Monday, November 30, 2009

Short Post

Indeed this is. I don't have time to write much as I have to finish an English essay but I wanted to congratulate pdyerf and papagenothehedgehog on thier successful completion of NaNoWriMo along with all the other winners out there. While I did not update daily as I had hoped to my final word count still came out to be 8,634 words. Not bad for a beginner blogger.

Also, Stu Smith, manager of The Decemberists finally watched my video and sent this response.

I did, I like it!  Nice work and congrats.  Keep in touch.
Best,
Stu

Super happy about that, especially "keep in touch". Anyway, I’ll try and fit in a longer post tomorrow but I’m pretty busy.
THUS ENDS NOVEMBER.
Night all!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

BAILEY ROBERTS!

You are difficult to contact. Perhaps you are reading my blog. CALL ME.

EDIT: Never mind. You called, good job.

SUPERAMAZINGAWESOMENESS!

You know how just yesterday I said that this past week gets a 9 out of 10? Since I (along with Europe) consider Monday to be the start of the week I say I still have time to change that rating. I'm going to have to raise it to a 9.8. Why, you ask?

I just got a call from Allen Cognata, director of The Putt Putt Syndrome. When I realized it was him I figured it was going to be about more credit reel alterations and such. No big deal, but more editing/rendering for me. Instead, after exchanging pleasantries about the holiday vacation, he mentioned how he liked the posters I had made for The Perfect Crime and The Hazards of Love (co-created with Graham). He then asked me if I thought I could make one for The Putt Putt Syndrome. I am now in the process of planning out a design for the poster. Allen had Rene (producer) send me a link to the press kit so I have some pictures to use in the design.

This may not have anything to do directly with filming but for some reason this really feels like the start of my career. With the credits and the documentary it was Allen asking the video production program as a whole. For this, he came to me directly and said "I really think you are the most qualified among us to do this." That right there is exactly what I wanted. To become qualified enough that people come to me when they need something done. I'm not saying I'm experienced yet, but it's definitely a start. Below are photos of each of my movie posters, along with a filler for the Putt Putt poster. I think for my next post I'll focus on the topic of graphic design.

For now, I'm signing off. Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving vacation.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

I give this week a 9 out of 10

It was that good. Spent three days at Smuggs with the extended family. Food, fun, etc. I'll give you some of the highlights

I ATE PROSCIUTTO! As you may have read in my earlier post I am a huge fan of this stuff. Here is a link to the wikipedia article on it. I didn't have the chance to go to the restaurant and have prosciutto-wrapped chicken but I did have it wrapped around mozzarella in a spiral. SO TASTY. And there was shrimp with cocktail sauce and smoked salmon with cream cheese. Add to that the usual tasty Thanksgiving treats and you what is likely the most appetizing week of my life.

One of the traditions my family has when we are in Vermont is going to the Snowflake chocolates shop. It's just a little one-room store but it is filled to the eaves with homemade chocolates and candies. In fact, sometimes you can see the employees making the candies in the back of the shop. I bought much candy. On a similar note, we also often stop at Maple Grove Farms in Jerhico, VT. They make the best candy on the planet there. Pure maple candy. It is absolutely amazing. I bought a ton this year.


Another tradition is heading into Burlington on Black Friday and shopping down Church St. I managed to find gifts for three or four of the people on my list and I hope to finish the rest of my shopping before long. We saw the famous purple-with-pink-polka-dots house. Here is a pic (not by me)

On another note, NaNoWriMo is in its final days. I think I know about five people who made the 50,000 word goal. Which is pretty good. I'll let you know my final word count when the month is officially over. I'm kinda bumming that I didn't even stick with my one-post-a-day goal but even trying that for just a week got me involved enough with the blog that I don't think I'll stop posting.

As a final blurb here I'd like to say that the XKCD comics for yesterday and Wednesday are officially awesome. I may have to start wearing the key "f." And the one about Pandora is so very, very true. Also, this made my day today. Listen to it, some of it at least.

Yeah, that's it for today. Not one of my better posts, it wasn't very coherent. But you didn't come here for coherency did you? I thought not.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My friends have teleporters.

The past few days have felt a lot more like the time around Halloween than around Thanksgiving. What do I mean? Well, for one thing, Alfred Hitchcock seems to be planning a sequel to "The Birds" in my front yard. For at least three days a large flock of birds has been hanging out in the trees next to my house. I'd venture to say that there are at least seventy of them out there now, whereas there were about fifty yesterday. They may be massing for an attack. It's possible that they are being controlled by the alien/mad scientists down the street that I talked about a few days ago but I'm not sure.

