Monday, December 29, 2008

Passion is a Fashion pt 2

As promised, the rest of Bean's sweet new threads.

The last bunch were mainly music oriented, so the next couple are to balance out the geek quotient. The picture here isn't great (aside from having a super cute kid in it) but the image is homage to Prince's Purple Rain, but with Batgirl perched on the purple motorbike instead of His Royal Badness. Compare and contrast:

It should be noted all images are shamelessly stolen, this one from the talented Cliff Chiang, and the rightful owners will see not a cent from me. Ha.

This next one is the cover image for an issue of one of the greatest American comic book series ever written, Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's Preacher. The story is a fantastic road trip across modern day America in which a scrappy lapsed preacher, his outlaw girlfriend, and an alcoholic Irish vampire attempt to track down God and ask him, rather sternly, just why Earth is such a crappy place.

Finally, we have a very simple design paying tribute to Trojan Records, the British label that brought such fantastic Jamaican music to the rest of the world as Desmond Dekker, Jimmy Cliff, Delroy Wilson, and Dennis Brown. And it has absolutely nothing to do with condoms.

That's the lot so far, I have a bunch of other designs planned but if and when I get around to making them is not for us mere mortals to know.

Next episode: Christmas merriment.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Passion is a Fashion pt 1

There are a few places where you can pick up some fairly awesome baby clothes (and whole lot more where you can pick up some tragically cheesy baby clothes masquerading as awesome) but none of them are exactly cheap. So I figured I would make my own righteous baby clothes with cheap blank shirts and iron-on transfer paper. It's a fairly ghetto way of doing it (I'm hoping to get around to some DIY screen printing eventually) but they turned out pretty good, I think.

This first one pays homage to Tom Waits, musician, poet, actor, artist, and my own personal Jesus. If you don't know Mr. Waits' incredible, surreal, jangly, undefinable music yet I suggest you get acquainted quick smart. Be it his early days as a crooner, gin-soaked honky tony Island days, or his later surrealist mash-ups, I've never met a person that didn't dig at least some of the man's work. Bean certainly likes it.

The photo is a little small to see the detail on the shirt, but it has this image printed on it:

If Tom Waits is Jesus then Shane MacGowan is, I dunno, Batman. Lead singer of the Pogues, drinker, philanderer, winner of the Guinness Book of World Records worst teeth award, Shane is the very definition of lovable rogue. I certainly hope I get to see him sing live before he kicks the bucket (which can't be far off) he's the last of the true romantics.

This one came out particularly well, and that the image focuses on those ghastly chompers of his is just brilliant.

While Bob Marley merch is a dime a dozen in any old clothing shop I wanted to pay homage to a slightly less merchandized but no less deserving reggae leader, Peter Tosh. Even if you're not into Roots music you no doubt know a fair few of Tosh's hits, though sadly it's probably through bastardized advertisement jingles. The prophet was a true Jamaican treasure, and the story goes that after he was shot dead in a gang robbery his killer was convicted following the shortest jury deliberation in the nation's history. Because he was a national treasure.

Again you can't really see the detail of the image in that photo, but it looks a little something like this:

This next one looks the best of the lot, I think, just because the image works so well on the lovely blue colour of the shirt.

A parody of the classic Obama Hope image used in the presidential campaign, tis image substitutes the president elect for Marvel comics' most badass pot riveted villain, Dr. Doom. Here's what the original image looked like for those who have been living in a hole:

The following is probably my second favourite; it depicts the Ska Girl logo created for the fantastic 80's ska band The English Beat. The image has since, along with The Specials' Walt Jabsco, come to represent ska culture as a whole. Plus it's just plain cool (so much so that I have a very similar shirt myself.)

Again, for the sake of detail, the original image:

I whipped up a couple more but don't yet have photos of them, so that will have to be part two.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Today Beanie is half. The past six month's have gone by so fast it's hard to fathom; it seems like just the other day I was awkwardly trying to break the news to my nearest and dearest.

