Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Guardians of the 21st Century

Some early Happiness Hole concepts.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Revenge of Meat Space I - Roger Shimomura

Roger Shimomura, The Gook, acrylic on canvas, 2003

Last week I got to meet Roger Shimomura who came to SOU as a visiting artist in conjunction with the show Artist as Social Critic at the Schneider Museum of Art that includes his work. I've known his work for quite a while as a) he's a well-known artist b) he's a well-known Japanese-American artist c) people would see my stuff and say, "You should check out Roger Shimomura" d)he's done some stuff with my dad ("well-known poet," "well-known Japanese-American poet" etc.) e) he was good buddies with Frank Okada (well-known painter, well-known Japanese-American painter-etc) who I studied with at University of Oregon.
Anyhow, I finally got to have lunch with him and see him lecture on his work. This was very cool because a) Roger Shimomura is a hard-core artist who's been bringin' it for a long time. You learn a lot and get inspired by being around such people. b) Visually, he's got serious game. You learn a lot and get inspired by seeing refined, thoughtful work. c) Roger's a cool, approachable, good guy. d) The generational thing. It's always inspiring to realize that what we're able to do now, artistically, is built off of the developments and paths blazed by earlier artists. Whether we appreciate it or not, it's still true. e) Got me thinking about The Camps (Japanese-American Internment Camps) again, and realizing that keeping things alive and in the public eye is a big function of art. f) We got to talk about Frank Okada who died in 2000, and I miss Frank. So, check out Shimomura's work if you're not familiar with it. It's strong stuff.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Return to the Rogue

Just got back to town after a whirlwind trip to Eugene for the DisOrient Film Festival. T'was good. I'll write more about it later. Seeing my stuff in a different context in front of strangers always gets me to thinking. Sometimes that's even a good thing. Here's a self-portrait from a few years back--The last remnants of hair (Scott Hamilton hair-do) date it to 'round 2003, I'll wager. Oh, it's dated--duh-- Feb. 2002. 6 years ago. . . gulp.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Steve Hammond & DisOrient

images by Steve Hammond--enemyarts.com

Check out SOU alum Steve Hammond's MFA thesis animation here. Sir Steve just finished his MFA at Savannah College O' Art N' Design (S.C.O.A.N.D.), and capped it all off with a very nice 2-D animation. His website is enemyarts.com and it is good.

Also, I'm going to start using other people's images when I post about them. Seems to make a bit more sense than just putting up my random stuff.

In other news, I'm headed up to mighty Eugene, Oregon today to attend the DisOrient Film Festival which is screening Legends From Camp. I'll be on a panel likely to center on art and politics. . . .

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Something Good To Look At

Is Jennifer Harlow's animation blog. It's a great resource for anyone even vaguely interested in animation. Jen studied at SOU for a year before heading off to the Starfleet Academy of animation schools, CalArts*. Her blog is a fantastic blow-by-blow of her first year experience in the animation BFA program. Check it out!

*Okay, so we'll make SOU the Deep Space Nine of animation schools--colorful, soulful, conflicted, compelling, and a bit isolated. But damnit, it's a place where a man/woman/shapeshifter can make a difference in this galaxy.

Perils of an Archive

Tears. Sob. etc. . .

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Continuing Education

Self-portrait as Tourgot, Level 56 Undead Rogue

I think you change when you realize that all the desperate schemes you had for achieving deathless awesomeness are not going to work. Most folks are drawn to art, music, sport, thinkin', bidnit and ruthless conquest out of a subliminal sense that it might just work this time. "I'll discover/create/accomplish something so bitchin' that I'll actually ascend into the empyrean to abide within a perfect understanding of space and time." Of course it never quite works out that way, and a big part of coming to that realization is seeing your heroes brought low by the ravages of age and time. Hilarious!!

But, if you're lucky, you get to see your heroes soldiering on to the end but with a hard-won sense of humor about the inevitability of it all, and an earnest appreciation for the here and now. Here's a really nice interview with Dave Wakeling where he talks about being phoned out of the blue by Pete Townsend who wanted to cover Save It For Later. His account of going to see Townsend play the song was really moving and cool. Related in a strange way to this article about Tom Petty phoning his long-ago pre-Heartbreakers bandmates because he wanted to tour with them again.
2006 accoustic version by Dave Wakeling from the same interview (w/ Andy Capp reference!)
Bonus: For Pop lineage geeks, Pearl Jam oft segue into Save It For Later from "Can't Find A Better Man." Same good ol' D A G chords.

