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Saturday, July 30, 2011

So, 2008...

 I've finally figured out, not a moment too lazily late, how to hide great globs of text for your readability!  You'll find below a widget, that allows you to choose to read the old blogs or not.  All of them!  Happy hunting!




And now you'll know the whole story of 2008. I adopted a refugee kitten, went to SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles, made more money at Panera than I have this year, went to New York for my 21'st birthday, spent a lot, and pick bones at Piedmont. The fall semester was memorable if only for how I camped out there every Thursday night.

Hey, that was the single hardest semester at that school I ever had! That's how it is when your ambitions leave you to work by yourself. I accomplished some big cartoons on my own. And I haven't had that opprotunity at Edinboro, since the competition is rightfully stiffer. I should also mention this was when the old team at Panera was starting to fall apart. New management crept in as well, including the best of them: our prior GM, Melody. And now, three years in, she's gone and replaced by another returnee manager. How awesome is that?

2008 was a helluva year, and I wish I were still in it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

You might be wondering...

Why haven't I posted all month?

Well, the answer is, I've been in the middle of a move!  Not the best reason, but I've been tied to the heel of it.  I've completely moved out of my old room, but the rest of the house here is not ready to go.

I also learned how hard it is to really re-post old blogs.  Can anyone tell me how to do pull-downs for the massive wall of text?  It's too much to have the readers to scroll painfully acoss endless blog write-ups.

I'll return with winsome wisdome within a few days.  And post what I should've been posting, which is up to the minute news and muses,

In brief:  horse camp, Camp Carefree, Panera hours in general, the move, and more.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

This year, 2008: Part 1

Subject : DVD talk (incomplete)
Posted Date: : Jan 3, 2008 9:24 PM
Tonight, I want to try something a little different for my old-man ramblings. I'm going to indirectly review some recent DVDs I've obtained. They happen to be animation related, me the diehard that I am.
Inspired by the Christmas present of a Disney Treasures DVD, "Donald vol. 3," I've been collecting select titles since to feel like a completist. I now have Donald's vol. 1 + 2, and complete Goofy. If you want to know what Disney Treasures are, search them on Google already, and do your research.
Oddly, not every short included is a winner. I though for sure that they could be winners given their pedigree, including Jack Hannah, Jack Kinney, and Wolfgang Reitherman. With the Donald shorts, there are great cartoons like 'Der Furher's Face', 'Trailer Mix-Up', and 'Donald's Dilemma' to name a few. They were done because lots of "cheater" cartoons involving one-note gags (unfortunately) were made.
Of the weak shorts presented, most of them lack a sense of story structure. The artists involved seem to have had trouble giving the shorts a beginning middle, and end that don't feel rushed or undeveloped. Set pieces may play to long, endings may either not happen, or feel too rushed.
As for Goofy, yeah these are funny, but not as funny as I hoped. Some of my personal favorites herein are 'Motor Mania' and 'Hockey Homicide'. The kinetic animation really helps up the level of humor presented in the Goofy cartoons, but the narration is hit-or-miss. It's all about your sense of humor, I think.
The animation is often what is really funny between the two series, and not the actual jokes. Dammit, I know they're funny, but I'm just not laughing like I should. And if none of what I just wrote registers with you, you're not part of the animator's club. There's so much more about these Disney shorts I want to say here, but won't because it's late right now. And I'm not a historian.
On a more somber note, it was a year ago to this day that I left Orlando behind. Had I stayed, I would have experienced the thrills of the Princess and Pirate Party, attended new attractions at Tomorrowland and Epcot's various pavilions, and made with the spring-time crowds. I want to return some day, I do I do.

Subject : Brief Thoughts
Posted Date: : Jan 18, 2008 11:30 AM
Some jerk has screwed with my work schedule! It's been radically retooled from where it once was. I had only asked for a change to my Thursday availability, and he went and changed everyday I go in. Come on!
I've just seen my first week back at Piedmont (crap). But I didn't go in on Thursday on account of icy highways and the perils they possess. In other classes, I'm modeling 3-D stuffs and learning to use Flash. I see lots of possibility in both, but I hate how they're filled with nerds. And Editing II proved to be incredibly useless. I must escape soon.

