Monday, December 19, 2011

Snow angels

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post! The first post here in a loooooong time. Special thanks to Holly, Susan's cat who gave me a mention here - This Week in Mentalists

I would put a nicer link but Blogger seems to have gone all minimalist on me and removed just about every formatting option short of posting a pic. Why, Blogger? Why?! (Edit: Think I have it sorted. Just Google and their endless mission to make stuff worse).

So it's Christmas time and, you know what? I'm feeling Christmassy. Wasn't the easiest year, not by a long shot. We're in a world of uncertainty and, for what is really the first time since the 2008 recession hit, my own work has been on the chopping block. But my latest project has just been given a last minute reprieve. My father passed away this year. That sucked on a few levels. We weren't close so part of me thinks I was protected from a certain level of grief and yet it just meant the whole thing was messy. What was unresolved will now stay unresolved forever.

So, yeah. Not the easiest year.

But a good year.

A year in which I realised just how much support I have. And not just that it's me and people supporting me or me supporting them. I really felt that a whole bunch of us are in this together. And I count many of you out there in the blogoshpere in that too. A unity. Not a perfect unity. But a strong one.

Life won't always be easy. Yes, a dog may take a piss on us while we make snow angels but who cares? We'll have made snow angels!

I hope you all make snow angels.

Have a very happy Christmas/holiday season/Winter Wonderland/Snowy Surprise or whatever it is you all celebrate. Stay well!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December again

Every now and again, I come back to this place... my old blog. There is a lot to look back on and always a reminder of a particular time in my life. A while before I sort of wound down the blog, I stuck in one of those Google Analytics code things to see how many people were coming to the blog. Turns out it was pretty popular.

Obviously lack of posts caused that number to go down and down. But, looking at the little graph now, somewhere in October it began to go up. And it rose through November to now. Why? Was someone linking to my blog? Writing about it?


It was simply coming up in Google searches more as more people searched for information on 'depression'. It's that dark time of year. Wouldn't it be nice to take my increasing numbers as something positive? The truth is, it's a bad sign for many people. I think I'd be happy if my blog never came up in searches again because nobody needed to know anything about depression any more. Because it was a thing of the past.

But it's not.

Depression is still all around us. Probably more now than ever. It's a tough time of year for many. But you know what? This is why I appreciate all those who blog about depression and tell their stories. So that people who realise they or a loved one may be facing depression have somewhere to go. Real survival stories to read. And even the stories that did not have happy endings, to serve as a reminder that, sometimes, people need help and it's not always obvious. Every one of you who have written about depression help.

Being that darker time of year, I hope you're all doing okay and are looking out for yourselves and others.

And those writing about animation, well look, some people are just beyond help. Making films a frame at a time? Honestly, it's too late for those people. Just get out before they drag you down with them.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

All quiet

Yes, all quiet here. Just trying to survive. Not always easy. But I'm still going. If you have happened upon this somewhat dormant blog by accident, why not have a browse through the archives? I do, every now and again. There's some good stuff in there, even if I do say so myself. Makes me feel guilty for not keeping the place updated regularly. But I guess that is the way of blogs.

While you're here, though, you should check out these blogs and sites. These are friends of the blog or just places I enjoy. Check them all out -

Prozacville is as bad as I am for updates but there's loads of great stuff in the archives. Little comics about life. Funny, silly in places and yet very honest. In a stroke of genius, also included in each post is a soundtrack.

Susan is a good friend here at Medicated Cartoon Life. She's had it rough at times but, man, she's a fighter and her blog is a testament to that.

The Daily Grail is a place that will open your mind. Their Red Pill Junkie is also a good friend here and his comments have always been insightful, enjoyable and often eye-opening. The Daily Grail is well worth a regular read. You'll find some gems there.

This is a pretty new one. Honest to Goodness Genuine Humans. It's a funny cartoon blog from the guy who brought us Too Many Zombies. With some great one-liners and some with a real sideways look at life, it's a fun one. You can (and should) follow them on Twitter here for even more.

I'm on Twitter too as the BitterAnimator so feel free to follow me if you like and send me a tweet so I know who you are for a follow back. I'll admit I really don't tweet very much, just like blogging now I guess, but I'm there and I read and tweet the odd time.

