Monday, December 12, 2011

No Talking Tuesday # 219

I made a mistake! FRIGGGG.

Monday nights I teach a digital painting class that goes until midnight. My students don't know about my no talking Tuesdays, and so to spare them the awkwardness, I leave class a few minutes early so that I can safely say goodbye to them before midnight.

This week however I was so wrapped up in a character painting that I didn't notice it was past midnight. My teacher's aid called out to me that it was ten past twelve, and then in the shock of suddenly being pulled out of my painting, I said out loud to the class "Oh! Okay, class is over, see you all Wednesday."

I then realized that not only was class over but that it was Tuesday and that I just spoke past midnight.. I silently cursed myself and began nervously packing my things. I know that the end of class is my student's favorite time to start asking questions and to get my feedback on their paintings. And this time it was no different. Somehow I managed to get through a few such "conversations" with artful use of hand gestures, thumbs up signs and the like. It wasn't totally effective though and a couple of them sensed something was weird, but probably just thought I was acting annoyed or dismissive...

Oh well, I'll have to be more careful in the future with my late Monday classes.
No Talking Tuesday # 218

This Tuesday found me at yet another movie night at work. This time with a double feature by two foreign directors. The first was the Iranian film Close-Up (نمای نزدیک), by director Abbas Kiarostami. The second was Yi Yi (二) by Taiwanese director Edward Yang.

The first film was so brilliant and strange in it's premise and execution. I'm at a loss how to explain it without rambling on for far too long, so I'll simply site it's IMDB description:

"Pretending to be Mohsen Makhmalbaf making his next movie, Ali Sabzian enters the home of a well-to-do family in Tehran, promising it a prominent part in his next movie. The actual people involved in the incident re-enact the actual events, followed by the footage from the actual trial that took place."

The second film was a beautiful meditation on the meaning of contemporary urban life, with it's loneliness, family, relationships, haunting memories, and the search for truth and value in an impersonal landscape. The story follows three generations of a family, with quite dignity, unaffected truth, achingly gorgeous lighting and pacing and acting. Though it made me feel lonely, I thought this film was incredibly beautiful and one of the best I've seen in a long while.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

No Talking Tuesday # 217

This Tuesday found me back in the screening room at work watching the Critereon blue-ray editions of Kurosawa's Yojimbo and Sanjuro.

I'm a bit of a Kurosawa nut, and have seen both films at least five times before. When I was a kid, Yojimbo was my favorite Kurosawa film (and favorite samurai film), but as an adult it's so obvious to me how much better Sanjuro is. Both films deal with the same misanthropist/altruist ronin, wandering in tattered clothes indignant with people, all the while saving/helping them. The ultimate hero with an attitude, played by non other than the brilliant Toshirō Mifune.

My favorite aspect of Sanjuro is the theme of the black/white ruthless logic of the samurai, constantly being usurped by the more subtle, feminine, prudent approach of the female characters. Cleverly revealing at various points in the story the advantages of compassion, mercy, and restraint, over aggressive heroics.

Friday, December 02, 2011

No Talking Tuesday # 216

This Tuesday found me alone at the screening room at work watching the blue ray of Dark Crystal. The classic Jim Henson film about a dualistic fantastical planet, where sin and the sublime are embodied in highly expressive puppeteering and gorgeous and imaginative production design. It's basically what Avatar was trying to do had it been ten times more imaginative.

I first saw the film in the late eighties and was so blown away by it. I had never seen anything like it before and had no context for the thouroughly concieved, bizarre, unnerving creatures and world. I tried to explain it to my friends, who eventually decided I must have dreamed it. For years I tried to find out what the film was called, or someone else who had seen it, (remember this is pre-internet) and it wasn't until the mid nineties that I randomly happened across a VHS tape of it in a local video store that I jumped up in down with excitement to have finally found it again.

For this my third and first viewing to be film quality, I have to say I'm as impressed by the creativity and originality of the film as I ever was (It was made it 1981!), but have to admit it definitely shows it's seams, and is a little rough around the edges at times.

Still a seminal work, and kick-started my new found obsession/admiration for Jim Henson. I've been reading articles about him, watching documentaries, videos and with each new insight into the mans life, mind, compassion, professionalism, and creativity, I'm repeatedly blown away by how amazing and great an artist he was.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

No Talking Tuesday Year End Wrap Up
End of Year Four

Click here for summery and origins.

Click here for end of year three.

Click here for end of year two.

Click here for end of year one.

Impressions of year four:

The fourth year of my no talking Tuesdays has come and gone with little to say for itself. Continuing the trends of year three, I hardly ever write to communicate, and have become further entrenched in my comfort with staying silent and observing.

Even more so than last year, my comfort with listening and watching, almost as an outside observer, has spilled even more into my daily life. I often answer direct questions with various grunts, humming, and muffled moans by way of communication, which really are disarming ways to deflect the need to provide answers. I've developed a perverse lack of needing to convince others of anything. Others sense that my silence isn't a sign of my agreement with them and try to draw out my contradictory perspective, but the idea of aggressing others with my ideas has come to seem exhausting for me, not to mention that it can't possibly lead to me learning new ideas as I'm simply recounting my own, and I consistently choose instead to deflect conversation in a direction that will allow the other person to develop or explain their ideas about something to me. If they have no ideas then I'm likely to exit the conversation entirely.

In other words I've noticed that my fourth year of no talking Tuesdays, has caused me to only really care about talking about ideas with people, whether they like it or not. Conversation has become little more than an opportunity to learn something new from someone, and if they can't provide that, then I move on, for better or worse.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Coffee Shop Impulsive Ask Out

I was tutoring one of my students at a nearby coffee shop when my eye kept being drawn to an attractive woman sitting nearby.

When the tutoring session was over, and I was walking home, I kept feeling the stabbing anxiety of "What if?", and turning on my heel, I marched back to the coffee shop, my head conjuring up whimsicality, confusing it with neurotic creepiness and vice versa.

