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JBL Live 400BT Review

I haven’t reviewed headphones for quite a while so it was nice to reach out to JBL and snag a pair of its new Live 400BT cans. They’re pretty stocked with features for a mid-range set of ‘phones, so let’s dive in.

The 400BTs use 40mm drivers to deliver audio, which work very well. I like to listen to a range of music because I am very learned and cultured (/sarcasm) and the 400BTs did well to reproduce the rolling drum-and-bass lows of Tantrum Desire and the subtle nuances of the recently-remastered David Bowie classic, Rebel Rebel. I left my player’s EQ flat to see where the 400BTs stood in those terms and they’re good. I’d dial the mids down a tad but they’re hardly overpowering, and that’s a personal preference thing anyway. 

*Attractive friends group not included

I’m most impressed with how high-quality audio sounded in wireless mode. Audiophiles will get into a hot mess if someone tries to reason that Bluetooth is improving all the time and wireless sounds great now but that’s the truth of the matter. Switching back and forth from my wired Koss 4AA headphones, the only aural differences I could detect were in the EQ, the JBLs pushing more bass than the Koss’. Streaming from Spotify and loading up FLAC files sound the same, don’t @ me. A cable comes bundled if you want to go wired at any point.

The headband is covered in a high-quality, comfy fabric while the ear cups use a soft leather. I usually opt for over-ear headphones so it was quite alien feeling the cups press against my ears. For me and my fat head, they’re a little on the smaller side but my wife tried them on and said they felt fine. My ears started feeling squished after an hour or so of constant use. It pays to mention that any set of headphones will cause fatigue at some point but those with larger craniums might want to look at something like JBLs Live 650BTs. I’ll let you know how those go shortly. 

Pairing is easy as, a couple of taps through your phone’s Bluetooth menu and a push of a button on the headphones and you’re done. The 400BTs have a cool mode that quietens down your music and routes outside audio into the headphones so you can hear people talking to you. This is especially handy when gaming and someone tries to talk to you. No more frantic flicking one ear off as you get destroyed by some sweaty nerd sitting too close to their computer, now you can get that kill and maintain a nice conversation in real life too.

A big caveat with wireless headphones is the charging requirement. I know a few people that opt for cabled ‘phones purely to avoid the irritating “low battery” chime and I can understand that. However, the 400BTs will last an incredibly long time between charges. The box says 24 hours but I got closer to a week of use out of them before they politely asked for a charge. For reference, I use them pretty much the whole time I’m at work, plus a bit at home. That’s roughly 10 hours per day. As I’m writing this, I’ve had them for about two weeks and I’ve still only charged them once. 

However, all that good stuff comes at a price, $179.95 to be exact. I don’t doubt there are cheaper wireless options out there. But if your ears play nice with the smaller ear pads, you’ll be more than happy you spent the money because these things are simply awesome.

How to draw an eye in Photoshop

One of the most important parts of drawing is getting eyes right. People are drawn (ha!) to eyes and the people who aren’t are better at other things. You can pretty much draw your form like complete garbage but as long as they eyes are all good people will forget that the rest of the face has little to no detail. Invest in what you want people to look at! If it’s boobs and butts, make sure you polish the shit out of ’em!

Anyway I recommend by starting off by spending years learning how to draw eyes right and then just knock one out of the park on your first go, don’t even bother doing blue lines first. Those are for sissys.

Oops I forgot the pupil in that last step, that’s ok, chuck that in there. Pupils are easy to do when there’s only one eye to work with. When you get that pesky second one in there you need to start worrying about things getting derpy. Pop the pupil in there and make the eye ball look like a nipple with lids. Drop a little bit of blue in there and let it fade out, while you’re at it you may as well chuck a little reflection in there. Check it out! It’s already starting to get form.
Now do a solid colour in there, maybe blue. Because like, that’s what the tutorial I’m following is telling me to do. 
Dope! Now drop in a darker shade over the top and have it curve around the iris. Phew, don’t throw away the drawing just yet out of frustration. Get the edges of that shadow you just made and deepen them.
Be your own boss and do as I say. Put in some light reflection in there and fuzz the bottom one. Remember, don’t worry about actual light sources, those pesky little shits move all over the show and sometimes there’s more than one! Scribble in some line bits to show that you’re a master of detail. Don’t spend too much time on it, people aren’t going to be zooming in as you or me, but I know how little effort you put in.
That black line it too black, lock transparent pixels on the layer and paint over the top with a deep blue or whatever works for you. Darken around the lines directly under the lid, this helps people realise that the eyelid is over the top of the eye, and not somehow tucking underneath like a fucking freakshow.

