My cat has evil powers......

Yes for some time both Vicky and I have felt that Muffin our little deaf cat has harboured evil powers....you have been warned!!


Southport with the NV3 ( yeah you know me... )

The Vic-Tim project is proud to announce the latest
addition to it's technology arsenal, a brand new Samsung NV3 digi camera! ( purchased with kind Chrimbo donations from the Keyes clan ). Not only will this smart bit of kit be perfect for our wee trip to South Africa ( yes the honeymoon ), it will also be perfect for our little trips out of sunny Stockport.

To celebrate this purchase, we headed to the delightful seaside town of Southport ( read 'grey concrete mess' ), to test it out. With a huuuuge beach it was a chance to stretch our legs and burn off some Christmas calories ( as well as the Fish & Chips from the Pier ).

To check out the pics click here.
(you will need a snapfish account to view them )


Xmas in the Lakes

Being a city boy I had images of snow covered mountains and log burning stoves when thinking about a Christmas in the Lake District. Unfortunately it was grey and foggy, but that really didn't matter as it was a Xmas with the Keyes family in the small village of Dean ( just outside Cockermouth ). Outstanding cooking, bucks fizz for breakfast, board games till dark, perfect company and wicked pressies made for an awesome couple of days.

( we did find a log burning fire in the awesome pub/micro brewery The Bitter End )

Top Xmas 5:

1) New iPod shuffle from Vicky
2) Cheescake for desert
3) Black Sheep and Sneck Lifter Beer
4) Tirefly Tyre caps
5) Pick of Destiny CD

Click here for some pics
( you will need to register for a Snapfish Account )

The Best Beer Bottle? - Lucky Beer Company

Whilst Christmasing ( is that a word? ) up in the Lake District, Vicky's Brother Stephen bought out a rather impressive case of Lucky Beer from Oz.

Brewed by a mate of his down there this is possibly one of the most exclusive beers you can buy anywhere in the world. Only served in a few select bars and not yet available in the UK, the bottle is probably the most impressive bit of glasswork you are likely to drink out of in any bar ( I do wonder if they actually let you take them home? ).

As for the drinking it is pretty unique. A very dry nutty taste but without the harsh aftertaste you get with other Asian beers. Perfect with a curry, chinese or any spicy food.

If it does find its way to the UK it will be pricey, but each case has unique artwork and it would make a perfect pressie. I want some more!

Click here for the website


Merry Xmas Everyone...

Not really got into the Christmas spirit so far, but slowly starting to feel a little bit festive. Might have something to do with the large bag of Reeses Pieces in my draw and the Chai Tea in my mug....so bring it on Santa, I'm ready for you!

The Tarw Trail - Coed Y Brenin

Managed to get over to the new 'improved' Coed Y Brenin mountain bike centre with Ben at the weekend. Was pretty wet so asked in the little shop there ( way too little to be useful ) what was the best track. They pointed us in the direction of the new 'TARW' trail, which is basically the old Red Bull Route cleaned up and extended to give 20.2km of happy happy joy joy ( 460m of climb ). ( Tarw is Welsh for Bull )

If you can cope with some pretty killer uphill ( leave your 8" Freeride bike in the shed ) there is some awesome single track on this route. Leave out 'Al's Loop' at the top and make sure you are switched on for 'Pins and Needles'.

Best thing about this trail is that is doesn't hold too much water and has the downhill sections spread along the whole route ( the final 'R74' downhill is hard work with burnt out legs ). Could do with a bit more single track at the top instead of the boring fireroad, but I guess some people may like the rest!

Check out the centre here and click the image on the right to see the trail map

( Sorry no pictures, didn't take camera out
in the rain! )


More i-thingy designs...

To add to my cafepress portfolio: ( click on them to link through )

Can you tell that I am starting to use Adobe Illustrator a bit more? I've even had an enquiry about someone wanting to buy some stuff! ( might actually have to see if i can get any made up in the UK! )


ikayak wear - another 5 minute project

Not really sure if cafepres
s works as a viable money making site, but it is still quite cool to see your designs on garments ( even if no-one ever buys them! ).

Was messing with some graphics yesterday and ended up with the soon to be iconic 'ikayak' logo, so took 5 minutes and added built a store around it.

Click here to see it online and for sale! ( go on buy one, you know you want to! )


Making stuff move - .gif animations

Been trying to get my head around .gif animations for a while. Yes I know they are a little old skool, but without the use of Flash on my work computer they are the next best thing ( and they still work on the work website ).

