Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dolls, Rent, Quotes, and Cat

The "Ground Zero" "Gentlemen's Club" "New York Dolls" has a free admission coupon you can print out. There's a free buffet with that.
My rent didn't go up! I'm still at $893/month for my (what would have once been called) "Junior 1-bedroom".

I'm using a lot of "quotes" in today's post.
Pushkin was a special kitty.

Computational Malarkiks

The Brads - Buying a Computer
Hey, what takes 17 minutes on my quad-core computer and less than 4 minutes on the dual-quad-core Mac? This freakin' render, that's what.
But I can't get my new computer because the darn CPU is backordered. It's a Sandy Bridge i7 and apparently they had to change something about the production on them to fix some bugs. Or something.
In the meantime it's being a major league snarfle to get these renders out. Because you know that new computer would be bonking these frames out in less than two minutes.
Oh look. Tomorrow is the first. I get to pay rent. I may as well do laundry too.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Android Issues

So let's see. We're late in delivering Android Insurrection. And I feel very bad about that. We're waiting on the last act to be delivered by an outside editor. And we have some more visual effects to render. I'm rendering a robot right now.
We have a script by Steven J. Niles for The Prometheus Trap. You can read it here.
One of the problems with being late on Android Insurrection is that it makes our distributor less-faithed that we'll be able to turn the Prometheus picture around in time.
But we will. I promise. We will. ;-)

Today's Bunnies

Why do a case study of a movie that hasn't made its money back yet?
Lighting a sharkstooth scrim.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Today is thinking about spaceships and spacesuits day here in the Pandora Machine.
It's also robot rendering day. But let's just face facts, every day is robot rendering day. I'm doing a closeup of the dang 'bot right now and he's taking 2:44 a frame. And that's just for the Blender render. Afterwards we get to do the AfterEffects render.
By Philip Drawbridge.
So this new Alien movie. Spacesuits. Actually, the spacesuits look to me to essentially be bodysuits with motorcycle armor.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Online Backups

So. iDrive is $15/month for 500GB. You can backup multiple computers (but not both PC's and Mac's on the same account). And it doesn't automatically delete data after a set period of time. Right now I have two iDrive accounts (one for PC and one for Mac).
The only thing I don't like so much about iDrive is how the interface sometimes "forgets" which folders you want to back up. It seems that the server holds onto the files online, but that you just have to re-click the checkbox next to the folders you want backed up every so often. At least on the Mac interface.
Sugarsync is $15/month for 100GB. But the interface is a tad more clear. Its purpose is different too -- it's great at syncing files and folders across multiple computers (and platforms.) So I use the free version to essentially backup my documents.
And that's how it is.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Moar Notes

For our new Prometheus movie I have the following locations/sets:

This is the monster. Scary, right?

  1. Space
  2. Vulture -- bridge
  3. Vulture -- corridor
  4. Vulture -- cyro compartment
  5. Vulture -- airlock
  6. Caucasus -- corridor
  7. Caucasus -- observation deck
  8. Caucasus -- cyro compartment
  9. Caucasus -- bridge
  10. Caucasus -- engineering
  11. Caucasus -- cargo room anteroom
  12. Caucasus -- cargo bay

That's 12 sets and six characters. Our sales rep was questioning whether we could actually finish this movie in time. I think we can.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mah Notes

Kevin Kangas grooves you to the new good cheap LED light.

Haskin - F Captain scout ship
Rhodes - M Lt scout ship
(Are they both officers? Does that make a difference?)
My older brother's new dog, Maggie. She has an ear.

Inverse Kinematics in Blender. Because you completely understand Forward Kinematics and Inverse Kinematics. Completely and fully.

I'm looking at coveralls as spacesuits.

How to write 10K words a day.

Dope zebra dance is dope.

Monday, January 23, 2012


You know, I really liked the "steampunk opera" Miranda. It's an opera which was being performed at HERE. But it was very flawed. The biggest flaw was in the sound. All of the vocals were mixed just under where they needed to be. And that's the fault of the music being too loud, not the voices being loud enough. The mix was loud enough that the room itself could just barely handle it without becoming just a harsh icepick aimed at the audience's head. Or about 85 - 90 dB SPL.
But that meant that, even without worrying about gain-before-feedback, there was no way to make the voices louder than that because they'd just become strident and irksome.
Although the show was produced by HERE, a Kickstarter campaign was used to pay the musicians. To me that sounds like a pretty smart way to use Kickstarter.

