Friday, December 21, 2012

Welcome to the New Age

Just a shout out to the whole world today on this December 21, 2012. For centuries, humanity has tried to predict its own demise. Today, end of an era or not, we are still here. Perhaps we need to take on faith that we don't know the day or the hour, after all.

The significance of the completion of the Mayan long count calendar, if any, has yet to be determined. Today, we are consumers, and we generate 12-month calendars and recycle them at the end of the year. Why it was important to develop the long calendar, I can only speculate, and no better than anyone else (especially not better than actual students of historical culture).

The tiny, highly-focused, autistic-sympathetic creature in my brain makes me think that back then someone just really got into this calendar thing, and it's just as much art as it is calculation. At some point it just felt like a finished work, which no doubt feels significant to anyone. The danger of such a lasting piece of history with such implied finality of an era is the part of our paranoid humanity that looks to know when our end will come.

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

It would be a beautiful thing if the end of this 13th Baktun signified an end to mindless speculation and fear mongering. When the world propagates fear, it propagates violence, ignorance, destruction, stagnation, and other crises. We have the power to maintain fear, but also the power to overcome it, to be sensible, educated, peaceful, and forward-thinking. Progress is won by our active choice to challenge fear. What is the meaning of life, if not to progress? If we can't fathom the meaning of life in our time, hope moves us to believe in the future. We believe in our children. We believe in our advancements in society and sciences. If we can believe in a better tomorrow and picture it in our minds, together we can develop stepping stones to achieving that image.

Preachy right? I won't apologize. Personally I feel that now more than ever, we need solidarity in believing in humanity's potential for greatness. Why not? We can argue about how to define greatness, but who can argue with the universal desire to fit those definitions, if only to surpass them?

Some people who spread fear are afraid themselves and feel a need for others to share in their anxieties, when the real comfort should instead come from a unified, collaborative pursuit of progress. However, there are people in the world who have determined that progress is unnecessary and that existence is meaningless. For those who can not hope, who find life to be pointless, you are not alone, but you are in a niche group, and you like everyone have a right to your opinion. We all have our place in the world, and terrorism of any nature is unwarranted and wrong, whether big or small, mental or physical. If you can at least recognize the potential for human goodness, you can see the morality in allowing that potential to exist, simply by acknowledging others and embodying a respectful openness that many people in the world do believe that life has a purpose (even if we don't know explicitly what that purpose is, yet).

Live and let live. Treat others as you'd like to be treated. The show must go on.

With the holidays right around the corner, I'd just like to wish everyone all the very best, no matter what you celebrate (or don't). As for me, I'll be celebrating Christmas with my family, enjoying our traditions, playing with my nieces and nephews, and forgetting all about fear.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Disney's Acquisition of Lucasfilm

This one will be short and sweet. No political commentary intended or desired.

I saw this image regarding Disney's recent acquisition of Lucasfilm:

...and decided to generate a follow-up meme:

Enjoy. :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Kickstarter a Huge Success!!!

Our kickstarter for our short film just finished, and we are 271.05% funded. 615 backers, $16,263 pledged of our $6,000 goal. YES!!! THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR YOUR INCREDIBLE SUPPORT! 


In addition to funding, we have gained over 30 new helpers on our film between animators and other later departments in our pipeline, so this has been an overwhelming success we never suspected would happen. If you misssed it earlier, here's the link:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

One Per Person Kickstarter Launched!

Happy Tuesday everyone!!!

It is with great pride that finally I can share with you a little more about our CG animated short film project, One Per Person. As you already know, I'm an animation supervisor, which means I help lead a team of animators to produce the best quality believable acting and movement to sell the story written by our co-directors. We're a third of the way through the animation phase, and have had over 50 people (at least 20 of them animators) volunteer their time to this project, and we are working hard to complete it. Once we complete the animation phase, it will be time to light and render our film, which will cost us thousands of dollars due to the need for a render farm. That's why we've turned to Kickstarter for help.

Every dollar counts and is much appreciated. Thank you for your support, and without further ado, here it is!

*Update: 9/19/2012 at 12:30am central time:
As you know, earlier today we launched the kickstarter for our short film project "One Per Person" set to complete in 2013. Already we are 2/3 funded. I am amazed by the generous outpouring of support of our friends, family, and even perfect strangers. Simply.. Amazing!!! Thank you SO MUCH!!!

*Update: 9/19/2012 at 10:15am central time:
So I woke up this morning to find we had already surpassed our $6K goal in less than 24 hours. I am simply amazed. Thanks to everyone for your tremendous support!!! Having additional funds is wonderful because there is a lot of other cost we've endured in terms of file hosting, meetings, etc. It's also very likely that the render farm will cost us closer to $10K, so the money will all go to a good cause. Thank you so very much!

*Update: 9/20/2012 at 2:30pm central time:
Amazing. Today we're at $7.5K and still climbing. We are overjoyed at the outpouring of support and it is such peace of mind knowing we'll be able to afford this render farm as we approach our dream goal of $10K. THANK YOU!

*Update: 9/21/2012 at 12:50pm central time:
Got online this morning to see we are over $9K now. Unbelievable to think this $10K render farm may be fully paid for. Incredible, we never expected the level of support we're getting. Thank you all so very very much. It means a lot to us!!! 

