The 3D Seminar Post

Today George, Bruce and I met up with Greg and headed to the Double Tree by Universal to attend a 3D production seminar. The whole thing was hosted by a local retailer specializing in 3D suites and rigs, and was hosted in the convention center under the hotel. There was a nice spread of grub to chow on and drinks, plus a raffle. George won a copy of Bioshock and Bruce snagged some 3D-Game Production books. I of course didn’t win anything, but still had a good time. The star of the night in my eye was Joe Gunn, a graphic artist from New York who was responsible for doing all the animation and modeling for the Bioshock television ads. He was showing off cool things you can do with various programs and walked us through some of the techniques he utilized to make the TV spot for the game. He was working with in-game models of Big Daddy and game environments which as very cool, and basically spent a good hour just talking about working on the project. His firm was actually responsible for the art used on the cover of the game (see below) which I think is pretty awesome. There was another speaker from Autodesk, showing of the latest upgrades to Maya, but it was too over my head to really enjoy. Though he did use official PS3 models from Insomniac to show all his tricks on, which was pretty cool. Afterwards we headed over to the Ale House to throw back a few pitchers and chow on some questionable appetizers.


The Breakfast Pepsi Post

Just Say NO to breakfast-Pepsi.

The concept of breakfast-Coke was introduced to me a good few years back by my lovely girlfriend. Having an ice cold glass of soda in the morning seems like the completely wrong way to go about things, but after trying it out I am a full supporter of the practice. It’s a great, refreshing way to start your day. Honestly, you should try it. If you are really adventurous, try an ice cold co9ke in the shower while getting ready for work, The cold vs. hot will wake you up, put you in a good mood, and instantly make you more attractive. Well that’s what the sales pitch should say anyway.

Anyway. Today I stumble out of bed and wander to the kitchen for something to drink. I rarely stock sodas (or anything) in my fridge, so I was expecting a glass of water, but out of hope and dreariness I checked the fridge. Strangely enough I found a 2-liter of Pepsi- a left over that came free with a pizza we had ordered last night. No a fan of the stuff, I figured I’d give it a shot and see how it compares to Breakfast-Coke…

Don’t drink breakfast-Pepsi. Seriously. It was all gassy and made my nose fizz like I was a 5-year old scoffing down a Happy Meal and drinking through a straw. Not to mention the sheer sugariness of the stuff made my sensitive morning teeth ache. Oh Pepsi, where did you go wrong?? I used to love throwing back can after can. If it wasn’t for Mountain Dew I think I’d never talk to you ever again.*

*On that note, has anyone had any joy in tracking down the new Green Label Mountain Dew bottles? I can’t find them anywhere!?


The Canadian Invation Post

Last night I headed out to CityWalk to meet up with Sarah’s Aunt Janice and Uncle Tim, and her cousins Luke and Nolan. They are on vacation doing the whole Orlando-thing and having a blast from what I could tell. It was great to see them again, as it has been a while now that Sarah is stateside and not up in Canadaland. We hung out and got a coffee then wandered the plaza area for a bit, before setting at Margaritaville for some Landshark Lagers and loaded nachos. There was a ring-on-a-string game set up in the corner that had Nolan transfixed. The game pretty much consisted of a small hook on a wall and a beam that sticks out about three feet directly above it with a string dangling a small metal ring [see Fig. 1]. The object is to swing the string so that the ring ends up on the hook, Pretty much an elaborate ball-in-cup game. Anyway, Nolan dedicated more time than anyone ever should to getting the game to go his way and did pretty well, landing the hook three times. Shame it took him about 900 tries… but I find it’s more pleasing to focus on the victory aspect of it. I’m sure he does as well. It was a fun night, if not a bit too chilly for shorts and t-shirt. Great to see the Thompson’s again though, I hope they enjoy the rest of their trip.

The New Guy Post

The Art Department grew in size this past week when Bruce hired on Tom to the crew. Tom originally worked out at one of our AP locations at Universal and has apparently been itching to get into the department for a while. It’s great to have someone in to help lighten the load as Bruce and I have been pretty bogged down in recent weeks with all the projects coming our way. Its actually crazy how much Tom and I seem to have in common; he’s a native Brit born the same year as me who moved to the states the same year as well. Over the past few days we have been talking movies, games and the like and turns out our tastes are shockingly similar. (He may even be as obsessed with Banjo-Kazooie as me, which is saying a lot). He’s also my new gym buddy, which I have sorely been needing since leaving Craig behind at Planet Fitness late last year. All in all a great friend to have at the office. Plus I get to call him newbie and make him get me coffee and stuff*


