Sunday, June 27, 2010

Movie Review Smorgasbord Round-up Extravaganza - The Complete Collection Part 8: Alice In Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland is one of those books that I've always read. Most books I can remember a time when I had not read it, and remember encountering it for the first time. for Alice in Wonderland, I can't. Presumably this means I read it at a very young age, or I have selectively blanked the memory, possibly due to some kind of traumatic experience (I dunno, maybe it gave me a papercut or something), or maybe it just is not remembered with no greater significance or sense, a fact that sits rather well with the nature of the text itself.

Allow me to elaborate.

I do remember not reading 'real' books until quite late, instead focussing on younger texts and stories. My teachers were concerned that this showed a lack of intelligence or learning and eagerly tried to press older texts upon me, and felt sadly their suspicions confirmed when I showed little interest in them. What they failed to work out is that I was not reading the books for 'young readers' they offered me not because I was unable to understand them, but because they were poorly written, with plots that simply didn't interest me. Why would I want to read about a 10 year old girl going snowboarding when I could read about giants and dragons? Now that I'm older, I still ask myself the same question.

But I eventually stumbled accross a Terry Pratchett book (thanks to my stepmother) and read it in about two days. After that, I always had a book with me, and that's never changed. It was an englightening experience to discover that there were fantastic stories outside of the childrens books, and that I didn't have to read texts that bored me simply because people my age group were meant to read them.

In any case, at some point, I read Alice in Wonderland. Overall it amused me, and featured many inconic moments and characters that have entered into popular culture and usage. Everyone knows the Mad Hatter, and everyone knows about rabbits in waistcoats being late for things (It is unsure at this point whether the waistcoat contributed to its lateness). Which begs the question, if a text is so memorable and so well known, why on Earth would you mess with it?

Which brings me to the recent Alice in Wonderland film by Tim Burton.

I have a soft spot for Tim Burton films (or at least, up until 5 years ago I did) as he frequently includes for want of a better word a type of pleasant surrealism in his films that I find quite appealing. Many times throughout each of his films the strange, the fantastic, the peculiar will occur, not to unsettle or frighten but rather to add a sense of awe or wonder to the proceedings. Or at least, that used to be the case, but the more recent of Burtons films have moved from the charmingly bizarre, to the ocassionally amusing but mostly just kind of strange. In some ways, rather than a story with weird visuals in it, the films now seem to be weird visuals with a story in it.

Alice in Wonderland is no exception. Rather than a straight up film adaptation of the novel, it is instead set as a sequel, except due to a rather unfortunate desire to create a sequel but still include all the iconic moments from the book, it manages to feel rather familiar. The visual effects are a treat to behold, but I'd recommend not watching the film in 3d as even at the short running length my eyes were left quite sore at the end (Avatar on the other hand ran for about three hours and my eyes were fine throughout. The headache I got from THAT film was in no way due to the 3d technology.)

Similiar to other recent adaptations like the Lord of the Rings and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the film features a cast of excellent performers, and also similiar to those films their behaviour in no way resembles the original characters. Some the minor characters sound ok but Stephen Fry as the Chesire Cat loses the manic joy and replaces it with a solemn (or perhaps bored) air, a surprise as he's more than capable of insanity, and Johnny Depp perhaps misdefined 'Mad' and thought rather than crazy it meant angry, as he spends a lot of the film wandering around in what appears to be a barely controlled rage, before ocassionally remembering he's meant to be crazy.

All in all it results in a film that manages to feel both entirely too familiar and yet wildly different, culminated in an out of left field final battle that feels thrown in because they felt they needed some kind of big finish.

If you want pretty visuals, go right ahead and see Alice in Wonderland. But beyond that, I can find little to recommend. If you're after a proper sequel to Alice in Wonderland, read the actual sequel, and then play American McGee's Alice, which takes Wonderland to some dark places and actually manages to make it feel new.

Rating 2 out of 6. (1 out of 6 in 3D)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Attack Of The Mini-Blog

From time to time I have ideas for a blog that can't be spun out to a full length blog, or feel bloated and swollen like they've eaten slightly too many chips (no such thing, but I digress). So this in attempt to use up some of those shorter blog ideas without needlessly extending them. Sort of a spring cleaning, but for blogs.

We'll ignore the fact that it's winter.

Diary Of A Mad Writer #7 - Trying To Find Time At Work To Do My Work

I recently made a rather odd discovery, which is that my most productive time for writing and planning creative work is when I'm at my day job.

Allow me to elaborate.

I started working for a new company earlier this year with the idea of working part time to pay the bills, and allow me more free time to rest and so I could focus more time on my writing work. And in all aspects I appear to have succeeded, but not in the way I expected. The plan was, work during the morning, creative stuff in the afternoon, evenings off, with a full day of creative work on Fridays. Unfortunately however, my afternoons and evenings have mostly ended being spent playing games, resting, and otherwise taking it easy, which has had the nice benefit of ensuring that for the first time in years I am not walking around in a general state of exhaustion. But it means I haven't spent my afternoons writing as planned.

But that's ok, because since moving to the new job I have written two blogs a week, a play, a short film, done planning for some tv episodes, and done a chunk of work on a novel.

Perhaps it's the structure, or the ready supply of tea, but it has been very easy to write between calls or on breaks at work, and after some tests, I appear to write much faster and produce more work in between other stuff than if I sit down and just power through it.

So say what you like about my job, at least it's helping me write!

I am your new leader! I'll be behind you all the way! Wait...

My friends facebook updates have been a blaze since late last night with the news, and show no sign of slowing nearly 24 hours later. There has been movement at the station, and the word has very much gotten around. Kevin Rudd, the PM who managed to oust the previous PM after 12 years, has stepped down, as an alternative to being dismissed. The news is full of debates on both side, those who signal this as the beginning of the end for the Labour leadership and those who are uncertain but hopeful for the future.

I'm honestly finding it hard to work up any enthusiasm.

Allow me to elaborate.

I have a rather unique (some would say naieve) view of politics. I vote, I pay a vague attention to who the candidates are, and I ensure I'm always up to date with the Australian Electoral Comission. Other than that, I have an agreement with them, being that I'll stay out of their way if they stay out of mine.

Back when the previous PM was starting his fourth term, I remember one of my parents saying that it would be near impossible for for the other party to win now, and they weren't sure how they were going to manage. Out of politeness I refrained from pointing out that we seemed to have survived ok for nine years so far, and that the past nine years didn't feel all that different from the six years before that.

In the end, will the new PM change anything? Probably not much. My coffee will still taste the same, my job will still be the same, the homeless will still be homeless. Labour lowered unemployment? They've previously raised it too. PMs come and go, but in the end life goes on, and I suppose it stops politicians from being... I don't know... serial killers. Hey, it could happen.
That Costello chap always struck me as suspicious...
A Short And Insightful Blog About Milo, By Sam.
I like Milo.

You have been reading A Short And Insightful Blog about Milo, By Sam.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

It's all fun and games until somebody dies in a freak yachting accident.

I've never been a particuliarly sporty person. This is apparently odd for an Australian, as we are "The Sporting Nation", whatever that means. I gather it means that we're a nation that plays sport, but given the amount of farmers, office workers, politicians, clowns, street sweepers, telemarketers and pediatricians, I can assume that not every person in the nation does. It could also be argued that it's because we as a nation are very good at sports, but from the little I know of what's happening in the World Cup I assume that the people who argue that are not currently arguing it very loudly. I suppose it sounds better than "The We Used To be Convicts Nation" but nontheless it's not an association I can attribute myself to.

Allow me to elaborate.

I didn't enjoy sports when I was a child. This wasn't due to any particuliar dislike of the activty itself, but more to do with the fact that I didn't feel very good at it, and the combination of lack of self esteem and a general intolerance for this kind of hesitence in my schoolfellows ensured I never actually became good either. This, combined with my unfortunate dislike of vegetables and my enjoyment of computers, video games, and comic books ensured that I was living out the stereotype of the awkward nerdy child rather well, which was only further cemented at age 15 when I was prescribed glasses.

I never really enjoyed watching sport on tv either, to be honest I could never see the sense of watching a bunch of people get fit while sitting there eating chips and ice cream (not at the same time). On the whole I found it rather dull, and would much rather watch something with a story, as narrative always was (and always is, and always will be) very much my thing. But a few years ago my little brother was going to be part of a half time game at an AFL match, and as you're unable to buy half time only tickets, we went along to the game.