Hmmm, images are not posting. I feel naked. Dang, maybe I should break out some ASCII or something.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Mid-life Monday

Just got done boring people with a techie lecture in DMF. Deal with it, young 'uns. Now, I'm trying to figure out how to sing End of the Party by the English Beat. My voice sucks, so I'm at a disadvantage. Saw the English Beat on Friday which was pleasurable. I appreciated Dave Wakeling's middle-aged man physique and chatty affability. The man writes some seriously fine pop music and has a fabulous sexy croonin' voice. And cripes, he's 51. Anyhow, was more than passing strange, as I saw them when I was a Junior in high school. Yes, children, t'was down in Berkeley at the Greek Theater one of those transcendent moments of youth you start to miss a bit as the years tick by. ("The last time I saw you was down at the Greeks. There was whiskey on Sunday and tears on our cheeks"--The Pogues)
Speaking of which, I've been noticing that I have a hard time differentiating the last 4 years. It all seems to flood together. And so I propose a new formula: 4 middle-aged man years = one college-kid year. So, the next 40 years of my life will feel like 10 college kid years. Then I'll be 80. That kind of sucks. Of course, you can die any time before you get to 80, so, best case scenario--we're talking 10 college-kid years to. 5 college-kid years til I'm 60. @#$%%ing mortality is lame. 
Of course, even this formula is a bit too rosy, because it assumes middle-aged man years remain constant. I'm betting old guy years are probably more like 5 or 6 to 1. *&#%@!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Wistfuly, it's Friday

I finally got a meddlesome piece of ActionScript to work correctly. The bullet in the cannon test now begins its flight from the end of the cannon, as opposed to the cannon's center of rotation. When the bullet started in the center of the cannon I had to set a minimum charge of 15 or the bullet would fall out of the cannon or the barrel in an unrealistic manner. The bullet also had some lame trajectories if the cannon were angled toward 90 degrees. Now, the bullet starts from the end of the barrel and low charges are fine. I used the mystical arts of trigonometry to calculate the dx and dy offsets that change as the cannon (constant length of r) rotates (angle a). In any event, I had been trying to get this to work in ActionScript and it was just not happening for me. Until now. . . And then I ate two donuts.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Okay, so I've got literate friends. . .

Don't punch me out on the playground. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Kappa, Ed Emberley, Abu Ghraib, Jill Bruhn

Well, needed to get something up here. School's been keeping me busy. I'm writing a short essay on a show likely to cause a bit of controversy at good old SOU--it features the work of Clinton Fein who recreated some of the Abu Ghraib images in 4' x 6' photos-- actually pretty interesting. I'll post it here when I'm done.

Since I don't have my Wacom tablet at home, I did a 2 minute Kappa in flash using the draw tools. This reminds me a bit of an illustrator I really dig--Ed Emberley. I was obsessed with his Yankee Doodle book as a kid. (And Richard Schackburg/Shuckburgh, you kick ass as well. Props to you Doctor. Propers. Much Love.) I checked out the same copy from the SOU library for my son that my dad checked out for me. Wild. Anyhow, Emberley's drawing books for kids are really nifty. Heck, they're excellent for adults, too. He's featured in this much more useful blog by Maura Cluthe. If you don't think you're any good at drawing, Emberley's books will get you past that quickly. If you do think you're good at drawing, then you'll get a good lesson in how not to be an idiot by letting your good drawing skills get in the way of making something cool. Brutha just knows how to bring it.

Finally, check out SOU alum Jill Bruhn's stuff. She's a nifty animator, master of Wacom Flash drawing, and all around brainiac. Plus she's obsessed with hockey. What else can you ask of a person?

Monday, April 14, 2008


This is lame, but it's what I've got for today. It's a little bit of ActionScripting that will be part of a splendid game later. Now, it's just a silly shooting test. No explosions, no score, no point. Hey, I'm learning. BTW, the picture now links to the full glory.

Uh, Gee I'm doing this with my DMF class

I've just started a site for my Digital Media Foundations class--includes links to student's sites. Poppin' Fresh.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Everything's Okay

Turns out that in the future you can get your arm surgically reattached!

Good night out

Wow. Mos Eisley. Always something new under the sun.

Friday, April 11, 2008

On a fait besoin de post

It's Friday night and ol ' Miles is gittin ready to hit the town.
Look out, Ashland.
Look out. . . America.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Timekeeper Returns

I've been sucked into a vortex of something. Lots of school stuff going on. Blah. Put together a wordy Maya animation walk-through for the Miles' Maya class site. Goody. Highlight of the day was driving my pal Dr. Galen's serial-killer van back to his house in Klamath Falls. The route took me over the glorious (and disturbingly named) Dead Indian Memorial Road. I'm thinking of buying the nearby storage unit complex and changing its name to "Dead Nigger Storage--just off of Dead Indian Road!" Props to classmate Phil LaMar who was the "Dead Nigger" that prompted Quentin Tarantino's "Dead Nigger Storage" screed in Pulp Fiction. Me, I just live on Comatose White Guy Ave. a block up from Korean Woman With Severe Burns St.

