Sunday, May 31, 2009
Today, I went to Best Buy and picked up a Nikon D60 digital camera. It’s pretty nice and I’ve been having fun playing around with it. The weather has been pretty lousy for the last few days and it’s been irritating because I’ve been fairly sick and I feel like some warm weather and sun would do me a world of good.
Although I think that there are plenty of good shows, some that are smarter and more influential than anything that aired during the 20th century, but at the same time we have some of the worst, mind numbing pieces television series. The bright side to this, as I see it, is that we are in a day and age that allows us to filter out anything that we don’t want to indulge in. I haven’t listened to the radio in years because I just listen to my iPod. I’m sure that I’ve talked about technology and entertainment before but I’m watching some late night programming right now and realizing that there is a fundamental reason that I’ve basically stopped watching anything on cable television.
I was walking through the gated community by my house today. The clouds were completely obscuring the sun and there were absolutely no shadows. I told Brad that if hell existed, it would probably be completely devoid of shadows. He responded by saying that it might be the complete opposite, extreme shadows with thick flames. Golf courses are all very zen.
5 words that I enjoy that could be used to describe Tom Sawyer...
Saturday, May 30, 2009
There is documentary on, which is tying up my laptop at the moment. It reminds me of how famous people and extraordinarily successful people are just people. Most of them aren't any more interesting than people you may know. Reality television has shown me that there is no correlation between how intrinsically compelling someone is and how attractive someone is. Just because someone is nice to look at does not mean they are good to watch.
Andrew, Brad, and I went to the polka gig tonight and I should have a video of it up tomorrow. For now, sleep.
Friday, May 29, 2009
My dad, Jim, and a few other musicians are doing a polka gig tomorrow night and I'll try to get some footage to post.
I just got my tax money back and I think I'm going to buy a decent digital camera for my photography. Having money now, after not having a lot of money in the recent months, feels kind of strange. It's surprising how pieces of paper can carry so much potential.
For the last few days I have felt a little under the weather. My brother was trying to show me this video on Youtube while I was laying down, trying to make myself feel better. Suffice it to say, I was pretty out of it at the time I was watching the film. Being in a sleepy sick state actually made the experience entirely different. Despite being a "wicked messed up" cartoon, I felt like it made sense and I didn't question any of the stranger aspects of the film. Sometimes people, as the intilectual sponges they are, tend to absorb things differently. Sense data, much likes words, can be up to interpretation.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
There are two other ones that I remember watching as a little kid, ones that I thought were weird at the time and ones that still strike me as pretty odd. These would be The Night Kitchen (strange story of a midnight snack land written by Maurice Sendak which contains some very odd symbolism) and the animated retelling of the old African legend of Anansy The Spider Man. I would recommend skipping to the 5:20 mark on the latter because it is the main reason I committed this cartoon to memory.
I forgot to mention yesterday that one of the more prominent surnames in my lineage is "Squire". The contemporary title of Esquire actually derives from the Old English title of Squire. Personally, I think that the name Neil Squire Esquire has a great flow. Also, the Squire family crest (pictured below) prominently features a squirrel (one of my top five favorite casual undomesticated acquaintances).
Another day gone by and I still haven't properly cleaned my room or fully moved all of my belongings into it. Oh well. There is always tomorrow...or the next day.
In other news, this semester grades were posted online and I am a little closer to raising my GPA. If I graduate Sigma Cum Laude (which is highly likely) I might look into graduate school...maybe.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Since I was a little kid, I have wanted to extend my name in some way. This could be by way of a prefix (Dr.) or some sort of tail end extension (PhD). The only one that I never really understood was "Esquire". Today, I finally looked up what this meant so that maybe...possibly...I could fulfill a quota and gain an important title. To become an official "Esquire" one needs to be an attorney or uphold an upper level position in the Elks Club (a hangout for very exclusive stuffy middle aged men who lik cigars and suite jackets).
Someone used the phrase "Bee Sesh" today. It took me five minutes to realize that this was short for "Frisbee Session", which made perfect sense in the context of the conversation because we had just finished a game a frisbee.
Monday, May 25, 2009
This is a video of the fire right after Jim lit it with a road flare.
I had a chance to talk to my younger cousin Danny, today. For some reason I found myself giving him a lot of advice. For example, if you ever in a fight, punch the guy in the collar bone. You only need to apply 4 pounds of pressure to the bone itself. This will leave your opponent's hands immobile.
