Saturday, December 30, 2006

Animation 101

Watch and learn, young Jedi...

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A Joyful Yuletide

So we had a very Merry Christmas, as our 7th together, 6th married, and 1st with Ariel. She got a hippopatomus for Christmas, and in this picture it's eating her head.

Christmas Day in the afternoon, while Jay relaxed upstairs, I had a lovely time camped out on the couch watching some episodes from the first season of Saturday Night Live, which I got on DVD, including some awesome Simon & Garfunkel performances, Andy Kaufman bits, and the Land of Gorch Muppet sketches I've been wanting to see for far most of them have been worth the wait. What struck me as pretty neat about watching them while Ariel slept on my stomach was that the show had its debut when I was a baby, and I know my parents were pretty big fans of the show, so it made think that these shows might have been watched under similar circumstances with me and them. Also fascinating pieces of history.

This week has been spent with a few various outings, working on the film (it's my goal to finish in 2007), and playing with Ariel so Jay can get some rest too. Thanks to lovely Santa Jay, I now have the complete DVD set of Monty Python's Flying Circus so there's been much viewing of that while animating. Life doesn't get much better than this.

Today we went birdwatching at the Reifel Sanctuary, which I haven't done in a very long time so it was nice to get back into it. I'd like to make it a more regular occurance if possible. Here's a list of what we saw, and a few pictures: Trumpeter Swan, Wood Duck, Pintail, Green-Winged Teal, Widgeon, Bufflehead, Fox Sparrow, White-Crowned Sparrow, Rufous-Sided Towhee, Black-Capped Chickadee, American Coot, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Bald Eagle, Gray-Headed Junco, Red-Winged Blackbird, and a few others I wasn't sure of.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Vacation

It is SO nice to officially be on vacation for awhile! Yesterday, after hitting the shops for foodstuffs early enough to beat most of the heavy traffic, I resolved to spend the rest of the day doing absolutely NOTHING...that is, until it was time to go out for dinner. Dinner is important, especially Christmas dinner.

So anyway, the afternoon was spent with a variety of cartoon-watching and exposing Ariel to higher culture. Here we are enjoying one of Daddy's favorites from 1950s Disney, A Cowboy Needs a Horse.

And now it's Christmas Eve and we've had a double-dose of church services, so now it's time for more food and cartoons in our jammies. What a truly magical feeling with Christmas as a little family this year, and each year shall be more amazing.

To top it all off, after a wonderfully spiritually engaging and uplifting service tonight with incredible music and a powerful message, and driving around Ladner to see the festive light displays adorning the houses of families awaiting Santa and his magic, we arrive home and approach our humble abode while a sweet smell permeates from a neighbor's deck giving a new meaning to Angels we Have Heard on High...

...or perhaps the old Dr. Demento standard Frosty the Dopeman would be more appropriate.

To all a good night!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

More videos

For a very cute video of Ariel getting a serenade from a special green friend, visit Jay's blog, where it's already posted:

...and after wiping your tears away, you can marvel at the latest dialogue exercise from my talented students.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


History in the making! The creepiest puppet film ever made makes its internet debut, thanks to YouTube and a certain obsessive animation fan who calls himself "Scuzzbopper"...

Spread the evil far and wide!

...and speaking of cute but creepy monkeys (...actually one of them is more cute than creepy)...

Friday, December 01, 2006

What's This? What's This?

Our neighborhood looks like Halloween Town invading Christmas Town this week, as there is a feature film called Trick or Treat being shot here, and everything is all decked out like it's Halloween, but with snow. Pretty funny to see.

'Happy Halloween!' 'Merry Christmas!'

An Evening for Stop-Motion

This past Wednesday was the SIGGRAPH Event for Stop-Motion in Vancouver, featuring myself, Anthony Scott, Larry Bafia and Peter Muyzers. We had an amazing turn-out despite the nasty snow warnings, and the whole evening went really well.

I presented some of my animation from Snot Living and my various indie projects, plus some of my students' work, followed by a short 15-minute history of stop-motion creature effects. Anthony and Larry presented retrospectives on their stop-motion careers, along with some amazing behind-the-scenes footage from Nightmare, Corpse Bride and Vinton Studios. A panel discussion with all of us followed. Also sold and autographed at least a dozen copies of my book! It was a great night, and nice to see Larry again and meet Anthony and Peter in person.

There's been talk of doing more events like this in the future, so stay tuned!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Conversations with Ariel

There have been times recently when the most intelligent things I hear all day sound like this...'Hooooooooooooohhhh..... errrERRRerrrrr.... aaaaaeeeehhhhhhhhh.... eeehh... eehhhh..... ppfffffftttttt!'

Thank goodness for little girls.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

My dearest friend...