I resolved to write a little note and give it to her, in an effort to be as non confrontational as possible, not wanting her to feel cornered and overwhelmed. Below is a copy of the note:

I sat beside her and introduced myself, and handed her the note. She was surprisingly warm and disposed to conversation, and without diving into the contents of the note just began talking with me quite naturally. I still felt a bit nervous about being so forward and didn't want to assume she didn't have anything better to do. So after a few pleasant witticisms I excused myself and walked home free of the nagging anxiety I had before.

Of course nothing came of it, but I did what I could!
No Talking Tuesday # 215

No list. Nothing special to report.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Street Fighter 2010 (NES) - Beat!

In my ongoing effort to beat all the classic console games that bested me in my youth, I've conquered Street Fighter 2010 for Nintendo.

Despite it's name, it has no connection to the popular fighting game series by the same name. It is however a largely overlooked classic on the NES. Kind of like a hybrid of Strider, Metroid, and Megaman.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Summer 2011 Photos

Here are my photos from this summer. Click the link or the image to see them all!

Lion King (Genesis) - Beat!

I finally beat Lion King for Sega Genesis!

I've decided to go back with my more powerful adult brain and beat the games from my childhood I never finished.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I've been plagued by the shame and embarrassment of never beating various games for Genesis, NES, Super NES, N64, Gameboy, Master System, PS1 and the list goes on.

Maybe once I've beaten these games I will be ready to face adult life free from such baggage?

Anyway, so after maybe 20 cumulative hours of practice, I beat Lion King. I now never have to play it again, and I have closure. Hurrah!

No Talking Tuesday # 214

No list. Nothing special to report.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

No Talking Tuesday # 213

No list. Nothing special to report.

Friday, October 21, 2011

No Talking Tuesday # 212

No list.

The Tuesday found me in Seattle, painting my friend Anthony.

He decided to commission me to paint a portrait of him every year for the rest of our lives.

We decided that he would incur the cost of getting us together each year (plane tickets, etc.), treating me to one "nice" meal, and in return I would paint his portrait and leave the finished painting with him with no additional cost.

The two of us seem to somewhat regularly shuffle around which cities we live in, so this year I flew up to Seattle from San Francisco for about a week. The nice meal was at an amazing small-plate french restaurant that more than qualified as per our terms of agreement.

I spent the week with Anthony and my good friend Brad, the three of us going out to eat regularly. They both know of my passion for ducks, which includes eating them. For whatever reason, Seattle restaurants/cafes have a preponderant amount of duck options on their menus. And since I can't very well choose a non duck based meal over a duck-licous one, the first six meals (2.5 days) I was in Seattle, I succeeded in having duck for every meal.

The point of the trip being painting, and not eating ducks, sadly didn't go as well... I decided to paint in a semi traditional method, doing a charcoal sketch, deepened with ink washes, and heightened with gesso on heavyweight paper that was soaked and nailed to a board to dry, that I then sealed with acrylic matte medium, and painted with thinned oils.

Unfortunately I wasn't careful enough with my measurements with the drawing and ended up doing some back tracking in the painting, which suffered in its own right from my having neglected oil painting in the last few years. The end result wasn't too impressive, and I decided to abort and start over.

The second painting was more carefully measured by taking a photo, gridding it and transferring a rough drawing to a larger gridded drawing, which I then worked on as a drawing with charcoal and heightened with white chalk.

By this point however we were running out of time, and finding myself disoriented by the changing light conditions, could only really make progress for a couple hours in the early morning.

So by the end of the trip I only succeeded in doing a decent oil painting of someone who looked kind of like Anthony (but not really), and a more accurate charcoal drawing, but which wasn't painted.

Anthony was disappointed but understanding, I for my part was shamed and made to feel the consequences of neglecting one of my mediums for so long. It was a humbling experience that has lit a new flame under my ass to get back into oil painting.

I took a photo of Anthony before he drove me to the airport, and will make up for my failures by doing a strong painting of him from this photograph. I'm confident that this painting will reflect my ability, and satisfy his expectations, and next year I plan to be able to come through during the live session, and not have to resort to painting from a photo afterwords, as I am this year.

Below is a in progress shot of the first painting, before I layered on the oils:

Friday, October 14, 2011

No Talking Tuesday Massive Fail?

Wondering if I had maybe accidentally missed reporting a no-talking-Tuesday over the last 4 years, I checked back to the start of my experiment and calculated the days/weeks since September 25th, 2007, and found that the total number of weeks since I've started is 211 not 202. Which means that I've let nine no-talking-Tuesdays slip through the cracks! Whoops! Sloppy town over here. So um yea... ahem, don't know what to say about that... Sorry?

To be clear I've properly observed every Tuesday by not talking, but apparently forgot to make a corresponding posts nine times. In all likelihood those nine times were weeks that I didn't write anything down to communicate with anyone.

So yea, anyway, I'm going to resume my no talking count at 212, leaving an embarrassing gap in my ascending numbered posts. Shameful.

No Talking Tuesday # 202

No list. Nothing special to report.

No Talking Tuesday # 201

No list. Nothing special to report.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fortune Cokie

When I was a kid and introduced to the concept of Chinese food fortune cookies, it was made very clear how they're supposed to work:

1. You make a wish.
2. You break the cookie and remove the fortune.
3. You read the fortune in the context of your wish.
4. Pause to consider the profound insight you just received into life and the nature of reality.

Apparently this was never made an established practice, and clearly restaurant goers and fortune writers have become lazy and ambivalent to the whole experience. Most of the time the fortunes aren't fortunes at all, but rather statements or observations, or weirdly narrow and petty clues about the insignificant minutia of daily concerns.

I keep to my principles however and push on. The other day I stopped by a Chinese restaurant on the way back from grocery shopping, and enjoyed a huge plate of chicken chow-fun. I was steeped in reflective poignancy brought on by a full stomach, a cup of barley green tea, and the muted bustle of the street, reflecting off the burnished oak of the restaurant tables. The waitress hands me my obscenely cheap bill and a fortune cookie.