So go read all those sites. Enjoy them. Tell your friends, tweet about them, blog about them, post them on reddit or any of those sites because they deserve your attention. And tell them a Bitter Animator sent you. And bug the Prozacville guy for more posts because they're excellent.

Hope everyone who happens upon this post is doing well. If you found your way here via depression, be strong brothers and sisters - it may not be you, it really might be the world that's sick. If you found your way here via animation, strive for the best. You're in one of the most specialised yet unrewarded businesses and you're all creative, fantastic people (well, most of you).

And to everyone else, I'll say this - the old models are crumbling. Your time will come.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Wonders of the Universe - order to chaos

The new Prof. Brian Cox series, Wonders of the Universe, began last night. And it sparked a lot of questions for me and got me thinking. And, since those thoughts aren't really appropriate elsewhere, they're going here! Hello! Sorry for not being around much or being in touch. Life is going in a few different directions.

Anyway, Wonders... the main point of the first episode was that time flows in one direction and that direction is oblivion. Pretty much. Everything tends towards chaos. Order breaks down and things decay. Merging together to form amorphous nothingness.

Low entropy eventually becomes high entropy. Low entropy being ordered, yet fragile.

So the example Prof. Cox used was a sandcastle he built. An ordered form. What will happen to that sandcastle is obvious - it will eventually break down, through winds or any other force. It will tend towards a big ol' pile of sand.

The idea was that the Universe began with low entropy, very ordered (was it really?) and, as we move through time, it moves towards high entropy. Like a sandcastle falling apart.

The big question not asked in the show, however, was this - if everything breaks down and physical laws all point towards that chaos, where did that initial order come from? As Prof. Cox tweeted after the show, "the origin of low entropy in the universe at the big bang is probably THE biggest mystery in cosmology." As far as I know, the current thinking is that the Universe just spontaneously came into being.

Prof. Cox likes to use Earthly examples to illustrate his points, like the sandcastle. Firstly, it makes things easier to understand and, secondly, the same laws often work here and out in the Universe. Or at least versions of those laws. But, man, I can't think of any time I have heard of anything spontaneously coming into being. Physicists may have examples. They're not common, I'm sure.

But Prof. Cox, without bringing it up, presented a very easy answer to the question - where did that low entropy come from? At least in the ordered way he presented it.

You see, while the Universe may well tend towards chaos, order is created every day. Every second. Right now, raw materials are coming together into new ordered shapes. Because we make order out of chaos. Consciousness tends towards order. We build boxy houses, sleek cars, clothes, arcade machines. While the Universe conspires to destroy those things, we strive to make them. We create order.

In building a sandcastle, Prof. Cox presented an Earthly example of just how low entropy situations are created.

A conscious mind takes chaos, and puts order to it.

Is this a God post?! Well, you see, the whole God thing leads the thought off in a whole other direction. The problem with a God is this - the people being vocal about a god, pretty much no matter who they are, seem to present God as an all-knowing, ever-present being. They present the idea of 'intelligent design'. And the atheists and scientists pull this apart - if it's so intelligent, how come we have an appendix? How come the world is a complete shithole? What the hell kind of god allows that?

I come down on the side of the scientists on this. This isn't about some divine being.

But... that doesn't mean there wasn't some creator of sorts. He/she/it could be long gone/dead/uninterested/absent parent. It doesn't mean a conscious mind didn't initially create those original conditions that have eventually led to the clearly imperfect us.

Is the idea that the Universe was actively created unlikely?

Look around you. Most of what you see was actively created. I have spent most of my life creating worlds. Every time you go and see a movie, you're seeing a created world. Every computer game and programme is a created world. What you're reading this on right now has been created. We create. Order from chaos. We tend towards order.

And look at what we can create now compared with what we could create just a few hundred years ago. How does the world of Tron Legacy compare with a play put on in a field? How does Sim City compare with a porcelain doll?

Give us a few thousand years. What then will we be able to create? Whole worlds? Easily. Whole Universes? Given the time, I don't see why not. Whether the Universe was created or not, we're going to be doing it ourselves soon. If we can do it, not only does it not seem a stretch that someone else could do it, it seems pretty arrogant to think otherwise.

Brian Cox made a sandcastle. He showed the answer. It seems so obvious.

I wonder what he'd think if he knew it made me a believer in a creator?