Archive for the Friends Category

I’m in town!

Posted in Friends, Journals, Life, News, People, Realtionships with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2008 by blakejohnson

Staying in Seattle with my brother and his wife was wonderful.  Now, living in my apartment, I realize and admire how comfortable of a life they’ve built for themselves.  It was great.  They’d be at work, and I’d be home.  I ventured off a couple of times and found a bookstore, a music store, a cafe.  Most of the time, I was home on the internet, or watching one of the hundred movies we pulled out for me to see, just the classics I hadn’t seen like Jaws, Predator and Alien.  And then there was The Usual Suspects, the Bourne movies and the Goonies.  Most all of the movies I watched there I liked.  Tuesday nights were game nights, so I met their friends I hadn’t seen since the wedding ceremony.  We had an action movie night one night, and a few other friends came over then.  Their two housemates were great as well, always friendly, always interested and joyful, joking.  And of course visiting Vancouver with them was even more fun then sticking it out alone.  I’ve seen a ton more movies since being up here, and rated and reviewed around 350 more online in the last 3 weeks or so.  Tuesdays were pie-making days also, when Juliana didn’t work she’d stay home and we’d make pies from her massive pie book together.  She’d really make them, I’d just help.  But it was fun.  And they usually tasted quite good by the end.  That was Jesse’s favorite part about Tuesdays.  He’d come home from work, say hi to me and the dog, and walk straight into the kitchen for a plate and a fork and dig in to the pie of the week.  It was fun.  We also did a baking day on Superbowl Sunday one weekend.  Nobody was interested in the Superbowl, but the food was excellent, so they made chili cheese dip, popcorn shrimp, bacon and potato skins, all the good parts of a Superbowl celebration.  And us guys watched some good action movies in the living room while most of the women cooked.  It was a good day. 🙂

Vancouver.  Vancouver is awesome.  The city itself couldn’t be more gentle or fun.  The apartment I’m in is just the right size for three guys who don’t typically cross paths for more than a minute.  My room is nicely sized, comfortable and well-lit…now.  And the people… Canadians blow me away.  Why aren’t Americans this nice to random people?  Maybe it’s because we’re roommates or maybe it’s because they’re friend of my family, but everybody I’ve met so far has been more than willing to drop whatever they’re doing and help out in some way.  It’s shocking, but nice.

I start school in about a week and a half, so I’m still getting used to the area around the apartment, finding new places to get groceries, household things like tape, light bulbs, etc.  I just got the internet set up today, and the roommates will pay me back for the router when I see them later tonight.  So far it’s been pretty quiet days at home, since the roommates have school and/or work, and I’ve got neither, and then some movie and food later on, with the occasional interest of one of them.  Tim goes to the school I’m going to be going to, only he’s in the Game Design program, so he’s doing a lot of 3D modeling and texturing, making characters and stuff for games.  He’s almost done with his clay version of a character, he said, and he’ll be 6 months through the program once I start.  Andrew’s finishing his masters in Health Economics.  That was a shock to me, since when I saw him he looked like he was just out of high school and starting college for the first time.  It was also a field I never thought existed until he mentioned it, but it’s something I now can’t imagine not existing, even though I’m really not sure what it is.

I moved up on Sunday, and it’s Wednesday now, so I’ve got no good excuse not to learn the bus routes soon.  Tomorrow I’m taking the closest one down to my school to see where it is, and meet one of my brother’s friends or a brief visit in the middle of his work day (see what I mean, and he’s not even Canadian!)  I’ll wander around and explore the area a bit, and finally come back home when I’ve explored enough for the day.  I hope it’s just so exciting I go back again on Friday, only it’s supposed to rain Friday, so maybe I won’t.  I’ve always got the apartment to stay in.  It’s still surreal, being in the apartment, thinking it’s partly mine.  Walking into the kitchen thinking it’s my kitchen, my living room, I don’t know if it’s sunk in or not, but it’s an odd feeling.  It’s kind of a feeling like I have this freedom, this ultimate freedom where my life isn’t determined by the schedules of other people, my daily life is completely and entire up to me, down to the absolute minute details, and yet I haven’t changed anything about my habits yet.  Maybe I will with time, and maybe finding new friends will cause that, but for now, I’m happy to have a place to sleep and eat and a brand new city to explore.

