zustifer: (lemon chiffon directions)
Last night as we were out walking around, some assholes in a car hurled a plastic bag containing at least two, possibly three, eggs at us. I wonder if this means that they were dividing up a dozen eggs into other bags, with the intent of egging a lot of people.
Anyhoo, I got some kinda cool egg-injuries.

This is from last night, after I washed the egg off. The impact site was all welted up.

Right hand, last night. It hurt a lot for a little while, and since my right hand already has repetitive stress problems, &c, I was a bit worried about how it would come out of this. It seems okay though, just a little tender.

Right hand, this morning. Lots better, and the impact pattern is really apparent when I close my thumb up alongside my hand.

Left arm, this morning. This is the most clear depiction of the impact. It's actually a pretty fascinating illustration. The little cuts are from bits of eggshell, obviously.

So, all in all, it could have been much worse. Neither of us got hit in the face, neither of us was badly cut or had a finger caught at a bad angle and sprained or anything. And now I guess I know what it looks like when skin is hit with an egg. You do too, I suppose.
zustifer: (Scientific)
I'm pretty sure I already linked to a sum-up of this study, but here's another writeup. It's the study wherein it was determined that kids will work harder and do better in school if praised for effort rather than intelligence. Like probably half of the people who read this, I completely have the illustration example problem, wherein I give up really easily if a new skill doesn't jump into my waiting hands. It's not even for fear of failure anymore, it's more that I don't know how to proceed. I mean, I'm getting better at this, but it's still weird.
Regardless, I've been trying, while teaching, to follow this rule. I have no idea if it's working or anything, and I'm teaching adults, but oh well. Might be helpful, who knows.
I was somewhat annoyed at that mom the article interviewed who said that it was too goofy to talk that way. Duh, there's a reason you do it the way you do it. Culture is strong.
zustifer: (Aquabats!)
Cartoon Brew is having that blogger-esque archive problem, so I can't link individual entries, but they say that:

1. The president of Cartoon Network is resigning over the mooninite flap. What the heck? I mean, bad marketing idea and all, but, seriously. You don't need to throw yourself on your sword, man. I assume.

2. Yo Gabba Gabba (Aquabat-flavored Nick Jr. show) is greenlit! Yay! And they have a sort of fawning production blog. With mufti MC Bat Commander, which still freaks me right out.
zustifer: (carla)
I've noticed that when I try to draw an event that I took part in, I can only draw myself from the back. It's as if I can only pull my mental camera back about three feet. It's not like I look at myself from behind a lot or anything, I don't know what my deal is. (Actually, I suspect that my spatial abilities do not include rotating an entire scene so that another view is possible. Also, who wants to look at me, seriously.)

Icon decoding: the character's name sounds like my real name. I usually use this as a tongue-in-cheek reference to myself.
The Miss Argentina (the greeny blue lady rolling her eyes) is usually used tongue-in-cheekily in matters of beauty or gender (as she is dead, and by her own hand, too) or when a good exasperated expression is called for.
zustifer: (leilei)
Sometime last week, someone in one of my classes brought in Cars, the newish Pixar movie. So I put it on, for us to look at while they worked and while I went around to help people out. My students seemed to generally think it was cute, but my constant complaints of 'What the crap was that?!' and 'Are we supposed to think this is funny?' and 'Who came up with this premise, a four-year-old?' and 'What makes the tractors non-sentient?' eventually started to crack their complacent exteriors.
'Maybe,' one of them posited, in an effort to resolve the lack of coherent worldbuilding, 'all humans were transformed into cars. They just turned into whatever car they were most like.' I agreed that this was possible, but then what about the inanimate cars that already existed? No one was willing to go any further with it. I sort of didn't blame them, since it was making me unreasonably angry, but I let it go.

So yesterday, I forced this movie on chmmr and unpleasant and 343. The time had come for Deep Hurting.

We all agreed that it was appallingly bad. I think the best thing about it was the great-looking environments, in which I see Steve Purcell's hand pretty strongly. Nice lighting, nice production design, nice-looking dust and FX.

Everything else worked much less well. The characters were amazingly flat (to the point of some scary stereotypes: the one (stereotyped) black character was married to the one (stereotyped, voiced by Cheech Marin) hispanic character. What is this, Plato's Stepchildren?), and too numerous. There was some love interest no one could possibly care about, and some older mentor figure who never actually did much, and a bunch of other tertiary characters that sat around being 'colorful' (alarmingly stereotypical). Oh, and The Hick. Sigh.

