The Final Countdown – Zero

Well… that’s it. I’m leavin on a jet plane, and all that other Jonny Denver type stuff. As they say where I come from: “It’s all over bar the shoutin'” Of course, in this particular case, “the shoutin” involves packing my few remaining possessions; dragging 50kg of luggage (each) in 3 seperate cases (each), through the deep snow to the subway station; catching a train, then a bus, then a plane; being picked up from the airport, and living under someone else’s roof for the next week or so until my wife and I find somewhere to live. So if we’re gonna stick with the fighting analogies, I haven’t even spilled the other bloke’s drink yet. But it’s all over as far as the blog posts about my moving are concerned. I am writing this post on Monday the 26th, and it is scheduled for release at the exact minute we are due to land in the UK. Plane landing by sunrise So… once again, you must endure the anguish of my absence. At least for a little while. What will I be blogging about when I return? Your guess is as good as mine. Well… I suppose I could make a slightly more educated guess than you guys and say that it’s likely to be about my new house, and my new job (back to being self-employed now). I do have one or two things in the pipeline to keep you occupied until next we meet, and they have been a very long time coming. So, I will see you again soon. If you don’t believe me… take a look at this video. And the next time someone hears me say “Hmmm… I think I’ll kill myself off in this weeks video. I just want to try out this new effect!” STOP ME and say: “Jimbot… don’t do it. The storyteller in you is a perfectionist monster, and you know where this will lead.” Normally I sign off by saying goodbye, but on this occasion I will just say those 3 little words I have been desperately waiting to say for almost 3 years: I’m back baby!!

Staring at Goats

I started writing this blog as a record of my attempt to get my novel published whilst creating a successful YouTube channel at the same time. There was a very clear line of thinking behind the reasons for writing here.

  1. Writing a weekly blog will make my efforts public, and so urge me to keep my promises, and keep up with the submissions and videos.
  2. I may find some followers for the YouTube channel.
  3. It will keep me writing, even when I have nothing to write about.
  4. Prospective agents/publishers will have a wealth of my writing at their fingertips, should they wish to investigate.
  5. If, after a year or two, I have still not found a publisher… by that time I should have a sufficiently large YouTube audience to help increase sales of my book, should I opt to self-publish.

…On February 17th, it will have been 3 years since that moment.

I set up Sleepless Knight accounts on twitter, facebook and YouTube on the same day I started this blog. 3 weeks later I checked the stats… I checked them again today.

Followers

It’s fair to say that I got a little sidetracked.

As a direct result of writing here on WordPress, I met the woman of my dreams, and we are now very happily married… so it is tempting to say that this blog doesn’t owe me anything, and walk away from it. But I’m still convinced that I can make this whole thing work for me, and if there’s one thing my wife will tell you about me, it’s that I once I get an idea into my head it is impossible to shift it.

But that’s not really a good thing is it. I mean, it’s one thing to convince yourself that you can run through the wall into the next room because atoms are mostly empty space… but, as the very level-headed Dr. Ben Goldacre would no doubt have said to the poor, deluded Major General Stubblebine and his broken nose: I think you’ll find it’s a bit more complicated than that.

It’s no good repeatedly saying “I’b dot givig ub!” through your mashed and bleeding hooter, as you bounce off the wall for the 30th time in a month. Sooner or later, you either have to start using the door, or accept confinement by the men in white coats, in a room where the walls can’t hurt you any more.

There are many reasons why the plan I outlined above has failed. Some of them are no doubt still a mystery to me, but the more obvious ones are:

  1. You cannot hope to gain followers on twitter if you never use it!
  2. You cannot hope to gain followers on YouTube if you never use it!
  3. You cannot hope to gain followers on WordPress if you never use it!

Once again; it’s a bit more complicated than that. The twitter thing is no more complicated than that. I simply keep forgetting it’s there. The YouTube thing is firstly a result of my monumental over-ambition when it comes to making videos; where I come up with extremely simple ideas and then over-complicate the crap out of them. And secondly because my circumstances keep changing every 5 minutes, which makes it difficult to film things. It’s tough to make and upload YouTube videos when you’re computer blows up OR you have no access to the internet OR you have no camera because you sold it in order to eat OR your crew live in another country, because you left them behind for 3 years!

So now let’s address the WordPress thing, because if you’re reading this, the chances are fairly high that you have at least a passing interest in reading blog posts.

There have been more agency submissions since those first ones, and there have been more videos since that first one… but the one glaring problem with my blogging above all others, is that I don’t find one subject and stick with it.