The other reason that it feels like Halloween is because I have very strange friends. I was hanging out with my father and Frank playing Wii bowling when Graham called and informed me that it looked like a nice game of bowling. I dropped my controller and ran outside to find him hiding at the front door. I looked around, finding no vehicle which he would've arrived in. After shaking off several questions are to why he was here and being a creeper he looked up expectantly and said "Wait, where'd they go?" and then proceded to run around to the side of the house, presumably looking for Josh. I followed him, at which point Josh and (insert forgotten name here) strolled unconceredly out of my house.

"And I.....but you......was just....WHAT THE HECK!?"

I hadn't gone more than thirty feet from the door when I went out to find Graham and yet somehow Josh and friend were somehow in my house when I went back. The door isn't terribly quiet and I should've heard it. After exchanging a few pleasantries inside (and dodging all questions about their unexplained arrival and transportation) they said they had to leave. They lined up in the driveway and Graham spoke authoritatively into his sleeve.
"Three to beam up."
I shook my head and closed the door. Two seconds later I looked out the window. Empty driveway.
So yeah.

Strange things do seem to happen around me and my abode. Grace refers to it as my "circle of pessimism" because I'm "always pessimistic." I say if you want pessimism, go here. Anyway, apparently my pessimism attracts unfortunate events. Here are some examples from just the past year.

Car drives into maranacook lake just down the street from me.
Man gets sideswiped by car at the end of my driveway
House explodes into flame next street over
Library across the street attacked by arsonist
"Hazardous materials" across the street caused neighborhood to be evacuated (false alarm, it was a can of paint)
I'm certain that the list goes on, but I can't think of anything else right now.

Watching "V" right now. Decent kinda show. Just saw a trailer for "Sherlock Holmes" which brings my list of must-watch movies up to three including "Avatar" and "2012"

Tomorrow I drive off to Vermont with my grandmother. Should be fun.

Goodnight all, and happy Thanksgiving week.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Turkeys everywhere cower in fear...

Not really, they are far too stupid to fear anything. I'm fairly certain I could hunt them with just a large stick and successfully nab a few. Not that I would, I've had an affinity for turkeys since middle school. I believe it was in sixth or seventh grade when I came up with my longtime username "kingturkey." I have little recollection of why I chose that as my username, but I think it had something to do with a website we were making. I do remember creating an entire backstory on the world of turkeys and how they were the mortal enemies of the chickens and such. It was quite detailed. I suppose it's possible that I came up with the name after finding this page. But that's just speculation.

Anyway, off on a tangent there...speaking of which, tangents are not fun to calculate. Anyway, this Wednesday I drive over to Smuggler's Notch in Vermont. Smuggs, as it is sometimes called, is situated in Jeffersonville, Vermont and is a really cool place to go. Rated as the number one family ski resort, hundreds of families flock there each year. I don't ski, but the other accomadations are awesome as well. Indoor pools, huge rooms, and (as stated in my last post) THE BEST FOOD EVER.

I helped my grandmother buy a new camera the other day because her last one worked poorly indoors. Her new one is awesome. A 12 megapixel powerhouse with face recognition, motion sensors, automatic setting adjustment (if you put the camera close to an object it switches to macro mode), and the ability to hook it up to a television as a giant viewfinder or a place to show off photos (grandmother BONUS). All for around a hundred dollars. My camera is anywhere near as fancy as that but I suppose it was lost in a couch for three years and then dropped on concrete...

Just in case I don't post till Thanksgiving, HAVE A GOOD ONE! (and don't eat the turkey if it has a crown)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Not that I'm excited but...

I GOT ACCEPTED TO NESCOM!!!!!!!!!
Will update later when I don't have so much energy.

Update:


It would have been difficult to make yesterday go any better than it did. Actually the last week or two have been pretty darned fantastic. Firstly, I was accepted to my first (and only) choice college. You should know from my previous posts that I only passed in my application on Saturday. That means that NESCom reviewed, accepted, and mailed the letter to me by Wednesday in order for it to arrive yesterday. That's four days to acceptance. I wasn't expecting the letter for another week or so. As such, when I brought in the mail I didn't even glance at it. My father told me about the letter at about 6:00 pm. I assumed it was leftover from before my visit. I didn't think the acceptance letter could've gotten to me that fast. There was "Congratulations!" staring me in the face to prove me wrong. Within thirty seconds I had the news up on Facebook.

Getting accepted to college was not the only thing that has been going well for me lately. My design for the yearbook cover was accepted, with a few modifications. Here is what the final design will be. For submitting the winning design I get $20 off the cost of my yearbook. I also get to brag. Woot.