I wished:

"I would like to meet a woman in the next month, and for her and I to feel mutual, unforced feelings of attraction, and an insatiable eagerness and excitement to develop our burgeoning relationship into something profound and long term."

I broke open the cookie and read this fortune:

Missed Connection

I was on BART the other day (name of the bay area subway system), when I saw a young woman who looked familiar sitting across from me. A second look mostly assured me that I was wrong and I didn't know her and I didn't give it another thought- Well maybe one or two more, about her attractive nerdyness.

Latter we happened to get off at the same stop, file past the door side by side, and walk towards the same descending platform. The coincidence got to be too much and I turned to her and asked: "Do I look familiar to you?" She apparently was so freaked out by the question that she just crumbled into a flustered pile of panicky stutters and apologies to the effect of "No I don't think so, sorry." Seeing how overwhelmed she was by the situation I decided to abort mission and said "Huh... You look familiar to me, but maybe I'm just trippin'." she continued to apologetically sputter that she didn't recognize me as I walked away.

She ran up behind me just past the turn stiles, and with new found resolution asked me "Wait! Were you the guy here last night trying to catch a cab?" I said I wasn't and continued on my way. Perhaps a bit brusquely.

So far a normal story of two young people, cloaked in their internal cocoons, brought on by mass transit, trying in some small way to have a real human interaction. Failing, for better or worse, and sailing on like two ships in the night.

But what happens next is where things get a bit weird. I had recently just finished an awesome graphic novel that was a collection of comics drawn by different artists illustrating real and imagined personal adds from newspapers and Craig's List, specifically those categorized as "missed connections". It works like this; two people who shared a moment against an anonymous urban backdrop, who didn't have a chance to exchange contact information, can later post a missed connection ad hoping on the off chance the other person sees it and gets in touch.

The book was mostly funny, sometimes poignant, romantic and sad, and reminded me of the whole concept of missed connections personal adds.

So I thought I would check Craig's List to see if this anonymous, flustered, mousy young woman had posted something, never thinking she actually would. But low and behold she had! The post is as follows:

So I sent her an email, and we got together for lunch a couple times since then. Unfortunately, as this is real life, the story ended much less climatically than expected, and though we got along well, and she was very nice and sweet, there wasn't enough chemistry for it to develop into anything substantial. But the whole experience was whimsically uplifting and wonderful in it's own right.
No Talking Tuesday # 200

Whoo hoo! My two hundredth no talking Tuesday.

No list. Nothing special to report.

No Talking Tuesday # 199

No list. Nothing special to report.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Student Chastisement

I've developed a reputation at school for being an overly demanding teacher who expects too much and grades too harshly. I had a particularly lazy class a couple semesters back, and gave them a good tongue lashing via email. I may include the email in the course syllabus for my future classes to give them a taste of what they're in for. The email below:

To all,

Attached are your updated grades going into the final exam.

Most of you did terribly on your environment rough and final. This may
cause some of you to fail the class. In the future I would suggest
that when you have something due finished, that you turn it in
finished. Deadlines are not in progress check ins. If you carry on
with this attitude about what it means to turn in something finished
by a set time/date, then you will not only do poorly in your
schooling, you will stunt yourself as an artist, and make it nearly
impossible to get a job let alone keep one.

If you are unhappy with your grade on your environment rough or final
ask yourself the following questions:

1. Were both projects complete, well done, and on time?
2. Did you incorporate everything I lectured about with respects to
detail, reference, transition of surfaces, key light, ambient shading,
local color, perspective, layer organization etc.?
3. Did you check your file against my environment or character demo
file to make sure you had the right kind of layers in the right order?
4. Does your key light layer when viewed in isolation mode (option
click) look like your scene is being lit by realistic lighting coming
from a specific direction?
5. Did you incorporate tips I showed in my painting demos?
6. Did you email me early in the time you had allotted to work on the
assignment to get my feedback?
7. Did you ask me for feedback last class to help you work in a more
efficient direction? (Jenny was the only one to do this)

If you answered "no" to any of the above questions then realize that
you chose to undervalue your work and education and missed an
opportunity to create an attractive image for your portfolio. You
won't have another chance to focus on 2D painting under the guidance
of a professional artist in the rest of your program, you should
regard this a considerable loss.

After last class there was a movie night at the visual effects studio
I work at with a number of industry professionals as well as your
program director. I was going to invite the student with the best
environment painting to attend. You would have had a chance to explore
a local visual effects studio, network with professionals, eat free
food, see a beautiful film in a film quality screening room, and I
would have personally introduced you to my art director and praised
your artistic abilities. Instead I found that no one had their
assignment finished, and even worse no one turned in anything of high
quality. And so I chose to not mention the screening. Realize that
when you don't apply yourself to your art you are unknowingly turning
down countless opportunities like this that the more dedicated of your
peers will benefit from.

For those of you who do fail this class I expect you to have an
entirely reformed attitude and respect for your work and project
parameters next time around.


Cast Iron Chastisement

Conversation I had recently about cast iron cookware:

bob: !!!!!!!

me: !!!

bob: how's it going?!
i just bought a nice cast iron pan and a cast iron wok!

me: hope it's not lodge brand!

bob: oh good lord!!
i don't want to know why!

me: IS IT




me: reality
should have done research!
instead of just being a consumer whore!

bob: people have said good things about them!!!

me: people are idiots!
that's all they know
griswold, and wagner
you could have asked me
instead of a bunch of yuppie morons

bob: well it's too late now dammit

me: walmart sells lodge

bob: oh no
that is depressing

me: you know how many people have tried to suck up to me telling me they bought cast iron,
only to discover they bought lodge
you're just perpetuating and rewarding low quality, absence of history, tradition, craftsmanship etc.

bob: oh good lord

me: for some cheap manufactured crap!
that people are so estranged from real quality to even realize they're being ripped off!
ten minutes of google research is all it would have taken to teach you what you needed to know

bob: you are a wild man!
never been so berated over the internet!

me: you deserve this and more!
you think good taste is cheap and easy!

bob: well, im not saying what i did was right

me: give them away and do it right!
stop dicking around!
get your life together!

bob: oh my god
now i have to buy MORE pans
you're right though and i really hate when you're right

No Talking Tuesday # 198

No list. Nothing special to report.

