Atomium Escalator: Travelling through hyperspace in the Belgian tourist attraction
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Maybe it’s the Shakespeare in the air this week, or maybe it’s the tested.com Still Untitled podcasts I’ve been listening to where I first heard this story, but I’ve been thinking about the meaning behind names – specifically WD-40.
Firstly I’m a WD-40 fan for many reasons; for being a joke in King of the Hill, silencing squeaks, removing the left-behind sticky from sticky labels, and most recently for loosening a stiff lock.
For all the time I've had a can in my toolbox though I never really thought about where its name came from.
Turns out it stands for “Water Displacement perfected on the 40th try” as it took the three people working at the Rocket Chemical Company forty attempts to formulate the ubiquitous lubricant, for use in the aerospace industry.
It’s a pretty interesting story for a cool name that sounds like it could be a Star Wars robot. And like so many products a bit of research reveals it’s a common household essential that has its roots in a very specialised industry. In fact it was first used to protect the USA’s inaugural Intercontinental Ballistic Missile from rust and corrosion – thankfully since then it has been used as a solution for peace, if only by people with high-pitched hinges.
Check out more WD-40 trivia on the official site.
This weekend inspiration for a new website logo coincided with free time so I decided to sit down and make it.
For a while I've wanted something simpler and more reflective of what my site is about now, rather than the mishmash of ideas and cartoon dog avatar (from one of my first writing jobs) that I'd rushed out before. The old logo was a stopgap when I was still unsure how to boil down the website into a simple image.
My goal was to design something that centred around copywriting but also hinted that I create more visual content as well. My new idea was that I should depict a pencil in the middle of a camera aperture, which references nicely a couple of my favourite logos – the Dharma logo from LOST and the Aperture logo from Portal.
So that's basically what I did, adding a distorted "MJM" in the centre. I started with a rough sketch on a bit of scrap paper, worked it up as a vector design in Inkscape, and did the final bit of processing in Photoshop.
I'm certainly no graphic designer but I find exercises like this fun and always learn something new. In this case it was how to create the camera aperture segments and getting them all to line up nicely, starting off with simple geometric shapes - an octagon and a circle. I thought of a better and more accurate way of doing it after I was finished but this is the result:
I've always enjoyed the way logos can instantly make an organisation seem more real in fiction, whether it's in the form of shadow case across a detective's floor in a Noir movie or mounted on the wall of a subterranean hatch.
While mine's just going to sit in the top left-hand corner of my website I still get the sense of it making the site feel more authentic, plus it doesn't look too bad as a favicon.
In a fascinating glimpse behind-the-scenes of how Mojis are made (i.e. grown men being filmed hugging themselves) Skype has released a short video for their new romantic, and musical, animated emoticons. Its main focus is on Paul McCartney who shows that when you need anything creative done all you need is a Beatle.
It’s amazing how McCartney manages to create such short clips that sound so distinctively McCartneyesque, and very cool to see a snapshot of his creative process. It’s also a good example of how music clips and moving images can be combined to create something so appealing, even if they might not seem so exciting on their own.
In addition to turning his hand to such creative content McCartney has also demonstrated he’s an expert at how to gracefully be refused entry to a VIP party this week. Here’s hoping he writes a song called “How VIP Do We Gotta Get”.
Last night I rewatched Joss Whedon’s Serenity for the first time since becoming addicted to How I Met Your Mother, and got a gorram surprise at 1hr 45mins when a Reaver-fied Neil Patrick Harris (aka Barney Stinson and Dr Horrible) made an uncredited appearance.
It was a blink and you’ll miss it moment but I’m pretty sure that’s the Barnacle putting the Reaver moves on River Tam. It makes sense given that Harris has worked with Whedon on Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, and that he was a potential candidate for the role of Simon Tam in the TV show.
Mark is a freelancer who specialises in creative copywriting and digital content creation. Starting out as a freelance blogger he's experienced at putting his copywriting skills to work on a variety of subjects and can easily turn his hand to different styles. In his years as a freelance writer he's always brought a creative edge to everything he's written.
In addition to being a freelance copywriter and a hard-working wordsmith Mark had also forged other forms of content for the web and print working as a photographer, video editor and a general content creator on a freelance basis.
Based in Devon Mark lives within questing distance of the UK's Middle Earth aka Dartmoor. He likes his detectives hard-boiled, his eggs runny, and his time travel non-paradoxical.
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