Thursday, December 07, 2006

SketchCrawl #12!!!

Time for another world wide SketchCrawl! If you're in the Northern California Bay Area, we'd love to have you sketch with us. If you're not in our area, go to and search the forums for a Crawl near you. (Don't worry. We have groups all over the globe)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Creature Comforts

Aardman Animations Ltd (Wallace & Grommit, Chicken Run, and Flushed Away) sent some previews to their series entitled "Creature Comforts." They gave us permission to share them with the public so I posted them on here. Keep your eye open for these animations on CBS in 2007. Below is one of my favorites.

Scary Mary Trailer

I don't know about you, but I have a lot of fond memories of Disney's "Mary Poppins." As a child there was nothing more entertaining than watching a witch haunt little Brittish children in the London fog.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Week 10

Look. Ballie's fat and happy!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Week 9: My first successful walk cycle beats out any training that I've recieved from my other schools by far. But in regards to training in animating the dreaded walk cycle, AM has completly obliterated their competition.
At the Academy of Art in San Francisco they showed me the "skating technique" in my 3D classes. This included a 10 minute demo before they threw us to the wolves. Things like weight, hip movement, overlapping motion, and timing weren't even discussed. (with exception to my intro to 2D animation class at the Academy taugh by the Awesome Cora Craig)

Anyway, here's my first successful walk cycle. It's a little weak in the knees still, but I'll be polishing it up in the weeks to come.

This is the second assignment. We had to pose STU in a concerned gesture.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Week 8 Pose

They wanted STU to show some power this week, so this is what I came up with. I kind of added a bit of a feminine spin on this one because I realized I haven't really created any feminine poses. Hey, I'm an equal opportunity animator alright?

Week 7 Revision

This is an animation demonstrating overlapping motion with the tail. It might seem boring now, but just you wait till I incorporate all of these principles in a scene. Yeah, then you won't complain...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Week 5

So I turned in my week 5 assignments a few days ago. I thought I'd post them up in an attempt to stay consistant for once in my life.

The pose assignment was to make the STU character look devestated. So without further ado here's STU winning an emmy for best performance...

The next part of the assignment was to bounce a ball through an obstacle course they gave us. (I cheated and modified the course a little) This assignment was exciting despite it's bland appearances because this marks the first time they allowed us to use squash and stretch on the ball. Check out the Path of Action sketch I used to plan the animation first. The animation will be below it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I need a new video host

This photobucket video hosting thing isn't working. It won't play my videos on a loop, and it seems to be playing them slightly too fast. Maybe I'll break down and buy QuickTime Pro.

Weighted Ball Test

It needs a few slow outs on the drops of the lighter ball, but you get the idea...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A Cryptic Visit

Monday October 16th Chris and I visited Cryptic Studios in Los Gatos, CA. If you don't know already, Cryptic Studios made one of the most popular online MMO's on the market today "City Of Heroes." The follow-up "City Of Villains," has also done very well, and boasts one of the largest fan followings in the online gaming industry. Cryptic is currently working on "Marvel Universe Online." An MMO based on the popular Marvel comic book universe.

One of my fellow classmates at Animation Mentor is Stephen Stacy. He's an animator at Cryptic, and he was gracious enough to invite the local students to his place of work for a tour.

I have to say our visit was great from start to finish. Everyone at Cryptic was friendly, and more than willing to answer any questions we had about their company and the industry. Stephen was gracious enough to even give us a few pointers on how to build a successful demo reel for a game company such as theirs.

We were wined and dined, not to mention both their art director Shayne Herrera, and CEO/President Michael Lewis took the time to stop by and field a few of our questions.

I was thouroughly impressed not only with how we were treated, but also with their mentality and working environment. Cryptic usually has a 40 hour work week which is pretty good considering most studios ask atleast 50 hours/week. That's not to say they don't have crunch times, but they are a family oriented company, and it shows by the number of employees who are actually very awake.

Probably the most impressive point of the day was learning that City Of Heros was their first game, and it was a smash hit. This has allowed them to be in the position of already obtaining large properties and franchises for their next games and they are in the process of tripling the size of their company in the next year. Needless to say things are looking up for Cryptic, and I know i'm going to be submitting my demo reel once it comes time. Why not? I've already been invited to do so by their staffing manager.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Animation Mentor Week 3

STU is excited this week...


Final pose in Maya

My bouncing ball excersise

Friday, October 13, 2006

Animation Mentor Week 2

I'm in week 2 of my first class at We just had our first assignment where we were to go somewhere public and do quick observational drawings of people as they passed by. Not being a noob to the whole drawing unsuspecting victims in public game I chose the mall's food court and sat down facing the mall with my back to the court. This way I could at least capture people's various walks. Many people made the mistake of sitting in Starbuck's where everyone's sitting, and there's no room for people to get up and do anything interesting. That's ok, I made the same mistake when I started.

Here's a page of gestures I captured that evening.

Here's the sketch that I chose to finalize

and here's the pose in Maya

The theory behind assignments like this one is that animation is just a long series of poses. Learning how to build a successful pose with concepts like: line of action, asymmetry, and silhouette is a darn good place to start learning the craft.

I can't tell you how much better Animation Mentor is than my previous alma maders. The environment is so comfortable and everyone wants to help you. This is real character animation instruction created by animators for animators. I wouldn't recommend anywhere else over this beautiful institution.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I just finished the main page banner for

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Old School

Remember this classic piece of rotoscope animation?

Friday, August 18, 2006

We the People feat. Gil Scott Heron

My small tribute to Gil Scott Heron

Monday, August 14, 2006

Uncle Sam, I want a water car.

Modified water spark plug

Herman's Green Machine Water modified Chevy Cavalier

Stan Meyer's Water powered dune buggy

Imagine how nice it would be to run your car entirely off of tap water you get from your kitchen sink or your lawn hose. Imagine if everyone's toxic car emmissions were replaced by billions of gallons of water being released into the air every hour around the world. What would that do to the Ozone layer or to global warming? I don't know the science behind it, but it sounds soo good to me that I have to wonder if it might even heal both problems. Imagine NASA launching rockets into space with no explosive compounds running through the shuttles' engine.

What would this world look like? Well I know we'd have far cleaner air for one. I know we would all love the cost of this new source of fuel. I know this new source of fuel would create an entirely new industry around the world thereby creating jobs for billions of people. Now what if I told you this could all happen now? What if I told you there have been people who've already made these cars and drove them long distances, and they worked? Look at your last receipt from the gas pump, and tell me if you would want this water powered car in your garage. Would you buy it? I sure as heck would. is a site dedicated to the research and findings of a handful of Scientists and inventors who have made the water powered fuel cell a reality. I don't know about you, but I want this car soo bad that I'm willing to push for it to be manufactured and sold across the globe. The challenge is that the human powers that be on this planet have their interests in running the oil industry into the ground. they want us buying their oil until there is none left and they'll stop at nothing to shut out alternative fuel research. The people have to stand up and be aware of this. Depleating the Earth of oil isn't natural, and it definately isn't the answer. Coal isn't the answer for the same reasons, and for mining safety reasons. Water is an infinately renewable resource, and it is natural. Water is supposed to be released into the air anyway.

What can we do about it? Start demanding it. Write your congressman/woman. Make people aware of the alternatives. Educate yourself on the alternatives by visiting sites like Go to the Mythbusters' fan site message board and reply to my post about making a water powered engine on the show. Here's the URL.
Make sure to reply to the post and also give it a rating so the producers will take notice.

Please demand a better life for yourself, your fellow man, and for generations to come. Join us in the revolution. A better world is possible, and it's already started. Be the answer to the chaos.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Indian Givers

In my last post I mentioned a guy named Smyles in one of my keystyles. He's in a band down in LA called The Indian Givers. They have this song called Something Is Better. It's a great song, and very catchy, but the music video is pretty funny too.

The band didn't ask for permission, they just went to Chuck E Cheese's and started shooting. The Staff didn't have a problem with it untill they threw the bra. That was the last straw.


When I talk to my friends online I sometimes get the urge to freestyle or, in this case, "keystyle." This is usually because I'm listening to hip hop while I'm online. Here's two "keystyles" that I rattled off from the top of my head while talking to Shannon.