Without doubt, the blogs that get the most visitors (and WordPress do tell you this when you first start blogging here) are the ones which have a specific focus. If you have one subject about which you write, and you write about it regularly, then half the work is already done. So, if I know that, what’s the problem?

Well once again, the problem is me. All my life I have deeply envied people who have one passion; one area of their life which dominates all others and decides the direction of their life as a whole. My problem, as I have stated again and again, is that despite many, many efforts to narrow my focus to one specific area… Storyteller is the best I can do. That is as narrow as I can make it. I love telling stories. I want to tell my stories and there are many! I can’t put the required amount of exclamation marks after the word many, because you would think I had fallen asleep on my keyboard, and I can’t make the word big enough without writing it on something much larger than the state of Texas. I have many, many stories which I want to tell; from the things that happen in my daily life (which has been much more interesting than you might think) to the many, many hundreds of story ideas which have been filling my brain, and dozens upon dozens of notebooks and scraps of paper, since I was a very young boy, and are still doing so on a daily basis.

The problem is that storytelling covers a lot of sins: Books, Films, Short Stories, TV Series, Plays, Screenplays, Stage-acting, Screen-acting, Voice-acting, Game production, Animation, Poetry, Blogging… there’s a lot of scope to it. The other problem with telling stories, is that unless you first have people’s attention, no-one really cares what you have to say. So I need to get back on track here, and start growing my audience, because I have made a decision to keep trying to find an agent for my book until I return permanently to the UK next year. If, in that time, I have not found a representative, then I will self-publish my book and let the chips fall where they may.

So I need your help. I realise I’m probably going to make myself look really stupid here, since no-one ever comments on this blog, but I’m going to ask anyway, in the hope that one or two kind souls have suggestions for me, and actually tell me what they are in a helpful way… in the comments section [It’s easy to find – Just click the speech bubble at the top of this post and you will be directed to the comments section].

This blog needs a permanent focus. Something very specific that I can blog about on a weekly basis, and then if I want to tell you other things, I can do so in a different section.

  • Movies – I love the movies. I always have done, and I still almost always end every day with a film. (but there are too many sites doing movie reviews already. Needs to be something new, or at least something that everyone and their grannies aren’t already doing)
  • Film-making – My biggest passion by far. This is my world, and the people who do this are my people. I love everything about it, and I do every single job on a movie myself, but my main areas of interest are:- visual effects, miniatures/modelling, sound design, film scores, set/prop design.
  • Writing – I have done this for a very long time, and I don’t think I could stop if I tried – check this post, to get a brief idea of my writing career –  but I don’t think the internet needs another website about writing. Everything that can be said has been, and by better writers than myself.
  • Bad Science and the proliferation of – It has become a bit of an obsession with me to fight back against the constant stream of bullshit which is posted, and reposted as fact on social-networking sites. The internet is a wonderful thing but it does let pretty much anyone state pretty much anything as fact, because the majority of us are too stupid or lazy to check the facts. The problem with this idea is a) Ben Goldacre and others are already doing it better, and b) I fear that my lack of medical/technical knowledge might actually do harm to the kind of intelligent professional debate run by much better qualified people than myself.
  • Astronomy & Space Travel – Another passion of mine since I was a very, very small boy. I am probably one of the only people in the world sad enough to have read the entire Apollo 8 mission transcripts (that’s everything that was said in the capsule for 4 days), when they didn’t have to. I love everything about the universe outside our little planet, but once again, I fear I am not really well-read or qualified enough to contribute anything of any value to a wealth of on-line information about… the universe.

I will leave you with those for the time being, since I fully expect to get no responses whatsoever that did not come from inside this apartment.

Web Success

See you soon.

It’s all started now, baby blue…

In the last 3 weeks, there have been 2 marriages and 2 brand-new, bouncing babies, in the whirlwind world which surrounds my own, making all the dried-up little leaves of my life leap to whatever tune it chooses… and occasionally spitting out a week of watching television with a cup of tea.

OK… a lot of that alliterative list was littered with… STOP IT!!!!

*Deep breaths*

So I got a little carried away there, but I am extremely tired. I will now try to write like a normal person, albeit a normal person with one arm tied behind his back and a complete insensitivity to the conventions of blogging (whatever those are).

The bit about the babies and the brides was completely true though. One of the weddings was my own… here is a picture to prove it.

Sleepless Knight & The Swedish Flowerpot tie the knot, 2 and a half years after meeting on WordPress

Sleepless Knight & The Swedish Flowerpot tie the knot, 2 and a half years after meeting on WordPress

Yes; long after our first meeting, here on WordPress, The Swedish Flowerpot and I were married… to each other! More pictures from our wedding can be found on my Best Man’s own blog, here.

