I'm just here to say, I made this recipe by Richa; and it was really simple and quite tasty. You should definitely check it out.
So, I made my very first Bitsy "game".
I also decided to publish it on itch.io, just because, why not? Check it out here.
Disclaimer Alert: This was more of an experimentation to see what I could or could not do on Bitsy, but I had lots of fun making it.
I recently read Zen: The Art ıof Simple Living by Shunmyō Masuno who is a zen monk and also a Japanese zen garden designer. With its simple advice, calming and gorgeous artwork, this book inspired me to take action in certain areas of my life where I feel I was unable to for a while.
Of course, living with the harsh realities of the Coronavirus pandemic for over the past 2 years has truly changed "our ways", and sometimes I feel it's important to be reminded about the importance of stillness and reflection.
After reading this book, I watched Masuno's talk about The Art and Philosophy of Zen Garden Design. After researching a little bit more, I decided I wanted to give it a go and try my very own mini Zen garden at home. I dove into the world of YouTube and watched the following videos as well:
- Building a Zen Garden diorama
- The basics of the Zen Garden
- ASMR Japanese Zen Garden
Today ıI finally got around to buying some white sand from a local shop. I already had stones and shells from before (I tend to collect them from wherever I go). I first placed the sand, I tried to even it out as much as possible. I then added the stones, and other items as I saw fit, and finally raked the sand. I created a mini DIY rake out of tape and toothpicks, but I'm pretty sure I can make a more decent one for next time (see image below). Mind you, it did the job quite well.
This was incredibly relaxing, and it then lead me to go out and clean up my balcony area and add stones and shells across the soil as well - I have a cat, so it's quite hard to keep anything planted there (middle photo above). All in all, it's been a relaxing few hours, and I do indeed feel grateful for being alive.
"Each day is not the same" - Masuno
Playlist listened to whilst doing all of the above.
It's been a very long time since I've written in my blog. I decided that today was the day.
Since playing The Secret of Monkey Island when ıI was 10-11 years old, I have loved pixel art. Recently I watched "The Making of Monkey Island" and loved learning about dithering on this documentary. Listen to Mark Ferrari himself who explains it a lot better than how I would. But basically, due to limitations of pixels and colour palettes, artists were unable to replicate their art onto computers. With 8x8 or 16x6 pixel limitations, "dithering" helped create an illusion of light/shadowing and created a much richer scenery and artwork.
Anyway, I've recently started having the idea of creating my own point and click adventure game. During Covid, I came across the Point and Click Devlog by Adam Bunker and have also joined its wonderful Discord community. I've also started following a lot more indie developers on twitters and concept artists too. Throughout this process, I realised that I also want to experiment with pixel art and artwork. That brings me to today. Yesterday I came across @Sadface_RL's tutorial posts on some basics of pixel art. And, I gave it a go!
Below you can see my very first "brick" attempt (from this tutorial) and then a house (from this tutorial). I made it all using Pixil Art's mobile app but I'm sure this would be a lot easier and more fun on a - which I will try as soon as I get the chance.
It's very satisfying seeing a bit of effort turn into a crumbling brick and a tiny cozy home :) I look forward to turning this into a potential hobby. We shall see!
Dear lovers of point and click adventure games,
I just finished this game 'Life is Strange' I found on steam; the description was; 'life Is Strange is a five part episodic game that sets out to revolutionise story based choice and consequence games by allowing the player to rewind time and affect the past, present and future.' - so I thought I would give it a shot.
Seriously, it has been one of the BEST games I have ever played. Good graphics, great soundtrack, and amazing twists and turns. Starts off in a college where you play the character of Max who wants to become a photographer. At first when I started playing the game thought it was incredibly 'teenagery' and thought 'oh man why did I download this' but I stuck through with and it became incredibly dark but in the best possible way ever.
Edit: (also) --> ESRB Rating: MATURE with Blood, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Drugs and Alcohol
Check it out.
This will be a constantly updated list of websites / initiatives / terms / ideas I find online that can help with questions : 'What can I do to be more sustainable and ethical?'. Don't panic, baby steps are the way forward.