No Talking Tuesday # 197

The List:

I haven't really tried to decode that scene yet,
just been thinking about the bird scene,
I should go back and read his descriptions
of that scene more carefully
if it's now something I'm going to bite down on

Stare gate? I have no idea,

So that's different than the new scene?

That's what i did for the bird scene

Well she's middle eastern

Well I think it's doable mainly because it would be easy to get the plates together, and i feel like experimenting with different
layer blending modes with things might

Saturday, August 20, 2011

No Talking Tuesday #196

The List:

May I deposit these
checks, and transfer
$1000.00 to my mom's

1 chicken mole burrito please
· spinach tortilla
· black beans
· super
· cut in half
+ 1 churro
to go.

No Talking Tuesday # 195

No list. Nothing special to report.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

No Talking Tuesday # 194

This Tuesday found me on the eve of a much needed break from work, getting ready for a road trip first, down to LA with my German and Austrian roommates, then after chubbing up on some delicious Hop Li's, I'll be driving up to Seattle with my good friend Anthony, to move him into his new pad.

We will no doubt spend the drive crying on each others shoulders about our botched romantic aspirations and arguing about the most efficiently nerdy way to juice a pomegranate. It will be a friend reunion of sorts, as I've spent the last ten years shamefully procrastinated visiting various friends that have one by one moved up there, until now.

Within an hour of my plane landing back in SF I'll be back up to my ears in tutoring/teaching/freelance painting all over again. But I know spending a few days nerding it up with my friends, taking sunrise/sunset photos along California highways, eating good food and soaking up Seattle will do me a world of good.

The List:

I'm going out of town tomorrow until Sunday


half day open Monday and Wednesday
Tuesday free
probably half day on Thursday and Friday
no Saturday
Sunday half day free

in 2d or 3d?

are you looking for me to render and shade scenes in fry in 3d?

or paint over 2d?

i mean at this point i have a nice library of fry materials and doing stills isn't a big deal at all

overnight for super dense scenes

with millions of polys though

for normal scenes it's faster than mental ray

you can also see if di is free for something like this?

when does this need to be in by?

how many scenes?

how many images?
No Talking Tuesday # 193

No list. Nothing special to report.

Friday, July 22, 2011

New 3D work:

I finally finished the 3D environments I've been working on for years at INSIGHT. They are digital reconstructions of the Mayan site Chichen Itza in the Yucatan.

A little over three years ago I went with the team to capture 3D scans of the ruins as they appear now, white washed, broken crumbling etc.

That scan data provided the base to create these digital reconstructions, that and the help and expertise of numerous archeologists, technicians, artists, and lots of patient effort.

These environments are by far the best 3D work I've ever done, and not coincidentally the most tender loving care and attention to detail I've ever paid to a 3D scene.

The final renders have been printed on the cover of a German visual effects magazine, given a front page spot on the Fry Render site (the renderer I used) as well as featured in the gallery of the xfrog site (aided in the creation of the vegetation)

So below are links to the medium rez renders on my site

Sideshow dissolves between the different render passes used:

The article on the Fry Render website:

and the article on x-frog's site (earlier unfinished versions of the scenes):

As an extra nerdy side note if you right click on any of the final renders at , and view image in a new window/tab, and change the version number associated with the image name in the url, you can see the previous versions of each render.

No Talking Tuesday # 192

The List:

I'm supposed to meet
Dennis and Phil at
a party, want to come?

near campus

I'll probably only stay
for an hour or two

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Monterey Market Kindness

The Cool, Cool River

Anger and no one can heal it
shoves a little bump into the momentum
but you feel it
in the creases and the shadows
with a rattling deep emotion
the cool, cool river
sweeps the wild white ocean

my radio tuned to
the voice of a star
lightning pushes the edge of a thunderstorm
and these old hopes and fears
still at my side

the rage of love turns inward
to prayers of devotion
and these prayers are
the constant road across the wilderness
these prayers are
these prayers are the memory of god
the memory of god

and I believe in the future
we shall suffer no more

and these streets
quiet as a sleeping army
send their battered dreams to heaven
to heaven
for the mother's restless son
who is a witness to
who is a warrior
who denies his urge to break and run

who says: hard times?
i'm used to them
the speeding planet burns
i'm used to that
my life's so common it disappears
and sometimes even music
cannot substitute for tears.

Paul Simon - The Cool, Cool River

Friday, July 15, 2011

Anime Class

This summer I'm teaching 8-19 year olds how to draw anime and manga. The class is at a community college in Walnut creek.

Apparently anime is all the rage with youngsters, and they had been complaining that there wasn't an anime focused drawing class. So I was enlisted.

Though I must admit, since going to a geeky media arts focused art college, my love affair for anime has rapidly dropped off. Non the less, it's a fairly simple vocabulary of figural abstraction, so I wasn't intimidated at the prospect of teaching a class in it.

Now that I'm a few weeks into the course, I've actually been surprised how much easier drawing in this style is for me than I remembered. Over the last few years my understanding of light, form, line, design, body mechanics, proportion, is vastly improved and I've been surprised to find drawing in this style is much easier than I remember.

Here are a few drawings I did as demos:

No Talking Tuesday # 191

No list. Nothing special to report.

