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Month: October 2009

more and more

more and more


I mentioned in a post previously the new fad of artists getting on blogging websites and sharing their recent work in chronological fashion.  Maybe a quarter of these artists also show process shots.  I mentioned earlier this week about how nearly every amazing (non abstract) painting is done using photographs of real models.

This morning I saw another example, this time with a youtube video about it:

This is especially useful for me as I’ve been fearful of adapting one of my sketches into a painting because I have no clue how to paint a reflective space suit with any degree of believability.  You can bet I’ll be watching this video (and more like it) again and again.

not surprising

not surprising

More great news about where I grew up.

Not only did I live in this area, but I WENT TO THIS SCHOOL FOR NINE YEARS OF MY LIFE and lived less than five miles away for eighteen.

The really ironic thing is that some people back in Ohio think I’m putting my life in danger by breathing Los Angeles smog every day.   Ohio has one of the highest cancer death rates of any state in the nation.  California has one of the lowest.  We’ve got our environmental problems here, but we typically don’t elect presidents that “relax” pollution regulations, even right up until they are booted out, either. 

But don’t take my word for it, just ask this liberal media biased news organization.

by the way, I loved this: “kids at elementary schools can also be exposed by playing in the dirt,”

Most of what I remember from elementary school was playing in the dirt.  I broke my arm playing in that dirt.  I have old photos of myself and my best friend playing in that dirt.  I have memories of often shielding myself from breathing in that dirt when we’d play kickball in gym class on the dirt baseball field.  I remember scraping my knees, my hands, my elbows and probably even my head in that dirt.

“but they’re overreacting, the toxicity levels are low, this is just an Obama scare tactic to pass cap and trade”

Yes, lets err on the side of pollution, that always works out to everyone’s advantage.  I’m glad we listened to the cigarette company execs instead of the scientific studies.  Just think of all the poor workers at Marlboro that would have lost their jobs!  You know I’m sure it costs more to put airbags in cars, lets get rid of those, surely that money could be someone’s salary, right?   All that testing they have to do at the local water plant to make sure you’re not drinking a big glass of lead and poop… gotta have cost some jobs….

( in each of these examples you can see how the regulations created jobs as well…hint hint…)

The cap and trade naysayers also do little to argue with the fact that the American economy is turning (or turned, depending on who you ask) into a service economy, not a production one.  Service businesses aren’t normally known to be high polluters.  The much larger problem is the pollution from China’s production, and recycling of our waste (doesn’t anyone watch 60 minutesanymore?).  But, to acknowledge that, we’d have to admit our own sins first, and nobody wants to do that (if it’ll affect shareholders).


Now, just to make this fair and balanced, I’d like to tell you about a regulation that gave me fits yesterday.  On Tuesday night the smoke alarm in one of my bedrooms (not the one where I sleep, thank goodness) started to do its low battery chirp.  Smoke detectors are usually placed either on the ceiling, or if the ceiling is inclined (as was the case here) on the wall no more than three feet down.  I actually didn’t research to see if that is a regulated building code, or just a generally accepted practice, but research isn’t require to say that you’re “fair an balanced” so keep that in mind.  All of the ceilings in my rooms but one are high ceilings.  I don’t know how high, but my rough estimates with my tape measure put the detector up at around 14 feet.  I had to borrow a huge folding ladder from the warehouse at work to get to the smoke alarm to change the battery, as even if I stood on top of my standard ladder I wouldn’t have been able to reach the thing with an outstretched hand.   However, we had to try to sleep through the night with the thing chirping every thirty seconds first.

making art the old fashioned way

making art the old fashioned way

It took me a long time, but I eventually realized that to make any painting with a person in it, I’d have to get a photograph of the pose to get it “right” (although apparently I still can’t even get it totally right this way either).  I’d always marvelled at other artists that could apparently pull complex scenes with body, light and shadow out of thin air.  Well, it turns out that, more and more, these aren’t out of thin air at all – and most of these guys have to do just as much prepping and use actual models as well.

Take a look at this interesting article about Norman Rockwell.  All those fantastic scenes with the overly expressive faces and bodies were all rehearsed and photographed in a studio first.  Makes a little more sense now. 

