Friday, March 27, 2009

Character project

Never really got to work on digital sketching the way I had hoped, so I decided to do a small character design project. Did some sketching:

There's a whole story I have to go with this, but basically it's slave > rebel > leader > crazy leader > bat-shit crazy executee. Sketches aren't 100 percent finished, but I need to get working on a final concept render/painting. It will be of "crazy leader" looking ultra Jack-Nicholson-in-The-Shining crazy...hopefully.


Xavier lost last night. I just waxed my skis and put them away for the summer. Oh well. X will be even better next year, and baseball season, a suitable replacement for skiing, is right around the corner.

Still...sad face.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Well, even more to make me smile this week. My portfolio was featured on Core77 today. Pretty huge to me.

Monday, March 23, 2009


This is not me; it is someone much better. But it gives a good impression of the size of the large hit at PFC this weekend, perhaps the best jump I've ever hit.

60 feet from the lip of the takeoff to the knuckle of the landing
70-75 feet to the sweet spot

The feeling of flying through the air with this much nothing beneath you is indescribable.

A weekend of skiing, friends and pink flamingos

I'm sore all over but can't stop smiling.

Every year since 2004, after they have closed to the public, Perfect North Slopes has hosted the Pink Flamingo Camp. All the snow that is left is pushed around to turn the hill into one giant terrain park. Regrettably, due to money/timing issues, I was never able to attend.

After leaving straight from co-op for an 11-hour drive, I finally made it back for PFC 6 and the best weekend of skiing I may have ever had.

The atmosphere at Perfects' terrain park is unmatched. Go to a resort, and the parks are full of trash talking twelve-year-olds who snake you in line and give you shit for taking it easy. This is not, nor has it ever been, the case at Perfects. Everyone loves to ride and loves that you do, too. Can't figure something out? Chances are someone will offer up advice without being asked. And, even though they're doing switch 1080's, you'll get props for you first 540. It's a great vibe to experience, and, compounded with getting to see some old friends, it made for one of those rare times that will cause an involuntary smile everytime it pops into my head.

The setup was top notch. Though it may have lacked the mid-sized jumps (25-35 feet) that I prefer to learn on, everything was laid out to perfection. Rails everywhere, as couple of small hits, a 40-foot step up, and a 60-foot step down that, though I wasn't comfortable enough to spin over it, may have been the most well-built jump I've ever hit.

Despite my personal suckitude on the slopes, the level of talent of the rest of the skiers rivals anything I've seen in a mountain terrain park. 450 pretzels, switch 1080's, superman front flips, nasty 360 hand drags, rodeo 900's, and even a double-cork 1260. It's simply amazing the talent that Perfects breeds.

I was too busy to shoot anything, but I'll throw up some pics when others get them online.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The most influential thing I have ever learned

While I'm on the subject of things I learned in high school:
If I've taken one thing away from the bastion of academia that is East Central High School (cough-horseshit-cough,) it came from my freshman english class.


Take a minute to think about this. Life is very seldom random. More often than not, whatever happens happens for a reason. Apply this wherever you like, and you'll find it provides some interesting perspective.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Designers strive to be Plato's philosopher kings

Back in high school, I learned about Plato's allegory of the cave and his concept of philosopher kings. Basically, PKs are able understand universal truths (Plato calls them "forms.") A PK, for example, knows true beauty whereas Joe-Toga-and-Sandals can only see instances of beauty.

This seems very similar my idea of the purpose of the design process. Let's say a company asks me to design product X. It isn't my job to just make it pretty, or appealing, or functional, or marketable, or profitable. A successful designer uses process as a method of problem solving to simultaneously fulfill all of these needs. Initially, there is no way to know what makes the best product X. But, through research, ideation, exploration, etc. designers can find rational, justifiable answers that lead to a complete understanding of product X. With that knowledge we are able to create the best product X possible.

It is impossible to find every truth in every (or possibly any) design problem, but we use process to get as close as we can. Since we aren't philosopher kings and can't just see them, the design process is our way of arriving at Plato's forms.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Movie Haiku

Finally put two and two together this weekend, realizing that my Plasystation can be used for watching movies online. I don't feel compelled to right real reviews or opinions, so here are some haiku.

The Wrestler
'Bout redemption? No.
You glossed over the real point.
A constructed life/lie.

Nixon's funny voice
Just what you had expected...
...till the thoughtful end

Rachel Getting Married
Anne - complex addict
Deserved Oscar nod; hot, too
Was the end her choice?

Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Judd's hilarious.
Vampire musical fun.
Way too much penis.

