creative fun

Happy New Year of the Fire Rooster

Fire Rooster animation

I’m about to astound you with a piece of knowledge that somehow evaded me til now, despite growing up in a Chinese family – the Chinese lunar calendar has a leap month! I know!!

It seems that lunar months are just 29 or 30 days long, shorter than the ones we use in the Gregorian calendar. So some years squeeze in a 13th month. In effect, the lunar calendar has a whole month added every 3 years or so. But its position in the year varies and, to add more confusion, the extra month has the same name as the previous one! No mere mortal can be bothered to calculate when it’s going to happen because it’s far too complicated, so we all just wait until the Chinese calendars are printed and released into the wild. In lunar leap years though, Chinese New Year tends to fall earlier than usual, in January rather than February.

28th January 2017 begins the year of the Rooster, the fire Rooster to be precise. Roosters are thought to be hard-working, resourceful, confident, active and like being centre of attention! If you were born in 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969, 1957, 1945, you are most probably a Rooster. More importantly though, 2017 also has a leap month which falls after June. So, whatever doesn’t go well in June you can have another go at in the following month – the ‘yun’ version of June (which loosely translates as enriched or nourished)!

Here’s wishing you a happy and enriching year of the fire Rooster!
Kung Hei Fat Choi
Mo and Dave (aptly aka The Cockburns)

Love Pong Rematched

So how did you get on with our little love gift to you last year?

Well it’s back! Love Pong now has sound and a single-player option (to test your compatibility with technology instead of a human being) for those of you who prefer to play without the interference of someone telling you you’re doing it wrong.

Click on the image to play Love Pong in the browser

It’s also available from the Chrome Web Store, Google Play and Firefox Marketplace. So get some practice in before Valentine’s Day.

And it’s FREE … because we believe love shouldn’t cost. If it does, you should perhaps reconsider your idea of what love is. (Free relationship advice too! … You’re welcome.)


Get it on Google Play

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Adventures in writing with Viv Lambert

 

Viv and Mo

For the last couple of years I’ve been embroiled in something a little different to what I’m usually known for. I’ve been writing, as co-author to Viv Lambert, on an English Language Teaching course that we developed with the publisher. Now it hasn’t actually been published yet, so I can’t say much about it at this stage, other than that it’s for primary aged children. But I can tell you about Viv!

Viv Lambert is an ELT author extraordinaire and consultant, and long time friend of mine. She and I met, too many years ago, when we both worked at Dorling Kindersley (as editor and designer) on a project which was DK’s first real venture into ELT. As a global course the content aimed to be accommodating to all cultures. Viv introduced herself to me, swiftly followed with the question, ‘Do the Chinese eat jelly?’ Then we had a slightly weird discussion about grass jelly, agar and jelly moulds … and the rest, as they say, is history. One day, when re-writing the story of The Tortoise and the Hare together, there was obviously some collaborative chemistry going on and Viv announced, ‘We should write a book’. She’s been announcing it to me every year since and, though we’ve worked together many times in different capacities, this is our first true co-authoring venture.

It was a fantastic experience to collaborate with Viv in this way, and one for which I’m very grateful. I learned a lot and gave a lot. We had moments of hilarity, joy, frustration, intensity and staring into space.

My takeaways: Viv taught me about conditionals via the scenario of a prince arriving and the likelihood of marrying him (not very likely considering I’m already married!), the correct use of used to and use to, and how to use WTF via the medium of Skype. She also taught me to be courageous in trying something new.

Through this project I realised that I love language and writing as much as I love design and illustration. On hearing that I’d been associating with the editorial team, a design manager accused me of going over to the dark side. Be assured I am still a designer, and I adhere to the mantra … only for good, never for evil!

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