Archive for the ‘animation’ Category

It’s time to come clean   Leave a comment

One of the most unique aspects of humanity is our ability to talk. Almost all lifeforms above the ocean are capable of making some sort of sound, but humanity’s sounds are more complex, and are able to broach a much wider variety of topics. Cornelius, for instance, is only able to communicate two things:

1) I want food
2) You are making me into food

When James picks up Cornelius’ two front legs and makes him dance, Cornelius feels as if he is a larger predator who is merely playing with him before being eaten. So as soon as James drops Cornelius’ legs, Cornelius runs away. James, for all his humanity, cannot communicate to Cornelius that he’s playing for the simple act of playing.

And yet in the wild, cats don’t really meow past kittenhood. Yet Cornelius meows to us all the time, to say that he’s hungry, or to say that he’s annoyed, or to say that he’s hungry, or to say that he’s pleased that we’ve woken up so that we can feed him, or to say that he’s pleased that we’re home, because humans tend to feed Cornelius as soon as they come home. Feed him. He’s adorable. Feed the adorable kitty.

Part of the reason humans are able to get across more complex ideas than “food now” is because our breathing and our swallowing tubes are connected. A simple flap covers our breathing tubes while we swallow. But humanity developed this eons ago. We slowly develop, from an early age, the instinct to hold our breath while we chew and swallow, so as to protect our basic breathing.

Except me, apparently. In February 2015 Lacey and I went to celebrate our birthday at E Street Cinema’s Oscar Shorts marathon. As we headed out of town, we started making fun of President Obama. Lacey did a fantastic imitation of Obama’s stuttering, as I questioned his choice of flag-themed boxer shorts. She said something that make me laugh right as I swallowed some water, and then I nearly choked to death, and threw up twice all over my winter coat, and Lacey drove me straight to the hospital because I was going to die right there on our 28th birthday.

As far as I’m aware that didn’t happen, although who knows? A month later James proposed and then a little after that I got a full-time job with a company I love working for.

This morning I was watching Gravity Falls and drinking my usual morning coffee. I’m on the episode The Love God, which is not the strongest episode but certainly has a really good opening. Mabel discovers that Wendy’s ex-boyfriend, Robbie, is not getting over the break-up very well, so she takes it upon herself to find him a new girlfriend. She visits his house and meets his parents, the world’s most cheerful funeral directors.

mr and mrs valentino

They ask Mabel to bring Robbie his lunch, a plate of spaghetti that uses the meatballs and the sauce to make a smiley face.

lady i like your style

“Lady, I like your style,” says Mabel. Then she goes upstairs.

“You know who would look good in a sweater like that?” asks Mrs. Valentino after Mabel leaves. “Mrs. Grabbelson’s remains!”

Mr. Valentino laughs. “Oh, absolutely!”

We are then treated to a montage of Robbie growing up.

robbie 1

robbie 2

robbie 3

At that last picture, the overdramatic angst of 15-year-old Robbie combined with the random idea that what if Robbie and Mabel got married caused me to laugh right as I was taking a sip of coffee, and some water started going down the wrong pipe and, in a desperate attempt to not die, I threw up all over the carpet in our half-bath (and in the sink, but throwing up on the carpet sounds more dramatic and I will always go with the more dramatic-sounding option in the narrative of my life).

Obviously I did not die, as far as I’m aware, but I’m kind of left feeling embarrassed. That’s twice in 18 months where I’ve nearly choked to death. Liquid keeps going down the wrong pipe. A basic human function is the ability to put liquid down one pipe and air down the other, and yet somehow I keep failing.

Advertisements

~killing it~   3 comments

So as few of you know (actually, probably none of you) I am a recovering television addict. I was hoping there was a more formal phrase, like “teleholic” or something, but alas, according to Wikipedia, no. It’s just Television Addiction.

Anyway, my poison in my teleholic days was crime shows. If they investigated murders, I was All About It. CSI (but only the Las Vegas one), Law & Order, Without a Trace, NCIS. There’s entire networks dedicated to investigative journalism. Real life crime! I probably babysat for way longer into adolescence than I intended to just so I could watch crime TV after the kids went to bed.

At some point I realized that all this television was no good for me. No good. I still struggle with it. I can’t ignore TV that’s playing in restaurants and if I’m at someone’s house and they turn the TV on, I have to go into another room or I’ll be sucked in. Internet addiction might have replaced Television Addiction. Might have. I’m not sure.

