Archive for March, 2009

I bless the rains down in Afreekaaaaaah…

Monday, March 16th, 2009


Just wanted to let you know that I’m leaving for South Africa on this Thursday (that’s March 19th, for you kids keeping track at home) and I will be back on April 4th. Since I will be in the middle of nowhere for just about all that time, I will not be checking email or Facebook or anything. I shall have many terrific pictures upon my return, so get prepared.

Coraline. C’mon, you know I was going to talk about it.

Monday, March 9th, 2009

I saw Coraline. I know, SHOCKER, but I found out some cool stuff about it and I wanted to share. Whilst at the Final Cut Pro class, I happened upon a magazine called Post. It had an article all about how Coraline was made. First of all, I didn’t particularly like Coraline. It had brief moments of awesome-itude, but the story as a whole was lacking, in my opinion. This is a constant problem for me with fantasy and science fiction. Since you could make anything up, I feel the author has to work much, much harder to keep me involved. For example, Coraline has to find three sets of eyeballs so ghosts can be set free from eternal bonds. But she’s also really conveniently given a green triangular ring that when she looks through it, she can see where the eyes are. To me, that’s too easy. That problem was too easily solved by a random object invented by the author. Too simple. Something interesting about the film was that it was so distant for me and I was so not into whatever the characters were going through that things that would normally freak me out didn’t bother me at all. I am scared of little-kiddie-related stuff, like dolls and xylophone toys. There’s a ton of that in this film, as well as people with buttons for eyes having their faces stitched into permanent smiles, and I didn’t even flinch. However, there are moments of extreme beauty and exquisite design, and it’s worth it for that. Also, there’s a man upstairs with a jerboa circus. What’s a jerboa, you ask? It is a hopping kangaroo rat type thing. Lookit:

I desperately want a jerboa circus. Nay, I NEED a jerboa circus. But enough of that. I read a couple things in Post that were interesting. I will now quote:

In Coraline, the character’s replacement heads are molded in a computer-controlled 3D printer that allows for precise gradations and nuances of expressions. Mouths have teeth in them, and tongues, and more. …Computers also erased rigs used to support characters and erased the faint line that exists in a replacement head where the head’s lower half (which includes the mouth) meets the character’s upper head. …Back on The Nightmare Before Christmas, the lead character, Jack Skellington, had around 800 different sculpted facial expressions. As opposed to Jack Skellington, Coraline has over 205,000 different possible expressions.

B. had commented on how impressed he was that there was no dust on the set in the final film, and I’m now thinking that if there was dust, it was taken out later with computers. I would love to see an exhibit of the sets and models one day. Hopefully they’ll come out with a book on it soon.

Making movies and watching movies: Final Cut Pro and The Reader.

Friday, March 6th, 2009

You know what, I said I was going to talk about the dog show, but you know what, I’m not. My pictures didn’t really come out (that’s why I got a new camera), so maybe next year I’ll take my new camera there and take more betterer pictures and blog about it then. So no dog show this year. Sorry if I misled you.

I took a three-day class in Final Cut Pro, which is becoming the industry standard for film editing. I used to be surprised when I met people and asked them what programs they worked in, and they would say, “Final Cut,” and I would say, “What other ones?” and they would say, “Just Final Cut.” Now I get it. That program is ROBUST. It’s like a never-ending labyrinth of of panels and windows and drop-down thingies and other corresponding programs just for sound, or text, or color. The text on the screen is minute, and it has to be, otherwise you can’t fit everything on there. And you know how there are key commands for programs? In Final Cut, the key commands have key commands nested in them. Look at the freakin’ keyboard, for pete’s sake.


I loved the class, don’t get me wrong, but I realized from this class that either you learn and use Final Cut, or you learn and use everything else. Ever. In the world. I paid attention so hard my brain got itchy. I kind of glad I don’t have a Mac at home, because otherwise I would have gone out and spend the $1,200 or whatever to buy Final Cut Pro and then I never would have left my apartment ever, ever again. I’m already a bit of a homebody, so that would be the final straw.*

So I saw The Reader about two weeks ago. SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS. It’s a good movie and perfect for the Oscars: depressing, moody, lots of meaningful nudity, etc. It’s no shocker it won a bunch of golden guys. However, I have some basic problems with the film. I appreciate that Michael (the lead) can’t separate himself from Hanna (played by Kate Winslet), even when he finds out that she was an Auschwitz guard. Fine, we’re different people. But the whole thing in the movie is that Hanna is ashamed of the fact that she can’t read, and she would rather take the rap for a crime she didn’t commit and get a life sentence than be “outed” as illiterate. Whoooooo. Now, I assumed she had dyslexia or some learning disability, but near the end of the movie, she teaches herself to read and there’s nothing wrong with her. So I cannot understand why, when Hanna was younger, she didn’t go to a bookstore, tell the clerk she needed some children’s books for a friend with a baby, take them home and then teach herself to read. Her whole life went into the crapper because she couldn’t get around to finding out twenty-six little rinky-dink characters and their relationship to each other. I want to sit down with a bunch of people who think this movie is the greatest thing ever and ask them this. It… it seems so basic a question. Did anyone else see this film? Will they answer this question for me?

* My co-workers are perpetually shocked when I leave my house. I compare myself to a goblin who lives under a bridge, who comes out at night to eat children and steal your gold coins and take that sock you can never find to make a matching pair. But that’s giving myself too much credit. Goblins are more social than I will ever be.

Spider painting.

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

I made a painting of a spider for my mom. It looked like this:


And then I brought it to work at BBDO to scan it and in the process I misplaced it. I have no freakin’ clue where it went. I’ve finally gotten around to repainting it. Since I have a tendency to draw things straight on or in profile because it’s easier. I decided to challenge myself and do this in three-quarters’ view. The new spider painting looks like this:


The colors are kind of off in this scanned image, it’s a more beige-y color and softer-looking, but it’s fairly close. I’m still unsure about painting it darker elements to enhance the look or just leaving it alone. I’m going to let it breathe for a week or so and then see how I feel.

Addendum on March 9: I took a photograph of the spider in more natural light, and I think it came out much better. I’m going to leave it alone.