Saturday, June 30, 2007

why I love Flash

I started thinking about this flash piece early this morning when I was walking Molly around Lake Balboa. I played with it a bit all morning because I was so annoyed about other things concerning web design. Midday Dinah and I Drove to Hollywood Park, (Inglewood, near LAX), to see some races, which were outstanding. Lava Man won the Gold Cup today, making it three years in a row, making history. We sat in the stands and appreciated the desperation all around, including ours as we kept losing, until the end, when we bet nicely.

I came home and got back into this piece. By that time it was after six, and I should have just relaxed and eaten dinner. It's just after nine now. The piece is 30 seconds plus. Okay, not as polished as I might like, but geez, polished enough to tell its Northridge tale.

Inconceivable in the old days of animation.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Travelin' Family

My brother called yesterday. He'd just returned from a kayaking trip in Croatia. Before that he was sailing in the Virgin Islands, and in South Carolina, and in Brazil, trying to revive the relationship with his wonderful former fiance-- a relationship savaged by his grown children at Christmas last year.

He said one of his daughters was off to Mozambique for two years-- eek, had to google the country, sounded pretty scary, with advice like, "The Cuamba to Nampula train is rife with pickpockets. It is especially risky when all the passengers are disembarking. " or "Beware of the police. They are definitely your worst enemy! " His daughter is a beautiful strawberry blonde Brown Univ. graduate.

His other daughter is in Rome arranging Valentino's five million dollar birthday party. She's a remarried WTC widow, who's been working with Valentino for quite a few years. Can you imagine the potential bitchiness of this event? All those women of Richistan, kiss kiss... checking each other out.

Me, I'm off to New Jersey on Tuesday to see my mother.

How cute is this!

Molly as a puppy in Telluride, 2 1/2 years ago...
(had to post something so I wouldn't see the ugly mug below.

About blogger video, you have to be in blogger in draft, for the video function to work. And it seems you also have to be editing a post. Also typing the title requires first choosing an existing title, then typing over that. At least that's what I've experienced.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

How ugly is that?

even uglier in black and white. He killed his correction officer in Utah while on his way from jail to a medical appointment. He was caught at a fast food restaurant in Utah.

Dinah's new phone has an auto charger that took out her PT Cruiser's electrical system. It's become more expensive than an iphone with a service agreement. I loaned her my dog car, the Honda Element, and I've got this PT Cruiser convertible dealer free rental with a sworn statement that I won't let a pet in the car, or it will cost me $150.

didn't see any coyotes today. I'd say this picture is even worse to look at than the spittle bugs. So why did I post it? Just the kind of day I had. Tomorrow should be much better.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Titus and the Coyotes

This is a video of a great blue heron doing a mating dance at Lake Balboa. This is not what I saw today but I took this about a month ago.. just at the spot where I was today... (note this is google video-- let's see how it looks)

I got to Lake Balboa early-- really early-- and the gate was closed so I parked outside and walked in. Molly was with me. We walk for an hour and play "chuckit"-- with a purple tennis ball launcher.

A killdeer ran in front of me making great noises-- a neat bird I haven't seen in years. Then Molly stood very still and I looked up. I spotted a large animal standing a short distance off, also still. Right by the pine tree in the video. Is that a deer I thought?

It was a coyote nearly as big as Molly, and she's a big German Shepherd. It started stalking towards us, which is so unexpected, because usually coyotes run off. I stuck my arms out and made weird noises. It stopped for a moment, then kept coming towards us. It was about fifty feet away.

I threw my tennis ball at him. He stopped, and looked at it and at me. Molly was thrashing on her leash but not barking. I turned to walk away as a test, and he was still coming on.

Just then the gate must have opened and a big black SUV came down the road. The coyote ran in front of the car, past us. The car stopped. I looked across the road and saw several coyotes over there. It was thrilling to see but scary. We headed quickly into the park, to walk the lake.

Near the end of the walk, I chose to take the path that goes over a hill and near a lot of brush. Usually I see hawks there, and I figured I'd had my excitement for the day. Suddenly I heard a dog barking uproar in the bushes and a man screaming, "NO TITUS! NO!"

That did it. I turned around and ran all the way out of the park, or at least to the concrete sidewalk!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

a counting piece I did for Sesame Street

Aside from awesomely talented and mysterious Linda Davick, my biggest fans are the Sesame Street twenty somethings, who asked me if I'd done this piece.