So today Toby & I drove down to the Seattle area, in Monroe, to witness the highly-anticipated Nightmare Before Christmas in 3D. It was great...looked so crisp and beautiful on the big screen again. You could see all the wrinkles in the foam latex and even some tie-down holes in the sets, all the while getting sucked into the characters and Jack's passionate life. That character still resonates with me alot. I felt really good at the end scene, as it reminded me of proposing to my wife, since I used the scene to do so. Jay is my Sally! Hopefully now that my cinematic fanboy indulgence is satisfied, I can see her more often, and Ariel too...I miss my girls.

Anyway, it's weird, I go to see movies in the theater so rarely these days that whenever I do, it invokes a sense of nostalgia, especially when it's films that I discovered long ago. The strangest thing about this theater, however, was the stock footage they had interspersed with the standard advertisements before the movie started. Just a very bizarre montage of water, 1930s New York, baby chickens, a cat losing interest in a fish, time-lapse city films, and a giant American flag with a completely unnecessary dissolve into itself. All that was missing was applause from the Women's Institute.

Jay tells me a big storm is hitting us tonight. After the weather we've had all day, I believe it. Hopefully Ariel won't freak out...knowing her she'll probably sleep through it, if she's anything like her Daddy. If there's thunder, hopefully she'll enjoy it, also like her Daddy. Maybe the freeway will be flooded and I can stay home tomorrow! Well, like I said, prayer works! Better get on my knees...

Friday, October 27, 2006

Prayer Works

Mellow evening at home blogging stream-of-conscious with the Winamp shuffle...current music: 'Fire' by the Rock-afire Explosion.

Been a long hard week, and rather exhausting, current music: 'Waiting for the World to Fall' , Jars of Clay. Indeed. However the best thing about recent situations has been a rejuvenation of my prayer life, particularly *had to go rescue Jay from baby barf* current music: 'Will I' from Rent on the bus when I have nothing else to do. Enrollment at work is slowing down a bit so lots of prayer is needed on a daily basis to keep the momentum going, and so far it's working, slowly but divinely. More needed due to people in our lives dealing with hard scary challenges like cancer and more miraculous-but-tiring challenges like twins. current music: 'Good Enough', Evanescence.

Last night we carved our Halloween punkin and watched Charlie Brown, a wonderful new annual tradition. Jack will keep her safe from the Oogie Boogie Man this year!

Planning to see Nightmare in 3D in a couple weeks. Current music: 'Shine', Martin Ansell, Better Off Dead Soundtrack. Was hoping to pick up the new Nightmare soundtrack today, but it's not officially released until Halloween Day, which is sucky. Ariel is here being all smily.

On November 29, I will have a book signing event hosted by Vancouver SIGGRAPH, including a stop-motion history lecture, presentation by Anthony Scott and I get to moderate a panel discussion with other stop-motion vets (Larry Bafia, maybe David Bowes). Current music: 'Liquid', Jars of Clay again. Really looking forward to it. Register here!

Found out this week that Ahmet Zappa is directing the music for the upcoming Fraggle Rock feature film. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense. I can just imagine, the Fraggles sing 'Watch out where the Doozers go, don't you eat that yellow snow' and 'Let's make the water turn black' while the Gorgs do a polka rendition of 'Take your clothes off when you dance' and the Trash Heap does 'Cosmic Debris.' That would rock, literally, with Fraggles.

Current music: 'Barque in the Harbor', Great Big Sea while Ariel sings along. My family is wonderful.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Ariel's First Disney Movie

Ariel ended up watching her first Disney movie, The Little Mermaid, by default recently, due to the fortunate timing of the DVD release. She liked it!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Back home and happy

Ariel is so happy to have Daddy home, all she can do is drum on her pumpkin!

So yes, I've been back from Ottawa for quite a few days now, and just now getting around to blogging. Pathetic, I know. Lots going on, besides settling back into work. October is here, one of my favorite months. The brisk Autumn air is upon us, I have some new clothes, and life in general is just pretty damn good.

Jeff and Marie now have their twin girls, and I am so happy for them. They are going to have a blast...already they are a family of four, which is amazing. Can't wait to see them. Next April we shall get all our girls together for a picture. I'm glad Ariel will have some playmates to see through the years as we make our annual visits. As you can see, she is becoming rather bored only having pumpkins for friends.

Had a good Thanksgiving weekend. Saturday night after a fun day of teaching I attended film group at Ron Reed's to discuss Garden State, thanks to Mike. Such a great film. Saw lots more this time around, continued symbols of water-baptism imagery: during the hamster funeral scene, the covered pool symbolizing Large's dormant numb state, moving on to his reluctance to dive into his friend's pool, and his opening up to Sam after diving in finally, then the 'baptism from above' in the rain at the quarry, followed by his intimate moments with Sam soaking wet in the tub, where his mother died. The whole thread signifies his new birth, coming out of his shell and actually living. Lots of other stuff too that people pointed out, about the cinematography and pretty much everything else. I hope to frequent the film group more often as my schedule allows. I think I shall present Cars there once it's out on DVD, seeing as how one could write an entire sermon at that film.

