Friday, February 25, 2011

I'm Often Surprised

At how much open-source software I use. From Open Office to Gimp (open-source Photoshop). Inkscape is an open - source Illustrator-like program. And of course Blender is an excellent 3D animation program.

Chipmunk pigs?
The three pieces of software we just haven't gotten away from are Apple Final Cut Pro, Adobe AfterEffects, and Magix Samplitude.

Cinefx is an open - source AfterEffects-type application although I haven't gotten it to run and I doubt it's nearly as sophisticated as AE, especially for what we do with AE. The same issue is with FCP and Samplitude. We need to be able to import/export OMF files. We need professional color-correction tools. We need to be able to put effects on segments or "objects" rather than on entire tracks.

Cukisag is your source for cute... and weird

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


The Bloggess tells you to buy jewelry from this Etsy store, Sandrandan Jewelry. Mindlessly do what the Bloggess says. Use the code "BLOGGESS" at checkout to get some sort of percentage off or something.
On Twitter I've been trying to keep new people from following me. Because let's face it, if you weren't following me in the first couple months I started Twittering, then I don't know you and you don't actually care what I tweet about. Unfortunately this has made the quality of my tweets, well, plummet. Right now I'm on a miniature baby elephant kick where I pretend that miniature baby elephants are all around me and doing miniature baby elephant things. Right. Exactly.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I Am Old

So last night I'm standing on the train, reading my book, and a woman in her 30's jumped up out of her seat to offer it to me -- like I'm old and frail and somehow deserved her seat.
I must have aged suddenly.
Maybe I'm so fat she just thought I was pregnant.
Maybe I have the look of the infirm. Or incompetent. Maybe I looked drunk. I mean, I had to argue with her ("No, it's OK, I'm getting off at the next stop." "Are you sure?" "Yes, I'm fine, thank you.")
What happened?

Thursday, February 17, 2011


They: At work my boss told me to go home and get some sleep.
We: That sounds like me.
They: Yeah, but you're not quite so abrasive.
We: I'll take that as a compliment.
They: No.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I Am Such a Wuss

Today I had a dentist appointment to replace a crown that had a "screw loose". That's right, I literally had a screw loose in my head. And I canceled everything else I had to do today. And I planned to go to my parents' afterwards and curl up in a ball with a couple cats and feel sorry for myself. 
Of course, not only did the dentist not give me any Novocaine, I didn't need any. Why would I? There's no nerve in that part of my jaw anymore. So it was no big deal. 
Still. I didn't do any work.

Monday, February 14, 2011


So Vinnie borrowed my keys. And then promptly gave them to DeLisa.
Nobody gave them back to me.

DeLisa has attempted to mollify me with pictures of dogs.
It worked.

Why Can't All Reviewers Write Like This?

From a review of the Neo-Futurists' Laika Dog in Space.

People who would like the show are people who like dogs and people who like space and people who like borscht.

That's really all you need to know, isn't it?

Happy Valentines Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Windup Girl

So I just finished Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl and it's pretty brilliant.
I'm reading the acknowledgments and right up there at the top is a thanks to Daniel Spector.
Well there's only one Daniel Spector that I'd ever heard of and he was a childhood friend of mine from about the 7th or 8th grade through 10th grade (when he moved to California.)

And I checked with Daniel (the Internet lets old school chums get back in touch you know) and indeed, it is he who is thanked.

I have a very specific and formative memory of Daniel Spector. He and I would have been about 11? 12 maybe? And we were in the band room in middle school sitting next to one another. We were both playing brass instruments, Daniel seems to think that by that point I was playing a Sousaphone although I could very well have been on valve trombone.
And Daniel leaned over to say something conspiratorial to me, as 12-year-olds often to. And doing so he put his arm around me so he could lean in.
And I specifically remember at the time thinking "That's nice, he has nothing against putting an arm around a friend. He's not afraid of this while listening to whatever he was saying." And it felt nice and comfortable. And, of course, no sooner had I thought that when some jerkwad immediately called us (or possibly just him, I don't remember) "fag".

And Daniel's reaction to it, in my memory and my feeling at the time, was exemplary. I don't know whether he flipped the other kid off, or just waved his hand in disgust and irritation, but he didn't let the jerky kid affect him.
At the time, and even now, it seemed to me like a very brave thing to do: to resist the merciless thought control of public opinion just to be human.
It was formative because I learned that there were some people who could be your friend and not be deathly concerned about how your friendship was perceived by other people. And that there's simply no good reason boys can't put their arms around one another.