You can't imagine how devoted to Sesame Street they are. There are forums where they talk about it. (think about it...)

I liked the design at the time, but not the music and voiceovers, so I never saved a copy. When I saw this youtube piece I was amazed by how bad the reproduction looks, and how image quality doesn't seem to matter to the youtube crowd, who are amazed that I am one of them... Dinah never was-- she never liked to watch tv when she was little.

I animated this as Color-Ade cutouts. Color-Ade was the coolest paper, silkscreened with an intensity of color that made it a sensual treat to work with. I looked in the closet for the storyboard today, but I'd tossed it. It would have been fun to contrast the intense colors of the design with the post laundry look of the youtube.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Anxious Sunday

Linda Davick asked me about what I was doing in Chattanooga Tennessee in 1967. I was at the Cotton Ball, of course, with these good old boys from Lookout Mountain. Must say the guy two in from left looks like the man of the moment, (not to be confused with the old man of the mountains). The man in the middle was Toto. I don't remember the other names anymore. There was one guy named Noodlebooger who was one of the boys. He had something wrong with him.

Thorpe MacKenzie, a romantic figure in the crowd, (not pictured), went on to become a super rich investor. I saw a picture of him with his wife and family all lined up/ propped up in front of a fancy fireplace, on the internet. He played the banjo when I knew him, and according to the internet he still does... and fishes in Scotland.

But that's not what made me anxious. Dinah and her boyfriend vanished on their camping trip, from the quick phone call Friday afternoon, outside Fresno, till a late phone call last night, as they left "the park". They didn't get home until 3:30 am. They saw three bears. I was Goldilocks, no- I was a wreck, worrying, which I don't usually do.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

I sit on sunglasses

so I thought this Annie Hall style pair would suit me well. Cost $30 including shipping. My current pair need paper clips to stay together. The old ones are nice Alain Miklis that I got from a reliable internet dealer who has since stopped selling them.

I need the Annie Hall style, maybe my ears are at different _y posits on my head--and it's hard to find these days. (my head, the style, or my _y posit?)

So I ordered the pair above, and was so pleased and excited. But when I opened the box these ultra high stylers were in there instead:

They're actually strangely flattering. And the functional design is MOMA. Foldout strange and lovely. Like an Eames chair or something. But the logo says "Porsche". ew, tacky. the attached price tag is $125. Guess I'll keep and wear them, enjoy the strange bug alien look instead of dorky 70s Annie Hall, which is more how I look. Jon looked worried when he saw me wearing them, but knowing my propensity for sitting on them, said I should keep them.

Friday, June 22, 2007

this must be fillmore

Goofy hot Saturday. Molly and I went out to sheepherding at 7:15. Molly got to run in the big ring with a ton of sheep. I'm going to edit the videos this weekend. She had the time of her life.

Coming back we entered a time warp and followed this car. Taken right after we'd crossed the narrow gauge train tracks. Jon was off to Florida to see his father, Dinah and Cameron headed out in my car to hike/camp in Yosemite. Molly and I were on the open road.

Got home and a message from Jon said he'd quit his flight because they'd been trying to fix the plane for three hours-- electrical trouble... okay so much for my plans of eating unhealthy foods I love like sour cream shortribs and cake. I was glad he was coming back as it looked like a lonely weekend... but bye bye bad food delights. amazing I'm not a fatty.

Dinah has been petsitting someone's rabbits against our wishes. She paid me to take over the gig. I growled, I agreed. I got there and couldn't open the door. I swore. I got in the side door feeling like a criminal, punched the code, found the whole scene kind of weird, and couldn't find any of the rabbit supplies. The rabbits live in a step over fenced area in the living room, on wall to wall carpet... The rabbits have a two story dwelling. The house is at least four floors. The smell made me think of detective novels. It was in a fancy part of the Valley. The rabbits were fat.

Came back to a major load of code changes on the searchers 2 site. Got the google adwords in place. (A great feature, the text box sponsored ad that appears on the right when you do a search.)

Got a phone call from Whit Smith saying he'd call me today with all his stringdevils bookings. great. He was calling from an airport too.

Pizzasaurus at the door. bye all.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

the email bud

Another flash chesnut from last century. Let's see if it plays. I imagined interactive animation was the coming thing. still waiting. click around in this piece.

it doesn't scale down so well, but maybe you'll get a laugh. The email was real...titled "not good."

