Worrying, Books, and Moon Hitler

I have been horribly unwell all week and as such haven’t been able to write any posts. So instead of writing something I thought I would share one of this week’s journal entries because journalling is a thing I do now.

Worrying, Books and Moon Hitler

I don’t know why I worry so much, this time I was worrying about class because I missed 3 days. I mean I suppose it’s better to stay on top of things rather than let them slide, and I suppose it’s better to keep in touch with the college and let them know what’s going on is better than silence.

But maybe asking for help because I was late on two projects was a bit silly. I don’t know. I just feel that I’m tired all the time (I basically do nothing all weekend because TIRED!) and if I don’t turn stuff in in the time we have in class I’m more than likely going to take even longer to get it finished because I’m barely able to do anything at the weekends. I don’t know. I probably did that thing again where I worried about nothing. At least the student support people were really nice and helpful even if I didn’t really need help.

Since I was in town I also headed into John Lewis on orders from “Santa”. Can you believe that “Santa” is now so lazy I have to buy my own Christmas presents and hand them over to the “North Pole” till Christmas. I think “Santa” just wanted to save money on postage.

Anyway I went to buy one of their Moon Hitler mugs. Okay so it’s actually not a Moon Hitler mug, if you’ve seen this years Christmas advert from John Lewis (and if you haven’t what rock have you been living under?), well they made a mug to go along with it (actually they made a bunch of stuff but I just wanted the mug). And if you’re confused where the “Moon Hitler” bit came from, well that was the Guardian:

Clearly, the answer is that the old man is a monster. That’s the only logical explanation. Napoleon only got exiled to a Mediterranean island, for crying out loud, and he was Napoleon. But this guy has literally been jettisoned to the moon. He is hundreds of thousands of miles away from the nearest human. What could he possibly have done to warrant such punishment?

How many people must he have killed? How many lives must have been crushed into nothing under his vicious boot? Is he a war criminal? Is that it? Is he Hitler? Is this whole advert just a berserk wish-fulfilment fantasy about how the international community should have treated Hitler if they had caught him before he killed himself? If that’s the case – as I strongly suggest it is – the advert’s slogan probably should have been revised from “Show Someone They’re Loved This Christmas” to “Don’t Give Balloons To Moon Hitler, You Idiot”.

I probably shouldn’t laugh so much about the Moon Hitler thing considering the whole advert is a metaphor for old people being lonely at Christmas, but it turns out John Lewis is donating part of the price of the mug to Age UK which is nice. Anyway, everyone was so focused on the man on the Moon they forgot the important questions. Like who is the child genius who managed to send a package to the Moon using balloons. And what company made those telescopes, I mean if we had them there would be no more people claiming that the Moon landings were faked.

So funny story, there was no one at the till when I went to pay for my mug so since I was in the kids section I went to have a look around while I waited for someone to appear. Then I realised they had Lego so obviously went to look at the Lego. But by this point someone had appeared and since I was walking past the till they assumed I wanted to pay, so I had to go pay. I mean I did want to pay but I also wanted to look at the Lego and I didn’t want to go through the whole awkward explanation of how I didn’t want to pay because Lego.

Anyway, I also went into Waterstones because even while horribly unwell I am totally incapable of going within walking distance of a bookshop without going in. I’m pretty sure I find at least 5 more books I want to read every time I go into a book shop. So I’m currently loving those SF Masterworks collections and I was planning on buying that edition of Hyperion by Dan Simmons. But I couldn’t decide if I wanted to get that or a Stephen Baxter book. So obviously I didn’t buy either of them and instead bought a book I’ve never heard of and know nothing about because the cover looked interesting (it’s called Hot Head by Simon Ings if you were wondering (also it’s published by Gollancz and I am slightly obsessed with Gollancz right now)).

I also went and picked up the next book in the Commonwealth saga series thing. Peter F. Hamilton is really confusing. He writes two book series set 1000 years apart in the same universe and even though some characters are in both series they apparently aren’t a series. Oh and apparently he has gone and written another book series set in between these two, you would think writing a 2000 page novel (split into two books) then three 600 page novels in the same universe would be enough, apparently not.

All I care about is if Ozzie is in these new books. You know I actually can’t decide if I liked Ozzie or if it was just his story arc (Elves and inter-dimensional forest paths (not even joking!)). Anyway I think he is in these new books but I can’t tell in what way, either he created some religion then disappeared off into nowhere never to be seen again or he is the main character in disguise (at least my theory is that he is the main character in disguise). I mean seriously the guy is called Inigo that has to be a reference to The Princess Bride. Right?

