The Night at the Museum Post

Over the Christmas holiday I went with my family to catch a Night At The Museum, the recent Ben Stiller vehicle. I have to say right off the bat that I knew what I was getting into when I sat down in the theater. I wasn’t expecting a great movie, nor was I looking to laugh particularly hard, be touched to tears or kick the seat in front of me with suspense. I did want, however to see a family friendly film, that would go down easy, require little effort, and be a nice movie to see with my family. Night At The Museum is just that. As a movie, its pretty bad. But as a Christmas family outing, its perfect. I enjoyed the movie very much, mainly because of my company and the season. With that said, as a film it’s more than flawed, missing pieces and decidedly anticlimactic.

As with most Ben Stiller comedies these days we see a bewildered Stiller placed in an awkward situation and watch his reaction. It worked a few years back…now not so much. His character is shallow, not very likable and distanced from the audience, so much that the conflict with his job and his family bounces off of the audience simply because our heartstrings are not getting any attention. Stiller doesn’t do a bad job at the flat role, and has a few good moments however. Compared to his costar Dick Van Dyke, he’s freaking Kevin Spacey. If anything, this movie serves as a testament that actors today are better than those of yesteryear. Dyke’s over the top cheese-ball acting is dreadful and doesn’t fit into the film at all. At no point do you forget that you are watching Dick Van Dyke on screen, and not the character he attempts to play. Same goes for Mickey Rooney’s bit part…just hang up the hats codgers, please.

The biggest disappointment however comes from Ricky Gervais’s cameo role as the museum curator. The whole concept behind his character seems to be ‘lets take the guy from the office, and all his office-speak, and shrink it down into a bit part’. Its funny for the first two lines, then once you realize what they are doing you’ll hate him or it. Oh yeah, and Robin Williams is in it too. Almost forgot his role (its forgettable).

The plot (yes there is one) is dreadful and the characters; cobbled together. The effects are nice, particularly the mini-battle scenes and the T-Rex, but the overall appeal is lost when stuck in the ho-hum movie. So yeah…pretty much is a poor movie, but a great excuse to get the family together and go see something this holiday.


The Best Week Post

This week wins for the official Best Week Ever (at Work) so far. It had a lot going for it right off the bat, what with Christmas being on Monday and all (you can’t top Christmas. Don’t even try Hanukah). So this week got off to a great start at work because…I wasn’t at work. Both Christmas Day and Boxing Day were paid holiday, so I didn’t loose out on earnings, but didn’t have to earn them. Pretty sweet.

Top it off with a trip to Tijuana Flats, Chipotle and a few other unhealthy places with the crew from the office, and it’s been a pretty solid week. Not to mention the promise of a 3-day weekend and New Year’s with Sarah coming to town starting tomorrow… a very nice way to end 06 if you ask me.


The Christmas Post

I’m back now at work after spending the holidays at home with the family. I had a terrific time over Christmas eating well (really well), spending time with my family, getting to see Sarah and the Hunts, as well as a night to Auld Sheebean for a sit-down with some of my good friends. All in all it was a wonderful trip, and I have to admit it was hard to come back after settling in. Something about the holidays makes me realize how much I need my friends and family around me to really be happy.

Santa was very good to me this year, as he tends to be, and I had an adventure stuffing my suitcase before I had to leave. Unfortunately I forgot about the whole ‘only terrorists bring liquids or jells in their hand-luggage’-rule, and had to toss my hair gel, face cream and shaving lotions at the security gate… irritating. I really liked that gel. Sigh…I must move on I suppose.

I got a new SD card for my camera, and snapped a few shots of the trip, which I plan on splicing together for a little slideshow YouTube style tonight after work. Had them running in a slideshow on the Wii before I left, which was quite heartwarming. Lots of good memories packed into a short trip. Stefan is heading off to boot-camp for 6-months come January, so I wont be seeing him for a while, so it was brilliant to get to spend some time playing videogames and watching Christopher Walkin sketches together before he heads out. Not sure when I’ll be back home myself (which is partially why I am more bummed about having to return back here), but with promises of family and Sarah visiting me in the early months of ‘07 I have some dates to count down to.


The Holiday Homecoming Post

Heading home tomorrow for the holidays, back up to NoVA. I am looking forward to getting to go back, seeing the family, friends and Sarah. I expect there will be much tearing of paper, eating of turkey and bowling of potatoes (ask Uncle Bob, he explains it best). Being that I’m permanent at work now I’ll be getting paid for Christmas Day as well as Boxing Day which is fantastic, as I kinda lost out over last break as far as earnings go. George will be bringing his kids over to play with Coolio while I’m away which is very nice of him. I do feel bad ditching the officially dubbed ‘Family Christmas Cat’ over the holidays, but bringing her back would close to double my ticket price and probably be pretty unpleasant for her considering the short nature of the trip.