Memorial Day is one of those holidays that I just don't know too much about. Sometimes it means no school, sometimes it means no work, and sometimes it means fireworks, and sometimes it means bon fire at 10 pm. Although it does mean all of these different things to different people (as do most other holidays), Memorial Day in particular is supposed to be a day to commemorate those who have died while serving the United States military.
My cat is chewing on a magazine. Does anyone know why they feel the need to do this? I've got an inkling that says that it has to do with their glands.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
On June 2nd, the Discovery Channel will be broadcasting a special episode of Man vs. Wild featuring Will Farrel. This looks like it could be entertaining.
While I was cleaning up the yard earlier today I noticed that one of my neighbors, one of my childhood friends, was home for summer break. I was thinking about walking over and talking to her and catching up but I decided against it. The person you were years ago and the person that they were years ago are usually different from who you are now and who they are now. I would dwell on this more but I am too sleepy. From now on I think I'm going to try and leak my thoughts through my fingers before my mind asks me for a rest.
If you ever get bored you can always head over to Craigslist and see what people are giving away for free in your area. People are always posting free couches and pianos.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
I was at Barnes and Noble today and saw this book on the shelf. The cover caught my attention because I was not aware that one could feel ‘touch & feel’ colors. The contents of the book made just as much sense as the cover. Oh well. It’s for babies anyway.
This other book caught my attention simply because I immediately thought that the guy on the right had big over sized women legs.
For some reason I feel oddly nostalgic for electric heat, warm sweaters and drinking hot drinks in the cold. These things will come in time.
I was going through all of my old notes from High School while cleaning out my closet today. There was a lot (and I mean a whole lot) of bad angsty teenage poetry. The strangest note that I wrote to myself (from all of the ones that I felt compelled to save in a box for years) was written on the back of a CVS receipt and simply said "Sea Cow Technology". I write a lot of short cues to myself so that I can remember ideas but this one (at the moment) means nothing to me.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Being home is always strange at first (so much so that I hesitate to call it 'home'). Having a restroom 10 feet away from my bed is a breath of fresh air though. When I was at school I had to walk down the hall, up a flight of stairs, and down another to get to the closest public bathroom. It was annoying to say the least.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Note: A duck's quack doesn't echo, I saw it on Mythbusters.
I'm pretty psyched to see The Brothers Bloom when it comes out on May 29th. You can watch the first 7 minutes of the film on its website. It has the same writer/director as the 2005 film Brick, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
12 hours and I will be all finished with the semester. I completed my papers (which probably weren't that great) and now I just need to study up for my French test tomorrow morning. Jim, Lev, and Julie helped me move all of the stuff out of the dorm today (which is currently in Jim's mom's van along with a giant bear cushion and a vibraphone) so now my side of the room is completely vacant, sans an alarm clock, a laptop, and a fan, sheets, toothbrush, and a change of clothes. I was anticipating a trip back to the Cape tomorrow but there is a really good change I won't be leaving until Thursday morning. This means that I will have to make do until then. No meal swipes left, no change of clothes beyond what I already have on me, and no toiletries. There is not too much planned for my one month break between school and camp but whatever does end up happening, good or bad, will most definitely be documented here.
I broke a towel hanger on my door last semester and I need to buy glue tomorrow to fix it. If you ever see me and I'm not doing something last minute, call the police, because something is terribly wrong.
The internet says that a hedgehog will set me back anywhere between $125 and $150. If I get one, which I may in the next few years, I will name it 'Luigi'.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Earlier today, I was reading about pheromones and how there is some scientific grounding to whether you "click" with someone (as apposed to finding them generally underwhelming). It seems to me that "love", and all that comes with it, might just be a very complicated version of biological attraction and a necessity for the successful mating of two individuals of the same species and their need to stay together in order to raise offspring. We are, after all, more psychologically complicated than most animals. It turns out you can buy additional pheromones. If you buy this product people might like you more. I think the placebo effect would take hold either way so it might just be easier if you convinced yourself that you already have more pheromones than the average person. Confidence is important when it comes to earning friends (unless we are talking about 'friending' people on Facebook...then all bets are off).
I am not being a love-hating pessimistic fuddy duddy here. If you've followed my blog you probably know better than that (I happen to love love). The human race is just full of speciesists who think that man is just the dumbed down version of an angel or something. We are not. We breed, we eat, we grow hair (and proceed to get rid of it or trim it or shape it into a ridiculous mustache).