But, no sooner had I acquired a brother-in-law, than he goes and gets married himself, giving me an extra sister-in-law, as well as the one (or possibly two) that I already had. Confused? You will be! Some of these relationships confuse me, so if you can make sense of them from my dis-jointed, clumsy, unrefined blog posts… please contact NASA immediately; they’ll want to hear from you.

In between these two weddings, a little baby boy was born. Actually, since 2 weeks elapsed between the weddings, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if several babies were born, but the one I am talking about belongs to the long-haired bloke with the glasses in THIS VIDEO:

I know… it doesn’t bear thinking about really does it? Fortunately he has a lovely wife to make sure he doesn’t turn this kid into a Red-Bull-fuelled engine of orc-slaying, beat-em-up-playing nerdiness, with a strange affinity for squirrels and a use of the words “meh” and “boobies” with a frequency that would almost qualify the boy as bilingual.

The father of this brand new person was once my son… To clarify: He was once my step-son. He was then supposed to be my best man, but the imminent arrival of junior meant that my best man was my best woman. Are you following all this?

I drew a picture which should make things clearer…

I was going to go into more detail, and add some of the other important people in the story, but I thought it better to keep it simple

I was going to go into more detail, and add some of the other important people in the story, but I thought it better to keep it simple

If that image helped you in any way at all… you’re much sicker than you originally thought.

  1. Open a new browser window.
  2. Find your nearest psychiatric hospital.
  3. Call and ask for a car to the opera and a stylish jacket with extra long sleeves.
  4. Find any mirrors that you didn’t smash in your futile attempts to stop seeing the “little people”
  5. Wipe the drool off your face and wait for your escorts to arrive.
  6. If they have not arrived after one hour, make a cup of tea, call back and tell them you just caught Tom Cruise in a spring-trap.

The second new baby belongs to a young lady I am unfamiliar with. But a new baby is always worth a mention. I only really added it because it makes my life seem busy and exciting.

In truth, the only reason for this blog-post was to say: Two people who met right here on WordPress are now married. The wedding was a roaring success. Richard is still alive and well, and is now a father. Some other people you don’t know are now married, and yet another person you don’t know is now a mother.

Now the real adventure begins. In the next few months, I must discover what service I can legally offer people in return for money, so that when Amki and myself return to England in a couple of years, we won’t have to start looking for work all over again… I will start submitting the novel to agents yet again (NO “flogging a dead horse” cracks here please)… IF I can get a decent video camera from somewhere, I will try breathing life back into the YT channel again (I really do miss it intensely), and I will find a way to recover the data on my old computer, so that I can start editing the 3 videos I already have in the queue.

Apologies if this post made even less sense than my usual ones… but I really am very tired indeed.

Next time: Back to plain-old blog posts that have nothing to do with weddings or babies (unless a baby gets married between now and then, because I think that would be worth a mention).

Until then… Don’t bend over for the soap.

A certain appeal

For a die-hard movie fan, I have spent very little time watching movies in the last 6 months. The other night though, dear Mr. Farnsworth decided to put on one of my (and a lot of people’s) favourite movies… A movie he had never seen (What?). The Shawshank Redemption is just one of two fantastic Stephen King adaptations from the wonderful Frank Darabont; the other being The Green Mile. If King and Darabont had started collaborating earlier, we might never have had to endure the god-awful Pet Sematary, or the bewilderingly successful Children of the Corn! Seriously people… who kept buying tickets for this movie? Stapling your face to the arse of an angry, flatulent rhino seems like a better way to pass time.

Where was I? Oh yes… The Shawshank Redemption. Those foolish enough to follow this blog – or those foolhardy souls who actually choose to spend time in my company – will recognise that this movie has many themes close to my heart: “Hope is a good thing; maybe the best of things”, “Whatever mistakes I made I’ve paid for them, and then some.” I even considered using one of my favourite Shawshank quotes in last week’s post:

“I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty when they’re gone.”

It seemed appropriate to what, and more particularly who, I was talking about at the time. But I’m getting off the point.

If there’s one thing watching great movies always does to me, it’s to refuel my inner filmmaker. So this week’s post is going to be a Sleepless Knight film appeal. It’s time to start driving viewers to my channel, so here we go.