Now boom! Actually no. Get rid of that dumb pupil in the middle, what was I thinking. Now you’re done, wack that shit on the rest of your drawing and you’re good to go! So kawaii!

“It’s Complicated” Isn’t Complicated, It’s A Relationship

For years Facebook has been spreading fake news. They’ve been combatting its propagation across their network the best they can by clamping down on clickbait and low value content but at the very heart of Facebook is the root of all evil and it’s called “It’s Complicated”. In fairness, there are so many options now for setting your relationship status that it’s lessened the impact of this innocuous term.

There is never a time where “It’s Complicated” is the right option to pick. “It’s Complicated” is a status you don’t want to broadcast, so having it as an option is redundant.

Example: You’re Jimmy’s mum who’s widowed, and Jimmy is dying. To cope you pick up a bit of tail on the side. Not wanting Jimmy to be upset that you’re burying the memory of his late father with some strange new dick you opt to change your relationship status to “It’s Complicated”, immediately alerting Jimmy to this turn of events when he’s asked to congratulate you on your change of status.

Example: You have a fuck buddy who’s also a friend. You don’t rush out to let people know about this, why would you? You’re just satisfying your carnal lusts inside of someone else. It’s not a relationship UNTIL IT IS. Shit well I guess you were just lying to yourself about it being complicated. You guys just didn’t want to admit it at the time.

Ok I hear you, by their very essence relationships are complicated, You’re literally up against another bag of bubbling chemistry wondering what their opinion of you is. But by marking “it’s complicated” you’re saying that your shit is on a more superior level of complication than anyone else’s. Your relationship and situation aren’t unique, That girl who’s one in a million has about 7000 counterparts in the world.

What if you’re in the middle of a breakup? Good question! Thankyou. You don’t want to mark “It’s Complicated” because it takes you straight off the market right when you’re about to re-enter it, fuck that! “It’s complicated” just complicates things, You’re single baby! Commit to it just like you didn’t commit to that relationship that’s exploding in a firey ball of angst behind you.

Bonus Comic: Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Edit: Since I first drew this comic the devs introduced a save and quit feature, which is a great compromise.

I’ve been binging Kingdom Come: Deliverance this weekend and I’ve been loving it. It’s come at just the right time for me. I’ve been wanting to get into Elder Scrolls again, but the mechanics of it haven’t been getting me very jazzed. Also the stories are a bit eh. Fortunately Kingdom Come has come to Deliverance me.

For some reason people have been comparing it to the Witcher, which is a bit weird. I mean I guess they’re both very heavy on the RPG side of things. I’ve found the story of KC far more engaging than The Witcher so far. Although to be honest, all I remember about The Witcher was that he seemed to be couch surfing from one hot bitch to another. In The Witcher’s favour though I will say that its game world was far more lush with things to do. I guess that’s the bonus about having a world infested with monsters and shit.

The easiest nitpick about KC is the save system. You autosave after mission milestones, at beds and taverns, and finally with the aid of Saviour Schnapps, which lets you save any old time (except combat). This is a limited use item that you have to buy from shop keepers or brew yourself. When you quaff it you also get a bit tipsy, which makes you stumble around when you talk to people, but makes you a bit better at smooth talking them due to your lowered inhibitions.

It hasn’t been a major stumbling block for me, but it has made me feel like I need to give the game so much more than I would with something like Skyrim. I don’t feel like I can dip in and out for five minutes, not least because sometimes loading an interaction with someone sometimes takes a minute of loading screen.

It’s an amazing game though. It’s perhaps the best peasant simulator ever.

Bonus Comic: Sea Of Mehs

There’s a lot to like about Sea of Thieves. Have you seen that water? That fucking water, man. If nothing else they’re going to make a butt ton of money licencing out the engine that makes that water look great.

As for the gameplay loop, it’s a bit eh. It’s fun for a while, but I can’t imagine playing the game any longer than the pirate in this comic does. Maybe I’m wrong, but going back and forth between islands just isn’t my jam.