And I still don't get the rabid fascination, the screaming, the yelling, the anger and the despair when your chosen team loses. If you were out there playing I could certainly understand the emotion and commitment involved, but I find the reaction to simply watching other people do something quite baffling. This leads in to my confusion regarding sports based patriotism in general. If an Australian were to win a gold medal at the Olympics, my first reaction would not be "Wow! Australia won! We, as a country, are awesome! Bow before our sporting prowess, feeble lesser nations, for we are Australia!" My reaction would instead be "Good for her, she's won, she must feel very pleased." I don't see the connection between the achievements of an athlete, and the achievement of a nation, just as I don't see a connection between the quality of a film and the studio that signed the cheque. I believe in people, not in administration.

But I'm starting to understand, at least, a little of the interest in watching sport being played. I still don't really see the fascination of AFL as far as sports go, but when you're actually in the stadium rather than watching selectively what the camera has decided to film, you can actually see some of the strategy and tactics involved. In particuliar, one teams had developed the habit of passing the ball back behind them and then kicking forward, which the other team didn't quite know what to do with, and apparently neither did the rabid fan sitting in front of me, who would scream out "JUST ****ING KICK IT YOU ****S!!!!" despite the fact that this was largely the reason that their team was ahead by 12 goals. It's hardly amazing viewing by any means, but I started to see some of the strategy and rules involved, and this, at least, was quite intriguing.

Slightly as a result of this, late last year I got into a couple of the EA sports titles for Xbox 360, and was rather surprised by how fun they were. Given the last 'sports' game I had played was NBA Jam on my Super Nintendo back in 1994, I had missed out on a few advancements in genre since that time. Sports, like any other game has rules and tactics that are appealing, and allow for a large amount of strategy. In particuliar, the ability to play as just one player in a team, while a computer controlled team plays around you is rather enjoyable.

Last weekend a friend of mine was playing in her netball finals, so I went along to watch her play and cheer her on in the standing there silently watching the game kind of cheering on. I was very glad to be there, and they played very well and have secured a place in the grand final next week. Once again I found the tactics and rules involved rather intriguing, particularly as with netball you are unable to run with the ball, resulting in a very fast and fluid passing game as the ball generally travels much faster than anyone else does. Having a friend playing also meant that unlike the AFL I actually did rather want their team to win, at least for their sake.

So while sports fans certainly scare me, I'm starting to at least begin to understand some of the intrigue involved, and I'm certainly looking forward to watching my friend play in their final next week. I reckon they'll have a sporting chance.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Moving Experience

In the last 24 hours I've had to completely dismantle and remove everything from my room. In the next 24 hours I will need to completely reassemble and return everything to my room. It sounds almost as if I'm moving, and in an odd kind of way I am, except where I'm moving to is exactly where I'm moving from.

Allow me to elaborate.

We moved into our current property 13 years ago, when my parents decided rather than renting, they would like to invest in a long term property. Actually, we didn't move in until many months later, once you decide to buy a house you need find a house, wait for auction day, out auction everyone, settle the contract, wait for the old people to move everything out, and then finally move everything in, before moving yourself in. In fact, I myself didn't move in until several months later still, as at the time I was staying with my father up in Darwin.

In some ways it was quite a small house for the five of us, and eventually the six of us when my younger brother came along (I don't mean he just wandered by and moved in. He was, you know, born). So after a while (read: five years) we decided to renovate. This was a lengthy endeavour, and involved building a new kitchen, two new bathrooms, a new living room, new wood panneling, and new carpets.

How lengthy? Well, we started eight years ago. And we put the carpets in today. In our defence, everything else was done years ago, but as the carpet was a particuliarly complicated job we had been holding off on. Finally we decided several months ago that enough was enough and it was time to finish the renovations.

One of the 'really should have seen this coming' side effects of replacing your carpets is that you can't have anything on the carpet when it is replaced. So everything in all the carpeted rooms needs to be taken out and moved into a non carpeted area of the house. Now I pretty much live almost entirely in my room. Bed, computer, tv, books, reading chair and writing desk are all in the one room. The only thing I don't have in there is a kitchen or a bathroom, and on the whole I think everyone is glad of that.

But it does mean that my room is rather densely packed. For example. My parents, to prepare for the new carpets, had to move their bed, two bedside tables, and a filing cabinet out of their room. I needed to move a bed, a desk, a computer, two monitors, a tv, a tv stand, associated electronics, a cabinet, a bookcase, dvd racks and about 5 million cables.