Some of the old TV shows are still on, but there’s new ones. Without a Trace went away. It seems to have been replaced by Criminal Minds. From what little I know, it’s about criminal investigators for the FBI who specialize in serial killers. They take the killer’s MO and guess what the killer’s mind is like, and use that information to find the killer. In real life, while there are criminal profilers who do federal investigations, they’re not a specialized team. They’re like consultants, who are brought in to assist in difficult cases sometimes. And honestly, experiments have proven that despite their training, they’re no better than the general population at profiling criminals.

So I was taking my lunch break at work, and Criminal Minds was on. I sat behind the TV and tried to focus on my word puzzle, but no. This show kept beating my ears. With its dramatic music and dramatic one-liners. They found out that one of the killers had bought a double soy latte and for some reason they magically knew that this double soy latte was relevant, so one of the women said, “You know, I suddenly have a craving for a double soy latte.”

Like this dude:

He kinda looks like a poor man’s Cillian Murphy. I thought I recognized him from something, but I looked on his IMDB profile and, like, he’s been in a Wes Anderson film and he was in 500 Days of Summer. He’s also the current voice of Simon from Alvin and the Chipmunks. And other than that, this is his big role. So he’s just…one of those dudes who’s mildly successful in Hollywood, I guess. Just another character actor.

Lord he’s skinny. You can’t tell from this particular picture, but he is a stick.

Anyway, part of the reason I knew this show was ridiculous was because they go to the coffee shop where this Plot Relevant Latte was purchased. They showed the owner(?) of the shop pictures of the victims, but none of their faces really stick out to him. Then they notice that one of the bulk travel boxes is actually a camera and asked if he was recording them. The owner(?) seemed ashamed of the camera. He stuttered that it was just to watch the cash drawer — okay fine it was to watch his coworkers…

Like?

Everyone knows that there’s cameras everywhere in a retail environment? Especially at the registers? Like it’s standard procedure? Has been for decades? The cameras are there to catch the criminals? If this man is really a coffeeshop owner or manager or whatever, this shouldn’t be an embarrassing fact, it should be something he’s always had to deal with. As criminal investigators, they should know this. They should have asked about the security footage. They had the date and time that the Plot Relevant Latte was purchased. After showing him the faces, their next question should have been something like, “So can we see your security footage from April 17th?”

And the writers should know this too! Looking at the security footage is practically cliche!

And the footage was in High Definition, and it was in color. They even did the thing where they zoomed in on the footage and it started out blurry, but then it suddenly snapped into clear focus to show the tiny detail needed to continue the plot. (here is a comic explaining what I’m talking about — it’s too big to post here, being 4250 pixels tall)

And then Discount Cillian Murphy was brought in, with giant nerd glasses and a sweatervest,


OH MY GOD I FOUND A PICTURE OF HOW STUPID IT WAS

And apparently this HD color security footage could be played at whatever speed you wanted, so he watched it at THE FASTEST SPEED.

The owner of the coffeeshop was like, “Are you sure? No mortal man can handle footage that fast!”

The black FBI investigator standing in the shadows laughed. “You don’t understand. Tell him. Tell him you read War and Peace!”

“Again!” said Discount Cillian Murphy. “In the original Russian!”

“This is relevant and a normal thing for nerds,” said the coffeeshop owner. Thus convinced, the coffeeshop owner played the entirety of April 17th for Discount Cillian Murphy.

There were many dramatic close-ups of his eye.

Discount Cillian Murphy babbled something about speed-reading while staring at the screen. Then he found the next plot nugget and the story continued.

Loaded with the information from the Plot Relevant Latte and the thing about the nurse’s nametag that Discount Cillian Murphy found, Our Hero Greg from Dharma and Greg called up the next magical nerd.

Her IMDB describes this character as “bespectacled-brainiac-tech-kitten” which is a weird bunch of a words, but certainly they are four words strung together, which is nice. Also, this character is played by an actress named Kirsten Vangsness, but the character’s name is Penelope Garcia.


To be fair, they did nail the tumblr-hipster look, but a) she’s like 40* and therefore wouldn’t dress like a college student b) actually that’s really my only problem with the way she looks c) wait I remember now — they’ve always had her dress this way for the 10 years this show has been on, which means that this look was meant to look stupid and nerdy and they failed completely, what the heck people

Greg calls up Tech Kitten and this is my other big issue with this show. You see, it was Tech Kitten who found the Plot Relevant Latte. She called up the main team, or they called her up, it doesn’t really matter. A phone call was made. She said, “[the victim] bought a Double Soy Latte at Not Starbucks on April 17th.”