I was talking about what I did last night so this came out. I call it RISK:

Playin Risk is risky business. Most play to win never settle for less. It's like stirring up a bee's nest. It was hot in the kitchen. Some had to get out. Last 4 standing in the final title bout. Some lookin to knock a brother out. That's ok, this will only last 2 rounds. That's when I took Alaska. When I wanna hear your smart mouth I'll ask ya. Smiles had a cannon and he'll blast ya. Matt took an axe now he's actin like ya masta. Chris swept South Asia. Then he took the continent Australia. Next Smiles dominated the Americas. The ability to do that depends on how your momma raised ya. Battle for Europe while I sat pretty in the snowy Canuck city eating maple syrup. Hey Matt you're up. Too many sour heads now he wants ta throw up. While he's in the bathroom up chuck I'll take your armies and set up then next big blow up. Gang signs exchanged now yous about to get tore up. Turned in a book, got 20 units now I move across the board like a rook. Stealin countries like a crook. This is the game of world domination so don't be shook. Look it's all in the rule book. Like I said, this is a hot kitchen- you better know you're gonna cook.

Then Shannon said something about how she was eating a rice crispy treat. So this one came out:

Takes a bite of a snap crackle pop square. Good thing she just did her hair. Always good to prepare so as not to get caught unawares. Light fluffy marshmallows taste like air. Empty calories, but I-don't-care. I think I'll even eat 'em rare. Lickin crispy batter while everybody stares. Some think I'm mentally impared. I am, but it's not like that. I was dared. Got no hair like my head was naired. If you paint it green I'll look like I was drawn by Peter Laird. (TMNT creator)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Turkey Pesto

Sunday, March 26, 2006

King Josiah

The story I'm about to tell you is true. This is an ancient story, one that many don't know about or don't pay a lot of attention to. It's a story of how God works with the smallest of probabilities, and reforms an entire nation with one unlikely person.

Generations after King David "the Giant Killer" had passed on, the nation of Israel was lost in darkness. The Kings of the line of David forsook the God that performed soo many miracles for their people and delivered them from their enemies. They were, infact, some of the most: wicked, evil, demonic, and violent Kings to ever rule a nation on Earth. For 300 years the temple of God was persecuted by it's own kings and people. The sacred scriptures were outlawed and destroyed. God's temple was more of a museum of an ancient religion long gone, and the current dark King Amon had just been assassinated.

Amon's son Prince Josiah was crowned King of Jerusalem at the age of 8 in light of his father's young death. Many would expect Josiah to carry on his blood thirsty heritage, but Josiah was nothing like his more recent forefathers. Against all expectations, Josiah was a man of morals, and though he might not have known it, he was also the man God would use to reform His chosen people.

Josiah saw his people worshiping in temples dedicated to false pagan gods. He witnessed the: baby sacrifices, the unnatural sex between people of same genders and even with animals, and the corrupt blasphemous teachings. These things disgusted him, and he saught a place to start looking for something better. What he found was the run-down temple of the Lord God, and it's last remaining followers. Josiah appointed a team to rebuild and clean the temple, and the high priest Hilkiah found an old copy of the holy scriptures hidden within the temple as he was cleaning. Hilkiah read these sacred words with astonishment for these scriptures hadn't been read by anyone in over 300 years, and were thought to be lost forever. What Hilkiah found in one passage struck him soo much that he had to give these scriptures to Josiah's secretary Shaphan to read what he had found.

Shaphan came to King Josiah for his report on the temple's progress. He gave the king all of the information that he was seeking, but he had to show the king the scriptures and what amazing passage the priest Hilkiah had found. Shaphan proceeded to read outloud to the King every word of the Bible. When the King heard the words of the Book of the Law he tore his robes in deep repentance. Once the King received God's disgust with the actions of Israel, he called together the elders, and read the words of the Scriptures found in the temple to the people. All of the false gods and idols and all of their shrines were destroyed. The artifacts of God's church were preserved and restored. A holy prophet of old's bones were left as they were in respect. The priests, soothsayers, witches, and false prophets of all silent and fruadulent gods were slaughtered.

It is written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah that God loved Josiah for he walked in the ways of the Lord as did David before him. Josiah had renewed the covenant God made with the Israelites. His story can be read in II Kings chapters 22 and 23: 1-30

Those who have heard this story have often wondered many things. How was it that such a righteous man could come from such terrible fathers? What passage was it in the Holy Scriptures that made Josiah tear his robes and repent so actively?

