Archive for the ‘animation’ Tag

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.

Birthday Trip   1 comment

I was in DC for a few days! I didn’t get to see a lot of people. But that’s okay! It was for my birthday, and for my birthday I wanted to see my family, especially my favorite twin sister.

I took the train up, and let me tell you: I love traveling via train. Like plane rides, someone else is driving (score one over cars). However, the seats are bigger, you have a little bit more legroom, and it’s easier/less annoying to fellow passengers if you get up and walk around. You also have somewhere to walk to! It’s the dining car. Which is great: you don’t have to sit and wait for a flight attendant. You are your own master.

Plus, for some reason the actual act of flying always leaves my body stressed. I can’t relax or sleep on a plane, no matter how comfortable I get or how much I read or distract myself. There’s something about the pressure your body is under that stresses me out. I remember going to Europe with Lacey and Beth. We were on an overnight flight from New York to Heathrow to Berlin. I was awake the whole time. As soon as we got on the train to go to Paris? I was out like a light. I remember another time, flying from London to New York to Dulles. I was absolutely, devastatingly exhausted, but I could not fall asleep on the plane. I started hallucinating.

Anyway! So I took the train to DC which was very convenient. I carried my sister’s present onto the train with me; the ticket person warned me that the conductor might not let me (it’s a painting with a glass cover, the ticket person was worried it would break in a crash and make things worse). I had already started texting Lacey about back-up plans in case I wasn’t able to bring her present with me, but the conductor didn’t even glance at it as I walked onto the train. Thankfully, because of the awkward size of the painting, absolutely no one sat next to me the entire trip. I tried to make room as best I could, but no one sat with me. I could spread out, leave my stuff on the extra seat, and stretch out my legs. I finished the first half of translations for Chapter Seven in my Latin textbook. After I had done all my translations, I carried my Julius Caesar biography (given to me by the handsome James Meyers) into the dining car to have lunch. Another passenger and I waited together while the dining car attendant worked with the microwave.

“Where are you heading?” we both asked, as is the usual opener on trains.

Then she asked, “What school do you go to?”

It was the first of…well of a few times that I was mistaken for a college student. I suppose it made sense. I look young for my age, I had been doing work out of a textbook, and I was carrying around a biography. All common signs of a college student.

Lacey met me at the train station, helped me get my bags, and lead me through the metro system to Ballston, where we met Mom and headed to Tysons. Lacey is more comfortable with the metro than I am. I was convinced that I hadn’t entered the system legally (perhaps jumping on her open entry?) but apparently I did enter legally. All was well.

The food at Tysons was excellent and the company was even better (the parents and the twin sister!). After dinner Dad headed home, but Mom, Lacey, and I explored Barnes and Noble. I bought two new biographies to add to my collection, and Mom bought a birthday present for me.

It’s called Wreck This Journal and look what I’ve done to it:

It’s not every day that you want to call up your mother and say “you know that present you got for me less than a week ago? I wiped my dirty shoes on it and broke it nearly in two.” I am so happy.

But of course I cannot call up my mother. Lacey drove over my phone. It was an accident, of course: I dropped my phone unknowingly by her car and so she drove over my cell phone with absolutely no idea that it was there. It is absolutely gone, dying alone and broken in the cold Arlington snow. It was a jerk anyway.

Moving on to Saturday, Lacey and I worked out for a bit. First we (probably) annoyed her neighbors by dancing to the music we were playing too loud (Uptown Funk, Shake It Off, Bie Mir Bist du Schoen, Come With Me Now), and then actually going to a gym and working out (featuring an attendant who laughed too hard at Lacey’s joke).

Then we went and got ourselves cultured like red wine and gruyere. First we attended Taffety Punk’s annual Riot Grrls. A few years ago, Shakespeare Theater Company in DC did an all-male version of Romeo and Juliet. Annoyed that women were once again being denied good acting roles, Taffety Punk threw together a quick all-female version of Romeo and Juliet, which turned out so successful that every year they do an all-female production of a Shakespeare show under the name Riot Grrrls.