The other day I found some awesome deals on DVD at the Bay, of all places. On their bargain rack I found butt-cheap copies of The Miracle Maker, Season 1 of Rex the Runt, and that Sci-Fi Cartoon compilation I've been seeking for months. The latter disc has a cartoon I seem to remember seeing in Kindergarten: The Huffless Puffless Dragon, which I think they screened for us so we wouldn't smoke. Pretty important, seeing as how there were millions of 5-year-olds tempted to light up back in the early 80s...bloody Human League, terrible influence. I'm watching Miracle Maker currently and taking a closer look at it since seeing it on TV years ago, and a miracle is exactly what it is.

Speaking of miracles, here's Ariel again.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Ottawa 2006, Days 4 and 5


Saturday morning we headed over for the keynote by Rob Coleman, which was delayed by well over a half-hour due to technical difficulties (which is incredibly ironic for a seminar on the future of digital technology). Since we went through the wrong door, I got to meet Rob briefly as he was waiting to get into the locked room himself. Unfortunately, due to my empty stomach and the time delay moving too close to the Animarket opening, I decided to skip the keynote so I could get the booth up and running. Calvin took lots of notes and said it was really great, so I'll catch up on it from him later.

The Animarket moved along smoothly throughout the day, and I got to autograph several copies of my book. All of the copies sold through the Aniboutique sold out before the afternoon was over, so I was pleased and suprised to hear it. The last copy was picked up by a representative of Concordia College, who have already been doing some great stop-motion films through their experimental animation program. I'm confident it's in good hands; they're doing some neat things there. I also met David Levy and picked up two signed copies of his book Your Career in Animation: How to Survive and for me, and one for the VanArts library. Just by thumbing through the book so far, I can tell it's great, and David is a really friendly person.

Around 6ish I left to look for Steve, thinking I might ride over to Barrymore's with him for his Cultoons screening. Couldn't find him anywhere, but I did run into John K during my searching, and introduced myself, as I was looking forward to meeting him...very friendly guy. (Ren & Stimpy actually had a small part to play in my obsession with first viewing of Creature Comforts happened during a commercial break for the Cousin Sven episode.) So I headed outside just about to call a cab, when a van pulls up and a festival staff member Joanne asks me if I'm Steve Stanchfield, cuz she's supposed to give him a ride to the venue but doesn't know what he looks like. I tell her he looks like a grown-up version of Oopie from the Columbia Scrappy cartoons, but that doesn't help much. So she gives me a ride to Barrymore's so I can identify Steve if he's there...turns out he had driven there himself, so all was good...just a little communication gap and I didn't have to wait in line to get in.

The Cultoons screening was full of unique moments in the history of humans. For many of these cartoons, it was certainly the first time they had ever been seen in a nightclub full of tipsy animators...for many it could have possibly been the largest audience they ever had. The world may never know, but listening to the crowd watching Monkey Doodle in that setting at that moment was right up there with the moon landing as a legendary historical slice of time. Steve, Mary, Jerry and I had a ball giving it the MST3K treatment. Steve's monologues describing each cartoon were priceless...I told him he should do a one-man show where he just verbally describes cartoons without showing them. Sometimes it's funnier than the actual film. He graciously allowed me to introduce The Peanut Vendor, which we made into an audience participation happening where we had to scream whenever the monkey flashed back into the frame in those full grotesque close-up shots. It was frightening. It was triumphant. It was art.

John K also put on a good show with the outrageous and over-the-top Lost Episodes from Spumco Productions. I especially liked his new Weird Al video. I remember visiting Spumco back in 1998 when Stephen Worth showed us some of the first unreleased Flash cartoons, and I vividly remember this hilarious gag when George Liquor goes into his house and then his giant oversized head emerges from the front door...probably one of the funniest things I've ever seen. Partied until about 12:30 and then headed home to crash.

Here John K is perplexed by the unchanging grin on my pet goblin's face.

Sunday morning we headed back to the NAC for another day at the Animarket, which was slow but still mananged to talk to some interested potential students. Shut down around 4pm and went out for Thai food with Calvin, Steve and Mary. We then headed back to our hotel cafe to review a prospective student's portfolio, and moved on from there to the Best of Festival Screening. This year had an amazing line-up of winners, and I was very pleased to see these films be recognized. Many of them were even more entertaining the second time through, particularly Here and There and Jeu...just amazing stuff. My favorite films which I had viewed for the first time at this screening were Mr Schwartz, Mr Hazen & Mr Horlocker, and Michael Sporn's Man Who Walked Between the Towers...both brilliantly made on opposite ends of the spectrum.

