And this is why we cant have nice things…

At the University of Reading we have this new and fairly expensive 24 hour study space imaginatively named “The Study” consisting of several rooms painted bold colours with comfy chairs. It’s electronically locked at all times, but with a simple swipe of your campus card all can gain entry – well for the few who have actually bothered to find out how to get in that is.

Let me just show you here the Study is located on campus:

ImageSo as you can see, The Study is right next to the bar and club of the students union and from the carefully drawn and highly accurate paths of drunk students as they stagger their way home, they come in close contact with the building.

Wednesday night was a union night.

This is what greeted users on Thursday morning…

ImageAfter shock came laughter, then came concern. We’ve all seen the photos of drunkards that have passed out at parties and their “friends” stacking items on them, so naturally we though there might be a person under it all. There wasn’t.

Being the good student I am, along with my friends, we decided to dismantle the structure to the drunk gods only to realise we didn’t get a photo. So we put it back together, took a snap, and then proceeded to take it down again!

It’s sad that this kind of thing happens though. For most of last year there were countless petitions going around for students to have access to a 24 hour study space at the uni (for the access the uni network gives us) and now that we have it, this happens. I’ve used it loads, but if this keeps happening I not sure how long it’ll last before it’s closed, which is sad.

Anyway, for my next post I shall be looking at handwriting. Sounds thrilling right. Well for me it is and I hope I can convey some of that onto you. Peace out 😀

Advertisements

Notebook obsessions

I love stationary. I love notebooks. I’m a self confessed stationary snob. There are countless notebooks in my possession, but I’ve tried to be good and limit the number I have at university… yeah that’s not gone that well. The count for notebooks at uni stands at a dozen – but it won’t stay that way for long!

IMG_20130916_165806

So what do I use these notebooks for? Well they’re for all manner of important things, like taking notes. I know that’s a strange concept, using a notebook for actually taking notes, but that’s what I predominantly use them for. Sometimes they’re used for important notes like those I get from lectures and laboratory work for my dissertation and other times they could be filled with utterly useless things, the scrawling’s of a mad man, and doodles… lots of doodles.

IMG_20130916_170003IMG_20130916_170328IMG_20130916_170402

OK, some of the above aren’t actually notebooks, but they still hold the same rank to me. Year diaries and writing sets are just as desirable. I like the touch of class that comes with a writing set, not like those you get as a last minute gift – pretty patterned cards and envelopes with a pencil, I’m on about the leather bound cases which has high quality paper and envelopes (By high quality I mean Basildon Bond or Three Candlesticks).

I used to be terrible at keeping a diary up-to-date with all my upcoming events and actually checking it, but over the past few years with increasing number of things going on I have found them invaluable. As my need for them increased, they joined the ranks of my notebooks. Originally starting with £-shop ones, I have moved up to using a A5 filofax flex (I know, very un-hipster like :P) and I use it every day. Meetings, lectures, lunch or dinner dates, if it’s some sort of event it’ll go in here. Plus the flex comes with a notebook too so it’s doubly impressive to me!

I’ve also put some of my sketchbooks in here with these too. I, again, have to use high quality paper to draw on, like 120gsm or above and crisp white. The paper is able to stand up to more edits, with my constant erasing to get the perfect line, and does generally give a better appearance to the finished picture. The above right plain notebook is my small portable sketchbook which is exactly like this description.

IMG_20130916_170612

As I said, my main use of notebooks is for uni stuff. They are utterly essential to me when it comes to revision for exams, they seem to be the only way that I can store information to memory, and with more importance come even more pickiness about what notebooks I can use. For me, after using countless other notebooks, it has to be these WHSmith notebooks. Everything I would ever possibly need for my exams goes into these, a combination of my own notes, lecture slides and textbook extracts. Essentially, the sum knowledge of my time at university so far will be found in these 3 notebooks above… they are precious to me.

 

Sorry if I bored any of you to tears with this post, more things are coming that I hope will entertain you 🙂

 

… I wonder how many times I said notebook in this post :/

iPhone 5C[atastrophe]

So nearly the whole world was told about the new iPhones, the 5S and 5C, the other week in a bombardment of adjectives and soulless passion and in my opinion, despite the fan base, I think the iPhone 5C will fail. Just for the hell of it I’m going to see how many adjectives of my own I can fit in this post.

Source: http://www.apple.com/iphone-5c/

So in the true Apple fashion, the special event of 10-09-2013 saw the rise of a new iPhone model that is exclaimed to be more beautiful, more powerful and superior in everyway than the previous superior in every way iPhone. The originally named iPhone 5S was launched and Apple enthusiasts had wet dreams that night.

