Sunday, March 29, 2009

Weekend Gifts

My wife Jay found a cool thing at the Thrift Store for $3. It's an old animatronic Big Bird toy from the mid-80s, when everyone jumped on the creepy Teddy Ruxpin talking toy craze. Surprisingly, it's in very good condition! There's a tape deck in his butt with stories narrated by Carroll Spinney himself as Big Bird, and nicely illustrated books to go with it. Unfortunately, his beak no longer works, but his eyes blink! Pretty cool. The best part is, Ariel loves him.

Jay also made a burger cake this weekend for her Dad's birthday celebration this evening. Yes, this is actually a cake, with icing for ketchup & mustard and gumdrops for lettuce. Inside is chocolate. It was good.

My brother Dan sent me a disc with tons of Frank Zappa albums for my iPod. I discovered his music when I was at U of M and became an obsessed fan for awhile. Most of the CDs I had were stolen from my apartment in Vancouver, so it's been a long time since I heard many of these tracks. I'm not as fond of some of his later material when he got a little bit too political and cynical even for my liking, but you can't beat his 70s period with Flo & Eddie and his band line-up from albums like Apostrophe, Overnight Sensation, and my favorite album One Size Fits All. The really early Mothers stuff like Lumpy Gravy and We're Only In It for the Money is also good for just plain ol' bizarre Dada music. Yes, good stuff.

On a very different musical note, another song I'm become obsessed with is from our good friend from church Gayle Salmond. Gayle is our worship pastor's wife and they are a dynamic song-producing team. Her song 'The Lorica' has been played in many of our church services lately, and it's based on the Breastplate of St Patrick. Absolutely amazing and uplifting. Check out an exceprt here (and click on The Lorica)

I also got the new platinum edition of Pinocchio on DVD, and watched it this afternoon with Ariel, who calls it 'Pee-kee-o.'

Also discovered a link to author Brian Sibley's blog which has some fascinating posts about the film, and also a really cool history of Snap, Crackle & Pop. Amazing stuff.

Pinocchio: Puppet's Progress

Wah Chang's Pinocchio model
Snap, Crackle & Pop

So much pop culture, so little time!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Stop Motion Walk

Here's a quick-and-dirty walk I animated last summer in my VanArts stop-motion course...just batted it out for demonstration purposes while my students were working on their puppets.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Space Ghost Stop-Motion Test

As a way to test out TVPaint for my online stop-motion course (which focuses totally on dialogue), I did a little test tonight. It's nice to animate again.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Recut Movie Trailers

I LOVE re-cut movie trailers. I made one of my own for Star Wars awhile back, and there are still lots of others out there that continue to inspire me. This is the first one I ever saw several years ago, and it's still one of the best out there...

And these ones I found several months ago which are also classically good...

Just found these ones tonight and they're awesome.

...but this one BY FAR takes the cake (no pun intended). An absolute masterpiece!!!


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Muppets on Disney Channel

I love this video that Jay found to show me. Seems the Muppets are really coming back on their game with some funny material these days. They're bringing many of the classic characters back who they've left out in recent years, like Scooter and the entire Mayhem band. The timing and performance of Beaker in this clip is absolutely hilarious, and the girl is pretty darn cute too. (Jay agrees with me so I think I'm allowed to say that.) I also LOVE the way Animal moves on the drum set...even though the clips of him are very brief, it looks like they are trying some different puppetry techniques on the arms to make it look more like he's actually playing, compared to the old days. He looks awesome.

Great stuff.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gerald's Last Day

Justin and Shel Rasch of Stop Motion Mission are all the rage these days in the online stop-motion animation community with their independent stop-motion short Gerald's Last Day in the festival circuit, and deservedly so. I got a review copy the other day and here is my little testimonial:

"Gerald's Last Day is a triumph for independent animation and the art of stop-motion. It's a beautiful example of exquisite character animation, where the moments of silence and stillness say just as much as the moments of expression and movement. Justin and Shel have set the bar for what a creative family can achieve through hard work and pursuing their dreams to make entertaining films, just for the joy of watching inanimate puppets come to life."

-Ken A. Priebe
Author, The Art of Stop-Motion Animation

Check out the press kit and give them a vote for the Delta Airways Fly-in Movie Competition!

Sunday, March 08, 2009


Been away from bloggish things again for too long, so here's some random blurbish for anyone who pops in to check on me now and then. Not that I don't have much to say, it's more I have much to do and I'm not sure how much of it gives me something to say. I work. I drink coffee. I come home. I keep Ariel entertained while Mommy gets a break. I work some more. I sleep. Whee!

But there's been some cool stuff going on too. Like finding giant gnomes and scary clowns on Vancouver Island...

Weddings...(Congrats to Ross & Kailey, and Graeme & Kalia!)

My girls, always cute...

Finding Puppetoons on the internet (just too much fun to watch)...

And enjoying the fact that people with too much time on their hands decide to compile together all the moments where Snoopy says "Bleaahh." This makes me & Ariel happy.

My major projects sustaining all of this weird stuff have mainly been trying to get the busy graduation-orientation time period at VanArts overwith, so I can get past the post-intake crash...(time change and winter weather doesn't help)....and get going on building my online course. Will be in San Francisco again May 5-9 and can't wait to eat at Mel's Diner again. I also have another 2D animation freelance project going with BigFott. So lots of work and caffeinated good times lie ahead.

In-between projects and procrastination I've also been chipping away at transferring some old videos & recordings of fun times with my old friends from Michigan, for the purpose of mailing off some surprise care packages to them. Always fun to look back at fun times with old ghosts who I miss at times, particularly in these reflective winter days when the rain falls, the eagles are everywhere, and my mind wanders to think about my blessings in a fog of nostalgic joyous melancholy.