Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I feel weird. I blame the weird-feeling on my screwing-up of my normal routine. I woke up, had cereal, went to the gym, then came back, had juice and two cups of coffee (I usually have juice and coffee with my cereal, THEN go to the gym). So now I'm shaky, my head is pounding and I'm dizzy. I was taking a shower, trying to clear my head, but all I could think about were random geeky and obscure references I could put on t-shirts. The first one?


[Silhouette of man's head with long curly hair] = [silhouette of shapely female form]

(taking off on the line from the Wog Boy about "having the curls to get the girls.")


Then I started thinking about Roadhouse and the ideas exploded:


·         [Silhouette of a man in blue with his right foot illuminated in red, possibly with a cutaway showing the razor in the toe of his boot]. On the back: RIGHT BOOT.

·         PAIN  ≠ HURT

·         Two separate Euler circles, not intersecting, one marked "MY WAY" the other marked "HIGHWAY".

and finally



If and when I make these, I'll have to send a bunch to the Rifftrax crew.


Tanja has just brought me a turkey, red kraut & cranberry sandwich, so I must eat. Hopefully I'll feel better.

Windows Live: Keep your friends up to date with what you do online.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

More good deeds.

Playing inFamous again, I was killing time and roaming the city, avoiding a story mission that was frustrating me. I wandered into a part of the city I had previously passed and heard shots. Thinking this to be an enemy encounter, I ran over. Now, in the game, you can run police missions that gain you territory and reestablish police presence in the city (which then help you attack enemies when nearby). The city also has defensive machine gun turrets at certain spots. The shots I heard were coming from one of these turrets being manned by a cop. He was shooting at nothing, so I figured it was either a glitch, or there was an enemy on the other side of a building he was aiming at. So I healed a few people that had got in his way and went to leave. That's when I noticed that the cop was purposefully aiming at the pedestrians, mowing them down. I continued healing. The cop began to target me. I avoided the gunfire, but was nearly killed. I decided "Okay, that's enough." I got behind the turret and knocked the cop down with a kick. He got back up and ran back to the turret, resuming his shooting spree. I eventually had to stick a grenade to the turret, killing the cop.

This gained me negative Karma, if you can believe it.

But wow. An NPC cop in a ruined city, having a mental breakdown and shooting civilians?

That's too heavy for my Sunday morning.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Apropos is a good word.

Apropos and as a follow-on to my previous post about Photography and people blocking shots with their hand (Oh, I'm not going to link to it, just look two inches down the page), I add this: On Thursday, Gonzo, while sitting on the other side of the pod from me as I was trying to organise something at my desk, held up his fancy schmancy digital SLR and started snapping photos without looking into the viewfinder. I, being extremely busy as well as annoyed by other things, held up my hand to block him. He then cited the blog entry, saying "Don't you hate people who do that?" This gave me pause, but in my head I can up with an answer. He was not taking photos because he found what I was doing interesting. He did not think I looked good. He was not even looking at the pictures he was taking. He was using the camera simply as a tool to annoy or provoke a reaction from me. This then gave me the right to block with my hand.
I read on someone's Twitter that smart Twitterers and Bloggers were part of the "Douchenozzle Offset Program". This made me smile.

Friday, November 13, 2009

"Oh, don't take a photo!"

I’m finally taking a stand.


I hate, hate, HATE people who:


1.   A) flinch away, or try to block their face with their hand when you try to take a photo




2.   B) people who, upon seeing a perfectly fine-looking photo of themselves that you just took, will exclaim “Oh, God! I look ugly/fat/stupid! Delete that!”


Seriously, I’m over it.


As someone who takes a lot of pictures (nearly 4000 this year alone), nothing frustrates me more. This is especially bad when I’m trying to take a candid photo to actually capture a funny or interesting moment that I feel would make a good and well-composed picture. That candid photo is ruined when the person becomes a cringing blur as they exhibit behaviour A. Yes, I know that everyone’s image is their own business and that I shouldn’t be taking photos without permission, but come ON. Behaviour B seemed to be more of the ingrained body-conscious insecurity that’s drilled into people (of which I myself am an occasional victim) in which we must automatically downplay ourselves as ugly for fear of being considered arrogant and conceited (or worse, actually believe that we are unattractive and dismiss ourselves out of hand).