This year’s flavor was the Tempest.


From Lacey’s facebook feed.

All but one of the principle actresses had been in last year’s Titus Andronicus, so it was interesting, this year, to see them play new roles. Only one of them (the woman playing Miranda) played a really similar role to last year. Last year’s Lavinia was this year’s Miranda. Both roles clearly are girly-girl types, but Lavinia is a mostly silent role dealing with death, despair, frustration, fear, anger, and sadness, while Miranda is a blithe spirit who loves everything all the time and is so happy. The actress was clearly more comfortable playing the sailor Trinculo, who was drunk and petty. Lacey, meanwhile, found it interesting to watch the quality of performances diverge between actors playing multiple roles: Ferdinand and Sebastian were played by the same person, which works with clever staging. She played Ferdinand straight and dull (to Lacey’s annoyance) but found her Sebastian to be sardonic and hilarious.

After The Tempest, we went and ate at Ted’s Bulletin, because it was right around the corner and obviously.


Ted’s Bulletin liked this on instagram

Our super-serious discussion about Acting was interrupted when several people from Taffety Punk walked into the restaurant!!!!! I didn’t say anything but OH MAN.

Then we rushed off to E Street Cinema to watch the Oscar Nominated Shorts (both live-action and animated). Obviously the awards have been given out so we know who won, but here are my thoughts anyway.

You can skip them if you want, I noted in all-caps when it ends.

[in order of how they’re listed on the Oscar website]

Animated Shorts

The Bigger Picture

Source

I absolutely loved the Bigger Picture, which is how I knew it wasn’t going to win. I always go for the animated shorts that have a unique or fanciful art style, while Oscars tend to be given to the animated short with the cutest or most comfortable story. That being said, I loved this film. I loved how simple the story was; I loved how the art style and fantasy sequences helped to tell the story, or rather the emotion. The emotion that two brothers feel as their mother is slowly dying. Their mother’s friend would insult the caretaker brother as he was filling her teacup; he would imagine the room filling up with water and drowning her. But despite his annoyance, he was ultimately able to keep his head up as his more-successful brother lost it, because he was able to focus on…the bigger picture I love this film you guys I love it.

The Dam Keeper

Source

Neither Lacey nor I were particularly impressed by The Dam Keeper. In a city full of anthropomorphic creatures, a small pig is put in charge of the windmill that keeps the Darkness at bay (if a movie calls a vague thing to be feared “the Darkness” you know it’s going to be stupid). He also goes to school, where he is bullied frequently for being a pig. Then he makes a friend. Then that friends turns out to be false. So he decides to let the windmill wind down, which would kill everyone.

Here’s where Lacey and I disagree: I think they should have ended it there. Just let the pig sit there with his gas mask on and let the darkness come and kill everyone. The last shot should have just been the gas mask. Lacey disagreed. I don’t remember exactly where she thought the movie should have ended (or maybe she thought the story should have gone in a different direction?).

In any case, the pig saves everyone and it’s a happy ending for everyone, which doesn’t make sense, in the same way that Frozen’s ending doesn’t make sense. I’ll elaborate later. This entry is already pretty long.

Feast (winner)

Source

Feast is a decent-looking piece with an easy-to-swallow story (hah!). Of course it was going to win. Unlike last time Disney won Animated Short, I’m not angry. I hated Paperman. Feast was good. There were better entries. But Feast was fine. It told a story from a unique perspective. It had a good metaphor. It made me want a Boston Terrier. All good things.

Me and my Moulton

Source

This was Lacey’s pick for Best Animated Short, and I can’t say I blame her. It was probably my #2. It’s a story about a quirky family and accepting that family or happiness or normalcy or whatever is…what you make of it? What no one has? What looks weird from the outside is in fact normal? That supporting or loving someone takes a big effort? Don’t be embarrassed by your family? It didn’t have one, simple message, which is something that Lacey tends to go for. And certainly that was a big bonus. It was a slice-of-life about growing up, about accepting…maturity? I don’t really know what it was about, exactly. But it was funny and sweet and the art style was simple and quirky, and it tells a story that will stick with you. It’s a good film and it should have won, really.