*Update 9/24/2012 at 1:03pm central time:
Incredibly we are over $11K now, in less than a week. We are humbled by the huge support and working hard to get things done now so we can finish our project and start getting it to festivals! Thanks again everyone for your incredible support!!! 

*Update 10/2/2012 at 12:50pm central time:
Unbelievably we are almost to $13.5 K.. If we hit $15 K, our festival fees will be paid for. I'm floored by the support, everyone. Thank you so, so very much!

*Update 10/11/2012 at 6:05pm central time:
One week to go and less than $400 left to meet our stretch goal. AMAZING! I am so thrilled to be part of this amazing project as animation supervisor. I can't wait for you all to see it!!! Thanks to all our supporters out there who are helping us finance our render farm and festival fees, and thanks to all our new recruits that have come on board in the last few weeks! It has been WILDLY AWESOME over at OPP!!!

*Update 10/18/2012 at 8:25am central time:
Incredible. 7 hours left to go in our kickstarter, and we made it to $16K. I want to say thank you once again to all who have supported us financially, all who have brought us their talents, and all who have wished us well. We couldn't have done it without you! 

* Update 10/18/2012 at 3:25pm central time:
Our kickstarter for our short film just finished, and we are 271.05% funded. 615 backers, $16,263 pledged of our $6,000 goal. YES!!! THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR YOUR INCREDIBLE SUPPORT! Funded! This project successfully raised its funding goal just now.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hey 2012, Slow Down, Mkay?

It wasn't until last week that I realized this year has flown by and I haven't posted a single thing on my blog. Not that that's entirely bad; it means that I'm not super narcissistic or have a load of empty time on my hands. I do love to write though, and don't invite myself to do it much other than to be conversational on Facebook or in IMs, which is not really writing. I am kicking around a couple of stories in my head, either for just writing projects, or possible animation projects, but nothing serious at this time. I have a lot of other things going on.

Started the year with a pretty awesome birthday, followed by a trip to San Francisco, followed by several months of living in Dallas and working with the rockin crew at Janimation, then a trip to Seattle for PAX and more family fun; pretty soon it'll be New Jersey for a weekend, ACL coming up, our fourth wedding anniversary, Halloween around the corner, something or another for Thanksgiving, and already it'll be Christmas and New Year's Eve all over again.

So, who installed the fast-forward button on life, and who can I call to install a pause button?


I don't understand why, but last year seemed unusually fast, and this year has gone by scary fast. I think I'm going to blink and I'll be 90 years old like my grandpa this year.

At any rate, life has been good. Crazy that we've been together for 10 years now. We've been talking a lot about making some big changes, but nothing too serious just yet. We are loving it in Austin and enjoying our good friends and lovely townhome. We talked about finally taking our honeymoon this year, but it appears to still be a dream since work interferes one way or another. Early next year I think we're going to take a nice big trip. Not sure if we'll call it a honeymoon or if it'll just be a long-overdue vacation, since we're epicly bad at taking those.

Hope all has been well for everyone near and far.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

We Remember

It's another clear blue autumn Tuesday, just like it was 11 years ago today.

BEFORE SEPTEMBER 11, 2001, the twin towers of the World Trade Center seemed a permanent part of the Manhattan skyline. Credit: The Scientific American

Purdue students are remembering 9/11 by placing 2,977 flags around the engineering fountain in memory of those who were killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Credit: Facebook, Purdue.


I was a freshman at Purdue University.

That morning I had been in a Computer Graphics Technology lab for 2 hours, which completed at 9:20am EST. Under a clear blue, cloudless, absolutely quiet sky, I rode my bike home to Windsor Hall. The elderly woman at the cafeteria swiping ID cards asked in an unusually somber way, "How are you doin', hun?" Unaware, I replied, "Great, thanks!" Not usually a breakfast eater, but feeling particularly accomplished after completing my lab, I enjoyed a delicious breakfast of Belgian waffles and fruit at Wood Hall; then I went home to Warren Hall, on the third floor.

There I saw my neighbor, who looked white as a ghost, and told me what was happening. The blood fell from my face into my feet as I fumbled with my keys to get inside and turn on my tiny television; I had just visited NYC that spring with my family. What an unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable moment.

My brain did not allow me to retain the images I saw on my television. I spoke with my family on the phone for hours. The rest of the day was a blur. I had a math class during which our TA was helping us prepare for our first big exam that night, getting formulas wrong on the board, apologizing because he was in ROTC and he was so distraught over what had happened and could not focus. That evening, a couple hundred of us had to participate in this math exam. Had I known about a candlelight vigil that apparently went on that night, I would have done that instead, because most of us failed anyway or performed very badly, only able to think about what had happened, and what it might mean for the future.

In our very vulnerable state, having left our homes for the first time to attend college at Purdue, we had our world views shaken and our sense of immunity to terrorism destroyed. But I do remember the sense of community that we had, the pulling together, the sense that we could emerge a better, stronger people than ever before, and I gained that sense of country and world perspective that year at Purdue. And, we prayed for those who were lost, and still do.