Subject : Many Returns
Posted Date: : Feb 24, 2008 10:52 AM
This is long overdue, but here I am with more dirt. At Panera, we've lost another teamster. Michael, who had been with it since June last year and a good friend, left in the last few weeks. It was because he couldn't take the imbecility of Jason, the new head honcho who replaced our good friend Bobby. And Jason looks like an ex-Marine, and has piercing, fierce eyes. Also joining him in this new order is Lauren. I haze both of them, as I perpetuate my trust issues. At least all of my other friends are still on board.
Too, my hours and schedules have been erratic since the semester started. I will work mids, closings, and half-days. And it varies from 12 hrs to 25 hrs listed.
And that leads to the school situation. I'm working with Maya and Flash this term. I've built a 3-D room, created characters in vector graphics, and am currently trying to put a flashy home page together. January's workload was brutal, with the animation work on top of math and a minimester of public speaking! February has cooled down a bit, though. In fact, on Valentines week, I only had one class, due to a combination of unlucky circumstances. And I dread the worst yet to come. That's the summer internship and well beyond. I don't wanna, ya can't make me!!!
This past weekend (Feb 16-18), me and Allen separately flew to Pittsburg, PA to traverse to the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. The area was quaint if not minimal, with nary a Best Buy or Circuit City to be found.
Therein, it's a nice school in an environment that suits me better than muggy, gross SCAD. No offense to SCAD. The head of the (2-D) animation program named Mike Genz, who worked at WDFA for 15 years. So, he must have a lot of dirt on Disney, and possibly David Stainton, the worst animation boss in recent memory. Luckily, he's been gone for a good while.
Tonight, the 10'th Pokemon movie (The Rise of Darkrai) and the 80'th Oscars are set to compete for TV ratings. And I have to miss both (from work.) For the movie, it'll be the first Poke-prouction from dubbing group DuArt. And it's up against lofty expectations: I mean, 10 films, man!
At the Oscars, I have some hope for them. I wish they didn't have a female actress (Cameron Diaz) host the Best Animated Feature Category, that small kids don't host the Best Animated Short category, and that the animated films have clips presented for illustration. Not like last year, where they had each film's stars supposedly sit in the freaking audience. I mean, all that is insulting, condescending, and borderline racist to our favorite medium. On the Best Picture front, I pick 'Juno' as the favorite. If only because it's the only nominee that I've seen. Go fig.Finally, If 'Ratatouille' loses to 'Persepolis' tonight, it further proves that the Oscars, once belonging to big shot films like 'Titanic' and 'Forrest Gump', are slowly turning into the Independent Film Awards, evidenced by 'Million Dollar Baby' and 'Crash' among others. Bastards! And shame on Hollywood for becoming Sequel Land, USA.

Subject : Babbling Brook
Posted Date: : Mar 3, 2008 10:47 PM
Today, I attended the internship meeting, and had my eyes bugging the whole time. The notion of an unpaid internship is horrifying. Especially if it's not in the artistic, creative animation field I desire. Most of the jobs offered are for computer graphics, newspapers, TV stations(?), and (god forbid) computer game companies. No way, I'd rather go for a bit at UNCG's art dept., Out of Our Minds Animation in Winston Salem, or an Cultural Arts art gallery. Anything that I actually like. Which involves a creative, fun-loving, and super nerd-free work environment.
I have one week left of Public Speaking, so wish me luck. If you dare.
I've discovered the joys of Google Translate today. Using it on Japanese web sites, I found such hilarious phrases as "Death is fun to grow". More to come...
I want to add to my DVD talk here. I spoke then about the Goofy shorts not being funny. But now, in March, enough time has past so that I much enjoy the Goofy cartoons...from the 1950s...after all. Those cartoons deal with topics such as breaking a smoking habit, treating a cold, addiction to gambling, and raising kids; those are topics that hit home with me for their relatable qualities, still current even 50 years afterwards. I now am enticed to laugh along, but I can't feel the same about his shorts from before then (the 1940s and 30s).
Too, Richard William's Animator's Survival Guide is a wonderful book. I picked it up on Oscar night, and found it a great guide in constructing characters and further understanding weight, action, and even walk motions. It's lessons and principals helped to make my own cartoon stars and artwork improve that much.
And congratulations to Pixar on their Oscar win for 'Ratatouille'!

