Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mummy Smash Time

I have a lot of time for mothers, obviously. And I understand that there is a tipping point where they go from caring, loving, nurturing ladies to crazed, wild-eyed bunny-boilers.

It's usually about four minutes before Happy Hour.

And about two minutes after an offspring has decided, for the fifth time today, that taking their nappy off and/or spitting unwanted food is a form of communicating love.

At our house, we're not Jewish, but we do celebrate the Passover. It's the moment when I arrive home at night and Steph meets me at the door, we exchange brief pleasantries, and she passes over whichever child is causing her to Sea Red.

At some point, all mothers need to release the pressure valve. What better time than "Mummy Smash Time", when time is put aside for that quiet, leisurely glass of wine. Or six. Dozen.

Because nothing says "Don't bother me, it's Mummy Smash Time", than the official "Mummy Smash Time" t-shirt.

Except, of course, shaking the bottle and aiming the cork at the little bugger's head.

Also available in:

Available here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

From the Folio

A little while ago, I entered a competition at to create a logo for an art gallery called "Twenty First Century Art Ltd" As part of their brief, they mentioned that they were thinking about something like the 20th Century Fox logo, which I thought was a bad idea, because they'd just end up being sued or publicly attached to a movie studio.

In my mind, as an art gallery, being thought of as a subsiduary of a major motion picture company would reduce your ability to promote truly ground-breaking work to the public, because people would probably expect your gallery space to be filled with framed copies of movie posters.

It would be hard to sell works from the next up and coming Damien Hirst if they've only come in to buy the poster from "The Notebook".

So instead I went for zombies. Of course.

I really liked this design for a couple of reasons.

Firstly I like the subtitle "Art for Brains".

Secondly, the 21 works as a zombie head.

Thirdly, it would work on a business card as well as the side of a building.

Fourthly, I like the eyes, because they can work in an art gallery setting.

Of course I didn't win the comp. The winner as a knock-off of the 20th Century Fox logo. Who would've guessed?

But I liked the design, and I would hold on to it for a future job, but when am I gonna get asked to design a zombie head for an art gallery using the number 21?

Commissions like that are rarer than you think...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

That's one horny horse!

I've always been a fan of pictograms. I was fortunate enough to get a job making hazard signage during my 20s, so I got to muck about with all sorts of dangerous-looking signs, with exploding chemicals and razor-sharp dogs and flammable doors.

What I like about pictograms is the simplicity of form that connotes meaning with a brevity of detail.

A sign with a simple fire on it means "this will catch on fire", without the need to explain how or why. And it's a lot more succinct than a sign saying "LOOK, JUST TRUST ME, THIS WILL CATCH ON FIRE, SO LEAVE IT ALONE, SAVVY?"

A skull and cross bones means death (followed by disintegration of most of your body, until all that is left is your noggin-nut and a pair of bones sitting in an economical pile).

There's an argument going on in international circles about EXIT signs, an article about which can be found here, but the crux is that the US EXIT sign is simply the word EXIT in red, while the internationally-recognised EXIT sign is a guy running out a door, printed in green.
The international version works much better for non-English speaking people, but the US are reticent to change to the international version, probably because they didn't make it in the first place. However, considering that Spanish is becoming the "language de-jour" in the US, it doesn't make sense to have your signage in only English.

The International EXIT sign: The front, and the rarely-seen back of the sign.

What does this have to do with a unicorn? Glad you asked...

Well... um...

Well, the unicorn (or unicorno is Spanish) is fast becoming the NEW international sign for exit, because let's face it, when you're in a dangerous, desperate or inhospitable situation (for example, eating a bomb sandwich, fleeing a rottweiler on fire or being Carl William's gym partner), you want a sign that is unambiguous, a sign that is an instantly recognisable signifier for its intrinsic meaning.