No Talking Tuesday # 190

No list. Nothing special to report.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Ugliness of Effort

The Ugliness of Effort

Reflecting each other
in the loneliness of our dark waters
we chose to ignore the placid ripples
distorting the refreshing vanity
of our inverted symmetry
until we had to reach arms deep
into each other
to anchor from the storm
that whipped our images
into grotesque forms
we could no longer recognize
or recognize too well

how humbling to discover
it was me staring up
from beneath your reality
servant to your movement
twisted by your storm

i can say it now without wincing
beneath the full dizzy melting
and curved hollow swooping
we were two touches falling
insides echoing
what would always last
if it ever had
pretending not to notice
all the shadowed hands
upon our sinking
slowly surrounding
my forced forgetting
those times i couldn’t keep
ourselves to myself
or had to substitute memories
for the unregarded of me
until it became the want of exit
despite ourselves
or to spite ourselves
(never an easy distinction with us)

in the end
what was between us
was between us
pressed against our best wishes
until i left us
openly buried in our borrowed home
to return myself
and leave behind
the favor you never gave me

you thought i held you too tight
that i would break apart the wings
i knew you never had
your lightness my weight to lift
so high you could fly
if you closed your eyes tight enough
to pretend the strain of my muscles
was the blow dried wind in your hair
those nights you stranded me
on the island you had me build for us
while you
innocent and untouched
blew through the streets
leaving me scattered
among your cluttered dinner table
with the rest of your neglected responsibilities
waiting for the generous outpouring
of your unforced hand
in that forever tomorrow
that richly saturated future
you borrowed against at my expense

you thought in time i could be trained
to join your exclusive stable of janitors
dressed as magicians
each taking a corner of your palanquin
with curtains drawn to the reality you expel
though sometimes you see too clearly
through those thinning muslin clouds
and sneer in confusion at the strain
because being close to someone
means you can magically float above
the ugliness of effort
and just maybe
you'll never need to understand
magicians are not real.


Drafts in chronological order:

No Talking Tuesday # 189

No list. Nothing special to report.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

No Talking Tuesday # 188


I was listening to Joanna Newsom and focusing on a intense chess endgame with some Latvian dude online, when my Austrian housemate knocked at the door, and handed me a package I had been eagerly waiting for (Containing various camera supplies), I was so out of it from the music, solitude, and chess, I forgot it was Tuesday and said out loud: " Oh sweet! Thanks!"

I hadn't even realized I made a mistake until he pointed it out, and then the failure wave washed over me and I slinked back to my chess game...

No list.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Six Months of Tasks

At the beginning of the year I noticed a nifty task/to-do list feature in my e-mail client. I'm rather addicted to to-do lists, and realized this was a way to consolidate my various lists (those in my sketchbooks, pocket notebook, work computer, post it notes etc.)

The to-do list feature let me continuously add new items to the pre-existing list, and over time I found this to be an interesting record of my various reminders. I told myself I would collect the tasks to post here when finished. That is to say, completed all the outstanding tasks, before I had a chance to add more. I was a bit disheartened to find that took six months...

Here it is, in reverse chronological order (most recent first):

blog radio show
go to blue bottle
drop off typewriters
call back Doug
call expression about jacket
call mexican restaurant about jacket
composite decap
composite osario/temple tigers
blog weird dream 1 & 2
six month stickies 7
blog five a month club feb
create music web section
scan in round 2 robot drawings
create 3D section for site
create food section for site
upload cgtalk and concept art lg paintings
figure drawing photos
pick up taxes
faculty training fri. 8th 09:00
taxes thursday at 16:00
tutoring thursday at 13:30
bring computer to insight and print tax papers, paypall, bank, and credit card
buy eiko lights
compress and upload film
transfer music
make class final
call mundi 10am
paint window
final color correct feb film
galileo phone: Monday 10am
calculate environment and midterm grades and email
write February scene
shoot February film
cash check
check costa rica flight possibility
get midterm photo
back up drives
get serpent column boards
get art test rules source images
retrieve memory card
get february sculpture images
tutor repost
give students their grades
late lunch with brother friday 1600
buy file
combine random writing to notebook
order super sculpy
order glass paint
pick up teaching notes and natasha's camera
edit February song
email Joel (sailing)
bake sculpture
resubmit camera drawing
sculpt february project
submit time card
check if worked monday
return glen gould cds
call hoa
finish transcribing notebook
buy floss and razors
finish writing digital painting course syllabus and email Andrew
upload cat power mix
go see ocscar animated shorts
email interior design proposal
go see the illusionist
email compositing teacher
meet up with digital painting teacher
call insurance
six month stickies
pick up paycheck
replace short film
pick up film
finish fox mom and daughter
import low a lifetime of temporary relief
download Debussy, paul simon, csny,
purple rhinestone eagle
apply to jobs
put 3d spaces email in writing folder
put snow monkey article in writing folder
contact digital painting teacher
call insurance woman
write down expression tutoring number
finish art test
pay hoa
submit time card
call troy
call bon
blog 5 a month club
call plumber and make appointment
finish flower painting with gesso
Leo Skype Date 11am
edit film
email leo
upload icon scans and resub
monkey article, add bit about low sperm in water and remove end with disclaimer
shoot a movie
sculpt something
record a song
erase pencil and scan mother fox drawing
buy super sculpy/armature wire, glass paint?
write/research snow monkeys
sand window
blog new teaching job
3 year end no talking tuesday

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Before & After

A little while back a friend of mine asked me if I was interested in contributing a story to the first episode of his radio show.

He was trying to figure out a common theme for the stories he was soliciting from various friends/artists/writers. I suggested he make the theme "Before and After", a moment that split your life definitively into two periods, a moment of maturity, consequence, revelation, etc.

My moment was the first time I asked out a woman I didn't know. It is the story of a bewitching woman who worked at whole foods near my work soon after I moved to L.A. And how I struggled to muster the courage to introduce myself and ask her out on a date. The experience was a revelation and forever changed me.

My friend ended up putting his radio show on hold, so I offer it here.

The whole adventure was inspired by a TV Eyes song, so I included the song here, to be listened to before the story

TV Eyes - She's a Study

Whole Foods Ask Out by Ali Jamalzadeh

No Talking Tuesday # 187

No list, nothing special to report.

