Archive for January, 2008

Nostalgia part deux

Ah, seeing some of the faces in the photographs of the gallery linked below just gets me all misty-eyed. I can hear the slow plucking of bass strings now…. click “Bob” for more.

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Glennnndaaaale!!!!!!!!!

For all you LA refugees.

Thank you Bill Handel.

My 1st painted card…

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Well, digitally painted anyway. I may break out some paints for the next 4 I’m doing, but if I’m short on time I don’t think I can handle a re-learning curve. I did another for this set which is for a game here at SOE called Legends of Norath. More Everquest(well…), but it’s good to keep expanding my horizons artistically. This one was picked to join the wall of artwork here at the main building of the studio, so that made me happy. I’ll possibly be posting some Maya and Zbrush stuff in the near future as well. What SOE lacks in quality, it makes up for in allowing you the time to better yourself if you have the will to do so.

 PS: I picked up League BD yesterday Ben. Looking forward to reading it. Laura, I just saw your Thor stuff a couple weeks back. Wow.

Picture of the Week

Had to put this up as the Pic of the Week. Damn wartime ads are just awesome!

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Nice new Cintiq. I guess I need $999.00
Nice new Cintiq. I guess I need $999.00

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 http://www.wacom.com/cintiq/12WX.cfm

Testing the Waters

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While cruising around the net, I ran into the blog of a designer here in Japan. They linked to a gallery of their photos. That’s when I discovered Fotologue, a very slick web gallery that’s all Flash based. It has a great interface, both on the front and backends, and it’s even moderately customizable. Privacy controls are decent enough, too. I appreciate the fact that organizing my photos is a function of looking at the folder they are in, rather than going into another whole separate function. There’s also a great feature that lets you replace a specific picture, just in case you’ve made changes. It’s all pretty intuitive. I still do wish that there was a built-in option to sort your photos by name, date, etc., but as it is, the frontpage scroll works as a great, random sampling of photos on your site. At least this makes the “unordered” nature of their presentation a bit more functional.

So, I decided to give it a spin, transferring some of my photos from my Thailand trip as well as photos from my Flickr site. I may just be moving from Flickr to Fotologue if all things go well.

http://fotologue.jp/busywords/

“Cloverfield”

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Date: Jan. 19th 2008

Mood: Relaxed

Place: Hughes center parkway theatres (Just ouside Culver city)

Atmoshpere: Raiders fans, Nordstrom Rack, Indor Mini-Golf

So, I was invited up to see Cloverfield with my old friend Andrew(the Architect). We 1st tried earlier in the evening to get the rest of the gang to go, but for various reasons they all bailed, so we cruised Santa Monica Blvd. until we found the Sushi place Andy said he’d liked. Terried Sake House.(Although he wasn’t sure, and there were fucking 5 of them on the same block…) We caught up on lots of stuff, and proceeded to drink 3 med. sized bottles of Sake, and eat 7-8 plates of Sushi, Yakatori, Gyoza, and 3 large bottles of beer.(the beer was called Orion…never heard of it) We then went to the theatre to be wowed by Cloverfield…but first we stopped at the bar that’s inside the theatre to have a Martini and Seven and Seven(This took place over 2 hours while we waited for our friends to show…and they bailed of course. And btw my girlfriend and the kids were out of town in Fresno, so that’s why I was able to do the bachelor “night out”) and after some really shitty L.A. service by the bar staff, we went in.

Saw the Trek Teaser…it was ok.

Forget the other trailers, which means they were forgettable.

Then Cloverfield.

“Blairwitch” meets “Sex in the City”, meets “Godzilla”, meets “Aliens”, meets a bad episode of “Friends”.

The special effects were really nicely done. I wonder what the process is for doing the whole handycam thing…although, I’ve seen that demonstrated at Sony Pictures before…or something very similar, you did very much feel like they were in a city that was being destroyed by a giant creature. Bravo!

But…

I hated all the Characters and couldn’t wait for them to die.

It’s grossed over 40 odd million dollars, best ever Jan. opening. Go figure.

Spoilers:

The Skyscraper apts that the main dudes girlfriend lived in partly collapse onto another building but don’t fall down. Doesn’t take a physics major to smell bullshit on that one.

Everyone survives a helicopter crash where the pilot loses control after being swatted or attacked by the “creature” and they were at least 1000 feet up in the air. If you’ve paid attention to Iraq and Ahfghanistan, you’d know that a $200 RPG shoots a helicopter that’s 100 feet up, and you have 20 dead Marines.

As soon as the 1st wave of F-18′s were destroyed, and their payload of bombs were ineffective, and the military reported back that it(the creature) was spawning 100′s or thousands of infectious little offspring that gave people “space Ebola”, the Govt. would have nuked the site from orbit. That would have made the movie 30 minutes long. As it was the movie was really, really short.

All in all, not horrible, but not great either.

-JR

Star Trek Teaser

Shitty cellphone cam but it still gives me chills. Big props for using the old school transporter sound effect for the end of the teaser.

**UPDATE**

HD version of the Teaser can be found here

6 years later…

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(Actually more since you saw these two together)…And this still looks amazingly “comfortable” and “right”. Word is that it will be a standalone film, dumping any of the plotlines from the series. Good move. Lots of people out there nowadays who may have never seen it. Opening later this year…

MacBook Air

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So the big announcement at MacWorld today was actually a Thin announcement: the MacBook Air.

Other than the great industrial design and the fact that they squeezed in a full keyboard, 13.3″ screen, and included gesture technology in the trackpad, I am a little hard pressed to find for whom this was built for? Conduct external data exchanges completely via wi-fi only? I guess if you are a traveller on the go, it makes for a great companion to your desktop, but I wonder if Apple seriously thinks they’ll be able to sell this as a standalone computer. And let’s not forget that the world isn’t 100% covered with wi-fi portals. What happens then? A very interesting, though risky, venture I may say. Your thoughts?