(Note this video is not from the recent performances -- the performance I saw ironically didn't sound this good although this may have been a special mix from the board rather than a mic sitting on the camera.)
Continuing the problems with the sound, the romantic lead was singing way below his range. And the only way to deal with that is to turn up the volume (see problem number one, above). And although she's a pretty good singer, Kamala Sankaram doesn't do that necessary thing where you sing quieter as you go higher. Instead she uses her support for volume rather than, you know, support.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

You Like Random Information

Verizon's high-speed DSL is $40/month. Their low-speed DSL is $25/month. They charge you $20 to install the thing. (We're having so much trouble with our Internet at the new office that I'm considering just bailing out and getting our own DSL line.)
Chance Shirley is a world of information about spacesuit helmets. The sphere's he used for his spacesuits came from Complex Plastics. I've written to get a price from them (I actually called but they said to email them -- go figure.)
Here is Chance on the helmet itself:

I believe we used 14" diameter spheres, and we had them cut a 10" holeat the base.

And I think that's a good size for space helmets. The trick, which Inever quite figured out, is how to make a collar to keep the helmetcomfortably/consistently attached to the actor's shoulders. Ourhelmets tended to lean forward, resting against the back of the actorshead. So we put a little strip of foam in the back to at least make it more comfy.
Because Things Chance Says should be on permanent record on the Internet, I include some of his advice (without his permission) right here. This is what he has to say about how the gasket was attached to the helmet:
We glued a wooden hoop (painted metallic) to the gasket, then gluedthe helmet to the wooden hoop. I'm surprised they stayed together aswell as they did. Probably would have been better to build some kindof working mount and attach to the helmet with screws.

I considered a back piece, a la "Alien," but couldn't figure out agood way to do it. If you let gravity keep the helmet in place, watchout for light leaks (which the back piece would help with, too) thatwould give away the fact the helmet isn't really airtight.

And definitely get some lights in there. I figured you could get somekind of cheap LEDs these days...
All this time I've been whining about how expensive Cedar noise reduction systems are. But rather than buying one for five grand you can just rent one for eighty bucks a day. Considering the fact that we'd only need it about six or maybe eight days a year, that's just $640.
If you don't believe me here is a duck.
Dreamhire also rents Cedar but their ratecard is substantially higher than Audio Rents in CA.

Palm Flower Blinking

You make a cartoon referencing Logan's Run, I am amused.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I'm not allowed to watch TV anymore

I wouldn't even say I have a particularly good eye for this kind of thing.
But I do tend to see this kind of thing right away.
That character had a line. But his action was to raise his hands -- which is undoubtedly why his jersey rode up and hooked around his transmitter.


That thing that Pete Townsend wore with The Who, the shirt with the RAF target? That symbol is called the RAF Roundel. Even moreso: the French Air Force were the first to have one (different colors).
Here's a huge one (that's what she said.)
Stu Maschwitz linked to this DSLR mount on the Twitters. But so far there's only one review of it. It is, however, only three hundred bucks.

I'm kinda interested in seeing this opera, Miranda.

Monday, January 16, 2012

I'm That Guy

I'm that guy who thinks Community is the best thing since sliced bread.
I only started watching in Season 2. So last week I went back to Season 1 only to find that at one time it was the good-looking white guy's show. I would say the show is actually Abed's show.
The entire show is a parody of television. Which, of course, desperately needs to be parodied.
There are a lot of things established at the beginning of the series which aren't part of the characters later on. Like the fact that Troy is a jock. He's totally a nerd by the middle of the second season.
This is, of course, another indicator that it's Abed's show. In fact, there are a whole bunch of indicators that Abed actually created all the characters and all the events are playing out in his mind. But we don't have to go there.
What I really don't understand is how they manage to take the serious moments without being embarrassing. That's usually a huge failure in sit-coms but somehow they always avoid the trap.
The pilot had some boomed sound which was actually on the edge of being unacceptable for broadcast quality. But other than that one episode the show is one of the best - sounding shows on television. The musical numbers do all the things right that Glee does wrong. The vocal sound doesn't "stick out" the way it does on Glee, instead the vocals match the dialog naturally. Of course I'm the dorkus who would notice such things but it really does make a difference.