Monday, June 13, 2011

No Talking Tuesday # 186

The List:

which scene do you think is better served in a indispe

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Most Intense Dream of my Life

The other night I had the most intense dream of my life. In order to keep things clear let's call the dream I had "dream-A". It was inside dream-A, that I had "dream-B". In other words I dreamt that I was dreaming. Let's also define "true-reality" as the non dream reality we are in, in other words real life.

So, in dream-A, I was handicapped, and wheelchair bound. I wasn't surprised at this, and understood myself to be handicapped for years due to some accident.

Now I would like to take a moment to consider a very curious aspect of dreams. Namely, that in a dream you can "understand" something to be the case, without support from reality, experience, or memories. For example, you could have a dream where your sister was about to jump off a building, and you may scream out in anguish, despair, love, and fear for her life. When in fact, you don't have a sister at all. Yet in the dream you believe you do with all the certainty and conviction as if it were fact. What's interesting is that you might think that in order to be convinced of having a sister, you would need a lifetime's worth of shared memories and experiences with this person, before your mind would accept her presence in your dream as your sister. When really, your mind doesn't need to be furnished with any such proof, and yet you will completely believe this person is your sister.

The therapeutic power of this could be immense. If somehow you were able to get a trauma victim to dream themselves free of their past, confident, self reliant, secure and emotionally stable. Then even when they wake up to reality (where they are none of those things) they would at least have a reference point for what it feels like to be that way. And could gauge their future real life choices based on how close or far away it puts them in relation to that feeling.

So anyway, back to dream-A.

Reality as I knew it, was one where I was reliant on a wheel chair, and had been for years. I didn't think critically about what the accident was, exactly how long ago it was etc. I just knew myself to be crippled, and believed and understood it completely. What was interesting was while in dream-A (where I was handicapped) I had never really accepted it as part of my self-concept. I was like a rich guy who became poor and wouldn't accept that fact, and still acted like he was rich, or some middle aged guy who hits on teenage women because he still thinks of himself as a young stud. Similarly I was handicapped but didn't really see myself as disabled. But in dream-A, I had that moment where it finally sunk in, and I came to truly acknowledge the reality of my disability. I thought with bitter irony that all the times I saw handicapped people and felt sorry for them, that I was actually no different, and that people must look at me with the same sense of pity. I felt shame when I thought of all the women I've dated, and how they all were doing me a favor by choosing to tolerate my disability, and that I never really acknowledged their sacrifice to be with me. I felt like a pathetic charity case, and a burden to my friends and family. These and many other bitter, sad thoughts suddenly flooded me in EXACTLY the way it would in true-reality if I was disabled and finally coming to terms with it for the first time.

After considering all these things, I arrived at a place of peace. I came to truly accept my disability as part of who I am, that there was nothing I could do to change that, and I just had to accept it and move on.

Then I was in line at a drug store to buy shampoo.

I was far back in a long line, and noticed that every checkout stand had a long line of people. We were all annoyed to be waiting so long, and upon closer inspection I saw that there were no tellers at any of the registers. I thought rather indignantly that if the drugstore wasn't going to do their part and have people working their stations to sell me this shampoo, then I wouldn't do my part as a customer in buying it from them. I resolved therefore that I was perfectly justified in stealing the shampoo, as their not having anyone on the floor working is what would have otherwise prevented me, and that they were wasting my time (and therefore money) in expecting me to just stand in line waiting for them. So in a demonstration of forethought, I rubbed the bar-code off the shampoo bottle (so as not to set off the detectors) and walked out of the store with a self righteous, indignant, and slightly triumphant attitude.

It was night, and everything was wet from the rain. The exit of the drugstore was below street level and a steep, rain soaked, shaggy red carpeted staircase led the way up. I looked around for a wheelchair ramp, and got even more angry and frustrated when I saw there wasn't one. I was about to go back into the store to look for another exit, when suddenly I realized that I had walked out the drugstore, and wasn't in need of a wheelchair. For a brief moment I was confused and amazed, then realized with a pang of bitterness that this must be a dream(dream-B), and that soon I will wake up to my crippled wheelchair bound life(dream-A). I then resolved that as long as I was lucid dreaming, at least I would enjoy it until I woke up, and began walking up the steps.

Now that I realized I was dreaming (B), the sensation of walking up steps, seemed strange and awkward since I hadn't walked in so many years, but there was also a note of familiarity that recalled my youth before the accident.

I walked on and eventually found myself walking up a steep narrow stone path to the back of a provincial ivy covered cottage basking in slanted rays of warm light. The sun had lowered itself between the smoothed forms of distant mountains, across from a vast vineyard. A couple cats wrestled in the house and sent up swirls of dust which sparked in the amber light.

Then I woke up.

Simultaneously from both dreams, to true-reality. For about ten seconds I didn't know if I was crippled or not. Remember that I was never aware dream-A was a dream, I thought dream-A was reality, and dream-B was dream-A. So when I woke I didn't think to examine the reality of dream-A. Which made things confusing because the reality of dream-B, which I understood to be fake (in dream-A) was more like true-reality than dream-A was.

For ten seconds I felt this intense spike of fear, dread, hope, and confusion not knowing what was real and if I could walk. Of course the dream realities faded and I felt my legs moving under the sheets and I remembered that in true-reality I'm perfectly healthy and have full use of my legs.

I closed my eyes and a wave of relief and gratitude washed over me. I don't think I can even begin to describe the intense feeling of gratitude I felt in this moment. In my dream-A which represented many years, I had wanted nothing more than to walk again, I would have given anything, sacrificed anything to walk. And my wish had come true. I could finally walk again, my prayers had been answered.

I thought about how often I define my life by how it falls short of my ideals, where I focus on the goals I haven't met or situations or people I have a problems with. This dream was a real lesson in perspective and appreciation, and taught me how truly privileged I am.