Anecdote

So, on a recent trip to a seaside hot springs with Rumiko and my in-laws, we stayed at a pretty nice hotel with a large room for each of the two couples. The food was great, and there was plenty of free entertainment, including an activity room with majong tables, exercise bikes, massage chairs, and a ping pong table. My wife immediately gravitated to the ping pong table as she hadn’t played in many years. So, we casually hit the ball around with one another. Then my father-in-law switched with me and I turned spectator. Then Rumiko switched out with my mother-in-law and the the two parents lightly engaged short exchanges. It was a lot of fun and everyone was having a great time. So, my father-in-law tags out with me replacing him. I take the paddle from him and think to myself: “Ok, gotta remember to go light. Nothing too hard.” It was my mother-in-law after all. It was her serve, and she deftly put the ball into my court. A simple forehand with a light touch, returned the serve. Then out of nowhere, my mother-in-law flicks her wrist, and the balls whizzes by me. I kid you not. I am standing there looking like Peco after China bullets his serve back to him the first time they meet (for those of you who haven’t seen an awesome Japanese film called, PING PONG, find it and watch it now!). “Maybe that was just a lucky hit,” I try to convince myself. So, I serve to her. Another great backhand that sends the ball skimming over the net. I return a top spin forehand to her right. She extends out her arm, bends her arm at the elbow, and precisely returns it to me. I’m so stunned at this point that my response is an overly adjusted backhand that sends the ball over the table and out of play. “Okasan (mother), jouzu da ne! (you’re really good).” I tell her. Rumiko looks at me with a straight face and says, “She used to be on her junior high school team.” Thanks for telling me, honey.

It kind of reminded me of one my favorite commercials here:

For a woman in her seventies, who hadn’t picked up the racket in a while (according to her), there certainly was a minimum of rust on her skills. Maybe she can play for Penny Arcade, Kiko. The shock factor alone will win you a few matches.

Cool DS app

Now it’s a sketchbook.

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http://www.collectingsmiles.com/colors/

Namco and Star Wars…hmmm…

Yep.

 http://kotaku.com/342985/darth-vader-yoda-join-the-cast-of-soulcalibur-iv

Halo 3 “Believe” Ad Campaign


Even though this is an ad campaign that ran last year, it still holds up as the shining example of how videogames need to be marketed.

I threw the rest of the ads up after the jump.
Read more »

Flickr Stalking

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bite,
originally uploaded by skimvision.

Ok…. if this is Erica, then you need to marry her because she is your goddamn soulmate. Look at that “un-hinge” technique!

The Upgrade Dance!

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Or: How I learned to stop worrying and love Microsoft.

I’m working on a post to describe my lovely fun filled vacation time trying to fix all my Windows problems so I can play Orange box with no problems. Lets just say my Tampa airport experience was a mild inconveinience by comparison…

Sweeney Todd
Sweeney Todd

Wondering if any of you caught this film. It’ll be out here soon so the PR is in high speed. Just looking at it though, I have come to realize that I have really become tired of Burton’s production design sense. At least, when he seems to be on auto-pilot. With Sweeney Todd, I am pretty sure I have seen that palette and look before, in a number of his films already. I still think he is a formidable director capable of creating unique characters, but I think he needs to challenge himself with a more varied palette. Look what he can do with Edward Scissorhands, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and my personal favorite of his films in recent years, Big Fish.

On another note, has any of you seen Beowulf? Your thoughts on the “performance capture” aspect of the film? Compared to what Square did with Advent Children? I watched Rataoullie recently and at the end of the end credits, there is this “seal of approval” that the movie was made with 100% animation, and no motion capture. Gotta love Brad Bird for being a champion of the old school.

“What’s in Mexico?”

kiko.jpg“Mexicans.”  Well, just got back from spending 2 weeks in Kiko’s country of origin.  I could say that Mexico is dirty, noisy, and inefficient, but that would be unfair to make such a general statement.  Here’s a quick recap of where I visited:

-Mexico City: Being there felt like I was constantly in East LA.  There’s so much graffiti that you can’t walk a block without seeing one.  Even their advertisements are painted directly on their walls.

-Oaxaca: The next city to visit, and a nice contrast to Mexico City.  Oaxaca is smaller and feels more serene and laid back than Mexico City (until you go to the southern part of Oaxaca).  Visually, the city stands out because their buildings makes use of vibrant, complementary colors.

 -Puerto Escondido: Nice beach to visit, but ultimately, lacking much sight seeing for me and a little too touristy.  This was the most humid area that I visited while in Mexico.

-Taxco: Since my girlfriend speaks Spanish, she handled most of our traveling arrangements.  When she had a major hangover from too much tequila, I headed to Taxco on my own while she recovered at her friend’s place.  Taxco, another small city, has much of their buildings painted white, which seems to reflect their silver commerce.  The city is built on a hill, so the streets are severely steep and seem to wind all over the place.

-Guanahuato: The last city for us to visit and one of our favorites before flying out of Mexico City.  Like Taxco, this city is located on a hilly site, except their major roads go through underground tunnels.  The city uses color like Oaxaca, except they mostly use either solid colors or a mix of colors in the same family.  Despite the amount of tourists milling about there, I still enjoyed the European atmosphere of this town.

 So, now I’m back in San Diego, recovering from a cold/flu that I got on my last day in Mexico.  Overall, I had a great time there, but I wouldn’t be in a hurry to revisit.  Although I will miss their Tacos al Pastor and some of the people I met there.  I’ll eventually post my pictures on my Flickr site.