Almost three weeks back and Cobar is beginning to feel like home again. We have settled in and are currently expecting to spend the remainder of this year and the 2017 school year here.

Tutoring and teaching work has started trickling in and the projects are piling up. A class at the local state school for next year is looking like a promising prospect and there is no shortage of relief work available regardless.

The problem with leaving blogging even a few days, let alone however many months it has now been, is that every gap adds to the amount that needs told and makes the posting more daunting. I’ve had plenty of excuses for not posting but ultimately I use this blog to track my work and I have not, aside from a couple of small things I will share over coming days, been working.

That has changed, the posts are coming back.

I do after all have a lot to track.

Projects currently in the works:

Valley cards galore. I am really behind the curve on these. I’ve been experimenting with ways to improve my work flow a bit over the last week. Not much to show for it yet though.

Editing and sorting travel images. We have so many…


Near the top of Ben Udlaidh


At the peak of Liathach the lower western peak beyond

Editing and posting a couple of short vlogs from travel. Including crossing the pinicles (a section of the Liathach walk part of which is just visible in the lower left of the image above)

Creating costume armour and weapons for the children’s Christmas presents to order.

Extending garden paths to use up the last remaining brick piles, making room for food gardens and giving joy to little boys.

Constructing more raised garden beds for food production. The Cobar tax on fresh food bites hard.

Getting the hens and tractor back from the farm. Surprisingly three of the four survived the winter. I had half expected a fox or snake to have taken them all.

T-shirt print image ideas x3.

Children’s books x3.

Polishing a giant fresnel lens.

Fencing the front yard. For child safety and so the hens will be able to free range more.

Re-creating my classroom charts and displays. I gave away most to peers in Brisbane and I may yet have a class of my own next year. Timelines, wordwall headings, behaviour charts all need recreated.

Trying to find a way to see some of the Great Barrier Reef over the Christmas break as it is N’s birthday wish.

Deciding how and where we will live post 2017. There are many possible options right now.

Getting fitter again.

Habitualising blogging again. See you tomorrow. 😛













2 Daily

Daily post separated from my rant.

Yesterday I crashed hard. When the boys finally went down at nine thirty I climbed into bed as well. I have had a productive two days. Yesterday I painted for much of the day. Watched ‘Maru‘ on my second monitor. Made progress on the castle card and some scribblings for evolution cards. A little thought on the logo progression and a bit of tweaking on the first of a set of text and infographic political posters.


Progress is so slow on this card


Today I dealt with my bank to expunge fraudulent credit card purchases from my statement (new card issued no dramas). Tinkered in the back yard. De-nailed a bunch of reclaimed timber. Attached a saw guide to my circular saw and affixed the other saw to a piece of wood with the intention for it to act as the hinge in my saw table. Decided my saw table is too terrifying and as seemingly not a single piece of timber I have is square it will likely not cut straight anyway, I have decided against continuing that build for now. I’m going to go straight to the job I was making a saw table to help with instead. Making a better handle for lifting and moving the chook tractor before we have to pack it and the hens within off to the farm for the duration of our trip to Scotland.

I experimented with filming today, Ill try again when the larger new SD card I’ve now purchased for that camera arrives.

Tonight I’m focusing on finishing an evolution card and watching some tutorial videos from Feng Zhu.


The more I read the more keen I am to see a real longitudinal experiment with a universal Basic Income. A good long form on the topic here.




Where to invade next

Where to invade next‘ is great fun, a tremendous film. Clearly I am not the target audience, being neither american nor ignorant about the success of socialist humanitarian policies in Europe. But I sincerely hope it gains a large audience in Moore’s homeland America as if nothing else this film underscores how far behind and seemingly barbaric many American social policies are.  It glosses over all of the latent problems and social problems in the countries Moore visits of course. But there is a very limited length of time given to each and many topics to cover. Michael Moore has clearly aged hard in the past decade, he now has a shuffling gate and the wrinkled and jowly appearance of a bitter old frog. His humour is still fierce and well targeted and there are number of quite poignant moments in this documentary. Highly recommended.


A working tour of the school. I spent an hour or so each in four different classrooms within the local public today. Hopeful of some random call ins over coming days.

I’m very happy to have another place of employment available to me even though our departure date is creeping up on us.


Completed the first evolution sketch card in a week or two last night. Thinking I will revisit the castle or do another evolution card tonight.

ValleyEvo22Humanoid DRAFT SKETCH


Links & Bio

Super cool junk birds and insects by artist Edouard Martinet, who uses no welds or soldering in his works. via Colossal 1 & 2




Simply incredible macro insect photography by Levon Biss in conjunction with the Oxford Museum of Natural History. Also Via Colossal.


If only…

Anyway two of my captive caterpillars are undergoing metamorphosis. A third I found the other day has just today developed some small but unhealthy looking black spots and may be about to undergo some awesome alienesque wasp larvae chest busting.