1. Ethical Banking? - Why not try move your money from banks that rule the world and make risky investments to banks that invest in social causes, charities and social businesses?
Here is one option: Charity Bank.
2. Live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle!
3. Alternative ways of consuming? Here is a very small Wikihoıw list of where to begin.
4. Join local parties / initiatives or communities that promote positive social change!
5. Freecycle / Upcycle / Share tools and resources.
That's it for now. =)
It has been some of the strangest few days of my life. From hearing F16 jets flyby at night and explosions shaking the ground whilst hiding out in friends houses after hearing of a coup; knowing there are tanks streets below as you struggle to comprehend what is going on. Friends joining lines and lines of people at ATM machines, spaghetti running out at the markets as no one truly knows how long they are going to be trapped inside.
Thankfully, we are now not trapped; the initial chaos from Friday night is over. Instead of analysing the situation that ensued afterwards and what is going on now (as it isn't that clear); I would just like to say that it is very easy to see how a country that is relatively stable can disintegrate into a situation of potential war, complete terror and instability overnight.
This region of the world has been played at for decades, perhaps even centuries. We are indeed pieces on a chess board. Worldwide economic and social domination by a few very rich and greedy people is the reason why thousands of children die of starvation everyday, why approx 1 billion learn to live on less than 1 dollar a day, why some countries are completely sold to foreign corporations etc. etc. etc.
I'm tired of asking questions such as;
Why the f* are there permanent security council members ?
Why does one family (Rothschild) own nearly all central banks worldwide?
Why do we have to work to make money to pay our electricity and water bills and buy food when these things would be very simply provided if resource distribution was in place.
etc. etc. etc.
I feel I am living as a hypocrite myself. We always discuss of conscious consumption. Yes, I am better than I used to be at being careful regarding what and how I consume but I truly feel that there needs to be some sort of radical dissent in terms of this. This chaos and extremism ensuing across the region, Europe and the world is not just going to simply disappear. It will get worst if we do not act. And if it is indeed the economy that makes the world go round. That is where we must hit the hardest. How exactly, I'm not entirely sure.
(Edit/Addition: Oh, and to fight extremism we must indeed remember that there are chilrden being brain-washed into believing extremist views. We can fight that by equally making as compelling counter articles/videos. These people (if not already taken away and being trained on the ground) are influenced by their solitary lonely lives, the bullshit environment they are in and mostly by what they are reading and watching on the internet). We must tell young vulnerable children and young people: THERE IS another way.)
Technology, hacking, whistle-blowing- this has lead to more transparency but has also caused a lot of trouble at other times. We must be smart. Cyber-security and cyber warfare is one of the greatest threats that face the planet at the moment in terms of keeping 'the system' alive and well.
The reason we are governed, the reason we value money is only because we allow ourselves to be government, because we 'trust' money and put value onto it ourselves. We in our lives our doing as much as we can I can see that. There is too much information, overwhelming misinformation, our brains are trying to compute all of this as well as our emotions of what is going on the world constantly. It is too much to take.
We then, of course need to to calm and relax, meditate, laugh with friends, make art, music, love. Cook. Feel alive. There are different ways of radical dissent - truly living and believing in the way you believe as a form of resistance. Living 'off grid'. Choosing to live alternatively, sharing, free-cycling, networking, truly seeing the beautiful different colours of the people and the world we live in.
A lot of us (including myself) feel paralyzed about 'what exactly to do'. We don't trust political systems, we choose systems that are not necessarily hierarchical to be a part of ; the vast consciousness of the internet is a part of this . We share, we are in power, we can reach billions at a click. What we also need is focus and discipline. We cannot do everything. Which is why we collaborate and we focus. We do indeed need to be brave. Bravery and stupidity also can be a very thin line when people wait outside your house ready to beat you up.
I'm babbling but I need to . The point is, friends, it is time for some more radical thought and action. (When I say radical I do not mean let's go and wreck the place). I mean - time to be smart with our emotions, thoughts, our environment, our awareness, time to shake off the hopelessness, time to embrace that we are together, time to accept the horror that surrounds us, time to see we must do all we can to stop this. Time to learn to protect ourselves online, physically, mentally. Time to be prepared for everything; to be 'safer' rather than 'sorry'.