A Single Life

It’s all on youtube guys! Go get yourselves some culture.

A Single Life starts with a woman sitting down to eat a delicious pizza in a comfortable apartment like it’s the only thing anyone would ever want. It is the most relatable thing ever. The art is really weird though. I don’t think it served the story very well at all. She looks like a giant white cucumber with a wig. Considering the theme of the story, she should have been more human-shaped, not less. It had a good punchline and excellent pacing, but overall it wasn’t a very good film.

Live Action Shorts

Aya

Source

Look at those two. Look how happy they are. Look how thrilled they are to be alive, to enjoy all of life’s greatest splendors.

At 39 minutes, this film was the longest entry in the Live Action Shorts, and boy did it feel like it. The whole movie was filled with long, awkward pauses of silence. I joked to James that 30/39 minutes of the movie was awkward silence. The thing is, I’m not sure I was exaggerating.

Aya, the driver there, is at the airport to pick up someone (a lover, presumably) when through a weird series of circumstances she gets mistaken for a professional driver and she just goes along with it. It’s a good set-up…if the characters were interesting, if the final plot twist hadn’t been given away the first time we saw her hands on the wheel, if the characters had anything interesting to say, if the actors had had any chemistry, if there had been any sense of danger, if they had gotten lost and had to find their way, if they had talked about anything deeper than “what do you do for a living?” The film is actually about the car drive from the airport to the hotel.

Lacey visited the facilities in the middle of the film. When she came back, she asked if she had missed anything important. After giving it a moment’s thought, I realized that no, no she hadn’t. Absolutely nothing had happened in the five minutes or so she had been gone. That’s forgiveable in a feature-length film, but this is a short film. Every second should count. A few minutes after that, I went and bought a bottle of water (this is a relevant plot point for this entry — remember that I bought a bottle of water). When I came back, I asked Lacey if I had missed anything — and nope. Nada. The whole film was an exercise in patience.

We went online to see if there was any explanation for why Aya scored a nomination, only to discover that the very things we hated about it were the things people loved about it. Critics raved about the “tense periods of sexual tension” or whatever. They loved the long silent pauses. They loved…the fact that no one said anything? They loved the “twist” at the end. They said that it was “a story exploring what would happen if you gave in to your impulses” (or something). Except that Aya did the opposite of that in the end. Also, one critic said that if you hate this movie you’re an anti-semite. I guess I’m an anti-semite now.

Boogaloo and Graham

Source

Boogaloo and Graham was never going to win. Unlike the Animated Shorts’ tendency towards heart-warming stories, Live Action Shorts goes for art and Feelings. If it had been animated, Boogaloo and Graham would have had a chance to win. It’s about a Northern Irish family that adopts two chickens, set against the backdrop of the Troubles. It was adorable. I thought for a second the chickens were going to die. It toyed a bit with my emotions. It’s what you want in a kid-friendly film. The only thing Lacey and I didn’t like was that the one black character in the film was the one who killed a dude in the end? Was given scary framing and everything? What the double-hey racism?

Butter Lamp

Source Watch it here!

Butter Lamp was also never going to win, but you really, really wanted it to. It was a story about modernity forcing its way into a small Tibetan village and — back up, Hancher, back way way up. It’s about a whole bunch of Tibetan families getting their picture taken. Everyone is cute and charming and it tells each family’s story in its own way. The underlying theme is — stop it, Hancher. Watching the movie for the message takes away from the story.

Parveneh

Source

This was Lacey’s choice. She has a weakness for stories about female friendship. It’s a story about unlikely friendship between an Iranian immigrant and a Swiss teenager. They beat up a dude. There’s casual racism. They bond. Unlike Aya, this film really did explore two characters dropping boundaries and seeing what happens next. Both Lacey and I loved this film. Lacey just loved it more than I did. I would have been happy if it had won.

