Archive for August, 2006

Second Life

OK, when they called it Second Life, they didn’t indicate its ability to suck you away from your first. This is “The Sims meets chat rooms”, and you’re seeing me (towel dutifully strapped over the shoulder!) in my own Second Life.

An article in Popular Science indicated you could build things here. I joined on the hopes that I could exercise my 3D building skills. I have no doubt that’s true, but I need to feel it out a bit first. The place is HUGE… and just about all of it was built by the residents, not the hosting company. To really build, you need to get a paid subscription, and mine is free.

My only question… where are all the “normal females”? Not that I have any problem with vamps, but if just a few were walking around in jeans and tees, the family friendly factor would be a bit higher. As is, I go in after the kids are asleep.

So, in the meantime, let’s call this a passing phase, addictive as it may be. My recommendation… definitely check this out — even if temporarily — just to get the nature of it. Just remember it’s your second life, and keep yourself anchored in your first!

This site has been stripped (of a lot of personality, unfortunately)…  It’s almost down to pure blog entries (the lists don’t seem to hurt too badly, so I left some of them).
  • No Pictures Module
  • No Friends Module
  • No Favorite Books
  • No Favorite Music
  • No Media Player

So far this seems to help a lot.  Tell me what you think.  Everything is still there, under its own tab, except for the Media Player.

These are pictures of our latest project. We have a set of images of a Zombie head we are to recreate. We’ll then take a quote from a live actor (TV or movie) and add all the facial expressions and lip sync to the voice.

It’s been fun, but very challenging. Ears take FOR-EVER!

Originally uploaded by Eric And Michelle.

Some friends and I are going to attempt a cartoon/live action short over the next month for submission to a contest. At one point, we need an earthquake, and this machine generates them by stomping its feet. The green button’s OK, but don’t play with the red one.

It’s not nearly finished. It will probably look less real — textured more like the legs than the body — as we’re going for a cartoon look and feel, but I find it funny nonetheless.

Why would you have snakes on a plane? Well, they don’t have wings, silly! OK, now that’s the cheesiest way I can think of to lead into a review of a total gore-fest horror film.

This film is precisely what it claims to be. Snakes on a plane. If that sounds good to you, you’ll enjoy it, but if it sounds stupid, pointless, gratuitously violent, you’re totally right. I laughed through the whole thing. As a kid, I loved Troma films. They were so low-budget and campy, and it became a trademark of the genre. Snakes on a plane was kind of like Troma all grown up. Serious special effects, moderately better dialogue, and Samuel L. Jackson are not trademarks of Troma, but it otherwise fits.

The required cast were all there… the stuck up starlet, Mercedes, and her dog, Mary-Kate; R&B star 3 G’s and his body-guards (one played by Keenan of “Keenan and Kel”); a mother and an infant; two young kids flying alone for the first time; the honeymoon couple where the hubby was afraid to fly; the Eurotrash snob; and the incredibly horny young couple. The flight crew was also properly represented… the cavalier pilot; the likeable co-pilot; the ambiguously gay male flight attendant; the sexy blonde flight attendant; the matronly mature flight attendant; and finally the lead role, Julianne Margulies (sp?) as the intelligent brunette flight attendant.

SLJ was FBI agent Flynn, flying his witness from Hawaii to LA. What the witness saw is part of the fun, so I’ll leave that out. The witness becomes the desire of the blonde flight attendant, making for an interesting pre-flight safety demo. Flynn and the brunette flight attendant become allies through the film once she gets over the FBI intrusion on the flight (predictable outcome included). Oh yeah, then there’s the snakes. I won’t give spoilers about the snakes, but let’s just say they’re an angry bunch for a mildly plausible reason. And if it’s an “R” rated part they spot first, it’s gonna get bit!

Here’s everyone’s questions as we start:
- Is Mary Kate (the purse dog) gonna bite it? I answered a definitive yes on this one, leaving only “how?” to be answered.
- As a parent, I have a hard time watching kids die in movies, so I immediately went to “how about the boys? Or the baby?
- That male flight attendant… he’s gonna bite it, right? Or will there be some joke about him and “taking a big snake”?

