Saturday, March 30, 2013

You Can't Handle The Truth

It's been very relaxed lately. Now that I finished the review I have a little downtime to a) prepare for the next one and b) catch up on the gaming I missed out on because I was sweating bullets rather than shooting them. That statement doesn't quite work, though, as I haven't been playing any shooting games, so... eh, just forget it.

As I said, I recently took advantage of the steam indie sale and got some games I'd been meaning to try while they were dirt cheap.

First is Recettear. There's something really charming about this game, maybe it stems from the fact that it ostensibly looks like something that was made in RPG maker. However, the assets are great, the concept and execution are staggeringly unique and wonderfully done, and it even has an intriguing story and very good voice acting (even if it isn't full voice acting). I guess you can expect no less from a Japanese indie game. I have only two complaints: The combat can get a little grind-y, and the picture stretches when I take it into full screen. Other than that. fully recommended. My wife has become obsessed with it.

Next is Thomas Was Alone. I can't give a full opinion yet, but so far, it's very much a triumph in game storytelling. Each rectangle has a distinct personality, but here's the thing: they somehow were able to convey that personality through their jump animation alone. It's insane. I very much want to see how it all comes together.

Lastly I got They Bleed Pixels. This one I can understand why people wouldn't dig it, but I love it simply because of the wonderful nostalgia it gives me. It reminds me of playing commander Keen over and over again. The art in particular has a real old-school adventure game feel to it, even though it's an action-platformer. It's also got this very consistent and appealing 'happy goth' style throughout and has gloriously satisfying combat. Lots of claret though, just a warning for the squeamish.

Movie of the day: A Few Good Men. Speaking of a warning for the squeamish: If you can get past the foul language in this movie, this is a wonderful courtroom drama with fantastic performances that show exactly why these actors were the cream of the crop at the time. I had no idea Tom Cruise was so good at shouting! There are lots of great subtle cues throughout the movie to look out for, and my goodness is it refreshing to see a romantic relationship begin in a movie, but not even get past the kissing stage. Isn't that more realistic? A relationship needs time to develop and you can use your imagination to guess how things will turn out without having the script ruin it for you. Very, very cool, just wish they were a bit more restrained in the language department.

Song of the Day: Maps by Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Very much in the vein of The Pixies' 'Where Is My Mind?", this is raw simplicity that somehow makes a compelling beauty. Still have no idea why they called it Maps, though. Or why the Black Eyed Peas felt the need to use it.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

To Know The Unknown

Getting the video done in time was an intense experience, and because of that I missed a couple of days. Darn it. But, on the upside, MY REVIEW IS FINALLY UP!

I didn't have time to do a final pass for errors, so I acknowledge that there are some minor animation glitches in it. I'll reupload with improved video later.

So far, this seems like one of my best received reviews, which is odd considering I had such horrific writer's block for it. I struggled so hard with the script I eventually just started writing whatever came into my head and hoping it stuck. I guess I should do that more often! I was also pleased the opening went over well, making JW's head in 3D was a challenge as I had to reteach myself Maya.

But yeah, finally! Phew, now that it's Good Friday I can finally catch up on some gaming I've been missing and take advantage of that Steam Indie sale! I got Recettear, They Bleed Pixels and Thomas Was Alone, and I'm enjoying them all thoroughly. Here's to a shorter interim before the next review!

Movie of the day: See above.

Song of the day: Here's To You by Joan Baez. I love it when a filmmaker finds a really obscure song and makes it prominent. A slow version of this song was in the closing credits of MGS4. I actually think I like the earlier version better, mainly because I find the vocalist more appealing.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sketchbook Sunday, Part The Tenth

Only a couple of sketches today, so I can get back to editing. i raaly need to snap the schedule back, doing the blog the day after really isn't working out.

This was the first time I realised I could do clothing decoration, I didn't even attempt it before this   and now I can't stop. The wings are a total fluke, haven't been able to draw decent ones since.

This is a near textbook example of my favorite character design style. Not overtly attractive but still slick and cool, sharp yet curved lines and anime-ESQUE without looking like a ripoff. nose is a bit big, but maybe that just adds character.

Movie of the day: Legend Of The Drunken Master. It might not be the absolute best classic Jackie Chan kung fu movie, but it's a good starting point (It's where I started) and it has a surprisingly good dub with Jackie himself dubbing himself. All that and of course, spectacular choreography with no stunt doubles. can't ask for much more in a mindless beat 'em up.

Song of the day: Sing, Sing, Sing (With A Swing) by Benny Goodman. You'll recognise this song as soon as you hear it, and then you'll want to dance. Involuntarily. It's one of those songs that are timeless in their head-bobability, and now you know the title.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

I Must Awake, My Life To Make

Constant editing makes Suede feel woozy. I worked on the review for the majority of the day, then as a small break we went to Jess's sisters to play board games. My favourite we played was one called "A Case Of Scruples" Where you had to prove to everyone else what you feel you would do in a random morally ambiguous situation. There's a lot more to it, but I'd love to see some producers from TGWTG play it! If you're interested, here's the wiki page. Now, back to the salt mines!

