Here and back – a poem by Nic

A grassy bank that stretched out far far far beyond, the small dirt hill to his back, a road full of people with places to be and things to do.

“What have I?” Done with this he asked, and continued “Where shall I be going?”

Sitting perched, legs ready to stand, watching for someone, anyone.

“I wish that when I fall asleep tonight I could travel back 12 weeks, and I’d change it all”

He lost balance and fell back.

Black it went, cold it was, humid and nauseating.

The next 12 weeks went by and nothing could change, he made the same mistakes and the same problems occur.

Sitting on the green green grass, the hill to his back, the road in front.

“I wish that I could change it, when I fall asleep tonight I want to go back 12 weeks, and I will change”

And so again he fell back, doomed to repeat and relive that hell, knowing nothing would be different.

If only he had wished to learn from his regret and to never repeat it, that maybe he would be better.

______________

Do not wish to forget your regret or undo your actions, take them, hold them and learn from them, so that you may not make them again.

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Creating a Visual Novel – VN

What is a VN?
A VN is a visual Novel or know in Japanese as bijuaru noberu is an interactive game genre, which originated in Japan. In my case its a visual way to tell a story, how the characters look and where they are. This probably stems from my love of role-play games such as Dungeons and Dragons etc.

It is mainly a text based narrative with a few interactive choices, such as using your own name or branching story lines, these usually have large arcs and can shape each players experience, giving both a unique play experience and re-playability. Most VN’s fall into the romance and school life genera, but there are exceptions, some follow horror and some follow slice of life. But a great deal of them share in the art style, very animated and set backgrounds. The characters are usually drawn in an Anime or Chibi style.

So now that you have a basic idea of what a VN is, why do I want to make one. Well if you know me, I am too ambitious and usually a big ideas kinda guy. Often way too many ideas and a big dreamer. In university I attempted to make a VN for a final project, but I didn’t get very far, the teacher was unsupportive of my idea and drawing style and it threw me off the whole idea. I then created a sub par animation that I am embarrassed to claim as my own, as an 8 year old with Microsoft Paint could probably do better.
However recently I have been having many vivid dreams, something not uncommon to me, taking me back to the good ol’ days and giving me a lot of inspiration to draw and write, I have been having a lot of bad dreams too, but that is due to personal reasons and being unwell.

This was my first attempt at a scene back in University in 2017

This project may not come to anything, it may end up being a dead project like all of my other ideas, but I can at least give it a go and start up. I have a baseline knowledge of programming and I can draw relatively well, and I have always adored the anime style of drawing people, big cute eyes that you can push emotion into, the wide range of facial expressions, and last but no least the characters you can portray changing the hair, eyes and skin tone. Also direction and narrative can be shown based on how they are standing and posing for each frame of the novel that they are on screen.

The program that I will using is called Renpy, it allows for basic animation and scrolling text and it has a lot of good tutorials. With any hope in a few years I’ll have something worth while of the name Visual Novel.

My idea is to have some modern post university non gender specific main character trudge through their life battling the real life problems of finances, social life, relationships and finding a job. Very ambitious I know. Bonus points if you can guess who it is based on.
The main character, why non gender specific you ask? this is to give any player, male or female or any other gender, the ease of read, give them the feeling that this is their story, I will of course try to program in the ability to chose your own name, failing this I will choose a gender neutral name and refer to the character as that and they or them.

The setting. I plan to set it in no fixed geographical location, this again gives the reader freedom to help, but I am going to have set locations within the town, for example, a work place, a bar, a university and so on, these will be demonstrated by drawings and real life photos edited to look drawn. (oh god help me on this part)

As for the rest, well you are going to have to keep up to date with my blog. I want to make this a real thing and I want this to work, it’s a dream I’ve had for a while now. I have been missing something to shoot for recently.
If I go anon for a while and don’t post anything up but this sounds like a good idea, poke me, message me or find my social media accounts and bug me for more, that will kick me up the bum and keep me going.

I hope to post up some sketches and beta art some time this month. Watch this space.

Découpage Draws

So today to distract me from life I decided to work on my ugly set of draws that have been in my bedroom just full of clothes but looked drab and dull.
I got the set of draws for £40 in a charity shop when I moved into my current abode.