Anyway, Merry Christmas to you and your family. Or Happy Holidays if you’d more PC well-wishing.


The Blog Upgrade Post

You may notice a few changes around these here parts. New features have been added to make the blog more streamline (for both me and you) and easier to navigate. Now everyone can comment on postings! Which is a nice update being that before you had to sign up to Blogger to say anything. Originally this was supposed to be a two-way venture, but it became too cumbersome for people to leave a comment. Now not so much, so comment away (please).

I was not sure whole often I’d update, nor if people would actually read this, so I was hesitant to make too much of a commitment to the Blog. But I’ve been getting positive feedback, and found myself posting fairly routinely, so I thought a little facelift was in order. Also of note. I have signed on with Whosahitmen to write game related editorials for their soon to launch news blog, so watch for that in the near future. I still want to keep this blog focused on my day-to-day goings on down here in O-Town, however I’d like to branch out and write for other non-Jamie-related blogs also. Hopefully the venture will work out.

As always, thank you for visiting.
Cheers, -Jamie

The Mutant Turkey Post

Now my neighborhood isn’t the nicest place in the world, and the local inhabitants sometimes make you feel a little less than safe. But today my personal security had never been in more jeopardy. Today I was minding my weekendly business, vacuuming and shaking out cat hair from pillows (as one does on a weekend) and I notice something outside in the parking lot. I head down to check it out, and I find a MUTANT KILELR DINOSAUR BIRD! Seriously, I can deal with thugs (or at least avoid them like a pro), the occasional crazy and people rooting through my trash, but prehistoric vulture beasts? That’s a whole new level of creepy. The thing was just waddling around minding its business not making a sound (I was hoping to catch it leap onto a passing car and rip the roof off with its Jurassic jaws) long enough for me to head back in for a camera. Below are some shots I took if this fabled beast. Why this thing was wandering a city parking lot I have no idea. I recon its the result of some bizzare Thanksgiving experiment, that pecked its way out of the mutagen tank



The Slippery As An Eel Post

Here's a shot of the Grinch in my backdrop during testing. The green screen light makes him rather red vs. green, and casts a blue haze around him. But that’s what tests are for right!? I asked for a sexy pose and this is what I got. Sexy no?

The Permanent Post

I have a job! Sweet.

Colorvision needed to wait until I had worked 501 hours through my contract via Aquent (my temp agency) before buying out my contract and making me permanent. 501 occurred at 11:45am yesterday, and on the dot they offered me a contract. Same pay, same hours, same everything... but its permanent. Which is nice for the peace of mind if anything, knowing that I have a job to go to next week. I’m now eligible for health care, 401K and a bunch of other options. I’ll take them up on the health care, but I’ll leave the rest for now I recon. In three months I get a company membership to Costco too. Bulk purchases of Altoids here I come!!

The Ipswich Ripper Post

The Ipswich Ripper, as he has become know is making my hometown famous. Incase you haven’t heard this story, there are linked deaths cropping up in my merry little Suffolk hometown of Ipswich. The women that have turned up 5 or six I believe, are all prostitutes, (or believed to be) which is lending the Jack The Ripper connotation to the killer. I was told that this is the largest string of killings in British history over a short time span (5 days I think). Creepy really. I don’t know the details, only what I’ve heard from Sarah and my coworkers, and should probably read the article I’m linking here. But…I am late for work so it’ll have to wait till my lunch break. Just flelt the need to point out that my quaint little hometown has become ripe with murder, mystery and of course hookers.

The Evolution of Crazy Post

A new breed of crazy graced my apartment complex the other night. This time a half naked white guy was running around, doing bizarre stretches and banging on cars monkey-style, wearing only a pair of white boxers and mix-matched socks. He wasn’t causing any harm, and was only hitting the cars every now and then in his bizarre routine (which involved cawing, rolling in dirt, leaping into the road and pretending to fly and running with both hands stretched out art his sides a la Sonic the Hedgehog) but I still felt it my civic duty to call my apartment security. Just incase he ran into the road and caused an accident or something. Anyway, turns out you get a ‘DUN DUN DUUUN- I’m sorry, the Nextel subscriber you are trying to reach is no longer in service’ when you call my security in this FINE establishment. Called the Police non-0emergency line to let them know, and they sent some people out later to search in the bushes for the guy with flashlights, but he had long since ran off to another apartment complex across the street. Moral of the story is that Orlando citizens are baked out of their minds, and that security in my apartment complex is less than secure at the best of times.