I'm not complaining. It was rather satisfying work and will give me a chance to do some reorganising while moving everything. It did however unfortunately mean that I was up until midnight carrying furniture and then got up at six to finish it off, as they were arriving at the wonderfully prompt time of 8am. Since then I've mainly been out walking as there's really not much to do while trapped in the back room as people kindly install new carpets for you.

So I'm a bit tired. But after 13 years, it will be awfully nice to have the renovations finished.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mrs Queen!

Yesterday was the Queen's birthday. Except that it wasn't. Before Queen Elizabeth it was the King's birthady. Except that it wasn't. The Queen's birthday is actually in April, but we 'celebrate' it on June 14th every year, for reasons that perhaps once make sense, but no longer really seem to.

Originally changing with the reigning monarch, along with coins, stamps, and souvenir mugs; it was decided some time ago that as monarchs are sadly fleeting but the calender is eternal, it was opted by many countries in the commonwealth to instead fix a single day to celebrate their birthday, allowing us to get on with our daily lives for the rest of the year without stressing that we may have forgotten the Queen's birthday, despite the fact that, as we no longer celebrate her birthday ON her birthday, we automatically have. In fact, I will be honest and say I have no actual idea when the Queen's birthday is, and had to look it up when writing this blog. That whole "Monarch's are fleeting" thing didn't really work out in practice either, as the current Queen has been around for 50+ years, thus rendering the point somewhat moot.

I sometimes wonder how I would actually feel if everyone in the country celebrated my birthday when it wasn't actually my birthday, like everyone in the office buying you a birthday cake and you haven't the heart to tell them they've got the wrong month. It was a kind thought and, in any case, free cake is not to sneezed at. Unless you're allergic to cake. In which case, I pity you.

About the only thing we can say with assurity is that her birthday isn't on June 14th. So while we don't know when the Queen's birthday is, at least we know when it isn't.

Because of this, or perhaps just because we're Australian and love an excuse for a day off, Whatever significance that was once held has long been lost, and now the Queen's Birthday is little more than a reason for either a day off or holiday pay. Actually this seems to apply to a lot of our public holidays. I do try to wish people a "Happy Queen's Birthday", but this is mainly for the odd looks I get when I do, more than a genuine wish to inspire joy at the Birthday of our reigning monarch. In truth there's only one person I would actually wish to say Happy Queen's birthday to and mean it.

But it's not their birthday.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Movie Review Smorgasbord Round-up Extravaganza - The Complete Collection Part 7: Avatar

Every ten years or so there comes a film that stands out from other films. A film so unique, so driven, so ground breaking and challenging, that it makes it hard to go back. It doesn't just win the game, it changes the way the game is played.

Avatar is not that film.

Avatar is directed by James Cameron, who is hands down the best sequel director there is, at least until The Dark Knight was released. Allow me to explain. Most of Cameron's films have been a little less than impressive. Terminator, Titanic, The Abyss, these films both showcased impressive effects and were at the least an exciting premise, but failed in the overall narrative and final execution. The only exceptions have been his sequels, and 'True Lies', an entertainingly hilarious action film, and that was a remake of the French film 'La Totale!', so arguably a sequel in any case.

His sequels, however, have always succeeded in taking interesting but poorly developed science fiction films, and turning them into highly polished mindless action films. Terminator 2 and Aliens are among the fienst action films ever made, managing to combine a high level of special effects with a well thought out and engaging story.

By this logic, Avatar 2 should be really, really good.

I have rather mixed feelings about Avatar. On the one hand, the special effects were impressive, and the 3d was nice to look at, though it did turn to go rather blurry whenever something was moving fast (so it's a good thing we weren't watching an action film or anything like that). And I did go and see it with my family, followed by dinner out, so overall it was an absolutely lovely night that I highly enjoyed.

But I did spend the entire film rewriting the plot in my head.

It's not that Avatar doesn't have an interesting story, it's just that unfortunately so did three or four other films I could think of, and little has changed between them. The plot can be crudely stated as "good guy sets out to fight bad guys, due to totally unexpected turn of events gets captured by bad guys, bad guys turn out to be good guys and vice versa, lots of fighting, everybody goes home for tea and biscuits, so long as by home you mean various huts and caves in floating rocks, by tea you mean some kind of fruit, and by biscuits you mean the widespread and irreparable destruction of the surrounding woodlands which will leave thousands dead and homeless and cause lasting damage to the ecoystem.