I'm in town!

Posted in Friends, Journals, Life, News, People, Realtionships with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2008 by blakejohnson

Staying in Seattle with my brother and his wife was wonderful.  Now, living in my apartment, I realize and admire how comfortable of a life they’ve built for themselves.  It was great.  They’d be at work, and I’d be home.  I ventured off a couple of times and found a bookstore, a music store, a cafe.  Most of the time, I was home on the internet, or watching one of the hundred movies we pulled out for me to see, just the classics I hadn’t seen like Jaws, Predator and Alien.  And then there was The Usual Suspects, the Bourne movies and the Goonies.  Most all of the movies I watched there I liked.  Tuesday nights were game nights, so I met their friends I hadn’t seen since the wedding ceremony.  We had an action movie night one night, and a few other friends came over then.  Their two housemates were great as well, always friendly, always interested and joyful, joking.  And of course visiting Vancouver with them was even more fun then sticking it out alone.  I’ve seen a ton more movies since being up here, and rated and reviewed around 350 more online in the last 3 weeks or so.  Tuesdays were pie-making days also, when Juliana didn’t work she’d stay home and we’d make pies from her massive pie book together.  She’d really make them, I’d just help.  But it was fun.  And they usually tasted quite good by the end.  That was Jesse’s favorite part about Tuesdays.  He’d come home from work, say hi to me and the dog, and walk straight into the kitchen for a plate and a fork and dig in to the pie of the week.  It was fun.  We also did a baking day on Superbowl Sunday one weekend.  Nobody was interested in the Superbowl, but the food was excellent, so they made chili cheese dip, popcorn shrimp, bacon and potato skins, all the good parts of a Superbowl celebration.  And us guys watched some good action movies in the living room while most of the women cooked.  It was a good day. 🙂

Vancouver.  Vancouver is awesome.  The city itself couldn’t be more gentle or fun.  The apartment I’m in is just the right size for three guys who don’t typically cross paths for more than a minute.  My room is nicely sized, comfortable and well-lit…now.  And the people… Canadians blow me away.  Why aren’t Americans this nice to random people?  Maybe it’s because we’re roommates or maybe it’s because they’re friend of my family, but everybody I’ve met so far has been more than willing to drop whatever they’re doing and help out in some way.  It’s shocking, but nice.

I start school in about a week and a half, so I’m still getting used to the area around the apartment, finding new places to get groceries, household things like tape, light bulbs, etc.  I just got the internet set up today, and the roommates will pay me back for the router when I see them later tonight.  So far it’s been pretty quiet days at home, since the roommates have school and/or work, and I’ve got neither, and then some movie and food later on, with the occasional interest of one of them.  Tim goes to the school I’m going to be going to, only he’s in the Game Design program, so he’s doing a lot of 3D modeling and texturing, making characters and stuff for games.  He’s almost done with his clay version of a character, he said, and he’ll be 6 months through the program once I start.  Andrew’s finishing his masters in Health Economics.  That was a shock to me, since when I saw him he looked like he was just out of high school and starting college for the first time.  It was also a field I never thought existed until he mentioned it, but it’s something I now can’t imagine not existing, even though I’m really not sure what it is.

