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Some of you have been kind enough to show your interest in the comic I'm writing based on Mass Effect. If you're clueless about this, you can check out the first few drafts here. 

If you're a fan, then it might interest you to know that I was writing some more for it in the wee hours today as I couldn't sleep. Time is still at a premium so it won't be hurled at you quickly, but I have been working on it and though I don't have the cells rendered yet, I thought I'd share some excerpts with you. The general tone is dark, but I like my banter so worked on some of that for insertion. If you've got any thoughts, let me know, and if you really want to see more, keep bugging me. Very little spurs me on like ego-stroking.

Or money, but that's usually harder to come by. In all seriousness, I don't have a great many people I can bounce the script off whose opinion I both value and are familiar with the source material, so I'm always grateful for any feedback from you guys, even if I don't have time to respond quickly.

Thanks in advance,


VEGA: We're all going down there?


VEGA: All of us. At once. In one squad.

SHEPARD: Is there a problem?

VEGA: No, it's just usually you forget there's more than three seats in the shuttle.

SHEPARD: (beat) Shut up, Vega.


SALTER: Garrus, me ol' chum! I can't remember the last time I saw your sexy mug. You still hanging around with that fairy, Arkel? How is the cock-rider?

It still baffled Turians that Humans placed such importance on sexual preference. A sociologist might have had something insightful to say.

GARRUS: I killed him.

Garrus wasn't a sociologist.


SHEPARD: Tell me where Vask is and I'll shoot you in the head.

BATARIAN: 'Or.' You mean 'or', right?

SHEPARD: Good call. Tell me where Vask is OR I'll shoot your limbs off joint by joint.

BATARIAN: Wh-what?

SHEPARD: Tell me.
From the moment Howard Shore begins to expand upon the greatest score of his lifetime and Ian Holm's kindly old Bilbo begins to tell us the story of the Dwarves of Erebor, it's as if we never left Middle Earth and one is forced to wonder how on Earth we survived the past ten or so Christmases without a return journey. An Unexpected Journey is easily the weakest of Jackson's Tolkien films so far, but given the caliber of cinema that came before and the relatively lightweight nature of the source material, that was always on the cards, just as Fellowship of the Ring couldn't match up to its sequels in terms of grandiose spectacle or rip-roaring action.

To get the negatives out of the way first, the film is far from perfect. Its 300-hour running time is near indefensible, with the opening scenes in the Shire taking an Age of Middle-Earth before Martin Freeman's younger hobbit sets out on his adventure, and whilst the sweeping helicopter shots of the party hiking through Middle-Earth are as beautiful as ever (It's really no wonder the New Zealand Government was so eager to host this trilogy), there is the sense that there's a few too many than are needed. The party itself, consisting of Bilbo, Ian McKellan's twinkly-eyed Gandalf and 13 mostly interchangeable Dwarves is hardly as iconic or memorable as the Fellowship of Nine. With the exception of Ken Stott's kindly Balin and James Nesbitt's joke-ridden… whichever one he played, the majority are there simply for necessity's sake and contribute less to the story than Jackson's indulgent additions to the original text.

It is here that the filmmaker will invite criticism the most. Making a trilogy of three-hour films out of a book less than three times the length of Lord of the Rings necessitates the inclusion of things we might not have expected. In some cases they work perfectly. Right from the start the flashback to the ancient Dwarf kingdom under the Lonely Mountain is as impressive as the first time we beheld Minas Tirith, with the underground city looking exactly as it should. Balin's tale of when he beheld Thorin battling Azog (Manu Bennett of Spartacus fame) immediately reminds us of the unmatched battle scenes Jackson became famous for after the turn of the century, and the inclusion of Radagast the Brown, a 'lesser' Gandalf investigating the appearance of the 'Necromancer'; a villain we know will be revealed as Sauron also lends excitement and expands upon stories Tolkien himself only glanced at. There are obvious filmmaking additions as well. Venturing into the Mountains in the book, one line describes how Bilbo saw stone giants; here that is transformed into a ten-minute action scene, and, perhaps recognizing the fairly slack pace the story moves at, the inclusion of Azog as a hunting nemesis, forever on the heels of the Dwarves adds some needed tension.