We have to keep doing what we have been doing; sharing info etc. We need to 'think globally, act locally', we need to make this fight not against something or another- we must fight for 'humanity' ; for all beings on this planet. If we continue to find this in ourselves, that is the most important step. The rest comes naturally.
Let's not let these assholes rule the planet. At some point, 'whatever it takes' will be what we are saying to one another.
Enough is enough.
Peace and Love.
You know things are messed up when you start planning war and escape scenarios with your friends with alternative plot twists and endings.
The reality is I just think us human beings never really allow ourselves to feel the horrors of war / systematic violence we see in the world. We truly don't want to face our own demons and the demons of society. Which is understandable - we have the day to day to deal with. But when death knocks on your door a few times and you realise more and more that you are alive by chance - something weird clicks in the brain and says....hang on a minute.
Until we face ourselves and the horrors of the world TRULY and try to deal with our own principles on a fundamental level this horror is going to continue all across the globe. With rapid increase of technology, scarcity of resources things are only going to get scarier unless mass conscious revolution takes place.
I do not know what will happen in all the hundreds of other countries around the world where people die everyday because of money mania and greed. This in reality is not a local / country issue - this is a global issue. The s*** has literally hit the fan - had hit the fan looooong time ago. We are literally trying to scrape the remnants of what dignity we have as human beings and turn it into a much better place to live for ourselves and future beings on this planet.
People are dying everyday. Because of extremism, corruption, hate - all stemming from fear. We really must stop the cynicism, stop the hopelessness, learn to face the reality of what is going on head on, bite the bullet, and try our best to PROVE love exists in the world and it is in reality the ONLY thing that is going to change anything.
Just let that sink in for a while. This isn't some hippie dippie babble. What has ever changed our societies for the 'better' in the world? Why do we have a sense of what is right and wrong? Why is it that love is incredibly powerful? Why is it the same reason that fear is the same? How do sub-cultures that change society come about? Why? How? How do they spread? Why is art, music, literature so important in this process? Why must we reject apathy, laziness, cynicism?
Because the camel's back has already broken. Just accepting that 'the world is crap, we are gonna die anyway' is a poor excuse to me.
These feelings are a lot more prominent these days when you keep receiving 'threats' to your cities in forms of various violent acts - be it bombing, street clashes etc. etc.
I'm not saying go and be Gandhi.
All I am saying is think about yourself, learn to love yourself (yes this is LEARNT! as we are not taught about any sort of way to deal with our emotions in life and we focus on the brain and logic and producing - not being compassionate and caring), then you will love others more - so on so forth.
Do what you love, do it with passion.
Spread the love. It is MUCH needed.
I beg you.
“Kindness is the light that dissolves all walls between souls, families, and nations.”
― Paramahansa Yogananda
''Four years, 19 countries, and 24 experts in anthropology, medicine, ecology, and health have exposed the roots of our DNA and how to prevent the modern world from making you sick.''
Reflecting.... It's been 4 years since I wrote my thesis on the 'Pornography of Poverty: An Anthropological perspective into fundraising campagins'. I had focused on images and messages of these campaigns and asked for the responsiblity of representation. Why use that title? - it was striking for me when I saw the expression describing how images of poverty were being used similarly to images of pornography. I agreed;
Placing poverty outside of context and constantly showing images of poverty but not the REASONS and the social and economical systems in place that perpetuate poverty lead people to either:
1. Turn a blind eye to those images we are unfortuantely now so used to seeing eveywhere (que: child with flies around eyes) that we become numb and desensitised OR
2. Give money and not think about anything else: 'I've done my duty'
(Note: I am NOT saying giving money is wrong).
I had focused on the LIVE AID concerts (I had grown up watching the Live Aid tapes because of my parents - and it was indeed one of the most epic events in history- unmatched) that were set up by Bob Geldof to aid the famine in Ethiopa in 1983-4, looked at how and if things had changed for LIVE 8 in 2005 concerts that took place during the 31st G8 summit and through my research had essentially pleed for a more responsible form of representation for humanitarian fundraising campaigns.
Now that BAND AID 30 has come out (Live Aid was born out of a song 'Do they Know It's Christmas?' sung by various artists (known as Band Aid) I have had to reflect once more on my opinions. Where are we now with these campaigns?
Last year I was lucky enough to meet Bob Geldof at a conference in which he was giving a talk about his experiences. I was touched by his passion and knowledge. I told him about my dissertation. In my dissertation I had actually criticised the song and celebrities for 'wanting to do good' but being patronising and also furthering the negative perceptions of Africa.
Speaking to him changed my viewpoint. I still thought (and think) the song is patronising but I was also now able to see his experience, his reasons, his idea behind this all. He himself said - he didn't realise how BIG the song was going to be - Live Aid 'just happenned', it grew it became uncontrallable. He was a normal & charming guy, spoke of his own life (quite tough too growing up in Ireland) and his emotions behind starting such a campaign. I can understand this.
And I believe that this representation HAD changed to a certain extent for Live 8. Twenty years later G8 WAS indeed more political - aimed at politicians. It made a lot of noise. Caught politicans attention and G8 countries as a result HAD to make certain concessions. It DID have small effect. By focusing on political and social processes Live 8 was in my opinion closer to truth in terms of representing the issues at hand.
It feel that all of this comes back to the famous quote: ''with great power comes great responsibility''.
So 2 days ago I watched the new Band Aid 30 video to help fight Ebola. What are my opinions? Mixed: dissapointed somewhat at the same song, similar message, the injustices that continue; but also understanding (The single raised 1 million pounds within X Factor debut) - this amount of money DOES have power to bring about significant change IF it goes to the right places. The truth is some celebrities and some people aren't doing anything.
There is one quote I found by Damon Albarn which I do agree with however:
“There are problems with our idea of charity, especially these things that suddenly balloon out of nothing and then create a media frenzy where some of that essential communication is lost and it starts to feel like it’s a process where if you give money you solve the problem, and really sometimes giving money creates another problem.”
I guess my point to all of this is it's easy to crticise but it's also easy to create something without necessarily thinking of the consequences because 'IT'S GOOD'.
I think in some ways campaigns have started to lead in this direction, in others there is a long way to go. Why couldn't they create another song for helping with Ebola ? (Because Band Aid is now such a well known song and it'll sell more (thank God they've changed some of the lyrics - others don't agree with me, see links below.) Is this right or wrong? Does creating a song and donating money help? Which organisations should we donate to there are many? Is doing something better than doing nothing? Where does the money go?
These are all questions we should all be asking constantly because it's not a matter of 2+2 = 4 and we ALL have our part to play to break unfair, out of context and untruthful representation. Perhaps one may not agree with the new song or perhaps they will. One thing THAT IS important though is that we KEEP on asking these questions and strive for real change.
This IS our world, it is OUR responsiblity too.
To read my dissertatiıon written in 2010 and see some of the images / campaigns used during Live Aid-Live 8-BandAid click the download link below. Looking back there is a lot to improve upon, to develop and change which I aim to do in the future but for a little more information it may be useful. For any other questions you may contact me via email in the CONTACT section of my website.
Video Discussion (Updated 20 Nov 2014):
Sunday Morning Live on BBC 16.11.2014 Ms Robtel Neajai Pailey (PHD Student at my old university - School of Oriental and African Studies) discussing Band Aid with Esther Rantzen.
Other articles on this topic (Some I agree some I disagree but interesting to look at varying opinions.) (Updated 20 Nov 2014)
Why I had to turn down Band Aid
'We got this, Bob Geldof, so back off'
Why Adele was right to ignore Bob Geldof and Band Aid
Damon Albarn suggests Sir Bob Geldof's Band Aid 30 patronises Africa: 'There are problems with our idea of charity'
Sir Bob lets loose again to brand criticism of new Band Aid song ‘complete b******s’ during live TV interview as single goes to NO.1 in iTunes chart
Band Aid 30: Fuse ODG turned down Bob Geldof's song over 'negative' image of Africa
Bob Geldof Denies Adele Band Aid Song Snub
Band Aid 30 ditched the only half-decent line it had
Interested in international development, humanitarian work and activism through art, literature and music. Singer/Song-writer/Guitarist.