Monday, May 24, 2010


Here are the scanned pages of the sketchbook
I was carrying around on my travels last year.
France, US road-trip, Montana, Germany, Greece etc.
and of course various places in California as usual.

Not that me saying this really matters
since I mostly draw my hands and plants wherever I go.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

No Talking Tuesday # 135

The List:

just trying to anticipate having a long list of items

well if we run the names horizontally we sort of limit ourselves to the total number?

the site names will always be there, even when y0ur not on the projects tab

so is there no sub level for any of the other sections?

Monday, May 17, 2010

No Talking Tuesday # 134

No list, nothing special to report.

Monday, May 03, 2010


I met with a group of artists yesterday for what's to become a monthly show and tell around a theme. This month the theme was Triangles. To be interpreted in whatever way we each wanted. My approach to this month's theme, and probably any future ones, is to operate as far outside of my comfort zone as possible. So first off I decided to interpret the theme in writing as opposed to visually, with a few lines of verse.

I also wanted to treat my approach differently, and rather than obsessively think about and iterate countless drafts over and over, as I usually do, I decided that I would write my piece entirely on the day of the meetup, and that I could only spend the time I had waiting for a haircut, and on the subway ride over to the meeting. (About 30 mins)

As far as my thought process for the piece itself, when I think triangles I immediacy think math. So in another effort to challenge myself I decided to have everything in the piece be purely abstract and conceptual like math, and to not rely on any imagery (usually the dominate element in my writing).

So here is the final piece finished less than five minutes before I presented it to the group, for all my artificial rule creation it's still pretty much my standard fare:

Obtuse Bottom Baby

With angles that dangle
clatter behind
or else measured out against me
wandering your long length
half the area besides
insides, summed up to turn around
shaken and shuffled
your confusing simplicity
catchy and useful
until i bent back your sides
broke your brittle balance
left you opened and useless
as i need you without me.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Six Month Stickies # 5
September'09 - February '10

As usual the tracks of music that got stuck in my head in the last six months, in order.

This sticky list is less random melodic infections, and more a soundtrack for my life, especially the romantically tumultuous parts.

* Click image to download a .rar of the compilation:

Bob Dylan - Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)

Already full to the gills with romantic trouble in other sectors of my life, I finally issued a long overdue ultimatum to a girl who had been stringing me on for over a year. I told her that if she didn't stop acting cagey and elusive, and bury the hatchet, and hang out with me before I left for Greece, to not bother contacting me again. Predictably it didn't work. When she tried to string me along as usual I simply replied by emailing her this song. Nothing like using Bob Dylan to artfully sing your thoughts verbatim to a girl you've resolved to no longer be hassled by.

Black Kids - I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You
Klaxons - Golden Skans
The Honeydrips - Fall From A Height
Simian Mobile Disco - I Believe

A few months ago I made an "annoying hipster dance music" mix. Using these four tracks as a target. I took the completed mix to Greece and played it in the bookstore I was working. Seeing people unknowingly shaking their European tushes, while browsing for books made listening to the songs all the more satisfying.

Grizzly Bear - Knife

I become fixated on this song during my first day exploring the Island of Santorini. I took the day to hike out to a beach favored by the locals singing this song out loud to myself the whole while.

Next time you find yourself on a small Greek island, walking beneath an expansive sunset, ensconced by sweeping hills and the Aegean Sea, try singing the words to this song, you'll find it oddly satisfying.

Hall & Oates - Rich Girl
Hall & Oates - Maneater
Hall & Oates - Out of Touch

I became dangerously obsessed with Hall & Oates for a while in Greece. I wrote a bit about it here:

Nick Drake - Poor Boy

As usual Nick Drake being amazing.

Paul Simon - Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes

This song became the official soundtrack to my Greek vacation. We woke up to it most mornings to open to bookshop, and it would often linger in my head throughout the day, especially when I would float on my back in the ocean staring up at the sky.

The Knife - Heartbeats
José González - Heartbeats

James, one of my bookshop fellows, introduced me to this lovely cover. Apparently I was the last person to hear it, as it was associated with Apple computers in some way I've already forgotten. Anyway, though I prefer the distinct strangeness of the original, there is a wonderful Nick Drake-esque quality to José González 's cover I can't deny.

Josh Ritter - Girl in the War

Another song James introduced me to. The simple conceit of "I have a girl in the war" strikes me as very powerful for some reason. I rather obsessively listened to this song when I was manning the bookshop alone, as I didn't want to draw worried stares from others for playing this song for the twentieth time in a row.

Black Kids - Love Me Already

Within an hour of my return from Greece, I ended a long drawn out messy romantic entanglement that had stressed me out for months. The cut was clean, and I felt relief to be able to start fresh. However this song really stung to listen to in the week or so after the break up. I actually almost cried once at the part where he sings "Damn it girl just love me already!" something about the frustration, and uncomplicated directness of that cry cut right through me, and way too perfectly spoke to what I was feeling at the time.

