Archive for December, 2006

3D Métrages Awards

Posted in 3D, Art, Reviews, Video on December 26, 2006 by blakejohnson

My friend at school found this site and showed me the video “Delivery” and I was so awed that I had to find the site myself. I emailed the link to myself from school and downloaded all the videos on that page at home and watched them all. They are very, very well done. My favorite is “Delivery” or “In The Rough.” I love “Delivery” for the whole thing, and I love the way “In The Rough” was done, it looks like everything is miniature, but you get the impression that it’s all the same size as you would be in that forest, but somehow it doesn’t really seem like it would be. I think they did a really good job on both of them. “Rockfish” was very good too, probably the most realistic, looks-wise of all of them, and Nox was cool just because of the sequence of monster sizes (you’ll know what I mean once you watch the video), and because of the little twist at the end (again, you’ll know when you watch it). I like the content also for all of them, the very-relevant-to-everyday-life relationship troubles of “In The Rough,” the global topic of “Delivery,” the friendship of “Rockfish,” and the simple thrill of racing-against-time in “Nox.” I love lots of 3D work in general, but these, coupled with their subject matter of each film, take the cake for the (soon-to-end) year. I don’t know what the site says or is about specifically, since it’s in French and I can’t read French, but the videos accompanying it are deserving of an international audience, in my opinion. Maybe I think higher of things I like than I should, and maybe someone will come along to shoot down my awe with some comment about another film being better than any of these, but I still love these short films, and I will still watch them again and again, showing them to friends and family. I would highly recommend watching all of these videos, and even perusing the site for more. I’ve not had the chance to do that yet, but I will as soon as possible, after my life’s chores are done and out of the way. Speaking of which…

Link: http://www.mibhouse.org/pokemon_jojo/Courts-metrages-animation-3d

Tori Amos – From The Choirgirl Hotel

Posted in Music, Reviews on December 23, 2006 by blakejohnson

I listened to the whole album From The Choirgirl Hotel by Tori Amos this morning in the car on the way to and from work (not enough kids today to teach), and the main word that comes to mind is interesting. There are some songs that I like more than others, and it becomes apparent that she’s not my usual melodic or rhythm-driven musician, she has a sort of abstract (I guess) feeling in her music. She doesn’t have a set melody that she falls back on for different pieces of a song, and if she does, it’s not noticeable as a “structured” piece of music, with a verse, then chorus, then verse, then chorus, etc. That makes her original and a nice change of pace, and even though some of her tone-shifts and her songs don’t go the way I would have done them, they work, and I still like them. She’s not my absolute favorite artist, but she is good, and I’ll keep listening to her from time to time, as I keep her CD in my (mom’s) car CD player. Good stuff, some of her songs are almost inspiring, they have that upbeat, looking-toward-the-horizon type quality to them. After listening to her album, I guess I got more used to the songs, or the style, and so I liked it more, but I do like the music and I would recommend it to anyone who hasn’t heard her before, just to see what she sounds like.

Neil Gaiman – "Instructions"

Posted in Get Meta!, Life, People, Poetry, YouTube on December 20, 2006 by blakejohnson

I found this video of a very cool poem by Neil Gaiman called “Instructions.” I like the poem a lot, though I have not read it before, and I like his delivery; the english accents adds a certain flair to the poetic beat or melody of hie piece and they always sound more magical, more mystical than a nasal American voice. He gives good inflection on the piece and looks up and gives laughing breaks at the right moments. I liked most of all, though, how his poem not only took place in a fantastical world of magic and dreams, but it mirrored life in a way that gives advice and suggestions, and even hope, in a poem and a world that is more similar in the end to ours than we first thought. I guess it’s like that with a lot of things, we have an imagined vision of a new place, far off, magical almost, and when we get there, things remind us of home, be they homesickness or the simple drapes that remind us of a napkin left to become stale on the kitchen counter while we were off on vacation. We end up seeing things, meeting people much like at home, they remind us of our families and our journeys in life, and they seem now not so imagined, but more of a new addition to the path of the rest of our lives, the rest of our journeys. I guess people imagine Colombia as a big drug country. It’s not, and I hate it when they do. I didn’t know anything about it, I had to learn from them that it had something to do with drugs, but I was skeptical from the start that cocaine was all it had to do with. We got there, and things did remind me of home. I still had my hobbies, I still had friends, I still had school, I still had family, I still had me. We still ate dinner, we still went to have fun with friends, and we still always came home at night to sleep and dream, until the next day’s turn to begin. I guess I found a lot of things that I could have found at home. I found a girlfriend, I found friends, I found love and loss, I found mental connections and friends htat were more like family, and I found more of me too, hiding away in that distant country. Maybe it’s like this for everybody who lives in a foreign country, learning a little about themselves being in a new place, seeing new things, meeting new people. But I bet a lot of those things remind them of home, and how they got there in the first place. I love being in a foreign place, and I love remembering Colombia. I hate the ignorance with which people treat it, but I have no choice but to live with it, especially if they are unwilling to change their minds, even if they don’t know what they’re talking about and I do. I’ll still remember, and I will still always and forever cherish my memories of living there, learning about me and people, about life and the way people see me and a foreign country. I’ll be home, always, but I guess there’ll always be a part of me somewhere else, waiting for me to find it too, and put together the rest of my journey, my poem about me and my life. Anyways, here’s the video, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 🙂