So, I've been crotchety and tired but all in all things feel pretty good. More creative stuff to come, I believe.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The New Criticism

"Charlton Heston told me your work sucked before he died."

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Ashland Film Festival, Charlton Heston RIP

Just got out of a morning screening at the Ashland Independent Film Festival--very cool and inspiring. It's nice to see people standing in the rain waiting for tickets (last night) and busting out on a Sunday morning to pack a 500 seat film showing. SOU's own Trisha Johansen won the Launch competition for student film makers with her beautiful hand-drawn short animation Deepsong. Another studly SOU filmmaker, Casey Pyke has his crazed 17 minute green screen, 2d-3d-live action sci-fi short, M.I.C. screening tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing it on the big screen. It's nice to work with students that freak you out with their talent and discipline. Keep it rollin'.
The giant shirtless man, passed away yesterday. But he left his mark. Scott Raedeke at 8-bit Ghost provides an insightful eulogy.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Live Geek Report: Boolean Saturday Night!

Yes, it's Saturday night. And I'm sitting in Scott's living room writing ActionScript. The file below is basically a newbie "how to create and toggle an ActionScript Boolean variable tutorial." I sum up the resolution to my goofy problem in this way: When dealing with Boolean variables and conditions in Flash, remember the difference between "=" and "==" .

In ActionScript, "==" means what we usually think of as plain ol' "=." That is, "==" means is equal to. "=" by contrast means gets or sets to. 

If you write an if statement to toggle a boolean value using "=" you will create bizarro code that won't work. Observe. 

I first create a boolean variable called "dog" and set its initial state to true.
var dog:Boolean = true; 

No problem. Now, I want the user to click on a button (called "btn") to change the dog variable to the opposite of whatever the dog variable is set to when the button is pushed. If dog is false, clicking the button needs to set dog to true. If dog is true, clicking the button needs to set dog to false. 

No problem. I'll use an if statement. Oops, I'm not very bright. Here's the code written THE WRONG WAY, using "=" instead of "==". The following code WILL NOT WORK CORRECTLY though it looked perfectly fine to me for a long time. The incorrect code is highlighted in RED.

btn.onRelease = function () {
if (dog = true) {
dog = false;
} else {
dog = true;
} // end if
} // end btn.onRelease

Here's the code written the right way. The following code WILL WORK FINE. The correction is made in green on the second line.

btn.onRelease = function () {
if (dog == true) {
dog = false;
} else {
dog = true;
} // end if
} // end btn.onRelease

So duh. . . the perils of self-teaching. Here's a link to a sample file if you're having trouble with the most primitive, idiotic use of basic boolean variables in ActionScript as I was. It contains a button, that when clicked turns the visibility of a dog on and off using the above code. Thrillsville.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Shouldn't let myself off that easy

Here is my tribute to the abstract concept of victory. I dub it "Vitoire," in honor of our French allies during the American War of Independence. A harbinger of a return to salon painting, no doubt.

Here's a better post. . .

. . .than anything I'll come up with today. Go check out Warren Hedges on girls' Scottish Highlander Drill bands that he grew up with in high school. As for me, I woke up at midnight last night and thought I had killed my cat in her sleep by rolling onto her. False alarm. Like I said, go check out Hedges' take on residual culture and the like.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Half-Cooked-Thought-Wednesday: Kids Eat Free!

1. Trigonometry is cool now that I am learning how to apply it in video games. All of it is vaguely familiar owing to a youth spent being relentlessly drilled in math. I'm always amazed at how primitive my brain was (is).

2. Iraq films not doing well at box office. Duh. You can read/see about soldier/Iraqi/ experience directly in their own words via L'internet, etc. Y'all don't have to see multimillionaires dressed in absurd costume versions of everyday life giving tedious dramatic renditions of things.

3. The "hand-cannon." What a stupid #$%&ing idea.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Mission Creep

Spring quarter begins, and I reflect on what's gone on since I began this blog in January:
Winter quarter saw mission creep
1. Website still not done. Er, uh, guess I'd better get it done. 
2. Happiness Hole treatments stopped--but got the idea of doing the HHole as a big ol' show. Hmmm. Might have to start it up again though. . .
3. I think some of the 2D treatment stuff got sublimated into ActionScript and thinking about 2D games and animation. 
4. I think my "direction" and flow have been influenced by teaching and bloggin'. It's all still shaking out.
5. Need to finish my syllabus for 3D animation. Urgh. Rusty.