It certainly hasn't been easy but I couldn't really imagine my life any other way at this point. I would like to say I'm getting the hang of this parenting gig, but it would be a total lie. Just when I think I'm finally on top of things the little guy just goes and develops some new quirk for me to be hopeless at dealing with.

Even so, here are a few things that I've learned in the past half year that I would like to tell my 6-months-ago self:

You don't need half the crap they want to sell you. This is a general rule for all things in life, but no matter how savvy a consumer you may be, when there's a baby on the way it's hard not to panic and feel the need to buy every little bit of baby rubbish on the market, just to have your bases covered. You do not need it. Even a lot of the big things that you might take as a given are not strictly necessary depending on how you plan on doing your thing. If you take some time to really asses what function a product provides, and consider alternative ways of achieving that you quickly find creative, inexpensive, less wasteful ways of filling a need.

You don't have room for half the crap they want to sell you. Had I been given the above advice then this would not have been an issue, but as it transpired I spent anxious months saving my meager wages, pouring over websites, and buying up every little thing I thought the kid would need. Not only did a lot of it turn out to be unnecessary, but it now sits taking up huge amounts of space in our flat of which there is precious little. You doubly don't need it.

There's nothing like a baby to bring out people's generosity. No matter how cynical your view of the human race might be, have yourself a kid and watch people pour affection and generosity in your direction. We were sent love, well wishes, and gifts from all over the show, it was an overwhelming task to even keep track of it all. Thank you to everyone who was thinking of us, I know I've not yet been able to thank everyone personally but I will continue to make my way slowly through that list, and we appreciate your kindness so very much.

You're always doing it wrong. There are a lot of different schools of thought on how best to raise a kid, and no matter which way you decide to go there will always be plenty of people around to tell you you're wrong. They are usually ignorant pains in the ass. Educate yourself, be open to suggestions, see what works for different kinds of people, love your kid, don't let the bastards grind you down. This is advice I am giving to my present-day self also, someday I hope I'll learn it.

I must get around to building that device. The one that slows time to a more reasonable pace.

Sure, it changes everything, but not as much as you think. There is no part of my life that has remained unchanged since I had Bean, and that's the big scary shock that hits people when they are expecting. But it's not the mortal wound to your old life that it's often made out to be. If a perennial slacker like me can learn to manage his time just a little better in order to try and fit in everything and everyone I care about, then pretty much anyone can.

Time and space to yourself is precious. Don't take that for granted.

Kids are great motivators. Whether it's because I'm trying to be someone Bean can be proud of, or trying to get things done before he gets old enough to make it impossible, or am just stubbornly trying to prove it can be done even though I'm young, poor, hopeless, and have a kid: Hunter has, in one way of another, motivated me to do many things I would probably have kept on the 'meaning to do' list forever otherwise.

Hunter is awesome. There's just no getting around it. You're all jealous, admit it.

Happy half-birthday, Bean-o! If you could stop growing up quite so fast that would be great, otherwise continue as you were; it's a fine job you're doing.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Once More Into the Breach

Mama, Bean and I travelled back to my hometown of Hamilton a few weeks back in order to circumvent the whole Christmas gathering thing (which I don't do - I've worked the last five Christmas Days, usually by choice.) We stayed with my folks and invited members of the extended family to meet Hunter for the first time. Despite being hosted in the squalid backwards cesspool that I had so happily left behind (the town that is, not my parents house; that's quite fancy) the occasion was not overly excruciating.

Bean and Nana Val

The guests of honour were the matriarchs of both sides of the family, Nana Val and Grandma Bloss. It was their first time meeting their great grandchild and both seemed suitably smitten.

Bean and Grandma Bloss

Representing the Hunt clan were my wayfaring cousins Loren and Katie who I had not seen in far, far too long, and my Uncle Greg. It was lovely to catch up with them.

The Whole Fam Damnily

I was super excited to introduce Bean to my dogs too; I hadn't seen Arnie and Austin in the longest time. The big golden retrievers were a bit intimidating for the little man, especially their boisterous barking, but he eventually mellowed to their presence. Of course he had met scatty little Maddy before, and with the surly old ginger cat Scamp thrown into the mix Hunter was almost surrounded by more animals than humans. Which is always awesome.

