Wednesday, May 20, 2009

If Facebook Disappeared...

If Facebook Disappeared...

...would it mean the end of the world?

I think it would be the end of the world for some people. True, for some folks, Facebook is just a website, and there might be many more important ones out there, like CNN, YouTube, Google, Wikipedia, or even YTMND. For some, Facebook is just a site you can slap your name on and say, oh sure, I have an account, but I'm never on there, it's just for fun.

I realized tonight how important Facebook has become for me while living alone and away from my friends and family. What started as a networking tool among college friends has grown into this massive universe of status updates, quirky applications, and shared links and photos. If all this were suddenly to disappear, if Facebook were to close its online doors, so to speak, I think we'd have an uprising. It would be an uprising of the Bored, the Lonely, and the Networking Communicators. And that's scary.

First, you've got these tightly wound communicators, who would be the brains of the uprising operation. They'd be the ones driven completely mad over it. They would plot and scheme and judge, and they'd network with all their fellow networkers to decide what sort of action to take out.

Then, you've got the lonely people - the people who crave constant contact - and they'd be the ones that the communicators would use (I mean, talk to, lovingly, maybe over a cup of coffee and some hugs). The lonely people would desparately relay the communicators' plans and instructions to others, so that they would be less lonely. These "others" - well, they're the bored people.

Now the bored people are the ones that carry out the action. They're the most unpredictable, because if you could predict their actions, it would have meant they were a structured, disciplined species with a plan unfolding in their lives. But they're BORED people. It's a whole subclass of folks willing to display indecent behavior in public, stick anything in any orifice, experiment with anything for no real scientific or curious purpose, and take on the dares of more contemplating folks who are too guarded themselves to act in such ways. The Bored People are the ones to fear, but arguably not so much as those Communicators with the plans in hand. Still, all these people as a collective would rise up and do something terrible, for sure, if Facebook ever simply disappeared.

I'm pretty sure I'm a Communicator, so, ye know. Look out, for me.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I'm laughing quite hard right now.

I made a deal with myself today that if I got those peanut butter cookies at the store, I'd have to do some extra animating at home. Or at least start a new side project. So I did. Never mind that the cookies pretty well sucked. I had already made the deal, so, poo.

Yes. Poo.

Anyway, I gathered some audio clips I've been harvesting lately, decided on one, and started drawing thumbnails. Fun. And then, I launched Maya...

HOLY MOLY I'm rusty. At first, it was just weird opening something that wasn't XSI, which I've been using exclusively for the last 8 months. Prior to that I had only really ever used Maya (except for maybe a year of 3d Studio Max in there somewhere), and had been completely comfortable with Maya. Suddenly tonight I found myself severely out of touch, finding I'd have to retrain my fingers again to the different keyboard shortcuts, and realizing exactly how much my workflow has changed (for the better) over the past year.

One thing I believe I'll have to change before the week is over is a new mouse. I didn't realize until now how the pressing function on my middle mouse wheel is so inefficient. Another thing I'm coping with is a single 17" laptop monitor versus dual 19" Dell monitors at work, which I use to spread out all of my tools, like the object view which I use to see the official shot camera view at all times, as well as the animation (graph) editor and often my explorer (or outliner). Even my vocabulary is XSI friendly now as opposed to the Maya terminology.

Another readjustment for progress... let's hope. For now, Bishop (the AM character) looks as stumped as I am.

Until tomorrow...

The World Is Just This Place Where We Live

A mere collection of thoughts for the weekend.

Here I am, in New Jersey, probably one of the last places I thought I'd ever live. Here I am, working my dream job, "dream job Plus", if you will, considering I'm doing what I love to do and working on a project so meaningful to me and others who grew up with Sesame Street for the last 40 years. Here I am, a married woman, lucky to have found her soul's complement, and while we're apart I am scared to death of anything happening to him while I'm away. I'm so protective, and yet I have a freer spirit somewhere. I know that change is in the wind and I can feel us getting closer to something.

We will miss it, in Chicago. We will miss our beautiful apartment I worked so hard to find, and he worked so hard to afford and maintain while I've been away. We will miss what could have been our first home, and what a fortunate one. We will miss the east windows and the fireplace we never got to use, the master bedroom we never got to move into. We will miss a handful of local ethnic restaurants where we've gotten to know the owners and become like friends. We will miss living so near to our families who mean so very much to us.

We look forward to moving toward a new, true, married lifestyle. We don't know where it will take us, but we are so blessed to know it is there. We may finally be extracted fully from the midwest, to one coast or another, where we both can find suitable work for ourselves. We have our passions to follow, and we have our passion for each other. We're ready for the new chapter, to turn the page and find ourselves happily in each other's arms, while proudly working in professions we've worked hard for our whole lives. We're proud of the many shades of discipline we've exemplified in our relationship, and we know it will carry us through time. We are so very fortunate to have seen so much of the world, and to have lived in some very special places, and we look forward to the next place which we will make special for ourselves and hopefully for others. We are preparing.