Subject : Disturbing News
Posted Date: : Mar 5, 2008 3:49 AM
Here's a PCC tidbit to start with. This past Monday, a student from the Film Program was expelled. And not just any expulsion, either. He made terrorist threats to PCC and Yanceyville. And when he was apprehended, he got violent with the officers he was taken by. As it turns out, this guy had a serious case of Aspergers. And a short-fuse temper to enhance the unstable condition. He had been briefly put in jail before being released. Where he is now, we don't know. But if he shows his great, ugly face around society ever again, there goes his future.
And today, I read a few unusual and disturbing news items in the paper while at Panera. It rocked me to my core. In one, a woman in Kansas had been inexplicably sitting on a toilet seat for two years! And just this week, they removed from her at last at a hospital. There couldn't be anything more disturbing than that. And what's worse is that her skin attached to and grew around the seat! Blargh!
Next, a woman in Dallas has tossed her two kids and herself off an overpass bridge onto Interstate 30 below. Thankfully her kids survived. She did too, but she's pressed with charges for attempted murder. I wonder what possesed her to do this BS. Well, there goes her marriage right off the bat.
More closer to home, a woman from High Point died in a violent car crash this week. She apparently rear-ended a trailer attached to a garbage truck. There was a picture of this in the paper to go along side, so it was really much more gruesome.
And moreso, a drunk trucker has driven his truck straight through the wall of a local bar in High Point. He had been refused more drinks one night, and so rammed his truck through the wall near the women's bathroom. He is set with multiple criminal charges. That story struck me as an absurd over-reaction to being told to leave, if you ask me.
And all of these stories came from the News & Record of Greensboro, NC. Straight from the horse's mouth.

Subject : Horton Gets a Review
Posted Date: : Mar 14, 2008 6:05 PM
So, I’ve just seen the new Blue Sky picture, ’Horton Hears a Who’. And I just had to talk about my thoughts on it. Know this, if you have not seen the movie, there are some spoilers.
Critics on Rotten Tomatoes, for one, have given the film a score of 81%, and it is certified as Fresh. I figured that made ’Horton’ the best film Blue Sky had made since ’Ice Age’.
Well, I can’t argue against the animation in the film. If you see it this weekend, you’ll agree it is the best aspect of the production. The characters, particularly Horton and the Mayor of Whoville, were full of personality and expression. The movements were hysterical in that squash & stretch way. Take good notice of the use of their hands, limbs, and eyes to get an idea of how these characters display a hand-drawn quality about them.
The production design floored me as well. The artists did a very good job of bringing the book’s lush environments to life, unwilling to sacrifice the whimsical quality of Suess. It doesn’t look like any other CGI film out there, making good of an artist’s style.
And, to my utter surprise, there was 2-D animation in the flick. The big use of it was in a hilarious anime-inspired sequence, during which I had to muffle my mouth to keep my laughter down. Speaking of sequences, the best one in the film involves Horton crossing a long, rickety bridge. The mix of dialogue, physics, and timing in this are hysterical. And the best stuff throughout is the relationship between Horton and the Mayor. The two are finely brought together based on both having a sense of paranoia, and feelings of being left out.
Then there’s the writing aspect. I do feel there were a few negatives about this screenplay. Namely, references to the iPhone, MySpace (gee, thanks), and the use of the song ’Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore’ around the end. That, and they insist on putting a few too many words in the character’s mouths at times. Oh, and some overly contemporary phrases spout out early on in the flick. But the good news is that they kept the story structure simple and easy to follow. No amount of waste went into driving the point of the film home herein.
So, ’Horton’ is not quite Pixar-level, but it is the best film Blue Sky has made since Ice Age.

Subject : Spring Break? Who cares?
Posted Date: : Mar 19, 2008 8:37 PM
Today was very trying, for what it’s worth. I had to go to PCC to finish constructing my CGI building. And to complete it took up to 9 hours! That was partly because I was troubleshooting mistakes that I made, what with textures and extrusions.
It was made worse because there was a super nerdlinger in the same room, arriving a little after I did. And he was a disgusting, toxic vermin, at that. I mean, he was not very self-aware as he continually sneezed, coughed, hacked, and belched his way out of credibility. And he was blaring his music the whole way through. Damn, he’s also not very good looking.
On the plus, I have obtained a copy of one of the greatest cartoons ever made: Bob Clampett’s 1943 short, "Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs". I had seen it in full before, back in 2006, but now I own a copy for perpetuity. At least until Warner Bros. comes to their senses and puts it on an upcoming "Looney Tunes Golden Collection" release. If you know that there was a Bob Clampett-focused disc and a fairy tale parody-focused disc, you’d see that Warners had two opportunities to give it to us. And they blew both. Shame. Well, it’s a wild, funny toon. Check it out.

Subject : Here ’s a Funny Story...
Posted Date: : Apr 3, 2008 1:29 PM
Last blog I wrote info on a lame-ass guy who belched his way into my heart >cough<. Look it up for all the details. Well, ever since we started class again (the 24’th), he has not come back. Yesterday, I found out from a little bird that he has been chucked out of PCC. He apparantly was not only unpopular, but he posted some incriminating images (read: pornographic) onto the student server. I feel I had something to do with his disappearance. When I left the room that Wednesday (at 7 PM), he tells me "Have a Good Easter". So I say to him, annoyed that I am: "It’s you who should repent! >nerd<" Ye-ouch! Well, good riddance to bad lizards.
And yesterday was the day we finally turned in our oft-delayed buildings (they were originally due the Monday we got back!) And it turns out that I got one of the best receptions for my workings. Some of the places I saw in the reel ranged from dismal to flat-out awful. Seriously, a cathedral was not lit, textured, or given a setting at all! Some people took renders from angles, but did not adjust their backgrounds to match! One had their render come out with darkened light. So, I’ve got confidence about an A herein. The next project is to build a 3-D character. Which of my stars will I choose?

Subject : New Developments as they come: Part One
Posted Date: : Apr 10, 2008 1:25 PM
I’ve just got some drirt from the horse’s mouth about the upcoming films from Pixar Animation Studios. And here, I’m going to give opinions on these new pictures. Please understand I’m not trying to bash Pixar here; I deeply respect them after all. But a voice must be heard based on my schock level.
Before that, it’s seems that Pixar’s first Digital 3-D film will actually not be 2010’s Toy Story 3. No, that honor will now be given to the 2009 Pete Doctor film, "Up". That’s something I didn’t see coming. I don’t see why any filmmakers need to resort to a gimmick that didn’t even take off in the 1950s (look at Warners and Disney for proof of this- they each did about one or two 3-D shorts between them.)
As for Toy Story 3, I’m nervous and opposed to that flick. Firstly, does the general public heard of this flick? I mean, only the press and animation fans know about it. And it seems the only reason it’s being made, like Rush Hour 3 (shudder), is because of a cheap joke occurring in the second film’s outtakes. Sheesh.
Too, I’ve just finished some Flash-based lip sync. Just like what is done on South Park. It’s 2:50 PM, and I have to leave in order to get ready for work. I’ll return to give all the dirt on upcoming films I am an impartial observer on.

Subject : Grievances
Posted Date: : Apr 15, 2008 2:08 PM
This comes from some news I just caught on to. Everyone else in the animation community will write about it, so I will too.
I have just learned that Ollie Johnston has passed away yesterday, age 95. He is the last of Walt Disney's Nine Old Men to leave us. I may not have met him, but he is best known for animating memorable scenes in films such as The Jungle Book, Bambi, and Cinderella. He has also contributed to the growth of character animation, and writer of such books as The Illusion of Life. He will be missed dearly by myself and everyone else who knew of his character and accomplishments. My condolences go out to his friends and family.

In summary: A thematic unity approaches!  In January , I got started on reviews (for a series I never took serieously in developing).  There was the first of many years worth of Oscar commentary in 2008, too.  I had the foresight to assume that Pixar would go on an Oscar rampage for the next few years.  And understood that big epic blockbusters were no longer the Oscar darling. 
I also, unfortunately, developed a voice of prejudice againts "nerdy folk".  Such was the crowd to work with in the field of computers.  The tone of this bashing got really bad in this spring semester.  I've learned to get along, so you no longer see me write wth this level of vehemency.