Movie of the day: Men In Black 3. As I mentioned before, I think the original MIB was one of my favourite blockbuster movies, just because everything seemed to click. Not so with this one. Although it was funny enough and there are some very fun scenes, I felt K was flanderised and I still can't get over that they took away his happy ending from the first one. K was meant to be training J to be his replacement, now they've been together 12 years? No wonder K's so warn out! I guess this is all from a fanboy perspective, but from a regular film-goers point of view, there was still one thing that really bugged me. They built up Boris as being this expanse of tentacles, but we never saw him in his true form until two seconds before it didn't even matter anymore! I guess I'm biased, but it really could have been better.

Song of the day: Son Of The Lonely Mountain by Liam Finn. One of the best things about the first Hobbit movie. Mister Finn (a New Zealand music icon) is certainly right: Pop music needs more anvil.

Friday, March 22, 2013

It Can Make You Wonder Why

Hard at work on editing the review. Can't really give much more info, sorry. I actually had to make a 3D object in Maya today for the review, it was interesting seeing both how much I remember and how much I forgot. On Tuesday, all will be revealed. Now, back to work!

Movie of the day: Igor. I really wanted to like this movie, the design and preproduction is just wonderful, and it's a real underdog of an animated film. It's just a shame the script needed a ton of work, the comic timing was way off in too many places, and it pandered too much to the kids, which is weird because some of the material is freakin' dark! It's as if they really wanted to make a more-for-grown-ups family film in the vein of Coraline, but got a ton of executive meddling. I guess all I see when I watch it is what it could have been, and when you actually prefer the status quo at the beginning over the happy ending, something's gone wrong. Awesome design, though.

Song of the day: Bein Green by Joe Raposo. Look up the Ray Charles studio version of this song, that's my personal favourite for the raw emotion that's poured into it. There are two songs from the muppets that can still get an emotional response from me. The first is the Rainbow Connection, the second is this one. Unlike Rainbow connection, which can sound a bit hippy toady, Green has a real timelessness to it that's always able to pick me up when I'm depressed about my lot in life.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I Want To Break Free

All right, yesterday I didn't do much that I can write about, so I'm not going to write much. I think you'll like the reason why, though: I'm on the home stretch on editing the pokemon 3 review! Yaaay! For that reason, I won't be writing much in my blog because that's all I'll be doing, and I can't really talk much about it. I will say that Nuke is getting maybe the tiniest bit better, even if not by much. Hope it continues like that.

Movie of the day: Lagaan. If you liked 3 Idiots and want another relatively easy-access Bollywood film, this is the only other one I've watched and enjoyed (so far). A three hour historical musical about cricket. And they make it intriguing and interesting! Only in India, I guess.

Song of the day: Black Or Free by DJ Mighty Mike. Ha! I bet you thought it was going to b another Queen song! Well, I guess it is... Kinda. It's a wonderfully precise mashup that won the guy an award! Check it out.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Aal Izz Well

Nuke is kicking my butt three ways from Sunday, it really really is. I'm actually starting to get pretty depressed about it, to be honest. I was able to learn After Effects at a pretty reasonable pace, Heck I was even able to get the absolute basics of Maya (a 3d modeling program) eventually, and I could tell I was improving. Nuke, though... If anything I feel like I'm moving backwards. It's doubly frustrating when you hear from the tutors that the best way to secure a job in the film industry is to know how to use it (rotoscoping is one of the most common entry-level positions). Darn it, I want to get out there and MAKE films! I know I have to understand all levels of production in order to be a good director, and I do! But I don't want to kill myself on a program I probably won't personally use my whole career! Sigh... despite that, all I can do is hope that it's like Magic: The Gathering, ludicrously confusing until this one 'click' moment where although you're nowhere near mastering it, you finally 'get' it. I really, really, hope this is the case...

Movie of the day: 3 Idiots. Luckily, my sucky day was alleviated somewhat by the pleasant surprisse that was this film! It's a Bollywood film... Wait, come back here! Look, I don't blame you in the slightest for giving this on a pass. Not only is it a Bollywood film, with all the stigma that that comes with, but it's a buddy comedy and the posters don't exactly do it any favours. the only hint that this is anything other than garbage is the fact that it is now the highest grossing Bollywood film of all time, and the most internationally well-received. Well, I saw it, and... Yeah, it's really darn good! Yes, it has the staples of the genre (song and dance numbers, awkward musical cues, melodrama, three-hour runtime) and it starts off looking really underwhelming, but... what can I say, despite all that it's really good! The staples are a lot less obnoxious than your average Indian production, the humor is genuinely good in places and it throws some really unexpected curveballs at you! I mean it, if you can see some of the twists coming in this film you are flippin' prophetic. The best part is the message, though. It may be a little trite, but the message this movie tries so hard to get across is one of universal appeal, one that needs to be heard by everyone every now and again. It's also quite an eye-opening insight into certain aspects of Indian life. If you want to give Bollywood a shot, this is the film to start on. It's even available on Youtube for free, legally, here (although you'll have to get the DVD for higher quality)! now there's no excuse! check it out if you have an afternoon free.