A dreary individual may be able to pass off "love" as a valuable ingrained procreation mechanism but how then would you explain art? Music? Wall-E?
This video is pretty interesting. I was fairly engaged up until the last minute or so. Pandering religious views is one thing that annoys me more than sitting next to someone at the Dining Commons with an incredibly annoying laugh (alright...that might not be true, but I still find it highly off putting).
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Also, this video is fantastic.
Friday, May 15, 2009
This is a picture of a baby hedgehog I came across today while struggling with a heavy bought of procrastination. It is nothing short of amazing.
I don't have much to say this evening so I suppose I will leave you at that. Actually I was thinking of making a list of 5 things in life that people ought to pay more attention to but probably won't...
- Arch your back and don't slouch. I know I must sound like a nun or something but you will definitely look more strong and confident.
- "It's as hard to quit smoking as it is to start flossing" - Mitch Hedberg
- Your teeth will last longer and probably smell better. (although I am not a dentist so I probably don't know what I'm talking about.)
3) Call people by name more often.
- People notice on a subconscious level and it is an easy way of making a quick personal connection.
4) Don't watch the news.
- It's depressing.
5) Eat salad if you can find the time.
- It just makes you feel better.
Random fact I read about today: MLK plagiarized a large portion of his doctoral thesis as well as parts of his speeches (including his I Have a Dream speech).
Thursday, May 14, 2009
And now, trailers for films I really want to see but simply haven't gotten around to watching yet...
Synecdoche, New York
The Diving Bell and The Butterfly
Also, Frost/Nixon, Iron Man, The Reader (becuase of the Nazis and the taboo sexual romance), and Lars and The Real Girl (less Nazis but possibly just as sexually taboo).
Classical music helps me focus but it's also making me a sleepy hedgehog. Why must I be tortured so?!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Andrew is staying in Amherst until Thursday (he goes to Emerson in Boston and is already done with his finals). Despite the hectic work schedule, it is nice to have someone around to hang out with and help relieve stress. Hopefully now that my classes are done with I will not be nearly as anxiety ridden (Mom you are probably worrying about me after the last few blog posts but I assure you that I am doing fine. You went to college, you know how it is).
The following is a comic I made when I was a junior in high school. I have become a little more articulate since then but I'm not so sure if I have advanced much as a graphic artist. It looks like I spent a lot of time shading dismembered body parts.
Note: This is a reference to the popular American reality show Fear Factor in which Joe Rogan watches people walk across balance beams and sleep in buckets of worms.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Also, check out the film Czech Dream if you can. It is a documentary about two Czech film students that get a 60 million dollar grant to fabricate and hype a mega store that is too good to be true. The biggest hoax in recent memory.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
The following are a few noteworthy passages within a sea of boredom (or exerts from American Studies in a Moment of Danger by George Lipsitz)...
- (pg. 219) "Some years ago, Gamboa pioneered the concept of "No Movies," staging scenes to make city streets look like sites of gang shootings or suicides in hopes of enticing local television news crews into covering events that never happened."
- (pg. 261) "During the 1960's, artist Andy Warhol explained his silkscreen prints of hundreds of identical Coca-Cola bottles as a tribute to American democracy because the millionaire and the pauper drink the same beverage: no matter how rich you get you can't get a better Coke."
- (pg. 276) "The literary critic Mikhail Backtin tells us that there is no such things as a pure monologue, that every utterance is part of a dialogue already in progress."
- (pg. 309) "Musicians who played with [Albert King] reported that sometimes he would correct their mistakes by slapping them in the face with one hand, and firing his pistol in the air at the same time with the other hand. Band members were often not quite sure if they had been slapped or if they had been shot."
The two girls that live a few doors down from me are having a loud fight. From the sound of it, one of them watched a movie that they were supposed to watch together and then proceeded to lie about not watching it. Please, remember to pick your battles carefully. Life is too short (and so is Danny Devito).
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Today, I ate ice cream in the rain. It wasn't nearly as bad of an idea as I thought it would be.
Since my iPod isn't it tip top condition, I have been using a cheap voice recorder/mp3 player to listen to music when I am out and about. In order to get that powered up and running, I had to go to CVS to get one AAA battery. I ended up buying 20. It was the most logical purchase (considering the sale and the savings you get when you buy in bulk).