No Talking Tuesday # 185

The list:

One baja fish torta special please.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Six Month Stickies # 7
September '10 - February '11

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

And only 3 months overdue wohoo!

* Click image to download a ZIP of the compilation:

Bee Gees - I've Gotta Get A Message To You

At the height of my disco obsession I acquired the entire Bee Gees discography. I have a rule with myself where I only allow an album into my library after listening to it uninterrupted at least two times through, then I decide if it's worth keeping or not. The Bee Gees discography was so expansive it took me over a week of pure Bee Gees listening to get through it all.

I was surprised that the earlier albums sounded so much like The Beatles. This song in particular infected me much the way a Beatles song might.

Bee Gees - Marley Purt Drive

Another early Bee Gees song. I don't know what it is, but something about this song is so uplifting and powerful, in this lazy smiling sort of way. The restrained banjo strumming, calmly impassioned singing, confusing lyrics, and plodding drums, slide guitar accents, and background strings are all perfectly combined.

Joanna Newsom - On a Good Day

I turned one of my friend on to Joanna Newsom after over exposing him with endless plays while he was visiting me. He told me later that this song got stuck in his head, and that he liked to wake up and start his days to it. I had previously overlooked this song, but started paying greater attention to it after he brought it up. And sure enough it became another in the seemingly endless list of Joanna Newsom songs to get stuck in my head.

Joanna Newsom - '81

This song got stuck in my head after I saw a video of her playing it live on some talk show. I love the conversation between the dark heavy strings and the bright light ones. I'm not going to link the video here because I don't want you to get your heart broken.

Briano Eno & David Byrne - Moonlight in Glory

After having this album for years and hardly listening to it, I suddenly couldn't get enough and was listening to it on repeat for about a week.

This song is an interesting mix of visceral percussion, staccato bass line, synthetic stings and augmented samples. So masterfully handled as only Brian Eno can. My favorite is at the end where the woman relates the anecdote about Jack knocking on the door of old-lady house. "Oh yes. Come on in."

Joanna Newsom - In California

I can count on one hand the number of times I've cried as an adult. And all but one of those times has been to music. I don't think I've ever been so effected by a song as I was with this song by Joanna Newsom. I had listened to it at least fifty times without effect, before suddenly, one day, something unlocked in it for me, and I was overcome by emotion listening to it. There are two parts in the song where I have trouble breathing:

Well, I have sown untidy furrows 'cross my soul
but I am still a coward
content to see my garden grow so sweet
and full of someone else's flowers

sometimes I can almost feel the power
sometimes I am so in love with you


I don't belong to anyone
my heart is heavy as an oil drum
and i don't want to be alone
my heart is yellow as an ear of corn

and I have torn my soul apart
from pulling artlessly with fool commands
some nights I just never go to sleep at all
and I stand
shaking in the doorway like a sentinel, all alone
bracing like the bow upon a ship
and fully abandoning
any thought of anywhere but home
my home
sometimes I can almost feel the power
and I do love you
is it only timing that has made it such a dark hour

The Cranberries - Empty

I've been super into the Cranberries since I was in elementary school. And always wondered why no one ever agreed with me. Now that nineties music is becoming cool again to teenagers in much the same way 80's music was rediscovered as cool to my generation, bands like The Cranberries have been allowed to exist again. Unfortunately it's with a sense of irony or kitsch or something. But I maintain as I always have, that they are a rad band that makes rad music. What's the problem? Listen to how she controls the way her voice cracks and how un-apologetically she draws out the last syllable of "empty". PURE RADNESS.

Joni Mitchell - California

I'm so creepily obsessed with Joanna Newsom's music, and have heard her described so many times as "The new Joni Mitchell" that I figured I might as well cover at least one of my many embarrassing musical blind spots and finally check her out.

To be completely honest, after listening to her discography five times through, I wasn't as blown away as I expected to be. But I did think the Blue album is amazing on every level. This song is my favorite. "Oh the rouge! The red red rouge!"

If your heart can take it, find the video of her playing this song for the BBC in 1970.

Joni Mitchel - All I Want

I really like the way she paces her singing throughout.

I want to have fun, I want to shine like the sun
I want to be the one that you want to see
I want to knit you a sweater
Want to write you a love letter
I want to make you feel better
I want to make you feel free
I want to make you feel free

Jesu - Tired of Me, We All Faulter, Farewell

Jesu is another band I've been listening to for years, but that suddenly took center stage in my music listening.

Their music seems impassively dense and heavy at first, but once I acclimated to it I found it incredibly expressive.

I feel vaguely like I'm having a heart attack while being swept under water by large waves crashing above, as lights slowly blink and strobe deep within the dark waters.

Cat Power - Ramblin' (Wo)man

Well I love you
I love you baby
But you've got to understand
When the Lord made me
He made me

Cat Power - Metal Heart (Jukebox version)

Cat power is the master of covers. This cover of her own song is so shockingly different and beautiful it's almost bewildering. I love listening to both together and marveling at the breadth of her insight and artistic mastery.

Paul Simon - Obvious Child

Figured it was time to finally check out Paul Simone's other albums, after burning a hole listening to Graceland. This infectious, uplifting, abstractly poignant, sensitive, exhilarating song pretty neatly sums up why Paul is so completely fantastic.

Paul Simon - The Coast

I don't even know what to say about this. It would have only occurred to Paul Simon to make this. There are so many great ideas here, all astonishingly well conceived and executed throughout. A contemporary singer/songwriter would be lucky if he/she had even one of the thirty ideas packed into this song.


Six Month Stickies # 6
Six Month Stickies # 5
Six Month Stickies # 4
Six Month Stickies # 3
Six Month Stickies # 2
Six Month Stickies # 1

Saturday, May 28, 2011

5 A Month Club: February

Sadly my ambitious plan for the 5 a month club, died after it's second month... It's proven too much work to fit in 5 projects each month without removing other projects I've already invested too much time into. Ah well, live and learn.

