Welcome to 1st vertical a personal
blog about design and other stuff !

Monday, 16 December 2013

When words hit home

The only real failure is the failure to try.
And the measure of success is how we cope with disappointment

But its also true the person who risks nothing.....does nothing ...has nothing

All we know about the future ........is that it will be different 
but perhaps what we fear .............is that it will be the same

...so we must celebrate the changes.

 from the final scene of Best Exotic Marigold Hotel narrated beautifully by Dame Judi Dench. 
Photo Varanasi Ghats India taken in 1995 by myself  

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Cloudless Sky over Tibet ?

Scotland Actually !

In respect for 
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche. 
who tragically passed away recently.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Through the 4 minute barrier

Static Apnea PB

After a 03.47 in warm-up which felt reasonably
comfortable and following recovery and relaxation
broke through the 4 min barrier to reach new PB.


Sunday, 27 October 2013

Great TED Talk

Iwan Baans great talk on how people around the world have
appropriated abandoned housing complexes or made use of their 
own unique surroundings to create a unique living space.

 It's a valuable insight into "when needs must" and also the innate 
creativity in all of us. Its a far cry from our own "cosy world" for 
sure, but the ingenuity is quite incredible.

I think the quote at the end of the talk speaks volumes in a world that
is increasingly becoming too generic and uniform. 

Here is the link:


Saturday, 19 October 2013

Free-Diving & Static Apnea

So I have recently completed my first Free-diving course at the Esslingen Tauchturm with Malte the instructor.

After doing lots of snorkelling and scuba over the last couple of years I had become increasingly interested in "equipment free" diving. And so did this course to learn more about technique and safety in order to free-dive properly...

So why free-diving ... well I guess its a total sense calmness whilst being immersed in a water without panicking at the first onset of convulsions for air...

So if anything the course has propelled me forward into learning about Breathing and how to control the breath so that you can dive longer and safer.

Before the course I had a Static Apnea breath hold PB of 2mins 26 seconds 
Its now 3mins 37seconds...

Dynamic No fins pool distance prior to the course was 35 metres and I haven,t had the opportunity to test that yet

A long way to go but I,m hooked now and cant wait for a chance to do this in open water.

And the one thing you learn on the course that is essential

(even during horizontal practice in a swimming pool )

Finally ditched Windows !

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Homescreen with Pangolin

So I finally ditched Windows completely today having not used it for some months. I no longer saw any reason to keep the dual boot system on my notebook as it was merely taking space and slowing it down...

So now its up and running just with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and it's like its been turbo charged... less than a min to boot from cold and no lagging.

So it's fair well to Windows...forever
(well you can never say never !!...but I cant imagine why I'll ever need it again )

Sunday, 15 September 2013

German General Election 2013 an UK Expats View

Did you know there is a General Election in Germany next Sunday 22nd September.

  • Well I guess if your German the answer will be straightforward.  Ja
  •  I guess if you are Greek it's possible the answer will be Ne (Yes) !!
  •  I guess if your from the UK ....you might ......but who cares anyway. 

I just got back from two weeks in Thessaloniki, Tour of the Pelion Coast and Skiathos. As I now live in Germany (in the so called rich part ) I daily hear about the Euro crisis in the German media. So in going to Greece I wanted to see clear evidence of how the austerity measures being imposed by the Troika were affecting daily life there.

Now I am not a politician nor an EU bureaucrat but I expected to see a sort of empty destitute wasteland full of empty shops and cafes. Well the exact opposite was the case. Cafes full of customers, a functioning infrastructure, buses full and running to time  and ATMs distributing money. So in fact it was Normal.

So I want to know what constitutes a CRISIS

I think I have some idea having watched images of Ethopian Famines prior to Live Aid Concerts in 1984 and I have no doubt that Syria really is in the middle of one now.

So why is Germany so obsessed with the Euro Crisis ? or let me be political about this why are  the Ruling CDU CSU FDP coalition and the German Media.
obsessed about it.

Let me be cynical.
Is it perhaps that due to the continuing low value of the Euro, (based on the struggling economies in the southern part of Europe) Germany's exports have boomed over the last few years and therefore Germany has benefited from the status quo?

So heres a UK expats view on the German Election in which I cannot take part ( as in vote ) knowing full well that the outcome is going to affect the whole of Europe.