Shaw and I recently put up a blog dedicated solely to the video production program here at WHS. RamblerProductions is a blog where video students can post updates on their video projects and utilize collective knowledge to get things done. Shaw and I are attempting to code the blog ourselves rather than relying solely on pre-made templates. It has been a struggle but we are making progress. We've even ordered some instructional books to help us out.

On top of all THAT the Adobe Production Premium suite came in the mail the yesterday. Pat was absolutely enthralled. Read more about that on the Rambler Productions blog here.

Just about the only thing good that DIDN'T happen to me yesterday was locating a soulmate. All in all, I'd say that's pretty darned good.

One other thing, a Native American tribe from northern Maine came into the school yesterday during the rotating block. They explained some of their beliefs and then showed off some dancing. To wrap it all up, they did a dance where they had the entire school participating called "snake." Yes, it is just what it sounds like. A long, undulating line of dancers moving around the room. I'm pretty sure that this is where the digital "snake" game came from cause that's just what it was like. At one point the line coiled up in the middle and I got extremely confused.

Oh, also, I'm REALLY looking forward to Thanksgiving. I'll be at Smuggler's Notch resort in Vermont with my mom's side of the family. Hoping to have a meal at the Smugg's restaurant where they serve proscuitto wrapped marinated chicken. BEST FOOD ON THE ENTIRE PLANET. That is an understatement. It's like the joy of bacon, tacos, steak, soy sauce, and every tasty thing imaginable in on one plate. IT IS SO GOOD. More on Thanksgiving later.

GOOD day to you all.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Teach an alien to say strange things like "fabaceous"

The title of this post is simply a mash-up of what I'm going to be writing about today, I am not actually going to show you how to teach linguistics to aliens. (Though that isn't a bad idea)

First off! I did not post last night! Considering the fact that my record hasn't been spotless this month that probably wasn't surprising. I was writing an essay for my English class that was due this morning. Despite being dead tired and writing right up to midnight I passed it in for a solid A-- . Which is rather depressing in that the last essay I did I worked hard on and revised and scrutinized for the same grade. But, I'm not really complaining. ;)

For the past several years I have been compiling a list of quotes said by me, my friends, my acquaintances, and various internet-acquired sources. As I have started doing a word-of-the-day I will also now attempt a quote of the day. It's more interesting than it sounds because my quotes often have great backstories. Here is the quote for today.

146.    “Thinking requires energy, right? That means it burns calories and gives you a higher metabolism. That would mean that [insert stupid person here] has a really low metabolism.” –Josh James

Josh and I engage in very intriguing conversations as we walk home after school together which can result in some hilarious/thought provoking quotes.

WORD OF THE DAY
'Fabaceous" adj. - Like a bean
If Graham and I weren't already set on Perfect Roar Films I would totally create Fabaceous Films. Simply because I can.

Today ends the third voting period that Winthrop has participated in for the Teach@15 contest, put on by BestBuy in 19th for this voting period with a grand total of 85 votes. To put that in perspective, the top three positions were;

1,615 for first
1577 for second
877 for third

I'm rather frustrated because we don't need all that many people to participate in order to win. With the ability to vote once a day during a 15 day voting period each person can contribute 15 votes. With one hundred people voting it's nearly a guaranteed a winning slot. But with 85 votes, that works out to about 5 people. I think about 10 people voted, but not every day. Pathetic, we can do better.

Ah well, I probably should have done a bit more. Hopefully during this next voting period I can speak with advisers and get them to require each student to vote every morning.

There is a house just across from Norcross Point. It is a hideout for either aliens or mad scientists, I haven't been able to discern which just yet. Two nights now I've walked by it and the house has hissed and spit at me. Not to mention the windows emit neon blue light. My guess is they power their machinery with hidden turbines run by the nearby dam. As I have not discovered their goal, I do not know if their intentions are benign. Once winter comes I will attempt to communicate with them using glowing blue bulbs. I will keep you updated. On the same walk I discovered that I can sing "The Mariners Revenge Song" in it's entirety without missing a line. Who knew. (It's a nine minute song).

On the subject of Decemberist songs I can't get "Red Right Ankle" (3:29) out of my head.
This is the story of your red right ankle
and how it came to meet your leg
and how the muscle, bone, and sinews tangle
and how the skin was softly shed
I love the third line there. Anywho, that is all for tonight. I promise someday I'll start carrying my camera around with me so I can upload stuff like the glowing house.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Not a bad day, but a day of firsts

In two weeks I will discover whether or not I am accepted to NESCom. I am currently experiencing a mix of "Man, I'm super-excited to see if I'm accepted" and "Holy crap I just applied to college." When I was being interviewed I impressed myself with my calm, collected, and detailed responses to all the questions that were thrown at me. I even got a spiffy new leather jacket for the occasion, so I looked good too. I really really hope I get in.