I get a kick out of this one. Tomorrow I'll see if I can scale the text so you can read it okay. Tonight I have agility with Molly, and sheep herding in the morning.

after agility... pumped up from running the course with a most excellent German Shepherd. Found a bitmap of the original email, gotta show you:

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

CNET not always to be trusted

I signed up for a weekly email from cnet thinking it would help my general computer skills, since I always need help and usually have to follow such a breadcrumb trail to figure things out. So I get this bright yellow perky message each week featuring a guy who looks like a chipmunk and talks about his kids too much. (Have I mentioned that aI have a low tolerance for anyone who says: "I feel blessed?") ) :: (

Last week Mr. Perky asked if my computer was loading too slowly, and offered some quick tips on using msconfig. "Good Idea" I think, and pop on over to msconfig and uncheck various items that seem irrelevant to my system.

My computer's been a wreck ever since. I've gone to system restore, where it restores to an earlier time-- hmm, I could take 1926.. but I took about two weeks ago. Tried that, it was a bear. Told it to go back farther in time, that was worse. Told it to unistall the restores. Now the basic programs I use, like Flash and Word, need reinstall/repairs. Some of those programs have nasty activations required.

Thanks Chipmunk. Next email you send I'm unsubscribing. (I've also bought products on their advice that I haven't been so keen on upon receipt.)

a link to Dinah's new phone.

Monday, June 18, 2007

More Dangerous Than Dynamite

think about it!

Searchers 2.0 website (beta)

I've been code consumed the last couple of days trying to pull together this site for Alex Cox's movie, Searchers 2.0, which Jon produced. I would like to get the video on a streaming server, but it seems to be too pricey, so I'm using a progressive download. Let me know if it chokes up when you look at it. Alex is on a dial up connection, so he's probably still waiting for the loading screen to finish up!

If you click on the video, the guy in the backseat, Ed Pansullo, reminds me of Quasi. This site is fancier than what I usually do, whew.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Pie du Jour

Note my expanded French vocab. We saw "La Vie en Rose" today. The acting and production design were exquisite. I usually get nasty critical when I see contemporary films doing period, because they're so over glossed and under researched, but this one was stunning, visually, and wonderful faces and acting. I actually cried for half a beat in one scene, something I haven't done since I was a teenager. The editing is way too experimental for an American audience, and movie over-long, but lots about it to recommend.

Came home and baked this pie, which has raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, plums and doughnut peaches all under one crust. Limited time offer.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Entymological Moi


So I'm sitting at my computer this morning, as usual, writing code for the searchers 2.0 website, when Jon comes in and says, "Do you want to see something weird?" I said, "Is it disturbing?" He said, "It might be."


I follow him out back. He points at the big, woody rosemary bush in our brick planter. It's covered with white fluff. I look closely. It's foamy fluff.

We don't know what the heck it can be, but it doesn't look good. We've had a problem with black widows in that area in the past, but this year, perhaps because it's been so dry, we haven't seen any. It reminds us of what the pond looks like when fish spawn- you get the idea? I thought if all these foamy sacs hatch we're going to be in a plague of bugs. I used to have insect fear. I've gotten over it, mostly...

Jon left me in charge of solving this . He was suddenly quite busy. Where to start? I opened a guide book I bought long ago, "Insects of the Los Angeles Basin." (I was really into nature guides for awhile!) Somehow I found what they were: Spittle Bugs!!

But as you can see they don't actually spit, um, no... Anyway, I chopped the rosemary bush way way back and put all the stems in the green can, with a heavy lid on top. Just hope no one opens that can before trash day and lets loose the plague of spittles.

It made for a less than lovely Saturday.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Graduation Night

Dinah's graduation was held at the Alex Theatre, a beautiful small Art Deco movie theatre in Glendale. It was air conditioned. The event was very non-traditional, with students wearing just about whatever they pleased. Actually many girls wore the same ugly style baby doll dress, a bad fashion idea that seems to have come back.

All the awards are given out before the graduation day, so that parents don't feel the pressure. Parents at this school are super aggressive. I never made a friend there in eight years, but that's my problem!

Whoever wants to sing, or dance, or tell jokes, can, within reason, do just that at the ceremony. Since it's an artistic school, (sort of), and many parents are involved with movies, the level of talent was decent and performances surprising. Dinah did her weird "Caribbean Amphibian" song a capello, dancing with Uncle Frog while wearing her riding helmet and her sexy chevron dress.

