Wednesday, December 26, 2007


This year T and I decided to make stockings for each other rather than get a big present. I received a variety of fun pens, a small light up fat manga rabbit thing amongst other silliness. T's stocking was very incense based so the flat will either smell lovely or burn down over the next few nights. Here we are on the cusp of attacking our stockings, or in T's case I made her a Super Mario mystery box o' treats thing which is almost like a stocking:


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As Tinseltroos spent today with her family and I set off tomorrow to take a few trains hither, thither and yon to see mine I took the opportunity of a quiet day to myself to have a wander in the City Of London and take some photographs. For those who don't know the area, The City is the oldest part of London, and the street layout reflects that even if the buildings no longer do. It is also the financial centre of the city where the Bank of England and the Stock Exchange are located. The City is pretty quiet at any weekend, few people live there, but over the Christmas holidays it is desolate. Here are a few pictures from today's mini expedition:





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Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights, originally uploaded by Mr Atrocity.

My chores are done, everything is wrapped for tomorrow. Lunch with Tinseltroos' family is over and it's time for us both to curl up and watch a movie.

Have a happy holiday everyone.


Friday, December 21, 2007


This is the grindstone to which my nose has been affixed for most of the last six months. If you fancy watching the trailer my bit is this stone giant hauling himself out of the ground. It's nowhere near finished yet but it gives an impression of what's going on. I have a few weeks now to actually finish all the shots. Busy January you reckon? I should say so.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Now We Are Two

Two years ago today I set up a blog called The Renaissance Monkey. I started it because a few friends had begun writing them (they've all now stopped) and I liked the possibility of having an outlet for words and images where I could establish a persona and yet retain some sense of anonymity. Many, probably most, of the people who read this blog actually do know me in person but it is still pleasing to have my alter ego to shield me if necessary.

I had no plan when I started regarding subject matter, I suspected it wasn't going to be a blog that was subject specific but I was also pretty sure it wasn't going to be just "Dear Diary" entries either. I suppose the main function which writing this has served, as well as offering me a time machine back into my recent past, is that by writing my thoughts down, on whatever topic, I get them straighter in my own mind. I find this makes understanding the world in which I live a little less befuddling.

Here's wishing my little blog a happy birthday.

For the sake of amusement here's the author then and now:




Guitar Heroes

Make of that what you will.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ginger Cake

Ginger Cake, originally uploaded by Mr Atrocity.

I've had another day off as I slept very little last night and am still very sniffly. Apparently it's like a ghost town at work as everybody is off sick. Tinseltroos has just emailed to say that she's feeling a bit grotty so I fear she may be about to succumb to the lurgy. Fortunately Schossadlerflug is stuffed with cold drugs and vitamin C tablets. Fight fire with fire say I.

Having slept for the morning I felt like I should do something so I've been cleaning the flat and I've made the ginger cake you see above. I'll take it into work tomorrow for the few people who make it in. Cakes are the only things I can make with any confidence when I have no sense of taste or smell because the quantities are so precise. Right I'm off to clean the kitchen.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Sat at Home

Hangover Face, originally uploaded by Mr Atrocity.

Today I'm taking the first sick day I've had in well over a year because I am broken. I had the foundations of a cold yesterday afternoon and it has blossomed over night into something nasty. Were I not so tired it probably would have been ignorable but as it is I am curled up in bed, sleeping when I can and trying eat and drink as much as possible.

It's pretty typical that the instant I stop working every hour there is I get ill. In fact were I thinking more clearly I should have foreseen it. Ho-hum. With luck a day's rest will fix me up so I can power through the last four days of work before I stop for the holidays.

The photo above is from a hang-over I had in the summer. Though the cause and symptoms are different it is a fair representation of what I look and feel like now.



Sunday, December 16, 2007

What a Treat

IMG_1197.JPG, originally uploaded by Mr Atrocity.

So it's Sunday afternoon and I'm sat at home having just eaten breakfast and played a little Super Mario Galaxy. Time off is such a luxury and the longer I work the more luxurious it becomes. This weekend I have managed to achieve impressively little, precisely my aim.

On Friday night was our work Christmas party at which about 300 people got very drunk on free booze (see photo). I determined only to get pleasantly tipsy as I didn't want to spend my first day off work unable to move due to vomitiness and bad brain misery. This I managed and was able to lie in yesterday with a happy grin on my face as I glanced at the clock thinking that for the previous four weekends I'd have been at work by then.

Last night we went out to a friend's house for a few drinks and then slept heroically again. In a bit we'll probably go and do a food shop and then perhaps take in a movie. Ahh, doing nothing is so wonderful.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Notebook Doodle

Notebook Doodle, originally uploaded by Mr Atrocity.