By and large, it must be said that the film works for the most part, brought down primarily by its needless length and the fact that it must be compared to Jackson's original trilogy. In this, it meets the same judgment as the material it is based upon. The Hobbit is a very good children's book, but it doesn't come close to the epic nature or majesty of The Lord of the Rings and so the same can be said of the film. It is a very good piece of cinema, less disappointing than Christopher Nolan's Batman finale, not as over-praised as Skyfall but unfortunately just plain not as good as Fellowship of the Ring.

One thing it can hold over that film however is a piece of masterpiece theatre taken directly from the book. The Riddles in the Dark section pits Bilbo (who, it should be said, is considerably more fun and easier to root for than his nephew, Frodo) against Andy Serkis' magnificent Gollum whose twin personalities give us as good a show as any we've seen before; indeed the scene is really one of three characters and not two. Gollum is charming, sweet and innocent, yet at the same time deathly threatening and psychopathic.  The scene alone warrants Oscar consideration for special effects. Though as impressive as ever throughout (with the odd exception of Azog whose feline face looks oddly unreal at times), such is the quality of CGI on display in Gollum's cave, and so good have Weta become at mimicking the facial expressions of Serkis and integrating the character into the scene, that it's nigh on impossible to forget that what we're seeing isn't actually real. Such is the impact of this scene that at its finale when Bilbo is poised for the killing blow and pity stays his hand, we can't help but agree as he looks into the eyes of Smeagol for an instant and sees a lost, terrified child, one who gained a number of audible and heartfelt sobs from the theatre I sat in. This image is lost all too quickly and Gollum's more evil half asserts itself once more, immediately heightening the threat to Baggins, but if any were forced to wonder why it was Bilbo didn't kill the creature, An Unexpected Journey not only answers that question but dares you to suggest you would have done any different. The fact that such emotion stems from a computer generated image is exceptional, and all but gives the film an extra star all by itself. In fact, fuck it. This is my review and I make the rules. This scene takes the 65% scoring film you've seen on Rotten Tomatoes, and drags it high into the movie events of the year. It is reason enough for the entry fee.

There are, as said, a number of faults. Many of them are serious but none are critical (save perhaps the unjustified running time). Watching this film is however like being wrapped up in a story from your childhood and the simple truth is that despite the early plodding pace, I didn't want it to end and come the final scene, I was desperate for more. If this is to be the weakest of Jackson's Hobbit trilogy (and given the events not covered, one suspects that's the case), then roll on the rest. I can't wait.
  • Reading: The Signal and The Noise
  • Watching: An Unexpected Journey
Oi oi. Yeah okay, so other people have thousands of followers. But I'9ve been looking at that milestone for a while now and it's nice to pass it. Anyway, just a wee update for... anyone who actually follows my journal entries. I'm not sure if that's actually a quantifiable number or not. Whatever.

In any case, it's not escaped my knowledge that I've gotten a bit more attention recently than I usually do. A lot of this is due to the love I've received for 'Vakarian'… which within two days became the most popular thing I've ever uploaded in dA in 7 years. Big love to everyone who liked it and especially those who took the time to comment. If I didn't (or don't) respond to yours, apologies but I'm relatively busy procrastinating elsewhere. Aside from anything else, my laptop has had an unfortunate encounter with a friend's foot and a mug of coffee so things are a little more caffeinated than they should be.

As a follow up of sorts to that and 'Mass Effect Looper', I've been planning a Mordin image now for weeks. Although it didn't turn out quite according to plan one of the things I liked in 'Vakarian' was the snowstorm effect I achieved through brushing, and I pictured a similar (albeit considerably more serene) type of layout which utilised blossom leaves in some form. They might form and break away from the body outline, may just serve as a background; I dunno. These plans always change halfway through an image so I never spend too long on them.

