Wednesday, 29 December 2010

I've recently decided to check out Lovemoney's free online banking service to help me with managing my money.

Originally, I was just typing in numbers on a spreadsheet from my online bank statements to work out my net outgoings and income each year since I've had a bank account. I found out about's service today, but then I realised it was for people living in the US. While searching for a UK version, I found out that I was too late too for the no-longer here Kablax, but there is another website called Money Dashboard, which uses the same software as both Mint and Lovemoney.

After a quick bit of browsing I found some complaints about Money Dashboard using some sort of Microsoft Silverlight software or something. Something about it eating CPU something or other. I didn't feel much motivation to get too engrossed on the details.

Having not really found any major complaints about Lovemoney, I've decided to give that one a go first. I got a little chuckle reading the terms and conditions:
"We only provide aggregate, non-identifiable information to our current and prospective advertisers and business partners. For example, we might tell advertisers that we have 120,000 registered members in Metropolis, but we won't tell them that Superman is one of them, and we won't tell them that his email address is"
Should be good, but we'll see how it goes.

Oh, and incase anyone wants to read the post that started me off today in the first place, here it is: How To Understand (and Create) A Personal Financial Statement Each Month In 5 Minutes by Brian Armstrong

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Did they do that on purpose?

I was just doing some research for my dissertation [guess what, it might actually turn out okay!], when I noticed an advert on the right hand side of my screen.

My mind, like most people's, tends to wander now and then when doing work. It wasn't hard to keep my eyes on the ad to see what happened next.

Picture the scene; you're on a boat, on your way to America. But it's not just any boat; you're on The Unsinkable Boat.. the one that sank after hitting the iceberg. You know the story. You don't make it onto one of the few lifeboats around, and die a long, horrible, freezing death.

Less than a hundred years later, someone makes not only a movie about it, but there are also at least two films called Titanic 2, and there are novelty icetrays to allow people to "recreate history in their glasses". I'm not joking, my sister received a "Gin and Titonic" icetray for Christmas. The ship shapes are too large to fit in a cup floating horizontally the way a boat should, so until they melt they assume a slanted half-submerged position.

I don't think I really need to go into detail about how sick it all kind of is... Meanwhile, the following advert for quick money transactions online appears on the net for anyone to see.

Now, is it just me, or is the wording on the second-to-last frame combined with the choice of movie displayed just a little bit unfortunate?

Friday, 24 December 2010

Dissertation: It's Christmas Eve...

... And I'm attempting to work on my Dissertation.

What I seem to be having the most trouble with - just like last time - is choosing what to focus on and write about. I don't have anything in particular to do with games that is deeply and academically interesting me in a positive way at the moment. Instead, the thoughts that are weighing most heavily in my mind are:

1. Oh, this dissertation malarky is hard.
2. What am I going to do for a living next year after Uni?
3. [And everything else I wouldn't be thinking if I were a robot, including "I'm hungry and my feet are cold"]

The result is that I'm spending even more time rejecting the games design scene, probably due to a lack of confidence in myself to succeed, and am instead focusing on things that are less difficult for me... like binding books. When I stand back from how I feel, I can see that some things aren't that hard to do - I can do them, and the only reason I haven't done them is not because I can't but because I've talked my mind out of wanting to do them. It's a bit of actual cognitive dissonance in action.

This blog is a prime example. I used to write lots of stuff. Sure, they weren't particularly academic posts, but they were words and they were posted often. The last post on this blog mentioning any work to do with my course was over a month ago. I've just been writing things down on paper now and then, but most of the time I've just been stewing inside my own head, changing my mind about what to write about - totally at the mercy of whatever I feel is being most pressing - until I gave up a short while ago and spent some days not touching any coursework at all. With a few weeks to go until I have to hand in the first draft, the awareness of the deadline being right after the Christmas holidays has prodded grumpy little me sharply in the back of my skull.

My desire to escape from all things computer gamey revived in me the ideas of pursuing handicrafting. Unfortunately, it's not something I can picture myself writing about academically. I tried, but it got out of hand like watered down PVA glue and ended up being all over the place.

I just want to make stuff.

