Thursday, May 7, 2009

Woof. Been a while.

I'm ashamed to say I don't even really have a good reason for not blogging to this blog in so long. It's gotten a little blurry, what goes to the main blog and what goes here... and furthermore, I just haven't felt much like writing anything particularly deep. Either this means I've been too depressed, or just not depressed enough--probably depends on the day. At any rate, I'm not quite prepared to kill this blog yet, though I know that only approximately 2 people read it even when I am posting. I still need a place to vent and moan.

The bizarre event of the last week involves the death of a high school classmate--not one I'd kept in touch with, and not one I'd ever been particularly close to--unlike last year at this time, when Paul's death by overdose rocked my world rather a bit. But the thing is, when you go to a school of only a few hundred people, and it's a K-12, you're inevitably friends with everyone. There are cliques and anger and bad feelings and meanness--but there's not a lot of room for it to go very deeply. The cliquish girls in middle school were all the same people I'd been in girl scouts with for 6 years of grade school. The boys on the football team were also the boys in band/orchestra with me, who were also the boys I'd played kickball with on the playground in second grade. So really, I don't hold hard feelings about anyone in particular from school, and I was sorry to hear that he'd died.

What kind of got me thinking--and this happened with Paul as well--was when I started poking around Facebook after I'd heard he died, and I found his page. Facebook pages are this kind of strange limboesque thing. It's not a memorial to him; but until someone takes that facebook page down, he's still alive in a meta internet sense. You look at his profile, and it tells you all the things he IS doing--not WAS doing, but IS still doing, frozen in time until the page gets removed or edited. Which it may never be, if no one has his password. I presume Facebook has some way of dealing with removing pages of the deceased by request of the family... With Paul it was particularly disturbing, as I was able to read all of his recent blog posts on MySpace, particularly the ones about having beaten his heroin addiction and how excited he was to be starting his life over. Sucks to read something like that when you already know how the book ends, so to speak.

Anyway. It just struck me as an odd and unforeseen facet of the internet age, with its endless caches of pages and free social networking/hosting sites, that people will continue to have a sort of ghostly virtual existence for months or years after they auger on. Frankly, it kind of gives me the willies.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Wax Lion of One's Own

I just got round to checking this blog again (filled as I was with fear and loathing that some of those hardcore folks might follow me home from Jane's blog comments) and realized I'd left things on rather a downer note over here. So hey, September's here, the cat is on the mend, and my job is frustrating but tolerable. The toy company we're partnered with which rhymes with Eggo has been having some issues with our budget--namely, not enough of it is being spent on Eggo models. So for our next exhibit, they're requesting a guarantee of a certain amount being spent on Eggo, which may pretty much shoot all our ideas for using interesting technology for our interactivity. This makes me sad... But I am all about the trying to find ways to combine models with interactives. I'm trying to look at the whole thing as a spur for my creativity rather than an "Aw, crap, seriously??"

In other news, checking my sitemeter to see who the hell has been bothering to hit on this thing (so to speak) in the last month, I see that I am most commonly found by people who are trying to track down the wax lion from Wonderfalls. That is, of course, my moniker for a reason--I love the lion. He's a wise sage, and yet fantastically annoying, two things I aspire to in both my home and professional life. But if you're honestly looking for a wax lion of your very own, you need to find a Mold-a-Rama machine with the Standing Lion die, and pony up the $1.50 to get it. I got mine at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago; the lion Mold-a-Rama is right outside the exit to the dolphin building, and when I was there a year ago, it did indeed have orange wax loaded in for us big nerds. It won't be all smooshed and melty, mind you... but we can't all be defective.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Back and Forth

I haven't been posting much on this blog lately, obviously. I can't really say for sure whether it's that I've been in a good mood (this being the blog I channel the moodiness to, and when I'm feeling good I'm more likely to post to the main one) or whether it's actually that I've been mildly depressed on and off lately, but felt that blogging about it would be unproductive. Not that blogging is ever all that Productive to begin with, mind you!

I'm kind of suspicious it's the latter. I haven't really been rolling with the various punches all that well in the last couple months, and relatively little bitty stuff has been rocking my world a bit. Work today was good, I got to do some fun stuff... and yet there were some setbacks on a couple projects I'm working on, and I came home with a hefty dose of angry sitting somewhere in my midsection which has yet to fully wear off. Tomorrow, I suspect, will be much the same. But these things don't last forever, and the state fair is this week. There's nothing wrong with me that a corndog and a lemon shake-up won't cure...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

This Seems Like a Bad Start.

I'm in the airport, en route to England, and already we're under an "air traffic delay." I should have been on my way to Newark a half hour ago already, and instead I ponied up $8 for wi-fi and am sitting staring out the window at the plane I am not yet permitted to board. To add to the indignity, I really have to go to the bathroom but do not feel like packing up the laptop and hauling my two carry-ons up the concourse so as not to leave them unattended as targets for bomb sniffing dogs. Sigh.