Neil Gaiman – “Instructions”

Posted in Get Meta!, Life, People, Poetry, YouTube on December 20, 2006 by blakejohnson

I found this video of a very cool poem by Neil Gaiman called “Instructions.” I like the poem a lot, though I have not read it before, and I like his delivery; the english accents adds a certain flair to the poetic beat or melody of hie piece and they always sound more magical, more mystical than a nasal American voice. He gives good inflection on the piece and looks up and gives laughing breaks at the right moments. I liked most of all, though, how his poem not only took place in a fantastical world of magic and dreams, but it mirrored life in a way that gives advice and suggestions, and even hope, in a poem and a world that is more similar in the end to ours than we first thought. I guess it’s like that with a lot of things, we have an imagined vision of a new place, far off, magical almost, and when we get there, things remind us of home, be they homesickness or the simple drapes that remind us of a napkin left to become stale on the kitchen counter while we were off on vacation. We end up seeing things, meeting people much like at home, they remind us of our families and our journeys in life, and they seem now not so imagined, but more of a new addition to the path of the rest of our lives, the rest of our journeys. I guess people imagine Colombia as a big drug country. It’s not, and I hate it when they do. I didn’t know anything about it, I had to learn from them that it had something to do with drugs, but I was skeptical from the start that cocaine was all it had to do with. We got there, and things did remind me of home. I still had my hobbies, I still had friends, I still had school, I still had family, I still had me. We still ate dinner, we still went to have fun with friends, and we still always came home at night to sleep and dream, until the next day’s turn to begin. I guess I found a lot of things that I could have found at home. I found a girlfriend, I found friends, I found love and loss, I found mental connections and friends htat were more like family, and I found more of me too, hiding away in that distant country. Maybe it’s like this for everybody who lives in a foreign country, learning a little about themselves being in a new place, seeing new things, meeting new people. But I bet a lot of those things remind them of home, and how they got there in the first place. I love being in a foreign place, and I love remembering Colombia. I hate the ignorance with which people treat it, but I have no choice but to live with it, especially if they are unwilling to change their minds, even if they don’t know what they’re talking about and I do. I’ll still remember, and I will still always and forever cherish my memories of living there, learning about me and people, about life and the way people see me and a foreign country. I’ll be home, always, but I guess there’ll always be a part of me somewhere else, waiting for me to find it too, and put together the rest of my journey, my poem about me and my life. Anyways, here’s the video, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 🙂

Kite + Ice + Butt Boarding = Fun!

Posted in DIY, People, YouTube on December 20, 2006 by blakejohnson

I found this video through an IzzyVideo RSS feed (I think) (correction: through an Engadget RSS feed) and thought it was pretty ingenuitive (if that’s a word). They got going pretty fast, it starts out not so exciting, but it picks up after a while, they start playing music and it gets a bit funnier too. Give it a watch… if you’ve got DSL, dial-up users, beware!! Enjoy :).

Am I Lazy?

Posted in Get Meta!, Life, People on December 19, 2006 by blakejohnson

I was reading a piece tonight for english we had to react to about dieting and weight-loss programs, it was a persuasive piece, trying to get people to invesitgae fully into a weight-loss program before joining. They said that at the end of the program there is no support for people, and they tend to regain all the weight they lost if not more, and that it is hugely expensive to pay for the program and its support if there is any offered. It’s basically a big scam, and I think it’s pretty pathetic.