-An FBI Hacker
-Has Easy Access
-To Financial Records

Except these can’t be financial records, because financial records wouldn’t say “Double Soy Latte”. Financial Records would say April 17th, Not Starbucks, $4.78. But remember the quip from the female FBI investigator above — Tech Kitten specifically said “Double Soy Latte”, causing the quip.

They ask, for some unknown reason, if this coffeeshop is near a university?

“It is,” says Tech Kitten.

Our Hero Greg says that the University isn’t relevant, because our killer lacks any academic thinking (?????)

Is the university near a hospital?

“There’s a hospital tied to the university,” says Tech Kitten.

Don’t…don’t they live in this city? Shouldn’t they know that there’s a hospital tied to the university? According to IMDB, this show takes place in Quantico, VA, which lacks a university, so maybe they’re telecommunicating with the local police. Except Black FBI Guy, Discount Cillian Murphy, and Brunette FBI Chick all went to the coffeeshop in person. So like, in a world where Magical FBI Hacker knows that you bought a Double Soy Latte, the FBI’s greatest criminal investigators don’t know that there’s a hospital tied to the local university?

And then

Then

Ho boy

then

They ask if there’s any patients at that hospital who have been declared terminal in the last month.

Tech Kitten presses some buttons. I will admit that the button-pressing was not button-mashing, which is how NCIS portrays hacking.

The typing depicted actually seemed to have some sort of purpose. She appeared to make the computer do some sort of task. She didn’t use her mouse, and there was surprisingly little actual typing. Perhaps she already had this list prepared. I don’t know why she would have this list prepared. I’m about 109% certain that having this sort of list is 64 kinds of illegal and violates doctor-patient privacy.

“There are 300 patients who have been declared terminal in the last month,” says Tech Kitten.

“Do any of them match the Other Plot Relevant List?”

The sixth one on the list did. She scrolled right over his name, bringing up a picture and little bio on him.

I wish I could remember what the other Plot Relevant List was. It didn’t bother me as much as the list of patients declared terminal, so it didn’t stick out in my mind. But it also seemed weird that the FBI would have that list on-hand. It also seemed weird that the data was so accessible. You would think it would take a while to compare the two lists. But she just had two windows open and magically scrolled to the correct one. You would think some of this information would require warrants to get. But no, Tech Kitten just c&pd and hacked her way through our privacy laws.

In case you’re wondering, the killer was Kevin from The Office.

Posted June 8, 2016 by agentksilver in animation

Tagged with , ,

Eugene Fitzherbert   Leave a comment

So there’s this assumption on tumblr that this guy–

–Is the son of these two–

Only one problem though. Road to El Dorado pretty clearly takes place in–

Now, Tangled is a lot less specific about its setting, but there are clues. The biggest clue is this one:

Mozart wasn’t even born until 1756, 237 years after the events of Road to El Dorado. Mozart was a child performer, yes, and began composing tunes at 5, according to his sister Nannerl; his first well-remembered compositions weren’t even produced until 1770. Normally, I wouldn’t rule out time travel for Miguel and Tulio. However, there is another small detail:

The fitz- prefix was invented in the 11th century; it just means “son of”. Bernard Fitzgerald is literally Gerald’s son, Bernard. Kind of like Sasha Ivanof is Ivan’s son Sasha, or Said ibn Muhammed ibn Asif al-Fulan is Muhammed’s son Said. By the 18th century, however, fitz- referred almost exclusively to illegitimate, bastard, or natural sons of the gentry. Eugene’s name literally means “Lord Herbert’s bastard son Eugene.”

This fits with Eugene growing up in an orphanage (abandoned) and becoming a thief whose exploits were so well-known that his wanted poster littered the walls of the kingdom even before he stole the Crown of the Lost Princess.



What did he do, exactly, that made the kingdom want him dead so badly? They were literally moments away from killing him when the Snuggly Duckling brigands and Maximus managed to break him out. It’s implied he wasn’t even there an entire day — he wasn’t even told he was going to be executed until they were just about to do it. I could go on another essay about the political system of Corona, but the point here is Eugene Fitzherbert’s parentage. Eugene goes from nearly being executed by the state to marrying the beloved Lost Princess herself — how does one pull that one off? Perhaps, say, a certain Lord Herbert suddenly decides to make a claim on his suddenly-politically-relevant bastard son.

Lord Herbert must be a powerful lord indeed, if his issue would make a politically good marriage for the only child of the King and Queen. Keep in mind that princesses tend to get married out to create better alliances for family. I would bet that the King and Queen would be interested in keeping Rapunzel at home out of pure affection, but that doesn’t mean they would marry her off to any lowly gentleman, and especially not to a well-known thief. Rapunzel’s marriage needed to still be politically convenient. How Lord Herbert (Duke of something) and Eugene would fit that bill is all speculation, but the point is this:

Eugene is not Miguel and Tulio’s son. He could, via time travel, be a temporary compatriot of Miguel and Tulio; he could be a descendent of one or both of them. But he is not their son. Eugene’s place in society is very much a natural part of the society he lives in.

