Wouldn't it be great if you could send a bill to people who waste your time? I mean, if time truly is money, then shouldn't I get paid when forced to interact with some dumbass who steals away minutes I could have spent doing something more important?
I think about this often when dealing with airlines, phone companies, technical support, and other organizations that seem to excel at pissing away my valuable time. Yesterday, as I was trying to make my way home, I had more than my fair share of it. In fact, I think I should have netted out around $1000 in dumbass-billable hours.
But it's not all bad news, while trying to catch up with work today, I've been watching all the TiVo-ed television shows I missed last week. Alias, which has been taking a nose-dive as of late, finally managed to churn out a decent show (with Lena Olin, no less!). Lost was kind of an interesting stop-gap until this week's season finale (which looks incredible). Grey's Anatomy was brilliant as always. The Tarantino-directed CSI did not disappoint and was suitably disturbing (I never thought George Eads had it in him). And even The O.C. was unexpectedly entertaining. Good television is so rare, I feel like I've entered some kind of alternate dimension or something.
In other news, I've decided to host my own talk show...
My first guests will be Elizabeth Hurley, Batman, Paris Hilton, and (time permitting) President George W. Bush. I'm thinking there will also be a segment for "Stupid Jared Tricks" where I make Jared (from the dumbass Subway commercials) jump in a tank with hungry sharks and other cool stuff.
If Tony Danza can do it, how hard can it be?
Most people who visit my blog and have something to say about it leave comments. But a lot of people send emails as well, even those who leave comments, and I never know what's going to bring it on. Usually I have to do something people consider to be bad taste (like setting a clown's ass on fire) or say something controversial (though I am still trying to figure out how wanting people to be happy is controversial), but I just never know. This morning the emails were about my entry from last night about wanting my own talk show...
"Are you serious about that??? A DAve cartoon show would be so cute!!!"
Errr... yes... I am quite serious. I'm serious about trying it, anyway. You see, I love the idea of podcasts, but I would completely suck at it (like most people do). And every time I run across a fantastic podcast, my jealousy soars. The one who is most responsible for my jealousy is Mr. Jerz. All he does is ramble on about stuff that's on his mind, but he's really, really good at it. Unlike Jerz, who actually has a "radio voice," I most definitely do not. I am going to need something to make me interesting. But all I know how to do is draw goofy cartoons, so that's what it's going to have to be.
The problem is that animation is (in the immortal words of Dubbuya) hard work. For instance, just to lip-sync with the audio is a massive chore. I spent days analyzing Wallace and Gromit cartoons, and spent close to six hours drawing the mouths necessary to create convincing speech...
The idea is to emulate South Park (which I worship). They have jerky, crappy animation... but the mouths are always perfectly in sync, so they can get away with it. Since I'm doing a talk show, I figure that the mouths have to be perfect, and I wouldn't worry about the rest. I thought it would be easy, but it absolutely is not. This is some difficult shit right here. There are "sets" to be built, scripts to write, storyboards to draw up... you'd be surprised at how many hours fly by on the simplest of things.
So, the bad news is that it is going to take a long while before I can actually post the first edition of Dave's Bad-Ass Blogography Show. There is a scary amount of work left to be done (and, if anybody is interested, I'll keep you apprised of my progress). The good news is that I think it will be friggin' sweet once it has been completed! Not only can my cartoon persona do things that I could never do in real life (yes, he packs a gun and is NOT afraid to use it), I really can have guests like Elizabeth Hurley and Paris Hilton on my show!
I sure hope that it gets easier after the first episode (blogisode?) though.
Since I've been back, every day is busier than the day before. I suppose that this means tomorrow will be the worst day ever. I'd stay home and hide in bed, but then I'd just get further behind in my work. It's at a time like this that I have to ask myself "what would Britney Spears do?" In channeling my inner white-trash self, I've come to the conclusion that I should wake up extra early so that I can have a half-rack of beer before heading out. The only question being whether I shower before or after I crack open that first can?
The answer of course is "both" AND "during."
Naturally, the more work I have, the less time I have to goof around animating Dave's Bad-Ass Blogography Show. But I did manage to upgrade my copy of the most excellent "Toon Boom Studio" (the cartoon-making software I use) and also work out the second segment of the show. Since Elizabeth Hurley and Dubbya are guests, I'm faced with having to draw caricatures. Not something I'm especially good at...