And if you, I, or anyone were running away from a flaming rottweiler with a bomb sandwich in its mouth, and you, I or they ran past a door with a picture of a unicorn above it, we (universal) would all think the same thing:


And you know what? It would be.

This is my best selling t-shirt so far. It's odd, because it was a simple idea that I had for years but never got around to producing until recently, and while I thought it was funny, I didn't think it would quite as popular as it has been.

Turns out someone else also had the same idea, but I like mine because... it's mine.

And I didn't rip off My Little Pony...
Oh Snap! Oh no he didn't?
Oh Yes, I did! Zing!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I am not in understandment

I've never understood the phrase "Got their work cut out for them..."

Surely if you cut work out, then there's less work to do.

Which is good, innit?

...unless you get paid by the hour...

Friday, April 16, 2010

New Thoughts on Migraines

Here's an idea for people out there who suffer from migraines.

If you are in the throes of a migraine, which can range from the inconvenient to the downright debilitating, here's something that can help to (maybe even slightly) reduce the pain.

Think of something new.

It's that simple.

I've found that when I've been battling with a migraine, the active thought of thinking of new thoughts, versus thinking of memories or previous thoughts, can help to reduce the pain in the head.

OK, maybe it's not that simple. Continually thinking of new things can be hard. It's very easy to drift back into things you've already thought of. But, at least for me, the act of creating new thought diminishes the acuteness of the pain.

"But," you say, "surely just thinking of something else just takes your mind off the fact that you're in pain." In theory yes, but I've tried taking my mind off the pain by thinking of fond memories and the effect isn't nearly the same as thinking of original thoughts.

Here's two processes I use:

1. Fly me, I'm free

Here's how I start: I picture my feet, standing on the ground, wearing green sneakers (I'm not sure why green, but it always seems to be green - go figure).

Then I lift off.

I rise up into the air, I take in the surroundings as they slowly shrink away. Where was I standing? What was over the fence? Who is that walking down the street? Where is that car going? Isn't it amazing how many people own pools?

It's all about the details.

Now that I've created this panorama, it's time to move. Where are I going to fly? Generally I think of somewhere cool, like Disneyland, or Niagara Falls, somewhere I recognise. And then I fly there, taking in the details of whatever I fly over.

The idea is that during you're flight, you have to consciously think of what you're going to see next. And even if you're flying between two places you know, the act of having to visualise the route between the two locations from above focusses your creative brain. You might be using some memory of what you'll see on the ground as you fly, but having to re-evaluate that data in your brain uses your creative centres rather than your memory centres.

2. Expected the Unexpected Pickle.

This is a pretty simple idea. Hall of doors. Walk up to a door, open the door. What happens?

OK, instead of that happening, what if the opposite happened, not what you expected at all?

Challenge your brain to create something you didn't expect. As soon as you start thinking you know what you're about to see, surprise yourself.

For example: "You open the door and see a man in a suit... except coming out of the bottom of his pants are... tentacles? And these tentacles slip and slide out of his cuffs, and each tentacle is holding an object - a golden ring, a necronomicon, a bottle of potion, a deck of cards, a pocketwatch. And then the pocketwatch... swells and morphs into an apple, which then peels open to reveal.... a flower, which explodes into a cloud of pollen, which forms the shape of... the Empire State Building... except halfway up, the building takes a 90 degree turn and starts building across the skyline. And then when you zoom inside the building, who do you see?..."

Choose an object, choose an aspect of the object that you take for granted, change that aspect. What happens next?


I'm sure there's a scientific reason for why this works in reducing pain, something to do with different sections of the brain, and how and where pain is interpreted. Maybe the pain is centred in the creative regions, and so if you're using that part of the brain to think creatively, not so much of that region is dwelling on feeling pain. I can't say the pain completely disappears, but it certainly diminishes.

I hope that these ideas work for you next time you've got a migraine, or even a bad headache.

Think on!!

Taking back Thursday

I'm officially declaring a day.