Well I think it's important to realize that anyone who calls upon the Lord can perform bold righteous acts that can change countless lives. It doesn't matter what kind of family you've come from or what you have done before. God works within impossibilites where we would see no hope otherwise. To do God's work, one must be broken first in order to see that God is their true father, and God is mighty and perfect. Those who have already been hurt by broken homes need only call upon God, and amazing things can happen right where they stand.

As for which verse finally struck Josiah, and moved him to such radical action? None of us were there, and it can only be speculated, but one very good guess has been presented to me. The following passage from the Holy Scriptures were written somewhere around 270 years before Josiah's birth.
"1 By the word of the LORD a man of God came from Judah to Bethel, as Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make an offering. 2 He cried out against the altar by the word of the LORD : 'O altar, altar! This is what the LORD says: 'A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests of the high places who now make offerings here, and human bones will be burned on you.' 3 That same day the man of God gave a sign: 'This is the sign the LORD has declared: The altar will be split apart and the ashes on it will be poured out."
Put yourself in Josiah's place. Imagine that you have not been able to read the Bible all of your life. A copy has been found and the very first time you read the Bible you find a prophecy about you with your very name in it describing exactly what you will do. Awestruck wouldn't begin to describe what you would be feeling, and I'm sure you would be moved to action just as Josiah was. But what if your name is in the Bible? I believe that if anyone believes in the death and ressurection of Jesus Christ and calls upon the Lord as their God, that phrase "who soever" will be transformed into their name. All of the rest of the Bible will suddenly become relevent to that person on a very personal level. They will be able to transplant their name into many promises made by God throughout the Bible, and their name will be written in Heaven where they will become heirs to the Kingdom of God. They will be called High Priests and Saints- even a friend of God and a brother to Jesus.

Maybe we should be moved to action just as Josiah was. Maybe we should see our names in the Bible and take the cross upon our shoulders in the name of righteousness thereby destroying the powers and principalities of darkness on this Earth and in the air.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


These are a few quick caricatures I did the other day. I hope you enjoy them.

Myspace Addiction Rekindled

Today I had a lot of fun searching for old long lost high school friends on Incase you didn't know, you can search for people according to the schools they've attended in myspace. All you have to do is click on "search" and find your school in their data base, and the website will list all of the members who have attended that school. I found about 6 different people from back in Illinois that I thought I'd never talk to again, and I'm eagerly awaiting them to see my request and add me to their friends list. I think it will do me good to get in touch with my past and the people that influenced me years ago. A few of them apparently made it out of Rockford, IL which is a good surprise. Not many people make it out of that black hole city. When I was reading one of my old friend's profiles, I found that she is either married or about to be married. Interestingly enough that kind of jarred me, and I felt a little sad. I don't know exactly what that means. Maybe I hold feelings for that I didn't realize I had. Or maybe I'm just kind of sad that those days are long gone and we've both moved on so far from them. I've never been good at letting friends go, and she happened to be someone I really admired then, and I still do now.

By the way. The picture above is my current profile picture on Myspace. It was taken on St. Patricks Day to show off my first annual St. Patricks Day Irish beard. You can barely see it because it's soo thin, but that's half the fun. The serious look is comedic for those who know me since I'm never without a large smile on my face.

