt.

Here’s me as of about half an hour ago:

menowishhand.jpg

And here’s me looking stupid.

singing2.jpg

Enjoy!

Happy Straya Day!

Fatlip

So, last night at ultimate frisbee I copped a stray elbow in the mouth, giving me this lovely fat lip. Total accident, as I ran into someone on my own team while we were going for the same catch, so I feel a little silly. Scared the crap out of me when it happened because I thought it might have done something to a tooth, but it calmed down and I soldiered on, playing a couple more games.

The lip’s not that bad. It’s already gone down a little since last night, but what sucks is that I bit my tongue when it happened too, and that’s a bit painful on occasion.

lipstupid.jpglipclose.jpglip3.jpg Do I look stupid enough?

Just a quick regarding a funny week

It’s been a pretty weird week for me, with many random things happening at work. I spent a good portion of Wednesday, I think it was, watching tapes of Miss Mongolia, timecoding the cool bits to use in our show. she was one of the guests this week. I missed the filming of that episode because I had other things to do and I was in a bad mood. I know some of you are terribly disappointed in me.

That same moring I was handed a script for something I had no idea about. I found out the next morning that it was for a tape to accompany a textbook that teaches English for lawyers. The funniest part was that I found out about it maybe an hour and half before myself and Andy (the new English teacher at the school, from London) had to go and record it. Did have a good time doing it though. I really enjoy voiceovers for some reason, but video cameras make me nervous.

Now I’m off to see a hip-hop convert tonight. Better go actually, or I won’t have enough time to get ready. More soon…

Di Show

The second episode of VoiceBox has now gone to air, and it’s all getting pretty exciting here. I had another cameo in episode 2, and was pleasantly surprised to find I didn’t make as complete a fool out of myself as I had thought. Hooray!

I am trying to work on getting some clips from the show online, but it’s proving difficult because MNB don’t really archive anything or keep stuff on their computers, so I need to transfer from tape and there are other complications.

We’ll be filming episodes 4 and 5 over the next few days, because our cameraman is going away to do some work in the countryside.

We’re starting to get feedback about the show and the website too. When I got into work today, the first thing I did was check the email address for the show (voiceboxtv{at}gmail{dot}com) and there were a couple of emails from viewers already. They were really positive. People in Mongolia are really keen to learn English, so I’ve found people are really interested in the show.

Over the weekend, amongst other things, got a forum installed and working for the VoiceBox site. It’s the same kind of format as my forum, but I’m still working on a few things before I tell people about it.

Sorry this one’s all about work, but that’s what I’ve been doing. Wish I had more stuff to show, but I haven’t had time for taking pictures or drawing things.

In non-work related news, I was told this week is predicted to be the coldest of the year. I think it’s around -20 maximums. It’s not even a cold winter this year.

IT’S (A)LIVE!

Yes indeed. As promised, now that I have finally moved the site to it’s proper server, (after many trials and tribulations) I shall give you the link. Observe:

http://voiceboxtv.org

voicemouthlogo.gif

It was an absolute nightmare trying move the site, for reasons I needn’t go into. I was incredibly frustrated yesterday, but now that’s all sorted I’m happy again. Hooray! Still heaps of things to do with it, including translating some into Mongolian, which I should be doing tomorrow (with help of course).
The day before that was a ton of fun, because we were filming episodes 2 and 3 of the show. It was really exciting to wander in and see the set that they’d built for us for the first time.

Episode 2 features an interview with an ex-contortionist; a lovely girl called Nomin. Unfortunately, she had hurt her back and couldn’t demonstrate anything for us, but luckily Dave had a weird trick to entertain the masses. I almost ended up being the demonstrator of the trick, because although it’s his trick, I was better at it, so they wanted me to do it. I was saved when we got there because Ariun, the producer, thought it would be weird to have some random dude come on to do the trick, so she made Dave do it. Unfortunately, she did have other plans for me, so I’m still on the show, probably looking like a complete tool.

Episode 3, we shot part of in the studio, then went to interview a popular radio DJ, Uuganaa, doing his thing at the station at 9:30 that night. Very cool guy, and only 17. He’s on his own at the station, doing everything by himself for 4 hours every night, finishing at 1am. Studies too.

And now I’m off to scan some stuff and take it to Dave, who’s editing the shows at Mongol National right now.

Check out the new photos of the last 2 days on my flickr, or click on the thumbnails below:

SV300024 SV300027 SV300030 SV300040 SV300043 SV300044

And in more good news, I have just added the RSS feed for this site onto the forum, so you can discuss any gibberish I splurt out here, over there. If you so desire, that is.