This has been the way since the first prodigal iPhone was launched, and with every following new model, the older one(s) were reduced in price. This brought them down from astronomically expensive to just about affordable (which for a now out dated phone is bad). However, history and tradition was not to repeat itself again. This time they introduced another new model, one that would be cheaper than the marvellous 5S and would replace the previously spectacular 5.

The iPhone 5C then, replacing the 5, must be in every way (keeping with Apple tradition) better? Well, no. It is in essence the exact same as the 5, but with better connectivity with more LTE capabilities and “beautifully, unapologetically plastic”. I quite liked the 5 for design, wanting one myself, but this 5C has the same story as Pamela Anderson and plastic surgery. The addition of plastic has made it look worse, despite being the same underneath. Others may like the addition of colour, I personally don’t, preferring a sleek black design.

Here’s the thing then that will make it a flop, and I’ll probably get stick for this, Apple is a status symbol. They are expensive stylish products which uses exotic materials for a grand effect, think of the iPhone 5 and it’s aluminium casing as a fur coat, it’s luxurious and expensive as well as a status. Now, replace this fur with faux fur and it’s value decreases. A plastic body is the iPhone 5C’s faux fur and you’d expect to pay less for it, except you don’t. If the 5 was to remain in production then it would be the same price and so raises the question ‘why would I pay the same expensive price (£469) for something that’s less than it’s predecessor?’ The iPhone 5C has gone from being the symbol as described to instead symbolising that you couldn’t afford the 5S, which goes against Apple fanatic incentive.

Here’s a disclaimer for myself – I know that other phones on the market are plastic backed, but these offer more to the user with the options of removable batteries, SD expansion and not be a year out of date hardware wise. Not only that, the systems they run [Android] are easier to customise and manipulate for those who want to.Then again, Apple products are more reliable, but is this worthy of the price, when no doubt you’ll only have it for a maximum of two years before you upgrade and condemn the phone to Mazuma Mobile or Enviro Fone?

If you agree or disagree with what I’ve said, please comment, I’d love to hear what you think.

My previous artwork

So I’ve already described my art style in my introduction post, that being solely pencil not confined by topic, with the title of “An exhibition in pencil”. Not all my previous work is up to the standard that I would want to exhibit it, but on here I’ll share it nevertheless, pointing out the ones which I hope to feature by making their name bold in the image captions.

 

WILDLIFE (BIRDS)

P8110286P8110289P8110290P8110291P8110296P1030354Saker Falcon

From left to right: Tawny Owl; Greater and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers; Great, Crested and Long-tailed Titmice; Kestrel; Kingfisher; Black Crested Titmouse; Saker Falcon. (apologies for some poor images)

 

My initial interest in drawing was wildlife and birds, which explains the abundance of bird drawings, despite me saying that I cover all genres. These were mostly drawn before I even thought of An exhibition in pencil. I like the variety you get in birds, you can draw a whole bird and it looks graceful, but you can also just draw a wing or the head and it still looks beautiful. So they are my favourite things to draw, but that’s not to say they’ll dominate what I have to show.

 

PORTRAITS

P1030628P1030350

Left: Gandalf the Grey; Right: Lindsey Stirling.

 

I had always steered well clear of drawing people, we’re very complicated and therefore difficult to draw. As I got on with other pieces of work and understood more about the working of pencils in art I decided to give it a try and where better to start than portraits. My first portrait I drew was of a once S.O., but I never photographed it so it’s not on here. This showed me that I could do portraits Smile. They take a long time to complete, but very rewarding when they are so!

It’s difficult to decide who to draw portraits of as these are quite personal things, so I’ll be sticking with famous people whose faces are already sprawled across the internet for everyone to see. That way there’ll be no awkward conversations “You drew a portrait of me? Creepy.”. Gandalf was an instant must for me to draw giving my obsession with those films and Lindsey Stirling (she’s essentially a Goddess on YouTube) was playing on my spotify at the time of thinking about who to draw so I said to myself “why not draw Lindsey?”. Again, the difficult task of deciding who to draw is upon me!

 

OTHER STUFF

P1020132

A box. Obvs.

 

You’ve probably seen it on the interwebs, those fascinating pieces of 3-D drawings that look as though they really are coming off the page. I’ve always marvelled at the skill and precision of such work, and I have tried to recreate a piece for myself. To make it a bit easier I started with a simple box, but to me it looks just like a drawing of a box, flat and 2 dimensional. Nevertheless, I will try again with other objects and hope for better results.

I’ll keep you up-to-date with all my upcoming work – I’m currently drawing a tiger for a family member as a requested present (cheek) and I also have a rose in the works too so we’ll see how they both turn out.

A stupidly long introduction…

So for my first post I thought I’d put a bit of everything in here! Starting off with a bit about myself and then going into some of the topics that I’d like this blog to cover in amongst all the other stuff  – so everything!

A bit more about me than what you find on the About page:

As I said I’m currently a student at the University of Reading, studying BSc Environmental Science and looking at going into postgraduate study too. I’ve always been fascinated with the environment, ever since I was a little child and started going on walks in the countryside with my father. I remember I was always pestering him and asking questions about nature. So that’s my main passion in life, THE WORLD – the geology, biology, geography and all that other Earth science jazz.

I like just as much as the next person to hangout with friends, going out for food or to the cinema. I also enjoy going for walks, reading, climbing trees (yes I’m a big kid), getting lost, online gaming (Guild Wars 2) and all the other stuff that most other people like to do too 😛

What else can I say about myself? Well I’ve put together a quick crib sheet card thing for those few extra things:

Crib sheet

 

Artwork:

I’ve wanted to exhibit my artwork for a while now under the caption of “An Exhibition in Pencil”, but I still don’t have enough pieces to actually put together an actual exhibit. What I will do in the meantime, and after the meantime, is post my artwork here for others to see in a ‘virtual exhibition’ of sorts. My previous works will be uploaded first and then any other works that I end up doing. Thinking on it, this is actually a good idea, as many pieces of my artwork I give away as gifts to friends and family so here you’ll see everything that I do.

What I like about my work is that I’m not bound to a topic or genre so I’m able to draw whatever I want, and that I do (portraits, landscapes, and wildlife – you name it, I’ll draw it). Some say I’m not creative for sticking to a single medium, but I feel most comfortable using pencils and I produce my best art with them. Why would I then want to use pastels for example and draw a piece that I don’t like? With pencils I’m able to get minute detail which is hard to get with almost every other medium. Yes great artists are able to input spectacular detail with paints, but that’s what makes them the greats and I’m just me.

So here’s a piece to start you off with and one of my favourites; it’s a Saker Falcon which took me about 2 weeks to draw, totalling about 20-25 hours.

Saker Falcon

So that’s an intro to my artwork, I hope you enjoy seeing the rest!

Cooking and baking:

Now I know this isn’t an original use of a blog, but this is another one of my passions. Let’s start this time with a photo – my Cookie Monster cupcakes!

P1020144

Cakes, breads, pies; I’ll bake it all. I like to cook actual proper food too, like stuff you should have for dinner.

Here’s something that should tell you how much I love cooking (remembering that I’m a student), I have nearly 20 cookbooks compared to the 12 books I have for my course. My favourite of all my cookbooks, and also the favourite of my parents, is the now very old ‘Good Housekeeping’s Cookery Compendium’ by Waverley – 1954. You can actually smell the sheer excellence of this book when you open it!

All these cooking and baking escapades of mine will fine their way here and, if I think they’re really good, there’ll be a How-to guide too.

Music:

Now my taste in music is diverse. Anything from the latest pop song that’s number 1 in the charts to something that you’ll probably only hear in a club at 4am (not that I got to clubs. In fact the first and only time I’ve been to one was at the end of 2nd year at uni!). If it has a catchy tune, a crackin’ baseline or good lyrics, the chances are I’ll probably like it, here’s 3 examples:

  • One by Sky Ferreira
  • Greyhound by Sweedish House Mafia
  • Shades of Grey by Delilah

I like a good remix too, here’s my two that I can’t get enough of at the moment:

  • Beam Me Up ft. Charlene Soraia & Scuba – Hercules and Love Affair remix
  • Dirty Laundry by Bitter:Sweet – Skeewiff remix

Oh and you can’t deny the excellence of a bit of classical music, be it modern (Ludovic Einaudi) or… er … classical (Vivaldi).

There is some music though that I can’t really stand. Most of the modern R&B *cough* Rhianna *cough* and Rap *cough* Wretch32 *cough* will cause me to turn off whatever is playing their songs (if you can call them songs. Luckily most songs only last 3 or 4 minutes so I don’t have to wait too long.

I’ll post some very short reviews, aka my impressions, of any music that I think is worth sharing.

All the other stuff:

Literally what it says on the tin. I find myself doing many different things that I think is quite interesting and always tell others about. Did you know that I’ve been to all the places on the Monopoly board, no you didn’t as you don’t know me, but you do now! That sort of thing as well as that listed above, and in the about section, will make up this blog, along with other quite frankly random things too.

I think that’s more than enough for now, there’ll be plenty more stuff to come in the near future. I hope you enjoy 🙂