The closing party was really a more intimate venue with less booming music and claustrophobia. I had a great lengthy conversation with Garry Schwartz, who works at CCS and has done some amazing things around the world with his animation workshops, very similar to the animation outreach project I have in mind. Also chatted more with David Chai, Steve's Thunderbean partner who directed Fumi & the Bad Luck Foot (which should have been at Ottawa! Oh well...) and was very excited to meet the great Bruno Bozzetto, who told me "Vancouver is the best-eh city in da world for animation!" Viva Allegro Non Troppo!

The Great Bruno Bozzetto.

Marv Newland, clad in Mike Gribble's jacket.

Overall this year's fest was a very inspiring experience and I hope to make it back next year! I met so many incredible people who I believe will continue to have a great influence in my love for this wonderful art form of animation. Things are definitely happening...

As wonderful as it has been, I'm 110% ready to go home and wrap my arms around my wife and daughter. Ariel is probably huge by now, and starting to smile and discuss the atmospheric kinetic principles of psychological photosynthesis like any 6-week-old baby would do, naturally.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Ottawa 2006 Day 3


Today was pretty awesome. In the morning, we went to a 'Meet the Filmmakers' panel and got to hear from some of the people whose films are showing this weekend. Said hello to Marv Newland again. That guy just pops up everywhere. One of the filmmakers was Kihachiro Kawamoto, famous stop-motion animator from Japan. I asked him which lessons were the most important he had learned from Jiri Trnka, and he said he had interviewed him, and he told him, "A puppet is not a miniature human. He has his own world." And that has stuck with him eversince. Now it has stuck with me.

After which, we set up the VanArts booth. Calvin ran into an old friend of his, David Nethery, from his first animation job in Ottawa, who he hadn't seen in 20 years...I've rarely seen anyone that excited about seeing another person in my life. Also saw Augusto again, who was still a bit shaken up by witnessing someone getting hit by a truck the night before, understandably so. We all went to wait for the double decker buses to arrive and take us to the Animator's Picnic.

While we were waiting, I saw Mr Kawamoto again, speaking with another stop-motion legend Co Hoedeman. I met Co a couple of years ago when he came to speak in Vancouver, and he seemed to remember me when I approached him again to talk to him. I showed him my book, since there is a large photo from The Sandcastle inside (to which he commented on the color being off...he said 'it's supposed to look like sand!') and I had mentioned him a couple of times in the text. Then I had both him and Kawamoto looking at it at once! What a rare moment of random stop-motion history that was...very exciting. They both appreciated it.

(Two stop-motion legends discuss with George Griffin the moral implications of my book.)

At the Animator's Picnic, I found Steve & Mary and brought them over to sit with us. Steve and Calvin hit it off right away and started talking about all of these Disney people they knew. We had a great time reminiscing about the old Tonka games and the time I stayed at their house and fed their chickens, fulfilling the mandatory task of singing the cartoon chicken song each time. Steve had to leave for a radio interview on CBC, which hopefully he can get a recording of. I called Jay and we talked for awhile...Ariel is still snotty but feeling better. Then spoke with a few more people, including Adam Mimnaugh from my VanArts class, who has his own studio now in Halifax.

We drove back with Calvin's friend Dave and another former Disney animator Anthony Michaels, who worked in Florida on Lilo & Stitch and many other projects. Picked up a few things from the hotel and had a nice dinner, then on to the Grand Opening of the Animarket! Our booth looks great this year...a far cry from last year...faaaaaaaaarrr cryyyyyyyyy......

Authors unite! Me with Cartoon Modern/Brew's Amid Amidi

Waited a bit for a copy of Cartoon Modern and had it signed by Amid Amidi; looks like a great book and I can't wait to dig into it. I ended up speaking at length to Larry Bafia, head of animation at VFS, who is also going to be part of our stop-motion panel since he worked with Will Vinton for many years. My Ariel brag-book of photos made its rounds to various people, including Jerry Beck who really liked the Kermit pictures. After the Animarket was over, I joined Augusto for the Short Competition screening.

It started with a showing of Every Child, in tribute to the late Derek Lamb. I had never seen the film before, and I was delighted by it. This screening, as a whole, was a bit darker than the others I've seen. My favorites were...Liam (a collection of abstract cut-out animation set to music, all compiled from a high school animation class; absolutely brilliant and entertaining throughout! Probably enjoyed it the most), Tyger (awesome music, great blend of Flash animation and a Bunraku tiger puppet with visible puppeteers), Rabbit (hilarious, creepy, great story, defies description, would sound better describing it verbally I think), Journey to the Disney Vault (very funny commentary on the "secrets" of the Disney studio, including Walt's "original print" of Song of the South... I shouldn't have laughed at it, but it was clever in the right context.)...also liked The Runt for it's cinematic design and color sense, although it was not the touching story I thought it might be judging from the picture...actually quite disturbing, but riveting and it stuck with you. My wife shall never see it, because bunnies die.