I've obviously been in a very Cthulhu/Frank Frazetta/dodgy 70's fantasy art frame of mind as this is what I absent-mindedly doodled yesterday whilst waiting for renders. I'm not sure what it means but I'm quite fond of him. It may have something to do with relief that the trailer deadline we've been working towards was met yesterday (at the last minute, but then they always are) so the pressure is now off a little. I will actually have this weekend off. Imagine, a whole two days to do what I like. Joy.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Neither Big Nor Clever

There's a trailer up for one of the films I spent part of the summer doing some work on. I worked on the sabre-tooth cat during the latter part of post-production. I haven't seen the finished film, only the shots I was assigned to, but I am not about to suggest that this is a must-see film. I think you can probably tell that from the trailer. There's a fantastic dead-pan plot summary on Wikipedia. Not a hint of a smirk; very impressive.


Monday, December 10, 2007

The Joys of Central Heating

Having got home from work yesterday, utterly sodden and cold, it was a delight to be able to curl up with Tinseltroos and watch movies, cosy and warm on the sofa. We watched Jason and the Argonauts and My Neighbour Totoro back to back. It was a good selection though I say it myself. Jason and the Argonauts is one of my favourites: I love the animation/effects (obviously) but I also adore the way the story is told at such a cracking pace with such bravura and gusto. Totoro is a lovely film that fizzes with positive energy and is so beautiful to look at it revitalises my faith that film-making can truly be an art-form and not just a corporate money-printing machine, which is often what it feels like to me.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007


Finally we have heating and hot water on demand again. The British gas plumber finally did the necessary work on Friday and we've had a whole weekend of being toasty and warm. Yesterday was horrid. It was cold and rained all day I got soaked going to and coming home from work but at least I was now able to look forward to getting into the flat, drying my hair off with a towel and feeling cosy, rather than sitting in a meat-locker which is what it was like prior to that.

Once again I've worked the whole weekend, meaning it's now been over a month since I had a day off, but the trailer delivers on Tusday morning and my work load may get more reasonable thereafter. It's all in the hands of the director and what he wants. With luck I can have a good talk with him tomorrow and get a precise brief for the rest of my time on the show. This all makes me feel more positive. Even if it means more work, it should mean work toward a precise goal which is fine.

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Friday, December 07, 2007


It blew a howling gale all last night in London. Having had a pretty rotten day at work I crashed out, physically and emotionally exhausted, at 10 with the wind rattling the window frame. I awoke this morning to find that the last of the leaves had been blown from the trees and now they stand, skeletal and dormant. As far as I am concerned that makes it winter. Once nature's had enough for the year and curled up into a deep inactive slumber that's our lot until spring.

Generally I like the winter, especially the few properly crisp, sunny winter mornings we get. Recently London has tended toward having mild and wet winters which are just depressing but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we get a little sun over the next few months.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Planning Ahead

The year is not yet at an end and already I have dates in my diary for 2008. On Wednesday 5th March I'm going to see Shostakovich's 7th Symphony performed at the Royal Festival Hall and on Saturday 5th July I'm off to Twickenham to see Iron Maiden. That all has a pleasing balance to it.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

And Now Here is a Word From Our Sponsor

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We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007


British Gas have smashed their own Appalling Service World Record in a dazzling display of incompetence the like of which has not been seen since Thomas Farriner, a Pudding Lane baker in 1666 said, "Oh I'll just pop out for 5 minutes; I'm sure those buns will be fine". Many commentators felt that their engineer breaking the boiler he was meant to be servicing had raised uselessness to a level unobtainable by the competition. Surely the only people who could raise their game to challenge that would be British Gas themselves. And so they did. Having left us without heating and scarcely any hot water for 3 weeks we finally managed to get them to commit to today as the day that they would fix that which they broke. We checked yesterday that the parts were in and an engineer was primed and ready to install them. We were informed that this was indeed the case.

So this morning Tinseltroos waited in the flat from 8 a.m. until 10.30 and I took over after that. We were solemnly promised an engineer would arrive between 8 and 1 o'clock. Surely a new world record couldn't be in the offing, could it? Oh it could. And how. The non-arrival of the engineer at any point during the 5 hour window had me reaching for the telephone to inform a British Gas sales rep of their achievement. He was surprised no-one had called he told me, it was all there in black and white. This was true I agreed although it didn't mitigate his actual non-appearance. The best he could do for me, he said in solemn tones, was to get the "parts department" to call me "immediately" to arrange another appointment. With this he hung up. Did the parts department call? Of course not. I suspect they don't actually exist. By this time I was back in work and Tinseltroos 'phoned them again and shouted at them until they agreed to send an engineer on Friday, "between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.".

Why do I have this strange prickle of déjà vu creeping down my spine?

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Lonely Chair

Lonely Chair, originally uploaded by Mr Atrocity.

Another picture because of another weekend in the studio. We're now at day 21 without a day off and there is no let up in sight. I actually can't remember the last time this happened. There was certainly a time on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where I seemed to be working most weekends but I don't remember it being as relentless as this. I did a lot of very late nights on the last Potter film but I did seem to have at least one day off each weekend. Despite it, I'm reasonably compos mentis still, I do feel incredibly tired and quite sluggish but I'm not about to go postal (yet).

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