Good News Everyone!

In the process of researching something for an adult client I stumbled upon this article today. It deals with the creation of Sci-Hub which is just about the most exciting thing in science today, bigger and I would argue of far more global significance than gravitational waves.

Alexandra Elbakyan has solved the problem the extraordinary Aaron Swartz was charged as a criminal for tackling. She has freed the research, her site Sci-Hub, is aiming to create a complete collection of all human scientific research free an open to all and they are well on their way to doing so. Elsevier is of course doing their damnedest to stop Sci-Hub, but the rabbit is out of the hat and it will never go back. The game is up for Elsevier’s business model, of charging researchers to hand over copyright on their -often publicly funded- research so that they can then charge library’s and readers exorbitant fees to access the papers, while also doing their damnedest to stomp on any competing publications.

In other news, progress on the castle card. L’s first day at Pre-School went well.

Three cool artists to share:

The simply incredible doll’s of michael zajkov. Occasionally NSFW depending on attitudes.

#art #bjd #doll #dollmaker #polymerclay #livingdoll #craftdoll #handmade #ooak #шарнирнаякукла

A photo posted by Михаил Зайков, скульптор?? (@michael_zajkov) on


The gobsmacking drawing skills of Kim Jung Gi, paraphrasing a good description “He draws like someone who could build a house starting with the paint.”

Some guy made a Plumbis. “I always wondered how uhh plumbuses got made.”

3D Printed Rick and Morty Plumbus


For the uninitiated:







Sherlock’s latest & Castle card progress


Finally got around to watching ‘The Abominable Bride’ with N last night. After anticipating the next Sherlock episode for what, years? it languished unwatched for over a month on a drive. This episode is more than a trifle self indulgent. Although clever, the crazy transitions and the series ongoing bloody over dependence on Moriarty are all a bit passe. Fun but forgettable unfortunately. I did recognised Tim McInnerny from his long past performances in Blackadder and for all I bag on the series sad dependence on the Moriarty character Andrew Scott is still nailing it.

I’ve ordered a new HDD and using a different cord I’ve managed to establish a stable connection to the old one on N’s comp. I plan to clone the old one to the forthcoming new solid state drive and try reviving my existing laptop. If that doesn’t work there are possible avenues for a replacement open, I would just rather not need to use them now. N’s computer gave the first revealing error code in a long time today, pointing to a possible power supply issue. Debating purchasing a replacement immediately just to see if we can be rid of the annoying restart issue once and for all.

First session with a new client today, and landed another for next week. I now have at least one per week day.

Another automated email from NSW Ed prompted a phone call this afternoon. Established that yes they did indeed already have the document they were asking for and this operator was baffled by the previous contacts insistence on scanned certified documents as I quote “We no longer ask for certified docs”. Colour me annoyed.

Sketchup, Manga Studio and tablet drivers all up and running on N’s computer. I spent most of the day cleaning in preparation for my first in house client but I did manage to finish the 3D reference model and begin principal line work for the castle card. The 3D model was constructed from an assortment of models in the Sketchup public library.

A long way from finished, but here’s a peek.

castle progress


Wednesday 17th

Paid a visit to the local library so the boys could have a sing along.
Tormented myself perusing online computer sales trying to decide if a purchase is worthwhile. I really wanted my next computer to be a desktop and a ‘Beast’ at that. That plan depended on my frail machine surviving this years adventures. As I will need a laptop to continue working through our Scottish adventures later this year. I’m thinking I will try replacing the primary harddrive with a decent Solid State Drive and see if I can reinstall win10 on that. Even if I can’t the SSD will be useful.

Incidentally we believe the boys passports arrived today, though we missed them getting a failed delivery notice instead. Provided it is indeed them we are just waiting on N’s new passport to be able to purchase tickets.

Planted a whole bunch of seeds in punnets and created the first of many self watering beds today. This first self watering bed for carrots and radishes, others for lettuce and spinach to follow.

No art progress today. Going to do some drawing tonight.

I have a day off from the boys tomorrow, provided I can get the place clean enough for first in house client tomorrow afternoon, I’m planning to make some progress on a card and my storybook.


Lovely golden age of adventure travel space posters by JPL

Extraordinary and borderline masochistically detailed paper craft  (Artist’s website is a flashblob)



My laptop, which has now performed quite a few Lazarus impersonations has it seems finally kicked the bucket with a irreparable hard disc failure.

I have back ups, all is not lost.

I have Backblaze (affiliate link).

I even have the capacity to plug the drives themselves in elsewhere with handy cords. I can access the primary drive for an inconsistent twenty seconds or so before it resets and windows helpfully asks if I want to format the drive in order to use it. I have grabbed a few important things off the drive that way just to tide me over until I download the rest from Backblaze.