Drawing President Bush was easier than I thought though. You just take one of those freaky Troll Dolls and add beady little eyes. I'm not sure whether people will recognize him as Dubbya, but I wanted him more "cute" than "scary" so I guess it will have to do.
Waah! I'm tired and I don't wanna blog today! Keep that in mind as you try to make your way through my senseless ramblings in this entry, as there will be no proofreading.
Of course, that makes this no different than any other entry I've ever written, but still.
Work on "Dave's Bad-Ass Blogography Show" continues, but is not going as smoothly as I had hoped. Perhaps I am getting in way over my head with this "tooncasting" idea, but it sure is a lot of fun trying to figure out how I am actually going to pull it off.
The latest hurdle is recording the audio. I needed some voice tracks in order to test out my lip-sync maps and see if they in any way resemble speech. I mean, it looks good in theory, but until I match it up with actual recorded words, there's just no telling.
So last night I actually sat down and did a read-through of a page from the first show's script and recorded it. I was shocked at just how bad it turned out. In fact, "bad" fails to adequately describe what I was hearing. Granted, I probably sound more like Michael Jackson than James Earl Jones, but even Michael would be a hundred-fold improvement from what I got. I tried to push some warmth into the tinny, scratchy audio using Garage Band (and eventually Soundtrack as well), but it was so inherently flawed as to be useless.
There was no way I was going to spend weeks animating a show if it were going to sound this horrible. The pay-off would not be worth it. For a moment, it seemed as though "Dave's Bad-Ass Blogography Show" was dead before it even started.
So this morning I made a phone call to a friend who has done radio work, thinking he might have some idea as to what I could do in order to get a more presentable recording.
Dave: I'm trying to get a voice recording into my computer and...
Matt: HOLY SHIT! ARE YOU GOING TO DO A PODCAST?!??
Dave: Errr, no. I want to animate a cartoon and need to record the voices.
Matt: You should podcast! That would rule!
Dave: Probably not. I think a "tooncast" is about the best I can hope for. But when I record the voices, it sounds terrible.
Matt: Please don't tell me you are trying to record with that shitty microphone in your PowerBook.
Dave: No. I'm using the microphone in my iSight camera.
Matt: Yeah, that's almost as bad. You need a professional mic. A good one will cost you about $500.
Matt: Uh huh. You'll also need a pre-amp and a mixer. There's another $500.
Matt: Sure. And you'll want a compressor, but that's only a couple hundred bucks.
Matt: Hey, if you don't want to sound like shit, you have to have this stuff.
Dave: WHAT?!?? I'm making an online cartoon... not Citizen Kane!!
Matt: Yeah, I know. I'm just kidding. You could probably get away with about $200-$250 in equipment and sound like a pro.
... and so it goes. Regardless of how you slice it, I was going to have to shell out some cash if I had any hope of having decent audio. Since Matt seems intent on suggesting gear that costs thousands of dollars, I decided to do some internet research instead. After a bit of digging, I found out that pretty much everything he told me was true: the bottom line is that it's a $150 investment, minimum.
Twenty minutes spent shopping at "Musician's Friend" and I am suddenly missing $210 and am poor again... even though today was payday.
This sucks ass!
I was not counting on having to spend anything more than my time to get this new hobby going. But every time I turn around, money is involved. Perhaps I should hit up some tobacco companies for sponsorship. Since they can't advertise on television anymore, maybe pushing deadly products is a lucrative financing option for me.
Oh well, I won't worry about any of that now. I'm just going to get to work and see what happens. If all-else fails, I'm acquiring enough equipment that I could start filming low-budget porn. As an up-side, I'm relatively sure that the scripts are much easier to write for stuff like that.
I finished the last episode from my News Radio DVD set, and then turned to watching Joss Whedon's Firefly. I never saw the show past those few episodes that aired before it was cancelled. But now that the big Serenity movie is coming out, I thought it was time to take a look.
Besides, I got the entire series on sale for a ridiculous $22.
And it's probably the best $22 I've ever spent on DVDs. A real pity that FOX decided to screw Joss (not to mention the fans) and cancel it, because everything about the show is brilliant... from the writing to the special effects. I wish they hadn't moved the film all the way to September.
And then I decided to play around with putting the set together for my tooncast (a Flash animation follows, but you probably have to be in a browser to see it?)...
Look! It's going to be in widescreen! I'm so totally HDTV-ready.