Friday, January 13, 2012


  • Here's a list of best restaurants in Jersey City. How Soul Flavors is only #8 I don't understand as it is the best soul food restaurant in the world.
  • The Fat Trap. It's the article I'm using as an excuse for why I'm not thin. Well, that and the fact that I really like chocolate chip cookies... and... er... see item number one.

  • Hey, Penny says we should rent this yacht. It's only $75,000 a week. It holds 8 people so that's less than ten thousand a week per person. That's a good deal, right? Let's go!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


John August says something interesting regarding the difference between soap operas and... not soap operas.

I wish they’d gone a little more HBO, with internal rather than external forces pushing characters into choices and consequences.

It's interesting to think that's an HBO-ish thing. And, in a way, ironic because HBO has all of these genre larger-than-life (or in the case of the Imp, smaller-than-life) elements. Gangsters, dragons, what-have-you.
But the conflicts are internal. Right?
That's a very interesting way to think about it.
I mean, that's ironic -- the conflicts are internal when the characters are so freaking huge.

Monday, January 09, 2012


Mitch Gross gives a very good overview on the state of things camera and lens-wise right now.
I just used PDFescape -- a free online program for editing .pdf files -- in order to make contract renewals for 6 (!) movies. PDFescape worked great.
I'm still a bit shocked at having to make renewals for six pictures.
Spacetoys has a $250 spherical helmet replica of an Apollo-style helmet. But that's a dark shield it comes with for two hundred and fifty bucks. So you're going to either have to blow more money on a clear face shield or party with a LOT of light inside.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Watch Out

Under "absurd questions": I've been wondering about what kinds of watches members of special forces wear. It turns out that "cheap and reliable" are really the only criteria for a watch. That means Casio and Timex LCD watches. Like this Casio sport watch:

Although from what I can tell the Casio G-Shock watches are the most popular:
G-shock watches
If you want something very complicated on your arm, Marines seem to like this Garmin Foretrex GPS:

As always, you have to click through to see the Amazon links above.
You know what I want? A miniature opera house. In or around New York City. You know what I don't think exists? Miniature opera houses.
My good friend Ed pointed out that Signature is going to have a neat little jewelbox space, designed by Gehry. But it will look very Gehry-modern. I'm looking for something more old-fashioned-y. A puppet theater. With footlights.
I also want a dryer which actually dries a whole load of laundry.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012


Antibiotics make me... spacey. And I take 'em twice a day and for at least an hour, maybe two, after taking them I am very spaced out. I try to not schedule any meetings during that time.
But they eradicated me being sick. Man, I so shoulda demanded antibiotics when I first saw a doctor about this "cold". I could tell I was well again within 6 hours of taking my first dose. And except for the spaced-out-ness I'm finally over that thing. I mean, as long as I keep taking them for another, what, six days?
Back in the olden days -- I musta been 18 -- I got mono. And whatever the doctor prescribed put me out, man. A friend called me on the phone. "Is Drew there?"
Me: "Uh... wait. Uh..."
Friend: Is this Drew?
Me: "I... Wait. There was... uh... something... I don't remember. Wait... uh... wait."
This exchange, as you can imagine, kinda freaked her out. But now I'm able to recognize it as the effect of trying to talk to me when I am sound asleep.

I Need a Theater

New York City simply doesn't have any jewelbox theaters. I guess I'm basically looking for the theater in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.
You'll never find a theater with a stage that small but with fly space above.
I think I'm basically looking for a puppet theater. Which would be perfect for Tyrannosaurus Mouse and for the upcoming Blade Runner the Musical.
Plus, of course, we need puppets.
Now, of course, I am talking about an indoors-version of the Doctor Parnassus theater.
When we made Manhattan Theatre Source I needed a place for Prague Spring. That show was basically a scrim with front and rear projections. But now we need something else.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

You got me

I... I have no idea.
In the meantime I'm going to dedicate my life to learning this dance:

That is, when I'm not staring mindlessly at the animal with the long nose above.  This is what I look like when I'm looking at him:
Scary, ain't it?
As always, to see any of these links you may have to click through (if you're reading via email or an RSS feed.)

Monday, January 02, 2012

You Know, for "Dating"

So I put a profile on OKCupid. I use this picture.
I'm looking for women 16-23. Not for anything long-term. I have no job.
Plus, I point out they have to come to New Jersey and be out of the house by 9:30 because my mom comes home from work by 10.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

New Year's Eve

My parents -- out gallivanting in the night while I'm at home watching TV.