In any case, it comes down to this:


1.   I am a photographer and therefore (for better or worse) am an artist (of some sort).

2.   The pictures I compose and attempt to compose (for better or worse), are art (of some sort).

3.   Therefore, the people and objects in the picture (for better or worse), are part of that art (of some sort) and are worthy/interesting.

4.   Therefore, shut your face about it. I think you look good/interesting in this photos and that’s that.


These thoughts were kicked into action by a farewell I was at last night, and two friends of whom I took a candid photo of two people I know sitting by a wall and laughing at what a person standing nearby had said. The candid photo was natural and looked great. They then noticed I was taking photos and got quite embarrassed saying “Oh, delete that, I’m sure it looked terrible.” Despite having not seen the photo. I tried to downplay the situation by saying “Well, if you don’t want me to take a bad photo, let me take a good one.” (my mantra of sorts), and they posed. Then viewed the picture. “I look terrible in that one,” one said. “Take another.” They posed again. Repeat times 5. In the end, I just walked away. When I looked at the results, the two best-focused and best-looking photos were the first two I’d taken. Also, after putting the photos on Facebook, I got a narky comment about the candid one, stating “When did you take this, how dare you, I’m going to kill you when I see you next OMG.”


I can’t win. Frankly, I miss my old camera-phone, where you could take a picture without making a shutter sound, so people wouldn’t know (though, the camera was no good, and I know they auto-enabled the noise to stop locker-room shots and such).


So yes, if you’re one of the people like Craig and Stevie and Ted, of whom I can take many many photos and just love the attention, then I salute you.



Lucas Brown | Proxy Champignon
Master of Brainthinking


Friday, November 06, 2009

Funny Aneurism Moment

I was playing InFamous this morning and had an odd moment. I had taken a side mission involving a poison vat atop a water tower, defended by bad guys. I defeated the mooks, then approached the tower, which was on top of an apartment building. As per the game's morality system, I was given a choice: use lightning to overload the tower from a distance, thus sparing myself from the poison, and causing the poison to flood the water tower (that's bad); or using a shockwave to explode the tank close-up, which aerates the poison, saves the water, but doses me fairly severely (that's good, I guess).

So I chose the second option. I got close, let off a shockwave & destroyed the tank. I was dosed with the poison, but in an unforseen consequence, the canister exploded, knocking me off the tower and the building. Mid-plummet-to-my-death, a legend appeared on the screen: 

"Congratulations! Your actions have made you slightly more Good."

Legend disappears. I continue falling. 


I feel gooder already.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Never Trust The House

I seem to have shifted in my medical habits. Well, less of a shift, more of a move in a straight line: from doctors to physiotherapists.

Now, I hadn't been to a physio before I got whiplash and needed a few visits. Since then I've been back 8 or so times for things such as headaches, back spasms, sore heel/achilles tendon, and more headaches. I usually go to the University Sports clinic, but I've been to one in Newtown as well.

Recently, I've been getting soreness in both my elbows after doing things like playing drums, shaking martinis, and when I curl my arm under my pillow. It happened off and on for about for months until last Wednesday, when I woke up in the middle of the night and had had enough.

I went to the doctor at Broadway Clinic. Called ahead. Booked an appointment for 9:45 (I started work at 10:30). Sat in the waiting room until 10:55. I get into the room and the doc (who is not one of the usual people I see) immediately (and I mean before I even say what's wrong) starts lecturing me that I need immunization for Whooping Cough (after a serious of relationship questions that I answered with no idea as to what they were for). He then moves on to what I was prescribed last time I was there 9-10 months ago: Cafergot, which is a migraine medication. This was prescribed after 39-straight-day headache (the doctor then had said it probably wouldn't work, or stop the pain in any way, but I should take two, and then two more each half hour it didn't work). I told him I took one dose, and the 60 Mg of caffeine (that's a 6-pack of coca-cola) in each pill had me bouncing off the walls, so I stopped. He then typed "Allergic to cafergot" into my file *facepalm*. He then prints out 3 pages of migraine advice sheets and a migraine diary for me. He then turns to me and asks why I'm there.