I moved up on Sunday, and it’s Wednesday now, so I’ve got no good excuse not to learn the bus routes soon.  Tomorrow I’m taking the closest one down to my school to see where it is, and meet one of my brother’s friends or a brief visit in the middle of his work day (see what I mean, and he’s not even Canadian!)  I’ll wander around and explore the area a bit, and finally come back home when I’ve explored enough for the day.  I hope it’s just so exciting I go back again on Friday, only it’s supposed to rain Friday, so maybe I won’t.  I’ve always got the apartment to stay in.  It’s still surreal, being in the apartment, thinking it’s partly mine.  Walking into the kitchen thinking it’s my kitchen, my living room, I don’t know if it’s sunk in or not, but it’s an odd feeling.  It’s kind of a feeling like I have this freedom, this ultimate freedom where my life isn’t determined by the schedules of other people, my daily life is completely and entire up to me, down to the absolute minute details, and yet I haven’t changed anything about my habits yet.  Maybe I will with time, and maybe finding new friends will cause that, but for now, I’m happy to have a place to sleep and eat and a brand new city to explore.

The Big Move

Posted in Family, Friends, Get Meta!, Inspiration, Life, News, People, Realtionships, School, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2008 by blakejohnson

Well, here it is.  I’m sitting in the airport on my way to LA, then Seattle, then Vancouver for my long-awaited move away from home.  This is the first time I’m going to be living outside of my parent’s house, and it’s really kind of interesting how I feel about it.  I’m not excited.  I’m not dreading it.  I find myself thinking of it as just another day that happens to be taking place in a different state, and eventually, country.  Everybody keeps coming up to me saying things like “Oh, I bet you can’t wait,” or “You must be excited,” and really, honestly, I don’t feel different.

I’ve heard it doesn’t hit you until you’re there, without your parents, and you think “When are they coming to pick me up?” and the inevitable response pops into your head and you think “Oh, right.”  I guess that might be what’ll happen to me.  Maybe it’s a sort of feeling that nothing in insurmountable.  Maybe it’s just that I’m not afraid.  Whatever it is, I feel absolutely normal.  Except I’m in the airport.

It’s going to be a good move though.  New people, new places, I’m glad to finally be getting away from the tiny-town Vermont.  I wrote in an email to a friend a day or two ago:

In my room, I can stand up straight, just normally, and flat-footed I can touch the palms of my hands to my ceiling. I like to think that’s how it is living in Vermont. I can touch the ceiling with no effort, but I can’t push beyond it to do what I want to do. A bigger city might have higher ceilings, but it’s definitely going to have more potential. So that’s what I’m really moving for the most.

Overall, I’m obviously looking forward to the move, and I’m looking forward to being closer to my brother who lives in Seattle.  I’m staying with him for a week or two before getting up to Vancouver, and that should be fun, since I rarely see him more than once a year.  But now, being closer, I should be seeing him more often.  In addition to that, I’ve got the opportunities abounding from the new city, the new people, and the new things I’ll learn and do when I’m out there.  If you can’t tell, I can get myself excited about the move, but I’m not overly zealous about the whole thing.

So I’m going to sit back, relax in the airport and enjoy my nice soygurt (just joshin’, I’m hardcore, I go for the real stuff) and wait for the plane to be ready to bear me on my journey through the heavens… err, the clouds anyway.  It’s gonna be a long day of traveling, but it should be fun in the end.

Friend & Freeware

Posted in Blog, Friends, Me Online, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2007 by blakejohnson

I wanted to take this opportunity to announce two things (really three).

First, I’ve added another friend’s blog to the Blogroll section on the right-hand menu, so check that out when you get a chance.  He was a friend of mine when I lived in Colombia.  Not too close, but we knew each other, and we had the same group of friends.  It’s cool to keep up with old friends like that.  Check his site out by the link to the right, or here.

Second, I found an incredible listing of freeware/open source/GPL-licensed software today form one single site.  It’s amazing.  I’m not even going to go into details, but they’ve got everything, and it kept me busy going through only half of the page for about 4 whole hours.  Yea.  It’s that kind of incredible.  Here’s the link, check it out if you’re interested… and I bet you are ;).