First in line is a video we made a few years ago, when we were still “Watch Hour Productions”, and there were only two of us. It’s a parody of a series of Mastercard commercials that were around at the time. I really wanted to play around with digital rotoscoping, I love to build props, and, like every kid of my generation, I always wanted a lightsaber, so ahead we went and made a Mastercard-style commercial for a fictional anti-psychotic drug called “No-Mad”. Like everything else we make, it was a great deal of fun to film.

The second one was our entry into the 2009 Empire magazine “Done in 60 seconds” Awards. A competition we considered entering again this year, but most of our ideas involved a great deal of expense and/or swimming around in a great deal of very cold water, in the middle of January. Amki was not very keen on the idea of my dying from hypothermia, and I’m not enough of a James Cameron to treat my crew members like bait in an ice-fishing contest. My plans were little less grand in 2009, and I spent 3 weeks building 2 sets on my own (thanks for that, Richard), most of my crew chickened out at the last moment, and those that did turn up had to be dressed in bubble-wrap and paper overalls under very hot lights. The rules for this competition are that you remake a movie of your choice in 60 seconds. It is even harder than it sounds, and for my movie I chose Apollo 13. A movie set in space! Brilliant, Jimbot! Anyway… I think we pulled it off, but judge for yourself.

I’m going to miss out a couple of the not so good ones from early last year, and bring us a bit more up to date with a tribute to the late, great Douglas Adams. This video was part 3 of 3 (Parts 1 and 2 can be found here, and here respectively), and was the very first time I ever worked with the crew members who make up Sleepless Knight as it is today. I first met Kitty, Tom, Ben, Emily, Dean, and of course, the man who is now my flatmate and the 3rd SK front man; Mr. J.V. Farnsworth, on the day this was filmed, and I have been glad of it (mostly) every day since. For the videos leading up to this one, I had been gagged, tied up in the back of a van at 1am on a freezing night in March, and forced to watch the Royal Wedding. We had a lot of fun making this video, as can be seen from some of the outtakes at the end. Try and spot the Douglas Adams references and leave a comment telling us what you thought.

After that I was hit by lightning and blown to tiny pieces. This seemed like a good idea at the time, but I was planning to be resurrected by two little blue aliens. Unfortunately, after 3 months building a virtual set for the little guys, I ran into a rather large snag and they had to be shelved. Besides that, there was the small matter of moving house again, a lack of money, motivation, co-operation and an awful lot of other complications in my life which slowed down my return, and pretty much wrote off the rest of 2011, with the exception of a blooper-reel video which can be found here. Now though, we are back up and running again, and it turns out that I might be resurrected by a masked time-traveller. There is a whole back story to that which will come out in later videos. For now I’ll leave you with part one of my resurrection story. It was poorly planned, even more disastrously filmed, and it was the last video ever to be shot with my old, standard definition camera (Yes folks… we’re in HD now). Enjoy the last SD video, if you can.

That brings us up to date, and part 2 of that story is being edited at the moment. We tried filming part 3 in late January but we were freezing cold and eventually rained-off, so filming will begin again shortly.

In the meantime, please watch the videos, please leave comments (on here and on the SK YouTube channel if possible). Subscribers are always helpful if you feel like doing that. If you feel like telling your buddies about the videos, even better. If they subscribe to the channel I may even consider having your babies… They won’t be the prettiest children in the world, and you may need to keep them away from combustible materials, but they sure will be enthusiastic about lots of stuff they can’t actually do! That was supposed to be a good thing… I forget why. Please support Sleepless Knight’s channel. The more support we have, the more videos we’ll be able to make (again… that’s a good thing, in case you were wondering), and the better they will get.

That’s all for this post. This time next week I’ll be in Stockholm with my lovely Swedish Flowerpot, so the blog post may come from there… or it may be written ahead of time and brought to you from the past, via the medium of sorcery. Either way, I’ll be enjoying myself (or more likely checking my pulse every few minutes as I prepare to meet members of my girlfriend’s family) so don’t expect me to care very much if the post gets misplaced as a result.

Until we meet again, take care… and don’t bend over for the soap.

I’m going now.

Begin Again

Firstly I must apologise for my absence from this blog. I have been busy living. Andy Dufresne would be very proud. It has been a hectic couple of weeks for me; many things to reflect upon and to smile about, but I’ll get to those in just a minute.

One year ago today, I wrote my very first WordPress blog post. If you’re curious, or simply feeling the suffocating pillow of nostalgia, that first post can be found here. Still… it’s been quite a year for me. A year ago I had no film crew, an unpublished novel, an unsuccessful YouTube channel, and an unfinished website. Now, one year later, I have a film crew! OK… so those were bad examples, but there really have been some very interesting changes in my life, and I would like to talk about one in particular for just a minute because, not only do I have this blog to thank for it but, ironically, it is also partly responsible for my recent absence from it.