I don't Look Happy

Playing with Pizap to see what I'd look like with hair on my face. Not terribly attractive as it turns out. Also I look like a Hollywood version of a Honduran drug lord.

This one looks the most realistic.

If I had any kind of rap career this is where I'd be.

Here I look ancient.
 Below are different mustache colors.

Friday, February 11, 2011

How To Start a Band

Bergen Paradis
[Explore] 2011.02.09
A prophylactic measure against stupidity.
1 - To get the name of your band, go to Wikipedia and hit “random” or click here. The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - To get your album title, go to Quotations Page and select "random quotations" or click here. The last four or five words of the very last quote on the page is the title of your album.

3 - For your album cover photo, go to Flickr and click on “explore the last seven days” or click here. The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.,_Bergen

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

What I Want to See

In the near future, zombies and werewolves and vampires are real (and licensed by the government). But when a paranormal creature goes rogue, regular law enforcement isn't equipped to deal with the problem. So the government creates a special law enforcement agency to deal with them when they get out of line.
The trick is that you can't be "trained" to detect vampires and werewolves, it's an innate ability. So people from all walks of life become Special U.S. Marshals under a Presidential Order.
One man, a former Texas Sheriff, is the only law enforcement professional in the new Special Marshals. He has the best vampire arrest record in the country.
And he's just been given a new partner. And she's a vampire.

See? It's a TV series. And because the monster of the week can be virtually any paranormal creature, it can be as romantic or icky as you want. Some of the monsters will be good. Some will be informants. It'll be like Law & Order only with vampires.


I finally saw Pontypool last night. OK, you could make some arguments that it falls apart a bit at the end. And I'll tell ya, the thing at the very very very end? After the credits? I have no idea what that was.
What I was impressed with, what is brilliant, is how they managed to make this movie watchable. No, I'm not kidding. Here's the pitch:
"It's a zombie picture, but we spend the entire time inside a radio station -- you know, because radio stations are so photogenic. Anyway, we never really see more than a couple zombies even though there's a zombie uprising -- destroying houses, medical buildings, all kinds of stuff like that. Instead, we just hear about the holocaust from people who call into the radio station. We don't see them hardly at all!"
As a producer I'd just say "Uh. No."
But it's great at being a movie. I'm an hour into the movie when I realize that I haven't seen a single zombie yet. And we're gripped in the middle of a zombie holocaust. The way people go zombie is beautifully horrific. There's this amazing moment where a girl is in the late stage before she starts killing and she's just standing in the half light emitting a single note from her voice which is seriously one of the creepiest things in any movie.
Indeed, there is a radio play of the book too.

Saturday, February 05, 2011


My computer took this picture of me.
Synergy is a cross-platform software KVM - switch. It'll run across Windows, Linux, OSX. I've read some reviews and it seems pretty cool. It's certainly something we could use in the Pandora Machine.

The Second Street Bakery in Jersey City is a place my evil landlord told me about. Apparently there are sticky buns to be had.

Apparently, I have Terrible Taste

So, I'm kind of done going to Book Court. You know, I figure I should go to local independent bookstores. I'm so wrong.
I asked about a couple books, neither of which they had. One was The Wind-Up Girl. They were out and they didn't bother to pick up the paperback version of it.
The other book was the new Cherie Priest novel which I knew had been published because I read an interview about it.
When the guy at the counter finally found the book he said. "Oh yeah, I remember this book. I think we passed on it. That's... not any reflection on your taste. We're just more of a literary book store."
So yeah, I'll be going to the non-literary book stores from now on.
Although maybe they passed on the book because the heroine has such clearly bad trigger discipline.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011


I've heard nothing but good things about this show, "Before Placing Me on Your Shelf". It's playing a very limited run at Theatresource.
(They loaded in at ten in the morning and did a three pm show in the afternoon -- having teched and run through the show in the leisurely five hours between.)

Great Britain Is A Silly Place

Now I do go around making fun of Great Britain. Which I do for good reason, Great Britain needs to be made fun of.
Mostly what needs to be made fun of is it's name. Nobody knows what it is. I mean, except for this guy. This guy actually understands it:

You'll note that he's American.
I'm actually under the impression that British people are not taught this in school. So yeah, it would take an American ex-pat to figure it out.