Neglectfulness

Sorry I haven’t updated for a while, but much has been happening lately.

Anyone who has had any contact with me over the New Year will know that my New Year’s Eve sucked. A lot. I was sick with a stomach bug, so I spent most of the night at home in close proximity to a toilet or lying down feeling ill. I did valiantly venture out for about an hour, but wasn’t the life of the party to say the least and had to be walked home. I passed out and missed all the drunkenness and fireworks that promised to be so much fun. Video of the event from the people I was planning to go with provided entertainment the following morning and was just as messy, if not more so than I was anticipating.

I am well now, and have been for several days. Eating is great. I can drink beer and coffee again too.

Work is keeping me busy, in good ways and not so good. Good being many new ideas and suggestions and things to do, which came out of a really good meeting the day I came back from my illness. It was nice and re-invigorating. Not so good is having trouble sorting out the hoosting and moving the entire site from it’s temporary hosting on my account, to the new hosting which we just set up. Proving much harder than I was hoping, but should be all good. Should.

In other news, I present some new photos of me looking like an idiot. Having a camera on your computer can be dangerous when you’re excessively bored and silly. Somehow greayscale decreases the stupidity of them. I offer no explanations or evidence for this statement.

Hopefully I’ll have some real pictures soon, but I haven’t been out of the house much of late and when I have been I’ve been working.

I’ll post the link to the Voicebox site when I’ve moved it to the new hosting. I could show you now, but I’m being difficult.

grrr.jpgidiotgrin.jpgpointing.jpg

Joyful festive goodness and all that!

It’s that time of year again, and this should be the weirdest one yet. The lead-up’s been strange enough already. Parties and random evenings of drinking all week, most completely unplanned, which have been distracting from the huge amounts of work, thus making things a little harder. All good fun though.

The work Christmas party was last night, which was an interesting affair. Mongolians celebrate Christmas rather differently. Still lots of drinking and food, but many weird games and competitions and dancing. It was an incredibly long night too, dragging on til damn near 4am, so it was rather exhausting. I had some really good conversations with some of the teachers though, so that was great. I’ll try to get some of Dave’s photos from the night soon.

Tonight’s going to be a big party with some great people in the best party house in town, so that should be fun. Tomorrow’s shaping up to be good too, with a champagne breakfast with the rest of the Australian volunteers, then afternoon/evening food and drinking at our place. Really looking forward to that because we’ve got people coming along bringing much food and merriment.

Somewhere in amongst all of this I’ll have to get some work done, because the show goes to air at 6:30 Christmas day (tomorrow!) and there’s some frigging around withthe site that needs to be done because this week’s been insane trying to get stuff done. Boss was away in China and so on…

Hope you all have a great Christmas! Much merriment and festivities and drinking and presents and food and stuff.

Cheers Everybody!

meborgioprofile.jpg

Festive Noise

This one’s especially good for those of you who’ve ever hear any of Patrick’s music for any multimedia projects. You’ll know what I’m talking about.

This music (if you can call it that) is from a Christmas tree outside a restaurant kind of near my house. I walked past it one day and heardf this noise and instantly thought, “I’ve got to come back and record that some time”. So, the other day, I was headed that way and those sweet sounds wafted my way, so I stopped by and recorded a whole minute of it, which I present to you now, in true spirit of the season:

festivenoise.mp3

I may or may not get around to rewriting that post about our first shoot. For now, I should be working on the website to launch it by Christmas.

Oh, and I almost forgot to show you the perpetrator from which these sounds emanate constantly:

MarcoPoloTree

Well now I’m just angry.

Just wrote a monster post about our first shoot this weekend and was practically done, when Firefox died on me and lost fucking everything. Argh!

Try again later when I’m not so irate. Should get back to work now anyway, since I got practically nothing done for the website this weekend.

Check out the pictures from the shoot that I just put on flickr. They were in the monster post, but now you’ll have to settle for looking on flickr and getting the stories later.

http://flickr.com/photos/sejibodo

Grrr. More soon.

Cranking up

Updates may become more sporadic, because work’s just gotten a whole lot more interesting, and by interesting I mean really freaking busy.