I've had a basic sketch of Mrdin's planned pose for a couple of weeks now, and this morning I had a bit of an urge to open up Photoshop. Taking advantage, because that feeling is rarer of late, I done an image. And, as those of you who've seen it will know, it's not Mordin,but in fact my other favourite squaddie from ME2, Grunt, and the piece is called simply Krogan. The fiery particle effect was one I've been meaning to do for a few days now and I didn't think it'd particularly suit the scientist. Personally I prefer it to 'Vakarian' but I know Grunt doesn't have the same love that Garrus does so I doubt it'll prove as popular.

If any of you are curious as to the state of my ME comic, Mindoir's Child, well, that pleases me. It's a fun project but it's also very time consuming and can get monotonous so all the support counts doubly for it. I'm still working on it, but I'm also trying to decide exactly what style I want before I do any more. I've veered from black and white Sin City to technicolour through washed out pastels and I still haven't made up my mind. You might see some more tests before I continue proper.

I've also been vaguely distracted by I'm cdmurray over there if any of you are members. Don't expect to spend days with it though. These books without pictures will never catch on...

So cheers for following, thanks for reading and ta very much for engaging. I'm as egomaniacal as anyone so it does me a world of good when I feel the love.

Keep on frakking,
  • Reading: Halo: The Fall of Reach
  • Watching: Halo: Forward Unto Dawn
  • Playing: Not Halo. It sucks.
There's a bandwagon, and I'm jumping on it. I've set myself up a wee facebook page for my artwork. You can check it out at…

In other news the latest chapter of my life has come to an end recently as I finished university and I now hold a 2:1 degree in law. This is good - the fact that I'm still two years and thousands of pounds away from a job as a lawyer less so.

The good news is that with that out of the way I should have more time to get some grafiking done. What to expect? Well since I've finally gotten around to playing Mass Effect 3 it's a safe bet there'll be more of that. Whether I plan on it or not I always seem to put out some new Star Trek images every year.

I do want to try some other things though. I'm a big Assassin's Creed fan, loved Saints Row 3 and since the irritatingly named SyFy seems as uniterested in Blood and Chrome as they do every other interesting science fiction idea that crosses their desk, I might try and tide myself over with some more BSG work.

I've a few ideas kicking around, so hopefully in the near future I'll be able to bump my standards up again and get some stuff out there that stands out.

As always comments and feedback are gratefully received. Thanks to everyone who's still following me and takes the time to interact. Life only gets busier so it's always appreciated.

  • Listening to: Emile Sande
  • Reading: The Silmarillion
  • Watching: The Newsroom
  • Playing: Saints Row 3
  • Drinking: As often as possible
Before I go on, if you post any form of spoiler for this game as a response to this entry, I will find out where you live, come round to your house and gut you with a rusty spoon called Eric.

I haven't played it yet.
I really want to play it.
I'm too busy to play it right now.

So I've disabled commenting on most of my ME deviations because I'd forgotten how fucking inconsiderate some idiot gamers are when it comes to spoilers. You've played it, you love it, fantastic. Hate it, unfortunate. But keep it the fuck to yourself.

I've waited years for this game and I'd rather not have it ruined before I start by some arsehole who'd rather talk about what happened to their character than comment on a piece of artwork, on an art website.

If you're not one of these arseholes, then obviously ignore this. If you are, you're going to the same part of Hell reserved for paedophiles and people who talk in the theatre. Fuck you.
Every now and again someone asks me if I can do an image for them. I'm genuinely flattered every time this happens but I'm afraid I can't do them for free. I just don't have the time and put simply, I need cash always.

So I've noticed artists often have a journal entry where they have a price list. Awesome idea. Pencil sketches are £30, Photoshop paints are £50, prints are £60 etc. Trouble is I don't draw and everything I do takes a different amount of time.

i suppose I could say I charge £X an hour. And if I did I'd probably wangle around the £10-15 an hour mark which is either very cheap or worryingly high, very much dependent on whether not you're as strapped for cash as I am. Trouble with that is, I don't know how long an image will take me to do until I'm done so quotes can be tricky. A poster might take an hour, or it might take four.

Atop that, there are different licensing rules. If you want exclusive use of the image, I'll charge you a little more. If you don't care, it could be less because I can add it to my portfolio. If you want a mod of a file I've already got the job'll be simple so I'll charge you less because it'll be done quicker.

