Thursday, April 18, 2013

Snow? In April!?!

Polar Bears
I swear, Colorado needs to be severely reprimanded. It snowed. A lot. In April. That is simply not acceptable in my book. During my vacation. I wish there was someone I could formally complain to.
The Kiss
I was in Colorado this last weekend because my cousin was getting married. Good on him- my grandmother was due for a wedding and my branch of the family certainly wasn't tracking to do so any time soon. The bride was a lovely lady who ran around barefoot for most of the reception and reportedly wears miss-matched socks. I welcome her into the fold.
Barefoot Bride
The wedding was lovely, the ceremony short and to the point, the DJ fantastic, and my branch of the family quickly liquored up into a frenzy. There were many things done, few of them caught on film (thankfully?). The evening ended in log rolling. You should ask me about it in person some time. Or Adam. It was quite a scene.
Seeing family was fantastic and Colorado proved to be quite lovely. It was only on the last day, Monday, that Adam and I spent alone in Denver that was ridiculous. I can't count the number of times Adam just looked out the window and said "It's snowing" this this awed yet slightly horrified voice. Of course, he was drunk from the brewery visiting pretty early so that's probably not saying much.
In-between visiting a crazy-good Cuban sandwhich place and The Great Divide brewing company, Adam and I visited the Denver Natural History museum which is WAY cooler then either of us expected it to be. Great taxidermy! Very dynamic displays! Amazing rigging of dinosaur bones! I would recommend it! It lacks the gloss & openness of the Japanese or Paris NHMs but what it does, it does well. Reminded me the Chicago NHM in terms of quality dioramas. More pictures from the trip can be found in this Flickr set.

Run Away!
Our flight getting back was delayed several hours by snow, didn't get to bed till at least 2:30 in the morning. Woke up the next day and managed to make it to the Sigur Ros show that night. Worst crowd I've endured in a long time. Horrible, horrible crowd. So much talking! And stupidity! But the music was great and the set design lovely. There were these beautiful incandescent lights scattered about the stage at varying heights which not only looked cool but also illuminated the stage without the need of spotlights. This video gives a good idea of what it was like.

Have been reading the Kabuki comic series. A++, would recommend. Now if only I had more time to read the second half of it...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Look. Listen. Watch. Read.

Dr. Sketchy's: Gentlemen The first Dr. Sketchy's this month featured the delightful Randal and Daisy (a fellow Dr. Sketchy's artist!) with the theme April in Paris. Great costumes and great poses makes makes for happy sketches. Be warned that there's sketches of a lady in mild undress- consider the following mildly NSFW.

Despite my near inappropriate enthusiasm for Randal as a model, I spent a good deal of my time sketching Daisy because she had a superb outfit and figure that I couldn't pass up. Red hair and a corset that fits and is flattering! Yay! Randal's starched collar and swallow-tailed coat were also admirable. Too many pretty things too look at all at once! I wound up not entering the contest this time because I was too happy with my sketches to sully with flair. Almost all the sketches are nicely laid out by them selves on the colored construction paper, making them ideal for future letter sending.

Dr. Sketchy's : Warmups   Dr. Sketchy's: Red Bust
Dr. Sketchy's: Parisian Hooker I also want to mention that a coworker of mine- a one Emily- joined me and it made me incredibly happy. I believe she had a good time and will return again. If there's one problem I've been having at my new job, it's making friends. I think it turns out the music industry attracts a lot of cool people, of which I am soundly not.

Speaking of being horribly uncool, let me take this moment to mention that I've continued to listen to Professor Elemental's new album and it continues to make me happy. Here's another track that's great (that I didn't link to last itme):

Working my way out of the uncool section, but still questionable, is a track from Savant's that I've been enjoying. The lyrics being almost entirely composed of the line "the horrors":

And finally I absolutely must share some new Toxic Avenger that I found. It itself isn't new, just new to me. There's something about how he weaves together tunes that really gets me! Angst Four is the new track (which I find calming), not to be confused with Angst One which I find vaguely stressful (but in a good way!)

Dr. Sketchy's: Corset Lacing

In other news the rest of this month will be fleshed out with movies and shows. Room 237, Sigur Ros, Computer Chess, Much Ado About Nothing (new Joss movie!). I'll also hopefully be making it to Mary Robinette Kowal's book signing. I just devoured her latest- Without a Summer (Glamourist Histories). I keep meaning to do a post specifically about her series. In short though, it's awesome. It reads like candy. It makes me happy. The main character is 30 years old and has a healthy romantic relationship, which is the sort of thing I want to read about. The way the author describes the magic makes me think of programming.

In closing, things have been going mostly well. Except my tabletop character spent too much of last session stuck in a chair getting yelled at.

Gaming Sulk

Sunday, April 7, 2013

So happy I could cry

In case you hadn't heard, Jurassic Park was released this last Friday in 3D. I went to see it by myself tonight (Saturday April 6th). By the time the credits had finished rolling, tears were streaming down my face. It is hard to express, even to myself, how profound of impact that movie had on my youth.

There were collectable trading cards for the movie and I remember buying pack after pack of them (my sisters did as well to a lesser extent) at the dime store my grandmother worked at in Kiel, Wisconsin. I remember picking out all the cards with the concept art and sketching from it. This photo in particular really had a huge impact on how I drew. I watched and read all that I could about the special effects of that film and then later the field in general- almost the only non-fiction subject I've ever read recreationally.

So rarely does my past and present self so strongly agree on something, but the feeling of "This is awesome" was overwhelming in the theater and exactly as I remembered it from all those years ago. Sure, there were a number of goofs that were shockingly obvious now but they didn't detract from anything. What I never appreciated in my youth but I strongly saw this time was what a fabulous job the movie does at providing positive female role models. And not just female ones- normally I hate on main characters but Dr. Grant is a pretty great dude. And I vividly recalled (and still sympathise with) the sadness of wanting to find Muldoon attractive but being oh so repelled by his shorts and socks.

I came close to crying during the movie several times (that first scene with the brontosaurus!) and I'm not exactly sure what caused the tears during the credits but... there's a good number of happy things in my youth that I can connect to this film.

My beloved aunties, who took my sister Kelly and I to see it. (Lindsey was too little to see it. Ha!)

The fact that it is tied to a great book and reading was one of my few joys in life back then.

New reference material and fresh ideas on how to draw dragons! (another one of my joys in life back then)

This... hope. This idea that when I grew up... there was this job out there that I could see myself doing and being so happy about doing. Happy and proud. Something that could take the mess that was my imagination and maybe find use in it and maybe share it with the world. Maybe if I tried real hard, I could be a special effects artist.

Sadly, I did not go on to become a special effects artist. But I am a computer engineer and it is clear to me how I got here, starting there.
Thanks, Jurassic Park.