The contract with the TV station has finally been signed, so now we need to produce the first episode of the show by next Friday with an intended airing date of Boxing day. This also means the website should be up by then, so the next few weeks will be a mad dash of filming, editing and web-nerding. We’ll do a little filming this Friday, with any luck. The rest of the filming for the first episode will be done on Sunday and Monday, with the remaninder of that week for editing. Last night we had our Mongol National TV counterpart around to sort out details of the first episode and other things. Dave spent today writing the script and I’m sure whatever it was I did all day was useful in some way. I do know what I was doing, but the details would bore.

So, wish us luck and I’ll be keeping in touch as much as possible.

Should be uploading some pics of random events courtesy of Dave in the next few days. I kept forgetting that I had them. Oops.

Things are improving

This is not in regards to my life (although that could apply too), but in regards to Australian politics.

I present to you the new shadow minister for environmental issues, heritage, the arts and so forth; Peter Garrett:

Awesome

This news pleases me greatly.

Now I must go, for I’ve been sitting here far too long.

Work, life, things

For those interested, I just posted my most recent designs/ideas on the Forum, in the Work an’ Tings thread.

Spent a portion of the week hanging around a music studio while a dude worked on our theme song, which is now complete. Last night there was a Mongolian hip-hop group recording some stuff and some music vid footage in the studio. Rapping sounds crazy in Mongolian. The other day, we went there with kid from Cath’s school who does beatboxing, which was really cool. Shy kid and pretty damn good, but he’s going to be awesome when his voice breaks.

Other than that, Cerin’s sort-of Birthday thing on Wednesday night, with the real thing happening this evening. Visited a couple of really cool bars for the Wed thing, one of which reminded me of A Clockwork Orange, minus the lady-shaped furniture.

The other great thing this week was the snow. Sliding around on frozen puddles is fun. That and marble. Oh, yes. Innocent fun.

I’m sure there’ll be more news soon. Til then, more piccies.
mural_mosaic graf4 cowandgraf

New Stuff

A rather uneventful weekend for me, but I did manage to get some art done, so it was a nice change.

Not much to report really. Work’s chugging along ok apart from the busted vent that steamed out the whole basement and caused some damage. The place smells a bit mouldy, but upstairs, where I work, was unaffected. Design ideas are coming together, despite not being sure of how I’ll put the whole thing together. One thing at a time.

rockface_wc apedudewatercolour roadscene ventsteam

Weekend business

So, thanks to all who’ve headed over to the forum and joined in. I’m very pleased with the reaction so far. You all rock.

On the forum so far:

Weekend Shenanigans. To discuss the forthcoming debauchery.

Books, Films, Music. Self explanitory.

Di Internets. Tell me what you’re looking at online.

Work an’ Tings. Just put a few sketches up there and I’m talking about the project there. Opinions welcome. Tell me how your work’s chugging along. Show me if possible.

And more…

Can’t remember if I mentioned it here or not, but there’s a ger on a roof near my work. Photo below, along with some drawings. Finally found a scanner. Joy.

GerOnRoof voicebox_drw random2 random1

My Mongtastic Forum

mestache
Yes indeed, I finally got it working. I even made a stupid logo up specially. So head over, get stuck in. I want to hear from ALL of you and really test it out. As I type this I’m making improvements and suggestions are most welcome, nay encouraged.
In other news, there was a rather impressive dump of snow the night before last, so on the way to work I got all exctied and took a few photos. If you haven’t already seen them on my flickr page, click on he thumbnails below. That huge square I’m standing in there is Sukhbaatar Square and the big building that’s being swanked up is the Mongolian Parliament.
SV300003 SV300005 SV300007 SV300008

Bah

Crazy weekend with very little sleep. Some will have gathered that from emails and so on.

First week of work went really well, and I’ll tell you more about that and possibly the weekend when I’ve got some sleep.

I miss having a scanner.

Feel free to pipe up in the comments; I probably need some prodding because I forget to mention things.

A quick one from work.

Anyone who’s thinking of visiting Mongolia should have a look at this site: feltnationtour.com
It’s a tour company run by Batbold, a very funny and enterprising guy from my work.

I’m trying to set up a test forum for this site, because I’m planning to have one for our TV project website. Once I’ve got it working, I’ll let you know and would appreciate people jumping on and posting stuff. I’ll try to make it fun, but first I’ve got to make it work.

Back to it…

Testing

Just got this awesome new plugin for WordPress that should let me easily chuck photos on here from flickr. Let’s how it works.

Terelj73 Terelj74 Terelj83

*Ed. works like a charm and makes my life easier. Thanks to tantannoodles.com

Craziness

The weekend leading up to the start of work has been a great one. As previously stated (or aluded to, or not), the overnight stay in Terelj was magic. As you can see from the dumping on my flickr page, the scenery was spectacular.