Vale Monstrum


I am pleased to announce that the Half-Monster Games project I have been illustrating for has transitioned from its working title ‘Though I Walk Through The Valley’ to its new name ‘Vale Monstrum’. Rough mockups of possible logo layouts completed last night and today below. The text at top left is a slightly cleaned up (kerning and fill) version of the same font chosen for titles throughout the game. Let me know which you like.vale-monstrum-logo-mockups1-

‘Great Apes’ my new movement activity game for L has undergone first round mini prototyping. Much more to follow.



After wading through yet more layers of bureaucracy today with two children in tow our car is still not registered in NSW. Green slip and blue slip and tare weight are all sorted but as the car was in N’s maiden name transferring to NSW as well as changing name is apparently to much for the system to deal with in one go. We will try again tomorrow.

Tonight I’m going to attempt to clean up my Chrome bookmarks which are frankly a complete mess of nestled folders and dead links.



As widely anticipated Clinton and Trump won New York. I am disappointed, another climate shrugging*, neoliberal, war monger is not the worst thing that can happen in the US but it is a long way from the radical progressive option that Sanders is pushing. I hope the movement can maintain steam and continue to pull the Clinton camp to the left. But I fear the wave of disillusionment washing through millions of young Americans this evening is going to seriously stymie the chance of meaningful climate action during Clinton or Trumps first term in this, Decade Zero. I say ‘or Trump’s’ for a reason. I don’t think Hillary has this in the bag, in fact when it comes to debates and this elections critical ‘establishment vs outsider’ status she is at a serious disadvantage. It is going to be long months before either nightmare plays out.

Widespread allegations of voter suppression and fraud in parts of New York state are particularly disappointing because it makes this an unclean win and therefore bound to be revisited in the courts.

I finished ‘This Changes Everything‘ today. A must read. I’ll review it at a later date. I am waiting on N to listen to it as well in order to formulate a response that suits us both. For now I am beginning to put my text and graphical skills to work on infographics in preparation for the Double dissolution Australian Federal election now confirmed for July 2nd. Register!


“Stop calling me resilient. I’m not resilient.
Because every time you say, ‘Oh, they’re resilient,’
you can do something else to me.”

-Tracie Washington, New Orleans-based civil rights attorney

This Changes everything. Naomi Klein 2014 p361.


Tue 19th


I’ve found myself increasingly caught up in the candidacy battle going on in the US. Fiery exchanges and the possibility of a non-neoliberal candidate keep me coming back to the politics subreddits. With the New York primary happening tonight local time. It seems up to 60000 democrat voters have mysteriously disappeared from the electoral roll in Brooklyn and many more in wider New York state have had their affiliations mysteriously changed topping it off the Clinton campaign has been accused of violating campaign finance rules.

In local politics it seems more and more likely that our present government of ‘moron flavoured biscuits‘ may actually lose their ridiculous will they, wont they, oh they will, Double Dissolution on July 2nd. The Turnbull government has flailed and flip flopped on decisions big and small and clearly appears to have no coherent strategy for tackling the ridiculously long (74 Day) election campaign they just bought themselves.



Made some solid progress on the Castle card last night. Still tons of elements to deal with but a substantial improvement from the flat image it has been for weeks.



Invented a movement activity game with N while driving this afternoon. We were trying to think of fun ways to develop L’s coordination and instruction following abilities. We came up with a board game involving actions that I think I will call either ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’ or ‘Great Apes’. Going to prototype it tomorrow.

Tonight I’m taking a break from the castle to have a go at some logo sketching as we appear to have settled on a name for the game. Hush hush until settled but sketches maybe forthcoming tomorrow.





My firstborn’s eighteenth birthday today!

Spent a bit of time investigating possible group adventures to take on in Amsterdam later this year. After wading through more bicycle tour pages than I care to remember I was rather excited to discover that an exhibition of the deeply creepy Gunther Von Hagensplastinated corpses are on display there.  I’m excited, I missed the travelling exhibition that came to Australia years ago.

I would also like to go and see this mural while I’m there as well as plenty of other attractions.


I have today come to realise that ‘Colossal‘  host of the link above has become the absolute favourite in my feed lately.

By way of example of why take four links, favourites from their most recent posts as evidence of their superb collating abilities.

Enchanting Storybook GIFs Animated by ‘Sparrows’


A 360-Degree Black and White Drawing of a Japanese Landscape Inside an Inflatable Dome by Oscar Oiwa

New Rainbow-Hued Origami Street Art by Mademoiselle Maurice


Theatrically Composed Scenes Highlight Human’s Impact on Earth

"Precipice" (2015)


Plodding away at the castle card. Plenty more to do. Progress:


Paint fumes and stupid injuries

We will finally be able to buy some hens this weekend so the pressure is on to get the bloody chook tractor done and dusted. Cut my finger with a hand saw. Being stupid because I was hungry. I’m perfectly fine and the wood got cut too. I just felt a right idiot and stopped for lunch a good hour too late.  Affixing the final bits and pieces, painting a few parts with ghastly and fragrant ancient orange enamel found in the shed. 