"It's my arms, actually." I almost felt bad to see his face drop. Oh, and the migraine? Cured by one physio appointment.

Anyway, I explained I first started noticing after mixing drinks on Fridays (which got a glary look) and after playing drums (which got a confused look). He feels my arms, notes a "tightness" in my biceps, then asks if I "lift weights". I explain that yes, I go to the gym, but it doesn't bother me at or after the gym. He then says "Well, it's probably a contrasting muscle cramp. Your triceps are too weak compared to your bicep." I look at my two-pipe-cleaner arms. "Really? I do roughly the same amount of weight with biceps and triceps."

"Oh yes, you should be doing two to three times the weight with your triceps than with your biceps."

Ummm, okay. Never heard THAT before.

He also cheerfully informs me that it's not arthritis, so he won't send me for bloodwork. He also says a bunch of others things it's not, confusing the issue. He writes a recommendation for a physio (which is A) sealed in an envelop, so I can't see who or where the physio is located and B) the outside of the envelope is a RANDWICK address. No thank you) but then adds that I shouldn't get a physio unless I get an x-ray.

Anywho, he sends me out to pay with an armload of paper and no real explanation for the arm-thing. Bothered, I then go right across the street to the University Sports Physio clinic.

I book in for 12:30, show up at 12:30 on the dot, and am not sitting for more than 30 seconds before they're ready. Meet Chris, the physio, and describe what happened. He starts check out my arms while I'm talking, getting his own idea of how far I can turn, where it hurts, etc. I explain the doc's idea, which he describes as "Fair enough, I mean, you shouldn't be doing too much more with your bicep, but yeah. Clearly it's your nerves."He explains that it's the nerves in my shoulder- and elbow-sides of my tricep that are being stretched in a wrong way and are causing me pain in complaint. He gives me a list of gliding stretches to do (and demonstrates them) and suggests I improve my posture at work to relieve some of the pressure. Then comes the shoulder and tricep massage that was agony, and left me bruised but pain-free afterward.

And here's my point (he said, two pages in): I prefer physios to doctors because they actually DO something. They'll hear you out, have a look, give their opinion, then in a hands-on-way, sort you out. It'll hurt, sure, but you'll be better for it. That's more than I can say for just about any doctor I've been to with the exception of one, who was an acupressurist/acupuncturist, who was a great doctor because he ALSO actually did actual things.

This is being exacerbated by Tanja and my watching the first 8 episodes of the first season of House. I like it, but it points out how doctors (even highly trained good-looking specialist doctors) are just best-guessing. House is constantly kvetching about how an ER Doctor or a GP would prescribe or diagnose the wrong (and usually the worst thing) they could. I believe it. I actually had a normally good doctor attempt to diagnose me with asthma because my breathing was raspy while I had a cold. Admittedly, I had taken a Codril earlier and was feeling better, so made my breathing sound worse than it was, but still. The guy spent 10 minutes trying to convince me to get checked for asthma.


Zoidberg: “What is it this time?”
Fry: “Well, my pipe hurts a little.”
Zoidberg: “That’s normal. NEXT!”