The two boys of the family who ran the place were crazy, energetic little scamps who took us sledding down a nearby slope on pieces of masonite. They were always keen for a bit of wrestling too, even having a war sitting on myself and Dave’s shoulders while we ran them around.

I went on a couple of solo walks, climbing up and over rocks and boulders. When I say solo, I actually mean accompanied by one or more of the dogs that the family keep around, who would appear out of nowhere about 10 minutes into a walk/climb and provided great company.

The horse ride was great and I didn’t fall off and injure myself like I was half expecting to. I do have a sore arse, but I’m not sure if that’s form the horses, going over bumps while sledding, wrestling with the kids (they don’t hold back*), or a combination of the above.

Last night was Playtime, a huge Mongolain alternative rock concert. It was insane. There were supposedly about 30 bands playing, of which I saw maybe 15-20. The event ran differently to any other concert I’ve been to. It was all in one hall on one stage and the bands played a maximum of 3 songs each. It was weird at first because you’d want to hear more of the same bands, but in a way it worked, because everyone came on with full energy and pumped out their top tracks.

I was mightily impressed all round. Most bands were either metal or punk and they all played hard. There were some really young bands too; high-schoolers up there thrashing about. I’ll find out some names and get some CDs soon, maybe even put some samples up here. The music scene is intense.

Walking Partner crazy kid and crazy Dave Facerock

*I got strangled with my own scarf and kicked in the nuts lightly.

Terelj again

So yesterday five of us went to Terelj overnight and did some horse riding and many other things. It was great. I’m short of time and rather distracted at the moment, so I’ll give a better report soon. This is mainly to let you know that there’s a ton of new pictures on my flickr.

For now, a panorama from this morning when I went and climbed over some rocks. Enjoy!
Click to enlarge.

Terelj Panorama

More things happening

This week’s been going quite well so far. I’ve been much less busy, so I’ve had a chance to relax and do some drawing and catch up on the internet. Unfortunately I have no access to a scanner, so I can’t post any art unless I take photos of it. I’m sure this is devastating news. Rest assured, when I start work properly on Monday, I won’t have the free time to scratch myself.

Today we had a great meeting at one of the stations we’d met with previously. This was just a follow-up to see what kind of shows they have for children and teenagers. It was great watching the programs with one of the ladies who produces them, and I think that session sparked a few ideas in all of us.

This weekend is going to be fun, whatever happens. There may be another brief countryside trip in store and I should be attending a Mongolian Big Day Out style concert called Playtime on Saturday. Should be great to see some Mongolian bands doing their thing. Watching weird music videos on TV is one thing, but a live gig is another matter entirely. Oh, and if anything falls through, we’re yet to have our proper house-warming party.

The weather’s starting to get into the minuses here. Being out on Saturday and Sunday (particularly spending a while at the black market on Sunday) I could really start to feel it, and that was only around -11. Looks like I’ll have to fit in as much activity as possible before having to really bunk down. I’m not sure if that’s wind howling outside, lunatics doing stupid things with their cars, or some kind of construction work. All are possible, as they can all happen at all hours here.

Bed.

Time for more stories.

So, I’ve finally got a few spare hours and there are many things I should be doing, but they can wait.

The reason I’ve been so busy is that Dave and I have been touring TV studios with the lovely folks from ESPF (our host organisation), trying to get a good deal and get the project off the ground. Catherine layed a ton of foundations for us in her time here, and is still helping out a great deal (she’s back in UB teaching and lives with Dave and myself in our huge pad), but we’ve still got a huge amount of work ahead. It’s going to be a hectic year, but lots of fun too.

It was Reisha’s birthday last night and after a great Indian meal in a big tent restaurant (with a picture of Steven Segal signing near the entrance), we headed to a huge bar where you can buy beer by the liter and vodka by the bottle. I was exhausted, so I only had one (normal beer that is, not a liter) and crashed early.

Today we start language school in the afternoon, which is why I have the time to write this, then Dave and I are checking out the video/multimedia fascilities at the Heath Sciences Uni, which we can apparently use for free.

Tomorrow, our boss is taking us out to the countryside for the day with a few of the staff from ESPF. I’m told Terelj is a beautiful place, and the staff are all great, so it should be a fun little trip.

This morning I was making breakfast to the sound of the garbage truck playing a Mr Whippy style tune, repeated ad nauseum. I turned on the TV to drown it out and there was a girl in pink leotards figure skating to Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing”. UB is a bizarre place.