From what happened with the last essay I wrote, I can see where this is going to end up. I'm going to take the essay I wrote about writing essays and work from that and how I'm feeling about writing the dissertation and end up writing about the difficulties students can face when writing dissertations. As you can see in the picture above, I've already started. Who knows when I'll finish.

And then after I graduate, I will start to feel less pressure from the whole game thing, and I'll start to return again. I will play with all the free software I learned about, and I will make little games, and write up ideas for bigger games, and think about stories for narrative games and come up with mechanics for seriously simple but fun games. This won't happen all at once; it will happen slowly over time, mingled in with numerous other things I like to do and tend to return to, like playing things on guitar and reading about history and magic and learning about science and love and art and me.

This is what I'm hoping. Life was much better when I wasn't worrying about how long I would be able to keep going. I mean dude, I'm not even 21 yet!


This week I've been working on this design:

Made from a sheet of white A4 paper cut into four, it has one station of four sheets and the covers are made of the same paper as the pages. There are enough pages for a page per month. The spine is decorated with four light blue metallic beads [these ones were cheap ones I bought from the local pound shop in Saundersfoot - unfortunately the metallic blue wears off quickly, but leaves a nice translucent white plastic underneath] with macrame square knots in between, and the excess thread from the knotting can be used as a book mark. Didn't follow any instructions for this one, it's a simple design I worked out myself.

Inside can be drawn a month calendar on each page, with space below each for notes. In mine I have written in the daily Chinese "earthly branches" and "heavenly stems" in pencil with the intention of painting the squares in a pattern using those colours as a guide. I'm not sure why I like that theme so much. Maybe it's the way the simplicity of the five elements and twelve animals can build up into something really complex when they interact.

And because it's winter, here's a pretty picture I took of the view outside my window before I left my Uni bedroom for the holidays:

I might draw this on the cover for decoration. I might not.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Coptic Stitch and Secret Belgium Bind

I have finished my first four books; three bound using Coptic stitching, and one using the Secret Belgium binding technique [using these instructions, but adapting the Coptic stitch to incorporate the stations].

These three were lightly tea stained after being stitched together. They are shown here drying on the radiator.

They measure 20mm across and 30mm tall, using cardboard from a cereal box for the covers.

Here are the materials used for the book bound using the Secret Belgium Binding technique. The carboard was taken from a box of Carlsberg.

I forgot to bring a ruler with me from uni [woops!] so I used lined paper from a notebook to measure out the cardboard and the spacing between holes, and punched the holes using an ordinary pin [seen on the cork].

Halfway through the cover binding process:

The book itself is just over four lines wide and five lines tall when closed, and I used the lined notebook paper for the inside pages; five stations of four sheets, because one notebook page divided nicely that way.

These have been nice little practice runs for my first book binding attempts. I expect making bigger versions is only a matter of using bigger sheets and longer lengths of thread. What I'm really looking forward to is decorating the covers of the bigger versions, and developing some styles :D

Friday, 17 December 2010

Better looking ArtFire Studio & Blog

I made the studio look prettier:

I've also created a Blogger blog for the work I do, here :)

Ooh, hello there :)

My name is Charlotte Gyseman, and I'm currently in UWN studying a BA Hons in Computer Games Design.

Unfortunately, I seem to be a bit more into design than I am into computer games, so I'm not likely to be jumping into the games industry head-first when I leave uni... However, it's not all bad. I've learned lots of things here, much of which could come in handy sooner or later... such as making fancy banners for my ArtFire Studio...

But for now, I just love to make stuff... And that is what's going to happen when I leave university :) As you can see, it's happening already, and I haven't even left yet. Some urges just can't be stopped!

So here you will get to see lots of lovely pictures and read some descriptions of what I have been getting up to, as I prepare to set up shop and become my own boss.

Welcome to the CharGyse Designs blog!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The Tagger Model [6/12/2010]

While we have done our presentation already, other groups' presentations are still going on this week. I've been working on this model of the Tagger. So far I've got the body, a foot and the head half done; still need to model the headphones, his bag and mask, join the head and foot to the body, double the body half and join the halves, and then UV-map it ready for textures. And possibly do the orthographics... I've been working from a modified version of the concept work Tim did.