Friday, December 31, 2010

never go back to the hotel

i want to be a better person.
and i can be.
2010 was amazing.
i'm looking forward to 2011.
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

how i spent my first semester of grad school

"first years..."
with things slowing down after Christmas, it's a good time to take a break and show what i was up to as a masters of visualization student at texas a&m.
i had three classes: an intro to animation class, a computer programming class, and a class called either "design communication" or "visual communication" (i can never remember which it is) and which i could only describe as an experimental film class.

there really isn't much to show from my programming class unless you want to see some C code.  i made a few interesting things, including a very basic painting program, although i feel like i could understand a lot of it better, which is why i've been reading "C programming for dummies" over my break.

i'll post about my animation class later, just because i feel like talking about my experimental film class at the moment.

over the semester, we had three projects to do, each around some rather loose parameters, which helped yield a very wide range of work.  for our third an final one, we were to use letters in some way, but the letters could not be used to form actual words or meaning in that way.  apart from that, pretty much anything goes (as long as it was between thirty seconds to a minute thirty, or so).
(there were several interesting products, including one short animation about a letter I trying out for the team.  it took me a moment to get the joke, that there's "no I in team".... so the I comes back dressed up like an E)

for the previous project i had done my multiple interviews video, which i was quite happy with and which was a project that came from my heart.  but in early november i was feeling rather bland and in some kind of creative drought and, when the day came to pitch our ideas, i still didn't have much.  at least, nothing that i was passionate about.  and you can't really work on an idea that you aren't passionate about.

i like fonts.  i think typography is cool.  since my freshman days at byu, i've been intrigued by the potential of working with single-frame images.  about mashing images at 24-frames a second.  how well would we see something like that?
24 frames a second....  there are 26 letters in an alphabet, so you could show an entire front in just over one second.... interesting.....
that was about as well-developed as any of the ideas i had when it came my turn to pitch (and this was even after we were given an extra day since the first day's pitches went long).

i stood up to the class and showed this.
i think it confused the heck out of them.

after about ten seconds, i could hear mutterings coming from the class.
when the thirty-two-second video ended, i explained that there was one drawing of that little guy shown each second.  i wanted to try something with letters and fonts, too.
to look at a font in a second, to flash thirty fonts in front of the screen in thirty seconds, stripping it down to the raw essence of it all.  i envisioned a strong techno drum beat behind it all.
"ok...." my teacher said.  "that sounds interesting."

i felt like it was such a lame idea that when we met to show our storyboards/design ideas at the next class period i didn't even bring anything, hoping to talk with her about figuring out a new idea.  "i quite liked your idea," she told me, sounding genuinely surprised that i thought it was a dud.
even if i wasn't emotionally behind it, i had enough going on in my other classes and beyond that if this was good enough for her, it was good enough for me.

my proof of concept for the piece was about five seconds long and took me three coldplay albums to complete.  i liked how it was looking.
the rest of the piece took me about as long, as i had figured out some ways to streamline the process.  i had our t.a. compose some music for it.  at first, i wanted something super simple, like one rapid-fire drum beat that would abruptly end, but i think his work still holds the essence of what i wanted while still helping carry along a rather esoteric piece.

the other evolution that happened was that my original plan was to just go in alphabetical order.  but after some discussion in class, i opted to change things up a bit.  but not at first. a through e are in order, then i skipped f and went to g, maybe leaving people wondering if they thought they just missed f (that is, if anyone was able to follow along).  after that, i started to move things all over in as random order as i could figure.  and for the heck of it, i broke up x and just tossed in an x wherever i felt like it.  there are 32 x-es in there (i think i ended up using 32 fonts), just not next to each other.
the only thing i would like to change is that all of the fonts for each letter come in the same order, so there's a rhythmic pattern there that i really don't care for, but it's not the end of the world.

it's odd and abstract, but i'm really quite fond of this thing, which is why it's the one i want to write about right now (which is good, since the other two posts will be about pieces that are more appealing to you.  ...hopefully.)

Monday, December 27, 2010

the former 11th place

faithful readers, in the midst of november, my phone got a complete system upgrade, going from "donut" to "froyo."  it was as good a time as any to wipe my system and, with that, to tally up the texts.

as always, it's interesting to see the dynamic in how the numbers change and who i spend my time texting with.

1. joel 567
2. jaime 468
3. emily 385
4. jess 294
5. brandon 283 (hey, look! i have a friend in texas!)

you did it joel, fair and squarecongratulations.  : )
(and yet in this current round you aren't even on the charts...)

Sunday, December 26, 2010


the day after Christmas in a deep and dark december.
fast away the old year passes.
hope is patience and i continue to learn. for my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

my Christmas letter

ten things i learned in 2010

oscar winners are regular people, too

cleaning parties are more fun than birthday parties

grad school is a new way of life, but grad school at a&m is life on a new world

the amusement park really is more fun when you're holding a girl's hand

i feel off a stool

with some how-to videos on youtube and plenty of determination,
three guys with no experience can fix a washing machine

waffles in belgium are famous for a reason

everything is going to be ok

old friends can become new friends and
good friends can become even better friends

it's possible to go snowboarding in june

Friday, December 24, 2010

sledding on Christmas eve

we went sledding tonight. the little kid had a lot of fun, and i think the bigger kids did, too.
it kind of looked like this:

i just like this picture. : )
i think we look pretty great.
crazy, but great. and we stayed warm.
(yes, i am wearing combat boots.
my winter boots are in texas. it was 63 degrees there today.)

the boys. we tried to look like vikings.
i did, anyway.

this is a bit of my town. sledding on the dike that holds back the nationally famous floodwaters. (and even though it was 14 degrees out, the river behind us was still running.
go minnesota!)


Thursday, December 23, 2010


a whole lot of boneless chicken wings of all flavors (editor's note, 3:03 a.m.: too much chicken...), a few rounds of cherry coke, a slice of rich chocolate cake with ice cream and more chocolate, plenty of heckling, harassing, and haranguing, and some very competitive trivia gaming (and a weird picture of me).
happy tabernash.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

after nog

i don't have a photo editor available, so these pictures are uncorrected, but i still think they're pretty seriously dang.
with all the duties of being a host, i didn't get much time to simply enjoy the muppet party.
and so it was nice to just sit around (and jump around...) telling stories and laughing at the impromptu after party.

Friday, December 17, 2010


i read doctrine and
covenants chapter
six today while
waiting in the
temple today.

once there was a way to get back homeward,
once there was a way to get back home.
sleep pretty darling, do not cry,
and i will sing a lullaby.

golden slumbers fill you eyes.
smiles awake you when you rise.
sleep pretty darling, do not cry,
and I will sing a lullaby.

boy, you're gonna carry that weight, carry that weight a long time

i never give you my pillow,
i only send you my invitations.
and in the middle of the celebrations, i break down.

boy, you're gonna carry that weight, carry that weight a long time

are you gonna be in my dreams tonight?

and in the end,
the love you take is equal to the love you make

Monday, December 06, 2010

dear cool uncle jeff,

my nephew wrote me an email a few days ago. i thought it was pretty great and wanted to share it.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

the bear and the giraffe

i doubt most of you will find this funny, but after hours of adjusting settings and rendering animation, this video has us in the viz lab laughing till it hurts every time.


i'll post something meaningful in a week, when i'm done with all of my projects.