Friday, January 27, 2006

Choppy Waters and Snowboarding

Another week has washed over us here with a brief but relatively uneventful conference which was made more interesting because of the fact me and a few other people skipped off in the early afternoon to do some shopping across town and mingled back in with the general population during the break between sessions in the afternoon.

Of further note was my attendance at the ‘Things you need to arrange for leaving Japan’ a list of which is just as extensive as the things I needed to do to come here. It’s all rather boring, involves nominating tax representatives so lets leave it at that.

Episode 3 of Chickens is complete and up on the site. Had lots of fun making all the forest backgrounds by layering trees at different scales over each other to give some notion of distance perspective.

This time next week I will be on a plane somewhere over central Japan going on a nicely expensive snowboarding weekend in Hokkaido…After five months of solid saga it’s beginning to wear again, have to motivate myself to be as happy and positive as I need to be to get the job done properly here. Time for a break. Holidays are good. Speaking of holidays, some people take them a bit more seriously then needed.

Middle aged people who go on cruise liners can suck. No really, you guys can suck ass. I can say quite happily that its mostly middle aged people who pay for holidays on these floating pleasure barges, these mobile Hilton hotels, because anyone my age just doesn’t have the money, and even if they did, would do something far more exciting than being chauffeured around exotic islands in a floating shop front of western civilization, looking at quaint locals and being sold things by people desperate to make enough cash to survive. I’ve had this opinion of cruise liners for quite some time and working in a waterfront bar only reinforced this position. However, the latest pack of whining, fat pampered morons who are throwing their toys around onboard the QM2 are enough to make me want to start up an enterprise in Somalia that focuses solely on firing RPG’s at cruise liners. Just read this article on the BBC.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4645316.stm

‘Anxiety and depression’ after twelve days at sea? Good God look at how far we have fallen in the west over the past 100 years! Long gone are the days when young men and women would pack themselves onto a boat and sail for THREE MONTHS to the other side of the world for a chance at a better life. Braving storms and ice in rickety wooden death traps where permanent sea sickness could be a way off life if you couldn’t adjust. Now we have a few rich people, probably a minority of the total on-board population who complain about their encroaching psychological problems when, due to an accident with the ships propulsion systems, they are forced to spend twelve days floating at sea onboard a stabilized, air conditioned, pleasure ship replete with casino’s, a full theatre, movie screens, swimming pools, gyms, saunas, karaoke bars and all the gourmet food their heaving bloated fat bellies can eat.

In the real world, sometimes things go wrong. You have to accept this. Nothing is perfect, and hey guys it’s a horrible cliché but lets face it, worse things have happened at sea. Sure, some people have missed stops, some people have missed a hotel booking and there has certainly been some inconvenience to those on board and the company is offering compensation, which may, or may not be adequate. I don’t know, I don’t have any figures to base an analysis on. However, I totally lost patience with this storm in a teacup when I read about middle aged peoples psychological problems at sea on holiday in the worlds largest, most luxurious cruise ship. Filing a class action suit may even be justifiable depending on the financial loss incurred by the holiday makers and considering the miss-representation that they claim Cunard guilty off. Not being in full possession of all the facts it’s hard to judge.

However, once I hear people crying about how they are depressed, anxious and stressed inside their ocean pleasure dome it just reeks of opportunists trying to take advantage of a situation. Come on you pampered toy dogs, just relax and have sauna, then go to the bar and have a drink before your enormous gourmet dinner, try making the most of the situation you’re faced with. Your cries for help fall on quite deaf ears back in the real world. You booked a cruise on a ship and you’re sick of seeing the sea? What the hell were you thinking might happen if something goes wrong? More money than brains obviously.

Nearly time for lunch! Woo!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Chickens and Pooh

Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback on the Chickens launch…much appreciated. Episode 3 was shot this afternoon and episode 4 will probably be the ten panel first showdown between the chickens and the tanks as they meet.

Moving into multiple composite shots as the script demands more varied locations but it’s progressing quicker now as most of the styling elements have been decided on. Its those ones that really take the longest because you have to um and ah a lot and take decisions that are going to effect how the rest of the work blends into one whole piece. Being able to do rough edits with the workstation next to the blue screen set is useful too.