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This was the first post in my 1000 words challenge thing (I totally wasn’t intending to do that but it happened). Do you guys want to see more posts like this? Let me know in the comments.

REVIEW | Pilot Juice Gel Pens

I think I have found my new favourite pen. It’s called the Pilot Juice, it’s a gel pen, it comes in 36 different colours and it’s imported from Japan. I’m being totally serious here when I say, this is my new favourite pen, like I prefer these to the Staedtler fineliners.

Which is kind of amazing because I hate gel pens. But I think I’ve realised the problem, I hate gel pens with large nibs. These pens have .38mm nibs, the smallest you can get (I think!) and I love them.

REVIEW | Pilot Juice Gel Pens

So far I have had no problems with these pens, unlike other cheapish pens these write super smooth, though I’ve found that the smoothness depends on the type of paper you use. They work fine in my dot grid notebook but on Moleskine paper they write like a dream.

The pens are also pigment based which means they are fade-proof and water-resistant. I’ve been doing little doodles using these and watercolour paints (not something you can do with the Staedtler fineliners).

REVIEW | Pilot Juice Gel Pens

The only problem I have with these pens is the pastel colours, the ink is very light making it hard to see. But with 36 colours to choose from that isn’t much of a problem. The pens retail at around £1.25 a pen. You can get a pack of 10 on Amazon.co.uk for £12 or you can get a pack of 36 on Jetpens.com for $60.

TL;DR Sorry Staedtler, now you’re just a pen I used to know.

Thanks for reading.
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The Instagram Tag

The Instagram Tag | bluchickenninja.com The Instagram Tag | bluchickenninja.com The Instagram Tag | bluchickenninja.com

So I found this tag over on Galit’s blog and I kind of had to do it because I’ve been loving Instagram just now.

1. What’s your Instagram name?

BluChickenNinja. Like pretty much everywhere else.

2. How many people do you follow?

990, which is quite a lot.

3. How many followers do you have?

1953, which is also quite a lot!

4. What are your favorite hashtags?

#bookstagram Yeah I love all the book photos on Instagram. I’m such a nerd. But it’s so much fun. I mean okay there is a little bit of a bias towards YA books, but that’s more because of the people who use Instagram (not that there is anything wrong with that, older people who read more “adult” books tend to not be down with social media).

5. What is your favorite genre of pictures?


6. How often do you post?

For the last month and a half every day. It’s so much fun, it’s like writing a tiny blog post every day about what I’m reading.

7. How often do you check Instagram?

Also pretty much every day. I really don’t comment/ like as much as I should though…

8. What’s your favorite filter?

Editing photos in Photoshop is almost like using a filter. Right?

9. iPhone only, purist or rebel?

I use my Canon SLR (DON’T HURT ME). It’s just my phone is old and slow and the camera is truly terrible.

Thanks for reading.
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A Shelf Portrait

Today I’m going to share the first proper project we have had in class. This was to create a frontispiece which would be the first page of our portfolio (frontispiece meaning literally ‘first page’).

This frontispiece had to contain a number of things, it needed our name, the name of the course, it had to include a self portrait and it had to be a representation of our selves. Basically it had to show the things we like. So I’m going to show you my thought processes from initial brief right through to the final piece.

A Shelf Portrait | bluchickenninja.com

I started with a mind map to figure out the things I like. I knew from the start that it would be about books in some way but the mind map was still useful to figure out what else could be included. Then I went on to drawing thumbnails, it’s funny, making a representation of what you like is easy. The difficult part is trying to work a self portrait into it.

I went through a number of ideas, first I tried doing something with my desk with my PC along with a pile of books, my camera and an assortment of other things. The problem with that was how to work the self portrait in, so I tried just the camera and a pile of books. The portrait would be in the camera’s flip screen. I really liked that idea but there wasn’t enough going on so eventually I decided to do a bookshelf (I have many of those!).

A Shelf Portrait | bluchickenninja.com

Now the whole process turned into a problem solving task. I knew what I needed to have on the page but I had to figure out what else I wanted and where they would go. I sketched out a number of things, my wands, Frank, my chocolate frog box and funko pops. I even went and checked photos of my book shelves to see if I had missed anything. At this point the only thing I knew for certain was that I didn’t want actual book spines on it. I would make my own book spines with my name and the name of the course on them.