The equipment that they have is phenomenal. I was kind of intimidated when I first saw their line-up of cameras. They have about seven different kinds, from super-cameras of the same type used to film things like Survivor down to.....the GL2! Which is what I'm familiar with. The GL2 looked really pathetic next to the other cameras. It was smaller than everything else, including the still camera. I asked one of the program directors about it and he told me about NESCom's leasing system. In order to keep up with the latest technology, most equipment is on three year lease so that every three years the equipment gets updated to the industry standard. The GL2 is next in line to be phased out. :(

They gave me a disposable camera to take photos of stuff, I took one of the camera line-up, I'll upload it once I get it developed.
I took a strange placement test which included questions like "Which of the two following proverbs are similar?" There were at least eight proverb related questions. Why? I couldn't tell ya. The english related questions I flew through but I got snagged even on simple math problems. I don't know why, but English just requires absolutely no thought from me to get it right. Math on the other hand is like sticking a stop sign in the middle of the I-95 in my brain. It isn't fun.

The rest of the visit passed fairly uneventfully. I did inform one of the program directors that his nametag had been upside down for his entire presentation. I think I may have embarrassed him slightly. Our tour guide, Godfrey, wasn't very good at enunciating and people kept having to ask him to speak up but other than those two things everything seemed very well choreographed.

As usual there are probably other things I should add but I must be getting off to bed. Goodnight all.

EDIT: Right, the other reasons why it was a day of firsts. First time getting a flat tire. A seriously flat tire. We were nearly running on the wheel rim, my mom and I that is. Anyway, we found a gas station and filled up the tire, which promptly deflated again. I found the hole, which was substantial, and went and bought some Fix-A-Flat which is some kinda foamy stuff you inflate the tire with. At any rate, I followed the instructions and then had my mum move the car. With every turn of the wheel the foam stuff came shooting out the hole. FLIIFFFT FLIFFFT FLIFFFT. Time to change the tire. I pulled out the donut from the back but my mom decided that since it was a long drive home, she'd just call Triple A and have them do it. So I didn't actually change the tire, but I would've. Probably didn't need to update with that, as the only people who read this blog have already been informed or were directly involved. Ah well.

Later all.

Friday, November 13, 2009

That week never happened.

So, you may have noticed that I have neglected my blogging duty since Monday. I sincerely apologize to my one and a half readers. ;) Ah well, I'm going to use Swine Flu as my excuse. No I didn't come down with the virus, but school was shut down Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. There were mixed reactions throughout the student body but the general consensus was "SWEET!" There was a brief moment of panic when Anna and I realized we wouldn't be able to work on the Putt Putt Syndrome credits, which are need to be completed soon. Thankfully we got permission to take the computer home. So now I have this beaut sitting in the back kitchen of the house (only place with grounded wiring).
Two terabyte hard drives and impressive processor speed, this computer is like a dream. I really wish I could've taken home the computer with my files on it too, but the Putt Putt Syndrome is a more pressing project. At any rate, I cleaned up the credit sequence to the directors specifications and once Allen comes by on Monday to confirm the final credit sequence Anna and I can focus more specifically on the documentary.

Tomorrow is the BIG day. I head off to NESCom to tour the campus, take a placement test, interview with an admissions officer, and pass in my application. I'm fixing up my essay from two posts back tonight to be sure that everything is in order.

While this post is short, it DOES qualify as a post, so ha.

Oh, and if I happen to have one on hand I'm going to start doing a "word of the day" thing on here. The first word of the day ever is.....
...
...
drumroll please......
...
...
badadadadadadbada
SMASH!

"Bizzare"
adj.
Strikingly unconventional and far-fetched in style or appearance; odd.
 [probably from Basque bizar, beard.]

bizarro means "handsome" or "brave" in Spanish and Portuguese

That's right, my beard means bizzare and bizzare used to mean brave. Go me.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The man named Stu

Stu Smith. Just about the most unassuming name you could have short of being John Smith. Yet with this man rests the possibility, however small, of my career in filmmaking taking a nice leap forward. You see, Stu is the manager of The Decemberists to whom I sent my Perfect Crime DVD. On August 27 I first emailed him about it. I shipped it on Sept 4 after he responded with an address. The package arrived around Sept 8th or 9th. It is now November ninth, one month after he recieved the DVD and this is what I got in my inbox today, "Haven't had a chance [to watch it] yet I'm afraid..."