Of course, I need to finish the theme song and record the introduction before I can animate the opening of the show for real, but it was fun to goof around with it for a bit. I am particularly pleased with the multi-planing that goes on between the set and the photo of Seattle in the background. But the amazing thing is that the file is only a measly 120K. No audio or anything, but there's still a lot going on for such a small size. There's a logo now too...
There's probably not much else I can do until my new microphone, pre-amp, mixing board, and compressor arrives next week. I need audio before I can really get to work.
I've spent the last several hours attempting to organize my travel arrangements for the next two weeks. It's a good thing I did, because I forgot a rental car for Boston and a hotel in Hartford, Connecticut. Usually I don't make mistakes like this, but my overwhelming work schedule for the past several weeks made it easy to overlook things.
I just hope that I can get some sleep tonight so I can get up at 4am tomorrow morning. Argh. The good news is that if things go as planned, I'll accomplish a few nifty things next week:
Still trying to find time to work on Dave's Bad-Ass Blogography Show. I don't know why I thought this was going to be easy... because every step has been horrendously difficult. The animation alone takes hours for even the simplest things. I guess the good news is that once I get a sequence figured out, I can reuse the movements in other shows. I'm hoping this means that future episodes will come together much faster than this one.
Another major challenge is getting the cartoon likenesses for my guests to look even remotely like the actual people they're supposed to represent. I killed an hour story-boarding the sequence where that freak Jared (from those idiotic Subways commercials) appears. The segment requires building two additional sets and some challenging props, but I think it will be worth it...
I can't decide if Jared's appearance on the show is funny or cruel, but I don't really care. It's not my fault he makes those stupid-ass commercials which are so grossly misleading people. What an annoying, sack-licking Subway whore.
Since I am only home for a day to clear off my desk at work and grab some clean clothes, there's not much time for anything else. I pretty much had two goals outside of that: 1) Set up my "recording studio" and 2) Catch up on my TiVo.
Setting up audio recording on the computer-side of things was as simple as I had thought it would be (hey, it's a Macintosh). But since I am a complete novice at this type of stuff, the hardware was a bit more difficult. First I had to figure out how to get it all connected. Then I had to play with all the various dials and switches to try and figure out what they do (the documentation was surprisingly sparse). And then I had to learn the software and experiment with the hundreds of filters and effects to see what works. In then end, this is what I'm working with...
My initial efforts sound a hundred times better than what I was getting before I bought the proper equipment. The recorded sound is much, much warmer and pleasing to listen to (even if it is me). But all is not perfect. The microphone is very sensitive to even the slightest ambient noise... the whir of the hard drive... the click of the mouse... everything is recorded. Some of this can be filtered out, but not all of it. Adjusting the gain doesn't seem to help. Before I can get serious, I'm going to have to either find a quieter spot or figure out a way to lessen the distracting noises.
Then it's time to start animating the tooncast.
Catching up on TiVo was far easier, because there's very little new stuff on TV. About the only thing to see was INXS: Rock Star and The Family Guy. Both were fairly entertaining (though I thought Wil was more talented than some of the other INXS wannabes, and shouldn't have been voted out so quickly). But it was The Family Guy which blew me away. The show is famous for pop culture homages and quirky parody, but their use of a-ha's Take on Me video was pure genius. Chris goes to get a carton of milk when a strangely familiar hand reaches out to him...
So much left to do before I fly out again...
Why did the rat cross the road?
I don't know, and apparently neither did he.
On the way home from work today, I had to slam on the brakes because a rat ran out in front of my car from the opposite side of the road. He got all the way across, took a look around, then turned around and ran right back to where he started. Perhaps he thought that things would be better over on the other side, and finally worked up the courage to run across... then found out that the other side of the street wasn't all he had hoped it would be.
I'm sure there's a lesson in there somewhere. Hopefully it involves looking both ways before crossing the street, because that rat very nearly became road kill.
Speaking of rats, I am fearing that the guest list may be slightly altered for Dave's Bad-Ass Blogography Show (whenever I get around to working on it again)...
I'll keep you posted.
Elsewhere in the blogosphere, SJ is forever coming up with cool list ideas for "Chronic Listaholic," but her current list idea is so cool that I'm going to steal it:
Ten Phrases I Hope To Say Someday...
Hmmm... I had a rant ready for today, but I want a slice of chocolate cake now. Maybe tomorrow.