Friday, March 17, 2006

V For Vendetta


V For Vendetta is film adaption from the popular graphic novel of the same title created by Alan Moore and David Lloyd in the 1980's. Evey (Natalie Portman) is a young woman living in fascist England who is saved from a band of crooked cops by V. (Hugo Weaving) V is a brilliant, perhaps even crazy, man who believes the govenrment in which they currently live in is highly corrupt, and that he is the one to break the chains of opression for the people in order to create a better world. Because of his bold actions to revolt against the Supreme Chancellor, V is labelled a terrorist by the government, and becomes number one on their hit list. Evey is forced by V to live with him in his hideaway, but she soon sees the cause for his actions, and joins him. Together, they work towards giving the people a voice, and V sets off a complex plan of strategic action to accomplish their lofty goals.
I thought the movie succeeded in capturing one of my favorite graphic novels of all time fairly well with a few exceptions. I thought the pacing at the beginning was a little too fast to take everything in, but it became more satisfactory about half-way in. The action was great. I had no issues with the acting. I do wish that two scenes from the graphic novel would have made it into the film, but maybe I'll get into that sometime later. I don't want to spoil anything for anyone.
I was left with sort of a bad taste in my mouth after the movie was over eventhough I thought it was well executed. While others disagree with me, I saw a strong commentary against religion in this film. All of the main villains in the film are described as "religious conservatives," yet they never touch on correct religion- the kind that helps people rather than enprisoning those they don't agree with.
The film tends to defend the homosexuals that were oppressed by he government more than anyone else, while the graphic novel spoke against a more broad range of biggotry like racism, and attacking those of other religions. There are scenes of: two women kissing, two men sleeping together in a bed, and one of the heroes in the story was portrayed as a gay man contrary to the original novel. It seemed like this film was designed to be a bit of a platform for those that think homosexuality is ok. I will admit that the original graphic novel did defend homosexuality, but it didn't single it out like the film did.
I did enjoy the fact that someone in hollywood made a film to say something meaningful even if I didn't neccessarily agree with all that it was saying. This is not a common practice in our current film industry, and not only would I like to see more of it, but I am also planning on making my own voice heard through this medium. Like I say, This film was a pretty good adaption of the original graphic novel, but I'm not willing to end the story where they left it. I don't want to say that the people need to control the government, and then say nothing of how the individual person needs to change themselves aswell. This film reminded me that I want to push the medium even further, and I want to get down to the real problems of this world, and not end half-way to call it a day.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Listener/Odd Thomas Tour Of Homes 2006

Listener and Odd Thomas came to Mountain View, CA for the second Tour Of Homes last night. The show ran a little short, but it was a great time to hang out and listen to some great Hip Hop performed live by two great artists. I also met a few other fellow believers in Christ at the show, and Beat Rabbi of DeepSpace 5 crew was in the crowd.

Picture taken after the show.
From left to right: Odd Thomas, me, Listener, and Beat Rabbi

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Listener's Tour Of Homes

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After having the first location fall through due to UC Berkley's strict rules, THE TOUR OF HOMES MARCHES ON!! A new venue has been secured and the show will go on as planned! This show promises to be a great time with some real quality underground Hip Hop by both Listener and Odd Thomas. Please come out and show some love.

Monday, March 06, 2006

We don't need no edgumacasion

So I have a new way of perceiving the trials and tribulations of art school which illustrates why I'm in such a cynical and bad mood during the semester.
Imagine, if you will, that you have just been given 70% of the work that an entire animation studio does to create an animation. You are the: storyboard artist, the writer, the director, the character designer, the modeler, the rigger, the animator, the lighting technician, the editor, and the sound editor. You are doing the work of 20 to 200 or more people, and you have to complete all of this work in 15 weeks. Not only that, but you are not paid to do any of this; INFACT, you pay $20,000 (plus lab fees, text books, transportation into the city, and media costs) for the privilege of going through this torture, and you have to do this twice a year for going on 7 years now. Well that's what it means to be an animation major at the Academy of Art University. Think about it. I am taking: Nonlinear Editing, Intro to Storyboarding, Maya 2, and Character Design1. Each week I put on about 10 different hats.
The really frustrating part is that every instructor claims that they are creating a "professional environment," in every class. This, of course, is a joke because if it was anything like a professional environment, you'd be working as a member of a team, and not doing everything on your own. You would be getting paid, or atleast gaining experience for your work. I know what you're thinking, "Aren't you gaining experience in your classes?" The answer is little to none.
My focus in the computer animation major is Character Animation. All, save two, of my classes over the last 6 years (2 Art schools) have had nothing to do with character animation. The few classes that do allow me to animate a character are classes that focus on modeling and rigging and lighting and designing backgrounds first; THEN during the last two weeks or so of class we get to animate a character. For those of us that struggle with rigging and modeling have it really rough because that always puts us behind, and we have to rush the character animation part to get the final project in.
My other grievance is that a diploma of any kind means absolutely nothing when you're looking for a job in the art field. You could be a high school drop out and get hired as long as you have a killer portfolio. Well I don't have a killer portfolio because I'm not a high school drop out. Because I'm in college, I have no time to develop a portfolio. All of my projects in class take time from each other so everything is rushed or pushed aside for other projects. I can't focus on doing a good job in anything because if I did I wouldn't get it done in time, and I would fail. I do all of this for what? A diploma that is as good as toilet tissue.
All of this leads me to believe that our educational system is set up all wrong. What happened to the days of apprenticeships? Everyone hates school because school isn't what you want in life. You want a career. That's what we all want! Why isn't school set up like the industry? Why can't all of our classes be set up as team environments where character animation majors team up with modelers and writers and directors?
If you really think about it, our school system is too abstract to make any sense. Information is presented to the student as separate subjects. Well doesn't all information coincide with all other information in life? Life isn't broken up into subjects entitled Mathematics, Science, English, P.E. or whatever. It's all blended together.
We need reform in our system desperately. That's why other country's students can kick our students butts.
If you agree with me; I promise to think about and act upon this problem if you will.