So unsurprisingly perhaps the Euro Crisis is a key aspect of the CDU CSU FDP Campaign  or as they would see it the Saving of the Euro and of Europe itself.

What they want to keep quiet however is the following:

  • Extremely Low wage economy second only behind Latvia in the EU
  • Lack of any minimum Wage in Germany (despite being the 3rd Richest Economy ) we Cant afford it !!!  heard that one before ?
  • Mini Jobs (400 Euros a month ) for a job worth far more.
  • Extensive use of agency workers on a quarter of their full time counterparts wage. ......Getting the picture ?
  • Syria (as they might  have to get involved .... take up arms that is  )
What you will hear are
  • EU Crisis and how Germany is sorting it out .....no brainer there then !
  • NSA ....as Germans are totally obsessed about privacy ...
  • Lowest EU unemployment .....and thats a no brainer as well because exploited and threatened workers keep their gobs shut dont they !!
So the "Wunder" that is Germany has a current darker side of self interest abroad (unless its got something to do with a War) and couldn't careless at home. But there is one saving grace in all of this

Elections offer the opportunity to kick out incumbent politicians and make a change. My thinking is that it won't take place this time as the pips havnt been squeezed enough to hurt the Volk themselves but another term of CDU CSU FDP and the chickens will surely come home to roost

And as for Europe ...well that will be an even bigger basket case than ever before.

Hey but if your not in to politics there's always a bit of Lederhosen Bum slapping dancing and a Stein (Mass ) of beer to take your mind off the whole thing ...well until next time ...happy yodeling from Stuttgart.
And this isn't English irony by the way (although it should be)  because in a few weeks time Oktoberfest and Wasenfest will be there to take the pain away....of what

...THE CRISIS of course !!.....

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Squash and Stretch Video for GUI

The video for using the Squash and Stretch Ball  GUI
can be found at the following link on vimeo.com


Squash and Stretch MEL GUI

Here is a short MEL script to create an automated Squash and Stretch Ball in Maya.

A video will accompany this on Vimeo.
The script is intended for non commercial use only!
Load the following text into the Script Editor in maya and execute it
Use the Squash and Bend attributes in the Channel Box to make it work.
(MMB right to left)
Enjoy !!

// Created by Tony Smith for student training and non commercial use only 
// Please credit me if used any training context or use 09-03-2013 Tony Smith

if (`window -exists ballcreate`)
deleteUI ballcreate;

window -title "ballcreate"
-widthHeight  220 310
-maximizeButton  off

rowColumnLayout -nc 8 keyableRCL;

button -label "ball" -w 75-c "BallcreateGroup()";

showWindow ballcreate;

global proc BallcreateGroup() 

sphere -n ball -p 0 1 0 -ax 0 1 0 -ssw 0 -esw 360 -r 1 -d 3 -ut 0 -tol 0.01 -s 8 -nsp 8 -ch 1;
circle -n ball_ctrl -c 0 0 0 -nr 0 1 0 -sw 360 -r 1 -d 3 -ut 0 -tol 0.01 -s 8 -ch 1;
addAttr -ln "Squash"  -at double  |ball_ctrl;
setAttr -e-keyable true |ball_ctrl.Squash;
addAttr -ln "bend"  -at double  |ball_ctrl;
setAttr -e-keyable true |ball_ctrl.bend;
select -r ball ;
nonLinear -type squash  -lowBound 0 -highBound 1 -startSmoothness 0 -endSmoothness 0 -maxExpandPos 0.5 -expand .5 -factor 0;
setAttr "squash1Handle.translateY" 0;
setAttr "squash1Handle.scaleZ" 2;setAttr "squash1Handle.translateY" 0;
setAttr "squash1Handle.scaleX" 2;
setAttr "squash1Handle.scaleY" 2;
setAttr "squash1Handle.scaleZ" 2;
setAttr "squash1.factor" 0;
select -r ball ;setAttr "squash1.factor" 0;
nonLinear -type bend  -lowBound 0 -highBound 1 -curvature 0;
setAttr "bend1Handle.rotateY" 90;
setAttr "bend1Handle.scaleX" 5;
setAttr "bend1Handle.scaleY" 5;
setAttr "bend1Handle.scaleZ" 5;
select -r squash1Handle bend1Handle ball;
select -tgl ball_ctrl ;
select -r ball_ctrl ;
connectAttr -force ball_ctrl.Squash squash1.factor;
connectAttr -force ball_ctrl.bend bend1.curvature;
select -cl  ;
select -r squash1Handle bend1Handle ball ;
createDisplayLayer -name "DONOTTOUCH" -number 1 -nr;
select -cl  ;
select -r squash1Handle bend1Handle ;
setAttr "bend1Handle.visibility" 0;
setAttr "squash1Handle.visibility" 0;
select -cl  ;