Song of the day: Time Of The Turning (Reprise) / The Weaver's Reel by Peter Gabriel. The Bollywood has put me in a world music mood! I always imagined this song to be the opening for the Avatar: The Last Airbender if I directed it and / or it didn't suck. Really dynamic, really heart pumping.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Release The Heater!

It's starting to get cold. This means it suddenly becomes easier to rip my own teeth out than get out of bed. This'll be an interesting challenge for my resolve to have a better schedule.

Took Jess to the midwife today and we heard the heartbeat. It's darn freaky, but strangely compelling at the same time. I guess it's the genetics talking. Jess is actually planning to take a vacation to the USA before she's grounded for a fair while, of which I am insanely jealous. But, career comes first I suppose.

We actually stopped by the library on the way home! My gosh, every time I remember to visit that place I'm reminded of how stupid I am for forgetting about it. The local library actually has a very decent manga selection as well as a good choice of trade paperbacks for american comics and a great variety to choose from. Not to mention the checkout system is now fully self service, so no more awkward looks from the librarian! It's become the library I always dreamed about as a kid: A Borders bookstore where everything's free! For more information please consult your local library.

Movie of the day: Clash Of The Titans. This is almost the definition of a guilty pleasure movie. The plot is paper thin, the characters are negligible, but gosh darn it if doesn't seem like the big budget equivalent of  kids making a home movie, throwing in every cool thing they can think of. I can even forgive the bald-faced affronts to real greco-roman mythology simply through the fact that you can tell, easily, that they didn't care and they just wanted ever so badly to make a ludicrously fun movie. I can't say it succeeds spectacularly well in that, but you can just tell when a cast and crew had a ton of fun on a project, and unlike Ocean's 12 or 13, they actually want to let the audience in on it too. Only major gripe I had with it was that Perseus made it very clear from the start that he wanted to face Hades without ANY help from the gods, yet he still accepts Zeus' help multiple times by the end. That and the fact that he seems to hold no real grudge against Zeus even though the guy raped his mother. It's like Mirror's Edge, Seriously flawed but charming enough to have fun with.

Song of the day: Somebody To Love by Queen. Everybody hypes up Queen as these rock legends (which of course they are), but they always seem to ignore the phenomenal songwriting skill they had in standard pop as well. The beautiful lyricism and complexity of the harmonies and parts in this song make me wonder where they went in modern music. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of modern songs that I love to pieces but sheer creativity Queen brought can't be overstated.

Monday, March 18, 2013

As I Go Riding Merrily Along

It was a boring day yesterday, which you would think would make it easier to write a blog entry, but I have a weird OCD quirk (similar to the one that compels me to at least write an entry for each day, if not on each day) that causes me great discomfort if I don't provide some kind of meat in the entry. I went to school, got my soul sucked out of my eyeballs by a program I must learn but has a learning curve like a spiked balcony... What else? Oh wait, we did watch the final projects from the current Diploma of Animation and Digital Filmmaking, which is the course I took last year. You know how whenever you go up a level or a year in school, almost instantly it seems like the next generation are much stupider than you were? I call it the Crotchety Old Man syndrome, and usually it doesn't affect me all that much but man, there was maybe ONE project there out of six that was up to the standard of last year. One student did a music video (which wasn't even an option last year and oh my, now I see why) and not only the filmmaker in me but even the old AMV reviewer in me just screamed for mercy all the way through it. Not colour graded, uninteresting... heck they even committed the cardinal sin of music videos and didn't cut it to the beat! It looked like a sub-standard home movie montage! I don't know if they passed, but man, it was almost insulting. I hope things improve, right now all I can do is be glad I have a little les competition in the job market.

Huh, I guess I did have something to say after all. Yay!

Movie of the day: Men In Black. This is darn close to a perfect blockbuster. Fun, funny, touching, still relevant, ages very gracefully and moves at a wonderfully swift pace. The real revelation to me is Vincent D'Onofrio as Edgar. There is a character who does not fit into his skin in the best possible way. For a more in depth analysis in it that I agree with, check out Lindsay's review.  

Song of the day: Ring-A-Ding, Baby! by Icky. This isn't in fact a remix of the song by Frank Sinatra, but an electroswing remix of Jingle Jangle Jingle by Kay Kyser. I'm quite a fan of electroswing, I think the complex melodies of swing compliment the hard beats very well if done right, and I think this does it very well.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sketchbook Sunday, Part The Ninth

Not much today, so I might leave the post jump-less. I'm living on the edge! I'm starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel, so here's a couple of really weird ones.

This one's pretty old, you can tell from the botched perspective on his eyes. I wanted to comeu with a really random superhero, so I thought of all the disabled super heroes, (Professor X, Daredevil etc) and came up with King Cobra, the double amputee avenger! He has no arms, you see... The guy below him is his archenemy, The Mongoose. I like his headpiece.

My attempt at a Space / Western design. I really like how it turned out, although I might have bitten off more than I can chew, as I've never been able to finish it right. I really like the shoulder pads.
Uh... yeah. I actually did this one today. I gave myself a challenge to draw the most ridiculous and impractical space helmet I could come up with. I think I succeeded! Man, it looks weird...