You got your "Tight-Arse Tuesday"and you've got "Hump Day" on Wednesday, but apart from the occasional Pancake, Thursday doesn't get the love it deserves. Sure, it sometimes gets called "Little Friday", but that doesn't do Thursday justice.

So I'm calling it. Unfortunately, I don't know what to call it yet.

So here's the pitch:

"You made it this far into the week. You've survived Monday, you've celebrated the fact with Tight-Arse Tuesday, and now Wednesday's over, you've finally broken the hump. But there's still two days to go before the relief of the weekend! What are you gonna do?

Here's your answer: it's time for "comfort clothing". It's like "comfort eating", but instead of heading for the fridge, hit the wardrobe.

Thursday is now "back in rotation" day: the day in the week when you dive into your wardrobe or drawers and find that piece of clothing that you loved, but somehow fell through the cracks of your regular rotation.

You can only wear so many t shirts, some are bound to sink from the top of the pile. Dig'em out!

Whatever happened to those jeans you loved, but got superseded by the new pants? Go try them on!

Didn't you used to have the cutest white pumps that went with that dress? Whatever happened to them? Well, you let that slut Shauna borrow them and she vomited Bacardi Breezer into them at the races, before snogging that guy you liked from work, the one with the eye brow piercing? Yeah him...
BUT! Go have a look in your wardrobe for some other great shoes that you don't wear anymore, and when Shauna asks to borrow them, you tell her to go f*ck herself! And the Accounting Department! Again! Slut!

It's amazing what you forget you used to wear.
It's time to be amazing again.

It's Thursday: Get Back In Rotation!"


Here's where you come in: Hit the poll up on the right and tell me what we should officially call Thursday's "Back In Rotation" day. And if you've got a better idea for a name, add a comment below.

Your vote is important to us. And by us, I mean you.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It could go either way...

I've set a ball in motion that could go one or more of many ways, if that makes sense.

Maybe it's a ball of water, which can split into different smaller balls of water which go into different directions, although a ball of water is kind of hard to launch.

Maybe it's a ball of mercury, which is sort of cooler, although the surface tension doesn't tend to let it split regularly.
If I could get a ball which had the splitability of water with the metallic finish of mercury, it would not only be perfect for this analogy, but also look damn cool...


Let's go back a bit...

A while ago, back when Steph and I were young and carefree and only had the one little pumpkin in the patch (oh those were the days, when we... slept) we discussed the idea of having another kid. I always said two was good, because one is officially the loneliest number, although 3 is also a particularly lonely number, since there will generally be a "ganging-up" of two against the remaining one, who would feel even more lonely when confronted with the chummy camaraderie of the other two.

And that's why people don't like mathematics. Because it's all about socio-political affectations of the individual components, rather than just counting. Maths is like communism: Good in theory, but once you get people involved, it falls over on its ear.
For example: 88 - Two fat ladies. Isn't that a little fattist? Sexist?
And if you think 13 is unlucky, spare a thought for "22 divided by 7".
How would you feel if everyone thought you were "easy as"?

We decided we wanted to have two children, so they would have someone to play with, protect each other and on the odd chance, supply an organ.
Fast forward a year (mainly so I don't have to explain the conception, pregnancy or birth) and we now have two kids, Honey and now Lilybelle, who are both beautiful and good-natured (pending), and we're happy with our decision to stop at two. For a start, they can never out-vote us, because in a split decision, we get the power of veto. Plus they're not old enough to vote, so that helps.
Plus, if we go out somewhere, there's one parent for each kid, so it is much easily to assert blame.
Also, how often do you see a family deal that states "2 adults, 3 children"? Never. OK, once, but that was a typo. "2 adults, 2 kids" is the goto ratio for Family Deals, the optimum, the golden rule, and I'd like to get in on some of that "Family Deal" action.