She said she liked this dress I bought on ebay. I thought my arms looked too big till I saw the general size of 18 year old arms these days. Notice how I artfully cropped mine. Thanks, Photoshop.

She is quite the babe.

I'd made reservations at an Italian restaurant up the street, for dinner after the ceremony. Linda Pearl and her daughter Olivia came, and so did Dinah's boyfriend Cameron and Rubi and Rosita. Rubi was Dinah's babysitter in the early days, and a wonderful person. Rosita is another fine Guatemalan lady who used to work across the street. She was near tears a few times. She saw Dinah a lot long ago, but not at all in recent years. Uncle Frog was there too. Rosita pointed out that it maybe wasn't an Italian restaurant, since there were so many swords on the walls. HAH! It was Lebanese, to my surprise. The food was good, and we had a jolly time.

Afterwards Dinah and Cameron went to the class party, an all night affair in South Pasadena. Can you imagine being the parents who agreed to let 150 kids come to their house and spend the night? Dinah said they had a big back yard, with a pig, and that both parents are psychiatrists. I said maybe they never got over "Charlotte's Web." This morning Dinah had to go to work early, but all the kids' car keys had been hidden, and she had to wake the parents up at 6:30 am to get her keys back. Maybe she should have told them she had a bad dream. (maybe that's why I never made friends at Oakwood.)

The Impossible Dream

A possum cake... found at same site as the graduation cake below, which also is known as a Linda Davick special, though the cakemaker, cakesbydarcy, is in Georgia. Since this cake was listed in the groom cake section, maybe it has dirty symbolism, but I don't know what it would be. (Your fiance looks like a possum?)

A couple of years ago I found a realistic opossum dog toy and put it in a serving dish with a lid, for Thanksgiving. I walked around the table with it, and asked a guest who didn't know me well if he'd like to try an old Southern favorite. Haha funny when I lifted the lid.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Graduation Day

We're off to the Alex Theatre in Glendale, for Dinah's graduation from Oakwood.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

got Blackberry?

another ugly picture!
My birthday present, perhaps. Do you have one? Do you like it? We're going to be travelling more next year, and Jon thinks we need one of these. I get minus zero phone calls most days, but I am an internet fiend. I've never had a cel phone. I don't even have a laptop.

What I really want is a phone like Linda D. designed...

Clicking on the above link will make your day/week I guarantee. Brilliant and Hysterical! Ultra ultra desirable and peculiar and perfectly designed... as usual... not sure if it's approp to post an image in my blog from this futuristic emotional phone so I'll keep the ugly dotty image I've got.

Once I saw a cel phone that actually heated up in relationship to the caller... for under 30s only. You assigned temperature to people in your phone book.

I'm a phone phobic. If any of you have berry experience, give me some advice, please. Otherwise I'm dependent on cnet, and they are usually cruising a year behind, as I've observed.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I'm ever so fond of google for all kinds of things, including this nice little topper, called TeaHouse, which changes a little during the day, though it would be nice if it changed more. igoogle is my home page.

I tried the theme called "Seasonal Scape" but liked it less. What I notice in both of them is the artist observes small, dear details and that seems to really click. The tiny shoes, and in Seasonal Scape the tiny cardboard drink warmers. I guess this was done in Illustrator. Linda?

Google images can keep me clicking along endlessly, and google earth is also an amazing tempting tool. I also use google analytics, google maps, everything but g-mail.

What are your favorite google features?

Monday, June 11, 2007

decor slut

see if this works!

actual url is here.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

ebay card I didn't win

It's the message that makes it such a great card.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

M.C. Escher Vegetable

Last year this amazing cauliflower-like vegetable was for sale for a month at the Encino Farmer's Market. I bought it each Sunday and marvelled at it. The picture is inadequate. Its head was comprised of flowerets, and each one was a spiral, going to a point like a conch shell, and each floweret's spiral was also a spiral! The flowerets were also arranged/grew in a spiral form. It was chartreuse color. The flavor was bland. No one had a name for it. Wondrous vegetable.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Vintage Clothing

I moved to Los Angeles around 1980. My job at Snazelle had ended, and I was directing the animation for Joe Dante's Twilight Zone episode. The production house was in North Hollywood, which was then a sad, deserted commercial area. At lunch I wandered into a shoe store where they still had shoes from decades before. Of course I was the only customer. The predatory elderly shoe salesman seized the opportunity.

He squeezed my big feet into shoes that were way too small and convinced me they fit, that they just needed breaking in. It was absurd. I bought about five pair which I carried back in a big stack. Jon was appalled when I told him about it.