See ya tomorrow.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Ottawa 2006, Day 2

Today was mellow but productive, as how I would describe it. Slept in a little bit, until about 8:20, which isn't really sleeping in since I went to bed at 2, so in effect with the time difference I got up at 5:20. Stopped by the Ottawa School of Art, got a little tour and dropped off some VanArts stuff. For some reason I really like that just has a nice feel to it. Checked out some of the other school's presentations...then stayed for the Canadian Film Showcase, which was awesome. Talked to Marv Newland again and showed him my book (see picture).

Also talked with Ann Denman and got an update from her and the director of the animation festival in Portland they are planning for next year. They're interested in having me down for a book signing! Also met Tom Knott from Laika who will be involved with the Vancouver stop-motion panel discussion in November (where I will also be participating and signing books...mark yer calendar: Nov 29!)

The Canadian films were great, in particular: Abstract by Steve Whitehouse (reminded me of Pete Docter's student films), also liked Montrose Avenue (very modern 50s style Flash), Inheritance (stop-motion, creepy, David Lynch-esque, and starring a living cheese do you spell brilliant?), Cuz (cute Flash about global warming, sweet and simple), Emma Graves (which starred Meeka as the lead character's voice), and also Janet Perlman's Invasion of the Space Lobsters was cute, Marv's film was brilliant as always...and also in the David Lynch-category was a trippy cheesefest from Sheridan starring a CG Hulk Hogan playing video games in a psychedelic 80s video game world, which they accidentally played twice. Canada is weird. I like it.

Info Session tonight went very well, considering we had attendance of 3 people plus 1 parent, but it appears that all of them will likely apply, so it's worth it.

If you're reading this, please pray for my girls back home...they both have colds.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ottawa 2006, Day 1

Greetings from Ottawa! I am here to represent VanArts a an Animation Festival Patron, to support the animation industry, network with studios and hopefully recruit some students, plus meet up with some old friends. Joining me is VanArts 3D Animation Program Director Calvin Leduc. I don't have my camera here with me, as I cannot deprive Jay from taking pictures of Ariel...that would be a crime, especially since I have to keep an eye on how much she's growing, plus I miss them. Calvin has his camera, so I will mooch pictures off him and add them later. (Update: Pictures now added! Huzzah!) Poor Jay is sick and I can't be there to take care of her. Sigh...

Anyway, so far so good. The traffic was really bad this morning so both Calvin and I were running a little late meeting at the airport, but Calvin even more so, to the point where I almost panicked and might have left solo. But all good, we made it by our coattails. Funny thing was, while waiting in line to check our bags we ended up behind a guy with ammunition in his luggage, like he was a hunter or something, so he had to go through all this lengthy paperwork while we're in danger of missing our flight. Sometimes life shakes you up a bit to keep things interesting.

4-hour flight was fine, with Inside Man as the in-flight movie...first half very good, second half eehhhh. Made it here in time to check in to our very nice 2-bedroom suite, pick up our passes, see a copy of my book at the Aniboutique table, and go to the first screening. Some really great films...highlight was another masterpiece by Joanna Quinn (UK animator who does the cha-cha-cha-Charmin bears who get all happy about toilet paper). Her new film would not be quite as appropriate for television, but brilliant all the same, beautiful work. So far have run into and chatted briefly with my good friend Augusto, Barry Ward from Bardel, Marv Newland, Amid Amidi and Jerry Beck at our brief appearance to the Opening Party, where they had a Brazilian band that was way too loud playing in an Irish pub. Strange juxtaposition, plus beer. Beauty.

Though it's almost 2am here, I'm right on time for bed according to my BC clock, so off I go to rest up for tomorrow.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Monday, September 11, 2006

Ariel meets Kermit

September 11, light of solemn reflection on a terrible day from 5 years ago, it could not have been more comforting and perfect to have the meeting of two very special people in my life: Ariel and Kermit. The most awesome and perfect gift imaginable arrived from my friend and colleague (and current freelance employer) Muppeteer Galen Fott and his family down in Nashville. Thanks you guys!

In other news, I'm starting to get into the swing of being back at work and catching up with activity from my time away. My Saturday classes started up again this past weekend, so it's back to being busy. This week I get to attend the first happening of the new equivalent to the Oscars/Emmies/Annies-type ceremony for the Canadian animation industry, hosted by William Shatner. Several of our students have been nominated for awards, and our involvement has mostly been in other peoples' hands so I'm not sure what to expect, but it should be fun. Also anticipating and preparing for going to the Ottawa Festival this year, which I am really looking super forward to. My book will be on sale at the Aniboutique with me present at the VanArts booth for autographs. I got some postcards today from the publishers to help with promotion, and a typo on the back says that I have an MFA instead of a BFA...not accurate, but it makes me look better!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Dialogue Exercises

I just recently posted the latest 'Creature Comforts'-inspired dialogue exercise from my stop-motion students on YouTube, so I figured I should add it here as well, and include the previous two, which have received several comments from happy people. I ask my students random questions and whatever un-scripted answers they give are drawn from a hat and animated, so nobody animates their own voice.

