Tuesday, May 22, 2012

[Project:ThreeSixFive] Day [CXXXIX - CXLIII].

Well the past few days have been a lovely roller coaster of feelings.  Mostly unbelief that the UK Border Agency is so woefully unhelpful.

Mt wifey and I are soon going to be sending off for her visa.  This is very exciting but at the same time, it's a nice test of our faith.  See; we have enough money to get the deposit and first month in a property in Preston, where we're wanting to live.  But all of that money - every penny - is going towards the visa.  This is good because we need the visa.  But this is bad because we also need that money for a house.  You may see our problem.

That's the gist of it, anyway.  There are a load of other little bits that either change with the amount of people who tell us about them or small things which are somewhat in the way.

And that's also why I haven't been posting much recently.  Yesterday I spent 7 hours on the phone in a mix of visa questioning and job searching.  It was pretty tedious.  I also found out that while the UK Border Agency has a 'phone service'; this service is completely automated and instead of giving you an answer, at the end of whatever button combination it asks you for, an automated voice comes on and tells you - quickly and only once - an email address to send you enquiry to and that they'll get back to us in two weeks.  Which is so unhelpful I cannot think of a metaphor.  My frustration at all of this is huge and it's now just culminated in me getting very tired and depressed.

So apologies once again for the lack of pictures.  I have taken a good few, but haven't had the time to upload them.  Which sucks because it doesn't take long.  But that's how much time we've had.

I'll upload again soon.

Thanks for sticking with me  :)

Actually - here's one of the drawings I did a while back.  I still love it and I've been looking forward to doing something like this again.

Dogsword the Demolisher - originally by Jouste; this one's my rendition.


Friday, May 18, 2012

[Project:ThreeSixFive] Day [CXXXVIII].

Today was pretty busy.  We got up earlier than usual to try and combat jetlag - I've never had it this long but my wifey and I haven't really helped ourselves.

For today:

This is why I tape my feet when I play any sport that requires me to run and/or turn quickly.  Unfortunately, last night, my tape slipped off my toe while I was playing footy.  This was the result.  I mentioned it yesterday but I figured I'd show you today.  You're welcome.

No drawing for today again, I'm afraid.  Korean looks pretty nice when you write it, so I guess that's something.

My wifey and I had a great day in Preston, with meetings and visits and things like that.  Pretty nice.

And at last - a decent bed time.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

[Project:ThreeSixFive] Day [CXXXVII].

Today was a good day.

My wifey and I got up around noon, which is better than it has been.  We looked round the back garden (something that we've been wanting to do but - for some reason - haven't) with mum and I packed down about 6 boxes of LEGO into one box that I have now put back into storage.  Then, my wifey went to a small church group and I went up to another village and played some footy for a bit.  That was good.  I haven't done that for a while and I think I needed it.  Even though I have a blood blister the size of a 10p/quarter on the bottom of my big toe  :s

For today:

The willow arch that's growing in nicely.  Mum's planning on having a few arches around the garden - if they are all like this, it's going to be wonderful!  This one has actually started to grow to the left of the picture - an arch that reaches over the entrance to the raised garden (formerly the chicken plot).

A Clematis flower that was growing to the right of the willow arch.

And then a close up of it.  Because that's what I do.

A garden spider.  I've missed these things!  All orangey and patterned.

And these wonderful things!  Baby trees!  I'm not sure what sort of trees they are, but look how tiny.

That's all for photos today.  I'm going to look for a job tomorrow and then my wifey and I have to go up to Preston to get her National Insurance Number.  After that, it's either band practice or a small groups at church.  We'll know nearer the time.

Thank you for sticking round!  I appreciate your reading.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

[Project:ThreeSixFive] Day [CXXXIV - CXXXVI].

Well it turns out that this couple of weeks was harder to keep track of than I thought it would be.  This is why I thought it would be a good idea to not post back when my wifey and I were at the Canvas Conference a couple of months ago.

It is, at present, 01:20.  I'm sat in the living room with my wifey realising that English TV is pretty much utter tripe and that there's nothing on that is more entertaining than a kick in the throat.  It's nice, I guess - it means we're not going to be wasting time sat in front of it.

No photos for the past few days - we have been focusing on getting our days and nights back in sync.  Although not too effectively.  The first night we were back, my wifey had a 4-hour nap while I played Skyrim.  It's an amazing game, but probably not great for getting over jetlag.