I used to sit around and sketch and not be able to figure out why a pose wasn’t working.  I’d get all frustrated and berate myself for not being a “real artist” like my art world idols who (I thought) could just make a few quick strokes and get the figure perfectly, not to mention the complex lighting on their paintings.  Not so.  I would always wonder how Norman Rockwell always got the clothing so realistic looking.  Every little scrunch in the armpit looked like a shirt would really work.  Well, it’s because that is how it looked when he photographed it!

Even his famous moon landing painting (seen in the article) was faked and photographed with NASA’s help! 

Many of these techniques, including gridding a canvas or projecting the image, I used to consider “cheating” and my work suffered accordingly.  Only recently did I figure out that the final image is what is important – not what you did to get there.

fox “animation domination” Sunday

fox “animation domination” Sunday

what? Baseball?!

okay, looks like I’ll be watching that U2 Rose Bowl webcast after all… thanks a lot, Rupert. =(

UPDATE:  geez, second guessing this entertainment choice as well… they seem to have loaded the set list a bit heavily from the new (or maybe last two) albums… and…those songs suck.   Here is the set list from Chicago:

1 Breathe
2 No Line on the Horizon
3 Get On Your Boots
4 Magnificent
5 Beautiful Day/Blackbird (Beatles snippet)
6 Elevation
7 I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For/Stand By Me (Ben E. King snippet)
8 Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of
9 Unknown Caller
10 The Unforgettable Fire
11 City Of Blinding Lights
12 Vertigo
13 I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight
14 Sunday Bloody Sunday/Oliver’s Army (Elvis Costello snippet)
15 Pride (In The Name Of Love)
16 MLK
17 Walk On/You’ll Never Walk Alone (snippet)
18 Where The Streets Have No Name

19 One
20 Bad/40 (snippet)

Second encore
21 Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
22 With Or Without You
23 Moment of Surrender

That’s a long time to wait just to hear an old favorite, isn’t it?

Also, weird choice, to webcast this from Los Angeles.  Not even everyone HERE will be able to watch the whole thing because it is so late.  Ironically, above the streaming video it says “Los Angeles 8:30pm/Paris 4:30am/Tokyo 12:30pm”  So, right, another case of musicians forgetting that the rest of us have to go to work on Mondays.

They are giving shout outs to cities like Sydney (currently about 3pm there)…. I’m hard pressed to think of a city where it would be convenient to watch this…

Before the show started Rocko the stage hand came out to warm up the crowd.  He said that they chose to webcast from Los Angeles because the best fans are here.  ….do you think maybe it is because Edge lives in Malibu now?  Maybe, just maybe?

UPDATE #2:  Okay, at least they switched the set list up a bit and put Mysterious Ways at the 4th song instead of “Magnificent.”  Boner is walking off by himself so the camera will stay on him alone instead of the band.

sometimes I regret this school thing

sometimes I regret this school thing

yeah, that’s right … a FREE Flaming Lips show. 



Oh, only the same night I have to take a midterm exam in Finance.

So, instead of listening to Race for the Prize and Do You Realize live I’ll be calculating the Capital Asset Pricing Model and writing a short essay on the cause of the S&L crisis.  Great.  I’ve paid to see Flaming Lips live (went with cousin Jeff I think back at the Newport during their “FM radio in concert” experiment)…and I’d pay to see them again.  but this is FREE….

Not bad enough that I don’t get to go to the Art Walk on Thursdays this term, but now I have to miss this…

This is the most extreme example of my creative soul being killed by my … business (?)/academic side.

Speak of the devil

Speak of the devil

So, after I emoted last week about how Sufjan Stevens probably isn’t rolling around in a Bentley like Slim Thug, he actually complained about it (sort of):

“I definitely feel like, ‘What is the point? What’s the point of making music anymore?’ I feel that the album no longer has a stronghold or has any real bearing any more. The physical format is obsolete; the CD is obsolete and the LP is kinda nostalgic. So, I think the album is suffering and that’s how I’ve always created — I work with these conceptual albums in the long-form. And I’m wondering, what’s the value of my work once these forms are obsolete and everyone’s just downloading music?”Sufjan Stevens

Why?  Because you’re supposed to be doing it for yourself, not for us.  When you start making music to please other people after making a few good albums you turn into Coldplay.  You might not have a Bentley, Sufjan, but I know you’ve got your own recording studio – and cd-burners are cheap… so make your concept album.. what is stopping you?

buffalo bulls

buffalo bulls

Anybody ever notice how Buffalo Daughter’s New Rock sounds exactly like Sonic Youth’s Bull in the Heather?  Sonic Youth actually sounds more organized and “pop” ish of the two, which sounds really weird to say about Sonic Youth.   Surely this can’t be an accident as Buffalo Daughter was highly influenced by Sonic Youth and Bull in the Heather came out 4 years before New Rock.

are you changing your facebook relationship status, or are you just happy to see me?

are you changing your facebook relationship status, or are you just happy to see me?