These only cost £40 – and they were scratched and dented all over

So to begin I got some decoupage glue, sandpaper (to rough up the surface) spare comics, a clean cloth, scissors and a few brushes and some paint. All of these can usually be found in you local hobby or craft shops and the comics from a comic book store or you can always print your own prints.

The assortment of comics came from my local comic book store, even though the price on these look expensive I got them all in a few blind bags. A bling comic bad is a will have a few (usually 3-4) unsold or less popular comics in one sleeve and they are sold anywhere from £2 – £4.
I got 16 comics here and then cut them along the spine, removed the staples and sorted out my favourite images or panels and put them to one side. I then lightly roughed up the surface of the draws so that the paper would stick easier, as comics are usually glossy paper.

I then unscrewed and painted the knobs of the draws, that way it looks a little nicer, I chose plain matt black but I could have gave them a shine or glitter.

Then began the real hard work, using the glue and a clean brush I coated a small portion of the cabinet, and placed the comic pages on top, making sure to not get air underneath the sheet as that would leave bubbles in the finished work. I carefully layered the pages over each other making sure to add glue to the whole surface and keeping it flat. Make sure to chop off all the awkward corners as you go, I didn’t and left it to the end, this was a real hassle.
After I covered one surface I left it to dry (about 20-30 mins) I then gave it a second coat of the glue to keep it sealed and shiny, this also protects it.

Here is the final result. what do you think?

All in all it took me 8 hours and cost around £66 but i had brushes and paint already.

Tonight I feel alone. – A poem by Nic

I’m trying hard, I’m crying hard, I’m lying on the floor “so hard”

I’m keeping busy, my mind is busy, the echoes in the dark “we’re busy”

I love to hate, I hate to love, the voices in my head… not above

I toss and turn, my stomach churn, heartache all the night

I contemplate, reverberate there’s writing on the wall

I scream, I shout, I try not to freak out

I settle down, I cry some more, I learn to live again.

______

A little poem cause I cannot sleep.

My 5 year goals

It’s good to have goals in life right?

I’ve been told to do this by a few people so I’d like to give it a good go. Firstly I’ll be setting my goals at certain intervals and hopefully meeting them at these points. I’ll try to do an update every 12 months or so and see how close I get to finishing these.
Today’s date is 3rd of June 2019

6 Month:

In 6 months from now, I’d like to have a full time job and be earning enough to not be supported by the government and be able to pay off my debts. This is simple, get a job, not like I’ve been trying for 8 months already. But not just to pay off my debts, but to help my social life, as I can’t afford to splash out and eat out as often as I would like too, a job solves this.

12 Months:

12 months from now I would like to have passed my drivers licence, I haven’t been able to focus on it due to not having money to support it or the time too dedicate to it.
I would also like to have kept to my 2 personal goals of this year, which is firstly to write more blogs, and secondly to read a new book each month. I love reading and have read more in this past 2 years then i have in my whole life, if I can keep it to one book a month I think that would be awesome.

18 Months:

In 18 months I want to hit the gym hard, I used to be a very active gym goer. I often went 4-6 times a week depending on my regime, I liked to train strength rotating muscle groups and finish of with a cardio work out if I hadn’t worked on my legs.
This also leads into me getting my diet correctly, at the moment I am very fit, but very unhealthy. I’ve got to work hard.

36 Months:

At 36 months I hope to have saved up enough money to travel to Japan, This is a big thing for me, I’ve been dreaming of going to Japan for so many years now and the only thing holding me back is myself. I want to visit all the big places firstly, and then work on the more obscure and less touristy places.
Tokyo, Kyoto, Nagasaki would be the big places but then I want to explore and see what Japan has to offer.

60 Months:

It’s quite hard to think this far in advance for someone like me, but I think that I would like to have made serious grounds on either one of the many books I have started to write or one of the Visual Novels I began programming during University. Creativity is not lacking in these, but substance is. I have all the ideas but I lack the drive and motivation to sit down and write each day like I know I should. This is my goal.
I think I would have also like to stand on stage a s a comic, i do love comedy especially stand up, and i think that with a little creative push i could certainly give it a go at an open mic night.

What type of mount would you have if you could have a fantasy mount?

If you could have any mount of any kind what would it be?

A mount is usually described as a much sought after form of transportation in which adventures and explorers in video games and in fantasy ride atop the backs of, this includes various animals more or less exotic beasts (or machines).