So what to do? Well if we didn't want any more kids, we could always do what my parents did and never have sex ever again (and if anyone thinks I'm being naive - SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP I'M NOT LISTENING!).
So instead, I decided to get a vasectomy.
Some people might think that's a little severe, but frankly it's the best option. Let's face it: If I was a superhero, whose power was the ability to get women pregnant, I could now say "My work here is done!" and fly off to my Fortress of Solitude (which is conveniently located in my shed).

Why not enjoy my progenitorial retirement?
Unfortunately, this superhero (I like the name THE IM-PREG-NA-TOR! myself. It's catchy) hit a brick wall.

Turns out a vasectomy costs over a thousand bucks!

Double ouch.That's a pain in the pocket, in more ways than one.
We don't have a thousand bucks to throw at my groin, so to speak. If we were gonna go ahead with this, I was gonna have to find a way to "make bank".

Fortunately, I came up with an idea, a plan so brilliant it verges on the dumb, a scheme so eye-googlingly stupendous, it could almost be considered idiotically stupid. And also a little embarassing.
Or it could just fail. There's always a chance.

It just so happened that I designed a shirt recently that would come in handy in just such an occasion.

The "MARRIED TO THE MILF" t-shirt was originally just a "love" letter to my wife. After all, she is the MILF for me. But I'm not the only man in the world who wants to have sex with his wife, am I?
So here's the idea: I sell the shirt, and the profits go towards me getting a vasectomy. What could possibly go wrong?

As I said, it could go one or more of many ways:

Possibly it could work, I sell enough shirts to pay for the snip, everybody wins.
Or it gets publicity, but don't doesn't transfer to sales, and I'm forever known as "Vasectomy Boy".
Or it gets publicity, does transfer to sales, but I'm still forever known as "Vasectomy Boy".
Or it doesn't work, and I still need to find a way to pay for a vasectomy.

But, as they say "You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs", although in this case, the eggs aren't my eggs per se, but my reputation, and the omelette is... the vasectomy? Is that right?
Which means the omelette is a vasectomy, which is the act of "breaking my eggs", so in this case, they should say "You can't break eggs without breaking eggs".

Very zen.

I guess we'll see how sales go. In the meantime, if you know someone who likes having sex with their wife (or even a wife who would like sex to be done with them), send them this PDF. Or just send them here.

Yours Sincerely,


Thursday, April 8, 2010

An Acquired Taste: An Appreciation of Gardening

I'm older than I was. Older than most reading this post I presume, and increasingly so. And as the saying goes, "Better an empty flat than a bad tenant." which is apt because... I...

My mistake. The saying is "The older you are, the wiser you become." which of course doesn't take into account the development of dementia and senility in the elderly or C-grade celebrities (I'm looking at you Lohan!). The saying infers that the arrival of wisdom happens only after you're old enough to not have fun with it. "Ignorance is Bliss" is another phrase that comes to mind, which, when consumed together, means that as you get older, you may get wiser, but you won't be happier. That's a bit of a downer, innit? I should have never even started this paragraph...

The original reason for staggering down this path like an AT-ST covered in ewoks is that I've come to appreciate certain things in life that I never thought I would. While bumbling through life has been fun, I'm now in the position to sit up, meekcat-like, and observe things around me for what they are. And whether I can eat them.

An Appreciation of Gardening.

I've never had any luck with plants. I have the opposite of a green thumb, whatever that is. Many people think that the brown thumb is the opposing digital accompaniment, but that's not true. The brown thumb is the sign of a "yes man".

Not only have I had no luck with plants, I've never understood the need for gardening. What is the point of gardening? Something to show where the dead grass finishes? Somewhere to stick all those objects d'art that your grandchildren give you for your birthday? A pet equivalent for less mobile animal lovers?

There were always aspects of gardening that I enjoyed. For example: pruning. There's nothing like hacking and slashing at overgrown behemoths to resurrect that little English explorer in Africa in all of us. Sure, there's less pith helmets, but also less dysentery, so it's a fair balance.

