Archive for April, 2007

Return of 42!

As my long term readers know, I love finding hidden 42′s in signage and movies. The little odes to the works of Douglas Adams always garner a smile from me. That said, I am not of the belief that EVERY 42 is placed. Some are just happenstance. But those are fun too. Here are two examples.

Michelle and I often take the boys to Fort Wilderness Campgrounds to ride their skateboards while we get a healthy walk in. Well, apparently walking is out of style as so many people cruise the campground in golf carts. I’ve taken to watching the numbers of the carts, looking for number 42. For YEARS, I’ve casually taken note of every cart we’ve passed. Well… after acknowledging that either the cart doesn’t exist or was adopted by some official with a Hitchhiker’s Guide obsession like me, we found it! (big whoop, I know… bit it is for me!)
Cart #42!  Finally!

The next two shots are even a touch cooler. We went out on the fourth floor overlook at Disney’s Contemporary Hotel, and the boys climbed some steps to see the monorail track. I followed them up, and sure enough, there it was again! The segments of track are numbered. The one entering what I still consider the coolest hotel on property was 42. So I snagged a couple of shots with the monorail itself in view. On these, you may have to click through the picture and view “all sizes” to see the label.
Monorail Track Marker 42

Monorail Track Marker 42

All of this reminds me. I need to migrate my pictures from the old Microsoft blog over to Flickr. At the very least the 42 set, which is not tied to any specific time period or blog entry.

Heehee… good question.

I vowed to give myself a week off everything after leaving school to rest up from the pre-graduation rush. That totally failed to happen. :) With visitors in town, and a surprise job interview, and some follow up work on the Star Trek shots, I kinda kept busy.

So, I said to myself… why don’t I take the next week to cool down and see if that goes any better. Well… that totally failed to happen, too. :) The one shot I took over in the Star Trek redux took three times as long (at least!) as I expected. This is not because things went wrong, but because I don’t do the whole “time estimates” thing very well… even more so since the move from my familiar world of computer programming to the “no concrete definition of finished” world of digital artistry.

So, I said to myself, not this week… T7′s celebrating his First Communion and the in-laws will be arriving for the week before. Soon after that, my sister and her family will be arriving for the event itself and some time after.

Doing nothing is HARD WORK!

So, I’ve had a wonderful week tooling about with family, but I’m beat to a pulp! The boys, also beat to a pulp, were very happy to spend time with their 10-year old triplet cousins! That’s 6 kids, mind you, and only four adults to control them. But luckily, the gods of child behavior smiled on us and everyone did quite well.

And, now I’ve given up on “doing nothing” and am just looking to the next thing to keep me busy and possibly attain some employment. I’ll be hitting school and joining up with one of the many projects they have going. They are all quite interesting, but I can only reveal one at this point… the next graduating class is working a project called “Aurora”, which takes place in a dystopian Russia in the future. The artwork I’ve seen thus far is incredible, and looks to be part of a great project. But I have to see where I’m needed and which of those tasks appeals to me most. It’s not employment, but it will keep me close to the craft and those who will recommend me for employment.

Oh… and I mentioned the one interview above. One final sentence summed up the whole experience… “Please keep us informed on any future projects you may be involved in.” Not setting the expectations meter too high on that one. But I have other reels floating around out there, and will continue to send even more.

At our graduation, George Takei proved to be a gracious and wonderful guest. He socialized with the group and really seemed to enjoy being there.

During our group photo, I ended up standing dead center in our crowd. When George joined us, the photographer obviously wanted him in the center, so I knelt down.


Feeling punchy (and remembering a little skit about “Sweaty Basketball Players” from the Jimmy Kimmel show), I said to James Cauley (Captain Kirk in the show), “Wow! If you’d told me I’d be on my knees in front of George Takei tonight, I’d have NEVER believed it!” James was quite taken by this and leaned way OVER me to tell George. George apparently found it quite funny, too.


After the photo shoot, George and I hugged. Despite the appearance of this shot, we did not kiss. :) Still, it was emotional enough that my friend Little John welled up a tear in his eye.


I’m sorry to dwell, but this was SUCH an incredible night in my life. My first ever memories of my science fiction addiction were those of watching Star Trek with my dad (most probably in reruns by that point, but I had no idea). George was there from day one and once again at the point where I am ready to enter a career in that exact business. Speaking of “the business”, expect a post soon on the status of my fledgling job search. No news yet (haha — if there was, you’d see it in LARGE, FRIENDLY LETTERS right here!), but I can share my experiences a little.

