Fidgety Cubes

I reviewed the Fidget Cube! This cool wee little box of buttons and switches reached a ridiculous number of donations in its Kickstarter campaign and has spawned a huge number of cheap knock offs and immiations. I found and pledged support to the cube back in November, and now I have my hands on the real McCoy! After I backed the project last year (backer number 82,832) I got to confirm my choice of cube style (Graphite and Retro styled) in December, and yesterday I got an email saying they had shipped and would arrived Thursday or Friday and what do you know- they arrived in the post today!

These wee cubes are really solidly built. The overall presentation is good, it has nice neat carrying bag to go with it and after a bit of stress testing, I can’t find any potential problem points with them (so far). In the video I mention how I’d prefer something a bit more tactile and interactive on the smooth side (pictured below), however, after using it I think it’s actually becoming one of my favourite features!

qroouq6

Anyway check out the video, and consider picking one up if it’s something you think you’d enjoy. It’s worth noting that while there is a tonne of imitations out there, this is a great project that is worth buying from the inventors. You can pre-order on the Antsy Labs website and I don’t think anywhere else, so accept no imitations!

Project: The Cut

I’m back! Phew, what a delay, eh? Last time I posted was those rushed few days before I had to hand in my university project and pray that I could at least get to the summer without stress-related madness. And I did! Passed, in fact. Got a degree, in fact! Keep forgetting about that.

I’ve been up to a lot that I really need to update this place on, from artwork and videos and my new bloomin’ van (more on that in the future though), but for now?  Haircuts! I resent to you The Cut

More info about the production/shooting/extras after the cut!

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14 Common Phrases and their Nautical Origins

In case you guys missed it, I started a new channel! It’s all bout history videos and the like, and this week is 14 common phrases and their nautical origins, all in time for the anniversary of a first in American Naval history! The video is below, as is the full script and lovely links to all the sources! Enjoy!


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A New Channel and A New Series!

Well it’s been a long time coming, but here finally is the first episode of my new History Series! I’ve been busy adapting not only some of my older history articles, but some brand new content that I hope to release on a new channel that I’ve set up specifically for history videos, documentary shorts and other video-essay style content.  Seanachas is still pretty basic until I finish my artwork, headers and consistent thumbnails, but it’s a start! You can see my first video- The First Smoking Ban in History below!

For this the pilot I figured I would try to adapt an existing article I had already written, namely Pope Urban VII: The Shortest Smoking Ban in History as I felt the content and was pretty strong and would make a good 5-7 minute video. You can definitely expect ‘original’ content not featured on the site in the future, but certainly the next episodes will be based on another in my history series that I’ve previously written. This episode was made on a shorter timescale and with more limited resources (namely my laptop tablet rather than PC & Drawing tablet) so I’m hoping future videos will feature a lot more original drawings and content, but I still think it worked out pretty damn well!

Why Seanachas? Well I was playing around with possible channel names for months for something good that covered everything I wanted to do, but the problem was that I didn’t want to limit my channel to just history videos- I hope to feature everything from essays and videos on games, movies, books and other things that interest me, so I needed something that didn’t conform to just history. I picked Seanachas because 1. it’s a Gaelic word for someone who pretty much talks a lot, and 2. I like the sound of it, which is pretty neat.

Now, in the past I’ve mentioned a podcast, rather than videos or content specifically written for a video format, and that is coming! Basically, I have two plans- a podcast series that runs anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, and these short, fast paced videos that are much lighter on in-depth content in more ‘trivia’ based. When the podcast will be ready… I can’t say. It takes much longer to script and record, but I think I’ll judge it based on the reception of these videos first. Either way, I hope you enjoy the video and please, let me know what you think!

 

A (poorly edited) Blast From The Past

Well since I’ve not been doing much drawing and thus my Sunday Night Sketchbooks have been a bit thin, I figure I’ll leave you with an old sketch I made years ago that I found while cleaning out my laptop today. I know, the editing AND acting is terrible, but I was belle of the ball in my college class when I made this! How far we’ve come… It was for a radio show I did with a friend called “Ali and Ewan On”, which lasted only three episodes as it turns out scripting out an entire 30 minute episode each week for a comedy show is DIFFICULT. Either way, enjoy and revel in my terrible acting abilities:

Flobathon!

So one of my favourite YouTubers KurtJMac celebrated the “Flobathon” this weekend, a mammoth 12 hour livestream celebrating the end of the forth season of Far Lands or Bust, as he continued to walk through the world of minecraft toward the Farlands in the name of charity. You can still donate over at Farlands or Bust, and you can of course find his videos on his YouTube channel. I’ve been subscribed to Kurt since about episode 5 or 6 of his Minecraft LP (just before he started his adventure to the farlands) and it was his series that introduced me to Mindcrack and inspired me to start making videos. Since then, he’s raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and has been featured in a  multitude of news and magazine articles. So for all those reasons and more, go Kurt! However the main point to all this was to show off some awesome artwork a buddy of mine Sebs did, depicting a bunch of us who were hanging out in IRC watching the Flobathon and eating pizza like a bunch of collective badasses. I can now tick off “Featured in Seb’s art” from my bucketlist. Find more great artwork here!

Life made

EssRec-Bee and Puppycat

Welcome to Essential Recommendations! My occasional blog post in which I recommend you guys books, films, videos games or anything really that I find cool. Last time, I recommended the brilliant Killing Is Harmless: A Critical Reading of Spec Ops: The Linean essay detailing the nuances of a video game that challenges the current perception of military first person shooters, the depiction of violence in entertainment and even the portrayal of post traumatic Stress disorder. This time, it’s an online cartoon about Bee, an out-of-work twenty-something who has a life-changing collision with a mysterious creature she names PuppyCat. So yeah, not exactly keeping to a  theme.