(To see the January Installment: 5 A Month Club: January )

Below are the results of the February installment of the 5 A Month Club:






First Date

[Interior. Living room. Day]

Josh and Blake playing video games (Teenagers)
Josh's older brother Todd walks in:

Alright get your shit together; Liz got you a date with her sister.
You're picking her up at six,
and keep her out for at least a few hours; me and Liz finally got her parents house to ourselves.

(Not looking up from TV, continuing to play video games)
What's she look like?

She looks nice, like Liz.

Is she fat?

No she's not fat. I said she looks like Liz. Is Liz fat?

Well she ain't thin.

A monster would want to eat her.

(Todd looks up confused and annoyed and distracted, Josh doesn't bat an eye.)


You know, if a monster wanted to eat someone
they wouldn't want someone who's all skin and bones,
and they wouldn't want someone with only fat,
they would want someone meaty...
I guess if monster food is too distracting, mountain lion food works just as well.

Whatever, I don't know why I asked.
(looks back to Josh still playing video games)
So pick her up at six.

I don't think so.

Why the fuck not?
What the hell are you doing that's so important?
Playing Mario Bros. with this fuck face?


Relax I'm just not interested.
Find somewhere else to fuck your girlfriend.

(Takes a deep breath)
This isn't about me fucking Liz,
this is about you sitting around all day playing video games
and rotting in a pile of gummy bears and pretzels with this ass hat,
(Blake: Hey!)
and that's pathetic and you need to realize that.

Damn, what the hell.
So I don't want to go out with your girlfriend's sister, so what?
You don't hear me making demands of you, so why are you all up in my shit for?

Listen, I'm your brother, I don't want to care but I do.
You're eighteen and you've never had a girlfriend,
you've never felt a pair of tits,
you can't manage your dick any better than a job or bank account.
And now you have an opportunity to go out with a real girl, do you understand?
Not that Japanese cartoon shit you jerk off to.

Dude lay off him, it's not like he committed a crime or so--

Blake shut up.
You can enter this conversation when it becomes normal to describe women as monster food.

(Turns back to Josh)
Come on Josh, just go out with her, if you don't like her you don't have to see her again.

(Takes hand off controller and pumps fist into air)
Yes! you got worked!
(In reference to video game)

(Exasperated at having lost game, throws down controller and looks up at Todd angry and annoyed)
Okay fine!
God damn, I'll take her out, just stop grilling me.

Good and take a shower first,
you smell like a moldy butt crack.
No offense Blake.


(Todd exits room)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Weird Dream

I had a weird dream a few nights ago, and shared it with a friend through I.M:

last night I had a dream that Samuel L Jackson and I were crying to a Nora Jones song.
So I woke up and was like "whoa, I guess I better listen to that song..."

Of course I don't have any of her albums, and wasn't even sure who she is or if it was even her song
but in any case I downloaded it and am listening now.

Not crying though, probably because Sam ain't around.
That's how gangsta I am.

Jamie: Ha ha! That's awesome. The craziest part of that is that you are listening to Norah Jones

me: Hahaha

Jamie: Faith found this old thing she wrote down years ago that said she had a dream where Colonel Sanders told her "There's a kernel of truth in everything."

me: Hahahahaha

My interpretation of the dream is that due to recent events in my life (which I won't get into here), I've had reason to feel sadness. Instead, I've reacted to these events with indignant anger. I think my subconscious in an attempt to connect me with my unprocessed feelings of sadness, was trying to manipulate me in dream, where my defenses are low.

(A common strategy by my subconscious in response to my many different exercises of abstinence. Often these attempts to manipulate me are comical in the degree of desperation shown and cluelessness as to what motivates and tempts me.)

My subconscious hoped to encourage me to cry by showing that even the embodiment of masculine toughness (Samuel L. Jackson) isn't too tough to cry. And by encouraging me with a sad beautiful song.

My subconscious is apparently a really bad production company though, because it chose a song for the soundtrack that I find neither sad nor emotionally poignant, by an artist I'm not familiar with, and that I don't like, and poorly casted the part of the masculine archetype.

Just to make sure there wasn't some higher level message encoded in the song lyrics or music I downloaded the Nora Jones album "Come Away With Me" and listened to the song in question (Don't Know Why") in real life. I braced myself for a good cry but nothing really happened. Maybe I need Samuel L. Jackson?

Norah Jones - Don't Know Why

Thursday, May 26, 2011

No Talking Tuesday # 184

Despite what my ever present supper burrito order may suggest, this Tuesday found me at a cheese fondue party organized by a gaggle of Swiss and German roommates and friends. I kept dropping my bread wads into the cheese and ordered to run naked through the snow for redemption. Of course there is no snow in Berkeley, so I guess I'm destined to die in sin?

The List:

One super prawn burrito please
-black beans
-wheat tortilla

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Robot Animal Concepts

I sketched some robot concepts for an upcoming animated music video.

No Talking Tuesday # 183

No list. Nothing special to report.

No Talking Tuesday # 182

No list. Nothing special to report.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Writing Section Updated

Updated the writing section of my site with these pieces:

Feathers in Smoke

At Arm's Length

Still Remaking

Song's in Sleep

Saturday, May 14, 2011

100,000 Songs

I recently logged my 100,000th song with,
which has been tracking my music listening since I signed up with the service a few years ago.
(To see what it looked like at 50,000, click here)

Of course this doesn't count all the music I've listened to from records, or at other computers that aren't set up to track my music library plays etc. But for the most part I would say it's a pretty accurate portrait of my musical tastes, neatly summed up and visually represented for me to nerd out on.

In observance of my 100,000 played song,
I've uploaded a music mix of my top fifteen listened songs.

Click the image below to download the mix:

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Some Recent Larger Scale Artwork

I finally got around to scanning and photographing my larger scale art I've produced over the last few months.

You can see the work here:

Or scroll down.

Blog Archive