The Going Blu Post

So that’s it then. The end of the High-Def format war. It took a lot less time than I’d expected, but ultimately resulted the way my bets lay. HD DVD officially was scrapped early this week leaving Sony’s Blu-Ray the victorious format. This is good news for me because I recently went on the Blu-Ray team with the PS3, and have been picking up all the classic HD shoe-ins. A few of the guys at the office have also made the jump, and we’ve been trading HD movies with each other to experience everyone’s collections. Sucks for all those early adopters that went HD DVD- but as soon as big name brands started going Sony exclusive the nails started hammering the coffin and it was inevitable that the format would die pretty quickly. So far I have some really great HD offerings ranging from the must have epics like Troy and 300, to the high octane action of Casino Royal and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Pixar movies are getting a rebirth for me in the new format as well, and do a terrific job of making my new TV look like a million bucks. I am loving my living room these days. The only HD DVD exclusives I’ve been yearning for are V for Vendetta and Transformers. Hopefully both will see Blu-Ray pressings in the near future.

The Send Off Post

Last weekend I made a trip back home to spend time with the family before Stefan heads to Iraq. While I am generally opposed to all things Iraq at this point I have to say that I have a lot of respect for Stefan and his willingness to do his part in the Reserves. He seems to have a really level head on about the whole ordeal and look sat it all in an optimistic but realistic light. I wanted to be there to see him off in his last few days before getting shipped out, and spend time with the family together. Great news from Stefan was that he gets some time back home mid-tour in the summer, and that he will potentially be home for Christmas, for good. Which is phenomenal news and a lot less time than we where all originally anticipating.

He will be serving as a medic in one of the detainee (not prisoners- ‘we cant call them prisoners’) camps over there. I am glad that he will not have a directly combatative role, but of course its hardly a resort he’s heading to and he will be called on to do whatever is necessary, no doubt. He was regaling the family over brunch on Sunday how he has to ‘watch out for Chi-Rockets’. Which are homemade projectiles that the detainees like to toss at guards. Apparently when you add any liquid to chi-tea it turns solid- this is news to me. But apparently not to the prisoners, who like to piss and vomit into their tea and make a nice rock out of the result. This lovely lump is supposedly terrific fun to toss at prison guards. I’m sure this is among the tame things he will have to experience over there unfortunately, but I have faith he’ll pull through and come home safely.

I wish him all the best over there and can’t say enough how proud I am of him.


The Banjo 3 Post

Great news. Fantastic news. Brilliant news! Well ok actually 99.9% of you won’t care in the slightest…but I am extremely excited to hear that Banjo-Kazooie 3 will be coming out holiday season 08!! BK is a videogame franchise originally started back on the Nintendo 64 (ah the good old days) with the aptly titled Banjo-Kazooie, which is my official vote for best game of all time. If I could calculate the amount of time I spent playing that game in my younger years, and combine that with the anticipation of Banjo-Tooie (the awesomely named sequel) and the hours logged playing the follow up; I imagine I owe about 2/3 my youth to Rareware and their awesomeness. Rare are notorious for long development cycles and tightlipped security about upcoming releases, so I can do little but wait with a grin on my face. Fingers crossed that there will be some murmurings at the GDC later on this month.

In other awesome news- that more of you will give a crap about- the new trailer for Indiana Jones 4 is online. Check it out here and get ready for some awesome bullwhip action* this summer. I can’t wait. Even if the subtitle is absolutely ridiculous. 2008 is going to be an awesome year for movies with Indy, 007 and Batman….I am stoked.

*Get your mind out the gutter. The dude’s like 100. Gross.

The Luncheon Post

Today we had a company luncheon to commemorate those who have worked at Colorvision for notable amounts of time. This is usually done during the company Christmas party, but this year is a special case due to the event being postponed*.

Today we all gathered in the conference room for a tasty spread from Olive Garden, and to recognize people who where at milestones with their tenure at Colorvision. Quite a few people from the home offices where recognized as well as a few of our area and store managers. Duane had the most impressive track record and is celebrating his 20th year working the warehouse department. It’s crazy to imagine doing the same job for so long (my personal record is 3 years on-and-off), but it speaks volumes about the company I suppose.

*As I had mentioned in a previous posting, Sharon, the company matriarch, recently underwent some major surgery. Mrs. Simmons’ is the coordinator and event planner every year for the party and it was unanimously accepted that doing a Christmas party without her wouldn’t be something the employees would want. I’d like to report that Sharon is making a terrific recovery and is back in the office regularly.