I am a huge fan of animation and have done my fair share of goofing around using both traditional hand-drawn and 3-D computer techniques. The problem is that animation is hard to do well, so I usually get frustrated and give up. Still, it's proven to be valuable experience, because it has made me better at story-boarding and character design (which is work I really enjoy).
Recently I've fallen in love with the idea of making my own animations again, and have decided to see what I can do with the hefty DaveToon library I've accumulated from my blog over the past couple of years. At first I was going to do everything in 3-D, but that quickly fell through because the 2-D nature of my simple drawings didn't look very good when translated. So now I've been messing around with 2-D cell animation and find that it isn't much easier. The characters were never intended to be animated when I first created them, so everything looks a little strange when I attempt it.
But, after a drawing up a few dozen pages of movement animatics and character structure, I'm getting much closer to being able to make DaveToons come to life. Here's a page showing the frames of a simple head-turn...
And here's an attempt at restructuring Bad Monkey for movement...
At this point I still don't know if it's going to work. Hopefully I'll get it figured out after another two dozen pages.
Fortunately, Steve Job's keynote speech at Apple's World Wide Developer's Conference didn't result in me going bankrupt. No widescreen Video iPod. No super-cool iPhone. No iPod Car Stereo. Just the release of the impressive new Mac Pro machines and a peek at the X-Serve server specs. This really makes sense, because consumer devices like iPods and iPhones don't really belong at a software developer's conference anyway.
The highlight of the keynote was, of course, a sneak peak at the next version of the MacOS X operating system, code-named Leopard. Steve was very clear that they would only be showing a few of the features that they have planned, because they need to have a few surprises left in store for the product launch.
If THIS is the cool stuff that they are willing to show us, then heaven only knows what else they're going to pack into the OS when it ships next Spring! Once again Apple totally blows by Microsoft Windows, which is still trying to copy the previous version of the MacOS with their ever-delayed "Windows Vista" OS (which, in my mind, is rip-off because it's mostly a bunch of security fixes that SHOULD have been put in Windows XP). Why anybody would still want to cling to that lamer imitation is a complete mystery to me. Every single time I am forced to use my Windows PC, it's like stepping back in time... even when I am using the "Windows Vista" beta. Apple revolutionizes their OS nearly every year, whereas Windows just continues to lag behind and stagnate. "Vista" ain't going to change that, because paying for a bunch of security fixes and an outdated GUI simply isn't worth it. I can't help but wonder how many people will switch to the Mac after seeing what a total disappointment "Vista" is turning out to be when compared to how rippin' cool Leopard is.
All I can say is that I am amazed at the new "Time Machine" and "Core Animation" tech built-in to the new MacOS, and am thrilled that virtual desktops will finally be built-in as well. Everything else is just beautiful gravy, and I can't wait to see what else we're going to get with MacOS X v10.5!
For as long as I can remember, I've been in love with animation. When done well, it's an art-form that's in a class all its own. The problem is that creating good animation is incredibly difficult. Every second of the project takes anywhere from 8 to 24 drawings, and each of those drawing "frames" has to transition perfectly from one to the next in order to look smooth and natural.
Sure there are computer programs that can help with some of that, but there are certain kinds of movement which look best when hand-animated, and there are no shortcuts that will give you good results. When I decided to create a monthly animated cartoon program called "Dave's Bad-Ass Blogography Show," I did not know this. I thought I could create a few simple images, shove them into the computer, and have perfect animation pop out. Sadly, this was not at all the case, and it will be a while before I have time to devote to a show like that.
In the meanwhile, I still have an overwhelming desire to create a cartoon of my own.
So I decided to animate a short music video. Nothing fancy, just a simple exercise to find out what it takes to have Lil' Dave and Bad Monkey running around doing crazy stuff for 3-1/2 minutes. As of today, I have been putting in two hours every night for over a week and have completed a total of 10 seconds. It would appear that even a simple music video is exceedingly time consuming and difficult.
I don't plan on posting any footage I've created until the project is done, but I do have a couple test shots I worked on a few months ago while I was story-boarding. The very first thing I animated was a jumping monkey (which I used here). After that, I wanted to do something more complicated and created a disco monkey...
He's not bad, but his left arm has some freaky jumps going on and his right hand needs to be doing something. A month after that, I was tired of monkeys and had moved on to something a bit trickier (which is here).
About a week after that, I worked on a "raise the roof" move for Lil' Dave...