Friday, March 03, 2006


I've just finished watching this movie, and I'll say it was pretty solid, but I was dozing on it a little too much. The action just didn't deliver as I thought it should being an animation based on comic book super heroes. The production quality was grade A as far as aniamtion, and effects, but I would have liked to have seen a little more creativity in set design, and character design.
I was told by a trusted source that Captain America is really cool in this movie, I didn't see what he was talking about at all. His story was pretty good, but I think they could have done a lot more with his combat abilities and the cool shield slinging action that he does in the comics. I realize this is supposed to be kid friendly, but I think they could have juiced it up a little more without warping any minds. It's the same for pretty much all of the other characters. Good character development, not enough showing off of powers and abilities.
The backgrounds were very "Saturday morning cartoons." I think they could have been far more creative with color layout to help them set the mood of each scene. I wanted to see eerie shadows and lighting around the villains, and warm strong colors for the heroes- that sort of thing. Everything was just flat and read the same through every scene.
The character design wasn't especially bad, but I would have loved to see them push expressive design with their characters. These are super heroes. Why not have more fun with straits against curves, and over exagerated proportions? It's too bad Bruce Timm only works exclusively with DC/Warner. Someone like him could have brought a little design magic to the table.
Other than that: the story was solid, the animation was pretty good, and I did have a descent time watching it. Let's hope they put more bite into it for the sequal.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Fort Point San Francisco

My storyboarding class went on location to shoot some reference material for a project we're working on. Of course the day ends up with me acting like a private investigator who just saved a woman from throwing herself into the bay.

Out Of The Silent Planet by: C.S. Lewis


In my studies of: animation, comics, and film making I've learned that story is pretty much king in any project. C.S. Lewis is definately one of the modern "kings" of literature in my opinion, but this book didn't really score as highly as his other work in my mind.
The story is an account of how a man named Dr. Ransom was high-jacked while traveling on foot through the Brittish countryside by two other scientsits, Dr. Weston and Dr. Devine. The two villains forcefully take Ransom to the planet Malacandra where they intend to offer him as a living sacrifice to the inhabitants of the planet.
I liked the book all the way up to about the middle where Dr. Ransom was learning about the culture and language of the natives of Malacandra, and Lewis intigrates a few of the Malacandrean terms into the regular text of the book so you almost feel like you're learning a bit of the language along with Ransom. The qualms that I had with the story came somewhere around three quarters of the way through the book where it was time for some of the conflict to be resolved. I found the resolutions to some of the problems the main character faced to come too easily without much struggle. In all fairness this is only the first book of a space trilogy, so I do have more reading to do.
At the very end of the book Lewis includes a fictional postcript in the form of a correspondance that he had with Dr. Ransom. I really love it when authors come up with a clever backstory to how they supposedly came across the tale they just wrote. This sort of fictionalizing even the reality of the book goes hand in hand with Lewis' "Screwtape Letters" where he claims that he came into posession of a collection of letters that two demons wrote to eachother.
All in all, I'll have to read the following two books to formulate my complete opinion of this sci-fi story, but as of right now I find it lacking in suspence. I may change my mind upon reading the rest of the trilogy.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Night Watch