So yeah. It’s physio for me. Unless I have a cold/asthma.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Drum Hero

So I got the Guitar Hero World Tour bundle with guitar, drums, and microphone yesterday (which is a major feat: ordered Thursday morning, shipping Thursday evening, arrived Friday morning). The idea, as I originally planned it, was to use it as a surrogate drum kit for when I can’t get to Ted’s. I also wanted to us the GHTunes recording suite to lay down some tracks, and learn new songs. Once I got it set up and gave it a shot on Drums on Easy mode, I fell into what I’m told is a common musician’s trap: I tried to play what I was hearing, instead of the extremely limited notes they were giving me. I also lost points for hitting the bass drum for each cymbal hit. Once I upped the difficulty, it got better. What I didn’t expect was how much I enjoy the guitar part of the game. Especially with songs you know, you feel like a freakin’ rock god when you finish one. It’s a lot of fun, and I finally figured out why. The Guitar Hero version of playing guitar is essentially a non-musical kid’s view of playing guitar: one button per chord, then move to the left or right. Making that motion taps into something childlike and imaginative (if you’ll forgive me for a moment) that allows you to create music by pushing buttons.

Well, it makes more sense in my head.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Customer Dis-service.

So I left training today with a splitting headache (my third in three days), and stopped at Broadway for lunch before going home. Ate my food, then wandered into Kmart, thinking I'd see if they had any Nerf guns. They did not, and I walked past the DVD cabinet on the way out. I noticed thaey had the new-packaged Star Trek Voyager complete box set (I missed out on the limited-edition EzyDVD Borg Cube box). I couldn't see a price tag, so I went over to the counter. The girl there was busy attempting to sell a mobile phone package to someone, so I waited a bit, then decided, with head still ringing, to go home and check into it later.

So, later. I'm home, and I give Kmart a call. Here is that conversation:

"Hello, Kmart Broadway."
"Hi, could you put me through to DVDs, please?"
*hold music*
"Hello, Audio-Visual."

"Yes, hi. I was wondering the price on your Star Trek Voyager Complete Box se-"
"We don't have that."
"....yes, I think you do. I was in there earlier and saw it. It's in the cabinet."
"Oh, you mean the white one?" (note: the DVD box is greyish. Even if she meant the cabinet, the cabinet is black.)
"Ummm, what?"
"I'll just go see, please hold."
*hold music. Ohhhhh, hold me now... hold my heart.... stay with meeeee*
*phone starts ringing. Ringing. Ringing.*

"Just a minute, we're trying to force the cabinet open, won't be a sec."
*hold music. Ohhhhh, hold me now... hold my heart.... stay with meeeee*
"Okay. Got it. It's $250."

"Thank you."
*I hang up.*

If I'm making it sound quick or easy, I'm telling it wrong.

Geez, and people bite on Telstra for bad service.

Friday, August 07, 2009


A friend just got an iPhone, and I offered to recommend some aps to him. These are my go-to apps. I do experiment now and again, but these are what I come back to:

App Name

App Type

App SubType




Expense tracker

I use this for tracking the money I spend on shirts and cocktails and stuff (where I need to know it balances out). Also useful when you think "It's the end of the week. Where's all my money?"




Just like the Game Boy, DS, or whatever version with all weapons and levels.

Space Deadbeef


Arcade-Style Shooter

Side-scrolling shooter. Fun times.




A mini-version of the real thing.

Flight Control



A very popular Air Traffic Control game. Far more fun than it sounds.




Very quick I-need-to-kill-5-minutes game. Defuse the bombs in time!



Tower Defence

A good (free) beginner Tower Defence game, just enough to get you hooked.



Tower Defence

The next step, with place-anywhere towers and path-building.



Tower Defence

The big daddy. Tower Defence with Geometry-Wars-style effects and a crazy difficulty level

Star Defense


Tower Defence

Tower Defence in 3d on a globe. A good game for when you're sick of Geodefence kicking your ass.



Turn-based Strategy

Cute, quirky stat-based Strategy game involving dice-rolls & attacks.

I Can Haz Cheezburger


Picture Feed

For all your daily LOLs.



Restaurant Finder

Great for picking where to eat. You can also use the randomise feature to come up with something out of nowhere.



Book Ereader

Reads PDF e-books (for free). Also can have new (pirated) ebooks uploaded from a desktop app.



Comic eReader

Actually a series of apps, each one representing an issue of a comic. Some free, some not.