I have met many wonderful bloggers through WordPress, and I am grateful for having had the opportunity to meet people like Heather at Prawn & Quartered, The Wuc, and Jackie from…erm… The Jackie Blog. Still, there is one that spoke to me and my peculiar brain much more so than the others. So much so in fact, that I began to think this woman was living in my mind. As we commented back and forth, it became clear to both of us that each understood the other in some really quite remarkable ways, and we quickly became good friends. I won’t bore you with too many details but our friendship slowly graduated from the blog to social networking, and then to online chat, then telephone, then webcam conversations… and then finally, a few weeks ago, to four of the happiest and most joyful days I have ever spent in the company of another human being.

Yes folks… it sounds like a dreadful article from HEAT magazine but… I found love on WordPress.

So thanks for that, WP! Our ride hasn’t been without its bumps so far, but I hope it will continue for some time to come.

For those who hadn’t guessed, the lady in question is The Swedish Flowerpot, and if there are any of you who have never seen her blog, I strongly recommend you check it out. She is a supremely talented writer with a fantastically complex mind, and if you factor in that she writes that impressively in a second language, I’m sure you’ll agree that she has a very bright future.

OK… now that I’ve finished my Scandinavian sales pitch, let’s get on with other news.

Sleepless Knight did get some filming done before I disappeared but the weather conspired to stop us from completing it. Still… Kitty got to slap Farnsworth (again) after he descended from half-an-hour atop a freezing pile of rubble (he gets all the fun jobs), Winston the dog ran off into the woods, covered in a paint-stained bed sheet, and the universe almost imploded when myself, Farnsworth, and Richard, all appeared in the same place for the first time since May. A good day was had by all, and the best thing was… we were all there! Everybody turned up at the same time! Let no-one say we don’t have ambition.

It's not a pretty sight, I grant you... but it was fun.

Speaking of filming… that video that should have been completed in January… The footage is all there, and mostly edited. It just needs polishing. But, to say I’m lacking motivation for this first video is an understatement of “Space is big!” proportions. The problem is not a complex one… the footage is simply shit! We can’t film it again because the location is no longer available to us, so I have to make my peace with it, but I really just want to lie on the carpet kicking and screaming. It really is that bad folks. But, it’s part one of three, and filming is almost complete on part two so I just have to get through it. It’s a bit like having to remove a 9 week old Rhino corpse from the kitchen table before you can sit down and enjoy a really good meal. Sure, you could simply burn down the kitchen and spend the next year eating Chinese food off the living room carpet, but sooner or later someone is going to ask what happened to Reginald the oversized house-pet, and why we don’t go in the kitchen anymore. Besides… I really like that kitchen table.

*No Rhinos were harmed in the making of this analogy. It serves to illustrate a point in manner the reader will not forget, and any similarity to Rhinos living or dead is purely coincidental.

It is possible that I occasionally allow myself to get a little carried away with these analogies, but it keeps me off the streets.

At any rate… Sleepless Knight will certainly continue into 2013. With a Sleepless Wedding at the end of the year (Richard’s, not mine), countless amusing pearls of wisdom from Farnsworth, such as “I’m sorry, I don’t believe in time” (said to a Jehovah’s witness) and “If I was a giraffe and she was a giraffe… she’d be a really pretty giraffe!” how could I give up now and deprive you of all we may yet achieve together.

I hope your February has been as good as mine has so far, but it’s really hard to care when you’re this happy! I know that’s a rotten thing to say, but if you let me be smug about these sorts of things, then you can take a leaf out of The Swedish Flowerpot’s book and simply laugh extra hard when Jimbot hurts himself.

I’ll see you next week. In the meantime, take care and don’t bend over for the soap.

Lessons Learned

So, it’s the end of 2011. In a year from now we’ll all be dead! Still… I wouldn’t panic about it; I’ve survived the end of the world quite a few times now. It seems likely that this is just another one of those Armageddons, dreamed up by Hawaiian Tropic, to sell factor 2,000,000 sunscreen.

For Sleepless Knight, 2011 has been a very busy year indeed…

I have made many new friends, and I have lost a few old ones. I began the year by promising that I would not move house again, and ended up doing so… TWICE! There have been moments of sadness that have moved me to tears, and moments of joy beyond anything I had ever hoped to feel again. I have had weird weeks aplenty and times when I was allowed the briefest glimpse of success. There was a moment when I considered writing this blog off as one of the worst ideas I ever had, but perseverance and optimism won out, and it may well turn out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made in 37 years.