The TopSoil Post

Co-Op (the narf-tastic 360 comic I work on online) has been picked up by TopSoil Comics. The comic- as I have plugged before- is an online collaboration between myself and fellow Xbox Live gamer Treebeerd (who I met online a few years back). Co-Op is very much focused on gaming and online interactions, and is filled with obscure inside jokes and nerdy awesomeness that only a select few will appreciate. (Those that do think it’s the best comic ever though. Honest they all say that).

New episodes will be posted on TopSoil before they make their way to their usual postings on ComicSpace. I’m really excited about getting hosted so early on in the comic’s life. There are still a few kinks to work out with flow, direction and art styles; but for the most part I’m starting to get really comfortable with the pages we are putting out. Head on over to TopSoil sometime to see that we are indeed up there, and check out some of the other flavors hosted. Lot 14 is particularly hilarious.

The Sony-less Post

I’m not really one to like to part with stuff. I’m not a pack rat per-se, but I do make apparent mental connections with my possessions* and get all sentimental about the things I own. This week marks the parting of ways between myself and my Sony TV. We had a good run of many years, and I’d like to wish the little (ok large and bulky) guy all the best in his new home. Sarah from the office came by to lug the thing down to her car the other day after work (in the tropical storm I might add), taking it off my hands for their newly liberated guest room. So if I get particularly nostalgic one day I can always pop over and catch some classic TV action down in Kissimmee. Good bye old buddy. Sniffle.

Goodwill wont accept donations of tube TV sets anymore. "Keep your peasant-ass standard definition set you bum" was their official response when I called to investigate this allegation.

*Not like mentally-control-stuff-with-my-mind power. That would be far cooler.


The Tennant Appreciation Post

Yesterday was my apartment complex’s “Tennant Appreciation Celebration” down at the clubhouse. George came over and we got some pretty tasty made-to-order omelets and Belgian waffles while sitting around poolside with my neighbors. It’s cool that the place puts on little gatherings like that, if anything to promote neighborly relations. George and I chilled for a little bit then had a few rounds of pool. I think the final score was 1-1, though I’m sure if George was able to convince me to another match I’d have lost the tie to him. There was a drawing for Valentine-themed prizes going on too, that we both stuck our names in. I figured the chance to win Sarah a nice present would be cool. In the end I did win a box of Godiva chocolates-fancy packaging and all. Though in a very unromantic fashion I have been systematically scoffing them over the past few days. I admitted all this to her shortly after, and she made me feel a little better by saying that she wouldn’t have even considered giving them to me either. So…least I considered it right?

I was in the office talking about an issue I’d been having with the security gate, as well as received a call from the leasing director telling me that I had won the chocolates, neither time did Coolio come up. so I think I’m home free on that front. For now anyway. On a side note; there is a new guy working in the leasing office now, not sure what his name is. But the guy is a clone of the dude from Office Space, who works at Chotchki’s (the flair guy). He looks exactly like him, and speaks in a hyperactive, upbeat tone, kinda like a game show host overacting. The combination of his go-get’em attitude and striking resemblance of the guy is hilarious.- Figured I’d share. If he ever comes up in a future posting he will be known henceforth as Chotchki.


The Pass Post

Due my recent need to be in the parks more and more for various projects, I was issued a Walk-On ID pass for Universal today. The pass allows me to walk onto Universal property to work on our various projects. While the pass is nothing particularly revered (thousands upon thousands of Universal employees, affiliates and vendors are issued them) it’s a big deal to me, as it’s proof that I’m getting to be a part of bigger and better projects at work. I’ve already been included in many off site meetings with creative, mechanical and architectural teams as well, and with the future looking ripe with exciting new projects and collaborations with the park, I am sure this pass will get a lot of use. Plus it looks pretty damn sexy around my neck. Man I am so important!!


The Home Leave Post

Yesterday I booked my ticket to come home next week. Short notice didn’t hurt me, as I ended up getting a pretty good fair (albeit on AirTran*). Reason for the trip is to spend time with the family and Stefan before he heads off to Iraq on his 400-day tour. He wasn’t sure when he got his home leave from training (in New Jersey**) until recently, which is why I had to hold off on booking.

While I am excited as always to return back north, I have mixed emotions about the visit. On one hand I get to spend time with loved ones, and see my brother who I haven’t spent much quality time with in a good while. Not to mention getting to see Sarah the day after Valentines’ Day (that’s almost as romantic right?). On the other side though I feel bad anticipating the trip because when all is said and done it’s a countdown to my little brother being sent off to war. It’s a tough spot to be in for sure, and I have plenty mixed emotions about it all. I hate to think of what he’ll see and do over there, and it drives me mad every time I sit and think about it. But of course its not my call, and all I need to do is be supportive of him in his very brave and noble decision, as well as provide solace to my family, who are undoubtedly feeling very emotional during all this.