My reaction, though, was in my response to a question we had to answer about it after reading it. The question wa, “Is it effective?” My response was “Yes,” and then I went on to talk about how I agreed without having read the piece but it’s nice to have someone reaffirm your beliefs. Then I found myself thinking along the lines of, “Yea, it’s effective, because it reaffirms what I believe, gives me that satisfaction, and best of all, I don’t have to do anything about it, since I’m not trying for any weight-loss programs!” This was a sort of reality check into the “Woah, what am I thinking?” I mean, this person is trying to appeal to my heart and mind about how cruel the companies are who scam people, and just to be really careful about a big life decision like this, it costs tons of money, and I’m thinking I don’t have to do anything because of it!? My reaction is so lazy I’m surprised at myself, I don’t really know why I’m thinking that way, maybe I am just lazy, but are other people thinking this way? I always feel half-guilty when it’s something I could do and don’t, or something I could contribute and don’t, but this, this I don’t have to do anything because it only applies to those interested in weight-loss programs. I guess this way, since I don’t feel half-guilty about anything because this essay doesn’t pertain to me, I feel free, and so I don’t have to contribute, because it’s not a contribution I would make to anybody else, it would be to myself if I was an applicant to a weight-loss program, which I’m not. I’m not sure, but it just feels like I’m lazy, sitting here typing away and thinking that I’m glad I don’t have to feel guilty about the kids in child labor or the parents misunderstanding their troubled teens, because I’m not applying for a weight-loss program, and it’s ok, because it doesn’t concern me. I feel like I should be feeling or doing something more. Maybe that’s the thing, maybe I’m just missing it, or maybe I read it all and feel uncomfortable now, powerless. Now writing this seems like less of an idea to bring something big out into the open – my feelings of freedom and laziness – but more like a shameful admition that yes, I feel lazy and yes, I don’t care. Right now I guess it’s ok, seeing as it’s almost 11:30 here, but considering all the things I guess I could be doing, it seems like more of… I guess it makes me feel guilty, about as much as I would if I were directly affected by this piece of writing. Maybe there’s no difference, only in my initial reaction. I wonder if anybody else felt this way about this piece, maybe other people are just as lazy as I am about this. Or maybe I’m the only one who feels guilty about being lazy. I guess we’ll find out sooner or later, huh? For now, I guess maybe just think about your own reactions to things, be they writing, movies, music, react and then reflect on the reaction, it gets pretty cool, and your entire opinions can change when you realize and analyze why you reacted the way you did, and figure out what you’re feeling about the whole thing. Good luck :).

The Crüxshadows

Posted in Life, Music on December 13, 2006 by blakejohnson

I’ve always been slightly out of place when it comes to the goth, cyberpunk, or industrial underground scenes, or anything similar to them. I’ve always liked the styles, but no way on myself. There’s something in the feeling of all the dark colors and the shadows, I don’t really even know how to describe what the whole thing means, since I don’t really know, but there’s something very intriguing about it, and something soothing and comforting. Anyway, today I discovered a band called Crüxshadows while perusing through YouTube, and decided I’d take a look at their website. I went and looked around, they had some pretty cool sounding track samples playing on their site, I looked through a gallery of a show they did, and found thei biography page. The site was pretty well thought-out; the music player was in its own frame at the top so no matter where you click, the music keeps playing, and the menu was horizontal on the top and bottom of each main page, which is convenient and simple, but lots of websites miss it. I read about how they have made a huge impact and become “One of the most popular Darkwave bands internationally,” which alone impressed me, also saying they’ve been together for 15 years. There is an impressive band history and good music, but the thing that got me excited was the individual biographies, by each member, of themselves. Almost every single one of them said in their “Dislike” section that they disliked dishonesty, insincerity, liars, and things similar to that, along with their own personal musings. I was glad to see that the entire band shared the same ideology when it came down to morals like that. They’re things we deal with every day, but the biographies of these people, and their personalities that came through in those biographies, were clearly something that I would love to be some kind of part of. After I read the biographies to myself, I sat back almost in slight awe, and thought, “Now, these are some people to look up to.” My personal favorite is the bio of Rouge (the first picture), who by the way has probably the craziest hair I have ever seen, reminds me actually of a more maybe grungy version of Robert Smith’s crazy hair (from The Cure). Read them for yourself (click on the images) and see what you think: