Tuesday, 22 September 2009

August - September Update

Me again. It seems I have been suffering a slump as of late. I think those Japanese classes really took more out of me than I thought it would. I haven't felt like doing much of anything for over a month! I need to find a way to shake the cobwebs out of my brain...

Hopefully my upcoming trip to the Eurogamer Expo 2009 should do the trick, but that's on at the end of October. A very long wait indeed!

///////////////////////////////

I can however find hope in the knowledge that some of my favourite shows are coming back on TV very soon! Heroes season 5 (or is it 4?) will open up with the main villain Sylar stuck impersonating Nathan Petrelli after the events of last season, but you know it's only a matter of time before that dark persona once again rears it's ugly head! My only hopes for this season are that Hiro and Ando get a better story this time round, and that they break away from the whole "government catching mutants" theme and move back onto the earlier seasons faster pace.

Another series which is making it's way onto our screens is the brand new Stargate series known as "Universe". I am a longtime fan of the Stargate franchise ever since SG1, and was very disappointed when I heard they were cancelling SG Atlantis so early on in it's run. I was even more dismayed when I heard I was being replaced by a new show with an all new cast, and a darker more serious direction. When I heard about it, I believe my first words were: What is this?! Battlestar Galactica?!

Despite my dismay at the whole situation, I am still willing to give this show a chance to change my mind. It is after all made my the same people as the previous shows. Only time will tell...

////////////////////////

Recently, I have been VERY annoyed by Sony because of one thing:

Playstation 3

I'm sure I have mentioned before how frustrating is is to own a "Next Gen" console like the PS3. Pretty much everything you would normally do with a console from the last generation is unusually more difficult and frustrating with the PS3. Confused? Let me explain.

At least 30% of the games I own are prone to unusual and unexpected freezes and crashes during gameplay. The built-in internet browser is very unstable, and also freezes on a regular basis. It is also unable to open up a lot of my fav web pages due to out of date flash players, which can't be updated.

The ultimate problem however, is the mandatory firmware updates that need to be used whenever they appear, and as a result the PS3 will not allow you to do things like access the PSN network or play games online without it. Also, with the release of the new PS3 Slim, a new firmware has been released that dramatically changes a lot of features on ALL versions of the console and you have no say in the matter as to whether you want it or not!

I'm not afraid to say that I have been very disappointed with the service that has been provided by Sony on PS3. Instead of playing on a top end powerful gaming console, I feel like I have been lumbered with a low spec desktop computer that plays games well 50% of the time, and does everything else rubbishly, if rubbishly is even a word, and if it isn't it should be!

I really feel that the current generation of consoles have not lived up to their predecessors, and that maybe Sony and Microsoft should have waited a bit longer before releasing machines that are clearly incomplete machines that need constant nursing in order to be able to do what is is supposed to do! And what's more, I am not happy with this current trend of games publishers releasing a new game with bugs and glitches still in the game with the intention of "fixing" them afterwards.

In no way should this be acceptable, and in any other retail market to do so would guarantee to loose customers and infuriate fans of the product, and yet it seems us gamers are more than happy to fork over our hard-earned money for substandard products! This ain't right dammit!! >_<

That's my rant over for now, but you can be sure that this is not the end of my opinion on the matter!

Ironically, there are still a couple of games I'm looking forward to in the coming year including Bayonetta, from the makers of Devil May Cry, Final Fantasy XIII and Gran Turismo 5. I can only hope Sony can keep things on track and not mess these ones up as well!

/////////////////////////////

That's it for now, I might do a couple of smaller updates on specific stuff in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned!

Monday, 13 July 2009

July Update

Time again for my semi-regular update! To be quite honest, I haven't felt much like writing about my life these days because not much happens when you're unemployed! But, seeing as there are things still going on in my life, it seems like a good idea to at least mention them!

A couple weeks back I attended a couple of talks about Japan (something I have a real interest about) in East London. There were a number of talks about different facets of Japanese culture, and the 2 I was most interested in were the ones about Manga (Japanese Comics) and Ninjas.

The talks were done by Japanese women who have moved over to the UK on order to learn English and to experience English culture. As part of the scheme that is run by the Institute of International Education in London, these women are part of an exchange program that allows people in London to learn Japanese for free while the Japanese women get to test their learned English with us! It's a genius idea, and I can only hope the IIEL will run a similar scheme for English people to go to Japan to learn Japanese!

Back to the talk, I would say the girls that did their talks when I was there were very good. Even though their knowledge was slightly limited, they really tried their best to do their talks in English and to answer the questions they were asked. Both nights that I was there were very enjoyable!

Sufficed to say, the next time the IIEL does it's next talks, I will definitely attend!

//////////////////////////////////////

Another point of interest, in order to stave off lethargy in my graphic design and DTP skills, I have volunteered to do design work for Cooltan Arts, a charity organisation based in South London that helps people to explore their creative side!

I actually got the gig thanks to an old friend. It was through his work with Cooltan Arts that he found out they were looking for freelance designers who could design promotional material for them. He gave them my name, they contacted me and asked if I would be interested.

As I mentioned before, being unemplyed doesn't give you many opportunities to keep designing stuff, and even though I wouldn't be getting paid for it, I jumped at the chance to volunteer my services! It's still early, but I'm hoping to gain some recognition as a designer, and even if I don't at least the work I do can be added to my slightly weak portfolio! >_>

//////////////////////////////////////

The only other thing worth mentioning is that I've started doing artwork commissions, and I'm starting to make some money from it! ^_^

It's still only chump change at the moment, but I believe if I can commit myself to working quicker I can possibly make a living from my illustrations! (a VERY ambitious prospect!)

Only time will tell, so stay tuned for further updates!

Monday, 15 June 2009

June Update

Not much to report. My communications with the companies I was talking with previously have shrivelled to a mere trickle. It appears my time at my previous job as a "Graphic Designer" counted for nothing after all. Wonderful... ¬_¬

On the plus side, my side job as an illustrator seems to be picking up, and I'm still somehow able to still write stories on a relatively regular basis!

I have a cool story that I think I'll upload when I get the chance. It's a continuation of the videogame crossover I wrote between Final Fantasy 7 and Devil May Cry!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

What's happenin' bra(bro)?


Just a quick update.

Not much happening at the mo, but I'll just go over what's been happening in the past month!

- As you can tell from the above pic, I've been working on my artwork a lot recently. I've been trying some new techinques that emulate the anime cell-shaded style. It's hard work, but I'm happy with the results, and I seem to be getting a lot of favs on the various artist sites I'm on. If you want to check out what I've been up to, you can check 'em out on my DeviantArt profile here.

- Jobhunting is going as expected: Nowhere! But I have managed to follow up on a few leads under the Apprenticeship route. Nothing concrete yet though, but I'll keep you all posted if anything turns up.

- I recently finished watching Gundam Seed Destiny, making my knowledge of the entire Gundam franchise virtually complete! Destiny was a good show, but suffered from a bad case of "Deus Ex Machina" at the end that ruined what could've been an awesome show in the long run. Despite the fan hate, I still like the main character Shinn Asuka over the dastardly duo of Athrun Zala and Kira Yamato, so there!

- On a related theme, I recently got the new Dynasy Warriors Gundam game for PS3. I loved the first one so much I got the second one, which happened to add the mobile suits from Gundam Seed Destiny, as well as from Victory and F91. It hasn't got the guys from Gundam 00 yet, but I expect Koei plan to put them in when the next DW Gundam next rolls out! I can't wait!

As an extra, I'm still waiting for the New Bionic Commando game for PS3 to come out, as well as a new game called Bayonetta, made by the same guy that made the Devil May Cry games! I literally can't wait!

- By the end of the week, I'm hoping to have an increase from 2MB broadband to 10MB broadband, which would CONSIDERABLY improve the browsing pleasure of me and my whole family! It's hard to have to put up with sluggish speeds when watcing online videos, download large files and playing online videogames when someone else is using up the bandwidth!

Afte much poking and prodding, I managed to get my mum to upgrade our current tv/phone/internet package with Virgin Media. This means we will finally be getting digital tv and much faster internet (fingers crossed!).

Well, I think that's it for now. I'll let you know how things develop as and when it happens!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Happy Easter 2009!


Just a quick pic I did for Easter!

Monday, 6 April 2009

April Update

It's been a while since I wrote anything on here (for good reason), but I realised it would be pointless to even have this blog if I never added anything new to it. It is as they say, life goes on, and I still have to plod forwards towards an uncerain future yet again.

Interestingly, while I was on the work trial, the jobcentre cancelled my claim because they thought I wasn't signing in with them even though I was, through my new claims adviser! I believe what happened was she didn't inform the guys on the second floor of the jobcentre building (she's on the first floor), and as far as they knew, I hadn't come on for 3 weeks so they just cancelled my claim without checking with me first! Just another nail in my coffin, and a perfect example of the famous phrase "the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing"!

Extra - As of today, it's all been sorted, and I'm back on Job Seekers Allowance. Yay. -_-,

After the whole work placement debacle (for those who don't know that word, it means anything from a mess to a big joke), I have tried to redouble my efforts and analyse where I am as a designer. I've updated my CV, signed up with a couple of Graphic Design recruitment agencies, got some business cards printed (unfortunately with one minor spelling mistake on all 250 of them!), and am doing regular Jobsearch.