We've also been playing 'The Fisheye Game' with my family and friends.  Basically; I take the fisheye attachment off my lens and get the 'player' hold it in front of one of their eyes.  They keep their other hand by their side and when we say "Go," they open the eye that the lens is in front of, walk over to someone else and then high five them.  I've been hit in the face twice as the recipient of said high five.  The game needs refining somewhat.

Other than that, we've been catching up with some great friends and it's been really, really nice taking our time to get settled back in a bit.

Even though I'd like to get out and catch some snakes...

I'll be out tomorrow with the camera, weather permitting.  It's been rainy over the past couple of days, but I guess I'll have to leave the house at some point.  There are things out here that need photographing all up close, like.

Apologies for the lack of pictures - I'm going to remedy it.

In other news, I'm (re)learning Korean, albeit slowly.  I got the hang of it the other year while I was being taught by my housemates and friends from Korea, but since then I've not practiced it at all.  So it's back to the consonants and - soon - vowels.  I think character/letter combinations are next - I just need to get these consonants down.  It's really fun!

Now.  My dilemma is this:  do I play Skyrim a bit more or chill out on the sofa?


Sunday, May 13, 2012

[Project:ThreeSixFive] Day [CXXXI - CXXXIII].

I'm updating from the airport in Canada!  The wonder and helpfulness and time-eating nature of technology!

Here's a highlight of what's been going on over the past few days - in some semblance of order:

This is the view of leaving a storm behind.

And the view of the road ahead as my wifey and I went on her Prom Re-do.  It was amazing.

Here are a few of the guys that we chilled out with on our second-to-last night in Fort Smith.

Here's the whole gang!  We had a really nice time bowling and chatting and frozen yoghurting.

Then we went fishing the day after.  We didn't catch any fish, but my wifey saw all of these butterflies chilling out together!

And I found this MUSK TURTLE eating a dead catfish.  I stopped caring that I hadn't caught anything once I found this guy.  Also see but not caught; two skinks and a snake.


A sofa full of goodies awaited our arrival.  Melissa and I have good, good friends!

The local park was flooded which made for some great picture opportunities.  This was one of them.  I'm sure I'll use it as a cover photo on Facebook sometime.

Of course there's a macro!  A bee on the floor in Cincinnati.

Noo Yoik.  This was earlier today!  Crossing the State line.

There's Canada!

And Niagara Falls.  Absolutely beautiful!

The other, more overlooked side of the Fall  :(  Just as lovely, not as photographed.

A few hundred feet up from where the water actually falls.  There are some incredibly beautiful spots.

And my wifey dipping her feet in the Falls!  I put my hand in at one point.  Lovely.

Well.  That's a quick update.  I need to use the loo before we fly, so I'm going to do that right now.

I'll post again when we're home!  I can't wait!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

[Project:ThreeSixFive] Day [CXXVI - CXXX].

Well here's a big lump of a post to say hello and sorry for the lack of pictures that you are no doubt used to.  My wifey and I have been traveling a bit and there has been little to no time in the past few days to get on to an internet connection for longer then the time it takes to get onto Facebook and tell people that we are alive and well.

Mu camera hasn't been extremely busy over the past few days, but my wifey and I are having an amazing time nonetheless.  We are, at present, in Cincinnati Ohio - a lovely place that it much, much further south than I thought.  Kentucky is about 15 minutes away.

We are staying here for a few days at a friend's house and then on Saturday, Operation: Kickin' Rad Road Trip will commence.  Several of us are going to be driving up to Buffalo, New York and we are going to spend a couple of hours at Niagara Falls before a smaller number of us are going to brave the border of Canadia (I know) and run Operation: Nearly There with my wifey and myself.  Once my wifey and myself are safely checked in and farewells have been bid, the further Operation: Home Time will proceed to be put into action and within 13 hours, we should be back home in the UK.  Lovely!

So I just wanted to let you know that this is the reason my internet presence - my blog presence especially - is not going to be as solid as usual over the rest of this week.  Jetlag shouldn't be a problem because if we sleep on the way home we're going to be set up right.  So I could feasibly post on Sunday but I'm not going to promise because I might either be out catching up with my friends or asleep.  Either way, I'll post again soon.

Thanks for your patience.  I'll pop on and say hi again when I can.  Maybe with a picture next time!