I think I saw it as a window into the past, that somehow, wearing them, I could cross over. nuts!

Lovely vegetables

Encino Farmer's Market.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Obsolete Formats

Don't click there because nothing will happen...

Thanks for the nice comments on Sado Air. When I read the requests for further chapters, I got sort of sad. (Sad, not sado!)

I started the long Charbucks saga somewhere around 1998, or maybe earlier. It was when Starbucks were just starting to appear everywhere. It was just gifs, one episode at a time, with the characters repeating their lines over and over, until you clicked the next button.

I started looking for ways to make it livelier, found some script that allowed the girls to say things randomly, which seemed wildly wonderful.

Then a mysterious fellow in the Netherlands contacted me to beta test a web program he'd created himself, which simplified using JavaScript to create web animation and break out of the gif format. I should have been looking to Flash...

I built a long story about Whinsey and Anita travelling on the Titanic Two, after their plane crashed in Mesquite, Nevada. (And the plane crash too was in an obsolete form of code.) A very cool composer, Peter Drescher, provided music for me in the Beatnik format. Beatnik had some amazing code which made midi files sound like real music. This was before there were alternatives like mp3!

Beatnik is now obsolete, and the files don't play. The Titanic Two files also no longer play, because of changes to web browsers. I suppose I could recreate them, but not easily, as there were just masses and masses of code and engines in this program of Sada's. (That was his name.) He's completely vanished from the internet world as well.

Recently the New Yorker profiled Gordon Bell,
who's basically scanning/digitizing his entire life. But he says it's all dependent on the jpeg and word docs still surviving as valid formats. Don't count on it, bud!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

yet more

click on the picture and see the face we see at home. click again and see who won "Athlete of the Year" and seven trophies.

This is maybe awful but funny. As she was accepting her big award, she said "Cheesits make you run fast." (She's a junk food vegetarian.) But most of the students at her school are Jewish, and Jon thought she said, "Jesus makes you run fast."

She's totally areligious, but the whole thing cracked us up.

Sado Air

Here's a new bit of animation I put together, based on the old gif story I told episode by episode back in the 90s on my web site. You have to be a fast reader.

I heard on the radio that a British film director, Michael Figgis (name?) arrived at LAX last week. As he passed through customs, they asked his purpose in visiting. He said, "I'm here to shoot a pilot." He got hauled off by TSA! True story!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Dinah Wins Again

The headmaster at Dinah's school emailed us Saturday that Dinah was going to receive the headmaster's award at the ceremony Monday morning. This honors the most outstanding student, though the criteria are not just academic. It's quite an honor.

We received elaborate secret instructions on where to meet, because the parents are included but the honor is a surprise, and no one is supposed to see you until the name is announced. Jon couldn't go because he'd booked an editing session, but I headed down there today at the appropriate time. A boy and girl each receive the honor. I was escorted backstage and stood in this dark closet-like hallway for the WHOLE ceremony, until her name was announced, then I walked out, got a hug, and was motioned aside so official pictures could be taken. Couldn't even peek out under a curtain.

We were thrilled she won it though.

My Favorite Candy

Thank goodness these are hard to find, because I can inhale these British candies. They have a gritty sugar coating and intense, not really like fruit, flavors. I used to also really like the American candies Jujyfruits and Dots, but they've changed the recipes and have a really weird spikey industrial aftertaste now. Red Vines taste better than Dots these days. Almost makes me want to do a search for vintage Dots. And how about Bonamo's Turkish Taffy? I once read Joe Bonamo's autobiography. (Bonomo?)

Years ago a British friend came to visit and I asked him to bring me some rolls of these Rowntree treats. I think he thought they were going to last half a century, but they were gone in two days.

Once on an airplane I sat next to a woman who offered me some of her Jujyfruits, and we got to talking about candy and discovered we had the exact same obsessive love of certain gummy candies-- but hated gummy bears. You know, candy fetish talk. And we continued to talk, which I never do on airplanes. Gradually I realized a common interest in candy doesn't equate to a common interest in life's bigger pictures.

ps my Father in law prefers See's Candy (of course) but also likes peanut brittle, generic.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

frog fun for the feeble (or not)

Paprika opening credits

This opening sequence was exquisite, and the movie was astounding. It is a very trippy story about dream manipulation, and I've got to read more about how it was done.


Going to see this movie today. I haven't been in a theatre in about a year.