Movie of the day: Ben Hur. I feel ashamed, I honestly had no idea that this movie was about the Messiah. I just knew about the chariot race, and that was it. Well, technically it's more about the protagonist, but Christ figures pretty majorly into it. Man, as a film buff I really should know these things... That aside, this is pretty much THE epic picture. Everything is so big and breathtaking, from the sets to the costumes to the action beats (the chariot race is astounding. It deserves it's place in the public consciousness). The only thing I felt was underwhelming was the music, and that's only because there wasn't anything really hummable in it like in say LOTR or Spartacus. Aside from that, you can see clearly why this film won 11 oscars. Just prepare your posterior for a lot of sitting

Song of the day: Gotta Knock A Little Harder by Yoko Kanno Featuring Mai Yamane. I've aways been a fan of both Yoko Kanno and Yamane-san since Cowboy Bebop, and this song is one of their best works. I find it fascinating that Mai has absolutely no accent when she sings. I like the gospel vibe, it fit the movie well.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Close My Eyes And Drift Away

Oh, my. Well, this is awkward. You see, sometimes for one reason or another I can't write my blog on the day, so I write it first thing in the morning. Funny thing is, first thing in the morning today meant 11 am! Haven't slept in that far since high school! Good thing it's Sunday... So there'll be two blogs up today, one for yesterday and the usual sketchbook sunday. That way I can still say I'm keeping my resolution, as I'm still writing an entry for each day. OK!

Yesterday I worked hard on Pokemon 3, and made some real headway. You want to know the hardest part about animating the talking heads? My flipping nose! You see, when I turn my gaze to look at Linkara (which happens quite a bit) you'll notice one of my pupils goes behind my nose, as perspective dictates. In order to achieve this without any jarring colours or complicated rigs I have to create a new channel, copy my head on to it and crop it so that only the nose part is visible, so the eye goes behind it convincingly. this might not seem like much, but setting it up every time I change expression takes time, which adds up. I also put a release date in the official TGWTG schedule, so now I have to keep it: March 26. Look out for it!

Movie of the day: Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. Or, as I like to call it, Stockholm Syndrome: The Musical. I know this is kind of untouchable as it's a good ol' fashioned musical where everyone completely ignores the plot for the fun singing and dancing, but man! It is so much a product of it's time. I freely admit that some of the songs are awesome and indeed toe-tapping, and the barn-raising sequence is one of the most dynamic sequences in an old-fashioned musical I've seen... It's just still a musical about guys kidnapping girls to marry and getting away with it with a slap on the wrist! Hey, maybe they should remake it as a horror musical a la Sweeney Todd!

Song of the day: Lazy Sunday by Small Faces. This is one of the oldest songs I remember, it was on an old CD my parents had (a 3 cd set of famous early 60's songs). I didn't even know it had an outro until I was 20! Wonderfully bouncy, gloriously optimistic and unashamedly lazy.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Life's A Happy Game

More freaking Nuke. Nuke day after day. I hate it. I can do stuff in it, but only with step by step instructions. I... guh, I don't know what I'm going to do. I guess I'll just have to study up on the thing, it's just so maths-based it's nearly impossible for me to wrap my head around. Oh well,

Tomorrow I'm going to do a marathon editing session, see if I can get some real headway made on the pokemon review. I really do apologise for not releasing anything lately, but I'm currently in the middle of a real purging in my life: clearing the hard drive, sorting out the house... I'm going to bring the pain to apathy and make it go be indifferent somewhere else!

Mark Of The Ninja is awesome. Stealth done right in every possible respect (aside from the laughably paper-thin plot). Just thought I'd put it out there.

Movie of the day: The Fox And The Hound. This film intrigues me, I'd actually put it above Basil in terms of underappreciated Disney flicks. For one thing, it's a veritable cornucopia of future talent. Brad Bird, John Lasseter, Tim Burton, Don Bluth, Kurt Russel... Yeah, they all worked on this. Dang. The movie itself is pretty unusual in and of itself. At times it's clearly aimed squarely at kids, with cutesy humour and sentimentality coming out the ears. But THEN it goes and shows some really harsh and mature lessons, such as the nature of the world and acceptance that the things you love - including friendships - will eventually change, and not always for the better... In that respect I'd almost call it a perfect children's movie, entertaining them and encouraging them to enjoy themselves before offering a gentle but still freaking stern warning that it won't always be like this, but there's always hope. It also has one of the best and most intense action sequences I've seen in a Disney film at the end. Definitely worth a look, just be prepared to wade through some treacle.

Song of the day: Young Folks by Peter, Bjorn and John. Very much a one hit wonder over here in New Zealand (can't speak for the other countries), but I like how they took a relatively intense beat and somehow made it infuriatingly relaxing. Got to admire artists who can pull of contrasts like that.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Another Day

Not too much to report on today, just more blasted Nuke and it's complexities. I know that for a compositing software it's actually quite user friendly, but that's very, very relative. After 4 hours of having my butt kicked by a machine I went home and took care of Jess, who's now in her second trimester, meaning that although she's not nauseous or physically sick as much, she's a lot more exhausted. Had to get a huge lot of groceries in less than an hour this evening (long story). It was almost kind of exciting, like a mission I had to complete in a time limit. It was then I realised how truly dorky I am.