The Phone Call (winner)

Source

I absolutely adored The Phone Call. It follows a woman at a crisis center as she handles her first phone call of the shift. It is absolutely intense and nerve-wracking. The vast majority of the film is just a wide variety of angles of her sitting at her desk and talking and writing, but every single frame is filled to the brim with intensity as a man’s life is on the line. I could hear the sad voice of every old man I have ever met on the other end of that phone call. I cried along with Heather. I loved this movie and it absolutely deserved to win.

And it did! Yay!

AND HERE ENDS THE OSCAR TALK IF YOU JUST DECIDED TO SCROLL PAST IT OR WHATEVER

After the movies we headed back to the car and mostly just bad-mouth Aya. We tried to shove as much praise for Parveneh and The Phone Call in as we could, but we just could not get our minds around how awful Aya was.

As we drove past the White House, Lacey made a left turn that may or may not have been legal, the lights were changing. So Lacey made a joke about President Obama coming out in his boxers to arrest her. I put on my best President Obama voice. Lacey and President Obama began discussing government-issued patriotic boxer shorts and laughing. I was only about halfway done with the water I had bought during Aya. I raised up the bottle to take a sip as Lacey was saying something funny.

The next thing I knew I couldn’t stop coughing. I could feel the water going down my throat and I was coughing, coughing, coughing, my whole world was just me and coughing. Suddenly there was banana milkshake and cole slaw all over my lap and I couldn’t stop it and it wasn’t enough and I couldn’t stop coughing and I couldn’t breathe, I realized I couldn’t breathe and everything was getting dark.

We drove all the way down Constitution Avenue before I could breathe again. It was the shallowest breath I had every managed. But it was new air, enough that my vision began clearing up. I still couldn’t stop coughing. But I could suddenly gasp. I realized that Lacey was freaking out next to me, shouting and screaming. We were well onto 66 before I was even able to get out a few words. Lacey asked if I wanted to go to the hospital. I said either “no” or “I don’t know”, I honestly don’t remember. She refused to take no for an answer. My brain was too addled to really say anything sensible, and I was still coughing a lot. Lacey finally pulled out her phone and called her insurance company’s 24-hour hotline and asked if she should take me to the hospital. The nurse said yes.

So we arrived at Virginia Hospital Center at midnight. I nearly slipped on the ice outside the emergency room. Lacey said that it was bad luck to break your leg outside the hospital. I said, “*cough* I woul *cough* wouldn’t have t *cough* to go very fa *cough* *cough*” I’m sure it was very annoying.

There was only one other person in the waiting area. The person at the desk took in my basic symptoms and gave me a bucket in case I vomited again. Lacey gave me a bunch of paper towels and I wiped off my jacket and coughed into the bucket.

The one other person waiting was there for his wife. We were shown in within ten minutes. A nurse took my vitals and I said that really my cough was a lot better than before. I’m pretty certain that my strained, weak voice combined with frequent cough breaks didn’t help. But I really was feeling better. I was literally no longer dying.

We were given a room to wait in. I changed into a hospital gown. The doctor and trainee doctor walked into the room and checked my breathing. They asked me a few other questions about how I felt. The doctor told me that the worst was over. I might still have some water in my lungs, but I would be coughing it out over the next few days. My chest was sore, but it was just inflamed from all the coughing. I could take some ibuprofen to help. It had been a good idea to come to the hospital, just to make sure the worst was over. I mean, I had just almost died.

They left and an administrator immediately came in, saying that everything had been cleared by my insurance company. I wouldn’t have to pay a dime. Lacey commented on how amazing it was — we had been cleared to leave before the insurance paperwork had even finished processing! Modern technology!

In the car ride back Lacey told me how relieved she was that I hadn’t died. If I had died in her car, Mom would have killed her. She asked me several times if I was feeling okay. If I died on her couch, Mom would kill her.