This was the first piece of footage that I was fairly happy with, and the first bit to actually end up in the video (all two seconds of it). It's only eight frames, but took three hours to finish.
Tonight I plan to take a break from the tedium of animating characters and work on backgrounds. The video has eighteen locations (so far) and every one of theme needs to be drawn. I have no idea how long that's going to take.
Why couldn't I be obsessed with something easy?
I'm not a very good blogger because I don't really write for an audience. When I sit down to create my daily entry, I just hammer out whatever pops into my head and don't really think about whether or not people will want to read it. The fact that anybody ever does is a source of constant amazement to me. That's why I never know how to feel on those rare occasions when somebody feels the need to tell me what I should or shouldn't be writing here.
Because, well, seriously... it's not like anybody is paying me for this. I'll write what I want to... even if it means there will be a periodic entry about wiping my ass or some other strange crap.
But I got a curious half-dozen emails asking me how I was creating my animation, and wanting to know everything from what tools I draw with to how I come up with my ideas. Rather than keep answering each one separately, I decided to just go ahead and answer them all at once in an extended entry. In addition, I'll post an occasional sketch, storyboard graphic, or frame of animation as a teaser for what I'm up to. It's not something I had planned on (because I don't want to spoil the surprise) but it's kind of nice to have some feedback every once in a while.
So, if this kind of stuff interests you, by all means carry on reading. Otherwise, tomorrow I'll be back whining about something else.→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
w00t! VERONICA MARS SEASON THREE HAS BEEN EXTENDED FROM 13 to 20 EPISODES! That's two less than a "regular" season, but far better than not being extended at all. Now if only they would offer the episode for sale at the iTunes Music Store.
I hit a major snag in animating my music video last night. I was playing test footage and suddenly realized that I was very unhappy with the composition of the clips. The characters are all kind of short, so I always ended up having to zoom way into the scene in order to avoid having big gaps at the top and bottom of the frame. This has everything looking claustrophobic and makes Lil' Dave's world seem so small...
This is very bad, because there's no way to center in on the action when the entire screen is moving. At first I was just going to reduce all the elements by 85%, but that was even worse. The action was just a blob in the middle of the screen.
It was then that I decided to just bite the bullet and recompose every shot in HiDef...
Suddenly all of my problems disappeared. Not only that, but widescreen allows so many more interesting options for scene composition... clips that were kind of boring and hard to follow actually end up looking interesting. The bad news is that all the work I've done so far has to be thrown out, recomposed, and partially re-animated. This was upsetting at first but, after I realized it was an opportunity to make things better, I was okay with it.
Except for the jungle scene. The thought of having to go back and re-draw those backgrounds fills me with dread. Just one of them took five hours, and now they're twice as big.
Argh. When did having fun become work?
It's a Bullet Sunday Holiday! Well, not really... I'm still catching up on piles and piles of work over Memorial Day weekend. But at least it's quiet.
• DaveToons. While I was on vacation, I worked on one of the many animated sequences for my video. I'm guessing that I'm about 25%-30% finished now. The cool thing about the project is that I am trying really hard to put Lil' Dave and Bad Monkey in places and situations I've never drawn before. It helps to keep things interesting to me so I don't get bored. Outer-space seemed to be a natural, but since I had already done Star Wars and Star Trek stuff before, I decided to take a more "reality-based" approach this time, choosing instead to make them astronaut heroes...
• Robin. One of my favorite Disney toons when I was a kid was Robin Hood. Growing up, I continued to enjoy the character, and was glad that there were plenty of books and movies to explore. Unfortunately, the movies were dated and crappy, but in the mid-80's there was a British television series called Robin of Sherwood which is probably the best interpretation of the character I've ever seen (even when Jason Connery took over for the amazing Michael Praed after series two). The show was tough and gritty, filled with brilliant acting and an almost spiritual reverence for the characters.I've re-watched the episodes many times, and purchased the DVD set a while back. Then in 1991 disaster struck. The Kevin Costner movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was unleashed. This steaming pile of shit was beyond bad, and killed Robin to me for years. Flash forward a decade-and-a-half, and the BBC has taken another stab at Robin Hood with a 13-episode series which has also been airing on BBC America. This time they've attempted to modernize the story a bit, with mixed results...