I realise it is important to get back on the horse once you've been knocked off, but I can't help feeling that I may have already blown the greatest chance I am likely to get this year, maybe forever.

An interesting side effect of the rejection is that I've recently thrown my anger into creating new artwork. By going back to basics I'm attempting to analyse my work in a more critical way, in order to realise where my art is weak and needs improvement, as well as come up with some new techniques that will make my stuff look awesome and more desireable to fans of my art! It's a long shot, but right now I certainly feel like I have nothing to lose by trying!

The realisation that I just may not be suited to an office job made me look into other avenues of revenue (ways to make money). One of them is taking on artwork commissions, and at some point selling my art on dedecated websites. I've also starting selling stuff on ebay (I've sold one DVD already!). I'm also looking into how I can get people to donate money to me via Paypal. As soon as I do, I'll put them up on my blog and anywhere else where I have an account. Every penny helps!

That's it for now. stay tuned for any updates in the future (and hopefully some good news!). Roy, out.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

No New Job

It turns out, I'm not a good enough graphic designer to get the job. I lacked REAL working environment experience, or so I was told.

I thought last year was bad, but I fear this year for me will be even worse. I'm beginning to wonder what other motivation in life do I have left? I tried not to get my hopes up too much, but even that didn't prepare me for the final verdict.

I asked the guys I was working with what my chances were of getting the job, and they said it looked good but at the end of the day it wasn't up to them. I wish it had been.

So after 3 weeks of butt-breaking work, I'm back where I started. Wonderful.

Monday, 23 February 2009

New Job Update

It's taken a while to find my feet at my new job, but right now the odds are looking good (fingers crossed).

I've got one more week to go, and I only hope I don't screw up!

On a different note, I've been keeping up with the latest episodes of Gundamn podcast at MAHQ. Even though this show focuses on such a niche market (Japanese anime based mostly on giant robots), it's slowly growing in popularity. 

A special nod goes to my man Soul Bro Ryu. I don't think I understate the fact that Soul Bro is the glue that keeps the show together! He's awesome! (not to downplay the importance of Neo Lornoke and Chris Quanche!) 

If you're a fan of Japanese mecha anime, you should listen to this podcast! The link is http://gundamnmahq.blogspot.com/

Just a couple of other quick additions:
- Gundam 00 Season 2 is still kicking so much arse right now
- Lost Season 5 is running right now in the US, as is Heroes Season 3. Both shows are keeping me and my brother busy with more crazy plot twists than Eastenders, Coronation Street and Hollyoaks put together!

That's it for now. I'll try to do more updates in the coming weeks. Peace.

Monday, 2 February 2009

It's SNOW joke!

  video
It's only just turned February, and today it's snowing like it's Christmas day or something. Mum didn't have to go to school because it was cancelled, and despite the fact that my bro it determined to try and make it into work, I don't think he will succeed.

The worst thing about it all is that the weather reports say there's more snow to come. I'm just lucky that right now, I don't need to go anywhere! 

Saturday, 31 January 2009

I got a new job!! ^_^

Life really has a habit of throwing me curve balls, just to keep me on my toes. This past week is a perfect example.

On Saturday, I sent off an application form for a job vacancy that was advertised at the Jobcentre. On Monday, I received a phone call from the company saying they wanted me to come to an interview on Wednesday. After showing them my hastily put together portfolio in Wednesday's interview, I was asked to come back for a second interview on Friday.

On Friday, After an hour and a half of waiting followed by a very brief meeting with a senior manager, I was given the offer of a 6 month work trial at the company.

All this just within the space of a week! Up to this point, I had received virtually no replies to my applications to other companies. At the time, I didn't think for a second that I would get a call up for an interview, let alone a second one afterwards. Sufficed to say, I'm still trying to digest what has just happened.

No doubt it will take some time to get comfortable in my new job, but I'm prepared for the long haul. I just hope that this company is better than my old job!

Monday, 26 January 2009

New Year Woes

A new year, and not much to hope for...yet. It's 2009, and for once in a long time I'm wondering what the future holds in store for me. 

After much procrastonating, I decided to go back on JSA (Job Seekers Allowance). Seeing as I don't have a job anymore, it was the only logical option left to me considering the circumstances. To be able to do anything in life, you need money. I'm still searching for a job, but (knowing my luck) I don't hold out much hope for a positive outcome anytime soon.

January is always the worst in terms of new outcomes and updates, so I'm just killing time by playing Metal Gear Online and writing stories. I should get back to my artwork too, but that will take considderably more willpower. I am sooo lazy it's not even funny anymore...

Considering my current situation, I have made the desicsion to postpone my plans of going to Japan for the time being, until I can come up with a more solid plan of action. My research into the matter really opened my eyes as to just how daunting traveling to another country REALLY is. I can only hope my new plan will hold more water.