Ironically, the plane's engine reads "Express Jet." Right now, I am expressly not jetting anywhere.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Returned from the Depths...

Howdy, folks. Been a while. The month of May was utterly hellish--started with death, ended with disease, and there was more fun in between. But I have bounced back with a flourish, more or less.

I was going to do some serious downer blogging about my friend who died, and I just never could make myself do it. I had so many thoughts swirling around in my brain, and just couldn't quite get them to gel--it had to do with friendship and the nature thereof, and how you sort out a person's true self from all the crud that can accrue over years of substance abuse. Was the Paul I knew more the "real" Paul than the one that the other 200 people at his funeral had come to know over the last 20 years? How do you separate out his growth as a person from all the messed-up-shit that came from too much acid and heroin? I couldn't come to a satisfactory answer, and thinking about it just made me sad.

However, I'd been mulling over another post that I think turns out to be in some ways related. I've been reading Spandau, which is a diary account of life inside Spandau prison by Hitler's architect, Albert Speer. I've always been troubled by the question of how Hitler's Reich came about--how someone who (to modern American eyes) seems so un-charismatic, and so obviously on the brink of madness, could have persuaded an entire nation of people to embark upon a war of aggression against the entirety of Europe. Not every German who joined the National Socialists was made of pure evil (my mother's opinions of the German nation to the contrary.) So what are we to make of someone like Speer, who seems in so many ways to be an intelligent, thoughtful, and entirely normal man--and yet played a key part in the most monstrous genocidal act in history? Speer was the only one of Hitler's close associates to admit his culpability at Nuremburg, though he denied having had direct knowledge of the death camps. Of course that probably wasn't true--it's hard to imagine that he wouldn't have, and there's some evidence to the contrary. But what interests me more about Spandau is Speer's own musings--he had 20 years to think about it--on why he did what he did, and whether Speer-the-architect-of-the-Reich was the true Albert Speer. Was he a different person before he met Hitler? And did admitting guilt and taking punishment for the acts committed on Hitler's orders absolve him at all? It's interesting, and I've been thinking about it a lot. (Had plenty of time for thinking and reading while I was sick... bleh.) Anyway, hopefully back to a more regular posting schedule now--and hopefully less depressing posts!

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Week of Glorious Triumph

This week at work consisted of prep for big meetings, then three solid days of said big meetings with our exhibit partner whose name is similar to "Eggo," only their product is small plastic interlocking bricks rather than fortified breakfast waffles. It went really well. I think we showed them a good time, and our upcoming exhibit looks to be nothing short of fantastic. We may have the opportunity to create further exhibits with their toys if this one pans out, including a hot movie property whose name rhymes with "Bar Floors."

Honestly, I probably could be a lot more forthright about who we're working with, but it's way more entertaining to make up code words. Or maybe I'm just still giddy at the thought of one of my exhibit proposal documents being read by someone at Mucousfilm....

Saturday, March 29, 2008


I woke up with a sinus headache this morning, which was awesometastically wonderful--it took me more than 2 hours to shake it and become the shining example of productivity that I normally am on weekend mornings. My excitement/obsession for the week unfortunately requires me to spend a lot of time staring at my computer screen, which doesn't mesh well with sinus headache for me. (I'm always inclined to call these things migraines, though I don't technically think that's what they are. They start as a sinus issue, but then they're worsened by visual stimulus like bright light or rapid eye movements--so maybe they're si-graines? or migruses? Anyway... whatever. Better now.)

The new fascination is with a fantastically expensive piece of animation software called "Toonboom Studio," which I discovered earlier this week. I downloaded the free 30 day trial version on my Mac, but the learning curve on it is rather steep and I fear most of the 30 days will be spent trying to figure out how the hell it works. (Much like Adobe Illustrator in this respect--I know full well that me using Adobe Illustrator is like your grandma taking her Lamborghini Reventon to the grocery store and back.) The problem is that 90% of its amazing features pertain to 3-D digital animation, and I'm interested primarily in 2-D. I know Flash is the starting place for most people with this, but my understanding is that Flash is primarily designed for people doing simple web animations and is a bit clunky for "real" (ie, film style) animation. I'm working my way through the Toonboom Studio tutorial, but I've already run into the hurdle that I do not own a Wacom tablet and have no intention of buying one. I'm just using my touchpad mouse to get through the tutorials. So the part where they say "trace over this figure" ends up looking like a deranged chimpanzee got hold of the Wacom stylus. But I'm hoping that working through the tutorials anyway will give me a handle of how basic features work, and I can apply them to imported 2-D pen and ink drawings which is what I had in mind in the first place. There's actually a stripped down "express" version of Toonboom Studio which is much cheaper, and I bet the features I'd lose by not buying the $350 version are the ones I'd not use anyway. But we'll see. I'm still looking for other 2-D programs to download and fiddle with.

When I finish a full 5 seconds of animation, I will post it here for you loyal readers and you can marvel at my drawin' skillz...