“London artist Dan Hillier creates beautifully strange ‘altered engravings’. He sells his artwork from a stall in the Sunday Upmarket in East London.“
October 26, 2009
October 25, 2009
This fall, for Halloween, I was inspired to take on the project of creating my own mummified fairy. With the help of some online tips and a couple of weeks work, I got it finished tonight and feel pretty good about the results. After setting it up in a display case I snapped a few quick photos. I hope to have some better photos soon, but for now, enjoy! Click on the thumbnails for larger image.
October 23, 2009
For those who don’t know about this, I’ll use a blurb by James Rocchi as a quick summary:
“Based on Maurice Sendak’s 10-sentence 1963 children’s book, director Spike Jonze’s movie manages to build a slim, slight thing of grace into a feature-length film by burrowing into the book, not by blowing it up until it breaks. With a script by Jonze and author Dave Eggers (“A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius”), “Where the Wild Things Are” does not add to or expand on the plot of Sendak’s book but instead creates a series of moments — conversations, adventures, silences — that fit within the story Sendak created.”
I have been looking forward to this movie for some time now. It was a pretty exciting experience and definitely had its ups and downs. There aren’t many films in a year that I get this excited, and this opinionated about. I’m going to try and highlight my favorite and least favorite moments in this film by splitting it into three categories that I felt were important:
It was good, but it lacked. Two words can sum it up: manic depression. I felt like I was going to see a Pfizer logo pop up throughout the movie; it easily could have been sponsored by Ritalin, Lamictal, or Zoloft. I understand (or perhaps interpret) the point of this story as most do. Simply enough: kids will be kids. The conflicted feelings of growing up. How happy, how sad, how crazy, how rambunctious and of course, how wild we are. But I think a lot of it was taken to the extreme. Within the first 5 minutes I couldn’t help but think that poor Max had severe psychological problems and that I was watching a PSA for tourette syndrome. Even the role of Carol was taken to a bit of an extreme. Traditionally, the Wild Things are large, intimidating and incomprehensible, like adults, but they’re moody and mercurial, like children. They show a child trapped in a grown-up body. There were many times in the film when Carol felt like less of an emotionally confused child and more like an alcoholic father on a violent bender. There were too many situations that just felt uncomfortable. It was a feeling the seemed tough to shake throughout the movie, even when things were beautiful.
The best scene in the movie? Without spoiling anything: when Max left the island. It brought some tears to my eyes and highlighted one of the rare moments in the movie that I actually felt any emotion.
The majority of the film lacked substance, but I think that’s okay. It gave you a chance to take everything in, to enjoy the moments as they passed, and to think about what was going on. With all of the action packed thrillers these days, simple contemplation and absorption of the movie is something that the industry never lets you do. It was nice to have that.
On a similar note, the message that should have been conveyed was weak. The idea that children and adults alike need to know they have feelings in them: empathy, sympathy, love and forgiveness, is drowned out by anger, being angry, breaking things and yelling. There was definitely something lost in translation.
But, with all that said, I don’t think the story was really the focus of this movie..
One word: Perfection. Everything and anything that appeared on the screen just looked amazing. Cinematography, costumes, lighting, scenery, editing.. everything. It all exists in a world of wood and wind and wave, of sunlight and stone. The characters of Sendak’s drawings were given life in the most beautiful way. This is really no surprise; In fact, this was why I was so excited for Where The While Things Are. Lets put Spike Jonze aside for a second; Just to see Jim Henson Productions in full swing made the movie for me. I am a long time fan of the Jim Henson Creature Shop and the fact that they were used over CGI was one of the best decisions, ever.
I think my only criticism, which isn’t really a visual flaw, were the actors voices. From the first words muttered by Carol, in the distance, it just didn’t feel right. James Gandolfini sounded more like Jon Benjamin, and that combined with the creatures shape and size made me feel like I was watching a live action, not so funny Coach McGuirk. Catherine O’Hara as Judith didn’t really do it for me either. Forest Whitaker as Ira? Nailed it! There should have been more of that.