Now, you may think this is a rant and I'm angry with Stu or something. Not so, I'm more amused than anything else. This is a manager of one of the most popular indie bands in existence and he's giving me the courtesy of checking out my video, even if it is taking quite a while. Stu has probably written about a total of 50 words to me throughout the course of our email corrospondence (in fact the above is one of his longest emails). Stu is a man of few words, I like that. Somehow I sense that he is a pretty funny guy.

I know I promised you the five senses this week but I haven't had the chance to do the research I wanted to, so you're gonna have to wait. One day I'll actually figure out where I'm going with this thing and give it a nice big overhaul.

In other news, I today realized why a four-poster bed is so named. Go me.

Also! I created a cover for the 2010 Winthrop High School yearbook. I will be submitting it for review tomorrow. Here is what it looks like.


A ba de a aba dee aabaa That's all folks!


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Killing two birds with one essay.

Not very likely I know. I imagine bird feathers protect them from papercuts fairly well.

As you may know, I am in the process of applying to college. Next weekend I am going up to NESCom to tour the school, be interviewed, and pass in my application. The application asks for the following in place of a college essay.

"On a separate sheet, please describe your interests and goals, beginning with relevant background info."

A rather broad statement if you ask me but I shall do my best! So, in the interest of sleeping tonight I will be using my essay as both my ticket to college and my excuse for a post tonight! Here it is!

If it’s visual, I’m into it. Directing and editing videos, drawing logos and yearbook covers, photographing from unique perspectives, and designing posters and banners, I have tried and enjoy working with a wide variety of visual arts. I have been in the Winthrop High School video production program since sophomore year. Since then I have been learning how to plan, produce, and edit commercials, shorts, music videos, documentaries and more. I have basic to average experience with Final Cut Studio and am just learning Adobe AfterEffects but I want to expand my knowledge.
I produced a music video last year to the song “The Perfect Crime #2” by The Decemberists. It was one of my most involved individual projects and has been the springboard for some of my other projects. I sent the video to the manager of The Decemberists and (PENDING EMAIL VERIFICATION this will be filled with “who watched it and sent [review] back”)
From working on my video projects I learned that sometimes I have to be able to pull in other visual arts in order to create a finished product. I design front and back jewel case covers for all the DVD’s I make. I design full-size movie posters to promote my videos. I design logos and banners for my school’s productions and my own. I design to fully reach the potential of each and every project.
This past summer my video production class was asked to film the behind the scenes documentary for The Putt Putt Syndrome, an independent Hollywood movie that was filmed in my hometown of Winthrop. It was an amazing experience and I learned a lot about the process and the problems of moviemaking. For two weeks I glued my eyes to the viewfinder of one of my school's trusty Canon GL2 cameras and captured the pranks pulled by the make-up artist and the crazy antics of the lead actors over the course of the twelve-hour days. When I finished my time on set I looked back and saw that while in some ways it was one of the hardest and most tiring experiences of my life, I had a lot of fun and learned much. I realized that to do work with video as a career would be my dream job. Which is where NESCom comes in. In all my college searching, NESCom stands alone as the most ideal venue for me to continue on my path to a visual career. So here I am, and here I go.
I don't particularly like the ending, but I never do. Any comments/suggestions are appreciated!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

Forget memory, try this!

I have a notoriously horrible memory. I once forgot who one of my friends was during the summer between 5th and 6th grade. I thought I'd never met them before. I'm always forgetting something no matter what I'm doing. This post is all about memory, including some ways to help you remember things if you are anything like me. Somehow I've managed to not forget about this blog yet. It never fails to amaze me that I can bring forth the phone numbers of people I haven't called in months or the full lyrics to songs I haven't heard in years. The human mind, even one that's slightly insane, is an amazing thing.

This post is a prelude to a week-long series which I will start on Monday. Each day of the week I will cover one of the five senses. Since I consider memory to be a sense, but not in the traditional, ah, "sense" and since memory draws heavily upon all other senses, I decided to do this post in advance.

Memory is a fascinating thing involving many parts of the brain and a complex filing process which allows efficient access to memories. When we as humans encounter something we store it by breaking it down into sensory components. When we need to bring up the memory again, we simply access the impression made on our senses at that time. Sometimes memories are thrust upon us, beamed up to the forefront of our minds due to external stimuli.

For example, a year or so ago I was at a relative's house when they served sharp cheddar cheese. I had not eaten sharp cheddar in a few years nor had I been in the vicinity of any. When I smelled the cheese I was bombarded with an onrush of sensations from many years before, when I had been shopping with my mother at Ballards deli. The store smelled strongly of sharp cheddar and whenever we stopped there I would recieve a small sample from the employees. I remembered the layout of the store, the hall with tanks of lobsters, the rough wooden flooring. Before I took a whiff of that cheese, I had forgotten that Ballards even existed. Smell is said to be the most powerful memory sense and one of the oldest senses we have. Here is a link to learn more.