Our crew outside my old room

My Mother prepared a delicious feast for us all (considerately catering to us pain in the ass vegetarians) and the day unrevealed in vintage summery fashion. Of course you can't call it a night until someone has drank far more than they should have and made an ass of themselves; thanks for the entertainment, sis.

Mama and Bean

I then continued my long-standing tradition of terrible decisions and went out to town with some friends that night; it just so happened to be the night that some idiot monkey rugby team beat some other idiot monkey rugby team and the entire town seemed to have lost their minds over it. It took remarkably little time for the jerks, thugs, and sycophants to remind me why I was so desperate to leave Hamilton in the first place.

Bean and I backed by the folks' palatial view

All told it was a successful first road trip for Mr. Hunter, one rewarded with good food and great company, I'm sure he very much enjoyed meeting everybody. We'll just make sure the next meet-up takes place somewhere a little less fanatical...

Grandma Bloss, Bean and I

Friday, December 5, 2008


There are a number of pressing things I should be attending to right now rather than posting this, but here's a milestone I thought y'all might dig. Presented for your consideration: a photo series of Bean's first solid(ish) food.

That's delectable lukewarm cooked apple purée he's wolfing down there. The doctor told us to expect him not to care for the taste of it initially, as it would be so foreign to him, and to just try and persist with the feeding until he gets used to it. The little guy couldn't get enough from the second we dangled it in front of him, he destroyed that entire bowl and still seemed to want more! Where do they find these doctors?

And for the record that is categorically not my Jilly Cooper book in the background.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Cashed out on Culture

I never get sick of starting a post by apologizing for not posting in such a long time. As stated by the harpy in the comment section of last post, we have had a rather eventful interim. I won't be regaling you with tales of suspense and horror regarding our Hamilton trip this post, as the photos (of which there were certainly many) currently reside on other cameras. Once I get them sent my way I'll give you all the play by play (well, a heavily sanitized version at least.) For now; the events previous to.

On the 15th of November Bean had his first cultural experience that didn't involve movies, comic books, or video games - y'know, proper culture. We attended the opening day of the Finicky art exhibition by one Paul McLeod. While getting a little art up you is a noble endeavour in any instance, this was an especially grand occasion as Paul McLeod just so happens to be known as Uncle Paulie to our whānau.

Paul's work is amazingly cool (yes, that is the depth of my critical lexicon when it comes to this kind of thing) and we were all so unspeakably proud to see it hanging in the gallery (though I'm prouder still to have instances of it sprayed around our neighbourhood.) It's hard to tell just how much Hunter enjoyed the works, but he certainly basked in the attention from those gathered at the event.

I'm really no good at describing art in a way that isn't woefully superficial, so you should just head to Paul's website to get a proper look at his work, it's frightfully wonderful. It would be remiss not to also mention that Mama had something on display at the event; she whipped up an absolutely insane amount of mini-cupcakes to feed the punters. They were a big hit, and we were still snacking on the surplus for days to come.

Once we had been subtly shown the exit by the gallery's staff after having done our best to get through the bottles of free wine on offer we decided to take Bean to the local beach. This was the wee guy's first experience with the ocean and the scope of things left his little mind a tad boggled.

It was a lovely day and the prospect of a quick paddle in the cooling waves was a welcome one. Mama propped Hunter up so that the waves would gently lap at his feet. While he made no immediate protest, the sensation didn't exactly fill him with glee either. Confusion seemed to be the reigning feeling as his little feet sunk from view into the wet sand.

Feeling we had probably blown his mind enough for one day we decided to lug the salty sea dog back to shore, and as he gazed back at the beach he began to grin and giggle uncontrollably. I guess he enjoyed himself more than is wide, anxious eyes conveyed.