As the year draws to a close, Sleepless Knight has already had to say goodbye to people I knew far too briefly, but all is not doom & gloom… not by a very long way. So I thought would share with you one or two things I have learned (or at least re-learned) in 2011. And, since this is a movie-lover’s blog, we’re gonna do it in movie style:

  1. “Life is beautiful!”

This is something I’ve always known. It’s one of the things that make me who I am, that I can hardly get through a day without seeing something about the world around me that makes me smile. But it’s something that can be knocked out of you if you don’t keep your head. Sometimes, you need something to elbow you back onto the tracks and remind you that every single day you breathe successfully from dawn to dusk, is one to be grateful for.

  1. “…it’s never too late to get it back!”

This sort of follows on from the one above, but, if we live long enough, we will all come to a point where we lose something of who we were, and it’s very easy to write it off to the cynicism of aging, but if you miss that daydreamer who wanted to see what was over the next hill, or around the next corner, or just to jump because… what’s the worst that can happen? Remember what Lester Burnham said, because I promise you it’s true.

  1. “Don’t underestimate…”

This goes for yourself, as well as other people. Many people have underestimated me, and continue to do so, but not nearly as often as I have underestimated myself. Just try not to do it. It’s a bad habit. You should be especially wary of underestimating those around you. You never know when they’ll surprise you… either by doing something really nice and unexpected, or simply by being more understanding then you thought they might be.

  1. “Nobody’s perfect!”

At first glance this may appear to contradict the one above, but it really doesn’t. Although, once again, this does apply to yourself as well as to those you love. Everyone makes mistakes! This does not make you, or those around you, any more monstrous or inhuman. It is particularly relevant if you love someone dearly, that you expect them to be less than perfect, because if you do not… you are very likely to be disappointed.

  1. “If you build it, they will come!”

I must confess I’ve had my doubts about this one several times this year. It often seems as though you’re wasting your time; that no-one is really interested in what you’re doing; that they will refuse to help, or pay any attention to your efforts, simply because what you are trying to do seems so completely far-fetched and ridiculous, that you will never make it work in a hundred lifetimes. My advice is: Build the damn thing anyway! If you fail, people may say “I told you so”, but so the hell what? Is that really so terrible. Quite often you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I have lost hope for the channel/blog/novel… on many occasions, but every so often someone will come along and say “That’s really good” or “Can I help?” Be patient.

  1. “Hope is a good thing… maybe the best of things.”

As wonderful as Morgan Freeman is, hope is NEVER, EVER a dangerous thing! I would have given up on some truly wonderful things in my life without hope. Someone even wrote a song for me earlier this year with that very title: “Hope”. And, if you’re a fan of irony, I had always hoped that someone would do that for me one day. Now surely I need say nothing more about hope than that? But, if you need more reasons why hope is a good thing…

  1. “Because you never know what the tide will bring.”

Happiness, love, success… these are all things that can come out of nowhere and knock you over like a train. However – and this is particularly relevant to the first one and the last – if you go through life expecting them not to… you are unlikely to find otherwise.

  1. “Soylent Green is people!”

This one is simply there because I was getting a little too serious, and I thought we needed to lighten the mood. It is of course, complete and utter nonsense! We all know that Soylent Green is made from orphaned puppies and pureed Unicorn.

2011 has been a year I am very unlikely ever to forget, and I am looking forward to the new year with a childish anticipation I can never remember having felt before. The beginning of 2012 holds some very happy possibilities for the channel, and for myself, and there should be a Sleepless wedding (Richard’s) by the end of the year. What will happen between those two, only time will tell. Whatever it is, I hope you will stay with me and keep watching, and reading.

What does your 2012 have in store (apart from fiery doom, of course) for you, and what were your most treasured memories from 2011?

P.S.

In other news…. There is other NEWS!!!!

Instead of your usual picture, I will be posting our latest video. That’s right… I said VIDEO!! I changed my plans to make sure that the three videos coming up early in the new year, will be spectacularrrr… so this one is just a farewell to 2011.

A Very Sleepless Christmas

I’m just on my way out of the door, so this will be more of a quick update than a proper post.

This week… Sleepless Knight had our best day of filming to date. Everyone had a fantastic time, and (considering the episode was written by Mr. Farnsworth and myself, in just 2 hours, the night before) I have high hopes that this video will be the very best yet.