Still I’m pretty crushed and demoralised by it all. Struggling to see a way in which I can purchase a worthwhile laptop pre-Europe. Loans are unlikely due to the instability of my income, hire is for chumps. I am going to have to sell something big to achieve this and I’m going to have to do so without my primary creative tool.

In the mean time N and I will share her desktop which is her primary photography processing tool. For reasons still unclear her desktop restarts between 2 and 12 times a day at random intervals and with no clear trigger, so this is not an ideal solution. Event logging has yielded no explanation for the restarts so far and we have tried a huge variety of fixes to no discernible effect.

Adding to my frustration NSW Ed got back to me today and, in direct contradiction to the first enrollment officer I spoke to, asked for scans of certified copies of my ID and university documents. The first enrollments officer said that scanned originals were clearly superior and the second ‘jobsworth’ grudgingly acknowledged that a scan of a certified photocopy is an uncertified digital document and therefore worthless but that’s what the system needs. Fortunately I have a fairly large collection of certified copies and was able to scan and send them today. But it means it is likely to be at least another week before I get any progress on permission to teach in NSW. Another week without earnings beyond the meager supplemental income my tutoring is bringing in.

Thanks to the computer troubles and playing primary carer while trying to polish off the final rough edges of the unpack as well as clean up some of the grime our two darlings spread everywhere they go I’ve had limited creative success today. I have managed to recover the progress I made on a perspective reference model for the castle card in Sketchup, which is a relief. But I haven’t even begun installing Sketchup, tablet drivers and Manga Studio on this comp.

Some good news arrived in the form of my key ring showing up in West End so we will soon have a second car key again.




Reviews & Catchup

Took the day off yesterday to play, eat and relax with family. Watched a film, ate chocolate, continued our culinary adventures following this cookbook.

Yesterday it was north indian eggs at lunch and amazing meatloaf for dinner.

No art whatsoever.

This evening I have a few hours to devote to the castle terrain card which is presenting a not insignificant challenge.



N and I clocked this game over two nights.

It is a rather enjoyable game certainly worth devoting an evening or two to. At times quite suspenseful the plot is driven by an engaging dialog based mode of story exposition. Very much like an interactive audiobook coupled with exploring an altogether very pretty digital natural environment. Good and unusual first person adventure games seem to be becoming a bit of a thing and I’m glad of it. 

Both N and I were left guessing how things would wrap up until the end. Both of us feel that despite the large variety of responses available at certain points, the story almost certainly remains the same no matter how you play it and replay value for anything other than environment exploration and photography is limited. I have already praised the aesthetics in this game but I will say that the lack of tonal variation in the caves and some forest areas subtracts for the beauty and realism. As does the overuse of repeated terrain elements used to signify scrambles, absails, ledges and balance points. In fairness this is an indie game and the achievement with a small team is pretty extraordinary.

Pacing is the one other area I felt could have worked on. Throughout the game we were constantly driven from place to place. Occasionally even forced in to fast travel to achieve this. At times this feels right, there are things to do, the pressure is on. However the nature of the job our avatar has taken on is deeply quiet and contemplative and we are never really given a taste of that. At no time are we given a chance to just sit in the tower and be lookout, even though it would chafe to be so ‘bored’ in a game it seems a missed opportunity. The fact that we never get to use the cool fire pinpointing map setup in the centre of our tower is another missed opportunity.

There is a camera in game, it has limited shots and when introduced it is kind of implied that you may want to save them for important evidence. This is not the case you are really supposed to be snap happy and get your photos printed on whim at the end. My pics are not really worth using so I’ve borrowed another’s.



Image by Steam user ‘Your Favorite Pussy’ C/o this article




Ant Man

We watched Ant Man last night which although silly, predictable, Marvel superhero pulp was very entertaining.
I was particularly enamoured of the social gossip story telling method in which the tale as related by one actor has who speaks all parts which the actors mime along to. It is used twice to great effect in the film. They play a bit fast and loose with scale in order keep things visible and they mix well know misconceptions of atomic structure in with some very clever visuals when Ant Man inevitably is forced to go subatomic.

It fails Bechdel though not completely

I’m pleased it included bullet ants and I think this film probably explains why so many people have now heard of the Schmidt sting pain index.




Hot Lazy Saturday

Hot here today.

We hid inside, planned a swim but didn’t make it.

Made some progress on a card and completed some paper work.

Played with the boys and made short lived paper wigs.

Continuing gaming with N this evening.

We are a couple of hours into Firewatch and thus far it is pretty gripping.


Click beetle. Live. Approximately 25mm. #coleoptera #insect #beetle #macro

A photo posted by @liatach on

Scrivener & Classcraft

First adult tutoring client meeting today as well as the first confirmed days locked in at the local Catholic school… Late next month.

Still I’m happy to have confirmed work on the horizon.

Experimenting with Scrivener on the basis of a favoured authors recommendation. So far I’m in love with the corkboard and tab systems it uses. Great for layout and tracking ideas through drafts.