Thanks for the comments, I'll certainly look into doing the first impressions. I want to set up a schedule starting next month which will provide content most weeks. First impression one week, Suede Played next week, proper review week after, etc. Here's hoping it works!

Movie of the day: Spartacus. Man, this movie is depressing, but I suppose that's the point. This is meant to be a great classic, and I can certainly see elements of that. The first act is intriguing and engaging, and you really want to see what happens... and then it does and it's somewhat anticlimactic (this is something Kubrick would do again in Full Metal Jacket later). It's one of those movies where you have to be accepting of the slow pace, at least in the second half, buut the music's great. I still don't know how anyone took Kirk douglas seriously with that friggin' great hole in his face, though! I guess it was a different time...

Song of the day: Sagaba by Blue Scholars. That might sound like a somewhat pretentious name for a rap group, and I'd be lying if I said that the mc didn't give off an arrogant tone in places, but god points are made, there's no swearing and I always like it when a nice melody is used in a backing track without it encroaching upon the lyrics.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bring Corruption To All That You Touch

This Nuke thing is seriously kicking my posterior three ways to Sunday. I'm starting to feel like I'm in a programming class rather than a filmmaking one. I'm not complaining, I know it's industry-standard technology and I need to know my way around it or at least understand it but at the same time I'm a filmmaker, not a code monkey, Jim! I'm going to have to start taking notes.

I've been thinking about how I can expand the Suede brand while still holding on to my meager schedule, and I was wondering if a First impressions series would be quite a good idea. I got the idea from Totalbiscuit's 'WTF is...' series. I'd livestream (or twitch) myself as I watch the first (and possibly the fifth?) episodes of new anime that comes up on Crunchyroll or so forth, then put it up on TGWTG. It'd be an impression from a relatively casual perspective, just from a person who absolutely loves anime and knows the tropes without bogging down the impressions with needless minutia. Think it's worth a shot?

Movie of the day: Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes. I wasn't really a fan of the original movies, but this was flippin' awesome. Yeah, there's a few plot holes and sometimes the characters are inconsistent (except in Tom Felton's character's case, where he's almost too consistant in his unparalleled jerkishness. You think he ever worries about being typecast?), but the scenes they pull off at the end are some of the some of most epic I've seen all year from an emotional as well as a visceral standpoint. I also like how they take advantage of the fact that everyone knows how it's going to end and give us just enough of a slow burn beforehand so we appreciate the awesomeness when it comes.

Song of the day: Take A Bow by Muse. Another cool song brought to my attention by Watchmen's ad campaign. It's hard to make complex and fast synthesizer melodies sound epic and cinematic, but this succeeds admirably.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

We Killed Some Boredom, Didn't We?

Now today was a day I could get behind! We finally dug into Nuke today. It scared the crap out of me and has a very, very steep learning curve, but it also wasn't quite as intimidating as I remember it being when I opened it in the past. Best part about the whole thing is that I don't and can't have a copy of it on my home computer, so afternoons have freed up a bit! Speaking of freeing up, I also probably made the most progress towards finishing the next Pokemon review yet - And I didn't even touch the footage! This afternoon I got tired of my upturned nuclear reactor of a computer, and I purged it. I gave it an inquisition to rival the Vatican and those files which failed to withstand my piercing gaze were exiled with extreme prejudice  It felt soo gooood... There's something severely inspiring about a clean, fresh hard drive and an empty, inviting desktop. Lemme at that review! I'll Moiderise it!

Movie of the day: Death Note. This is the live action movies, not the anime. I say movies because come on, the first one might as well be called To Be Continued: The Movie. They got away with 90-minute episodes in Sherlock, why couldn't they have done the same with this? I definitely think this does a very admirable job of distilling the essence of the show. You can tell that they wanted to reach people who hadn't seen the show rather make it a 5-hour pander-fest, and I can respect that. I actually know a couple who hadn't seen the anime who really enjoyed the movies, so mission accomplished, I guess. I also like how we actually got a real final confrontation between L and Light, rather than what we got in the anime. All in all it's a good else-worlds story.

Song of the day: Shimi by Maximum The Hormone. Got into these guys after they did the second opening for Death Note, and this song pretty much sums up why they fascinate me so. Hannah Montana meets Rob Zombie in Tokyo. Now you have to try it.

Monday, March 11, 2013

I Noticed I Was Late

Man, I hate forgetting about my journal! Luckily not much happened.

Today we were introduced to the compositing module. Oh my. We'll be using Nuke, probably the most disgustingly user-unfriendly piece of software I've (subjectively) ever encountered. Maybe I'm spoiled, but man, if I could even get this thing to successfully track I'll consider it a major victory. We didn't actually dive into it today, we mainly spent the day just talking up how intimidating the bleeding thing is. Hopefully I can handle it, I figured out Maya all right. Otherwise not much occurred, just business as usual. At least, that's all I can say publicly...