As I mentioned to my friend Rosa, I knew I would forget some very important details in my post about graduation. Rather than sneak in and edit the previous post, I thought it would be better to put up a new one in honor of those I left out the first time around.

The first thing I cannot believe I left out of the post was my dad. In passing, he gave me the opportunity to pursue this. In honor of him, I didn’t quit or slack off when things got overwhelming. I owe the entire experience to him, and I think somewhere, he’s smiling down on me at this point for fulfilling a dream. I never learned from him what his dream would have been, but I suspect it would have had something to do with singing. After retiring from the phone company, he became an avid karaoke enthusiast. Within the club where he did this, he had his own microcosm of celebrity. People there knew him and cheered him on when he got up to sing. He never got to go professional, but I’m happy he found the niche he needed to explore and enjoy the activity.

The other thing I left out was that my sister, Lynda, flew her family down to celebrate and spend the weekend with us. My other sister, Caroline, would have, but had another trip planned for the same time period. She’ll be here in a month, though. :) I was so happy to have some extended family around and to spend some quality time with her. It was all on short notice, because I was short-sighted (i.e. buried up to my neck in Star Trek!) and had neglected to see the importance of the event to those around me. My wife coordinated the trip without my knowledge, and I found out when Lynda sent me an e-puzzle that, when assembled, formed a note announcing their plans. It was such a wonderful gesture, and I loved having you in the audience at the premiere, Lynda!! Thank you!

I think I got everyone now, and I hope my sister and father will forgive me for such blatantly obvious exclusions from the announcement notice.

Well, folks, I finally made it! The last few months involved lots of time. There were 7-day weeks for 2 months, and some of those days went longer that 16 hours. But, as a class, we pulled together to drop our final project in just 17 seconds before the countdown clock ran out.

The real heroes in this scenario are with me in this picture. They put up with a very STRESSED EricAtRandom for a VERY long time. Michelle was nothing but supportive, and even stayed several days in a tent with the boys to ease the stress of my total absence during the last week of project work. MY GREATEST APPRECIATION TO YOU, MICHELLE AND THE BOYS, FOR HELPING ME MAKE IT THROUGH THIS EFFORT AND FOR COVERING FOR MY ABSENCE AT HOME THROUGH ALL OF IT!!!!!!

I put up a few pictures for now, but there are many more I need to get hold of to complete this entry properly. I even have one with George Takei!

Graduation was such an incredible high. We showed our completed episode of “Star Trek New Voyages: World Enough And Time” to a packed theater. The crowds cheered at most of the visual effects shots, including both of mine. It’s really something to see your work on a movie screen and hear that shouting coming from behind!

At the end of the show, the New Voyages team stood up and bowed to us as their effects team. Mind-blowing! There’s no description shy of that to explain it.

When I came home from celebrating that night, I signed into Second Life… partially intoxicated and totally exhausted. Just a quick hug from friends and good night was my plan. Nope… I got THIS:


My friends in Second Life decorated our house with balloons and banners and waited for me to show up! I couldn’t believe it! Poor gang probably lost a good deal of sleep! :) In this picture, that’s me on the left (Marvin), Semaj in the tie-dye, Skoshi in the white tee, Rosa in the distance, Bashiri in the “Predator” look, and Flaming Moe in the giant metal mech. Jaycatt and Sporked were also there, but probably obscured by the bots. :) These guys make up such a wonderful crowd! I literally sat at my computer with a tear in my eye. THANKS YOU GUYS, YET AGAIN, FOR TAKING THIS HIGH ONE NOTCH HIGHER!!!!!!

I know a lot of you have wondered about me and the status of my blog. Well, I’m fine (although a little worn of late!). Truth be told, after the long hours at school, I would come home, feed my Second Life addiction for an hour perhaps (family already gone to bed), and settle in for 5 hours or so of sleep. I apologize for the lack of entries, and I really hope to go back to every 2 or 3 days from now on. So long as I am unemployed, I can pretty much guarantee that.

However — and I’m stepping out on a limb here — I have reels in at a couple of places, one of which I’ve been told by connected individuals I should be a *very* strong candidate. So I’m hopeful without merit, but since I’ve been away, I felt I should share my early optimism.