This is an excerpt from this site about how we remember general concepts as opposed to objects or events. It's a very similar process.
Recalling memories re-fires many of the same neural paths we originally used to sense the experience and, therefore, almost re-creates the event. Memories of concepts and ideas are related to sensed experiences because we extract the essence from sensed experiences to form generalized concepts.
Consider Sir Isaac Newton, for example. Newton "hammered wooden pegs" into the ground, and "cut sundials into stone" to measure the Sun's movement through the sky, writes James Gleick in Isaac Newton. "This meant seeing time as akin to space, duration as length ...." Newton generalized what he observed into a concept of time.

The sense that we most commonly use in memory is the sense we use the most throughout our daily lives, sight. It's quite simple really, you see the laundry basket on the floor and are reminded that if you don't do your laundry you won't have any clothes for tomorrow (on a related note, brb). You see a trinket given to you by a long-forgotten friend and suddenly recall their address. You find a toy from your childhood and remember sitting on the floor having adventures. Etc, etc.


I know I'm forgetting a bunch of stuff that I meant to add to this post, but as my mind just went blank I'll have to update later. Maybe. Anywho, have a good night all.

EDIT : The human brain can store anywhere between 500 and 1000 terabytes of information! WOW! I must be an older model, cause I estimate my capacity at maybe eight gigs. (sweet, I fit on my thumb drive!)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

(Read this post like an auctioneer)

Annnnnnnd, they'reoff! Papagenothehedgehog takes an early leadclockinginat six thousandfivehundredwordsinthefirstfivedays...shesbeenpracticingformonths...following behindis Baileyanne withthreethousandthreehundredwords...abitofarockystartduetolostpaperwork. Therrrrrres Jehhhhhhosopat cominginbehindwithjustunderfivehundredwords ...shemissedthestartinggun... WHO willcomeoutontop?

Okay, that was probably obnoxious to read. That was my update on the progress of my NaNoWriMo buddies. I'm going to make it a habit I think to update (not quite so annoyingly) with the latest word count. As a comparison, I will also post my total word count for the month of November. Including this post, my word count is currently at 2628 words. I probably won't make the 50,000 word mark myself, but I could see 20,000 words being tapped out. We'll see.

I found out today that the copy of "The Perfect Crime" that I sent to the Decemberists has a major continuity error in the alternate ending. The agent (Darren) leans down to see the burglars breaking into the bank safe, then there is a cutaway shot to the Mogul's daughter looking in through the window. Unfortunately I learned this when my video was being shown to the entire school. Thankfully not too many people noticed. I am currently fixing it and recompressing. I need to make sure my final DVD is perfect as I will be presenting it as part of my application to NESCOM. I also presented my trailer for the Hazards of Love to the school. I heard a couple "wow"s thrown in amonst the applause, so I'm pretty happy. I got the student of the month award soon after I finished presenting my video. So overall today is going quite well.

Planning on getting crackin' tomorrow or Monday. 

The school officially blocked Facebook today, with Mrs. Criss comparing student Facebook users to "crack addicts." There was much hushed whispering as students turned to one one another "Oh no! I just planted my crops this morning! What am I gonna do?" Since the beginning of the year, Farmville has accounted for 72% of server usage at WHS. If that isn't crack addiction, I don't know what is. I find the new restriction irritating, but not too big of a problem. I use Facebook to communicate with my actors and to promote the Teach@15 contest for Winthrop. All acceptable uses of the media I believe. Ah well, I'll just have to use this blog and Ning to get my social media in at school.

That's all for today folks.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

FLYING PIGS!

Alright, so not the most original post title, but swine flu is the most talked about thing these days. Time for me to lay out my thoughts on the subject.

The first thing I heard about swine flu was this. At first I thought it was another of Randall Munroe's creations but the very next day there were people discussing the "plague." I nearly cried when I learned that Egypt had slaughtered nearly all the pigs in the country. WASTE OF BACON. Seriously.

Oh, and just in case you haven't heard it before, "Many people said that the US would have a black president when pigs fly. Sure enough, 100 days into Obama's presidency, SWINE FLU!" That just cracks me up.