More soon.

Check di fleekr

Hello. More stories to come shortly, but for now, I’ve just uploaded a ton of photos to my flickr for your enjoyment. I’ll try to tool about with the site soon and see if I can get flickr feeding into this place in an easier way.

UB

Damn it’s been a long time since I hit the net.

Been in Ulaanbaatar for a couple of days now and am getting the feeling I’ll never get used to the place. Yesterday we spent the day piling in and out of a van looking at apartments. We found a big 3 bedroom place in the center of town with a massive living room. The others will be in 2 2 bedroom apartments also quite central.

Had my first taste of airag (fermented mare’s milk) last night and it exceeded all possible expectations of foulness. I was actually quite optimistic before I tasted it, figuring it couldn’t be all that bad if so many people out in the countryside drink it, but it really was horrendous stuff. I never thought a drink could give you flashbacks until this stuff.

Aside from that it was a great night and I suppose I’d better get used to that stuff if I’m going to spend any time outside the city.

Ulaanbaatar is hard place to describe. From the outside many of the buildings look run down and grotty, but inside are quite alright. A lot of them are more colourfully painted than I’d anticipated. The city itself is more modern than I’d thought too. Friday night we visited a great bar in town. The outside was covered in aerosol art while the inside had different decor on nearly every surface; one wall military themed, one wall covered in denim, one wall painted in a South Park motif, and so on. Very cool place with very cheap booze. I’ll return for pictures later.

The booze is cheap everywhere. Spirits are only served in 50 or 100ml shots and cost bugger all. You can get a good bottle of vodka for $10 Australian; $4 for a drinkable bottle, and more varieties than you can poke a stick at.

We had snow on the first night/second day and got woken by a canine dawn chorus. The dogs roam the streets freely and tend to bark nice and early in the morning.

The other great thing about this place is the mountains that surround the city. You can see them from everywhere and they look spectacular now they’re covered in snow. One even has a portrait of Chinggis Khan made out of stones facing the city for the 800th anniversary, but it’s hard to make out now the snow’s there.

More to come shortly.

Oh, and photos from the last couple of weeks on my flickr. Enjoy!

Beijing#2

*Pretend this was posted on Wednesday night, when I first drafted it, but was unable to post.

Howdy Y’all,
I am currently living it up in limbo in Beijing, waiting to ship out to Ulaanbaatar on Friday. We’re staying in a hotel on a uni campus by night and hitting all the tourist spots during the day while the China AYADs are in classes. There’s a bar on campus, which a few of us have been frequenting called the Bla Bla Bar, which seems much like any uni bar. In fact, I’m starting to think all universities are built off the same blue-print and filled with the same kind of people all over the world, with slight variations. There’s a universal university culture and plan.
Sunday we visited the Summer Palace; a beautiful, enormous old place built around a lake by a tyrant empress, overcrowded with tourists. I did see a girl doing model poses there instead of the usual tourist fare, including the sultry look-back, which was hilarious.
Monday we headed into town to sort out visas and do a little shopping; the former being surprisingly easier and less stressful than the latter, which is probably due to my ineptness for bargaining. I did, however, pick up a dodgy b-grade dvd called Octopus II, and plan to acquire more. In the evening we made it out to see a young acrobatic troupe, then wandered around town looking for food and booze. Speaking of booze, the beer here is good, cheap and comes in one size; huge.
Tuesday was Tiannamen Square and the Forbidden City. I have never seen a line so long in my life as the one for seeing the body of Chairman Mao. The Forbidden City is unbelievable in scale. Unfortunately my camera decided to cark it, so I have no pictures from there or the Great Wall, which was the following day (today! At the time of writing).
The Great Wall was amazing. We decided to go on the hardcore bit on a mountain, rather than the flat bit. Hard work, but I think I lived up to my genes and would’ve done my grandfather proud. Rod Fowler, who died before I was born and I’m told I bear a great resemblance to (in character as well as physique), was a medic in PNG during the war and was renowned for his walking, setting a cracking pace through the jungles. The locals dubbed him Muruk, the Pidgin word for Cassowary in honour of his walking prowess.
I’ll hopefully get some pictures off some of the others of the Wall, Tiannamen and the Forbidden City. We did a small, half-arsed re-enactment of the Mongolians invading the Chinese on the Great Wall. “Damn you Mongorians! Stop breaking down our shitty wall!”
I’m exhausted, but well. A couple of days left and we ship out to Mongolia, so my next post will probably be from there. Wish me luck.