Commonalities, although not defined as such in Webster’s, are thought to be instances of the simultaneous births of like ideas in multiple minds at once.  The light bulb, for example, was invented by two men around the same time, but one guy perfected it and patented it first.  One commonality that seems to have started to show up is the universal frustration with the facebook “relationship status.”

I never mentioned (on this blog) my own frustration with this feature when it first reared its ugly head, but now my friends are going through the same ridiculousness, so I wanted to put my word on paper… or … thoughts on screen rather.

When I first created my facebook account I was single, and listed myself as such.  Somewhere in the fourth quarter of 2007 I started “officially” seeing my (now) ex-girlfriend.  That “official”ness was verified by a facebook relationship status on both of our pages.  The following February when we broke up neither of us changed our status.  We eventually got back together six weeks later, but during that time her status caused me much uneasiness.   When we got back together she admitted that to her it never really felt like we were broken up but were on a “break.”  I’d never gone on a “break” before.  This was all new to me. 

However, when we “officially” got back together, this opened up a new can of worms because she then removed her relationship status entirely.  This brought my confusion over what was in her head (and whether facebook mattered or not) to dizzying new heights.  I asked her about it and she said she decided facebook was only good for “real” networking and she wouldn’t have her relationship status on there anymore.  Okay.  That made sense.  I removed mine too.  End of story.  Fin.

We broke up later that year and there was no “status” to update and be embarrassed about.  That was nice.

I didn’t think much more of it until last month when two things happened; first, I noticed that my ex put her status back up as “in a relationship” and second, one of my good friends was bewildered by a similar change to the status of a girl he is dating.   They are in no way “official” but have been seeing each other for awhile and she changed her status to “single.”  Obviously, this caused him some concern and curiosity (“should I even worry about that at all?  Does it mean anything really?”).   I told him the only way to know what it meant was to ask.  I was more concerned with my friend’s situation, but was also a little taken aback that the girl who said to me that facebook “wasn’t for relationships” apparently changed her mind (for someone else).   To make things even more confusing I found out at the same time that she was moving to China.  She had a particular hatred for long-distance relationships when I was with her.  So, is this guy going with her?  Is this someone she already knows in China (even though she hadn’t been there for two years)?  Does it really matter? 

No.  No, it doesn’t.  Her life on the other side of the world is her business and feeling “slighted” by something like that would be very juvenile of me.  However, it is an interesting situation and when combined with my friend’s problem on the same subject it sparks a larger inquiry into the appropriateness of any private busines broadcast on social networks.  Yes, myspace came before facebook, but myspace was overrun by teenagers, who embarrass themselves with regularity and are easily forgiven for it later.  Adults, however, are struggling with the “relationship status” question and slowly realizing that no status is the right status.  And that’s not just my opinion.

Facebook brought a new seriousness with it, as first belonging only to college students who, by requirement, are usually slightly less reckless with information and technology than their less educated counterparts.  Those of us who jumped on the bandwagon after college were even more hesitant and professional…. at first.  I waded much more cautiously into those waters than many of my cohorts, but eventually opened up.  A little.  I still have only changed my profile photo once and I’ve never put up a general status update (i.e. “I’m taking a dump now… wiping now… flushing now…”)  I’m not a twit either, and I cause no end of trouble for Byron when I ask him what his tweets mean.  More than once I’ve thought he was in some kind of danger because he wrote something like “12 stitches sucks” and I wasn’t in on the joke/news.  Consequently, this made me feel like an old man and I’ve stopped following everyone on twitter.

But this was about facebook, wasn’t it?

Although the relationship status conundrum seems to be a common problem, operating on facebook in general only provides more evidence for me that I’m not normal socially.  I never really used to “comment” on any posts, but I was encouraged to start because it would be “good for networking.”  I quickly found out that I’m as good at keeping a conversation going in person as on facebook (I suck at it).  Half my comments are deleted by the original poster for being offensive (at least that’s what I’m assuming), the other half provoke bitter verbal battles. It doesn’t help that the facebooking members of my immediate family are verbal proponents of all things neocon and I get tired of having a bloody tongue.