The characters could charitably be described as simplified, and uncharitably described as cardboard caricatures. The hero is in it for revenge and personal gain until he realises there are bigger things like, um, trees and stuff. The main antagonist is a General who enjoys spouting one liners such as "let's finish this, I want to be home by dinner" and then looking around smugly, persumably to check if anyone had noticed that snappy one liner.

What annoys me the most about Avatar is that there actaully is a lot of promise in it. The plot itself is sound, but badly put together. The characters would be quite interesting if they were given a bit of depth, and the effects would be even better if they were given slightly less depth. It's a promising idea, it just needed more work. Mind you, since he reportedly took 14 years to make it, the questions remains, how much longer did he need?

But you never know. The sequel could be ok.

Rating: 2 out of 6.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Back to Basics

I have a sore back.

I don't mean it's a little bit sore, or that I slept on it the wrong way, or anything that could be described as temporary. When I saw I have a sore back, I unfortuantely mean permanently, and not anything that could be described as a little bit. What makes this more interesting is it was entirely my fault. Well, mostly.

Allow me to elaborate.

When I was born, well, I was rather distracted at the time, but as it turns out my spine wasn't entirely as a spine should be. At this point I could make jokes about being spineless and having no backbone, and look, I just did. But the issue in question was that one of the discs in the lumbar area of my spine (presumably where the logging industries work) wasn't quite as sturdy as it normally is.

This was not noticed at the time, I merely mention it now for chronology's sake. Fast forward 21 years, and I was now an adult, writing, among other things, short comedy plays for my local church. We had been doing this for about six months and it was great fun and our humour was being well received.

The latest script included, for reasons that now escape me (possibly as a result of ensuing concussion) a section where an actor portrayed the life of a tree. He started as a seed, then grew into a full tree, before facing off against strong winds, forest fires, before finally being chopped down by the logging industry, at which point he fell sideways to the floor I was that actor. I played that tree, and that floor was a rather sturdy wooden platform, which made a satisfying thump when I hit it.

The audience applauded at this display of violence, and I finished the play in good spirits. We took our bows, and I returned to my seat, whereupon I realised I was having a little trouble breathing, which didn't on the whole strike me as a good thing. The doctor (when I went, he wasn't sitting beside me at the time or anything) explained I had bruised some ribs, but that this would go away in time, and for the moment I should instead concentrate on not falling over in future. The pain went away and so I promptly forgot about it.

A few months later though, I noticed that my back was rather sore. The occasional sore back was nothing really new so I ignored it, but as the month wore on it didn't go away, so I realised something might be wrong, and desiring some medical opinions to back (ha!) that up, my doctor organised some tests to be done, that were a) extremely expensive, and b) a little bit weird

The first was an x-ray, which is not all that weird as I've had them before (once for a suspected broken ankle, and another time to check the airways in my lungs. X-rays generally seem to occur in dingy test labs, like they're slightly embarrassed to still be performing them in this day and age. The problem, as a nervous technician came in to tell me, was that they couldn't find my spine. I idly considered asking them if they'd tried looking in my back, but decided against it and merely assured them that it was there, and could they keep looking.

A couple of readjusted x-rays later and I was proved medically to not be spineless, and I was off to have a CT scan, which is a far newer (and more expensive) test, that scans the layers of muscle and tissue sliver by sliver, therefore giving the odd impression that I had had a nasty accident with a paper shredder. Unlike x-rays, the CT scan took place in a gleaming white spotless lab, and involves lying on a bed which is passed through a giant revolving white disc, and left me with the unerring impression that if they couldn't work out what was wrong with my back they could at least beam me up to the mothership.

My doctor spoke to me once the results had arrived, and informed me that my extremely expensive tests had not actually shown anything conclusive, so he was going to recommend me to a physiotherapist to see if he could do something about the back pain.

I explained all this to the physiotherapist who took at look at the tests and told me that in actual fact, as a result of my fall, I had managed to disloge on of the discs in my spine that has been more than usually fragile since birth.

So, by writing what seemed a midly amusing scene involving a tree, I had managed to give myself a permanent back injury.