Oh - P.S.  We saw the Avengers last night and right now, I have not got enough time nor do I have the muscle mass needed to type as much as I want to describe to you haw amazing the film is and how you should probably go and see it.  As usual, stay after the credits and then wait until the second lot of credits have gone by.  It's worth it.  I'd see it again right now.  Good grief.  It's at least as good as everyone has been saying.  I wouldn't normally go on about how amazing a film is because I know a lot of people have a lot of different tastes, but my word, this is an incredibly well-rounded, well-written, thoroughly enjoyable experience that you will regret not going to see if you stay at home and wait for the DVD.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

[Project:ThreeSixFive] Day [CXXV and CXXVI].

Yesterday saw me and my wifey out on a re-do of her prom!  Her prom didn't go too well and I wanted to remedy that before we left the US and came home.

We started off with photos of us on her mum's bike.  Pretty fun.  We had a laugh until it started to rain  :D

Then we went to Shogun's in Fayetteville for dinner.  It's an amazing place and we love it.  We've been there three times and every time is a joy.

From there, we went to Electric Cowboy and had a bit of a dance, line dance and shot some pool.  It was really good fun!

Then we spent the night in Bentonville.

It was a fantastic night and an incredible way to spend one of our last nights here in the US.

Here are the photos from yesterday:

I wore these bad boys for the night.  Actually really comfortable!

And the drawing...  It's a drawing.

And for today:


That's right!  I am now a Permanent Resident of the United States of America.  Lovely.

We are off out to eat with Melissa's grandparents and then we're going to go bowling with some friends.  A drawing may follow, but if it doesn't, just look at the Green Card picture again  :D


Friday, May 4, 2012

[Project:ThreeSixFive] Day [CXXIII and CXXIV]. Part 2.

Well this post is a day late, but at least it's here!  Last night my computer decided it would do me a huge favour and not let me onto my blog.  Something about malware that it has now, evidently, completely forgotten about.  So I'm on again!

For yesterday:

Very happy with these.  We were walking in from the car last night after meeting up with some friends (who cook steak so well that I will never find one as good.  So thanks to them for ruining that for me) and I decided to shine a torch (flashlight) around and look for stuff in the driveway.  Sure enough, in a corner where the garage meets the drive, this little guy was chilling out for the night.  I kept the torch on it while I took a photo, but I wasn't really happy with the shots I was getting.

So I switched it up a bit and decided to experiment!  I had the light on it while I got it in focus and then turned the light off to take the photo.  The ISO was as low as possible and the shutter stayed open for about 30 seconds.  In that time, I quickly shone the light around the toad from several different angles and got this pretty nicely lighted picture!  I'm really happy with it.  The only blurred part if where the throat was going in and out, but I don't really care  :)

A before and after shot of the mural that I (finally) finished.  I got some bad masking tape that took a long, long time to get off well.  But other than that, it was a joy to do.  Here's one of the last pictures I took while it was all taped up and sealed and whatnot.

And then here's the after shot!  I'm really happy with the way it's turned out.  It was looking pretty sharp, so I fuzzed up the edges a bit with some spray paint.  It was great fun to work on and hopefully, I'll get some requests for more!  My friend absolutely loved it so I'm really, really happy.

Thats it for yesterday.  Today sees my wifey and I packing up to leave (we're packing early so we can enjoy the weekend) and then I'm taking her to a prom  :D  Our own prom for just the two of us.  It's going to be great!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

[Project:ThreeSixFive] Day [CXXIII and CXXIV]. Part 1.

Here's yesterday's post - we got home late after spending time with friends after church.  We're meeting up with people all day today starting with breakfast, so it's an early morning for us!

It was a great day.  I spend hours finishing my mural and I'm way happy that it's done now.  All I have to do is call the guy who wants it!  Then last night was the last Wednesday night for the youth pastor, Josh Mayo.  He's moving to Atlanta with his family very soon, so there was a big farewell night at church.  It was amazing.  At one point, people were asked to stand if they had been affected by Josh and Monica, his wife.  The whole room was on their feet - hundreds of people there and everyone knew that there would have been hundreds more that couldn't make it that would have stood.  You don't get that for short-term pastoring - when you stay for the long haul, you affect countless lives.  It was amazing.

We're off out very soon, so here are the photos!

One of my photos from the porch.  This is a close up of the doorbell light.  Pretty nice.

And another - a little moth.

And then this.  I'm pretty sure it's a ratsnake.  I got some close ups to check it out a bit more.  A good sized snake!  I'd love to have caught it while it was alive!