In fantasy heros and adventures are depicted by riding horses, unicorns and pegasus-like creatures. Weather it’s the Orcs on their Dire Wolves or the Elves on their Moose and Elk, to the dwarves on their war Goats like Thorin II Oakenshield and war Bores like Dáin II Ironfoot who is depicted in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Books and the books movie adaptions by Peter Jackson.

I’ve always liked hearing what weird and wonderful creatures that people can imagine themselves riding on or with in fantasy adventures across foreign lands.

A few things to keep in mind; if the creature is small maybe your fantasy self is small like a gnome or dwarf, maybe the creature itself its a Giant or Dire version of itself. Imagine a Dire Chicken war mount draped in armour with claws and a noble stance like a Chocobo from the Final Fantasy universe. Maybe you like the big and strong, like a Grizzly bear or Elephant, these would make fantastic travelling companions.

So here’s how to decide:

  • 1: Choose an animal you like and or are fond of. This may sound Obvious but you will have to care for and spend a lot of time with this creature, so pick one you like.
  • Chose their purpose. Are they a pack mule and transport, are they from war or are they a loyal friend.
  • Are they armoured and armed? You’ll want the correct protection for them, but not so much as the hinder them.
  • Do they have any special traits? Magical powers, flight, maybe they are an abnormal colour to the rest of the species, maybe they have excellent combat knowledge.
  • Finally give them a name.

My mount would be a large Boar clad in plate-mail with large tusks for ramming and moving large objects. Fast, noble and loyal would be his traits. And I’d name him Redundans – meaning a overflowing in Latin, like a steam, untold futures but clear and ready for anything.

Go Ape Coventry

On Friday 5th of April 2019 I was invited to the press release of Go Ape Coventry, due to open at the beginning of the Easter holidays. It is located within the grounds of Coombe Abby right next to the hotel.

Getting there was not that easy without transport, we used a taxi to get to Go Ape as there are no buses that go there, but the car park is easy to find, cheep and only a short walk to Go Ape. If you are feeling up to it cycling there in the summer would be a fantastic summer activity before having an adventure at Go Ape.

The activities; There were a number of different routes through the tree tops. We first started with the training wire, a short demonstration on safety and then we were allowed to practice a few things such as attaching and detaching ourselves from the wire

I was then allowed to proceed to courses 6, 7, 8 and 9, but i chose to only do 6, 7 and 8 as 9 was 12m vertical drop. All courses seemed to end in a Zip line to the ground (my favourite part of the courses)
Course 6 was a nice easy opener to the day, and had a nice alternate route mid way, a clever device allows you to choose weather or not you are going go left or right (one way being harder than the other) based on how you angle your safety device. I chose the harder route and found it really fun and exciting.
Course 7 was a nice long, medium difficulty zip and platform path, a little higher than the course 6. There were a few parts where it looked easy and was more difficult, and vice versa.
Course 8 started with the Tarzan Swing, you are strapped to a small free swing to a rope cargo net where you climb up to the centre platform and re-connect yourself to the wire and proceed with the course, I saw many people fear this at first but after they got to the platform in the middle they all looked back and felt a great sense of accomplishment, I know i did, it felt fantastic to leap off into the cargo net. This then lead on to many many zip lines all in a row, each getting higher and longer, it seems scary and high up, but it’s fantastic and freeing, and I even took a few photos at the top. It comes to an end with a double zip line where 2 people can ride opposite each other to the end.

Double Zip line at the end

The experience; Overall I would give this a strong 9.5 out of 10 and would recommend anyone up for this kind of adventure to take it up and go for it. Many of the people I saw on the day had fears of heights and falling, both fears I don’t have, and they everyone was having lots of fun with all the different activities, taking their time and getting used to the experience. This was totally my kind of thing, as a young boy I was in the Scouts and often did things like this with them

What I would do differently; I would take gloves and sports wear, I was a little uncomfortable in jeans, but that was my own observation, everyone else seemed to be comfortable. As for the gloves, after holding ropes and wire for a few hours my skin was a little rough and needed moisturiser when i got home, but if you read this before going, consider taking a thin pair of gloves or fingerless gloves. It is not needed or required, but something i would definitely do differently for the next time i go.

Why you should go; It’s an experience not many of us ever get, so if you have a few hours and are up for it i would give it ago. For sure i will be going again this summer.