I know that the whole thing is super fun with friends, but literally, anything is fun with friends. Destiny 2 is a great example of this fact.

Brigitte Lindholm

Buy this as a sticker!

It’s been ages since I’ve done one of these! I haven’t even done Moira yet… Or D.Va… Or Mei… or Ana… Eh. I’ll get to them one day. The hype for Overwatch has been sustained for quite a while now, it’s kind of amazing. While Destiny 2 already feels like it’s going into its winter years, Overwatch is still triggering social media every time a new skin is released. Personally I don’t rush back to it much, except just recently with friends. I’m more likely to be found playing PUBG or Avernum.

I got back into contact with Avernum after about 14 years of completely forgetting the games name and desperately trying to find it. I remember playing it at about the same time Mmhmm came out (which got a tenth-anniversary edition in 2014) and while painting my Games Workshop Legolas miniature which still gets use in a D&D campaign I’m involved in.

Anyway, Avernum was on a demo disc that my friend got from Armageddon. I remember being charmed by how easy the game was to get involved in. Most turn-based RPGs were convoluted and stale. Avernum, on the other hand, was relatively quick and item management was simple. It even has a “junk bag” feature where you can suck up an entire towns supply of brooms and rocks into a separate sack so you don’t get your proper inventory messed up.

Anyway, It was just a demo, and I forgot about the game for a while. Then suddenly one day I had to play it again. But I didn’t know the name, and have you ever tried googling “top down turn based RPG” into image search to try and find a shareware game from 15 years ago before? It’s impossible. I rang my mate, asked him if he remembered, or still had the demo disc, but to no avail. I gave up. Then an article on Penny Arcade by Tycho made me randomly follow a game devs blog because it was a great read.

Three months down the line he posted an article about how he’s releasing his third game for the third time. Halfway through his article a screenshot he posted triggered my memory, or at least the shitty character portraits did. Holy shit, It’s the game I lost 15 years ago! Right in front of me this whole time, and getting fucking remastered to boot. 14-year-old Izak had taste!

So yeah, you should totally get the demo and give it a jam. It’s entertaining as hell! Hard though, so don’t forget to save after every battle. Personally I went straight to the second one, cause that’s the one I felt like I had played back then.

Steven Universe Girls

I didn’t set out with the intention to draw all three of the main Crystal Gems. If I had I would have had them all doing poses I could put next to each other, but as it is I didn’t even give Amethyst legs. Last night I uploaded Garnet and Amethyst and felt sort of bad that I hadn’t done Pearl, so here they all are!

I wanted to make pearl more of a bad ass, an honour usually bestowed on the other two.

I mentioned this on the comic a couple weeks ago, but this drawing of Garnet has given me a pretty strong indication on how much I’ve improved in the last year or two. I mean, just look at this shit (below the comic). No class, no style.Barely holding it together as I crap out those lines.

Also I reckon I’m getting pretty aight at drawing shiny boobs, even when the material really shouldn’t be so shiny. Lets assume that because it’s Amethyst it’s because she’s covered in fast food grease.

Judy Hopps Art Dump

I’ve been drawing pretty much every day recently in an attempt to improve as well as grow a Tumblr audience that might one day be receptive to the comic. Although maybe that crowd will never reaaally be into IZS because of how utterly ruthless it can be sometimes. But you never know, I certainly don’t.

In the meantime I’m letting audience response dictate what shit I’m pumping out. Earth-Chan was the first community I dived into, now I’m playing around with Zootopia. As you all read the strip you know I don’t really draw furries, with the exception of maybe Hubert.

The image order is from most recent to least.

The behind pose was one of the hardest as I was most concious I wasn’t getting judy’s head right. Eventually I got her head tappering at the back into the guitar pick shape and I was much happier with it.

World War One Explained in 15 Seconds

Ever wanted to know what World War one was about but could never really be bothered reading through the wiki page or playing through single player on Battlefield 1? That’s ok, because we have!

Just as a translation the nerd is a Serbian separatist, the bully is the Austro-Hungarian empire / Germany, the sidekick is Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the jocks are the British Empire / France, and the foreign exchange student is the Ottoman Empire.

It took way too long for Kristof and I to make the sequel to Fascism Explained in 15 Seconds but we’ve finally got there. I’m looking forward to putting together whatever he decides to explain next. If you have any suggestions drop them in the comments or wherever you reckon we’ll see them.