I've had quite a weekend, and yet, simple peace and quiet, nothing much to write about. Meandering observations, this time. Infinite thought and potential from such a finite mass of biological wonder. So many books, so many theories, so many walks of life. Such range of emotion, such depth of personality and mentality in the world. So vast and yet so tangible is this planet on which we live. I used to dream about flying. The rule was, I had to lie belly-side down on the sidewalk (much like the one right in front of my childhood home) and raise my head, arms, and feet above the pavement, and I would begin to hover, and lift, and rise above my neighborhood, and in a blink I was sailing through rainforests or careening high in the air amidst the tallest skyscrapers of an imagined city. But lately, sleep just brings me snapshots of the things I want most.. to be near to my husband again, and my family, and somehow still be as lucky to work on such a fantastic project as I am right now. What more could I possibly want, if all that was reality? Sometimes I let my emotions get to me, and I feel cheated out of the life we thought we might have at this point. But truly, I know I'm not cheated of anything. I'm chasing after heaven, fighting for perfection. Who knew I could be so selfish! And yet, what else would I do with my time?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Netflix is Too Awesome

So, this post is (obviously) about how cool Netflix is.

The other night, I was trying to watch the last couple episodes of Mythbusters Collecion 1 while eating dinner. Unfortunately every time I clicked "play" I got sent to a very odd looking error page. I kept trying to reload it - I restarted my browser, and even tried other browsers, but no luck. Actually, I assumed the problem was on my end because my area had two powerouts lately which I thought might have messed with my net connection or something like that. Usually when I experience some kind of customer difficulty I'm pretty comfortable with writing in a complaint or at least report the problem, but as I mentioned, I assumed it was my problem in this case and didn't report it, watching Hulu instead for the evening.

Tonight I got this message in my inbox:

We're sorry you may have had trouble watching instantly on your computer

Dear Laura,

Last night, you may have had trouble watching movies or TV shows instantly on your computer due to technical issues on the website.

We are sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused. If you were unable to watch a movie or TV show last night due to the technical issues on the website, please click the link below, and we will apply a 2% credit to your next billing statement.

If you tried to watch a movie or TV show on the website last night and would like a credit, click on this account specific link in the next 7 days to apply your 2% credit. Credit can only be applied once.

Again, we apologize for any inconvenience, and thank you for your understanding. If you need further assistance, please call us at 1-866-923-0898.

-The Netflix Team

My response?

You guys are so cool.

Thank you.


(Granted, 2% equates to about a 25-cent pack of gum, but hey, I like gum.)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Happy Cinco De Mayo

So, here I am, the fifth of May 2009. Admittedly, in Cinco de Mayo terms, I've been feeling less like the victorious Mexican and more like the defeated French debt collector. C'est La Vie? Tomorrow marks our 8th month married, and still living apart. It has gotten more and more awful, from an emotional standpoint, but the past few weeks have been more hopeful. We're still not even to the level of cautious optimism, but we're doing what we can. The bigger question seems to be, what happens if/when he gets a job out here on the east coast, but my contract ends in late summer? Hopefully answers to questions like that will come to light in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, we're still pressing for solutions.

Feast for the lighter fare, work is great. Folks at work are awesome and the project is still as loveable and challenging as ever. We are just wrapping episode 8 and start episode 9 very shortly. Yesterday for me was spent doing layout for the first 12 available shots, which was fun and felt productive, although I much prefer animation. I'm concerned about assets that aren't ready for this part of the production yet but tomorrow I'm hoping those kinds of issues will be resolved. Dean who is our head of layout has been bogged down with interactive layout production which is why I've taken on some of the broadcast preparation for the moment, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that by the end of the week I'll be breathing life into characters again, as opposed to loading them into scenes and peppering in model props.

We had a barbeque last Wednesday at Eric, Andy, Roman and Haokun's house in Fanwood. Another case of mojito girl at play. Jan cooked up some fabulously giant hot dogs and Mike made some delicious potato salad (although I apparently let everyone know repeatedly that I wasn't fond of the bacon). Kevin (Worth) brought along some kielbasa in "secret" ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar sauce (oops), which was very delicious. Other folks brought other things but I don't remember and probably didn't eat it because I was too busy enjoying myself. Mostly I was downing mojitos and listening to crazy stories, and eventually laughing with Mikaila and others on the kitchen floor after attempting to take a group picture. She posted some photos which are not the terribly incriminating ones.

This past weekend was spent in New York helping Sally Anne prepare for her move (and meeting her lovely friends Eric and Kasia, or "Kate", who was Polish btw), and otherwise working on my last shot of episode 8, going to church (you know, because I need to), and wallowing in my general misery, telling myself I didn't get married to spend every night in crushing loneliness, blah blah blah. That has to be so old, to hear about, if you're my friend. I'm sorry. :-)

At any rate, you can bet if I was home in Chicago this would be a helluva week. Today's Cinco De Mayo (excuse for drinking, celebrating, and what-have-you), tomorrow's our 8-month-wedding-mark, and Thursday is Naveen's birthday. Thankfully Friday evening I have a plane ticket home to Chicago and will then need lots of caffeine to survive the four-hour late-night drive into Indiana, where we'll be spending Mother's day weekend with our families. Aside from wreaking havoc on my immune system and general alertness and well-being, the crazy traveling is keeping us from going insane from missing each other. If we're lucky, maybe we'll get an interesting little trip out of Memorial Day weekend.

Naveen and I During our Florida Days