Planning on a a little gaming time with N tonight so keeping this very brief.

Speaking of gaming a bigger more exciting rival to Class Dojo has just arrived. I have used various elements of its design with a number of classes and I have a list of in class achievements and rewards suitable for a program like this somewhere. Kind of wishing I had my own class to test this on.

Here is a referral link:

Using that gets you 2 months of premium. Which otherwise costs nearly US$100 a year (ouch) I will also get a month, currently useless to me. It seems to have a pretty well featured free mode, but they are definitely going to push you to purchase.

Drawing, Docos and Lavish Links

Painting all day. N took the boys to the farm for the day so I sweated it out at home painting digitally, listening and peripherally watching docos. Despite hours of attention the bloody village card is still not done. It’s getting there but my goodness it has been time consuming. Some minor and some significant changes still to go. Had took take a break as my wrist got sore.

village 2

Edit: Finished the bugger.



I watched or rather mostly listened to the following today:

Deep Web The Silk Road story which has a particular focus on the case against the alleged Dread Pirate Roberts user/admin Ross Ulbricht who has been jailed for life in a trial that involved some significant miscarriages of justice in the name of making a statement with his sentencing.  Interesting for a variety of reasons, particularly so for the old law enforcement officers acknowledgements that the online trade has a profound effect in the reduction of violence in the drug trade. Which as the formost stated aim of The Silk Road counts as a success for the market. Also like so many other examples of distributed access as quickly as one is shut down others spring open. It seems that finally the writing’s on the wall for the ‘drug war’. Thanks largely to capitalism and the internet.

The Island President Follows the interesting figure Mohamed Nasheed during his brief time as president of the Maldives as he attempts to convince national leaders from around the world to act decisively on global warming prior to and during the Copenhagen summit. A somewhat depressing film particularly so for the endnotes which told how the Maldives have since slid back under military rule.

Unhung Hero follows Patrick Moote as he recovers from a humiliating breakup in which his penis size is implicated by travelling the world exploring the weird and wonderful field of penis enlargement treatments, almost all of which are decidedly dodgy scams. Occasionally quite touching, mostly annoyingly American, self indulgent and trite.


Playing link aggregate with a few other interesting things from the feed today:

Cool Paper wigs

The tragic glory possible with a D20 

New Potter!

Very much enjoying Rubicon still. This vid is quite timely really, though it shows Roma a few centuries after what I’m listening to. I do wish I had read it before my last trip to Rome.



Three sided solid of constant width

Another great .Gif site this time with good mathematical explanations. 

Pretty fish handbags

Teacher friends who have an actual class of their own this year should totally sign up for this.

Extraordinary Dune poster by Caper Konefal

#Feeling the Bern

Is it the music, the pacing, the intonation or the combination? I don’t know. Got frisson tho.

Delightfully random finish





Art, Memory and Mortality

A day spent with my boys. A trip to the library, some paperwork and the first meeting with some new clients: A pair of boys fresh from Brisbane over the holidays just like us.

Fbook, by minor coincidence put me in touch with friend of my father and mentor Brandon Cavallari (Gallery Link). He shared a pic of one of my works from childhood, in his house. I went looking for and found this in mine:


‘Fire of Henelon’ Acrylic. 5″x7″ 1984 aged 6.

Painted in Brandon’s studio of the time somewhere in Sydney. I remember the day and my cousin Caitlin is still slightly resentful that I used all the red and yellow before she was even really started, leaving her canvas a little ah, drab by comparison. Also proof that little boys taste in topics hasn’t changed that much in the past few hundred years. 

We exchanged a few more pictures including these two of Brandon’s:


This one of my father although laminated for protection is badly faded. I think it’s from when we lived in Balmain so about the same period as my painting above.


My friends father’s passing reminded me of an essay extract I read in Tell Me No Lies of the extraordinary The American Way of Death. Let me say with absolute certainty that I do not want an open casket funeral when my time comes. In fact the quicker you can get me mixing (hygienically) with the biosphere the better. I take great comfort in knowing that my atoms once belonged to stars and will again someday.

Trying to get that terrain card over and done with now. Oh and I’ve some Hallmarkish cards to produce as well.

Tuesday 10th

Progress shot from the fully digital workflow I have turned to for the first village card.

village progress

A day with the boys. Playing with clay and play doh, Lego and drawing and this afternoon when N got home swimming at the pool.

Started listening to ‘Rubicon’ by Tom Holland. A couple of hours in and enjoying it so far.

I spent the evening drawing and singing along to Irish heartbeat out of tune in a response to a nostalgic rush brought on by a chance link that led me to this:

I’m a day late sharing this one. First Dog was on point yesterday.

A good friend who lost a father today shared this link yesterday, I’ve sent my condolences but I’m saying it again here all the same. Love and support from rural NSW mate. I’m thinking I need to make a contribution, I never got around to doing one for the first project and let’s be honest, Empire is the better film.