Random thought of the day   Leave a comment

I had a random thought coming home. I recently reread Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics: the Invisible Art, a book about the philosophy and science of storytelling through comics. It’s told in graphic novel format, and it’s a really good read, if you’re interested in expression, art, or philosophy. Anyway, I specifically read the part about “closure.”

Even today, as I write and draw this panel, I have no guarantee that anything exists outside of what my five sense report to me. I’ve never been to Morocco, but I take it on faith that there is a Morocco!…All of us perceive the world as a whole through the experience of our senses. Yet our sense can only reveal a world that is fragmented and incomplete. Even the most widely travelled mind can only see so much of the world in the course of a life. Our perception of “reality” is an act of faith, based on mere fragments. As infants, we’re unable to commit that act of faith. If we can’t see it, hear it, smell it, taste it or touch it, it isn’t there! The game “Peek-A-Boo” plays on this idea. Gradually, we all learn that even though the sight of Mommy comes and goes, Mommy remains. This phenomenon of observing the parts but perceiving the whole has a name. It’s called closure.

…Comics panels fracture both time and space, offering a jagged, staccato rhythm of unconnected moments. But closure allows us to connect these moments and mentally construct a continuous, unified reality.

…Every act committed to paper by the comics artist is aided and abetted by a silent accomplice. An equal partner in crime known as The Reader. I may have drawn an axe being raised in this example, but I’m not the one who let it drop or decided how hard the blow, or who screamed, or why. That, dear reader, was your special crime, each of you committing it in your own style.

*

This particular part about closure blows my mind every time I read this book. I found myself pondering it on my way home from Petsmart today. I parked, got out of my car, walked up to my front door, put my keys in the lock, turn the key/lock, opened the door, walked inside, and closed the door. I then wondered how much of that sequence would I need to show, in, say, a comic, for a reader to understand what I was doing. My exact thought was “how much would a movie show?” which was not at all in the mood of where I learned this concept, but whatever. It’s what I thought.

Driving–>hand on car doorhandle–>open car door–>step out of car–>car door close–>walk up front walk–>keys out–>key in lock–>turn key/lock–>open door–>–>retrieve keys (an easy step to miss)–>step into doorway–>close door

driving–>car door close–>walk up front walk–>key in lock–>open door–>step into doorway–>close door

Okay, but can I make it shorter?

driving–>walk up front walk–>step into doorway–>close door

What is the shortest I can make this without completely losing the meaning?

driving–>step into doorway

?????

*McCloud, Scott, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, pg 61-68, HarperCollins, New York: NY, 1993

Posted November 25, 2014 by agentksilver in animation

Tagged with , , ,

A wide variety of topics   Leave a comment

First of all, there’s a new Animator vs. Animation!

Second of all, tonight is the night I give my notice at Target. I had to re-take my drug test at Harris Teeter (clerical error — funny story, kinda) and I told the hiring manager that I hadn’t given my two weeks yet because I was waiting on the results of the drug test. She told me that if I was confident that I’m going to pass the test, then I should go ahead and give my notice. So I will. I feel nervous.

Third of all, whenever I work at Petsmart I keep thinking of all the pets I could have. I keep thinking, I know how to take care of animals. I bet I could make a really good cat owner, and that cat would be so happy! Or today I spent a lot of time planning out a non-filtered betta tank. I’d use a 2.5 gallon aquarium, and the only hardware would be a heater and an air pump (so the water isn’t still all the time). I found some silk plants that are $1.99/piece. The total cost would be about $60, all told. I would probably take out about a half-gallon every day so the ammonia doesn’t build up.

Of course, with $60, I could pay off some of my student loans, or buy a copy of the Sims, or something more useful than having yet another animal that doesn’t interact with me all that much anyway. A lot of adulthood seems to be wanting something but knowing that you shouldn’t, so you don’t, but openly admitting that you want it anyway.

via dumbing of age
source

The Sims   2 comments

This morning, after I showered, I was still left in a blur of sleepiness, so I sat on the couch for 15 minutes and played the Sims Freeplay on my phone. It’s the latest app I’ve downloaded. I really, really want to play the Sims, and yet there’s always better things to spend money on. But the Sims Freeplay was…well, it was free.