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Realism or Abstraction ?

Where does realism end and abstraction begin? Here the images above are painted from life on a beach at Southport as the sun is setting. This is done in watercolour and the light was changing constantly. The second images are entirely playful where there was no object of interest only exporation of materials.

Leaf & Fossil Series

This is a scan from an old series of paintings I
did some time ago all about impressions from
what remains. It was a period of experimentation
on small canvas's with acrylic, glue and gold paint.
Imprints of real plants pressings and linocut
20cm x 26cm framed in blue painted frame

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Reclining Pose

I always look for a strong form within my life drawing
Here the hands lead along the arm to the hair which
contrasts against the line and form of the back. I like
reclining foreshortening  poses as they offer a challenge
as well as a a more interesting composition.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Coldest Dive ( so far )

Dived at Rastatt  - Plittersdorf today in the bright sunshine
However the outside temp was - 8 degrees and the water
ranged between 4 and 2.7 degrees. So you might ask ..!

Why do you do it ?...

Well it puts you in a different place ...once under any other
concerns with life just disappear...there is a connection with
2 of the primary elements, water and air, which puts you in a
special state of mind a sort of calm peaceful  place ..try it out..!

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Remarkable Woman

Gabrielle Giffords.

I have followed her progress since she was
caught in a shooting in Tucson in January of 2011

Her speech and plea for Gun Reform in the US
Congress on Wednesday was a remarkable and
timely statement.

A remarkable woman who,s grace and presence will
hopefully shift opinion toward the introduction of
strict licenses for gun ownership and a comprehensive
ban on the casual and irresponsible sale of firearms in the US.

Shame the NRA had to follow her..


Sunday, 27 January 2013

Blue Bench

An old bench in El Cotillo Harbour

El Cotillo is one of those places still
"relatively" underdeveloped as yet.
It still has a grace and old world feel.
It attracts heaps of surfers due to the huge
waves the Atlantic brings in...Wild Surf

I guess the current economic situation will
hold back the usual excesses of consumer tourism
and hopefully this small place will keep its charm.

Great Bakery on the way to the Town Beach.
Fantastic olive bread and Spanish cakes.

The two bays to the Right of the "Town"has golden
sand and lava floe where horseshoe shaped windbreaks
are dotted on the beach.

I was fortunate to see a Cuttlefish whilst snorkeling.
An amazing display of camouflage in just 1.5mtrs of water

Sunday, 20 January 2013

A Lesson in Leadership: Shackleton

I am just reading "South" the account of the journey made by Ernest Shackleton and the crew of the Endurance to Antarctica in 1914. It's just astonishing what people can endure in extreme conditions and survive. The survival of all crew members has been directly attributed to Shackleton Leadership skills about which much has been written.
In a time of so called "crisis" caused by so much mis-management its great to step out of the negativity and look at a time when someone Lead from the front and put themselves on the line for others around them. The story is incredible and should be part of the UK National Curriculum.

The picture of the biscuit is from Shackleton's earlier attempt on the South Pole in 1907 which sold for £1,250 at auction


Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year in 2013

I have decided to get blogging again in 2013 after a lapse in entries in 2012

When you make changes to your routine like "Moving Country" it tends to
have a fairly big impact on creative activities. But having overcome some
obstacles and bridges in 2012 I now hope to bring some insight into discoveries and other adventures abroad. 

1st Observation is .....If you have a plan ....Stick to it  ....

So first things first: I have freshened up the header of the blog as I
wanted to make use of this cloud which appeared one evening opposite
my balcony and terrace during late evening and so its become an anchor 
point for this years entries. Head in the clouds !!  maybe ...let's see hey !