Last night we were shopping for a new nabe, literally ‘pot’ in English and Fumiko spied a lost little pooh bear toy sitting in a puddle in a huge parking lot. Looking as forlorn and sad as he did, the toy was subsequently picked up, squeezed out, put into a plastic bag, taken home, washed, dried and will be moving into his new home at Fumiko’s in a few days. He looks much happier now.

Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback on the Chickens launch…much appreciated. Episode 3 was shot this afternoon and episode 4 will probably be the ten panel first showdown between the chickens and the tanks as they meet.

Moving into multiple composite shots as the script demands more varied locations but it’s progressing quicker now as most of the styling elements have been decided on. Its those ones that really take the longest because you have to um and ah a lot and take decisions that are going to effect how the rest of the work blends into one whole piece. Being able to do rough edits with the workstation next to the blue screen set is useful too.

Last night we were shopping for a new nabe, literally ‘pot’ in English and Fumiko spied a lost little pooh bear toy sitting in a puddle in a huge parking lot. Looking as forlorn and sad as he did, the toy was subsequently picked up, squeezed out, put into a plastic bag, taken home, washed, dried and will be moving into his new home at Fumiko’s in a few days. He looks much happier now.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

It's working

The first episode of Chickens Vs Tanks has been completed and is now uploaded into its own new photobucket account…What are you waiting for? Click below and go to read the newest, sweariest cartoon featuring the largest all star cast of chickens and miniature tanks ever! Rated LSC for lots of swearing chickens.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
http://chickens-vs-tanks.blogspot.com/

Chickens Vs Tanks: The chronicles of the days when God lost interest, took a major leap forward over the weekend with the design, purchase and construction of my first blue screen set and tripod. Because of the scale of the miniatures I am working with it’s 1.5 meter square floor and 1 meter high main walls are large enough for me to build entire villages and cities in and turns my two foot high tripod into a 150m crane. Which is nice. It also turns the two new 30 watt UV lights above the set into a full lighting grid.

Mostly I was very excited about the fact the blue screen actually works and works well. Once I upload the stills into the editor I can remove all the blue with a click of the button and have a clean fresh image for compositing in a fraction of the time it would take if I was shooting against some kind of background. Also deciding to shoot the entire production on blue screen eliminated all concerns about weather conditions (chickens blow over with the slightest gust of wind) lighting elements and doing photo shoots on the weekends as its always dark by the time I get around to it these days. Most importantly I finally managed to get some shots of the tanks done and they look stunning once they’re processed

All in all it’s kind of strange to watch a cheap throw away idea lodge in my head somehow and take on a life of its own, with its look getting progressively more and more refined. Time to crank the local PR machine a bit.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Stardust Capsule returns to earth. Zombie researchers sounding red alert.

Zombie researchers, a field of professionals whose opinions often differ wildly to the point of violence, today united in expressing their outrage and horror at the return to earth of NASA’s stardust capsule.

“This return to earth of the Stardust Capsule represents the most significant threat of a space based zombie pathogen breaking out in the wider human population that we’ve seen since the discovery channel used a robot crawler to open the mysterious inner chamber of the Great Pyramid in Egypt.”

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Jesus God No! Don't do it man!

This statement by Dr. Gag Zeltwurst was part of a press release put out just hours ago by the American chapter of Zombie Watch International, the group who also recently made headlines by stating that the recent outbreaks and spread of bird flu was merely a government cover up story to mask a horrific series of local level zombie outbreaks that started after French tourists defiled the temples at Angkor Wat and in other locations in east asia. The statement read out by Dr. Zeltwurst spelled out the danger in the clearest possible terms.

“For the good of human civilization, we desperately urge the scientists of NASA not to open the Stardust Capsule at any cost and for it to be buried in a sanctified led pressure chamber at sea over the Mariana’s trench.”