Only 20 cents more to upgrade to the large cup of coffee. If you go with the combo it'll be 80 cents cheaper, and you get a free bag of potato chips. I can't help but wonder if this is strictly an American problem.
Great cat themed game right here.
Friday, May 8, 2009
There are about eleven days left until I leave Amherst and I still have a few books to reread and 21 pages to write between all of my classes. I always think that once I get to the next step, something will be resolved. It took me two or three years for me to get to Amherst and now all I can think about is where I want to go next. There aren't any solutions in life, I guess. Only more chances and more routes that take you down different paths. The only way to get around this endless meandering game of hopscotch is to be content with where you are. The problem is that you can't. You just can't be content. There's some part of you that knows that you've been content before, and some part of you that knows you will be content again someday, but what are you left with. Just everything in between. I've been considering looking into Buddhism. It's more of a spiritual thing than a religious thing. That reminds me. Today a girl walked up to Lev and I when we were walking back from the Gym and started spewing out this long prepared speech about how we were going to be cast into an infinite ocean of hellfire if we didn't turn our backs on our current religious orientation and proceed to accept Jesus Christ as the one and only. Before she opened her mouth I was ready to shake her hand and make some comment about how great it is for someone in college to be actively involved in her religious community. Most people aren't so passionate, you know? Lev got really mad afterward. He hates it when people push religious beliefs on other people. You do what you want, I'll do what I want, and the world will continue spinning.
This is some advertisement I found for some sort of online pet store. Why would anyone want a "no-eye turtle". That's just ridiculous. Oh well, different strokes for different folks.
150th blog post!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
There is nothing better than not having to do something that you thought you had to do. Today I was supposed to do a presentation on AIDS in Africa but all the other presentations went on for too long.
I must be getting stressed over my final papers or something because I keep getting into these funks where all I can do is mope around and write music. They are mostly odd songs of love, the apocalypse and blood. Some of it reminds me a little bit of Daniel Johnston (pretty good songs but really odd performances). I just read that back to myself and it really isn't as sad/weird as it sounds. Trust me, I'm just as mentally stable as I've always been.
Coffee is apparently a lot better for me than I thought it was. For some reason I have been conditioned (by myself, probably not by my parents) to believe that there is a strong correlation between things that are enjoyable and things that are bad for you.
EDIT: Large coffee after 10 pm is a terrible idea. Downsides to coffee are a) sleeplessness, b) itchiness [kind of like little bugs crawling over random patches of your body], c) dehydration, d) and this sometimes leads to philosophically draining thoughts. Luckily I can use my sleepyness time to catch up on television programs that I have been neglecting.
Kudos to Disney for finally producing a traditionally animated feature film after 5 years of nothing but CGI. Some people, however, are calling it out for being potentially racist.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Jim, Julie, Victoria and I went down to the duck pond this evening to feed the ducks some old bagels. The baby ducks were specifically noteworthy. The mother duck was doing an excellent job being a mother duck. Animals have a healthy fear of humans, which I think is a pretty good thing. You never really know who you can trust and that goes double when babies are involved. There were some other ducks who let us pet them and hand feed them. They didn't seem too bright.
This film looks pretty good...
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
This picture is from when I was living in Rhode Island, spending my mornings working at the Gap (which I hated) and my evenings working on my animation and music projects. Looking back on it, that was probably the closest I've been to what I would like to do with my life. This short animation loop is the only actually animation from the project that I saved online. Everything else was lost like the personal memories of so many holocaust victims.
This is vomit in a refrigerator.
...and two babies that were once siamese twins. The short film I was working on was a compelation of the the following tracks from Sufjan Steven's album A Sun Came: Siamese Twins, Belly Button, Satan's Saxophone, and Godzukie.
My earliest animation project (something I started immediately after investing in a wacom tablet [the writing tool pictured above that allows one to control the onscreen cursor via a pen tool USB device] and completed in about a week or so) can be viewed here. My affinity for amorphous blobs and squirrels is very apparent. I love it when the lines are constantly moving (which probably comes from watching a lot of Dr. Katz and early Home Movies).
I was also working on some retroscoping techniques. This is where you animate on top of film or video to create a more realistic look or movement. These are three pictures of me that I used as anchor points to animate one solid movement.