Thirdly, I’ve updated the AV blog twice today, which is a big change from my typical habits with that blog, since I don’t usually update that one all that much, unfortunately.  The first update actually includes the site I mention above, but the second update is about the final film shoot for my short film The Waiting Room.  I’m super excited to get that finally done, and tomorrow (err…today) I’m going to edit the last bits of footage together and try to get a rough cut online for some friend’s critique, and look into music for it.  I’ll keep updating on that as it progresses.

I’m really liking the fairly reliable updating of this blog recently, especially those posts accompanied by Flickr uploads.  I love the layout and usability of Flickr and the nice-looking calendar and image pages are great ways to share my photos with people through this blog.  It’s a fun thing to do at night when I have time during commercial breaks from Man vs. Wild or some such nonsense thing.  Heh.  Thanks for reading, enjoy the links.  It’s bed time now for me ;).

Christmas Spirit

Posted in Family, Friends, Humor, Inspiration, Life, People, Realtionships with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2007 by blakejohnson

My mom and my sister are making waffles right now, and we’re going to decorate our Christmas tree after breakfast, so it should be a fun day.  I got a MacBook laptop recently for the college move and I’m sitting right now in the living room in front of a fire with my dog resting his oversized head on my lap, and typing this blog post to you.  It’s a nice morning, heh.  He twitches every time I brush past his ear with my hand.  Oh, and here comes the plow I think, now I’ll get ot drive to work later.  Heh, and the dog’s off to investigate the growling noise of the engine.  I’ll talk to you later.  Have a wonderful holiday, and thanks for wishing the same.  I hope things are very happy and warm.

Meaning of (my) Life Pt. 2

Posted in DIY, Film, Friends, Get Meta!, Inspiration, Journals, Life, People, Realtionships, Web on November 13, 2007 by blakejohnson

It seems like there’s so much time and
talent going to waste when all these super talented people all over the
place that always seem to catch my attention, but never the attention
of people who have the power to make a difference in the field they’re
in.  I like to think that if I ever got to a powerful position like
that, I’d do my best to get people from the online mass into studios
and the like as much as possible, even if only for a trial run on me
(and hey, if I had the money, what’s the loss?  It’s helping someone
with their dream, which is always nice to do).  I like to think I’d
always scour YouTube and sites like it, daily, for new talents to call
my friends in recording and film studios and other places so the
talents could get to work on the things they loved and make a
difference.  That could revitalize the field so much, just constantly
adding brand new talents to the works.  I like to think I would even
use the same actors in different films, nor the same musicians, unless
I had a super close relationship with them or they really fit better
than anyone else.  But I like to think I’d continuously look all over
the world for talent that can sustain my projects so I don’t have to
depend on the constantly-recognizable faces of most Hollywood actors
and actresses.  Watching a movie with good actors I’ve never heard of
makes it that much better for me as a viewer, because I forget they’re
acting and it seems all the more real to me.  When it’s Nicholas Cage
or John Travolta, I can always tell who it is, and I always know, and
sometimes they pull off roles well, and sometimes they don’t.  It
depends, but I like to think I’d make my films all the more real and
well-done because they’d have no big stars in them, and so people
wouldn’t be worried about veteran’s performances or obsessing over
their favorite stars… they’d go to see a good movie for what it was,
a good movie, which is supposed to be what filmmaking is about in the
first place, isn’t it?  I guess what I want is in a way what happens
whenever you get into this field, since it’s just a wide range of
contacts that can be called upon to help out on projects in the
future.  And when you’re in this business, you meet a heck of a lot of
people, and most of those will probably be hungry to come back for
more, especially if they’re on the low-budget end, which is what I’ve
become more and more interested in being in lately.  It doesn’t have
the Hollywood glitz and glamor, and though it doesn’t have the same
distribution outlets, those can be well-found elsewhere with plenty of
audience to boot.  But also, what it lacks in Hollywood rep, it makes
up for with ferocious talent and just pure love for the work and the
medium and the storytelling of a movie.  It’s the telling of a story
through visuals and sounds, music, emotion, that make this such a
lucrative and engaging, passionate field for me to want to get into. 
That’s why I want to make films, and only finding this attitude in the
lower-budget films so far, that’s why I want to stick with the indie
community of making them.  After all, who doesn’t want to work on what
they love with people they love to work with?  That’s essentially the
goal, to do that for myself and then provide the opportunities for it
to as many other people as possible, as often as possible.  It would be
a wonderful thing to be able to make that many people’s dreams come
true.  I would love to do that, and make movies, for the rest of my
life.  🙂