A bloody software update from Wacom lost me an hour+ of progress on the castle card which was infuriating and compounded by needing to spend the next hour finding and fixing the issue. Wacom make what are hands down the best computer drawing tablets but they are not without their issues. My previous Intuous survived an ant colony deciding it would be a lovely place to live but died when not one but two of the micro USB cable connections snapped off the internal circuit board. This kills the tablet. So far the current one has been excellent, better constructed and apparently less desirable as ant accommodation but… the software has been crap, the multitouch functionality is of very limited use. Worse still the applet has continually forgotten custom settings, randomly decided it can no longer detect the still functioning tablet and last night they shipped a driver update that caused insufferable cursor lag and BSOD’d me for the first time in ages. Not happy, particularly as the castle card is going to be included as a print draft for play testing at an upcoming event in Brisbane. I had rendered out all the forest and blocked in the rocks at the castles base. Haven’t had time to redo that work and the submission deadline is up.


More painting to do. Took what I think is one of my best macro shots so far today.


Love that the facets of the eye are visible. Curious that a significant portion of what it can see would be it’s own antennae.

Unknown #beetle 13mm. #macro #coleoptera #insect

A photo posted by @liatach on

I’m starting to develop some serious lens envy of the people I follow on Insta.

This guy in particular is rocking some incredible gear. I’m not ready to invest in this hobby to this extent yet, but be warned it may happen.

So cool:

An adult Maratus volans feeding on a fly. Central Coast, NSW, Australia

A photo posted by Michael (project Maratus) (@michael_doe_project_maratus) on

Teaching in a strange land


Witnessed my first ‘Stations of the Cross’ performance today as performed by year 6 students, with delightful handmade props and cheap satin robes. Certainly no ‘Passion of the Christ‘ but and interesting experience all the same. Having not grown up in a religious family I have only attended church a handful of times in my entire life. Working in a Catholic school has been full of such experiences. Not just the frequency with which they invoke the holy trinity with the sign of the cross and lay blessings upon each other. It has been a bit like visiting an altogether different country, I can’t help but take mental anthropological notes. I wonder if my experience is common to others, including students from families outside the faith or if the Cath Ed system only rarely employs the nonreligious?

Anyway, I am done for the week, back on for four days with a year one class next week and another week possibly with 5/6 after that. Hopeful of some days in NSW public in term 2 particularly after the long wait for registration. Local NSW’s school have an odd holiday timetable this year made stranger by Easter falling early.


Started watching Sense 8 again last night. In truth despite hooking multiple other people on it I missed the first couple of episodes and haven’t gone back until now. In the few that I have seen that series delivered more emotional impact and showed more bravery than any American TV series since ‘The Wire’. I’ll do a fresh review once complete. Started listening to the second season of ‘The Museum of Curiosity’ which although still very entertaining unfortunately no longer has Bill Bailey in it. Season one is simply hilarious and had me in stifling laughter on public transport multiple times when I listened to it pre-blog last year.


Back onto the castle last night and I’ve always more to do this evening. Current progress is going to have to do for the next print draft of the deck. I was hoping to have a the castle card finished and more of the sketch drafts of the evolution cards complete, but work got in the way. An example of one of the fifteen draft evolution cards I’ve done is included below and I’ll share a castle draft either later tonight or tomorrow.




3 Body

Finished ‘Three Body Problem‘ yesterday.

It did get weird. For the longest time I really wasn’t into it. None of the characters were really interesting me and I was really struggling to care, then about a third of the way in things as I say got delightfully strange and I slammed through the rest in short order. I plan to recommend it to a friend with a more hard science background to see what she makes of it. There are some very big and uncomfortable ideas played with and as with anything that starts talking about interdimensionality wrapping my poor monkey brain around it was at times challenging. The storytelling had a different pace than I am used to and by the end at least a couple of the characters were sympathetic and emotionally interesting.

On the subject of interdimensionality Miegakure a 4D computer game is on its way ‘soon’


I’ve spent the past day taking the draft text and titles of all 44 evolution cards into the printable card template made a few weeks back.  I’ve also begun sketching higher quality thumbnail placeholder art for all 40 incomplete cards in readiness for a draft print run which will be test played at an upcoming board game convention.

#coloring progress. #colouring #colouringin #shauntan

A photo posted by @liatach on



‘Sanjay’s Super Team’ the short from before The Good Dinosaur -which we have not yet seen- is adorable. Unfortunately this is the only complete streaming version I was able to find kind of potato quality I’m afraid.

Edit: Found better



Progress day

Creative Day

Children and their mother went to the farm.

I Drew until my wrist ached, that’s not a euphemism.

Whichever damn fool past self had the idea of drawing a castle with curved crenelations needs a slapping.

castle progress 2

Finished paving under the washing line today. Feels like it has been weeks since I started that job and I’m very glad to have it done.

I also attached another panel of chicken wire to the seemingly never complete chook tractor. There remains a couple of areas of wiring still to do as well as a ramp and door to the roost and the matter of attaching the replacement wheels, which as I’ve mentioned before will require welding.

A new photoshere to show off the transformation we have made in the garden. Buggers still wont embed properly despite my best efforts.


I have returned some attention to Witcher 3 now that I again have a computer able to play it without melting. It really is the most extraordinarily well written game I’ve played in a long time. As an example last night I began the sequence described here.  I may explore a little farther this evening.