Animation & Voices by Andy Simpson, Jason Vanderhill, and Matt Hooker (bunny's voice is mine)

Animation & Voices by Luke Wareing, Darren Lee, Junko Ogawa, and Jose Torrico

Friday, August 25, 2006

The days just blur together...

I keep forgetting what day it is, as this week has just flown by without much regular routine; a welcome respite to relax and just be in the moment with Ariel and help around the house as much as possible before returning to work. Today was the rehearsal dinner for Mike & Jo's wedding day tomorrow, and we spent some time at a nearby park going through the motions for the wedding party. Ariel stayed behind and was passed around by other relatives until we got back to the house. I think we are certainly at that point now where we really miss her when she's not around. As much as I'm looking forward to Ottawa in a big way, part of me is really sad I'll be so far away for almost a week. There is nothing like having her curled up and's the most amazing feeling. The daddy gene is definitely starting to kick in and I'm getting rather hooked. Jay is a pretty hot mom, too.

Tonight I took this picture of some of the party balloons that floated away into the sky. I like it's rather poetic. I'm not sure what I think it means, so I'll leave it up to you.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Ariel, just hangin' out

Ariel is fun to watch. She just makes faces, dances around and farts a lot too. Been off work this week to help Jay recover and just spend some family time together. It's been nice.

Monday, August 21, 2006

My daughter is awesome

Oooooooooooooh! You are in my power!
Everybody dance!
There's no place like Daddy.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Monday, August 14, 2006

Here she is!

Ariel Lynn Priebe
Born via c-section at 2:13am
Monday, August 14th
8 lbs 11 oz
52 cm (20.47 inches)
Coming home Thursday...

Friday, August 11, 2006

Last Day?

Ok, so that wasn't our last day before baby, as we are still waiting after 2 trips to the hospital attempting to be induced. Jay's blog has all the details. Feeling really anxious but relatively positive and calm at the moment. Tick tock...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Last Day

Today was our last day simply as a married couple, visiting with my family around town. After the unfolding of events tomorrow, we will be our own family of 3!

We spent the day in Steveston, and at Centennial Beach, just walking around, shopping, wading through the low tide-water floor and enjoying the day, relaxing and having dinner at White Spot. It was a perfect day. Now we're preparing ourselves for tomorrow.

Here is a great picture of Jay standing on the beach in profile, which I was a perfect moment where she was standing at a distance and we caught each other's gaze and instantly had the same idea for the picture. I love her so much and I'm so proud of her already...she's got a lot of hard work to do tomorrow.

Also like this picture of the dynamic duo, Mom and Jonathan. I got an incredible video about him at his workplace which I will post here once the dust settles a bit.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

See You This Thursday

Ok, so today has been my first official vacation day and we went to the doctors and hospital for a non-stress-test, and we'll be going in to be induced on Thursday. So it appears that Ariel's birthday shall be August 10 or 11, depending on how long the whole process takes. Very exciting...I'm kind of in a state of shock at the moment hoping everything goes smoothly and just anticipating the event.

My family is here now and very tired from the long trip; tomorrow we'll plan some kind of outing and make it count, as it's our last day of solitude before everything changes!


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Another funny movie

This is kind of clever too...gee, you find some interesting things when you're bored waiting for your first born to arrive.

Anyway, better get back to animating.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

An Eye for Annai

On a whim I decided to see if this brilliant film from last year's Ottawa Festival was on YouTube, and am thrilled to see it is so, so I have to share it...

Thursday, August 03, 2006


....pation. I have a new theory as of today though, that God is holding off until all unresolved issues at work are wrapped up in a pretty package so that I don't have to worry about them during my time off. Every few minutes I come across something else that makes me think, hmmm, better take care of that. If that is indeed the case, then it's fine. I'd like to be able to relax at least a little bit while I adjust to my new adventurous lifestyle. But after tomorrow, and possibly a Saturday of teaching, hopefully that will be it, as I'm officially on vacation as of Tuesday.

Might have the possibility of doing a public talk on stop-motion through the local Siggraph people, so that's very exciting and I hope it crystallizes. My book was officially launched at SIGGRAPH in Boston this week, so it will be neat to hear how well it did and what other opps may have come from it. Working on planning Ottawa next.