Beijing

So here I am in Beijing in an internet cafe, about to run out of time. Just letting you all know that I made it and everything’s going swimmingly. Long day of dozing on planes and hanging around airports, but now I’m here and all is well. Amazing place. Pictures will be up soon (I hope) and I’m sure I’ll have more interesting things to say once I’ve slept and seen a bit more. Email me.

Off!

Yes indeed, I am leaving tonight. Had a great last day in Melbourne; great last week for that matter. Had a great time catching up with everyone and saying my goodbyes.

Melbourne put on quite a show for me today; lovely weather, great people and even my favourite busker (apart from the old dude with the goon-pipes); the Japanese bluesman.

If you’re lucky I’ll post something from Singapore airport. If not, there’ll be something from Beijing, hopefully with pictures. I’ll see what I can manage.

See you in a year!

Cheers,

Seb

He lives

So, the send off party was last night and I’d like to cordially thank everyone who turned up, particularly those who assisted me when I was in need; I may not remember, but I am very grateful. Hope everyone had a ball. I sure did while I was capacited.

The hangover wasn’t as horrendous as I’m sure was expected. I even made it out for a run/walk this arvo and took some pictures. Click thumbs for bigger (or to pass the time).

This is the first post on the new computer, which is a bit of fun.

The countdown continues…

An excercise in stupidity

So here’s my random stupidity for the week. I had this idea ages ago, but between having a job in hospitality and not wanting to frighten the ladies, I never had the chance to grow enough facial hair to try it. In retrospect I should’ve let it grow for at least another week or so before trying this stunt, but you live and learn. So now I present to you 1/2 beard 1/2 moustache man:

an excercise in stupidity

If only I was drunk I would’ve gone out in public like this. The pics didn’t turn out quite as well as I’d hoped, even with malicious enhancing.

In other news, I have a brand spanking new laptop I just bought for my trip/work. I like it very much.
I leave in just over a week, so updates will be sporadic. I have some drawings to scan, a cartoon I want to finish, and probably some pics on the way, so I’ll put what I can up when I have the time.

Cheers.

Guest Art

Here’s an idea for the next time you have people over. Leave a big (A3) pad and a pen or pencil around. Maybe start something yourself. I did this last night, not necessarily out of foresight, but because I felt like drawing while I was waiting for people to arrive.

Guest art mainly by Patrick, who did the majority, and Ross. You can probably guess what’s mine. There may have other contributors I don’t know about.

Click to enlarge.

party page

This is the best recipe/tirade I’ve ever read. How to make Irish stew by a belligerent Irishman. I’ve never laughed so hard while reading a recipe.
Courtesy of the Engine, by a bizarre stroke of luck.

Lastly, this would’ve made my day, had it not already been pretty good.

Here is a man…*

Probably posted everywhere, and so it should be. This is the most impressive thing I’ve seen all year (barring the old dude busking with bagpipes made from a goon bag, but I digress). A textbook definition of balls.
Keith Olbermann comments on Bush/Fox/the Clinton interview in true Good Night & Good Luck fashion. I challenge you not to be impressed.

There will be more pics and drawings in the next few days. They will be cool. There may even be guest art.

*Taxi Driver quote, you know the rest (if you don’t, a strong language warning).

Soreness abounds

Playing one game of footy a year hurts, and I like to think I’m reasonably fit. Drinking afterwards and walking a few kilometers in the cold probably doesn’t help either.
Generally my contribution to the game was to run around a lot and get in people’s way. I still say it was worth it, if only for the catching up, the drinking afterwards, the hilarious outfits and the reminder that I’m not tough.
Slightly hungover and sore pretty much everywhere today. Yesterday was great.

Big Pimpin’

Haven’t done this before, but I’m feeling inspired.
The new Australian version of Macbeth opened last night. Directed by Geoffrey Wright (Romper Stomper) and set in modern-day gangland Melbourne.
Best Australian film since The Proposition in my opinion. Looks great, the sound design’s great and the violence is intense. The thick Aussie accents doing Shakespeare’s dialogue and all the use of technology is a bit jarring at first, but that passes. Wright clearly doesn’t give a crap if he alienates people, which I admire. Some good cameos by local comedians and the leads are great. Powerful stuff and well worth seeing. I predict a cult hit.