There's also size to consider. If you want an image that you can print off and it's 6 ft tall, it'll be harder for me to do than if you just want a wallpaper for your laptop. So that's tricky.

The truth is I don't think I've ever charged the same price for two different pieces of work ever, so the only way to be sure is to ask me. As a very rough guide, most requests I get through dA fall into the £30 (which it's highly unlikely I'll ever do anything for less than) and £60. So if that or more is in your budget, great. If not, I'm sorry but this is still primarily my hobby and I have far too many real life commitments and far too few real life pounds to spend hours making freebies for people. I wish it were otherwise.

If you've got a request, PM me with as much detail as you can and I'll get back to you when I can with a quote. If we're good we're good and if not no hard feelings. Although if you do decide the price is too high, please let me know because if it seems like a serious request I'll pencil in time for it and limbo is a crappy place to hang out.

It was only a matter of time but given that it took me 6 years to get close I wasn't expecting it to sneak up on me so soon. I don't get a huge amount of pageviews and the reasoning is simple enough; it's because my work isn't bad but it aint the best either, and I'm fine with that so long as I get the odd commission and nice comment here and there. But I've had a massive bump lately so here I am.

The weird thing about hitting 20,000 now is that I didn't see it coming because I didn't count on how popular Mass Effect groups are. In terms of mistakes I've made it's not quite up there with investing in minidiscs rather than mp3 players, but it's a biggie nonetheless.

A reasonable amount of the work I've done of late has been Mass Effect related and the reasoning is also simple; I love it. Along with Tetris and Metal Gear Solid, the Mass Effect series is on my all time favourites list, and the fact that 25 years of experience has only collected 3 titles should give you an indication of how picky I am with these things.

Because I'm not alone in this my ME related artwork has gotten more attention than most of my stuff. It's no coincidence that my most favourited deviation is a Mass Effect wallpaper and my most commented upon one is MGS. Other ME images are among the most popular I've posted as well. So big thanks go out to those who saw my games-inspired work and liked it enough to fav, and bigger ones to you if you commented, especially if I never got round to replying to you (I think my record late response was about 15 months).

If you like either of my Girls Guides to Guys then you're not alone as they're also two of my most popular deviations and a really special mention goes to those who offered their opinions, disagreements and jokes concerning them. Without a doubt these were the most fun to get responses to.

Beyond the big hitters though, if you're a fan of one of my lesser fav'd pieces then thanks to you as well. I recently had a clean up of my gallery because after 6 years, some of 'em aint looking too pretty anymore, but there are remaining pieces I've got on here simply for nostalgia's sake and so it's always a pleasant surprise to see that someone besides me likes one.

A special mention goes to those of you who favourited some of my writing, in any of its forms. It's considerably harder to get any sort of feedback concerning text than it is for images simply due to the added effort it takes, so I'm always especially grateful when I see action in that area. What I try to do is make a point fo reading someone else's work for every fav/comment I get on one of my pieces. I don't always have the time, but it's a nice idea and it's shown me things I'd otherwise have missed.

If you like my work enough to like the idea of giving me money for my work then I do the odd commission here and there. If you like the idea of just giving me something for nothing then that's also cool - you could always check out my wishlist if you're as rich as I'd like to be and the extortionate rates dA charges for prints and intl. shipping are a pittance to you.

But if not and you're reading this anyway then thanks for stopping by, thanks more for favouriting, thanks the most for commenting and critiquing and thanks quite a bit if you don't decide you've wasted enough time with this page and never want to see it ever again. As little hideouts on the Internet go this is one of my favourites and it's great to have been able to share it with so many people.

Cheers, Chris.
  • Listening to: Lupe Fiasco - Lasers
  • Watching: Suits
Type in 'Chris Murray' to Google and this is the fourth page that pops up. Not bad when you consider I haven't actually done anything worthwhile in my life yet and spend most of my time dossing about.

In fact given that the only guy in front of me is a well known musician whose been going almost as long as I've been alive, there's a way to paint this as me potentially being the most famous Chris Murray in human history.