Ever since becoming a Dad I've been chomping at the bit to take Hunter to a playground. I've been a huge playground enthusiast even before having a kid and looked forward to the possibility of not being met with fearful apprehension by the parents supervising their own children - Bean was my ticket to playground legitimacy. Obviously he's not really old enough to enjoy rich and rewarding experiences a bountiful playground offers, but there was time enough for a quick jaunt down the slide before having to leave.

I am super proud that Hunter's first art gallery experience was courtesy of his ridiculously talented Uncle Paulie (he has since already had his second, in which I basically stood around getting the pram in the way of preening hipsters diligently attempting to appear unaffectedly cool and well read... ick) and I'm sure there will be many more to come; Paul is well on his way to fame, fortune, and decadent artistic debauchery.

Tune in next time, once the photographic evidence has been properly collated (that's your cue snap-happy family members, email that stuff to me) for Hunter's first road trip, first exposure to *shudder* Hamilton, and first hugs and kisses from many members of the family.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ragnarok Boogaloo Beatdown

So, after election results that had anyone not super-rich or completely masochistic sobbing quietly into their whiskey glass, we are transmitting again. Loud and proud as ever, regrouped for three years of struggle. Nothing new for trash like us.

Being that it was Bean's first election we figured we had better show him what proper democracy looks like. So we stocked up on booze, fired up the barbecue an invited our friends from across the political spectrum. Drinking, eating, with a little bit of voting squeezed into the middle; apparently true democracy looks very similar to any other weekend.

Most people had better things to do than help educate an eager young mind on the workings of our nation first-hand, but those that did show up made a good show of it. So cheers to all the politically conscious revellers, Hunter seemed to really enjoy himself.

Obviously the next day was a bit of a downer, due in equal part to the election results and copious amounts of alcohol, so it was a pretty subdued Sunday. But Bean digs those too.

I don't know why but I never ended up blogging about taking Hunter to Armageddon last month. For those that don't know, Armageddon is our massive annual geek festival. Comics, videogames, celebrities, cosplay, wrestling, anime, anything and everything dorky from up and down the country packs out the Aotea convention centre for Labour weekend. It has been pretty commercially oriented of the last bunch of years, ditching much of the real culture, but we felt it important to Bean's development as a budding young geek all the same.

I mention it now because I'm pretty sure his nerdy conditioning is starting to pay off. Every weekend morning I sit down with Hunter and watch episodes of Batman: The Animated Series on DVD. We've almost made it through all four seasons. Initially he wasn't too interested, it's quite a dark cartoon and his attention quickly wandered. These days he seems so much more attentive, often sitting still for an entire disc worth of episodes (and he loves the Joker, always elicits a grin.)

Of course we don't want to encourage him to surrender his little mind to television, that's just a weekend thing, celebrating my not having to immediately leave the house in the morning. One thing we had always planned on adding to our crew in order to stimulate the little one's mind was a pet, everyone in the Grafton Massive loves animals - despite varying degrees of allergy - and we figured once we had the hang of running a kid we would sort out a friend for him.

The situation sorted itself out, however, when a beautiful white cat suddenly found itself with no place to go. As so many do, the little waif found her way to us and has now been assimilated into our little community. Skeletor (or Skeli to her nearest and dearest) is six months old, a little ahead of Hunter (who is five months tomorrow) and absolutely full of insane energy.

Hunter has been around a fair amount of dogs in close proximity by way of visits from both grandmothers and their little companions. He's caught glimpses of cats before too, of course, but he has never really had the chance to share space with one. Although wary of the critter to begin with, both parties now seem fascinated and respectful of each other. The beginning of a beautiful friendship and a lasting love of animals, hopefully.

By now you should all probably have the odds sorted on your picks for Bean's first word, it seems as though it will be coming any day now. Until then, take care of yourselves and we shall check back in soon.

A bit of administration stuff; it's great that people are using the comments section to shoot the breeze, but anyone dropping racist shit will be promptly bounced, I don't care who you are. Is that really want you want Hunter to see if and when he revisits this blog? Just a friendly heads up.