To kick off this catch-up blog, here's the lastest installment of animation from my stop-motion students. We tried some green-screen shots for the first time with good-looking results...plus I added the facial expression exercises this time around.
After wrapping up this last class session of the year, another Christmas has come and gone...kind of crept up on everyone this year...that tends to happen when it's early in the week as it was. This year I felt like I did some catching up on my favorite Christmas traditions moreso at the last minute. For some reason I didn't muster up the spirit to embrace the holiday traditions I love until it was closer to the actual day. I didn't help Jay put ornaments on the tree or watch that many animated Christmas specials, or *gasp* play the John Denver Muppet Christmas album...not until Christmas Eve. I'm a little bit disturbed and perplexed as to the reason why. The only lame excuses I can think of would be I was too pre-occupied with work, or that Ariel is still not quite at an age that I can fully share these things with her, and have her understand. Or perhaps I still have lingering afterburn of Christmases past where I would lose the sense of magic there once was, or the over-commercialization of it all (and appalling, degrading commercials for the Deal or No Deal Christmas Special) makes me cranky. Or perhaps it's because my grandmother broke her arm and is going through a tough rehabilitation right now. Who knows...overall when it was all said and done, it was a special day for the family and we had a wonderful time, and even more wonderful food.
I've spent the last few days hastily preparing my presentation for the Hollywood Jesus Gathering in Renton, WA, where we are currently as I type this. Yesterday we spent the day driving down and combing the outlet malls so Jay could satisfy her kids' clothes curiosities and we could just have some family time. Today was the first day of presentations with Greg Wright, Peter Chattaway, Jeffrey Overstreet and David Bruce. Though I'm still a bit bleary-eyed from all that shopping and staying up until 2am the night before we left, overall I'm feeling inspired and empowered by the words that were said today. It's been nice seeing the people we met 2 years ago again, and also meeting some new faces...makes the e-mail correspondence more well-rounded and complete. Hollywood Jesus went through a bit of a rough patch last year with the many changes that had occurred in its management, but I feel that it's finally coming out of that shadow and moving towards bigger and better things again. I hope to contribute more to it as much as I can...so long as there are more interesting movies to talk about. I've also had a book review idea for 'The NeverEnding Story' kicking around in my head, so perhaps I should tackle that soon. I got to meet the author and purchase a copy of Jeffrey Overstreet's book today, as I feel from seeing his writing and meeting him in person that we're very much from the same planet. I ended up having a conversation today about 'The Dark Crystal' (which I just picked up the 2-disc edition at the outlet mall) with Jeffrey and Peter that was good encouragement for the soul. (Peter had a comment that the split between the Skeksis and Uru was a metaphor for separation between the body and soul...and when they come together as the Urskeks, they are whole, spiritual bodies. Whoa!)
I find it endlessly fascinating that I have managed to put down roots in this part of the country...as I keep finding more clues throughout my life that the Pacific Northwest had been beckoning me for so many years. Some gifts I got for Christmas were a live Queensryche DVD taped in Seattle, and the DVD box set for Twin Peaks. So far in peeking at the special features I was reminded that the series was shot only a matter of miles from where we are right now. Yet just a few fleeting examples of pop culture that made me go 'hmmmmm' when I was younger...just something about the flavor they had...the feeling...the calling, which only in hindsight do I see how I was led to put down roots and live here eventually...and as a result, meet some kindred spirits. Anyway, just another weird thing I ponder.