I discovered going up the stairs that I could not handle stairs anymore. I had to stop twice, but only briefly. I tried to make sure Lacey didn’t notice.

On the hill waiting for Dad to pick us up the next day, I noticed that I couldn’t handle hills very well either. I lagged behind Lacey. Apparently five minutes of coughing completely destroyed my lung capacity. I’ll have to work on cardio…when the weather gets better.

At brunch, Dad teased me about the fact that I was drinking water. Even though twelve hours had gone by, my body was still reeling from the whole thing. By evening, I would feel completely over it, except for the very rare hacking cough (and even that has gone away). But during brunch, my body still felt like it was processing what had happened. I feel like I didn’t say much; I feel like I couldn’t be as involved in the conversation as I normally was. Maybe it was in my head.

But still. I left Cary Station in one piece. When I came back, I had a broken toe, no cell phone, and had nearly died. One heck of a weekend.

Posted February 25, 2015 by agentksilver in Personal

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

How to Rig an Election   Leave a comment

So I’ve been working with elementary school students with learning differences these past five weeks. I’ve drunk the kool-aid! Having spent a lot of time with them, I now say that they have “learning differences” instead of “learning disabilities” or “learning disorders”. The kids are all smart and perfectly capable of learning what we have to teach them. They just don’t learn it the same way that we do.

They’ve also caught on that on Fridays, my class performs a play for the whole school. So for, like, all of Monday and Tuesday, whenever they had a free second, they would ask if they could do Calvin and Hobbes as their Friday performance. I wrote up a script for Calvin and Hobbes, in which Calvin takes Hobbes to school and cheats on a test using Hobbes and his Stupendous Man costume. It was taken word-for-word from a Calvin and Hobbes book. I loved it, entirely because I got to give Hobbes the line SOOOOOSIE IS A BOOGER BRAINNNNN.

I still struggled with writing it, because these are kids with learning differences. I had no idea what their level of reading was. Calvin has an immense vocabulary, and a lot of the punchlines are based on that. I ended up deleting an entire exchange between Calvin and Susie because, according to a lecture by a school psychologist at orientation, my kids don’t understand sarcasm and lying. All that Susie did in the exchange was use sarcasm and lie.

Still, I printed out copies of the script and handed it to the kids to read out loud. It went as terribly as I thought it would: the kids pondered over every word, and the counselors had to help two of them through the reading of it. It took us 45 minutes to get through a 2.5-page script. If we had had the entire five weeks, I’m sure we could pull it off, but I had two days to get a not-terrible play out of these kids.

And I had already picked out a play for them. I’ve seen Gruffalo’s Child, which features weird acting direction and clumsy, plain animation, neither of which would be terrible except that it’s an Oscar-Nominated short film. Still, the story is cute, and the story is great as something to read aloud to kids. And it features plenty of small parts with just one or two lines, perfect for a group of kids who can’t read but want to try reciting lines.

In the middle of the 45-minute struggle to get through Calvin and Hobbes, a little girl stood up, walked over to me, gestured for me to bend down, and then whispered in my ear. “None of the girls want to do Calvin and Hobbes. We all want to do Gruffalo’s Child.”

So I enacted my plan with confidence. After we finished reading Calvin and Hobbes, all the boys shouted that it was fun and that they couldn’t wait to perform it, who would play Hobbes, who would play the narrator, etc. etc. I had them quiet down, then told them that Calvin and Hobbes featured a lot of talking and reading, while Gruffalo’s Child was a lot simpler and easier and more fun, and that we’d all have a great time doing Gruffalo’s Child. But, I added, it was totally up to them. We would cast a vote. Who wanted to do Gruffalo’s Child? Who wanted to do Calvin and Hobbes?

Gruffalo’s Child won by a landslide.

2013 animated Oscar winners   Leave a comment

So, weird thing, right? I tried to update my blog on Sunday, and for some reason, it wouldn’t load. I’m convinced there was too much Oscar traffic. Do people liveblog on wordpress? Do they I thought that was what Twitter was for! So anyway I did my taxes so I can apply for FAFSA.

