Friday, November 17, 2006

Mulitiplicity - Starring Tonymation

Ever see the movie, Mulitplicity? The story is about a guy played by Michael Keaton, who's job has taken over his life, leaving little to no family time. He's approached by a scientist that has made it his secret hobby to clone people. Keaton goes for the idea and, BAM, there are two of him to get his work done in half the time. Things get a little crazier and eventually there are a total of 3 clones. Of course he keeps all of his shenanigans from his wife, which is a recipe for trouble. He soon realizes that he doesn't need more clones, but a more balanced life. It was a cute film that I enjoyed, but that's not why I bring it up. I have become that guy. No, I haven't cloned myself... yet.

Deadlines are always the enemy of the animator. One never truly feels like a shot has gotten all the finesse it deserves, but the producers push you along with crazy deadlines, and the directors final the shot, taking it away from you forever, as you reach out your hands desperately grasping for it. Yes this is exactly how it is. Inevitably the project ship date arrives and all work must be complete. The final months of a project usually call for "crunch time". This means, the unrealistic deadlines you had before will be a distant memory as you now have less time to complete more work. Usually one of two things will be sacrificed by the animator, time or quality. The directors aren't about to allow the quality to be sacrificed, but are more than willing to suck more of your time into the vat of animation production land. I am currently in crunch time at my job which makes it difficult to have quality family time.

However, working twelve hours, six days a week is not exciting enough for me. No sir. I like it extreme baby. So what I do is take on a large scale freelance job for my former church to keep things interesting. This way I can spend twenty hours a day sitting on my butt in front of a computer. That's living boy, I tell ya!

Here's my daily schedule:

Wake up around 9am
Arrive at work around 10am
Leave work around 9pm
Get home around 9:30pm
Work on freelance job until around 5am
Sleep for 4 hours
Get up and do it again

I live for Sundays. I actually get to sleep in. (getting a full 8 hours of sleep is like sleeping in for me)

Why do I do this you might ask... well if my brain was functioning at normal levels right now I might have a good answer for you. This business is a crazy one, and I have to take work when it arrives in order to buffer for the lean months of no work. Unfortunately, work comes in waves and leaves just as quickly as the tide. I'm riding this wave in zombie mode. I am grateful for the work, but look forward to finding the balance that will signal the credits for my movie.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Boogie Board Boy

So I've been on the west coast for several months now, and I work with a guy that is addicted to surfing. I figured since I have an addictive personality, and foam at the mouth when I can't take a ski trip during the winter, that I would be a prime candidate for extreme water sports. I definitely want to tackle surfing, but I decided to break myself into the arena by trying boogie boarding first.

I started by getting the tools of the trade; wetsuit, boogie board, and fins. One thing I have learned is, if you look like you know what you're doing, people assume you are good. So if nothing else, I could walk down the beach and look like a pro.

Malibu beach was the spot I chose for my first boogie board experience. My surfer friend had warned me of the crowds, but I didn't have the time to drive to another beach on Saturday. The place was a surfing zoo for sure. I paddled out to the surf and waded on top of my board, constantly worrying I would get in an unruly surfer's way. I had my family with me and the last thing I wanted was to get my butt kicked in front of them.

I decided to stay out of the way for the most part, watch them scan the water for the right wave, and how they attacked the wave when it arrived. It was fun to be in the water and eventually I attacked a couple of waves. I didn't kick in very well and didn't do much riding, but it was fun all the same. We had a packed schedule, so I had to cut my boogie boarding short. I can imagine that when I have more time to spend in the surf, that I will enjoy the thrill of riding the waves even more.

It is humbling to be in an ocean. It pushes you around like a pebble, and you realize the scale, power, and immensity of the water. God has created an amazing place for us to enjoy.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Texas vs California - Round One

I spent my entire life in Texas. I figured that this trend would come to an end when I became an animator, but was fortunate enough to land a job with DNA Productions in Irving, Texas, not far from my home. While there, I worked on Jimmy Neutron and on the feature film, The Ant Bully. Around the time the film was being completed, DNA told me it would be in my best interest to find another job, because they couldn't pay me anymore. Being the intuitive person I am, I figured they were trying to hint at something. I eventually found a job in California. So I packed up and took my family out to LA. It's no secret that LA and Dallas are different, but this country boy was shocked at how different they turned out to be. I will touch on just one aspect of California in this post.

Driving in California

California has what they call highways, but they are selling a pack of lies to the driving public here. First of all, you rarely drive over 20 MPH on these "highways" thanks to traffic, and they aren't any wider than the average main street back home. Another odd thing I noticed is that you can't drive more than a few miles without needing to change lanes since these "highways" are constantly joining and branching off. In Texas I could take one lane on the same highway clean across the state. In California, you weave an eloborate tapestry just to stay on the same highway for a few miles.

Another strange phenomenon I noticed here is the lack of on-ramps. If you were to take a road that should get you to a highway, chances are there isn't an on-ramp attached to it. I would guess that one out of every 5 cross-streets actually has access to the highway.

If you are so fortunate to have found an on-ramp, be prepared for the on-ramp traffic light. This is something I have never seen before. You actually have to stop about halfway up the ramp, and wait for the light to turn green. At this point you have half the distance to accellerate to "highway" speed. Usually this is not a problem, since the average speed of any given highway is that of a residetial road under construction. However, if you are fortunate enough to find a highway clear of traffic be prepared to dart in between cars with the pedal floored.