And apart from pruning, I always enjoyed...

No. That's about it.

Until now.

For the most part, I have to credit Stephanie, exquisite partner of mine, for my new-found appreciation of gardening. She liked gardening, despite my objections, and when she got a job at Bulleen Art & Garden, the knowledge she picked up only increased her enjoyment. She began requesting garden beds to be built, which my limited handyman prowess provided. Eventually.

Plus, we got to eat the (literal) fruits of our labour. Tomatoes mainly, but like the gateway drug of the gardener, that perked my interest. From there we've experimented with beans, peas, asparagus, strawberries, herbs, passionfruit, lemons, olives, capsicum, spring onions and more, with varying degrees of success.

But I now look forward to getting into the garden on weekends. I plant trees instead of just cutting them down. I turn compost (we have four compost bins now, because you just can't get enough apparently) and tend the worm farm. I watch gardening shows. I know what iron chelate is.

I finding myself wishing we had a bigger block, not so we could extend the house, but so we could add more garden.

Why the turnaround? Possibly that fact that things lived. Rather than being the Voldemort to the Harry Potted, I've become the Dumbledore, except less gay, but with the same bad taste of headwear.

Also, getting something back from the plants is conducive to wanting to continue the friendship. Sure, a flower is pretty, but can you cook them into a pasta sauce? Yes you can, but it would taste a bit shit. But tomatoes are a different story. In fact, you can pick them off and eat them on the spot, particularly cherry tomatoes, which almost beg to be eaten like something out of Alice in Wonderland, or a particularly vocal porn star.

To a lesser degree, I suspect it also has to do with owning our house, rather than renting. "Putting down roots" makes a lot more sense now. I think the transient nature of renting doesn't compel people to spend more than cursory time on their gardens, but once it's yours, it is an extension of who you are. Thus you want something you can be proud of. (Yes, I ended the sentence with a preposition. The grammarticulate can waggle their fingers, but "Thus you want something of which you can be proud." sounds like a toss.)

I hope that our gardening efforts will rub off on our girls, that maybe they'll have more of an interest in where their food is coming from, other than the supermarket. Having the herb garden outside the front door certainly helps.

We're not exactly gonna be hosting an Open Garden in the near future, but I like to think that we'll continue to invest time and effort in the garden and see appropriate results.

And that's the crux of it: Not only am I willing to spend time and effort in the garden, I actually enjoy it. Who'd have thought?

I guess you could say that gardening is... growing on me?

I wouldn't, because ending with a shitty Dad joke is lame.

So I'll just say... gardening: it's an acquired taste.

The Master says Relax... I mean Obey.

There have now been plenty of Masters on Doctor Who, but by far, the best Master of all would have to be Roger Delgado.
I have a soft spot for the Jon Pertwee era, considering it was when I first saw the show. ABC in Australia replayed Pertwee and Tom Baker episodes for what seemed like decades while I was growing up.
Roger Delgado's Master was the nemesis of Pertwee's Doctor, and the character was, even back then, a bit of a moustache-twirler, but Delgado gave it such style.
Delgado had a back catalogue of movie and TV roles, playing a range of swathy types and probably the odd vicar. He could play suave and sophisticated in his sleep. Narcolepsy aside, he had the chops.Delgado's Master had the same issues as the other Masters: a deep, seething hatred of the Doctor's ability to win both the day and the affections of everyone around him without resorting to underhanded dealings.
Oh, and wanting to rule the universe. Natch.
He also had the complete inability to kill off his nemesis with a simple bomb or gun, preferring the more intricate, ornate, sophisticated and ultimately escapable trap. Consider "Terror of the Autons" - the Master's first story. After cleverly disguising himself as a phone technician to infiltrate the UNIT base, the Master could just whip out a gun, add some witty quip, and blow his fellow Time Lord away.
But instead, he installs a phone.
Sure, it's a bit of a killy phone, what with the remote-controlled strangling cord and all, but still...
since Delgado's tragic death in a car accident while shooting a movie in Turkey, the character has been resurrected in both the classic and new versions of the show, plus appearances in the McGann movie of 1996 and online stories. But as each new version of the character appeared, the subtleties of the character diminished, from Anthony Ainsley's 80's appearances resembling Dick Dastardly, to John Simm's wildly grimacing portrayal in the new series.
None have suitably matched the gravitas that Delgado brought the role. For me, he was the original and the best.
To misquote Time Crash: "He was my Master."
This t-shirt design harks back to the bad old days of 2003. I travelled to Whovention in Sydney. To subsidise my expenses, I decided to try selling some merchandise, including keyrings with the Gallifrey symbol, posters and some t-shirts. One design was a dalek design that has since disappeared on one of my hard drives. the other was this design, a mash-up of Doctor Who and Shepard Fairey.

