Saturday, 15 November 2008

I am angry.

It is now, as I write this, approximately 6 hours after the Arsenal - Aston Villa match ended, and I'm still almost incandescent with anger.

I'm angry at the Villa players who chopped at Walcott, Nasri and Fabregas all game, yet fell over like they'd been shot everytime we went near them;

I'm angry at the referee and his assistants for being such blind and/or bent tosspots who missed several blatant fouls on our players including the one that led to their second goal. Mike Riley has always been a Man Utd supporting arsehole, but he outdid himself today;

I'm angry at our players for putting in such a weak performance today. We didn't deserve to win or even draw today, quite apart from anything else;

I'm angry at our manager who persists with his plan A even when it's blindingly obvious that it is not working - and the fact that it doesn't appear he's even thought of a plan B.

I'm angry that all the hard work of the last week - beating Man Utd and our kids beating Wigan - has been undone in the space of 90 minutes.

I'm angry that the vultures of the media will be circling around us again, and predicting our doom and reveling in it, as for some reason, we are the club the media love to stick the knife into.

And finally, I'm angry that I'm angry about all this. I know that come the next game I'll be cheering on the Arsenal louder than ever and I will be until I die.

Sigh.

Monday, 3 November 2008

The trouble with iPhone apps...

...is that I love 'em too much. I've managed to fill up the entire nine screens given over to storing your apps, and I'm now in the position of having to get rid of old apps in order to install new ones. I hope that Apple institutes a folder system for apps in a future update, or at least takes away the nine screen limit. For now though, it's the old swapping apps game for me... Sigh...

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

The 3G iPhone and Me: Addendum

I got an iPhone 3G shortly after my last post. Since then I've been writing a follow-up about how I feel about it. But you know what? John Gruber wrote a piece on his blog, Daring Fireball, today that sums up exactly how I feel about my phone. And it's better written, so go read that instead: The iPhone 3G.

Friday, 18 July 2008

The 3G iPhone and me

I've been the proud and happy owner of a first generation iPhone for a few months now (I was late to the party), but as befits my strange and materialistic personality, I wanted the new 3G version as soon as Steve announced it at the WWDC keynote earlier this year. I'm also a complete Apple fanboy (you know, one of the really annoying ones who answers every question about computers with "Get. A. Mac"), so it was double trouble.

Anybody who knows me will attest that when I want something, I WANT that thing, be it a book, magazine, new Mac or gadget, with a passion that is white hot. The object of my desire becomes the focus of my waking thoughts almost to the detriment of everything else. I have no idea why I'm this way, and most of the time I fervently wish that I wasn't. Anyway, I was the same with the first generation iPhone, and once I'd saved up enough money, I went and bought it even though I knew that the 3G was probably only a matter of months away.

Liz, my long-suffering (and lovely) wife, Sophie, my sweet five-year old, and I braved the North Circular and crowds to go to the Apple store at Brent Cross where I plunked down my debit card and walked out some five minutes later the ecstatic holder of a 2G iPhone. It was, and still is, one of the best bits of tech I have ever owned. If you had told the ten-year-old me that by the time I was in my early forties I would have something that made the communicators in Star Trek look like something out of a toy shop I would have freaked.

And with the advent of the 2.0 software update and the app store, it's just got even better. Not only is it a superb phone, internet device and iPod (let's not forget the iPod), it's also now a top notch games console, and a true computing platform. Hell, even commentators like Daring Fireball's John Gruber are saying that the iPhone OS could be Apple's main platform in years to come, and they don't sound ridiculous. Further, the beauty of it all is that everything works sweetly on the first gen iPhone. You don't even need to upgrade to the iPhone 3G to get all the good stuff.

Nevertheless, when the iPhone 3G was announced, I wanted it like a dehydrated man wants a cool glass of water. Liz, bless her, thought I was crazy. Which, it has to be said, is not a thought pattern that she's exactly alien to. We discussed it, pros and cons, and decided that, OK, I could get the new one. Well, when I said 'decided' what I mean is that I, for the first time ever, said "I'm going to buy it. No arguments.", and she agreed. Kind of. I ought to try that more often...

So when a few days later, O2 sent out a text message saying "Hey, iPhone user, want to upgrade to the 3G? Come register your interest on our website (and I quote here) and 'we'll reserve a new iPhone for you'", I registered tout de suite (twice, to make sure), and sat back waiting for the 7th of July when I would calmly upgrade online, safe in the knowledge that come the 11th, I would have a brand new shiny 2nd gen iPhone in my hands.

Of course, everyone knows how that all worked out. I spent most of the day on the 7th, beginning at around 7:30am, trying to order one of the bastard things on O2's laughable "upgrade store"* along with every other Apple-addled sod in the country. No iPhone and very high blood pressure later, I gave it up as a bad job, and decided to wait until I could just walk into any O2 store and just pick up a 16gb model.

And a week later I'm still waiting. By best estimates, I'll still be waiting this time next month. This is not that much of a problem as I do have a 1st gen iPhone, but damn it, I want one NOW.

With all that's going on in the world, even down to the fact that Liz lost her father earlier this week to a horrible form of cancer that literally eat the poor man alive (and who will be the subject of a future post), I feel really guilty for wanting something that is clearly a luxury - a luxury that 99% of the planet cannot afford.