After that it was just a case of trying out different layouts to see what I liked best. After deciding I liked my original idea and getting the go ahead from my lecturer I went to work it up in Adobe Illustrator.

A Shelf Portrait | bluchickenninja.com

I am a nerd, I own nerdy things. But I don’t like merchandise that out right references the thing I like. I much prefer references where you will only get the reference if you like the thing too. For example having a Quidditch World Cup t-shirt rather than one with a Harry Potter logo on it.

So in this we have quite an obvious reference to Doctor Who (I may go change this at some point because I really don’t like Doctor Who all that much). Then we have a Harry Potter reference with the Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Bean packaging. I don’t even know if you ever see this in the movies, you must do at some point. Then we have another quite obvious reference to Star Trek: Voyager (the only problem my lecturer had with this is he thought it should have been the Enterprise D).

A Shelf Portrait | bluchickenninja.comA Shelf Portrait | bluchickenninja.com

And then we have the very late addition of the Ares 3 patch (a reference to The Martian). I didn’t make the patch specifically for this piece ( I was just bored one night). But the patch ended up looking better than the Pluto logo I was originally going to put on the mug. Finally we have the mug which represents my excessive tea drinking, the System 3 paintbrushes and the Staedtler pens which are my  favourite paintbrushes and pens.

I was actually really pleased with how this turned out. Even my lecturer said it was good, so I’m happy.

Thanks for reading.
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Bookshelf Tour: The Rainbow Pt2

Welcome back to part two of my bookshelf tour, this week we are going to be looking at the red to orange books.

Bookshelf Tour: The Rainbow Pt2 | bluchickenninja.com

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Fun fact, way back in 2012 when I made youtube videos I did an entire video talking about this book and how pissed I was that I had to wait ages for the movie to be released. And no I will not be linking that video.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead. So I got this because I am very very slowly working my way through the reading list on wellread40.com, and most of the very early works can be found for free online but I came across this in Waterstones and even though it was expensive, bought it because the cover was shiny. I like shiny covers…..

Red Rising by Pierce Brown. This is what I imagine would happen if The Hunger Games and Ender’s Game made a baby. I know that sounds strange but it was actually really good.

A Study In Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle. Another Sherlock book I haven’t read. These books actually came in a pack and I’m pretty sure they have a bunch of extras from the people who wrote the BBC Sherlock adaption.

Parasite by Mira Grant. This was a weird book. It’s one of those books that tries to pretend it’s not a zombie book. It started off really good then around 100 pages in it’s all oh yeah and zombies now. Also the entire way the zombies worked was really confusing because like they could talk and think for themselves. Yeah… it wasn’t very good.

The Vacationers by Emma Straub. I got this in a charity shop almost brand new. I’ve also read that it’s not very good so that might be why I found an almost new copy in a charity shop.

Daily Rituals by Mason Currey. This is a book full of little essays about the daily life of famous and creative people. It’s pretty good if you’re lazy because you can be all “Look, Isaac Newton spent all day looking out a window and he still made something of his life” (I should also add that I totally just made that up).

The Narrow Road To The Deep North by Richard Flanagan. I haven’t read this yet. I should read it.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. So I really enjoyed the beginning of this. I can’t say why but the entire section on how they artificially engineer the embryos was really fascinating.

Lock In by John Scalzi. This was a really interesting short read. I keep talking about this but this book did disability in a very good way. In that there is an entire story going on and the point isn’t about the main character having a disability.

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith. This book is not what I would have expected from JK Rowling. Like I still can’t believe this came from her brain, it’s all about kinky sex and gruesome deaths and lots of stuff like that. And I know that JK came up with horcruxes which are pretty nasty things but still, that’s nothing compared to this book.

The Iron Ghost by Jen Williams. So I requested this from BookBridgr then I found out it was the second part of a sequel and I haven’t read it because I read a tiny bit and I had no idea what was going on.

Railsea by China Mieville. This book was recommended to me by Joe (@DiskettJoseph). It’s set in a future Earth where all the seas have dried up so people travel the flat expanses that were once seas on trains.

A Field Guide To Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit. Yeah, I only bought this because of the cover. It’s also not very good. I have read this book and I still have no idea what it was about. 

Thanks for reading.
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