You have to be quite stoned for it to work, but it's there.
  • Eating: As little as possible
  • Drinking: Water
It's not Slider. Seriously, go to a font site that allows you to preview and type in NORMANDY or N7. It's not right. Aside from anything else it's too narrow and the N's aren't rounded.

Slider's not even an original font - it's a modded version of Handel Gothic which has been used in sci-fi since the 70s which a lot of people might recognise from the opening credits of Deep Space Nine and Voyager.

But Mass Effect doesn't use that either. Sure it's similar, but that's because they had the font custom-built and it was inspired by Handel Gothic. It's just like they had custom music made for E3 2009 that was inspired by Nine Inch Nails, but wasn't Nine Inch Nails. Complicated stuff I know, but come on.

This is all by way of saying I've been looking for the real font (or a decent approximation) for half an hour now and if I see one more person proudly proclaim that it's called 'Slider'...
  • Eating: Tesco Value Noodles
  • Drinking: Water - I'm skint

Captain, are you seeing this?

No, all I can see are fucking lens flares!  Did someone just discover Photoshop in 1998 or something?…
  • Watching: Enterprise: The Manny Coto Year
  • Drinking: is planned for the next 24 hours
Over the course of 6 years, my 165 deviations have garnered me around about 16,000 page views thus far. I have no idea if that's good or not but I'm relatively happy with it.

Skip over to my YouTube account though, and despite only having 10 videos, none of which have been online for more than 18 months and they've been viewed around about 11,000 times.

Interesting. Well, perhaps not, but I was sick of my visible journal post being about David Cameron. My YouTube's here, by the way.
  • Watching: Rescue Me
  • Drinking: to moderated excess
  • Watching: Election 2010
Absent a considered and erudite entry on who you should vote for, or how heartening increased public interest is, a link to the best parodies I've seen throughout the election.

My David Cameron
A llamagini.

...Christ, that's a pathetic joke.

Anyway, I now have a llama to my name. I don't get it.
  • Watching: Election 2010
Apparently I am light water, which sounds like a cross between my Indian name and a nuclear power-station component. Whatever.

[ ] You have a short temper.
[ ] You often act on your emotions without thinking first.
[x] You are very competitive.
[ ] You like to play with fire.
[x] You are not a strong swimmer or you can't swim at all.
[x] You prefer warm weather over cold weather.
[ ] You often lose control over yourself.
[x] You can be quite reckless.
[x] You sometimes hurt people without realizing it.
[ ] People have often called you insane.

Total: 5


[x] You have a calm, laid-back personality.
[ ] You like to go to the beach.
[x] You rarely get angry.
[x] When you do get angry, you know how to control it.
[x] You think before you act.
[x] You are good at breaking up fights.
[ ] You are a good swimmer.
[x] You like the rain.
[x] You can stay calm in stressful situations.
[x] You are very generous.

Total: 8


[x] You are physically strong.
[ ] You have a close connection with nature.
[ ] You don't mind getting dirty.
[x] You form strong opinions on issues that concern you.
[ ] You could easily survive in the wild.
[x] You care about the environment.
[x] You can easily focus on your work without getting distracted.
[ ] You rarely get depressed.
[x] You aren't afraid of anything.
[x] You prefer to have a strict set of rules.

Total: 6


[ ] You have a free spirit.
[ ] You hate rules.
[ ] You prefer to be out in the open rather than in small, enclosed spaces.
[ ] You hate to be restrained.
[x] You are very independent and outgoing.
[x] You are quite intelligent.
[x] You tend to be impatient.
[x] You are easily distracted.
[x] You can sometimes be hyperactive.
[ ] You wish you could fly.

Total: 5

.: DARK :.

[ ] You spend most of your time alone.
[ ] You prefer nighttime over daytime.
[ ] You like creepy things.
[ ] You like to play tricks on people.
[ ] Black is your favorite color.
[ ] You prefer the villains over the heroes in movies, TV shows, video games, etc
[ ] You don't talk much.
[x] You are an atheist.
[ ] You don't mind watching scary movies.
[ ] You love to break the rules.