I’ve always felt I have some low-level psychological disconnect from society.  Some kind of social disorder.  I don’t mean that I’m antisocial, I don’t HATE people.  I actually like talking to people that are intelligent/interesting/family/friends.  My problem is rather the inability to perceive what is appropriate around strangers.  That doesn’t mean I curse like a sailor at cocktail parties, it means I don’t say anything at all.  It also means I don’t know how to act at certain functions.  A friend at school invited me to a halloween party last week.  Ordinarily this would produce one of two reactions:  “awww, I can’t make it, darn” or “cool, can’t wait.”  My reaction was that of fear.  I should go.  But these situations, especially when you’re specifically asked to act out (costumes are encouraged) is something I run from.

As part of the MBA program on the first weekend (I blogged about it) we had to be sequestered in a hotel in Pasadena for the weekend.  We spent the weekend doing exercises with our group in order to get to know them better.   It was more like an executive “team building” workshop than a Tony Robbins seminar.  Out of all the things we had to do, all the times we had to speak about ourselves or others, the thing that I found the most uncomfortable the entire weekend was on the last night when we had to imitate one of our classmates.  In fact in their “reviews” of me everyone noted how somber I am.

I don’t have an “out” personality.  Not just outgoing, but animated.  I don’t generally get excited or joke around with anyone unless I know them well, and I certainly don’t display a “wacky side” or anything like that to anyone.  Ever.  Thus, a “costume party” becomes a nightmare.  When I was in the 7th or 8th grade I was supposed to go to a halloween dance at school.  I remember spray painting my hair green and my father driving me to school and when I was supposed to get out I took a long look at everyone wearing fangs and fake hair and dancing around and just couldn’t get out of the car.  We went home and that moment set the general tone for social interaction for the rest of my life.  Although I’ve become less so in the last couple of years, my general reaction to any social situation (that I haven’t experienced before) is one of fear.  I’ve found that most of the time these fears are ungrounded, and that is the only thing that has changed my attitude at all, but it is still there.

And now, even on facebook I find myself deleting comments after I make them out of fear that the original author won’t take my joke the right way.  More often than that I find myself writing a comment and then just simply closing the browser and not making it.  This happens on average two or three times a day.  Really.  Maybe even more than that.  And the comments you DO see, I’ve rewritten five times and then immediately regretted after hitting the “comment” button.

This social interaction fear extends to specific types of people too.  I’m terribly uncomfortable around children.  Not in a Catholic priest kind of way, but in a “what am I supposed to do here… what am I supposed to say?” kind of way.  It is so bad that one coworker who has recently had a child completely avoids me and my office when she brings the kid to work.  I suppose this has something to do with the fact that my childhood was unusual in that there was a complete lack of small children.  My brother and I were the youngest of all the grandkids on both sides, and so nobody was having babies that we would spend time with.   No little cousins.  The neighborhood kids were mostly the same age.  None of my friends even had baby brothers or sisters.  Sprinkle in a heaping helping of genetically inherited seriousness and quietude and you’ve got a recipe for disaster when little kids come around.   I’m sure my reactions (i.e. no reaction and/or quietly tiptoeing  out of the room) when children come around causes everyone to think I hate kids. But I don’t hate kids at all.  Okay that isn’t true, the kids that run around at the mall and bump into you and get chocolate all over your jeans I hate… but that is a result of bad parenting.  Other kids are “adorable” and all that, but it would feel completely alien for me to pick one up and start talking in baby talk.  Maybe this is some psychological projection because of my own inability to make up my mind about whether I even want to have kids.  The idea of taking care of them every day certainly isn’t attractive and I’d no longer be able to work on creative projects.  Not to mention the horror of my child actually becoming one of those little annoying brats that I can’t stand.  I’m reassured that my kids wouldn’t turn out that way because I’m not that way…but who knows.   Even if they aren’t annoying, my children could still reject me and run away. 

Wait….  how did we get here?  How did I go from facebook status to my unborn children? Did you really read that whole thing?

You must be a true friend.  A friend that an antisocial malcontent like me truly appreciates, even if I never say it.  Thank you.



Since when did FTD and 800flowers start charging $25 to ship to Ohio? Guess I won’t be sending flowers to anyone any time soon… going to have to rethink this.