Movie of the day: Stranger Than Fiction. I'm not even sure why I like this movie so much, it just kind of clicked with me. I liked seeing Will Farrell doing something other than gonzo comedy, I like advanced digital effects used to spice up mundane activities to make it dynamic and what can I say, I'm a sucker for Emma Thompson. I also really respect that it's a very tight, self-contained movie that knows exactly what it's trying to say. A lot of people don't like the ending; I'd say that's almost certainly the point. Watch the film to find out what I'm talking about.

Song of the day: A Day In The Life by The Beatles Considered on of the best songs in their impressive catalog I can certainly appreciate the sheer scale of it. I'd say it's comparable to Bohemian Rhapsody in just how much it tries to accomplish in the time it has. I particularly like the orchestration and the cute little musical cues they throw in, like having four descending notes that play when he sings "Found my way downstairs". Mainstream experimental done right.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sketchbook Sunday, Part The Eighth (Con Edition)

Today will be a bit different, as I will be showing you not cans of my drawings, but pictures of the con we went to! There's still pics of Jess's commissions, too, so I'm justified in keeping the title.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Dream In Peace

I hurt. I'm completely exhausted from head to toe. I'll upload some pictures tomorrow when I scan my usual sketches but ugh, even a teeny tiny con like this one does take it out of you. At first it actually looked as if it would be a disaster: We were at the front of the hall, so everyone passed by us at first, no one was buying or commissioning anything, it looked like we would be severely in the red from what we spent to get there. Luckily though, It only lasted an hour or two, and then we began selling way more and getting lots of lovely commissions. Since I had to watch the stall with Jess, I wasn't able to go to the different events, but I was able to catch a bit of Dante Brasco (Kuzo, Jake Long, Rufio, Guy With Epic Name). He has almost a carbon copy of Jake Long's personality, it's kind of freaky actually. We were able to get one personal thing from the other stalls, Jess chose a Nyanko sensei plush from Natsume Yuujinchou and I got the first season of Batman: The Animated Series for $10! Awesome.

Total tally of people who recognised me as Suede: 2. One of those was my wife. Ugh. Need to get on with the well-known thing. Tune in tomorrow for pictures of where it took place, You may be surprised. Now for sleep!

Movie of the day: Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. I obviously can't give all my thoughts in a quick capsule review, but most of them boil down to the fact that this movie is worth a watch. It's still a milestone in many ways, you can tell everybody on the team worked really hard on it (except for some of the voice actors), the premise is at least original and different for a sci fi flick and it's always nice to hear Ming-Na Wen speak. It also has an awesome end credit song that's almost worth everything you don't like in the film.

Song of the day: The Dream Within by Eliot Goldenthal. This song, as a matter of fact. Yeah, it has really hippy lyrics, but man, that chorus... it would make any movie seem epic. Just wonderful.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Sun, You've Got A Way To Fall...

The heat is ridiculous, it's only autumn, for pete's sake! Urgh... Today we presented the DVDs we worked on through the week, I put together a functional, no-frills menu system that received a functional, no-frills response but honestly, that's fine. I really have no interest in the DVD authoring side of the industry (probably just jinxed myself and caused the future me to work in a DVD authoring firm) and as long as I can put together a relatively professional looking DVD, I'll be fine. I was glad for what it taught me, though, now I can put commentaries and additional tracks on them! Hooray!

The con is tomorrow and both of us are incredibly nervous. Will we be well received? Will we make money? Will more than two people recognise me? Are we prepared enough? Welp, all that's left to do is find out. Report tomorrow!

Movie of the day: Witness For The Prosecution. Courtroom dramas are one of my absolute favourite genres and I don't even know why. It's the reason Phoenix Wright is one of my favourite series' of games, too, there's just something about the intrigue, mystery and the incredible ease in which twists can be revealed. This one is a very good example of a courtroom drama, with one of the most weirdly satisfying endings out there, mainly due to the fact that you think it's one of the worst endings ever, right until just before the credits. Can't expect much more from Agatha Christie! This is also good to see as a lesser-known Billy Wilder picture.

Song of the day: Way To Fall by Starsailor. Some of you may recognise this as the end credits song for Metal Gear Solid 3, and it's by far the best end song out of all the MGS's in my opinion (MGS4 being a close second), partly due to just how astoundingly on the nose it is with it's tone and lyrics (not to mention a flippin' sweet guitar solo!). The really weird thing was that it was discovered completely by accident; Hideo Kojima was recommended the new album by the band Stellastar, but he got the names mixed up and bought Love Is Here by Starsailor, where he found this song. You can't make this stuff up, folks!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

I'm Going Where The Sun Keeps Shining

Today I was completely off my feet, didn't even have time for Skyrim. The horrors we lower middle class must endure... After a particularly busy day at school frantically trying to arrange DVD menus before crunch time, Jess and I set out to get every last detail ready for the con on Saturday (for us, friday for you guys). It seems simple on paper, we just had to go to the mall, grab some cotton balls and cellphone pendant chains, then go to the stationary store to get the drawings Jess was selling printed on high quality paper. This would all be fine and dandy, peachy keen, but it turns out everyone else in the entire city thought it would be fun to move their cars onto the road and stay there while we were trying to travel along it. All while the sun beat down on our not-even-a-little-bit air conditioned vehicle. We made it back in one piece (barely), so now all we have to worry about is whether we'll make our money back, it's actually quite scary. We invested a lot in this, I hope we'll a least break even...