Question: What is one way you can make Karen O even more annoying then she already is? Answer: Have a chorus of kids join her so it sounds like Kidz Bop: Crappy Indie Rock Edition. I guess for the most part, the music was pretty much okay; especially when Karen O kept her mouth shut. It helped convey the feeling most of the time while distracting the rest. Considering it was Karen O and her band of talent less indie rock idiots, I thought it was going to be much, much worse. I actually came out of it feeling pretty satisfied with what I heard. I even downloaded the soundtrack to give it all another chance.
Said and done: I am a fan. I’d give it 7.5 out of 10.
Friday, Friday. Winners are in bold.
Green Bay Packers AT Cleveland Browns
San Francisco 49ers AT Houston Texans
San Diego Chargers AT Kansas City Chiefs
Minnesota Vikings AT Pittsburgh Steelers
Indianapolis Colts AT St. Louis Rams
New England Patriots AT Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Buffalo Bills AT Carolina Panthers
New York Jets AT Oakland Raiders
Chicago Bears AT Cincinnati Bengals
Atlanta Falcons AT Dallas Cowboys
New Orleans Saints AT Miami Dolphins
Arizona Cardinals AT New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles AT Washington Redskins
October 22, 2009
“We are developing a team of 4 small mobile humanoid robots that possess a novel combination of mobility, moderate dexterity, and human-centric communication and interaction abilities. Our collaborators include Xitome Design and UMASS Amherst. We refer to this class of robots as “MDS” for Mobile/Dexterous/Social. Completion is targeted for fall 2007.
The purpose of this platform is to support research and education goals in human-robot interaction, teaming, and social learning. In particular, the small footprint of the robot (roughly the size of a 3 year old child) allows multiple robots to operate safely within a typical laboratory floor space. MIT is responsible for the overall design, the mobile manipulator is developed by UMASS Amherst, and system integration is handled by Xitome Design.
This project is funded in part by an ONR DURIP Award “Mobile, Dexterous, Social Robots to Support Complex Human-Robot Teamwork in Uncertain Environments”, Award Number N00014-06-0516. It is also funded in part by a Microsoft Research Grant.” “
October 20, 2009
I’m excited to try this out. The level of human computer interaction seems amazing. Revolutionary, as usual.
October 19, 2009
Student Graduation Animation by Sjors Vervoort.
Animation and design by Sjors Vervoort.
Sound and SFX by Steven Aerts.
The Netherlands 2009.
October 16, 2009
I’m working on rolling out my new site. Keeping things simpler. Have patience while I get everything up and running, I just wanted to get the old one down and the new one up. I’ll keep this updated as I add more! As always, feedback is welcome!
It’s Friday. Winning teams are in bold.
Houston Texans AT Cincinnati Bengals
Detroit Lions AT Green Bay Packers
St. Louis Rams AT Jacksonville Jaguars
Baltimore Ravens AT Minnesota Vikings
New York Giants AT New Orleans Saints
Cleveland Browns AT Pittsburgh Steelers
Carolina Panthers AT Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kansas City Chiefs AT Washington Redskins
Philadelphia Eagles AT Oakland Raiders
Arizona Cardinals AT Seattle Seahawks
Tennessee Titans AT New England Patriots
Buffalo Bills AT New York Jets
Chicago Bears AT Atlanta Falcons
Denver Broncos AT San Diego Chargers
October 15, 2009
The Oliva Serie V, an old favorite, is becoming a favorite once again. After a summer full of Connecticut wrappers and mild cigars, autumn is the perfect time to welcome back a good, medium bodied cigar. The Serie V just seems to be my perfect smoke right now. It’s smooth, it’s tasty, it has a great shape and a great draw. I recommend the 5 x 54 Belicoso.
A little more in depth information about it:
Wrapper: Habano Sun Grown
Filler: Jalapa Valley Ligero
Vitolas: 7 Natural
Serie V is a complex blend of Nicaraguan long filler tobaccos. Blended with specially fermented Jalapa Valley ligero, and finished with a high priming Habano Sun Grown Wrapper.
Blending Notes: This cigar is blended to deliver full body taste while maintaining an unparalleled smoothness. This flavorful blend exhibits complex tobacco with rich coffee and dark chocolate tones.
A subtle and well balanced spice is present throughout.