Considering the Master was a skilled hypnotist, I thought it was a perfect match.

The sale, by the way, was a disaster, and on top of that, I successfully (though accidentally) insulted one of the visiting celebrities in front of a room of fans. So all in all, the weekend was not a huge success.

But I was always happy with the finished version of this design. So I've made it available for purchase again through redbubble.

So, if Roger Delgado was your Master, you know what... you... must... do...

(I'm fiercely staring at you through the screen right now, btw)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Welcome, Foolish Mortals...

So begins the tour of The Haunted Mansion, a mainstay of Disney theme parks around the world, and one of my favourite attractions in any theme park.
Why? The Haunted Mansion epitomises the drawcard of attractions such as roller coasters, flume rides and dark rides: scares without danger.

While a roller coaster provides the scares of high speed and sudden turns (and if you're lucky, loops), it also provides safety from danger, in the form of seat belts, harnesses and safety brake systems. Thus, you can be hurtling to your death in a rocket car, but in the back of your mind, you know everything is going to be alright.

In comparison, hurtling to your death in an actual rocket car wouldn't have the same widespread appeal.

With The Haunted Mansion, you are dealing with all manner of scary spook, gruesome ghoul and a bridezilla, but the scares are balanced out by black humour and Charles Addams-style visual gags.

Alternatively, if you were just stuck in a creepy house where the rooms changed size, objects floated around your head and the paintings distorted into ghoulish patiches of their former beauty, you'd probably not enjoy it so much.

The "Foolish Mortal" tshirt above is in honour of one of my favourite all-time rides. The design resembles some of the motifs found within the attraction, most notably the unsettling wallpaper from sections of the ride.

What I really like about this design is the way the colours work. While there is a white version for other shirt colours, the purple design on the grey shirt is almost subliminal in low light, just the barest of glossy hints. However, when you step out into the sunlight, the design almost glows against the grey background.

If you're a fan of The Haunted Mansion, you could do worst than pick up a shirt and declare yourself a Foolish Mortal.

Sure you may have 999 t-shirts in your cupboard...

...but there's always room for one more....

A test of the technology

There may come a time when I am compelled by a sudden need to provide instant global access to my thoughts.
If that happens, this should help.

-- Post From My iPhone

Location:Bendigo St,North Melbourne,Australia

Obligatory Questionable First Post

It's been a long time since I blogged, so long in fact that I can't even log into my old blog, as I don't have that email address anymore, the image links don't work anymore, and half the archives have fallen off. It's like walking through the remains of the once-populated industrial park and finding a lot of flaky paint and rusty metal. But instead of paint, it's metaphors and instead of metal, it's humour.

So, flaky metaphors and rusty humour. Sounds like a vaudeville act. And not a good one.

But, huzzah, like Lazarus walking out of his cave and immortally declaring, "Brrrrrrrrraaaains!!", I have decided to return from the dead, blog-wise.

This could be a good thing, or this may be the very last blog entry I type.

Stay tuned.