Movie of the day: Run Lola Run. I'm not sure I can wholeheartedly recommend this one, it's so experimental you may as well call it I Just Got Out Of Film School And Somehow Got A Huge Budget: The Movie, but at the same time there's certainly a charm to it, and at the very least you can never say there's a dull moment. It's strange actually: it works as a thinking movie, but also as a turn-your-brain-off-movie. I also helps you appreciate it if you're not in a hurry! Just don't expect it to be normal, and set your faces to "wha...?"

Song of the day: Everybody's Talking At Me by Harry Nilsson. This one get's a mention for being the song in my head as I waited in traffic. It's an awesome road trip song, but it takes a bit more of a mournful tone if you're stuck in one spot while you listen to it. It's also a great song to sing along to at full volume when you're alone in the car. There's something so oddly serene about it.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

From Sundown To Sunset

Today was soul-destroying. though not through any kind of emotional or stress-related trauma. It was just horrifically hot today for no good reason, it had no precedence whatsoever. We get that sometimes in New Zealand, There aren't really 'seasons' so much as 'weeks'. Heck, sometimes we even change season from day to day. Today, though... I haven't felt such an oppressive blanket of damp heat for months, I just hope it doesn't last. I'll let you know tomorrow.

Crunch time for the con is coming, poor Jess is knocking herself out making keychains and the like. I'll show some pictures closer to the date.

I'm really enjoying Dawnguard so far, and I'm not even playing as a vampire lord! It's a really intriguing campaign with awesome locales. I had actually always wondered where souls go after you use a soul gem, and there you go! A hellish limbo dimension for all eternity. Well now I feel like a jerk. Thanks Bethesda.

Movie of the day: Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade. Yes, yes, "too bad it wasn't really the 'last' crusade..." we all know it, but honestly I saw this one first and I loved it so much that the first indy was kind of underwhelming by comparison when I finally saw it. The trials at the end in particular are pure adventuring gold. Sean Connery, why did you leave us so soon?

Song of the day: California Soul by Marlena Shaw. I love how cinematic this song is. Motown stylings with a quirky yet soulful vocalist. You can't help but put images to the song when you hear it.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Darkness Has Passed

Ugh, I absolutely hate leaving this blog to the last minute... but hey, sometimes it just happens that way.

It was actually pretty awesome yesterday, for the most part: You ever have that kind of  run of inspiration, where you suddenly get idea after idea after idea? That was pretty much me after getting the go ahead for adapting the concept for my short film. Fantastic, I haven't felt like that in a while. Don't worry, I'm still working hard at Pokemon 3, it's just been difficult lately because Jess and I are preparing for the one single nerd convention that my city holds, the Armageddon Expo. Here's some info:

She's selling homemade MLP merch and art commissions, if you're in the area, stop by and say hi!

That's this weekend, so after this week I begin hard core editing mode and bring you guys exactly what you want, hopefully before the end of that week.

In other news, I tried the demo for the new Yu-Gi-Oh game on the PSN, just to see if I could still play. I actually did fairly well, although I did make some bonehead moves due to forgetting that the battle system doesn't work like MTG. From a technical standpoint it's sound, except for one major fun-killing flaw. When  you place a trap card down, a dialog box pops up to ask if you want to activate it whenever an opportunity to do so occurs. This is fine, sensible and useful. HOWEVER, the default option is always 'yes'! This is really poor design! It ruins any kind of streamlining it would have because you want to just skim through the dialogue boxes until you get to the one you want, but having to press an extra button each time gets really annoying, really fast. I do like Yu-Gi-Oh (liked it before The Abridged Series, even!), but after being introduced to MTG it just seems sub-par and needlessly complex. Just my opinion!

Movie of the day: Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs. You know how Doug said that Kung Fu Panda was the ultimate Don't-judge-it-by-it's-cover movie? Although that is a good example, this one's mine. It looks stupid and kiddy and dumb and stupid and childish and stupid, but it has great heart, a unique focus (the life of the citizens of a small town just as much as the protagonist) and some of the most brutal and hilarious slapstick I've seen since Looney Tunes. It also has Mister. T voice acting. Watch it.

Song of the day: The Dragonborn Comes by Malukah. You might know this one from the recut of the live action Skyrim trailer all over youtube, but this is a cover done right, keeping the tone of the original while adding a new perspective. Plus it's two, two, two songs in one!

Monday, March 4, 2013

I've Been Flying, Ain't No Denyin'

Well, today was certainly interesting! School of course was same old same old, we began the main project for the DVD module, which was to develop a DVD to house the showreel we'll be making at the end of the year. So far, so boring, but I received a wake up call when something wasn't expecting to happen, happened!