The past few days I've had a new sense of responsibility in my personality and how I react to things, as though I feel the dawn of impending fatherhood already having an affect on my life. Hard to explain, just feel more alert, more open, more in tune with what's going on and how to tackle my 'issues'....or maybe it's the calm before the storm. Overall very excited and full of a calm kind of anxiety, but a squishy confident one that is still impatient...yet grown up.

Saw Marcello today. What a neat guy...he's going to teach art in China. His life would make a good book.

And now, for no reason other than it's a free country, the obligatory random Rock-afire picture...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Great Space Coaster of Life

Well, life's like a roller coaster sometimes, up and down...had some great news Thursday: due to the plug on the Brew, Leonard Maltin has requested a copy of my book to review on his site, mainly because of the history chapter, so I think that's pretty frickin' cool! Shortly after hearing this news, I had (to borrow a funny Meeka phrase) an 'assy' day at work. The next day was better because the person who made it assy was not present, and I got a hell of a lot more actual work done.

Today I had an awesome day of teaching, and really discovered once again how much I enjoy it...I hope someday I can make it more of a full-time thing, but we'll see what happens. Overall starting to recover a bit more from my recent stomach bug, though it still creeps back now and then. Today was good. Then I read something which has inclined me to listen to Linkin Park most of the evening while working on an animation project I've been hired to do. My brother may never forgive me for using them as my anger outlet, as I'm sure he has much stronger therapeutic examples to choose from. But it works for me.

I've become so numb I can't feel you there become so tired so much more aware I'm becoming this all I want to do is be more like me and be less like you

(Trying not to break but I’m so tired of this deceit) (Every time I try to make myself get back up on my feet) (All I ever think about is this) (All the tiring time between) (And how trying to put my trust in you just takes so much out of me) Take everything from the inside and throw it all away Cuz I swear for the last time I won’t trust myself with you I won’t waste myself on you

Funnily enough, in the latter song I often see in my head images from Passion of the perhaps good to meditate on the forgiveness aspect of things.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

First Review on Cartoon Brew

Jerry Beck has a review for my book on Cartoon Brew!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Miramax Sucks

Ok, so every now and then something peaks my interest and I think, hmmm what is this? I hear about certain aspects of a piece of pop culture from other people and eventually discover it myself on my own terms, and it becomes an obsession that I find interesting and take it to another level, thus making it an inspiring part of my life at that time. This is how I stumbled upon things like Rocky Horror, Monty Python, and even bands like Pink Floyd, Queensryche and Zappa....having heard about them for years before finding out what made them special in the first place. Such has been the case with a strange little British stop-motion show called the Magic Roundabout. I've read about it and heard people talk about it, even how it's all about drugs, and I mentioned it briefly in my book. So I think, hmm interesting...but I've never really seen it.

So a stupid part of me sees this CG feature released earlier this year called Dougal, and I'm like, that looks like the dog from Magic Roundabout, which it is. And then I see it in the video store and my curiosity gets the better of me...I figure, it's British, directed by former stop-motion people, nobody saw it, I like things nobody else cares about, maybe there's something to it. Remember, curiosity killed the cat.....right now I'm a cat with its spleen cooking on the highway.

I got through 15 minutes before I had to stop and watch the special features instead...perhaps they would have a retrospective on the original series, and talk about the history behind the characters, or possibly have an old episode there for nostalgic purposes? No, instead there was another 15 minutes of Whoopi Goldberg and Jimmy Fallon dancing to the Kinks, and some dumbass with bad teeth talking about how cool Jon Stewart is. Funnily enough, the feature had titles for all the voice actors, but didn't have any for the directors or producers! Will the real Alan Smithee please stand up? Did they hire Wal Mart employees to pretend they made the film? Then they spend a minute bragging about how the WHOLE THING was made with computers, and then go right back to Whoopi talking about snails.

Apparently this was a British film that the Weinsteins at Miramax saw and decided they should hire famous actors to dub their dialogue, which explains why the lip sync and posing didn't match at all. They would often ad-lib dialogue over scenes where their mouths didn't move. I had to watch a Popeye cartoon afterwards to try and figure out why it works in that context, but not in this one. The best solution I could come up with so far was....Popeye cartoons are actually GOOD!

Part of me has been thinking, I should see some of these CG features to see if they really are as bad as the traditional-animation purists think they are. Well, they're right after all.

Now Jay and I have to find something better to do with our evening, despite the heat. Already saw the bikes and got some drinks, cooled off...I'm still floored that she delivered all my heavy books yesterday. What a sweetie...she'll do anything strenuous at this point to get our baby out. Come on, Ariel, let's get moving! I need a young mind to fill with culture!

At least our noisy neighbours moved out. There is hope.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Bring It On!

So we had a pretty kick-ass weekend. Friday night was a BBQ at the Funks' house with members of the worship team and other delightful church folk. Apparently the rumour was leaked to our new worship pastor that I used to play the drums, so perhaps when the dust settles at some point, I'll get to do that. feel like a splintered drumstick.
It was a fantastic evening and there are no better people on this planet.