I'm not sure why I take so many pictures of myself eating.

I’m not sure why I take so many pictures of myself eating.

My philosophy about the whole of Sunday can probably be best summed up by this video:

Well not really. I was also paying attention to the Oscar results. Well, the Oscar results that mattered.

brave
Source

HELL YES BRAVE WON. I know, I know, I know Wreck-It Ralph won the Annies. Both movies feature sumptious scenery, and the characters both grow and change to find that their chosen place in society is where they actually belong. And they learn to find happiness and acceptance there. So I guess they’re kind of the same movie? But really, when has the Academy not voted for Pixar? Other than 2001 and 2006? (wait, seriously, Shrek beat Monsters, Inc.?)

Also I feel like that’s a really awkward shot. Mostly because Angus is so gigantic and That Triplet There is so tiny.

Hosting pictures is like free hits to your site!

Hosting pictures is like free hits to your site!


Same Source really

The real drama, to me, is in the animated shorts. Some people might disagree with that. Also, some people probably disagree with me in general about who should have won.

I’ve actually seen all the Oscar nominated shorts — all of them. On Sunday 10 my twin sister, her boyfriend, and I went to go see them. It was in celebration of my twin and my’s twenty-sixth birthday.

The nominated shorts were, in order that we were shown them- (all pictures are courtesty of Oscar.com)

Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare- which had the feeling of an also-ran.

nothingspecial

Although it featured classic Simpsons characters, it didn’t have classic Simpsons gags. Instead, it was just trying to save a butterfly from the Unibrow Baby. It had a few cute gags, but the 3D CGI was really awkward (especially in crowd shots, such as when Maggie was trying desperately to get to the window). The Simpsons has occasional shorts in the Ayn Rand Daycare Center, but they tend to be parodies. This one has a nod towards its Objectionist-mocking roots in its establishing shots (see the picture above), but then a dull plot.

Fresh Guacamole- which also has the feeling of an also-ran.

fresh guacamole

This one is just so creative, featuring visual puns and a zesty plot. It felt worth a nomination, but not a win, you know? It was short and adorable and it made me laugh. It just didn’t feel like an Oscar winner, I guess.

Adam and Dog- which I thought was going to win

adamanddog

I thought this was a surefire win. It was so obvious that I thought it couldn’t, because that would be too easy. The art is gorgeous. It has the feel of a series of paintings with just a few pieces of animation in there. The dog really moves like a dog. You can feel the dog’s energy. There’s a certain feel to this movie, and the dog moves too fast for it, and the man moves too slow for it. You can feel the connection there.

justwantedsomeonetoplaywith

Head Over Heels- I thought was going to be a come-from-behind winner.

headoverheels

“If Adam and Dog isn’t going to win,” I thought, “Then surely Head Over Heels will.” Maybe it’s just because I have a soft spot for claymation, or maybe because this is such an unusual story, about such an unusual period in life. It’s a visual metaphor for a married couple late in life, where they’re so settled into their routine and each other that they take each other for granted. They have their own space and they’re really comfortable, but there’s a separation, you know? And you have to reach out to that person — but they might not even know you’re doing it.

Or it’s about a couple whose gravity is completely whacky and the silly/depressing reality of that situation. In either case, a really good story with nice visuals.

Paperman- it’s not that I hate it, but…

paperman

This movie is actually really cute. It does deserve love. Did it deserve to win? It doesn’t cover the same interesting ground that Adam and Dog or Head Over Heels does. There is something very really about the characters. The 3D is much more ground and real than in The Longest Daycare. It tells its story simply and visually. It makes you laugh in the right places, gasp in the right places. You want George and Meg to get together. You can immediately feel the world it shows. It is a very animation short. It’s just that Adam and Dog and Head Over Heels were better! That’s all it is, really. Paperman was interesting to look at; Adam and Dog and Head Over Heels more so. Head Over Heels had a deeper and more ambiguous love story. They were just better, that’s all.