On one hand, they did try to do away with Robin as some kind of poser prancing through the forest in tights and blow-dry hair. This Robin is a mangy scavenger which seems more realistic to me. In addition, they've done a fairly good job of casting the roles, and have filmed the show beautifully, with lush photography and some nice cinematography. Where the show falls flat is that it's a bit boring and drawn-out. Robin starts out as a kind of wimpy pacifist, and there's not a lot of action to be had. In the end I'd have to say I liked it okay, but it still pales in comparison to Robin of Sherwood, which is a real shame. It's my understanding that they have started filming a second series, so I can only hope that the show will improve as it moves forward... the world needs Robin Hood now more than ever.
• Fuzz. Finally got to see Hot Fuzz this weekend and absolutely loved it. Coming from the creators of the fantastic comedy-horror film Shaun of the Dead, this is a tongue-in-cheek look at all those quaint English countryside tele-dramas... but nicely blended with comedy, action, violence, and occasional gory situations. As if that wasn't enough, there's actually a really good mystery story to build upon, and all the acting is top-notch. Much of the humor and situations will be lost on American audiences, but I think that's why it's so amazing... they dumbed it down for nobody. Brilliant writer/star Simon Pegg was not afraid to start the film out slow, gradually building to a violent and action-packed finale that will have Shaun of the Dead fans cheering.
In the movie, London police officer Nicholas Angel is so good at his job that he's making everybody else on the force look bad. The solution? Ship him off to the boring English countryside where he won't have the opportunity to show up anybody. But things are never quite what they seem, even in the sleepy village of Sandford, where everybody has secrets and a shocking mystery is waiting to be uncovered. Five stars from me.
• Fascism. When I made my Blogography Political Sanity Chart last Wednesday, a couple of people asked why I didn't have Ann Coulter on it representing the Nut-Job Right. The reason is that such a hateful, fascist, moronic, lying bitch would throw off the entire balance, causing the chart to be completely messed up like this...
Ann Coulter goes beyond "dangerous" and skates right up to "total fucking destruction." Her never-ending parade of hate and lies is so horrendously bad for this country that the damage she's done is incalculable. She professes to love America, but preaches against everything this country stands for. She's nothing but a skanky whore that will say anything, anything... regardless of consequences... to sell her piece of shit books. The fact that people even listen to what she has to say is surely a sign of the Apocalypse. Ann Coulter is representative of everything that is wrong with the USA, and indicative of all we must triumph over before we can come together and start rebuilding the America we once were.
"I take the Biblical idea. God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees... God says, 'Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It's yours.'" — Ann Coulter (obviously living up to her really fucked-up interpretation of The Bible).
Ugh. Time to get back to work. And I had better think of washing clothes too, because my pile of dirty vacation clothes is starting to smell funny...
This is a pre-recorded episode of Blogography from Thursday, May 31.
I'm pretending it's Sunday so I can whip out some bullets that will post when the most magical day of the week appears!
• Health Food... Why is it every time I find a new food I like that I have to go looking at the Nutrition Facts, only to find out that eating it will kill me? The Schwan's Man had a brand new item called "Grilled Cheese Toastwiches," which have all the deliciousness of a grilled cheese sandwich, but without the back-breaking labor of having to put cheese between slices of bread and heating it up. Nope, with Grilled Cheese Toastwiches, you just pop them in the toaster! Sweet! At least they were, until I found out each piece has 25% of the daily amount of saturated fat you should eat in a day. This sucks ass! Especially since I've already had three pieces today. I guess that means I am 75% closer to death.
• Kaleidoscope Toons... Posting yet another couple of frames showing progress with my DaveToon video. This is another scene I worked on while I was on vacation. Much of the video has lots of animated elements, so I was trying to come up with some simpler scenes to break things up a bit. Believe it or not, these always end up taking far more time to animate than the ones with far more going on. I have no idea why...
In the final video, I had planned for the kaleidoscope background to have some kind of filter applied to it... possibly one that makes it look more "dreamy." But the more I look at the scene in motion, the more I question a need for a filter, because the bright colors are a nice contrast to the black suits. =Sigh= I can see that completing the animation for this project is going to be just the beginning...
• World Round... As I was updating my travel map to reflect my recent vacation, I noticed that my trip to Egypt means I can check another continent off my list. Granted, it's not a lot of Africa to have seen, but it still counts! That leaves just three continents left to see: South America, Australia, and... ANTARCTICA?!? South America and Australia will almost certainly happen one day, but Antarctica? Doing a little research, I find that it's not as difficult as I had first thought to visit, because there are tour ships that go there. All it takes is money. Lots of money. The good news is that it would be an automatic two-for-one trip, because all the tours leave from South America. The bad news is that the cost is also two-for-one... first you've got to spend the money to get to Cape Horn, then you've got the cost of the ship tour on top of it. Does anybody have around $15,000 burning a hole in their pocket to finance my Antarctic adventure?