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I once had a Narrative Story Telling Instructor who said that if any of our short stories had anything to do with vampires we would get an automatic F for the class, and with good reason. Vampires are right up there with ninjas on the extremely played out list, but this film gets a B+ in my book and I'll tell you why. I went in thinking that the movie could go one of two ways. Either it would be a lame foreign vampire movie with all the cliches, or it would be an artsy new take on the whole vampire mythology, and I would end up enjoying it very much. I was very surprised by this film, and I'm glad to say that it leaned towards my latter suspicion.
The story starts out with the classic battle between light and dark. There have been beings living amongst humanity since the beginning of time called "Others." These beings each fall under one of three catagories: vampires, withces, or shape-shifters. It is the choice of every individual "Other" to join a side of the eternal war, the light side (good) or the dark side (evil). I thought it was interesting that the film starts off with both opposing sides in a thousand year truce where some are neighors and even friends with those on the other side. There is some bad blood amongst the two factions in the form of politics because each side has formed a sort of police force to watch the other side, and make sure that no one breaks the truce. The dark side has their Day Watch, and the light side has a Night Watch. Politics come into play when you find out that the Night Watch has some power over the dark side in the fact that dark siders have to be liscensed by the light side to turn a human into a vampire, or for witches to mettle in human affairs.
The film follows a man by the name of Anton Gordesky who finds out he's an other after a traumatic experience triggers his supernatural abilities. He gets recruited by one of the side's police forces, and has to make many difficult descisions in order to keep the truce. Things get shakey between the two sides after Anton makes a controversial descision while in a tight fix, and two big messes surface that only he can clean up. One is just another bump in the road in his line of work, while the other might hit really close to home.
One thing you'll have to keep in mind is that there are two films to follow after "Night Watch." Some of my friends found the ending to be a little too sudden, and some revelations in the story don't make complete sense, so please be aware this is only the first chapter of the story. I'm sure many things will come to light in the next two sequals. Another thing to watch out for is that this film is rated R for a reason; so don't bring the kiddies. There is a quick shot of a woman's breast in the movie, but it's not sexual. There is also a little violence, but not a whole lot.
I really enjoyed that the sub titles were animated to follow the action on the screen, and sometimes they were even up in the visuals rather than stuck below. I thought that was a great way to keep us slow readers involved in the action up top. I also enjoyed the artsy special effects of the film. Some of the effects might have been a little hokey as far as technical approach, but they were all still very visually dynamic. I also like that the Night Watch's uniforms kind of look like the Ghost Busters uniforms. I also found that there were some well placed light hearted scenes to give you a break from the intensity of the story. Over-all I would give this film a strong B. I'll definately be waiting in line when the next two films to come out.
You can go to the official sight here and watch a 2 1/2 minute quick view of the entire movie to get a feel of what it'll look like. Don't worry, the cuts are too quick for it to spoil anything in the story.

Any Resemblance?

My good friend and colleague Andy Froilan likens me to the DC Comics character The Martian Manhunter a lot. I think the whole thing started because the Martian Manhunter is a character that I've always liked, but as time went on we've discovered a lot of creepy simularities between the two of us.
I submit to you the following

Exhibit A:
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The resemblance is uncanny wouldn't you say? (sorry for the unfocused image)

Exhibit B:
The Martian Manhunter's real name is J'onn. Some call him John. My name happens to be John. Coincidence? I think not.

Exhibit C:
Martian Manhunter is obviously from Mars. He's an alien to Earth, and as a Christian I know what that feels like. I am in this world, but not of it. (1 Peter 2:10-12 NIV and Hebrews 11:13-14NIV)

Exhibit D:
Many members of the Justice League go to J'onn J'onzz for advice since they perceive him to be a sensative person understanding, and accepting of others. I've found that for some reason or another, people are very comfortable with me and ask for advice on deep matters or the heart and soul.

In conclusion; I'm obviously a geek looking desperately for something to do other than my massive loads of homework. I know that J'onn J'onzz would take responsibility for his various tasks, so I'm getting back to work.

Just For Starters

Every now and then I write down one of my random thoughts. I've been told that I think differently about a lot of things. I don't know how true that is since I can't see into any of your minds, but I like to share these daily queries of mine for fun's sake. Maybe I am a lot different from you. You tell me.

Random thought #1:
"Have you ever thought about what a disgusting custom it is to blow out the candles on a birthday cake? I'm sure the person conducting the blowing hasn't brushed or rinsed in the last hour or so, otherwise they wouldn't be partaking in this cake with their highly sterile minty breath. Now that this person has blown their bad breath and spit all over the cake, everyone is dying to dig in. I think next year I'm going to do everyone involved the courtesy of not blowing out the candles."