Meaning of (my) Life

Posted in DIY, Film, Friends, Get Meta!, Inspiration, Journals, Life, People, Realtionships, Video, Web, Work, YouTube on November 12, 2007 by blakejohnson

I’ve noticed myself shifting focus from pure filmmaking and obsessively following that career to an idea of a business or cooperative that consists of all the talented people I’ve met that essentially creates projects by ourselves and others’ and is a hub of creativity that only ever grows, with the addition of new contacts.  I’ve been thinking more and more recently of bringing together all of the people I’ve met, from filmmakers near the West Coast to singers in Australia and Vermont, to work on projects together, and all form a creative team of people working toward creating one solid piece of work that really doesn’t depend on money or star power because of its content and the quality of work that goes into it.  I find myself thinking more and more about creating a production company, somewhere down the line, that brings together all sorts of talented people that I’ve met over my life from singers and musicians to actors and dancers even, writers, directors, technical equipment and computer operators to pure business minds for successfully navigating the power-hungry world we live in to show the world that bringing truly talented people together with very little money but a hell of a lot of spirit is really possible, and that it happens all the time now, due to the bridging of the physical distance gap by internet technologies.  I love meeting new people online, making new contacts and fostering new relationships with people all around the world that may some day become just a friend, or help bring a project to fruition.  It’s inspiring in itself, the fact that people can and do come together on the internet and create as great a piece of work as any small-time filmmaking crew can when they’re all in the same place.  I think it’s wonderful that we can collaborate like I did on the “Friend In Need, Friend Indeed” project with filmmaker Ryan Nord all the way out in Ohio.  Maybe it’s my modern idea of an originally hippie theory of community, but it’s a wonderful thing when people don’t even have to care anymore about the distance between themselves and someone else and they just do stuff.  Of course, I would love them all to be in the same place, in a form of town all our own, full of creative types that always, always, were making something new.  But the distance is often desired.  And I’d love it.

I guess I feel the most proud of having met so many extremely talented people, from Ryan, to the crew over at Stick To What You Know, to ElizaAnne, to Cliff Burns, to Alejandro Lugo, and tons of others.  I’m proud to know so many talented and knowledgeable people that know their stuff and can get things done.  It’s the spirit of doing things and loving what you’re doing that can really get things done and that I love to find in people.  I guess the production compnay title AnimiVirtus (meaning “courage of the heart”) is very appropriate for this.  We would not only bridge physical gaps but age gaps, utilizing musicians and actors from all over the world, of all ages, through such publicity venues as Myspace, YouTube, and other such sites.  Whenever I need music, I’d look through YouTube and Myspace at the unsigned amateur artists, as both a way to get some great music, and give the musician(s) some publicity for their talents.  I love the independent, small-time, do-it-yourself spirit that seems to constantly permeate myself and now the internet filmmaker community.  It’s a wonderful thing to see people just go “Wait, screw the system, I love this project enough to get it done no matter what, and I’m not stopping until my story is told,” and then they go out and do it.  It’s the perfect age for a company like that to come around I think.  And I love thinking of the potential that we could tap into if we approached a project like that.  Alejandro Lugo said it great in a recent email to me when he said “You have to love what you’re doing… if not, find another job.”  And the greatest thing is that so far, out of all the people I’ve met that I mentioned here, they totally love what they do.  And it shows in the work.