• Members Project... American Express has unveiled "The Members Project," which is a program whereas cardholders can submit ideas for a prize up to five million dollars so they can make a positive impact on the world. It's actually a pretty cool idea, and they lined up some all-star talent to advertise it in a commercial. You get Martin Scorsese directing, who also appear in the spot along with Andre Agassi, Sheryl Crow, Ellen DeGeneres, Alicia Keys, and skateboarder Shaun White. The odd part is that the commercial is interrupted by a guy from "the office next door" who is named "Tim." This is the same guy that does the video introduction at the Members Project website...
"People fought wars just so we could eat pizza on the wrong night!" —Norris Michelsky
But here's the thing... "Tim" isn't just some random guy. I'm pretty sure it's actor David Alan Basche, who has been in a number of television and movie projects, including one of my favorite shows ever, Oh Grow Up! In many ways, this makes him a bigger star to me than any of the "big-name" stars in the commercial, which is why it cracked me up when I saw it. I also get mad that Oh Grow Up! hasn't been released on DVD, but that's beside the point.
• Cattlecar Galaxica... I was very disappointed to learn that, in addition to Veronica Mars being canceled, Battlestar Galactica is ending after the upcoming fourth season. If there's one piece of good news about it, the decision to end the show came directly from the producers. They saw that the story was heading to an ending, and decided to take it there rather than draw things out until nobody cared anymore. I sure hope that some decent shows arrive for the new Fall TV season... because if this keeps up, there won't be anything on for me to watch.
Well that wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be... I should pretend it's Sunday every day!
I managed to get most of my messed-up schedule repaired today. The worst part about it all is having to call and cancel out on people who were counting on me... and some things I was really looking forward to doing had to be given up. I'm trying to make the best of the situation, but sometimes it's hard to find an up-side.
Except when one of the things you're canceling is helping Bad Robert move his furniture out of storage. There's really no down-side to missing out on dragging heavy objects up two flights of stairs. Well, except Robert promised to buy me Taco Bell if I helped, and I love me the Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes (especially when somebody else is paying for them).
Of course, now that I think about it, my restrictive diet wouldn't allow me to have Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes in the first place! I'd be risking my life moving his furniture with no cheese-covered reward at the end! That hardly seems fair now, does it?
While I was backing up my hard drive this morning, I ran across a project that I had started a while back, but never had time to finish. The idea was to come up with some character "style sheets" for Lil' Dave and Bad Monkey, then hire a professional to create 3-D models of them for me. This is a lot harder than it sounds, because translating a 2-D cartoon into 3-D doesn't always work, and you need to find somebody who has a lot of experience doing it. On top of that, it's quite a challenge for me to visualize the characters having depth... I never put any thought of them existing that way while I was slapping them together years ago...
Ooh! Ooh! Reaper is on TV now! I hope that the lead character doesn't turn into a whiny little bitch like what happened with Chuck last night. Boy does that get old in a hurry.
The first time I became aware of Wayne Hall was when he left a rambling yet funny comment on an entry back in March of 2006. I think I might have made a token visit or two to his site after that, but didn't really check out his blog for reals until May of that same year. His comments were always so witty that I pretty much had to check out his blog.
So I went to The Blog of Whall, saw a joke that kinda offended me, then left. I figured that if this was indicative of what Wayne wrote about on his own site, that it probably wasn't for me. Life's too short and all that.
But eventually Whall kind of grew on me, so I finally got to a place where I could read his blog without screaming. I just tried to ignore his more political-oriented stuff and it was all good. After all, not only is Wayne highly entertaining, but he totally loves me, and was plugging Blogography all the time (like here and here and here). This showed that, despite his "whallitics," he at least had good taste in blogs.
Since that time Wayne has become a good friend because, even with our vast... mind-bogglingly vast... political differences, we're more alike than different, which is pretty much how I find people to be all over the world. So when Mr. Hall asked me to guest-post for him while he was on vacation, how could I refuse?
Go check out an all-new episode of The Blogography Show over at whall.org!
If you're interested in a little "behind-the-scenes" action on how the guest-post came together, I've put that in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...