Just what it says on the tin.




Just what it says on the tin.




My go-to Twitter app, until the 3.0 Software update made it go screwy on the iPod touch. Easy to use, plus easy re-tweeting and marking for later.




Twitter app, part two. Visually similar to Twitteriffic, but actually works on the touch. Also has auto-twitpic, auto-friend-name-add, and other nifty features.




Organises tweets into columns. Some like it, but it's not my favourite.





Thursday, July 23, 2009


So I get another call today, from the shirt people (you know, the ones I feel like I do nothing but complain about lately?) this morning, confirming that yes, I will be making the shirts for them by Saturday, and that I can bring in the shirts on Friday and Tim will give me the money. So later on, I'm at home, with chilli con carne simmering, and I'm looking up the design (as yes, I had deleted MY designs in a fit of pique) that they want when I discover something. My google-search leads me to the musician's MySpace page, which leads me to two realisations:

1) MySpace is awful Even loading up someone's page makes my Firefox crash and makes me want to run back to my Facebook.

B) When these people were originally calling me 5 or 6 times a day to quibble over what I was going to theoretically do, one of them mentioned casually that Tim had said I was good with Photoshop, and could I put the logo onto one of the promo pics and that they'd give me credit for the design, as well as for the t-shirts. I said okay, and sent them a basic logo spot, then 3 or 4 half-assed attempts of mine to make the photo cooler, saying that they weren't finals, but just me messing around with ideas, and to tell me what they thought. This email was responded to with the 7 weeks of silence, so I figured they didn't think much. Well, what I found on the MySpace page was one of my designs which they'd clearly liked, as it's the Australian street poster for the tour. It's on the MySpace as such, with no credit to me listed.

Now, I get not giving me the shirt credit, because I didn't do them (except the two prototypes), but that? Come on! It's my work! Tanja pointed out that she didn't see much of a change, so I'll let you judge:
Here's the original picture.
Then the logo they sent me.
And this is what I made in 10 minutes.

So the question is: Did I change it enough to make the new work my intellectual property? Not that I want to kick up a big stink, but it just mad me angry(er).

To top it all off, I got ANOTHER call this evening from them, wanting to meet me tomorrow, even saying they'd drag Tim along. They then asked about the shirts again, and I confirmed they'd be ready tomorrow. They sounded presently surprised. So why did they want to meet with me if not to pick up the shirts?

So I probably won't give them a serve when I see them tomorrow, as I'm nonconfrontational and polite (read: gutless) so I'll probably express my concerns as a "goshdarnit, haven't I been worried" joke and I won't be heard.

But hey. For all I know they want to apologise. And if you belive that, I have a use Death Star to sell you.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Required: One Padded Room

As I discussed here (4th paragraph), I had been approached in early June to do some shirts for a promotions company. Well, after 7 weeks of silence, I got a phone call while waiting for the train this morning.


“Oh, yes, it’s So-and-so. Can we still get two shirts with just the name, not the design?”

“Ummm, I suppose. I still have the shirts I bought last time.”

“Yeah, those will do. Can we have them by Saturday?”

“Ummm. I guess.”

“Okay, do you have other So-and-so’s number?”

“No. And I can’t write it down. I’m at a train station.”

“I’ll call you later when you’ll be able to write it down.” *click*


It took me a moment, but then I was so angry I wanted to thrash around and scream. 7 freakin’ weeks!?!? No word? I mean, come on! I’m a cottage industry and I’m more professional than these mooks. I don’t even know if I have the designs anymore, as I’ve deleted most of them thinking, oh I don’t know, that I’d never hear from them again!


So (since I have the inability to say no to people who want to pay me), I’ll do their two shirts, and then I’ll give them a serve. I might type it, so I can get the tone right.


Sigh. It’s hard out there for a pimp t-shirt maker.



Lucas Brown | Proxy Champignon
Master of Brainthinking


Saturday, June 27, 2009


As I went up to Oporto to get my lunch today, I walked through the street market they have in Newtown every Saturday. As always, there are people just selling random stuff, like belts made from recycled materials, old albums and CDs, books of all sorts, and the inevitable t-shirt printers. Now, most of the people at markets who do t-shirts are screen printers, with a few tie-dyers and tailors/seamstresses thrown in. Nobody seems to do shirts they way I do. Admittedly, the method I use (cutting the stenicls, then painting with brushes) is not the most efficient, easiest or most practical way of doing things, but it does give me a level of control that I enjoy.

However, lately I've been thinking hard about my printing. My first thinkings were in the vein of more artisitic and impressive (read: difficult) designs to really how what I can do. That line of thinking has been difficult to develop, seeing as the majority of the shirts I do are demand-focused (ie I do what people ask me to do), so these new shirts would pretty much be for me. Also, Stencil Revolution, which was my main source of inspiration, was shut down about a year ago, and has not really gotten back on its feet since. I've come up with a few sort of meta-design examples (my Irgendwas Auf Deutsch one, or a few based on the cartoons of Phil Somerville such as "Tragically Born Without A Logo" (overlaid on a collage of logos I've done for other people, such as the Firetrybe logo, the Carbon Cowboy Design I did for Phil, a Triforce with wings and others) and "Due to computer error, this t-shirt is completely free of advertising," (directly above my logo, heh), but I'm not getting the oomph I wantedto. Most people just assume I got them at JayJays or something and don't give my shirts a second look.

As for my process, it's actually cost me a few jobs. It's fairly difficult to accurately mass-produce shirts, as they never quite turn out identical, and paint builds up on the stencils, make each use afterward less accurate. Large areas of solid colour are also a problem, as it's tough to get a smooth, even shape with clean edges. I made some shirts for a local band that turned out not-so-great because their logo was a large yellow oval (large area of solid colour) with the band name on it and they wanted a dozen shirts, but couldn't afford good ones, so had cheap $3 shirts, which were so thin they barely held still under my brush. The results were less than stellar, and I've never heard from them again.

Recently, the mother of one of my workmates called me to ask if I could print some shirts for a singer she is doing promotion work for. She sent me a design which was very easy, but said that design was from the last tour and they wanted a newer one. We talked for a bit and after I dissuaded her from putting words on the back of jeans, she said she'd get back to me. A few weeks pass. I suddenly get a call, and after a few confused moment, relise who it is, and that yes, she's still interested. After debating every tiny detail of what she wants (to a ridiculous degree, taken two further calls, each spaced about 5 minutes apart while I'm at work), we agree to two prototype shirts using the new design and then many more to come later. I buy two blanks and wait on the email. She calls again to make sure the shirts I got are the right type, and casually asks me to photoshop the logo onto the promo picture, since I'm "good at those sorts of things." The email comes and the design is, in a word, impossible. It's a spanish-style cross with so many criss-crossing loops and whorls and patterns that even if I could cut a stencil, it would be impossible to use more than once and would probably break apart. I photoshop the image though, even throwing together a few cool effects and a couple different versions and send them back, with my worries about the design. I mention that maybe they could come up with a simple design for the shirt for me to do. I get a short email back saying they would run it by the artist and get back to me.

I've heard nothing back. It's been 3 weeks. I even did the plaintive email of "Are we still doing the prototypes?" and got nothing.

So anyway.

The reason I brought up the markets is that the designs I see at markets are always awesome and original and different. They're huge, sprawling, detailed (whereas my designs are usually limited to A4 or A3 size due to my printer). Also, they're mostly selling the shirts for $10 or $15 dollars. I sell mine for $20, and though Tanja keeps saying I should raise my prices for the amount of work I put in, I feel bad asking more (possibly due to being afraid that someone will tell me my work isn't worth more).

So even if I pony up the dough to get a large stock of blanks, find some designs that can compete, I'm still going to be two stalls away from people who are better at it, can mass-produce, and are selling for less.

Basically, it makes me wonder if this is ever going to be more than a hobby for me.