Image hosted by Photobucket.com NASA scientists committing the unthinkable

The group fears that exposure to the elements of deep space could have allowed the aerogel sample package to pick up the dreaded ‘great space zombie pathogen’ or GSZP, a variant of the zombie virus so horribly communicative that even “the particulate remains of the recently cremated would begin to reanimate and become mobile, moving across the land like a dust storm, infecting all who inhale even the tiniest amount of the virus laden particulate matter”.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com History would prove their jubilation misplaced

Further more, the group’s statement offers an even more dire prediction than a possible outbreak of GSZP. The statement reads thus, “If NASA scientists must open the sample return capsule then it is crucial to the survival of all life on earth that they are at least 47 miles away from any locations such as church buildings, synagogues, mosques, any place where significant numbers of dead are interred in any way or any other spiritual nexus point.”

Apparently according to Zombie Watch International research, an outbreak of GSZP near a so called ‘spiritual nexus point’ may concentrate so much evil in one spot that it could possibly open the long foretold of ‘gateway to hell’, a scenario whereby the unholy legions of the dammed are able to pass over into our world to inflict their deepest torments on the flesh of living man himself.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com File photo of Demonic Invader

“The consequent demon invasion would threaten not just the United States, or the broader world economy, it would potentially be the end of human civilization.” When asked what preparations they were taking in the light of these potentially world shaking events, Dr. Zeltwurst commented that the group was “amassing arms, ammunition, body armor, heavy trucks, church equipment, priests, imams, monks, fuel, fresh water and canned food supplies. We are also beginning to train an elite, multi faith Paladin Warrior Combat Squad in the event of any demonic invasion that may occur if a GSZP outbreak occurs to close to a spiritual nexus point.”

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts, And I looked and behold: a pale horse. And his name, that sat on him, was Death. And Hell followed with him

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Chickens Vs. Tanks progress report

Work on chickens vs tanks is proceeding as well as can be expected for a creative endeavor that was dreamed up on the first day of work after a long period of time sitting around with nothing much to do. Arse-biscuits. However, the first three episodes have been scripted and the over arching storyline is well planned out at this stage. Currently looking at potential locations for various major set pieces. Last night nearly completed the first frame, but awaiting an opportunity to get a photo of a tank into the editing suite to do a frame featuring the other main characters before I can make any decisions on final color grading, overlays etc...

The website on the other hand has been formatted appropriately and now even has a web banner instead of a blogspot title as I spent most of yesterday twatting around with the HTML code in the editing window. The banner itself is quite impressive and even surprised me with how well it turned out. In fact it upped the production value levels for the entire concept. Once I have the look down and the introductory episode completed I’ll post a link up here to what promises to be the most violent, degrading and sweariest web cartoon series featuring chickens and miniature tanks EVER.

I can smell your excitement from here

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Tiny little chickens...millions of them...

Um, whats going on here then?

Not much at the moment really. Fumiko has populated my apartment with every single little wire chicken she could buy from the 100 yen store. I think I will make a web cartoon with them, because, as I found out after she arranged them all over my house, she intends to leave them here.

Going a bit stir crazy around Kashima and have recently taken to traveling to other cities for the purpose of taking very expensive baths.

http://www.taupohotsprings.com/page.php?PK_PAGE_ID=113

Today is the first day back at school and there are of course tests. Fumiko has populated my apartment with tiny wire frame yellow chicklets and I’m thinking of spending my evening writing a new comic featuring them in an epic battle against their nemesis…the miniature tank army…watch out for the new upcoming feature…exotic locations..epic battles…daring courage and bravery. In a chickeny way.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Clancy the rancid Camel

I was taken very ill over the whole new years period and have spent the past few days at home recovering and learning how to eat again. The whole process involved plastic containers, regurgitation, sage like elderly medical practitioners, needles, bags of saline liquid, powders, pills and watching all three parts of the Lord of the Rings back to back.

I honestly haven’t been that sick in years.

Planning a foray school wards tomorrow, if only for something to do with myself. I ate some Mexican rice and potato croquets last night and spent the next four hours burping like Jabba the Hutt.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Years

Its New Years!

Whoopee fuckin do. Why am i writing now? Tell you tomorrow.