I read a lot of web-comics, and there’s some very talented people making great stuff for free, so here’s some deserving of your love:

Elizabeth Genko and Adam Boorman’s Scheherazade, over at the Chemistry Set is outstanding. Great storytelling and great art. I’m also a sucker for a pirate story, so Neil Kleid and Kevin Colden’s Todt Hill is another standout from that crew.
The group over at ACT-I-VATE have ramped it up again with Wave 3, and they’re continuing to impress. Good to see the return of Dean Haspiel’s noir-romance Immortal, Leland Purvis’ mesmerising Vulcan & Vishnu and Dan Goldman’s Kelly. Kelly was on hiatus while he and writer Anthony Lappé produced the powerful Shooting War, a futuristic political thriller that requires your attention and will be completed in print form.
Jeffrey Rowland’s Overcompensating always makes me laugh.
Chip Zdarsky is pant-wettingly funny. His old strip, Prison Funnies. His contribution to act-i-cate, Zdarskyverse. His more serious, though still amusing Comics Trip.
This guy does some of the most bizarre sketches you’ve ever seen. Lewd warning for the timid.
And of course my attempts reside here, in the comics page and category.

Naturally there’s more, but that’ll do for now. I shall leave with some recent sketches. Enjoy!

Cheeky sneaking cute girl too much deadwood

Eye-chuting

I don’t know where I got this idea from. It could have been a dream. I sketched it up and, without much thought, inked it while watching tv, then added watercolours. It might have been a bit more coherent if I’d redrawn it, but like I said, I didn’t think too much. Enjoy.

Eyechuting

There’s a greyscale version on my flickr, along with lots of other stuff I’ve been drawing.

He returns.

Canberra was nuts, that’s all I have to say for now. My camera died after the first day, so I’ve got nothing to show but doodles from the… less engaging sessions*, and a boring sunset.
Farewell to Jesse, the classiest bum I know. Good luck in Perth and cheers for letting me crash on the beanbag.
More when I’ve caught up on sleep.

*Canberra taught me diplomacy.

I bring colourful robot doom now.

I had one go at colouring this a few days ago and it was awful, so I gave up and posted the black & white. Gave it another crack tonight and I was much more pleased with the outcome. Enjoy.

Today was great. Amongst other things, I picked up an Ennio Morricone double CD. He did the soundtracks for a lot of Sergio Leone films; the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West (apparently the inspiration for the Star Wars music, with a theme for each main character) and several others.
I also saw Stranger Than Paradise, one of the few Jim Jarmush films I hadn’t yet seen. Well worth seeing. SBS comes good once again.

I bring de robots, de robots bring doom

If/when robots and computers take over the world, what will they do with us obsolete piles of flesh?

In other news, I had a great birthday on Sunday and raucus* drinks on Saturday night.

Went cheap suit shopping today, so I can look all spiffy when I go to Canberra and hob-nob with dignitaries. Also for when I have real job, which, depending on your definition of ‘real job’, is either very soon or a long way off. I now have a dark suit, a cool tie with elephants on it, a black shirt (for looking badass) and, what every wardrobe needs; black velvet jeans.

*Slight exaggeration. We weren’t kicked out of anywhere, weren’t asked to stop shouting and didn’t get into any fights. Never do, but hey. The point is that fun was had.

Cool whispy clouds and a happy, sun-shiny day

The picture doesn’t lie, but appearances can be deceptive. I think I just confused myself. It was that sort of day.

dusk

Busy weekend ahead, then off to Canberra for training on the 9th. I expect there’ll be a lot of meeting people, lots of stuff I’ll need to remember and a small amount of hob-nobbing with dignitaries. Which reminds me; I need a spiffy outfit suitable for the latter.
It’s too early to be nostalgic about a place you haven’t even left yet, isn’t it?

Some new drawings to tide you over…

I am drawing something involving robots, but it will be rather detailed and take a while, so to tide you over, I have some new drawings.
This guy came from one of the aforementioned robots. Now that I think of it, I suppose he’s inspired by Aaron Stack from Warren EllisNextwave comics, and the henchmen from the City of Lost Children.

The Valuer

Next; a fighting possum/creature for your enjoyment.

And finally, something a bit more adorable; a girl with a possum. I have a fascination with possums for several reasons. We found an abandoned baby one in a park one day when I was young tried to look after it until it died a few days later. One urinated in one of my cousins’ eyes once. More recently I found myself waiting in a park for a while and watched a possum grabbing dinner out of a bin. There’s something very cool about hand-like feet.