I have decided that my plan to get all 3 parts of my “resurrection” story up on the channel before the new year was outrageously ambitious, so there will be an “End of 2011” video, featuring bloopers and behind the scenes footage; with just a short teaser for 2012 tagged on the end. I think you’ll like it, and, if nothing else, it will at least prove that we’re back and work is getting done. We will then begin releasing the “resurrection” video in January. A promise I am (this time) supremely confident I will easily be able to keep, since over 50% of the story has already been filmed.

The story is not without sadness for me however, as we unexpectedly lost Ben, when he moved away just this week, and the new year will see the loss of Kitty; one the best crew members any film crew could wish for. It will also see the end of our “headquarters” at Ripon street, since most of its inhabitants are moving on to bigger and better things. I don’t really know where our new home will be just yet, I can only assure you that we will continue no matter where it is, and 2012 will be a very exciting new chapter in the Sleepless Knight story for many good reasons.

Mr. Farnsworth and myself are very excited about where the channel is going in 2012, and I’m sure Richard would be too, if only we could locate him more often.

Our next guest post will be from Ms. Knight (that’s Kitty, for those of you who are unaware), and we look forward to it.

That’s it for the time being from me, and everyone else at the channel. I hope you have a good weekend, wherever, and with whomever you spend it. The Sleepless Knight wishes you a very Merry Christmas!

From left: JB (music guru #1), Kitty (the talented one), Me (Sleepless Knight), Farnsworth (champion of crazy) and Arnie (music guru #2)

Time to Dye

If you’re wondering why there was no blog post yesterday afternoon… good for you, and keep it up.

It’s that time of year, when all you can think about is whether or not the cloaked disguise of the time-travelling madman you have created is quite black enough for the moment when he uses his futuristic medical apparatus to re-animate your exploded corpse. That’s right folks… Christmas is here again, and dyeing a B&Q dust-sheet, until it looks like a gigantic, steam-rolled charcoal briquette, is just the kind of yuletide activity that makes the holiday season at Sleepless Knight’s temporary headquarters seem like a TV Christmas special.

Elsewhere in my brain, it has been a week of mixed feelings; times when I feel as though I can fly, coupled with that panicky sensation in the back of my mind, that says: “Wait a minute… should I really be up here? Aren’t I as susceptible to gravity as everyone else?” There have also been a few “bird-strike” moments; when your heart sinks as you realise the seagull which looked so pretty as it flew gracefully towards you and bounced off the cockpit, might have set the engine alight as it was sucked through it, before being ejected like so much flaming confetti. But enough with the calming aviation metaphors…

It has been brought to my attention that I might just be a bit of a weirdo. And, while this hardly comes as a surprise to me, it is worrying when people you’ve never met, who are significant to you because they are significant to other people you’ve never met, who are significant to you, start telling you you’re a weirdo by proxy… That probably didn’t make any sense at all, but what do you want from me, I’m a weirdo.

So, is this weirdo thing something I perhaps need to address? I mean it’s not as though I make films featuring transsexual Nazi Eskimo porn and bestiality, but the “weirdo” accusation did come at a moment when I was sat on the cold concrete floor of someone else’s living room, constructing a device to bring myself back from the dead, so it may just have merit.

Toby Dale was saying just yesterday that he would like one of those “perfect Sundays” he has heard people talk about. Instead, he was animating a Santa Claus action figure. Unfortunately… we are YouTubers. True, he is much better at it than I am, but normal Sundays are never going to be your thing if you have chosen to pursue such a ridiculous pastime as this one. We are weirdos, every one of us.

Now… if you’ll excuse me, I have to add more velvet-black dye to my gigantic dust-sheet. I mean, without a black cloak to go with his techno-goggles… the man who appears through a portal in my kitchen, to collect a box of my charred remains from the freezer before returning to the future, will just look silly.

A severely vision-impaired time-traveller is helped into position for filming

*For anyone interested… last week’s word was indeed “flaps”. Guessed correctly by The Swedish Flowerpot, who got to choose this word for this week. Guess it, and next week it’s your turn to challenge me.

Out of the ashes

So, we’re back! We’ve been away for far too long, and certainly much longer than I had hoped or expected, but, as you may be aware, I recently turned my life upside-down and shook it to see what would fall out, which, to my surprise, revealed more than just lint and unused tickets to the outside world. So… to put any rumours to bed: We have not been stacking teabags for the under-refreshed, or returning injured squirrels to the sea. I have mentioned, several times, that the main reason for the huge gap in Sleepless Knight’s videos was over-ambition, rather than a lack of it. I spent 3 months planning a really special video, only to fall at the last hurdle. But, that’s no excuse.