I will answer vaguely at best (with only one spoiler you’ll have to highlight to see). Not everyone we like lives. Not everyone we don’t like dies. Not everyone who dies does so by snakebite. A gun gets fired. Eyes get bitten. Faces get venomously spit. One guy gets killed in a way that makes you totally cringe — no snakes or guns involved. Some gore was spared, but rest assured, you’ll get your share! I thought the depressurization scene was too overdone, even for this level of writing. The spoiler is for other parents like me, for whome watching kids die is disturbing — in case you want to know what to expect.

No kids die… they’re all threatened and one gets bitten, but he survives.

So, the humor is absolutely sick to the Nth degree, but if you like that stuff, you HAVE to see Snakes On A Plane.

Edit: Fixed spoiler text to hopefully be hidden in RSS readers as well as directly on the blog.

I think I’m done now — well soon, at least. I realized that my blog has been affected in two ways recently…

First, when I joined animation school, the total random nature of it (which I miss and hope to recover somewhat) faded quickly into classroom status reports. This is not bad, but the total lack of subjects like “Why do we perceive a color circle when light wavelengths increase in a straight line?” indicates a lack of balance. When did I last post a disocvered “42″???

Second, when MSN put its blog sites into a deep freeze (which I know some of you can’t see… it doesn’t happen on my fastest computer), I came over here and started blogging on blogging, putting all else on hold. Subject matter went to discussing photo sites and storage sites (storage is a carryover from MSN, too). All the tech talk was boring to regular users but not techy enough to attract the tech geeks.

So, I’m here and settled. The last virtual box has been unpacked — I have storage for video and pictures and the ability to blog as I had before (if not a bit better due to HTML access). I’m going to be careful not to clutter up my page with all the lists I have on MSN. They weren’t changing much, and were probably only interesting to first-time readers anyway. I’m in a conundrum over the floating head. It worked so well over there and generated a protest when I removed it, but this site looks better in sleek black with the 6 random images from Flickr on top.

Hopefully, I can come up with some more “off the top of my head” things again and also really keep the family stuff going (since we’re backing up and printing our pictures through Flickr, I have more incentive to get them uploaded). I’ll also keep you fully up to date on the animation front. The projects are getting bigger and don’t require as frequent updates. A structure growing to completion through a series of 30K JPG’s is interesting. 20MB animation files in an incomplete state are a bit of a burden. You’ll still get the updates, though.

Time and other obligations permitting, I want more of my mind in this blog. More balance. I hope you notice some subject matter improvements soon.

No more blogging on blogging!

As we build our zombie heads, this odd gap forms. When I was looking to generate a picture of the progress, it begged for something strange. The desert is from the superhero walk cycle, and the steel bar was created just for this moment. Kind of Dali-esque, isn’t it?

Hello.  Please consider this blog site to be on hold for a little while.  It’s just too painful to wait for my little P3-650 computer to load the page so I can post (I can read through RSS).  I am hoping MSN figures out how to make this a little less memory/CPU intense.  I’ll start clearing modules here at some point to help improve speed, but I’m not optimistic based on what others have been saying.
In the meantime (at least), I have an active blog you can reach at the link below.  Sorry (really sorry — I love this blog and would hate for it to become just an archive) for the inconvenience.  But the control and sleekness of the new site is quite appealing.
Hope to see you there!  OH!!! And if you visit, and you’re on my blogroll here and not there, TELL ME!!!  I don’t want to miss anyone in transition!
!– ckey="64A4104B" –

Finally, I settled on Flickr Pro ($25/year) as the home of my photos. It does well with blogging (see above), stores pictures at full resolution, and prints them at Target on Kodak paper using the 1-hour service.

Now…. I just need to comment on all 228 pictures (pardon all the whales) so you can tell what they are!


Here’s another video. Hopefully, PhotoBucket does better with this than FileLodge.