As promised

Here are the 3 new pages inked, b/w. Weird weekend. Lots of drinking, lots of drawing.
Enjoy.
Click to enlarge:

Just to be a bastard; no thumbs for 2 & 3.

Page 2

Page 3

New Pages

I’m working on 3 new comic pages that I’ll drop here when they’re done. One mostly inked and the others just pencils. Should be up in some form next week. If I decide to colour them, longer. And just to prove I’m not lying:

Also, I have a new brush-pen-thing that should be a bit of fun. Saw it at the art supply shop in it’s crazy Japanese packaging and thought, ‘Why not?’. brush pen

Here’s where I try to sound clever.

I took a lovely picture of an altocumulus mackerel sky* this morning, complete with plane.

I saw The Libertine today. Highly recommended, especially if you’ve read any of Neal Stephenson’s Baroque cycle.
*I did not know this; I had to wiki it to sound clever.

Bugs

What the hell did flying insects do before humans invented light-bulbs? Did they all go to bed early and a good night’s sleep to be fresh in the morning? Have humans slowed/halted the evolution of said bugs by keeping them up all night running into light sources and singeing themselves? Do they really enjoy the light, does it irritate them, or are they simply transfixed by large light-and-heat emitting objects?

Dodgy Court Sketch

SCENE 1
The judge is addressing the jurors, who look extremely flustered and irritable. The defendant is standing in the middle of the court looking rather pleased with himself.

JUDGE: I will ask that members of the jury politely tolerate the defendant’s incompetent buffoonery. He is allowed to waive legal counsel and represent himself, although I strongly advise against doing so in any future court appearances.

DEF: Incompetent buffoonery eh! You’re lucky I don’t have you thrown out of here for contempt of court.

JUDGE: Only I can do that and if you continue to test my patience I will have you thrown out of here.

DEF: Well I would like it noted that I would prefer my defending described as a valiant effort or well intentioned. Something along those lines.

The JUDGE throws his gavel at the defendant, hard, and strikes him in the head, causing the defendant to fall over, hitting his head on the corner of the table on the way down.

SCENE 2
There is a new judge. The former incompetent defendant is now incompetently prosecuting. The defendant is the former judge. The judge is defending assault charges.
The prosecutor calls members of the former jury of the previous trial as witnesses in the assault case. The court tapes/notes are submitted as evidence. The judge finds the judge guilty, but also orders that the pros/def never appear in court without professional legal representation.

Olive Oil

Why do they always have pictures of beautiful women on bottles of olive oil? It’s like they’re trying to say that there actually is some connection between virgins and oil, as if they have a whole warehouse full of virgins squeezing oil from olives with their naked thighs, and that’s where the term ‘extra virgin’ comes from.

Teethbrush

Toothbrush isn’t really the correct term to describe that particular item. Toothbrush insinuates a brush made for cleaning a singular tooth, whereas the item is clearly designed for cleaning a whole set of teeth. A cattle truck is used to transport herds of cattle, thus is called a cattle truck, as opposed to a cow truck, which would be used for transporting a single cow, though I don’t believe vehicles for that express purpose exist, other than maybe existing vehicles modified to fit that purpose. A toothbrush (in the true meaning of the term) would be a ridiculous device; both fiddly and time consuming. One could imagine tiny tooth-cleaners with long handled tiny brushes on a street corner offering to “Clean a tooth for you, Guvna. Incisors and canines for a penny, thruppence a molar.” Although, in the movies, generally chimneysweeps and bootblacks aren’t the kind of people you would willingly have in your mouth, let alone pay for the privilege of having there. They’re usually grubby little boys in raggedy clothing who often get referred to as street urchins, miscreants, wretches and the like.
It would also be more expensive to manufacture and less hardy to manufacture a single-tooth-brush than what we call toothbrushes. The far more sensible method is to bulk clean the teeth. Not in the sense of gathering a large group of people together and cleaning all their teeth with some kind of multi-pronged, high powered mass teeth cleaning device, but cleaning all the teeth in a single mouth at one time.

Weird Robot

I had a comic I want to do about a punching robot, so I tried designing many robots for the idea. This is my favourite, although he doesn’t look very useful for punching. More malfunctioning than damage inflicting.

Welcome

Here is my new site, so if you haven’t already, bookmark it now. If you just want the pretties and would rather avoid my pontificating and other extraneous bollocks, try my flickr page instead. If you’re masochistic and would rather just the pontification and bollocks, you’re insane and my livejournal’s for you.
So without further ado, enjoy some Seb.
Cheers.