The Byrds - She Has A Way (Bonus)
The Byrds - It's No Use
The Byrds - I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better

I had to accept after these three songs infected me, that there is nothing random about what tracks of music get stuck in my head. Each of these songs perfectly mirrored my progress in the aftermath of the breakup. In each case the song got stuck in my head before I consciously keyed into the lyrics, then afterwards I would marvel at how perfect the correlation was. I appended it to a rather emo journal/creative writing thing here:

Lyle Lovett - God Will

Once I started to recover from my emotional wallowing I found a bit of comfort in the dry cynical, wit of Lyle Lovett. A simple enough conceit lyrically, perfect for getting stuck in your head when you're in the home stretch of getting over someone.

Animal Collective - Peacebone
Animal Collective - Water Curses

Peacebone is a fun wild thrash-about, good for when I want to break free, to run around without purpose, only to fall to the ground exhausted and smiling. Water Curses is more exuberantly wild nonsense, which animal collective does better than anyone else.

Yes - Roundabout

This winter I relapsed into progrock, something that hadn't happened since my college days. This time around I'm better equipped to understand the seemingly endless amount of wonderful song writing choices packed into many of the songs by groups like Yes, ELO, King Crimson and others. This song in particular is so densely packed with interesting song writing choices and so many inventive changes and sections throughout.

Electric Light Orchestra - Sweet Talkin' Woman

A perfect example of a song that fulfills the knee jerk likability required of main stream pop music with the compositional nutrition and brilliant performance required to keep you full.

Vince Guaraldi - Joe Cool (vocal)

Pretty much a perfect theme song for my pointless dating life.

Devendra Banhart- Insect Eyes

Delightfully creepy in all the right ways. If there is such a thing. What am I saying? Of course there is.

Philip Glass - Etude I: Etude IX
Philip Glass - Etude I: Etude VI

It's not easy to get solo piano stuck in your head, but Phillip Glass makes it easier with his self described "repetitive structures." Simple as it may seem compositionally, there is actually a lot going on, and after listening for an hour or so, I always found my next piano improvisation freshly charged with new ideas.

Judee Sill - Crayon Angels
Judee Sill - The Donor (Demo)
Judee Sill - Down Where The Valleys Are Low

I've listened to Judee Sill for years. I don't know why, but lately I found myself unable to get enough. I spent a solid week listening to little else. Something about the biblical insistence in the lyrics, combined with her voice and compositions, is really interesting and addictive.


Six Month Stickies # 4
Six Month Stickies # 3
Six Month Stickies # 2
Six Month Stickies # 1
Spring Photos 2010

No Talking Tuesday # 133

I made a mistake today. FRIGG.
I was working away, quite in the zone for a number of hours and forgot myself. Standing up from a render I said outloud to my art director:
"Good sign, even my..."
I froze horrified, he swiveled around in his chair and asked innocently "What?" When he saw my wide eyed expression of shock he realized what I had done and was sympathetic. It marks the first time I've made a mistake at this job and it has me pretty cheezed off.

The List:

so this is the stucco shader with the displacement reduced to a third, and re adjusted to look the same as before

no lo rez but with new more efficient displacement map, less overall inflation to get the right texture

instead of displacing 15 units, it's displacing 5

i went in and re adjusted the map itself, yea i'm not sure, i'm still guessing it's cause uv's and super low rez, and harsh angles etc.

also i ran two renders last night one with the displacement at 5 another at 6 I'll toggle and you tell me which you like more

so when i can get mudbox to stop crashing all the time today i think i want to try applying this new stucco to a high rez (but this time not the highest rez) out of mudbox to see if fry can handle that,
also to try to displace the highest rez with the displacement map from the blows up with one, but that's at the highest rez, i'm wondering if the next step down which would only be one forth as high rez would probably look just as good since this shader is going to smooth it out anyway

the bubbly edge stuff is where the edge of the uv's lie wanders a little bit when it's not the low rez so stuff lined up to the uv line in the map etc.

i actually found out that the high rez renders fine with the displacement, but for some reason exaggerates the displacement amount hundreds of times

by rendering the mid rez model

i found the super high rez with the really tiny displacement amount didn't look very good, something about the displacement map isn't as sharp or something, i also found

i tried applying the displacement map i'm using in the shader to the high rez geometry in mudbox and it looked like poo. pooey times.

pretty much. well the mid rez model has all sorts of undulations on it, it's not flat anywhere. it's mid rez geometry with high rez displacement. no.

i did 2 mediums

i wonder if it's less an issue of geometry undulation and more about topology resolution

from what i can gather the displacement behaivor is dependent on model density.

well i'm wondering if i just made a cube and rednered it twice each time with the same shader but one render super hig rez etc.

we can use the high rez but with this shader it's not really that relevant to. also you keep saying puffy, but I'm not so upset with this render all things considered.

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