At first I was so happy. It was Sims doing things I told them do! Even though most of the time the game was telling me what to do, in pursuit of various quests to get points and then level up. Still, I always made sure I had one Sim more than was required by the game, so that I could always have Sims that weren’t doing The Man’s bidding. They were doing my bidding.

But after a while I started to resent my Sims. If I didn’t tell them what to do, they would sit down. Sometimes they would walk to another room and sit down. Sometimes they just sat down in the nearest chair. But mostly, they just sat.

Here’s the thing: the Sims that I know have Free Will. This means that, if you aren’t actively telling them what to do, they will go and do something. They woill take care of a Need that was at the lowest level, or they will go do something Fun. And I respect that. I can leave a Sim alone and know that the Sim can take care of itself. The Sim can be busy. I can also tell them what to do, and they can say No, because they aren’t feeling well. I can also understand that, even if I don’t like it. It somehow makes them seem more real.

But these Sims had no Free Will. They just sit and wait to be told what to do. I’m pretty certain they would wet their pants and starve to death before getting up out of their chair and taking care of a Need.

They also didn’t have the ability to form attachments to each other. Relationships between Sims had Levels, certainly — Stranger, Acquaintance, Budding Friendship/Romance, Good Friends/Dating, ???/Partners, ???/Engaged, ???/Married. But they had as much effect on the world as two high school girls who are Facebook-married. I planned all the devious relationship stuff that one does with Sims. I had Maria start Dating both Betty and Austin. Then I injected Maciej into the mix, and had him start Flirting with both Maria and Betty. I intended to eventually set Maciej up with Austin. I arranged the meetings so that Maciej was never in the same room as both Betty and Maria.

But this morning, in my sleep-haze playtime, the two other Sims, Elizabeth and Owen, got married. It took a little arranging on both sides, and a lot of unnecessary running around. First I had to build a Park. Then 5 Sims had to go to the Park. Then someone had to Talk with Ducks About the Rings for 7 minutes (????). Then I had to send Elizabeth and Owen back home so they could look at their house one more time before getting married. I got caught in a loop. I sent Elizabeth and Owen back home three times each, before I finally gave up and made them get married at home, with no witnesses.

Anyway, while Betty was Talking with Ducks, I needed something else to do with the other five Sims. Four of them were sitting on benches near each other: Elizabeth, Maciej, Owen, and Maria. I clicked on Maciej and had him start romancing the nearest person — who turned out to be Elizabeth.

Maciej was hitting on the Bride in front of the Groom on their wedding day. Obviously I knew that the actual Day wasn’t very auspicious to any of the Sims, who are a bunch of pixel bits and software, but previous Sims that I’ve played with would get pissed if someone starting Flirting with their Significant Other in front of them. I waited for drama to ensue.

Owen continued to sit on his bench.

I frowned. Now I had Elizabeth Flirt with Maciej.

Owen continued to sit on his bench.

I closed the app and uninstalled it.

I guess I learned today what sort of God I would be, if I ever became one (that, too, is on my list of possible career paths to pursue). I might be the sort of God that incites complicated romantic entanglements to entertain myself, but I also want creations who are capable of responding to their environment. I want creations who make their own decisions, who take care of themselves, who Go to Bed when they are tired and Eat a Snack when they are Hungry. It may not be fun all the time, for me or for them — they will get jealous, they will get angry, they will shake their fist at a God that forces them to paint paintings for 18 hours a day — I will get annoyed when they complain that they are tired and refuse to paint anymore when they are so close to being a Level 2 in Creativity and they could get promoted tomorrow! — but at least I can respect their autonomy. At least they have autonomy. At least I can feel as though these creatures that I’ve made are real living creatures, something beyond a bundle of pixels on top of a bunch of statistics.

Get on with it!   Leave a comment

All day long I’ve had various songs from Tangled stuck in my head, so during dinner I sat down and watched it. I wasn’t even sure why I wanted to see it so badly. Then we got to the famous lantern scene.

Rapunzel: Hmm.
Flynn: You okay?
Rapunzel: I’m terrified.
Flynn: Why?
Rapunzel: I’ve been looking out a window for eighteen years, dreaming about what it might feel like when those lights rise in the sky. What if it’s not everything I dreamed it would be?
Flynn: It will be.
Rapunzel: And what if it is? What do I do then?
Flynn: Well, that’s the good part I guess. You get to go find a new dream.

And then a minute later he eye-fucks the hell out of her.

flynn eyes her

Thank you, Flynn Rider, for existing. You are precisely what I need for the next few days.

Posted August 16, 2014 by agentksilver in animation

Tagged with , , , ,