Saturday was Marcy & Stephen's wedding, which was lovely. We got to see Mike's apartment as well, way up high overlooking the beauties of downtown Richmond and a big kitty litter box where people apparently like to Yes, I like waking up to too.
Anyway, fun fun fun was had by all. At the reception location there was another reception going on as well, and some of the groomsmen were sending drunks from there into their dance floor. Experiments in human behavior make celebrations of true love more interesting.

Sunday was church, bridal shower for Jo, and birthday dinner for Bill Matthews at French restaurant downtown. Spent awhile wandering the area around Robson/Denman where I used to live; not much to see there. Dinner was nice...Bill Matthews had an interesting comment about my book...he said, after just reading the introduction and skimming through it cover to cover, he thinks it is "to puppet animation today what Preston Blair's book was to cartoon animation in the 1940s." That is a comment you take to the bank! I'm still reeling from that one.

This evening I showed a stop-motion film retrospective at the school to tie-in with the release of my book, including It's a Bird, The Mascot, Revolt of the Toys, Do-it-Yourself Cartoon Kit, Closed Mondays, A Christmas Gift, Crosspaths, Creature Comforts and The Peanut Vendor.

Speaking of stop-motion, apparently our baby is very healthy and growing to Kong-sized proportions. Hopefully the theory that they eat and sleep better will ring true. There is a chance that a window delivery is inevitable, so we'll see what happens; we just want her here now, and just got back from a long walk to see if we can get the engine going.

And now, a sign.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

New Arrival #1

From out of my hands, to into my hands! My first copy of the actual book arrived today, and I am happy. The publishers did a fantastic job laying it out and making it look awesome. The paper is good quality, it's a comfortable size, small but frickin' thick! I can't believe I wrote all of this in 6 months, but of course it was also due to plenty of divine intervention and generous assistance from so many others, especially Jay.

Order yours today!

Now we're just waiting for Arrival #2, also small but frickin' thick from the feel of things. Still continuing to week? two weeks? We shall see!

Today was pretty awesome, as I spent the day with Chris Carter (not the X-files guy) to go through the footage for the next VanArts DVD. We got some good it's exhausting work just watching videos. Then we headed over to Backbone Entertainment to shoot interviews with some of the grads working there. During a time when some of us are nervous about stuff going on at work, today really solidified what a grand history the school has had, and why it should keep doing what it does best. Many of these guys were kids when I first met them, and now they're so grown up. There were even people who I didn't know were working there, like Jose, who I was hoping I would run into soon. It was a blast, like a reunion of old souls. Quite an amazing visit.

Hold on tight...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Drumroll please...

So today I found out that the book has finally arrived at the warehouse (all 4000+ of them), so I should get a copy this week, and our baby is measuring at 40 weeks, still dropping, so could be ready to arrive at any moment. Feeling incredibly anxious and excited about both.

Last night I had ribs. That is also very good news.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Approaching the Southern Oracle of Life

Found out today that Ariel is starting to drop, so it could be a few weeks, or one, two weeks, we don't know...depends on her agenda. Sooner would be good, as it's freakin hot around here.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Cars Review

Saw Cars yesterday and posted a review on Hollywood Jesus.

Friday, June 30, 2006

5 Years!

Ah yes, 5 years ago today I married my best friend. Today we had a very relaxing time, going out for breakfast, walking around town, hanging around the house together, and going out to an amazing dinner at La Belle Auberge, including our first taste of smoked kangaroo! Yes, that's right, kangaroo. We also watched our wedding video and laughed and cried together. It's amazing to watch; seems so long ago and yet still so close. I am still the happiest and most blessed person on Earth to be with Jay. I'm so proud of her and look forward to seeing her as a mom...she's going to be great. Watching our video also reminded me of how wonderful our families are, both in blood and in friendship. Life is good today, very good.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Looking forward

Ahh, the calm after one storm and before another...

Just had another group of students start at work, and the summer group next week. Lots of drama, don't really want to get into it. Too much to say. Makes my brain hurt. Always feel drained after an intake starts. Luckily this weekend is a holiday with three entire days off. The first one being our 5-year anniversary...finally made it to a whole hand!

Thought Baby might be doin' a tap dance inside but turns out she's still breakdancing doing a head spin...yep, if all goes well she will leave through the door instead of the window. The room is finally all finished, complete with chair, crib, poop table and the ever important bookcase.

...and here is our stroller, with stunt baby testing it out and checking for things like good airbag control, wind resistance, flux capacitor and coffee holder all functioning properly, not to mention getting the coordinates from the Nava computer, since travelling through hyperspace ain't like dusting crops, as we all know without precise coordinates the baby might fly right through a star or bounce too close to a supernova and that would end her trip real quick.