Watchmen, meh

The New York Times review said "[Watchmen's] ideal viewer ... would probably be a mid-’80s college sophomore with a smattering of Nietzsche, an extensive record collection and a comic-book nerd for a roommate." They got it mostly right. While perpetual adolescents (i.e. most guys) will enjoy the movie, the only viewer who will actually find it groundbreaking is the Times's "hypothetical young man."

My overall feelings about the movie are almost identical to those about the graphic novel. The themes are there:
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes,deconstructing and rationalizing the idea of superheroes, does the end justify the means, etc. but there's not much else. The story becomes too mired in plot to transcend geek lore and become literature. Provoking thought is commendable, but providing insight, something Watchmen is short on, is artistic. While just the idea of putting these themes in a comic book may have been unique when Watchmen was originally published, it's just not enough.

The film also misses out on one of the novel's most impressive and intellectual facets. At the end of each installment the story is supplemented with some "fake" literature. This includes a chapter from the superhero tell-all Under the Hood, as well as a psychiatric profile of Rorschach. These do a great deal to bring the reader into the alternate reality of the novel, and were probably a major factor in making Watchmen the only comic named to Time Magazine's 100 best English language novels since 1923. Regretfully, they cannot be translated to the silver screen.

As for the movie, it's probably as good as it could have been without pissing off the loyal fan base. It follows the comic like a storyboard, often going shot for shot, line for line. The visuals are impressive and not nearly as self-indulgent as 300, director Zach Snyder's previous work, and the soundtrack, though distracting at times, is appropriate. The altered ending is actually an improvement from the novel, which was a little on the silly side.

There is some fat that could have been trimmed. The movie is too long, and certain elements, like the Dr. Seussed white tiger, make no sense without their counterparts, which were not included. The movie is also plagued by some terrible CGI. Dr. Manhattan looks increbile, but he clods around like that soccer playing robot from Honda
, and said tiger looks and moves like shit, plain and simple.

Watchmen boils down to a novel and movie made by people who are smart - but not too smart, artistic - but not too artistic. They're both fun too look at and may provoke some thought. Don't expect anything more, and you'll have a good time.

3 out of 5 stars

Friday, March 13, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

I won't bother repeating what just about every critic in the world has said. Let it suffice to say that this movie is spectacular.

But why? There's nothing here I haven't seen before. The visuals, soundtrack and story are everything for which you could hope, as they combine to reaffirm any faith you may have lost in humanity. Normally, I hate that. It's too idealistic for my uber-postmodern views. I even thought this as I was watching the film. I have a terrible habit of trying to dissect movies as I'm watching, but I can't help it. Near the end, I caught myself thinking, "Everything's going to end up happy.
Damn, this was just okay." Then, as the film did a quick recap of itself (a technique for which I would also normally have a distaste), I realized I didn't care about all my snobby crap. I loved these characters and wanted them to be happy.

As the films ended with the quintessential spinning camera kiss, I couldn't help but smile. Very few films have this effect on me, and I really have no idea why this one did. But who cares? If something makes me feel this way, I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Holy shit Sam

Amis, your portfolio looks amazing. My inferiority complex is kicking into high gear.


I haven't been around for a while, so I have a few things to come including my thoughts on Slumdog Millionaire, Watchmen and how co-op went this quarter.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Things that I love to hate and hate that everyone loves

Non-ski vacations
Not to say they aren't fun, but they pale in comparison to becoming pale (except for goggle tan) at a world class mountain. Between the two, everything's the same - drinking, nice restaurants, etc. - except when you ski you burn 900 calories per hour. When you sit your ass on the beach you burn your skin.

Take away every human but that creepy kid from Even Stevens and you have the exact same movie. Wait, the movie's about those people? Shit. Watching giant fighting robots, awesome. Watching John Turturro in the worst performance of his career, not awesome. I've never seen another movie more meant for stupid people.

I've never seen a TV show more meant for stupid people.

The Yankees
Why is baseball so messed up these days? Exhibit A. I don't hate them because they win all the time; I hate the way they've done it in the last 15 years, buying championships.

and finally...

One of the very few foods I just can't stand the taste of. Nothing against 99% of the world liking it, but do you really have to throw it in every time you make a casserole?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Awesome footwear blog

Just ran across this great footwear blog today. Info like industry terms and how to create lasts. Click the logo to check it.

The guy's company, The Directive Collective, is also pretty nice.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Good weekend, can't wait to get home

Took a trip to Whiteface Mountain this weekend (Lake Placid, NY.) Ever though the skiing was pretty terrible I had a great time. I haven't gone out much this quarter as it is just a huge hassel to go back into the city after I get home from work, so this was a welcome change of pace. Counting the days until I get home for PFC, Perfect North's annual newschool camp that I've never been able to attend for one reason or another.