The protagonist's character arc proceeded from Unmotivatedly Jerkfaced Arrogant Car to Car who has LEARNED THE MEANING OF FRIENDSHIP. He seemed to make this change for no real reason; he just sort of eventually developed Stockholm Syndrome or something (originally he was being held forcibly in a run-down town because he did some damage to it). One moment he's being rude to all the cardboard cutouts of townspeople-characters, and the next he's all, heyy, Love Interest! Lemme just flip my switch from 'asshole' to 'awkward!' And you're my friend now, Hick! Even though I never really seem to actually warm up to you, and in fact seem uncomfortable around you most of the time! Aww, it's a treat for all ages.

Really though, the thing that just made me quiver with rage is the universe-building. Okay, we've got a human-free universe, populated instead by cars. The very first thing I wonder about, when hearing such a thing, is okay, how did this come about? [answer: No idea.] How do the cars, not exactly known for their dexterity, manipulate the objects around them? [answer: they don't, unless specially equipped. Once I saw a car use its antenna, which is a pretty serious hack.] What are cars doing with human accoutrements like desks, flowerpots, and flagpoles? Did they build them? How? [answer: uhh...] Why are there farms? Who or what is food being grown for? The cow-painted tractors, which are supposed to be essentially animals (but whose faces are not significantly different from the sentient cars), who owns them? Why is farm machinery less 'human' than road vehicles? [answer: AAGH] I think that there is still something about ever-racheting-up fidelity that demands more thought than the alternative. If there'd been vagueness in the realisation visually, maybe I would have been more forgiving. But I don't think you can have perfectly rendered dust and grime and just expect people to not to have their expectations raised for a cohesive world. I mean, maybe I'm the only one who looked at the car-shaped land formations and said, 'what the heck? Were those created? Is this just some sort of unsettling coincidence?' and I'm reasonably sure I'm in a small group with people who asked 'was this planet seeded with/by car-shaped aliens, eradicating all human life in the process?'

Sincerely, it's like a four-year-old's version of a fairy tale. Once upon a time, there was a place where there weren't any people, just cars. And the cars drove around a lot, and they drank gas, and when they broke they would repair one another. Okay, I'm bored, let's go play with legos.

In the supplemental material on the DVD, Lasseter said that he made this movie for his young children, whom he'd neglected while working on the Toy Stories. They liked cars, he liked cars, and he totally wanted to do this for them. And he did, and somehow he got everyone to go along with this.
zustifer: (Jim Jarmusch)
How can you attack American Beauty for the completely wrong reasons? It wasn't the surface detail that was annoying, it's the fact that the layer underneath it was only marginally more thought-out. Seriously, buying a sports car is character development? The plastic bag, though, I could watch a whole movie of that.
And sincerely. I will fight anyone who says 2001 is incomprehensible or boring. FIGHT. Unless your excuse involves never having seen a movie before and not really getting what this strange too-long jokeless sitcom thing that's shot in 70mm is all about.
(Not one of the Overrated Movies, but we just watched Barry Lyndon, finally, and it hasn't got a dull frame in it. It did however make me realise that Shelly Duvall is the true form of any leading woman in a Kubrick movie.)
zustifer: (Beetlejuice: Otho rocks out tentatively)
Something is flawed about listening to all my music in a giant randomized pile (which is how I usually listen).
I have a poor sense of what I actually have, which may be (er... is) in part due to sheer volume, but definitely also is attributable to the acontextualized nature of any one song in the song-mass.

I don't remember what albums things are on, which isn't so bad on its own, but which feeds into the previous problem (it's easier to know you have an album, and know approximately what's on that album than to just know you have some array of songs by an artist, and that they must be divided into albums in some way).

I miss the subtleties and interconnectedness between one track by an artist and another, because I lack the frame of reference of the same-artist tracks surrounding the one I care about. Instead, it's usually surrounded by completely different things that have nothing (except in strange occasional cases) to contribute to it. I still know the order of songs I had on cassettes when I was younger, and even some cds from somewhat later. But I don't make that kind of memory anymore.