The Un-Grinchmas Post

Universal Studios usually does a seasonal event called the Grinchmas, over in their Islands of Adventure theme park. They deck the whole park out with fake snow, Christmassy decorations and refit all the roaming characters with holiday attire. They also have themed shows, appearances by the Grinch and a lot of Dr. Seuss themed goings on in the ‘Seuss Landing’ portion of the park. Sounds pretty cool (as far as theme park Christmas go) however due to legalities there will be no Grinchmas this year. Awwww.

Reason being Jim Carrey owns the rights to the movie portrayal of the Grinch (the mannerisms, the voice the expressions etc) and doesn’t want anyone else using them. In addition to all other Seuss rights and book likenesses, Universal own the rights to the look and style of the movie-Grinch, however cannot legally have him ‘act’ like the real life version. This means now shows, no songs and dance and no talking to park guests. So their Grinch is pretty much out of commission, which makes ‘Grinchmas” kinda moot.

However they have decided that they will still advertise a holiday event, but not go to the same efforts as Grinchmas did in the past (before Carrey’s legal entanglements). The Grinch will be there, but he wont talk, or act like the Grinch from the Ron Howard film. Instead he will simply pose in an enclosed photo-stage for pictures with guests on a one-on-one basis. Amazing Pictures has landed the contract for the event and guess who is doing the graphical backdrop for the green screen? Yup. I am stoked. While all I am really contributing to the event is the graphic that will be dropped in over the chroma set behind the Grinch, it’s still a pretty cool opportunity.

I designed a backdrop that resembles the Ron Howard, live-action Whoville but didn’t use any official artwork in its creation, to avoid any possible legal entanglements for us. The final piece features a swirly mountain overlooking a Christmas town. Plus a nice fog that surrounds the guests, giving the flat picture a more dynamic feel…in theory (we haven’t tested them yet as they just began erecting the Grinch stage today). The final has been approved by the Universal higher-ups (which is a big deal as they are usually incredible nitpicky) and is offically out of my hands. Once the event starts (Dec 8th) I’ll see if I cant finagle some sample shots for posting.

If you look at anything that has the Grinch brand on it besides the movie poster you only see the Grinch’s hand, never Carrey’s face. Either that or it’s a cartoon version of the Grinch. Meh, whatever. I just think its fun to say that my work is directly affected by legal entanglements with Jim Carry. Makes me feel connected.


The Painterly Amendment Post

Tonight I spent some time working on the last painting (big blue as I refer to it), in an attempt to ‘finish’ it. I was never really happy with the emptiness of the piece. Plus it was pointed out to me that the Gorillaz music video for Feel Good Inc. features a floating island with a windmill on it. Yeah, I was pissed. And no, I didn’t see the video before I put this together. (Though I have the MP3). The damn windmill even faces the same direction and has a backwheel on it! And I dunno what that is hanging off the back, but if its an anchor I will freak out. I decided to add a second floating island with a lighthouse. Originally I was going to make the windmill a lighthouse right from the start, but decided on windmill after seeing a shot of a nice on online. I hate painting at night, mainly due to the awful lighting I’m stuck with (yellow like whoa), but also because I for some reason associate leisurely painting with a nice weekend morning… Anyway, here’s a shot of where it stands now. Is it 100%...meh, not sure, still not really happy with it, but I am worried if I do too much I’ll lose the bits I do like.


The Christmas Party Post

Last night was the Colorvision Christmas Party, down at Ball Hill Country club. It was a formal event with an elaborate four course meal, with live singing from Michael Andrew (a local lounge singer and Broadway actor) , carolers, professional photographers, a Santa, and lots of drunken coworkers. I had a great time. I’ve been to a few country club dinner events before back in Great Falls, but I always feel out of place at these sorts of things. It was cool to get to meet everyone’s significant other and hangout with everyone in a relaxed environment too. Open bar helped loosen people up too, some people got pretty trashed. Myself, I wasn’t drinking due to the wicked hangover I had been nursing all day prior (we went downtown the night before) and a series of unfortunate events from the night prior. They took your picture when you came in the door and handed you the framed final on your way out which was pretty cool. It uses a holiday graphic border I designed too, which was cool to see in use. Though it’s UGLY AS SIN. It did look good at one point… but the owners had their edits and changes and eventually the classy little design ended up looking like this… Oh well. Not my party. Great food, good company, fun times. Here’s George and I looking like idiots. I’ll see if I’m in any of the other shots the roaming photographers took when I’m in the office tomorrow.