My intention is to buy a replacement wacom pen and continue working on my animation this summer. I'll let you know how that goes.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Some things I learned today while watching Weijun Chen's documentary The Biggest Chinese Restaurant In The World...
1) There are 20 million babies born in China each year. This is the equivalent to the entire population of Australia. Also there was mention of a man being thrown in jail because his wife gave birth to a baby girl (their second child). They would have thrown the mother in jail but she was breast feeding or something.
2) The fastest way to kill a duck is by tearing out its heart. They then proceeded to show this procedure in graphic detail. What they did is they used some sort of stick to open up the ducks chest cavity and, once they had a clear pathway to the heart, they force their hand in there and pluck it out. Quick and efficient.
3) There is a meal prepared in China where the tail end of a fish (about half of its entire body) is scaled, sliced up, and deep fried, all while the fish is alive. In order to be a success, the fish must still be twitching and moving its mouth as it is being served to the costumer.
4) The average Chinese family earns about 1/12th of what an average American family earns (relatively speaking).
5) If you chop a snake up into little bite sized pieces (killed, gutted and prepared it less than a minute), it may quiver and squirm on your plate.
These two photo collages were the front and back covers to my art notebook that I had during my junior year of high school.
Randomly stumbled upon this French expression that I really like.
"The spirit of the staircase. What it means is that you think of the perfect comment just as you’re descending the staircase as you’re exiting the party on your way home."
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Yesterday was the UMass Motor Sport Clubs' annual car show. The cars were okay, I guess, but my favorite part by far was the modified tall bikes. They don't look too safe or convenient, but boy are they cool.
Before I went to the car show I walked the campus pond. There was this duck freaking out, trying to clean itself. Luckily I had my video camera on hand, capturing most of his ridiculous antics.
There is about a week left of solid classes and I am pretty happy about that. After giving it much thought, I have decided to stay an extra semester so I can successful fulfill all of my academic requirements without going completely crazy. This means I won't be signing up for online courses this summer; something that may have posed some difficulty if it were placed on top of my already hectic plans.
This is an exert from my high school sketch book. I probably drew this when I was 16, maybe 17. I was, and still am, a big fan of the accessories and affectations of the classic American homeless man. There's a guy that hangs out on Main Street that recently lost his leg. Now he walks around with crutches, mumbling and yelling at people.
Orality In The Fourth Dimension
This is a playlist of my favorite narrative songs, or songs that tell a kind of linear story. Most of them have a beginning, middle, and end, but a few of the songs on the list are a little less obvious (although they still have a story with multiple characters). Although, I suppose you could make the point that every song has some sort of story to tell.
1. Flight of the Conchords - Nothin' Wrong (Folk The World Tour)
[A man kills his wife and chops up her body...it's actually a really funny song]
2. The Streets - It Was Supposed To Be So Easy (A Grand Don't...)
[After running errands, a man returns to find a house full of friends and 1,000 quid missing]
3. Clarence Carter - Patches (Patches)
[A boy deals with many losses as he grows up working on the family farm]
4. The Decemberists - A Cautionary Song (Castaways and Cutouts)
[A woman prostitutes herself to the local sailors to feed her children]
5. Ben Folds - Fred Jones Part 2 (Rockin' The Suburbs)
[An old man is laid off from his job after 25 years]
6. Nickel Creek - The Lighthouse Tale (Nickel Creek)
[A tragic love story told from the point of view of a lighthouse]
7. Sufjan Stevens - John Wayne Gacy, Jr. (Come On, Feel The Illonoise)
[The true story of a man who dressed up as a clown and proceeded to rape and murder young boys]
8. Death Cab For Cutie - Styrofoam Plates (The Photo Album)
[A man copes with the death of his deadbeat dad]
9. Bright Eyes - Amy In The White Coat (Noise Floor)
[A girl is sexually abused by her father and falls into a deep depression]
10. Neutral Milk Hotel - Two Headed Boy (In The Aeroplane Over The Sea)
[A cryptic song about dancing and getting intimate with Anne Frank]
11. M. Ward - Chinese Translation (Post-War)
[A man travels across land and ocean to find the answers to some of life's most difficult questions]
12. Say Hi To Your Mom - As Smart As Geek Is Chic Right Now (Ferocious Mopes)
[A group of robots are accidentally given brains and are subsequently killed by a scared security gaurd]
Note: This list ended up being more depressing than I thought it would.