Bee and PuppyCat

By Natasha Allegri and Frederator Studios

Available on YouTube, Kickstarter Page (funded)

This is pretty much required watching for anyone who is a fan of Adventure Time and the similarities are clear from the start: magical pets, crazy adventures and a childish psychedelic art style bordering on a drug trip. It’s no coincidence: series creator Natasha Allegri is a crew member on Adventure Time and it well-known within the community. However, as someone who is categorically not a fan of Adventure Time, I wanted to post this so encourage people who maybe wrote off Bee and Puppycat for its similar AT ‘vibe’.

Source: http://jailboticus.deviantart.com/art/Bee-and-Puppycat-in-Fishbowl-Space-392317801

You might write off B&P as a Adventure Time rip off, but you’d be oh-so wrong.

The series has a beautiful art style that’s almost impossible to describe (and probably why I keep referring to its closest relative, Adventure Time). Every frame has this beautiful fluid motion to it, and the characters are wonderful animated and expressive. What drew me in was the sound however- it’s crazy and over the top but so beautifully made and pitch perfect. The voice acting is also wonderfully crisp, simple and soft-spoken. It doesn’t feel jarring or out-of-place like I’ve found Adventure Time to sometimes suffer from. To someone studying sound design, it’s really inspiring to see something so detailed and unique sounding in a cartoon. Either way, keep an eye out for new episodes soon- a whole series was funded through a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign and I couldn’t be happier. You can find an Ask me Anything interview on Reddit by Natasha and the executive producer Fred Seibert here. Also check out Bravest Warriors by the same studio if you’d like something similar.

One Year on the Internet

Well if anyone hadn’t noticed on twitter or on my most recent video, my channel is officially one year old. On the 23rd of November 2012, I uploaded my very first video to YouTube. It was… uh well, it was pretty standard for your first Let’s play video in that I was quiet, boring and it sucked! Also, for whatever reason I started an LP on a hardcore world of Minecraft, meaning if I died the whole place would get deleted. So yeah, I wasn’t the most forward thinking of chaps back then.

Either way, now that I’m at my one year mark I thought I would look back and reflect on how I’ve done and give some thoughts on the experience on a whole. A year ago, I decided to start making YouTube videos as a way to build a portfolio if I ever got into radio or some kind of job that might benefit from a pre-built fanbase. This has been my go-to answer to most people when the ask “Why the hell do you make videos?” and since I studied radio at college, they’re pretty used to me doing weird things. That said, I’ve always hoped and dreamed to actually make a living creating, writing or talking in whatever capacity and while I don’t expect Youtube to be the platform for me to make any real money, I’ve avoided telling people that it case they simply scoffed at me for being an idiot (I wouldn’t blame them, I would too) and wasting my time. However, now that we’re one year in- have I wasted my time? Is it time for me to call it quits? When I started, I made a pact with myself based on some advice I heard on an interview with Dave Chappelle, where he told James Lipton  that, while getting into comedy, his father told him: “Set a price. Set a price, and whenever it gets more than the price you set; get out”. So I said to myself I would give it a year- I’d give it my best shot and I’d see where I was in a year. Well, a year is up. Was it worth it?

If I looked at my channel today before I had started making videos, I’d probably be pretty disappointed. When you start a channel, your lofty ambitions of gaining a thousand subscribers a day is quickly dashed when you realise just how hard it is to gain a steady viewership. It can be hard for someone who hasn’t spent hours recording, editing and rendering to appreciate just how much a single comment, like or even view means to you after toiling away at making the best you have to offer. A year later, having experienced the elation of having two, three or even four comments on a video and seeing the views shoot up to almost twelve (twelve!) views after only a few hours, I’ve come to appreciate the difficult of building  fanbase. That said, I could never have dreamed the positivity and warmth people have shown towards the things I’ve created, case in point: Crappy Animations.

I’ve talked at length before about just how incredibly I lucked out with the Mindcrack animations I’ve made (for example, avoiding my near disastrous plan to upload my first ‘animation’ to a separate channel in case they weren’t well received) but you have to understand that when I started out, if I had been told my main subscriber base and thousands upon thousands of views would come from animations, I’d have laughed. I’ve gone on record as saying I’m certainly no artist, much less an animator, so the sheer avalanche of positivity and compliments I got in reaction to each and every animation has truly shocked me. I understand people may look at each video and ask how something with ‘merely’ <20000 views can mean so much to me, but this is from a guy who gets over the moon at 150 views per video (something I’m still getting used to).

Maybe this is a bit presumptuous, but I can almost feel myself looking back at this post down the line and laughing over my excitement of approaching a measly 700 subscribers, or gushing about videos that get upwards of 20 likes, but I really hope I don’t. If this year has taught me anything it’s that having a small fanbase or reach makes each and every interaction, like or  comment that much more special and unique and the be all and end all should never be a meaningless number at the top of your channel page. If I had to measure my biggest success, the greatest achievement of my YouTube hobby thus far, its been in the people I’ve met. Interacting, laughing and goofing around with people all across the globe has made for some of the funniest moments of 2013, and it’s justified every failed upload, every content ID and every restless minute trying to edit things together as time well and truly spent.

Here’s to another year!

At least, above all else, my quotes shall live on.

At least above all else, my quotes shall live on.