Slowly, as the initial doomsday panic faded, facts were brought to the surface and swine flu was brought into light as a flu that is deadly in some cases and more contagious than most strains. So, in my opinion it doesn't deserve the "plague" label that it has gotten in some cases. I applaud the rapid response to the outbreak by medical officials, it proves that if we do encounter an ebola type virus that is rapidly transmittable, we might have a chance. I just don't think that swine flu is as dangerous as it is made out to be. And as horrible as it may be, we can't stop every death from disease, it wouldn't be a terribly good idea anyways. I look at it this way, swine flu has killed about six thousand people worldwide so far according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). 220,000 Americans die every six months from smoking. Swine flu isn't the biggest pandemic out there by a long shot. Also, more than four million Americans are born each year. That number is terrifying to me. I estimate that the worldwide deaths related to swine flu will not exceed 50,000 people. Which is unfortunate, but 259,000 births per day worldwide rather offsets those losses. Call me heartless, but that's my stance.

As for the vaccine? I see it this way. If I take it, I'll likely become immune to swine flu. Good, yes? Well I suppose, but my immune system is very robust and the likelihood of infection is slim for me anyways. However, If I don't take the vaccine, there is a small possibility I'll die of swine flu. Bummer, right? Finally, there is the chance, however slim, that the vaccine will turn everyone into mindless attack zombies and I will become one of the few remaining normal humans. I will fight off the encroaching hordes of "swinies" with my fellow non-vaccinated bretheren and rebuild society!

Weighing my options carefully, I have opted to not take the vaccine.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Video Update 2

I'm going to update my last post when I get home and can look over my library of literature. In the meantime I thought I'd post an update with what is happening with my video projects.

Hazards on Hiatus
Not much is happening with The Hazards of Love right now, although the Decemberists themselves have commissioned some animators to create a "visualizer" for the album. At first I was worried but after watching the trailer I'm confident that my project is in an entirely different vein and need not be compared. I'm going to start talking with my actors tomorrow about costumes and such for the winter film dates.

Putt Putt Doc (site appears to be down)
Our computer troubles are behind us hopefully. We've gotten rid of the corrupted hard drive and had it replaced with a new terabyte drive. (That makes 2 terabytes of storage! Yay!) We are going to have to really crank it to get the documentary done on time. Allen (the director) got the credits I'd sent to him then realized they were missing the entire audio crew he was working with at the time. So when he gets back from Australia he is going to give us the complete list. I forsee much rendering in my future.

Mechuwana Promo
I've finally found the time to make some headway on the promo. Unfortunately I'm having the same issue I have when writing an essay. I spend oodles and oodles of time on my intro and just get stuck on it. If all goes well I should have it done by the deadline in December. I was trying to get some action shots in when I realized that while Mechuwana does have action, it is more of a place to find some peace, so I'm going to change my angle of attack in putting the whole thing together.

Get Crackin' Contest
We truly do need to get crackin'. All entries are due the 29th. The best videos that I've found from other contestants are here and here. I won't reveal our plan for the video but I will tell you that it will involve mad scientists and maybe even a mythological creature.

Rambler Productions Demo Reel
Pat and I may have hit on a theme for our demo reel. WHS in the future. Desks that are computers, buses that float, and learning machines with fatal consequences. Maybe even a field trip to the moon. This demo reel will be designed to show off just what we can accomplish in Video Production. I'm also thinking of ideas for a Rambler Productions banner that can be used when we sell DVD's and such.

Also, this is really really cool. Watch at least until the tutorial on lightning.

SO much that I want to blog about, stay tuned for rants about Firefly, Project Offset, artwork, and much much more!

Monday, November 2, 2009

BOOKS! (cont.)

This post is going to have to be edited tomorrow to include more content because right now I have to finish an English essay. However, I will leave you with a short list of books that I enjoy. I'll add reviews and a few more books tomorrow. I've actually been meaning to create a comprehensive list of the books I've read, and this might help me get a kick-start on that.

(EDIT: Essay complete! Now to flesh out this post!)
I am both extremely picky and extremely open when it comes to what kind of books I like. I generally stick to fantasy/sci-fi novels but if I am given a book from a different genre I will probably enjoy it if the writing and plot are any good. I am very interested by books that force a new perspective and do not simply follow a formula (not to say formula books are bad). By the same token, I am understandably more interested in books I can relate to in some way. Books like "Endurance" by Alfred Lansing are NOT what I'm interested. That book took some endurance to read. It's awful. Anyway, here are some books I DO enjoy (in no particular order). If you know of anything similar to the books below, or want to share some of your favorite books, please post a comment! I'm always looking for new material to read and I feel like all I'm reading nowadays is what my English teacher assigns me. I know I'm leaving out a bunch of books that I enjoy but my mind is so filled with my current books that I can't think of them for the life of me.