I am surely going to hell. But hopefully with a 3G iPhone.

*O2 really, really, REALLY dropped the ball with the launch of the iPhone 3G. For a start, they implied that upgrading iPhone owners would get priority for the stock at launch, when in fact, they opened it out to everyone creating a massive free-for-all they could not cope with. Sort of like, fuck the existing customers who already paid out for their phones, let's fill our boots with new customers! Then, they either woefully underestimated demand (hah!), or they just couldn't be arsed to scale their online facilities for the rush they created. Oh, they say they upgraded their online store massively, but I don't believe it. Either they're lying or they're incompetent to previously unknown and elephantine levels. And they have the gall to blame Apple.

It's a shame, because in other ways, they're the best carrier I've ever used. I shudder to think what all this would have been like if the iPhone was on the trainwreck that is Orange.

Monday, 30 June 2008

Friday, 27 June 2008

twitter's down. Again.

Blimey. I hope they stick that money they've just got into infrastructure, because they're down more than a whore's knickers lately...

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Friends with blogs part 1

I see Timmy the P. has a new blog here. Hmmm. He really is turning into an old perv lately. Bless.

And it would be awfully remiss of me to not mention Kate Laity's blog Wombat's world while I'm compiling this first part of my list of mates with blogs. Kate's blog is entertaining while not being up it's own arse. A rare feat that.

blogging on the iPhone

So, I thought I'd give it a try. And it seems that it works. I'm pretty fast on the soft keyboard now, and the interface via BlogIt is quite nifty. Now if only I had something to say...

Thursday, 22 May 2008

First Post!

I have no idea why I'm doing this again, aside from the fact that I'm intrigued to see if I can post stuff to this from my iPhone. The last time I attempted to do anything like this was nearly two years ago, and the last time I blogged on anything like a regular basis was 2003. Not a lot's changed since then, to be honest, except that my just born swee'pea is now a fully-fledged five year old girly girl. I'm still a graphic designer, I still support Arsenal, and I still obsess over Apple products.

One thing that has changed is my involvement with comics. I still like comics, I still think that they're an artform, and I still read them (well, stuff by selected cartoonists). What I don't do is aspire to create them professionally or even be peripherally involved in the comics industry anymore. What changed? Well, nothing I can really put my finger on, more a series of events that combined to sort of turn me off the whole idea of having anything more than a passing interest:
  • I co-wrote a couple of books on comics. I'm not linking to them - if you want to know more then just search for my name on Amazon. While I'm proud of them, a few things happened during the writing of the last one that kind of left a bad taste in the mouth. I also treated someone who worked on the second book pretty badly - if you ever read this, Steve, I'm sorry.
  • The reviews of the second book were pretty damn good (except one that appeared in SFX magazine, that while praising the content of the book, took a pretty good swing at the design. Which I also did. And was bloody proud of). Unfortunately this sense of bonhomie from the reviewers did not equate to sales which were, as they say, pisspoor. This was pretty much due to the 'publisher' not giving a flying toss (or any money) about promoting the book. This was made pointedly clear when we did a signing at a comic shop in Brighton. If I signed two books for actual paying customers, I signed a hundred. I must admit that while I didn't really care if the book sold badly or not, I was hoping that it would get me a way into book design. Which it spectacularly did not. I guess the guy from SFX was right after all.
  • We did some panels at UK comics events about the subject matter of the second book, and while these were fun, they weren't exactly well attended. We had more mates in the audience than people who were genuinely interested. Which was nice, but it had the net effect of making it seem like we were talking to ourselves.
  • At these said events, you get to meet people who work in comics, many of whom I'm proud to call my friends. There's a few, though, and they shall remain nameless, who conspire to suck all the fun out of the room the minute they walk into it. They're mean, shallow, brazen backbiters who smile and ask you how you are while they simultaneously search the room for someone more interesting (read: more able to further their career) and stab you in the back. I got sick of these people. Worse still, I think I was turning into one.
  • I came up with a plan to start a UK arm of a collective 'comics experimentation group'. This went so pear-shaped so fast it literally made my head spin, as well as nearly souring a friendship permanently. It was pretty much my own fault that this went so wrong, but it didn't help that it also involved two of the most influential people in the UK and Franco-Belgian comics communities.
  • I came to the crashing realisation that I didn't have the talent or the wherewithall to really make it as a professional cartoonist (or even a decent amateur), and while I have some level of artistic ability, my main attribute was hitching onto other, more talented individuals' coat-tails and hoping they'd take me with them to comics 'glory' (whatever that is). And that's pretty sad.
There were some other things in there, but that's pretty much the meat of it. All of these things lead to my decision to take a step back from comics and become simply an amateur again. I stopped going to comics events, I visit comics shops very rarely and I pretty much have nothing to do with anyone in comics (aside from a select few who I still correspond with via an email list, and see on rare occasions). Now and then I miss it all, I still get the urge to publish again, and I certainly miss my friends who I don't see nearly as often as I'd like, but I don't really want to go back to how it was. Comics were an enormous part of my life for more years than I care to recount, and they always will be a part of me. They just don't own me anymore.

I'll tell you one thing though, I draw more now than I ever did when I was a 'cartoonist'...