And then a bit of the mural.  I'll post it all once I've giving it to my friend.

That's it for now - go to run!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

[Project:ThreeSixFive] Day [CXXII].

The longest confirmed human lifespan in history is 122 years, 164 days.  That's pretty old.

It's been another pretty busy day.  We're trying our best to see everyone before we leave for the UK next week, so we're just packing out our days with visits and packing and final things.

For today:

My wifey and I were waiting for her mum to finish work this afternoon and we found a lovely little spot behind her offices.  This was our view as we lay on the picnic bench and chatted for half an hour.

Although it's not the most original idea for a nuisance character in a game (it's actually not even slightly original - I've been picking these things off me for a few days), I thought that it would be a pretty good idea nonetheless.  Basically, in one of the games I've been drawing up, these guys will attach to your character and - if they're not removed in time - they'll reduce a certain stat by one point.  If enough of them attach to your character, then the effect will be more noticeable.  The different shaped ticks affect different skills and stats - at the moment, I'm thinking that triangle tick could affect speed - a shoutout to Mr Rush of the Mr Men.  The more of these that attach to your character, the slower the character will start to get.  If they are not removed in time, then your character will lose these speed for good - or until you can replenish the stats and start moving quickly again.  Other ticks will affect accuracy, balance, health, etc.  Something that the player can see being affected so that they can do something about it before it's too late.

I'm off to bed so I can get up early and be productive tomorrow.  It's going to be a great day.

Tomorrow night see the last night of Josh Mayo at 180Remix in his main leadership role.  The guy is fantastic and he and his family are doing what God has told them to do and in this case, it's to move to Atlanta.  They are going to be missed more than I can get across here and they have had an impact that I can't even begin to hope to convey with typed words.  Although their move is going to be sad, it's also an amazing time and experience for everyone involved - yea - even the people saying goodbye.  This is a huge example of a transition well done.  We as the people that are led by this leadership group can see that an authority figure leaving is not a bad thing and that it can be done with no damage!  This is so big for people who have had parent figures move in and out of their lives, leaving damage and hurt in their wake.  This is showing people that a figure that we look up to and emulate can move out of our lives without tearing said lives apart.

Josh has two kids and they are really cool.  One thing that happened the other week will stay with me forever.

His family was called on stage after he had spoken on night.  His wife came on carrying their youngest, with their oldest running next to her.  As they came on stage, a look of fear came over hie eldest's face as he realised that he had just walked out in front of a few hundred people.  As he scanned the hall he got to a point about half way through when Josh - his dad - was on the stage between him and the crowd.  His face turned to a big, bright smile and he shouted "Daddy," as he burst into a run.

How safe must he have felt to have done that?!  I want my kids to have that fearlessness when their daddy is around.  More so when they see their Father in Heaven and He calls them to do what He has planned for them.  It was an amazing moment.

But for now, it's back to what I mentioned a few paragraphs ago.



Tuesday, May 1, 2012

[Project:ThreeSixFive] Day [CXXI].

Could I ask a favour?  I don't like asking anything of you, since I appreciate your time a whole lot, but if you could post a comment under this post I'd love to see who's reading.

Here are yesterday's photos:

I love ants.  I say that quite a bit.  Here's a load of them milking aphids on a branch in the back yard.

I've seen a few of these - loads when we got the trees cut down the other day!  They are like aphids but twice the size!

Five of us were at a spot in Barling last night chilling out.  We were skimming stones on a pond and noticed that at the top of a pit we found ourselves in was this tree.  The bottom left branch looks like it's floating, so I took a photo of it.

We found a good number of these toads as we were getting ready to leave the pond.  Tiny little Dwarf American Toads.

And this is what we were wanting to see at the end of the day.  This was taken a while after, but we watched the sunset from a great high point in the town.  Wonderful.

Ugh.  We were also wanting to find some snakes through the afternoon and evening, so we were jumping out of the car regularly.  We found no snakes, but I got a load of ticks crawling over me.  Buh.

And finally, today I drew out another picture of a creature that I dreamt of a couple of weeks ago.  It needs some sort of refining, but this is the gist of it.

Time for bed.  We're getting ready to leave the country in a week and a half (or something like that), so we're busy packing up and doing the rounds, seeing people for the last time, things like that.  It's great fun but pretty stressful when it comes to arranging the week hour by hour.