Total: 1


[x] You are very polite.
[ ] You are spiritual.
[x] When someone is in trouble, you never hesitate to help them.
[ ] You believe everything you see or hear.
[ ] You are afraid of the dark.
[x] You hate violence.
[ ] You hope for world peace.
[ ] You are generally a happy person.
[ ] Everyone loves to be around you.
[ ] You always follow the rules.

Total: 3
  • Reading: Talk to the Hand
I first joined dA in 2005 I think, and like most people starting out as a not-very-good 'artist' was thrilled when I got my first favourites and comments come trickling through. I instantly replied to the favs with a 'thank you' on the person's homepage and the comments with the effort they deserved.

I still think I reply to every comment though if I missed one I apologise, but I almost never respond to favs.

Sorry. I know it just takes a small amount of time to go onto someone's page and type one sentence but I honestly don't have time these days. I'm lucky enough that a few people each day seem to find something I've created that brings them a little bit of joy and I can't tell you how good that feels even if I'm fully aware I don't compare to many, many others out there in the big wide dA world, but even a few favs a day is too much for me to go around and thank everyone individually.

So this entry is for you. If you've fav'd a piece of mine and been neglected in return I apologise. No one's complained about this to me but I know I value it when someone responds to me so stands to reason you do to.

Thanks ever so much for the favs, comments and critiques. I really do appreciate them.
  • Watching: Castle
  • Playing: Mass Effect 2
It's been bugging me for more than a while when someone writes that in a deviation description. Worse is when they go to the trouble of bolding it or just using that bloody icon or stamp instead.

Wanting a comment instead or just before a fav is perfectly natural. I know it brightens my day up no end when someone has thought something I've posted not only worthy of a click but a considered response as well.

But not everything warrants a comment. If you skim through my current favourites you'll see a number of pieces I haven't commented on. Why? Because short of, 'I like it so I'm going to fav it' I've got nothing to say about them that hasn't been said before. I hate posting one-liner posts ('cool/awesome/wicked/love it!') anywhere because I believe a post should have some thought go into it. When it comes to a number of the photography pieces I can tell you I like 'em no bother but trying to explain why I like them is considerably more complicated.

Which brings me onto my next point; I'm usually in a rush when browsing so whilst I have time to click on a fav icon, I don't have time to post a decent response that talks about composition, colour and corollary exposition. I don't even have time to google corollary exposition and find out what it means.

I don't have a problem with people wanting or even asking for comments before favs but getting arsey about it or bitching about people that don't comment is just demonstrative of your own wanker tendancies.
  • Reading: Who's afraid of Jane Austen
  • Watching: The Six Nations Super Saturday
  • Playing: Mass Effect 2
Invictus is a below-par film but an excellent poem, read better by Freeman here for the RBS 6 Nations than in the film itself. As is appropriate of course, for the 6 Nations is considerably better than the World Cup.…

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
  • Listening to: analysis of The Six Nations
  • Reading: about The Six Nations
  • Watching: The Six Nations
  • Playing: let's see how Scotland break my heart this year

Rule of Law

Journal Entry: Mon Nov 9, 2009, 5:38 PM
Roper Bolt, A Man for All Seasons

For all my chums who whinge about the law...

Wife Arrest him!
More For what?
Wife He's dangerous!
Roper For all we know he's a spy!
Daughter Father, that man's bad!
More There's no law against that!
Roper There is, God's law!
More Then let God arrest him!
Wife While you talk he's gone!
More And go he should, if he were the Devil himself, until he broke the law!
Roper So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
More Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
Roper Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
More Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down (and you're just the man to do it!), do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

  • Reading: Law
  • Watching: The Thick of It
  • Drinking: Too much
I made a trailer for the final episode. If you've not seen it (the episode), I don't think there are any real spoilers in the trailer but it should hopefully be a nice tease if you're a fan.

If you've never got round to watching the show, hopefully this might give you a small idea of what it's like thematically.

Comments are always appreciated. :)…
  • Reading: Dreams from my father
  • Drinking: Coffee
Don't eat so much, you fat fuck.
  • Reading: The Sundering - Walter John Williams
  • Watching: Lions Selection
  • Playing: Mass Effect
  • Eating: Square Sausages!
  • Drinking: Coffee