By now, it’s possible that either one of the people reading this may have clicked the Sleepless Knight link above and jumped to the conclusion that I’m lying. Well… that’s not strictly true. While there is no new video on the channel at the moment, it is at least filmed now. So (to invoke Obi-Wan) what I told you was true… from a certain point of view. As far as the SK crew are concerned, we are back in the saddle. As far as our legion (or, more accurately, very small and inexperienced patrol) of subscribers are concerned, there will be new content in the next 10 days or so.

See? I'm not lying!

The bad news is that I was unaware until filming was complete, just how very poorly Sleepless Knight’s standard definition camera had become. Very, as it turns out. Since filming on the first video is now complete, I will simply make my peace with it, and clean it up in the edit.
It’ll be alright! Well… it won’t; it’ll look like crap, but it will be well intentioned crap; which I think we can all agree is the best kind.

Anyway… the main thing is that the crew were back together, and in front of the camera, or behind it in my case. There are new faces; JB and Ben. And there are familiar ones, like owner and operator of the charity for re-homing aging, insomniac bloggers; James Farnsworth, as well as the ever dependable, thoroughly enthusiastic and all together lovely, Kitty.
JB was required to drop his trousers in front of Kitty, before they had even been introduced; James and Ben hopefully learned that “The clapping noise means we’re rolling… please shhh!”, and that it is in no way helpful to add extra claps to a piece of film which will later have to be synced with a separately recorded sound track.
There was a brief demonstration of Sleepless Knight’s dazzling pyrotechnic expertise, when we failed – several times – to ignite gunpowder with a naked flame, as well as a moment of genuine disgust on Kitty’s face, after we neglected to mention that the “goo” she was required to pour from a charred boot, stank to high heaven and contained sticky red lumps. Good times!

Yummy!

The purchase of one or two minor props left James and myself to exist on a couple of raw carrots, several dust-bunnies, and half an onion, so our meals for the rest of the week yielded less nourishment than a barbecued ice-lolly, but that wasn’t going to keep the SK crew down. All-in-all, a good time was had and everyone is looking forward to the next one.

It is worth mentioning at this point, that a six month break from filming had affected our enthusiasm in much the same way that tarmac affects the structural integrity of a free-falling goose egg… so we will certainly try to ensure that it does not happen again. There is much to film before Christmas, and it scares me a little, but I remain quietly… Nope! That’s bullshit! I’m absolutely terrified. WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!

Don't try this at home... like we did.

OK… panic over. I’m sure we’ll manage. I have to say we’ll get it done, even if I don’t always believe it, because the fear of disappointing people is often all that keeps me from saying “Screw it! The condiments aren’t going to re-arrange themselves into alphabetical order!”

That’s all for this week, apart from a side note that I was challenged to squeeze a certain word into this post. If you can guess what it was, maybe I’ll let you pick the next one (I’ll give you a hint: It isn’t one of the really obvious ones).

Enjoy your week… or don’t… it won’t stop me from enjoying the hell out of mine.

Getting on with it

My writing and my video channel have been at war for some time now. Unfortunately, dear readers, the video channel is winning. The reason for this is that I’m surrounded by friends with nothing but enthusiasm for the many projects that Sleepless Knight has in the pipeline, and I have ignored the calls of my most cherished creative outlet for far too long. The boys are ready, I’m ready. It is time to breathe life back into the channel, and myself (for those who do not follow the story on my video channel, I have been dead for approximately 4 months).

The other reason the channel is winning is because this damn blog page has been responsible for no less than three of the most painful moments of my recent life, just in the last few weeks. On top of which, it has come to my attention that this blog has become a window into my life from which the most unlikely of readers have been drawing all the wrong conclusions. Frankly there have been one or two days lately when I truly wished I had never started this damn thing in the first place, and if I’m going to be completely honest; earlier tonight I was planning to lock it up, wrap it in chains, throw away the key and push the whole damn thing to the bottom of the deepest ocean I could find; there to be guarded by blogger-eating cyber sharks with laser eyes, and proximity-detecting explosive gills.

After much consideration however, I have decided that would mean admitting defeat. And, as at least one of my readers will know, I am easily blown over but I don’t like it on the floor. So… to honour a promise I made to my oldest and most dedicated subscriber (and assuming they are reading) the Sleepless Blog will continue, no matter what happens. Why?

Why the hell not?

As a further promise; this time to the bacon-obsessed, Solid Snake worshipping, James (who was kind enough to offer me temporary accommodation, following my recent family crisis), I must give praise to Eddie: All round good guy, and provider of the internet; without which you would all be deprived of my weekly wisdom.

Praise be to Eddie: Provider of the internet