One of the ideas I had for the BIG PROJECT at the end of the year, wherein we have to write, produce, and to an extent finance our own short film, was to do an adaptation of a famous creepypasta (no, not slenderman!) found on the well regarded horror site The SCP Foundation. I, almost jokingly, sent a PM to the author of said story asking him if he'd let me do a short film based on his concept. Well, not three hours later, I found that not only was he fine with it, but he's also a fan of Suede! What a boost to my confidence, I'll tell you what! Now I have a new lease not only on the end-of-year project, but on the upcoming videos! Let me at 'em! Thanks, Mathew!

Movie of the day: Spirited Away. This is one of the most intriguing movies I've ever watched, but not for the reason you might think. I mentioned this in the Girl Who Leapt Through Time review, but I really didn't like it when I saw it. The designs were ugly, the plot went nowhere. Then, almost out of nowhere, once I finished the movie I had an inexplicable and involuntary "Good Feeling" that would not go away. I just felt so nice whenever I thought of the film, even though I wasn't impressed by it when I saw it. It's a bizarre phenomenon, and if anyone cracks the formula, the movie world is their oyster. So Miyazaki, basically.

Song of the day: Kashmir by Led Zeppelin. Although it's oversaturation in movie trailers may have spoiled this one a bit, but if you listen to the whole thing in one sitting, it really is glorious. Take on the world!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sketchbook Sunday, Part The Seventh

Well, it's Sunday, that means sketches, you know it, I know it, let's get on with it.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

To See With Eyes Unclouded

Today was both productive and not productive, if that makes any sense. I spent most of the day either catching up on much needed sleep, planning for the week ahead and straining over the computer with my head in my hands trying desperately to over come my writer's block. You see, I'm going to try a new system now that I have a little bit of time and a rare opportunity: I'm going to start making my videos a month in advance and try to put out TWO videos a month! Don't get too excited, though, one of the two will be the next episode of the Suede Played series, but I really, really want to start getting videos out at a regular time, on a regular date. I'm seriously lagging behind in terms of organisation, and I want to be able to have that security of a schedule and a timeline.

You know, back in high school, I never would have thought I'd be desperately wanting a schedule in 7 years. It goes to show just how much your priorities change in that time. I just wish I'd forced myself to embrace that strict lifestyle. It may be more fun to just make up your own schedule on the fly, but believe me, it bites you back hard when you're furiously typing at 4am. Ending with fun is always, always better than beginning with it. Otherwise you end up writing in a stinking blog when you could be watching crunchyroll... Not that I don't love you guys! Hahahaha....

Movie of the day: Princess Mononoke. Probably the one Miyazaki film that skirts the razor's edge between PG-13 and R so hard there are scratches on the disc, this one is hardcore and can be pretty jarring to those who expect a Spirited Away or Ponyo level of whimsy. Decapitations, delimbings, parasitic worm monsters, lepers... If you can get past that shift in tone, it remains a wonderful film. I love how it is an environmental film at it's core, but it really shows both sides of the conflict in a sympathetic and also damning light equally.  Also interesting to see the clear inspiration for Xernias.

Song of the day: Suitor Attacks by Mikko Tarmia. This is perfect jogging music. Try it, you'll thank me. The arrangement is very good too, and nicely different to other pieces like it in it's genre.

Friday, March 1, 2013

I Don't Know Nothing Anymore

For those who follow me and have left an awesome comment that for some reason didn't show up on the blog, please do not feel like I have abandoned you or hold a personal grudge or taken out a jihad against you or anything. The reason can simply be attributed to Hanlon's Razor: I accidently pressed the delete button instead of the publish button. There you have it. I mistook the word "delete" for "publish". Twice. I have brought shame to the english language.

Aside from that, again, not much to report. Made a functional DVD menu in class and uttered variations of "whoop-de-doo" for the rest of the day. I worked on Pokemon 3 and Played dawnguard while Jessica did some commission work (I'm sure this has been mentioned MANY times, but how does glowing yellow eyes not raise a single eyebrow among the general populace? Are Skyrimians really that jaded, or is it more of an elephant in the room thing?) Maybe I should comment more on what's happening in the world or on the internet. I could comment on TGWTG videos or new Cracked articles or even world news! Yeah! That sounds great! Sounds awesome! Excellent!



Movie of the day: Clueless. Yeah, yeah, THAT clueless. The Alicia Silverstone and Paul Rudd movie. I think I can only tolerate it now because of the nostalgia factor, but there are some very decent laughs, none of the characters are teeth-grindingly annoying, it's great to see the late Brittany Murphy as a character actress rather than a "pretty girl" scene dressing and the story is very nice and tight for a teen movie. That last point is probably due to the fact that the movie is a modern remake of the Jane Austen book, 'Emma', which actually helped introduce me to Austen's books (I'm not a huge fan, as my second chromosome remains proudly incomplete, thank you, but I do appreciate how smart she was and I enjoy the bbc miniseries once in a blue moon). Worth a curiosity peek.

Song of the day: Legacy by The Gone Jackals. I need to end on something super manly after that really girly confession, so here's a song that still manages to pump up both my testosterone, my nostalgia, and my inner nerd all at the same time. This was the theme for ne of my favourite games of all time, Full Throttle. Being able to buy it on iTunes was the fulfillment of a childhood dream.