On the whole this takes suffering for your art to an amusingly literal extreme.

Movie Review Smorgasbord Round-up Extravaganza - The Complete Collection Part 6: Up In The Air

Earlier this year a friend treated me to a birthday present by taking me out to Gold Class to see the new (at the time) George Clooney Film "Up In The Air." It was the follow up film of the director of the interesting but kind of weird film "Juno," and in admirably symmetry, Up In The Air can also be neatly summarised as interesting but kind of weird.

Gold Class was as it always is, very comfortable with excellent food but with the slight uncomfortable feeling that you've just spent waaaaaay too much to go see a film, even if your trio of mini hot dogs WAS delicious and you've another coffee and some ice cream on the way. A chief benefit is that the chairs actually do a lot to remove the discomfort my back feels at the cinema, but this hardly justifies the costs involved as a regular event. Still, it's a nice thing to do so long as it only happens once or twice a year.

The film tells the story of George Clooney (because one of the nicer things about George Clooney is he only ever plays himself) as he travels around the country firing people, in one of the more bizarre examples of outsourcing. He is joined by two women, one cynical, one not. The tale (such as it is) is a character based drama, meaning that there are some very interesting insights into the characters involved, and a genuine sense of change and growth for them throughout the film. On the other hand though you can't quite shake the thought that not a whole lot has happened in the last two hours, with an ending that believes that being vague and ambiguious somehow stands in for closure.

That being said though, the film has an undeniable intrigue to it, held together by Clooney's performance, that actually manages to make cynical firing guy believable. The plot is lacking but that's not to say there is not enjoyment to be had. Just be prepared to say "Well, that was weird" as the credits roll.

Rating 4 out of 6.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Diary Of A Mad Writer #6, Now With Mad Organising Skill(z)

This morning I went to my slightly overdue haircut, so I went and caught the bus over to Northcote, where I've been getting my hair cut for the last five years. Some would argue (reasonably persuasively) that there are many hair dressers in my own suburb, and wouldn't it save time to get it cut there? Well, yes. But I like this hair dresser, he knows me and he knows how I cut my hair, which is good because I don't, other than "um, shorter than it is now" which really doesn't narrow it down all that much, especially when I haven't been in a few months.

Before I get my haircut I generally treat myself to a cooked breakfast at the cafe accross the road, a) because it's extremely nice, b) because I'm in the area anyway, and c) because I can. There's something quite relaxing about writing some notes for upcoming projects while sipping a coffee and idly munching on some leftover toast, and it's something I would do more often if my budget and health allowed.

The haircut itself was a little short for my liking, though unfortunately once that's occurred it's difficult to say "actually a bit longer would be great, thanks" since the 'damage' so to speak has already occurred, so there's not a terribly huge amount you can do. Unless you're Doctor Who/Marty McFly, as then you could go back in time and, say, prevent the hairdresser from being born. This wouldn't change your hair but it would create a paradox that would at least take your mind off it. In any case it's not terrible by any means, and it will grow into a length that I prefer. And then continue to grow, like the rebellious head of hair that it is.

Currently I am putting some work into a couple of different long form stories I am writing, after the realisation that though it seems slower, I actually am more productive when working on multiple things at once. Even though I achieve less in each project, I achieve more overall, and so in the long term this is beneficial, provided I keep staring into the distance, which is why I really should go back to the optometrist and get my glasses updated.

So there are two stories I am currently working on long term:

A fantasy novel about trying to wake someone in your own dreams.

A fantasy crime thriller about the mysterious descendants of the so called witches from the Middle Ages. I would call it Harry Potter with guns, except that's a terrible thing to call it, and besides, it's not. Anyway, Ender's Game is Harry Potter with guns.

What I've never really done before, but which seems to be helping, is keeping some notes (which I'm using some software on my computer for) on characters, locations, and events and plotting out a timeline to assist me with keeping events going correctly. This is stuff I normally do in my head, but it's definately helping having it all out visually in front of me. The software does go a little too far, asking me rather unhelpful questions like "What does this place smell like" to which I must resist the answer "your face", but otherwise it's good to have an indication of each area and character, meaning their design remains consistent, and chan be updated as needed.

So I'm enjoying working on both of these, as well the website, the game project, the film projects, the theatre project, and the tv projects. Oh, and my day job.

Yup, keeping myself busy...