* boooooooooo
** ewwwwwww

The I Might Be screwed Post

Today I head off to work to find a little note in my door fluttering to my feet as the door is opened. It tells me how a guy from a residential construction company will need in my apartment today to work on my windows. I immediately run back inside and secure Coolio in the bathroom- the only room in the place without windows. Sure enough when I come home I find my blinds are half open and Coolio’s muffled whines coming from under the bathroom door (the radio I left on was a pathetic attempt to muffle them apparently). After letting her out and apologizing profusely, I noticed my Christmas tree was laying in the middle of the hallway too (how I missed it before I don’t really know).

Ordinarily I store my tree in my water closet, because the landlord forgot to lock it. We are not supposed to store anything in there, but hey, it’s a one bedroom apartment and I feel bad tossing a fake tree that only got two months worth of wear ok!?

Why is this a concern you ask? Well in-order to know I shouldn’t be storing stuff in the closet someone would have had to work for the apartment complex-and not just been a window contactor. So…if they know I wasn’t supposed to keep stuff in the WC there is a good chance they also know that I am not supposed to have Coolio there either. And I very much doubt they where fooled by a radio and a closed door. I sincerely hope it was just a case of maintenance guy let them in and did a routine check of the WC, maybe the fire detectors and extinguisher, and not someone from the leasing office… but I have a sinking feeling I might be in trouble. I guess I’ll find out on Saturday, as there is a Tenant Appreciation brunch down at the clubhouse (with door prizes!!) that promises made to order omelets. How can I resist such bait??? I feel like the mouse in that Doritos ad. Hopefully it won’t get messy.


The Book Is Here Post

Spoke too soon. The book is now available a week ahead of schedule. The official site Aardvark Tongue.com is fully operational and ready for your perusing and purchasing needs. Head on over and checkout some of the pages, download a few clips from the audio book (read by Bob himself) and read up on what the book is all about. There is also a nifty subscription feature that sends samples of the book to your inbox every week, which I would recommend for anyone not to sure if a book about decadent household items made out of endangered species is right for them.

I’m excited for the launch, as this is really the first time I’m officially published as an illustrator. Technically I have a few illustrations published in textbooks before on a freelance job back in college, but never have I been the official illustrator (with full credit) before. So I’m thrilled to see my scribbling in print. This has been a long time coming, and I’m glad that Bob was able to finally get all the loose ends wrapped up and get this thing published.

So please head on over to the site and see what we’ve put together, and let me know what you think. Remember if you pick up a copy, you will not only be helping out the animals of the world (a portion of all profits goes towards the World Wildlife Fund), but you will also help Bob put a dent in the printing costs on this self-published venture.


The Book Hypeman Post

It’s coming. Bob’s long delayed, but never forgotten book: Aardvark Tongue Swizzle Sticks, is hitting the net next weekend. Featuring my illustrations and Bob’s hilarious descriptions, the book is awesome. My advanced copy is en route to Florida now, and I can’t wait to see the finished product. I’ll post again when the book is officially on sale and will provide links for those of you who want to support the cause and pick up a copy (or ten). Until then you can read the book’s blog and sign up for the free mailing list here.

The Mt. Dora Post

Yesterday I headed up to Mt. Dora to check out the Art Festival they hold up there every yeah. Bruce’s parents have a house just a few blocks from the downtown area, so Greg, Kathy and I headed there to hangout with the Godziks and their pugs before checking out the festival. Mt. Dora reminds me of a combination of New England and old town Leesburg. All the stores are definitely ‘mom-and-pop’ by nature and all the restaurants are unique and independent feeling. The art festival had the majority of the downtown area blocked off, with tents lining the streets and booths on every corner. Lots of artwork was on display, ranging from paintings and sculptures, to photographs and jewelry. I was hoping to scope out a canvas for my apartment, or at least snipe some ideas for something I could do myself, but unfortunately didn’t really find anything. The trip was far from a loss though as festival food was abundant, and anywhere you can get funnel cake is ok in my book. After checking it out (and getting baked in the sun- 89’ this weekend) we headed back to the house to chill before dinner. The kids where parking cars in the yard for $5 a pop and end up making over two hundred bucks between the three of them, off of suckers who came down to see the fair. Not a bad little business really. Ended up eating dinner at a Nordic restaurant, which was cool. Northing like a cold Moosehead and ‘Viking Burger’ to cap the day off. is a small lakeside town that reminds me of a mix between