Journal Entries

Best viewed from the blog itself, since the RSS feed strips out style markup.

  • October 2020

    Sat, 07 Nov 2020 14:02:33 GMT

    The main two conferences I was looking forward to this year were cancelled, but I made up for PyCon UK by making welsh cakes, which are traditionally served during breaks there in Cardiff.


    A blog I follow, AI Weirdness, made some AI-generated drawing prompts to play into Inktober, calling it 'Botober' instead. I decided to use them to do a quick sketch on my phone each day, in the style of the party game "Drawful". As the month progressed I switched to my pen tablet instead, since I felt I could put more effort into them than I did. In the end I spent around 15 minutes on average on those.

    Here's the whole selection, or the Twitter thread I originally posted them to. This one's my favourite, a composite I did for the last three days:

    "A lowercase infinity", "An uppercase infinity", "One hundred billion bats" - roughly the same number of bats as stars in the Milky Way

    Homemade face mask

    I bought a sewing machine! I didn't have much of an idea what I would make with it, but I've been wanting to get into sewing for a while and I figured it'd be better to have one to hand when inspiration did strike.

    I realised I could have a pretty good shot at making a face mask that was safer than the ones I already had, after reading an article about the effectiveness of various materials. I bought some material (nowhere near the recommended thread count for the cotton, but never mind) and I think I made a pretty good go at the instructions I used.

    Automatic Manic Pixie Dream Girl

    Emily and her friend Dave set up AMPDG which is a set of quirky prompts that they encourage everyone to pick one from each month. This month I chose to modify a t-shirt into something new, and since I was looking for reasons to use my new sewing machine, I decided to turn an old t-shirt into some hand warmers.

    Working with t-shirt material was tricky (as I'd been warned!) but I was fairly happy with how they turned out technically, even if the t-shirt fabric wasn't quite the right choice for them:

    Carving a home-grown squash

    I decided to harvest my squash about a week before Hallowe'en which meant I got to carve the largest one during the afternoon of Saturday 31st.

    The largest one was 650g, the smallest around 300g.

    Being quite small (the tea light _barely_ fit through the hole in the top), I picked a simple pattern and drew it on it by eye. I'm pretty pleased with the result!

    The next day, I cooked up all three squash for squash and pine nut pasta, which I got three meals out of.

    I also got dressed up in orange and black to take some photos of myself, and I was pretty happy with how I looked that day.

    comment count unavailable comments


  • September 2020

    Sat, 03 Oct 2020 13:32:00 GMT

    I can't really find a good theme for this month; it was a lot of miscellany but I feel like I did a fair amount.

    Dragon Fruit

    I bought a pitaya cutting from a seller on eBay after watching a few youtube videos and realising that my indoor climate was roughly the conditions the dragon fruit plant likes. It arrived pretty quickly, a 15-20cm segment of the succulant plant, with "↑ UP" written in marker pen so I'd know which end to put in the ground. I prepared it by cutting off the tip, letting it dry over, then dipping in some rooting powder and potting up by my window.

    The cutting itself was about £20 but I spent more than that on the pot and 30L of soil. Hopefully it does something (fruit in a couple of years would be splendid, but I'd settle for it just growing), or as I said on twitter, I'm going to feel pretty foolish.

    Mr Blobby

    The long and short of this is that Twitter is weird, and my brain latched onto a cursed Mr Blobby concept that I sort of helped create in August during a late night drifting-off-to-sleep tweet?

    Anyway, it did the rounds a few times and then one night I ended up having a Mr Blobby Doctor Who crossover nightmare, as you do. I turned that into a short story thanks to a bit of encouragement from that area of the Internet. Here it is! You absolutely should not read it (seriously; it's kinda of ended up as literally the stuff of my nightmares on page, and I wonder what it says about me in all honesty).

    I'm a little surprised that even though Guy Kelly, who has over 15k followers, retweeted it, it's only had 27 views as of today, which is definitely less total time spent reading it than I spent writing it. But obviously it's extremely niche, and I guess that's an interesting lesson about having a huge following on twitter, too.

    Adventure Time; Command & Conquer

    I finished both Adventure Time, the TV animation, and Tiberian Dawn, the remastered edition of the Command & Conquer game. Adventure Time took me a good couple of seasons to get into, I seem to recall, but then I got really into it. It was my breakfast TV for about a year so I'm feeling the loss of it at the moment.

    Tiberian Dawn was very good and felt like playing a vague memory; even though I'd never played that game before, Red Alert and Tiberian Sun, which I was obsessed with in my teens, both used similar elements.

    I started Red Alert from the same Remastered pack on the last day of September and that packed a full on nostalgia punch. I've never actually finished both campaigns in Red Alert (I preferred the skirmishes as a kid) so I've got that to look forward to.

    19 Martian Years Old

    I had my 19th Martian birthday this month. A little irritating that both my 3rd Jovian and 19th Martian were spent in lockdown this year. I did at least make myself a cake this time, a really nice chocolate-orange sponge cake. The icing was supposed to be rusty orange, but ended up murky pink, but I've bought myself some more food colouring gels so that hopefully won't happen again!

    SAGE and BCMX

    Two online events this month: The Sonic Amateur Games Expo, where a few youtubers were streaming various Sonic fan games, which tend to have a lot of work put in to them, and BarCamp Manchester X, which was a series of online talks in Discord this year. [personal profile] squirmelia was there too! I didn't do a talk, but I watched some interesting ones, including one about dolls houses and another about web accessibility.

    comment count unavailable comments


  • August 2020

    Sun, 06 Sep 2020 10:13:42 GMT

    In an alternative universe, I would have been in Australia this month, perhaps watching the perseid meteor storm from the middle of a desert. In the real world, the only meteors I dealt with were the ones that dumped Tiberium into the Command & Conquer universe, as I bought the C&C Remastered pack to play Tiberian Dawn for the first time. (And yes, that was a terrible segue.) I also harvested a good amount of homegrown vegetables, inspired a cursed Mr Blobby meme, and drew a bunch of cat faces, which turned into a late attempt at [community profile] naarmamo, the Art-Making Month.


    I'd bought a new pen tablet recently because my old Graphire 4 doesn't work on Macs any more, so I needed to upgrade for work. This meant I got to use the Graphire 4 with my personal laptop with less hassle, and I had it set up to play Command & Conquer with. At around the same time, Twitter's Curious Zelda (a cat account) posted an photo I felt the need to draw a sketch of.

    Curious Zelda retweeted it, to my delight, and I decided to draw more cat face pictures as a result. Meanwhile, [personal profile] squirmelia had been organising NaArMaMo, so I decided to do a few different things to participate in that as well.



    David MacIver's cat-who-does-not-live-here

    Al Broomhead's cats

    Pete & Matt's cat Lilian.

    I think I improved a little over those six pictures, but I'm still most happy with the Curious Zelda pic, which I think conveys most emotion.

    Other Naarmamo pieces:




    Home-grown house

    Carrot tops

    Instant coffee patterns

    A 5x5 grid of soy and oat milk tetrapaks, accumulated while I'm not shopping in person and hence not getting to the recycling point.

    Okay, so I'm up to date with my Dreamwidth entries for the first time since :checks: April 2018! All it took was a pandemic and total lockdown.

    comment count unavailable comments


Pleroma Feed

These posts are also sent to Twitter.