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.



A Run

Spent the afternoon completing online mind numbing mandatory trainings all built around some descendant of Adobe Shockwave player. All using a chuck by chunk page reveal that assumes a pretty mediocre reading speed. All of which could have been done by jumping straight to the assessment were it allowed. I am now certified for the NSW education departments own brands of WHS, Emergency first aid theory and Anaphylaxis management.

In part in inspired by the brilliant transformation N’s very old friend KT has undergone in recent years I finally got off my arse and went for my very first run in many years this morning. Oh my aching calves.

4 weeks to go…a good point to reflect ?!

A photo posted by KT Ridge (@ktmems) on


Very productive Skype business meeting with the games creator ate into painting time last night. Back to it this evening.


Quite touched by this remembrance of T Pratchett:



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:


Reading and Naps

Curriculum documents always make such somnambulic reading.

All but L had a lovely siesta and he contented himself with audiovisual entertainment care of ABC3.

Watched the only vaguely offensive ‘Hotel Transylvania‘ with the boys this evening. Not a memorable film, which apparently passed Bechdel but I blinked and missed it amidst the constant casual sexism.

A Good read on the origins of and problems with Neoliberalism. 




Thwarted again…

My giant Fresnel lens has a linear focal point.

It is better than the focal point on the previous lens I salvaged but not, as I had hoped a spot focal point. The frame and stand are finished and at some point I will attempt to remove the linear diffraction grooves and turn it into a spot lens using this method. As it is the lens would be great for solar cooking but that is not sufficient for what I have in mind. I should have taken some photos of the testing but it’s not like it was dramatic.


The sun guide bracket is visible in this image. Basically a bracket perpendicular to the lens’s surface with a whole the shadow and bright spot from which allows alignment to the sun.


Salvaged timber throughout as usual.


Last day with visiting family members, nice barbecue and long talks. Four year immunisations for L, car registration transfer hurdles completed.

Ready to paint.






Family tour of the farm, feeding cows, admiring the dogs exploring abandoned machinery piles.


Had an hour or two to build in this afternoon and knocked up a frame for my biggest Fresnel lens  Hoping to have a stand made tomorrow to test it with. The previous lens of this type I found didn’t have a tight round focal point and although I still own it it is unsuitable for my purposes. This one appears to have a round focal point. None I have yet found has the clarity I have seen others find online. though it is not as clear as I would like it to be. Again while making this I was practicing taking a shot for every single step of the process, right up until I forgot and did three or four things in quick succession without thinking. I think I need to film rather than photograph builds.  Stand and test run tomorrow. If I’m lucky this baby aught to be able to produce temperatures in excess of 1000ºC at focal point. 


Painting again tonight. Decided I’ll push on with colouring even though principal line work is not 100%. It is easy enough to add detail layers over the top.  Progress:




It takes him six minutes to get to the point but dammit if he doesn’t make it very well when he gets to it. I find FriendlyJordies caricatures strained but occasionally funny. As I understand it he lives in PM Turnbull’s own electorate so he has plenty of reasons to be angry.


Red dirt country

A walk to see first nation rock art with family and a little woodwork today. Collected another piece of the paperwork puzzle required for transferring a car registration from QLD to NSW this morning which involved the use of a surprisingly old mechanism.

Some painting yet in store this evening.

Interesting read about the failure of our present government to do well… much of anything.

No Surprises.

There is no future in deregulated capitalism.



Another day cleaning and preparing for visiting family. My father and stepmother arrived safely in time for a good dinner with generous wine accompaniment of wine. Plenty of rich conversation and attention lavished on children.

A really great read relevant to my listening these past days found this afternoon.

Change in the Air

‘This changes everything’ is an astonishing book. Clearly a book I have been needing to read for some time. I’m at about 7 of 20 hours in and I am just blown away. No other document I have ever read about climate change has ever spoken so clearly about the hard realities of facing climate change, nor has any other document at the same time offered such reasonable hopes.

I don’t yet know what my response will be, it is very clear to me that I have become too complacent, too apathetic, too comforatable looking away. I will not ignore it any more, what I will do remains to be seen.

I write this five weeks before my family and I fly to the other side of the world, around Europe and back like the comfortable twenty percenters we are.

I am increasingly aware that global warming is not presently the headline issue it needs to be in both Australia’s and Americas elections this year. America at least has one potential candidate who is treating the issue with seriousness here in Australia neither of our majors want to talk about it and The Greens present marketing isn’t I’m sad to say, going to rock the status quo.


I just love rockstar statistician Hans Rosling have some more if you liked that one. Start with my favourite and the close second.

Build Complete

Finished my saw horses which involved almost a complete rebuild of the first. My joinery leaves a little to be desired, but they are solid, square and built to fit me. Nice and tall at almost 800mm high so I don’t have to bend over to much but also not so high that it is uncomfortable to brace a piece with a foot. I was keeping a build log but I abandoned it in a fit of pique at my carpentry ineptitude, I’ll persevere with the next project regardless. Thinking of trying to film it in fact. There is room in the design for a cross brace between the legs but it doesn’t appear necessary at the moment.


All timber scavenged from the tip, screws from my now dwindling collection.  Looking forward to using them in the next project.


No painting last night making up for it this evening, pressing on with the castle.