Books I found:

Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard - Yes, Hubbard is that wacko who invented scientology, but that doesn't mean he can't write a decent novel. I picked this book off the shelf because it was literally the thickest one there. At more than a thousand pages the plot line is very long but amazingly it never seems to drag. On the contrary, the world is so vivid that by the end of the book you are certain there must be more. The book is set in a post-apocalyptic world where a race of aliens has killed almost the entire population of the Earth and set up a worldwide mining post to extract precious minerals, especially gold. Jonnie is an adventurous young man living with a dying human colony who is captured by a calculating, power hungry alien named Terl. Terl plans to use him as a beast for free labor. The book progresses and Jonnie learns much about the aliens and thier technology, eventually leading to a complete overturn of the current system. From hunting deer to intergalactic relations, this book really covers it all. Yes, I realize that there are literally thousands of negative reviews of this book, but I found it quite engaging. Don't hate it till you read it.
Commercial success - Absolutely not. Majority of people think it's awful. Movie = fail

The Erthring Cycle by Wayland Drew - This book is very strange. At first I wasn't quite sure what to think of it, it is reminiscent of Battlefield Earth in that it takes place in a postapocalyptic world, however, the apocalypse was caused not by alien invaders but mankind himself (a bit more realistic). Anyway, without giving away too much, the book centers around Asa, a young man who is part of a tribe of primitive people (most have reverted to aboriginal lifestyle). However, a small enclave of people have been preserved with the technological know-how and equipment of modern man. They have been charged with trying to discover why man is self-destructive and how to reunite man and nature in harmony. My favorite quote from this book is written in the stub at the bottom of my blog.
Commercial/popular success - Yes in Canada

Exit Earth by Martin Caidin - I really can give no reason for having this book on my list other than that I enjoyed it. I read it too long ago to give a decent synopsis and such. I do remember that the character interaction was well done and the plot was engaging enough. I will admit however that I made it about a quarter of the way through, grew bored, and left it for a few months. I did come back to it and read the whole thing. Better the second time around.
Commercial/Popular success - mild, movie promised, never produced

(notice a trend? I like earth, earth is good.)

Guns of the South by Harry Turtledove - Ever wondered what the Civil War would've been like if time-travelers and AK-47's were involved? Neither did I. I picked this book up and almost put it right back down. I don't usually go for historical novels. Then I realized that General Lee was holding an assault rifle on the front cover. That certainly arrested my interest. The book is amazing. It makes me want to read historical novels, and not just alternate histories either.
Commercial/Popular success - Yes!

Clive Cussler books - I know this isn't a single book but since most of his books are identical in design I think I'm justified. Most of the books by Clive Cussler involve a character known as Dirk Pitt who is an adventurous marine archeologist solving mysteries and beating bad guys. The books are very formula but the mysteries are decent. I read his books when I just simply need something to read that I know I'll appreciate on some level. Interestingly enough, his book Sahara was turned into a motion picture which is one of my favorites. This movie was considered one of the worst Hollywood financial failures ever. However, I thought it was quite good. I'm noticing another trend actually, most of what I like tends to be scorned by the majority. Yeah for being different!
Commercial/Popular success - books=yes , film=no

Books introduced to me by school:

Catch 22 - I honestly can say that I thought I would hate this book, and for a while I did. But after reading it through, writing an essay on it, and disscussing it in class I realized it was actually a very impressive novel. Go figure, maybe that's why its on the school reading list. It's dry, witty humor was right up my alley. My favorite part was the description of deja vu, presque vu, and jamais vu. I was unaware of the latter two and the terms now serve to explain certain sensations I experience.

Ishmael by Daniel Quinn- Oddly enough I had to read Ishmael for my Chemistry class. I had a very eccentric teacher. Anyway, the book is absolutely stuffed to the brim with perspective, mind, and life-altering ideas that challenge everything society is based on. While slow at times, the book is an absolute must-read. It isn't my favorite book ever, but everyone should read it. This is an honor I perscribe to no other book or series, even the Sword of Truth.

Many more, but I think that is good for now. Please comment and post your favs.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Success!

I have now traveled through time. In so doing I learned much. One, the past is not nearly as entertaining as the present. Two, time traveling requires a great deal of energy, which I now lack. Three, Cumberland Farms employees can also travel through time while still maintaining energy levels. And four, BBQ chips and cheese dip make excellent time traveling food.

Today marks the beginning of NaNoWriMo! Also known as National Novel Writing Month. Thousands of people from around the world buckle down this month and write their very own novel. My sister has done it a few times and now my video production teacher is going to give it a shot. I have too much on my plate to try it myself, but I will be following along with my blog, updating every day in tribute to NaNoWriMo. Stop telling yourself you'll write one someday and GO WRITE IT!


Time Traveling

It is late on Halloween night and I don't plan to be asleep till the clock informs me that I have traveled through time. Wish me luck.