This was my first attempt for a Dainton Competition:

Not bad, but I feel like a cheat using Stencil font and a cheesy pink stroke ( maybe I should learn something new? )

Then I started playing with a few more Photoshop features and managed to end up with this one for the A4 Outlet Store:

With a bit more work ( and linking in to the 2007 Ad campaign ) I managed to use some cheeky Photoshop skills and created this one for an Emerica Reynolds competition:

For the Photoshop nerds it is made up of 30 layers ( including the background which has the frame on it ) and uses the 'Twirl' filter at increments of around 20 each time. With a bit of playing around it is down to 89k which is just about acceptable these days ( anything less and the shoe image starts loosing resolution ).

Hoping to get Flash in the new year....watch this space for more animations!


Vic-Tim Clothing - Will it work?

I wonder if this little project will work? I'm not convinced, but it is worth a giggle!


Llandegla - The Black Runs...

Yep, it is back, the movie they tried to ban ( ok they just didn't want everyone ripping up the trails before they were finished! ). Featuring local heroes Bob, Ally and Mike, filmed by Tim


Dry in Wales - Pont Cyfyng

Originally Published in Ceufad Magazine:

How many times have you got up early, tied the boats on the roof and headed into darkest Wales on what you thought was a superb wet day, only to be met with nothing but a dribble in the rivers? If only there could be an alternative, something you could jump on to get that hit?

Well there is such a place and for most of our early kayaking careers we have walked around it, looking back up and thinking ‘one day they will be mine!’

Pont Cyfyng ( grid ref: 734 572 ) is a bridge over the classic ‘whitewater mecca’ that is the River Llugwy. With many runnable sections, the Llugwy draws a lot of plastic traffic during the winter months, especially with the National Mountain centre, Plas Y Brenin, being up near the upper stretches ( many mistakenly put the ‘Brenin’ on the Llugwy, when in fact it is on the Nantygwyryd ). One such section of this classic river is Cyfyng Falls which can be found directly underneath Pont Cyfyng.

So let’s be clear, what we are talking about it running some waterfalls to get that ‘buzz’! So at this point it must be noted that to run any sort of whitewater is potentially hazardous and to run waterfalls even more so. Use a ‘creek’ boat, spine compression hurts, and if in any doubt of you skills, don’t attempt these falls! Instead stump up the cash for one of the excellent advanced whitewater courses provided by both Plas Y Brenin and Canolfan Tryweryn.

Now back to the action. The Falls consist of three clear drops, conveniently called ‘Top’ Drop, ‘Middle’ Drop and ‘Bottom’ drop. As with any river feature other names have been used, drop 1, 2 and 3 and so on. In truth, it all depends on who you talk to.

Before you get to the actual falls, there is a cheeky rapid before the bridge which is often harder than the falls themselves. Tight and restricting the line is pretty obvious, but worth having some rescue set up, as a swim above the falls isn’t really recommended. However, for those just wanting to ‘park and huck’ you can launch at the bottom of this rapid and just drop over the falls.

The Top fall has a number of lines on it, though many will opt for the ‘Irish Route’ which is furthest round on river left. A true photo friendly drop, many will remember the black & white shot of the huge T Canyon kayak going over in the classic British Whitewater guide. Another option, if level permits, is a line right down into the guts of the falls. This ‘centre line’ is committing with potential hazards of undercuts and boils on landing , looks good on film though!

The Middle drop has a number of potential lines in higher water, but in levels where most are comfortable on this stretch, a crack is easily run in the centre of the fall. Running right to left, a little boof stroke is needed just to clear the messy water at the bottom.

The Bottom drop has been run, and a line in higher water is tempting at times, but it is best left for those paddlers who enjoy pain and can afford to take a few months off work with broken ankles.

After checking out this ‘potential’ line, head back up and run the other drops again, just to make sure you have it all on film!

Water Levels

Let experience be the judge! If you are new to the delights of hucking off waterfalls it is best only to consider running these drops when the rest of the river is really too low to be run. Higher levels create more sport for the willing victims!


Fortunately there are no real access issues on this stretch of water. This is due to the continuing efforts of the WCA working with the landowners in the area. If you are going to be running the drops, it is a good idea to pop 50p in the honesty box which can be found just down stream.

How to get there.

Cyfyng Falls are located on the River Llugwy and found underneath Pont Cyfyng ( grid ref: 734 572 ). The A5 runs straight by it, so expect some spectators watching in awe. There is a lay-by next to the falls with space for a few cars and further down river there is a larger car park with the honesty box.

Genius Illustration

I've been a fan of Kevin Hulsey's work for a number of years now. His industrial illustrations are pure artwork. Expect to see a lot of his drawings on this blog as they work with the white background and although so complicated they are evil, they also fit in with the clean design I am looking for.

If like me you use Photoshop, check out this tutorial to make you feel small..

The Joys of USB

Though I don't own an ipod ( yet ), I am a bit of a gadget geek. So I was stoked when my better half got me this USB Mug warmer/hub combo.
Who could ask for more? Well obviously the Japanese, check out these utterly silly things you can plug into various ports....