This makes me bad at making mixes. I mean, I'm not great at doing that anyway, but I do like doing it. But I'm not growing the individual associations that each song should present, properly; I'm not getting all of the song's content when it's just some song by I don't know whom in a long line of songs. My current mix strategy is to just put songs in a folder when I run across them and they strike me as having a particular purpose or potential place in a mix, but this is massively inefficient and doesn't work so well when I want to put a cd-length playlist together in less than, say, a month or two. And even then, it's not a matter of my subconscious finally furnishing me with the ideal song (usually), but of me happening to run across something that seems appropriate while I'm listening to it.
(It cuts down, though, on mix-behavior like I used to display where I'd forget that Awesome Song by the Lumpen Storkbats was nine minutes long and changed character twice and probably shouldn't go between those other, shorter, pithier songs... but it does favor choosing songs that seem neat in the moment, e.g. upbeat snappy songs that seem good right off the bat instead of maybe more sleepers or subtle songs.)

It's hard to get into the mood for a particular artist, and impossible to have that be satisfied without leaving the all-songs-on-random mode. It's like being stuck perpetually inside a remarkably incompetent mixtape. Or maybe a radio station which is generally good but utterly without a sense of flow.

Hmm. So, sort of relevantly, anyone have any musicky suggestions? What do you really love that I never listen to? Lemme know.
zustifer: (achewood: what death looks like)
Well, once again our culture's calendar system has screwed us out of an opportunity to dress up silly and eat sugar. Thanks so much, weekday. As a concession, I gothed up by about 20%, and almost immediately felt lame about it. Fortunately it fell just within my normal clothing parameters anyway, so I could sort of justify it. The job placement lady dressed up as Sally from Nightmare Before Hmas, in a homemade costume that was pretty good. She said she wasn't getting a lot of recognition, which is honestly fairly depressing.

This study has a bit of a goofy hat on, but it does display the concept that kids (before a certain developmental point) have a hard time excluding what they know from their mental models of what others know. The kids were asked if Robin is a fictional construct in Batman's mind, essentially. Their knowledge that Robin is in fact fictional interfered with their ability to mock up Batman's perspective on the subject. The kids were a range of ages, at which some children would have the ability to mentally inhabit a character's perspective, and some wouldn't. Then the researchers were smart enough to continue the study with more empirical, hard concepts: can Batman interact with Robin? And the kids knew that was possible, as well as knowing that Batman couldn't interact with Spongebob. They're from two different worlds [/comic book guy]. Good stuff, fairly clever. I wonder how young you have to go before kids lose their concepts of different character universes, and you have no reason to exclude Batman from Bikini Bottom (yuckers).

I have finally found my Achewood usericon (even though the original resolution was almost too small to read and I had to recreate it with a pretty close font). I am well pleased. The rite of passage is complete.

PS: Here's that picture of the baby next to the graves. It's not that great, really the concept is all it has going for it, but, hey.
zustifer: (Beetlejuice: Jane Butterfield)
This is how you know (scroll down to just under the column of screenshots, to where it says 'Miyazaki and son') that someone is dedicated to their craft. Their response to hearing about the Miyazakis' cold relationship is that hey, maybe that's why Miyazaki Sr.'s work is so good, and maybe this family bullshit is just getting in the way.
I love it when people get that obsessive.
[To clarify: I mean I am fascinated by the viewpoint of the cartoonbrew guy, that he would have this perspective, not that I think the Miyazakis are exemplary in their behavior.]
zustifer: (Default)
I woke up early sometime this morning, and as I was trying to go back to sleep my brain (as it likes to do; this happens to JP at night, but me in the horrid early morning) threw some arbitrary thing at me to think about and keep me awake. This time, it was that I should learn to write legibly with my left hand, using this method. I have learned to mouse well with my left hand, to the extent that I do all my work (modelling and animation; not just general websurfing-mousing) with my left hand now (because of some potential carpal tunnel problems). So it seems possible, but I guess the obvious stumbling-block would be that I don't write with my hands every day for several hours, like I use a mouse. Maybe when my animal psychology class starts next month I can try to take notes only with my left hand, and thereby miss most of what's being said, and fail.
Well, if I can manage it at all, it would be entertaining to have non-dominant-handed handwriting that's completely different from my dominant.

Yesterday I bought a goofy green Mao-ish hat that makes me look as if I am trying to be a rebellious teenager. I will have to soften the up-and-down curve of the brim somewhat.


zustifer: (Default)
Karla Z

February 2012

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