Motorcycles are dangerous enough, and I have seen my share of idiot motorcyclists in Texas, but I am convinced that Hollywood stuntmen all drive motorcycles and test their abilities on the roads of California. Regardless if you are on a highway at breakneck speeds, or stopped at a traffic light, motorcyclists weave in and out of traffic. This isn't so crazy except for the fact that they are usually not inside a lane, but between them on the painted stripes where cars are a few inches away from them on both sides. I have seen a motorcyclist go from being 10 cars back at a stop light to right up front by merely snaking in between the cars and waiting for the green light to allow them to punch ahead of the front line.

Another thing I never dealt with in Texas are roads that wind in and out of the mountains. I drive on one every day to work, and it is a thrill ride every time.

I've been passed on roads and the highway countless times, but I have never been passed in a parking lot until I moved here. Yes on a one-way, single-car driving lane, in a parking lot I have been dangerously passed, not once, but twice. On the second occassion the passer nearly ran over some pedestrians walking to their vehicle. The guy was driving a convertible and I seriously contemplated throwing a hard object at his head.

That brings me to parking in California. In Texas, if you say, "I went to the mall and couldn't find any parking." You mean you parked over 50 feet from the entrance. If you say that in California, you really mean there was absolutely nowhere to park. I am not exaggerating folks. I have had to circle a parking lot several times, just to find ONE parking spot.

That about does it for this round. Tune in next time for another episode of California vs Texas.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Keys To The Kingdom

Flippin Sweet! This ridiculously lucky family got to spend a day in the Magic Kingdom at DisneyWorld all by themselves. If you are a Disney theme park buff like me, you may not believe what you are reading. Check out the video of the family entering the park to experience one of the coolest prizes Disney is giving away during the Year of a Million Dreams celebration.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Very First Noel

I recently finished working freelance, for Reel FX, on a very cool Christmas special called The Very First Noel. It is the story of the birth of Christ through the perspective of the three wise men, narrated by Andy Griffith.
There is a possibility that it will air on television this holiday season, but it will definitely be on your local DVD shelf in time for Christmas. Make sure you check out the trailer on the website. One of my shots made its way in there. Look closely and you will see a soldier making his way up some stairs to Herod on his throne.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What Is A Billion?

I received this by email from a relative, and am not sure of the original source. If you know where this came from, please add a comment that gives credit where it is due.

The next time you hear a politician use the word "billion" in a casual manner, think about whether you want the politicians spending your tax money. A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of its releases.

- A billion seconds ago it was 1974.
- A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.
- A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.
- A billion days ago no-one walked the earth.
- A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes at the rate our government is spending it.

While the thought is still fresh in our brain, let's take a look at New Orleans. It's amazing what you can learn with some simple division. Louisiana Senator, Mary Landrieu (D), is presently asking Congress for $250 Billion to rebuild New Orleans. Interesting number... what does it mean?

Well, if you are one of 484,674 residents of New Orleans, you each get $516,528. Or, if you have one of the 188,251 homes in New Orleans, your home gets $1,329,787. Or, if you are a family of four, your family gets $2,066,012.

Washington, D.C.. HELLO!!! Are all of your calculators broken??

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL License Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax),
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax),
Liquor Tax,
Luxury Tax,
Marriage License Tax,
Medicare Tax,
Property Tax,
Real Estate Tax,
Service charge taxes,
Social Security Tax,
Road Usage Tax (Truckers),
Sales Taxes,
Recreational Vehicle Tax,
School Tax,
State Income Tax,
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA),
Telephone Federal Excise Tax,
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax,
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax,
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax,
Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax,
Telephone State and Local Tax,
Telephone Usage Charge Tax,
Utility Tax,
Vehicle License Registration Tax,
Vehicle Sales Tax,
Watercraft Registration Tax,
Well Permit Tax,
Workers Compensation Tax.

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago and there was prosperity, absolutely no national debt, the largest middle class in the world and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What the heck happened?

Friday, September 22, 2006

White and Nerdy

I Am white and Nerdy... well, I'm more tan and nerdy thanks to my hispanic heritage, but I sit in front of a computer all day so I am a pretty pastey tan. That being said, White and Nerdy definitely does apply. A friend of mine posted a link to this over at his blog Poser Rantings, and I thought it was such a nugget of genius that I wanted to log it here for posterity.

DISCLAIMER: I busted a gut at work in front of countless onlookers with confused looks on their faces. When people are content to write LOL, I actually do it. If you fall into this category then you may want to watch this in the privacy of your office or home, with doors closed. I take no responsibility for lost wages on account of what happens once you click the below link.

Fun Game: Count how many times you say, "That's me!" I am both proud and ashamed to say I hit 15.

You are now ready to proceed to: White and Nerdy

Friday, September 15, 2006

Blog O Mania

It's all the rage to have a blog these days... and who am I to go against rage? Anyhow... I am going to blog away with updates and developments in my exciting life, fun tidbits of nonsensical stuff, and throw in a touch of opinionated banter to stir your pot. Tally Ho!