Meri kurisumasu

---

Everyone, have a very Merry Christmas! From me and Riki Takeuchi's brilliant brand of overacting!

Regular posts resume sometime soon, probably!

Woo!

Atoms and Eves

---

It's Christmas Eve: here's today's Christmas Countdown thing (there are two today, even):

First, this terrifying Santa-thing from The City of Lost Children

Yeah. It makes sense in context. Sort of.

And, this jolly yuletide piece from Weird Al

Santa and his Samurai

It's late, and I should be sleeping or whatever, but I don't have any commitments. There's a load of work I need to do by the 12th of January, which mostly involves texturing and rendering scenes on the computer, but that can all wait until after Christmas.

At the moment I'm catching up on films I've been putting off watching, things that need writing and books that need reading. In all honesty, I'm not doing a good job of that either. I remember, a while back (a very long time back) I started on this poem based on a Christmas Carol. Thing is, I only write it around Christmas time, and do about half a page. It's been two years and only am up to the part where Jacob Marley arrives. One of these days, I'll have it done.

For the Christmas Countdown this entry, here's Fatblueman's very jolly Christmas in Japan

----

Nicholas Was...

Used with(out) permission from Neil Gaiman's short story collection Smoke and Mirrors

---------------

Nicholas Was… Older than sin, and his beard could grow no whiter. He wanted to die. The dwarfish natives of the Arctic caverns did not speak his language, but conversed in their own, twittering tongue, conducted incomprehensible rituals, when they were not actually working in the factories. Once very year they forced him, sobbing & protesting, into Endless Night. During the journey he would stand near every child in the world, leave one of the dwarves’ invisible gifts by its bedside. The children slept, frozen into time. He envied Prometheus and Loki, Sisyphus and Judas. His punishment was harsher. Ho. Ho. Ho.

----

Winter Wasteland

-- You know that Christmas Carol, the one I really don't like. In the Bleak Midwinter. At the start of the song, there's a bit lyrical vomit where the writer didn't quite know what to write, so he ended up putting "snow on snow, on snow, on snow". Well, I actually know what he was talking about now. See, the last week, it's been snowing like mad, then stopped, then started again, and stopped again. Trains were cancelled, shops and universities closed and nobody was enjoying it after a while. Snow is a lot like Frankie Boyle: it's best when it's a little bit at a time. Which meant for some pretty mad rushes as soon as it was safe to walk around outside again, and the shops were open. People trying to stock up as much as possible in case they got completely snowed in and had to resort to eating each other.

On the other hand I've had a blast doing all the work, having finished just about everything. Visual effects work looks kind of bad but it's not as bad as I thought it might be. Essay's been written and, for my Toil and Trouble project, I've had a good time remodeling the witch and animating the face to actually made it look like she's saying or feeling things.

One week left until presentations and hand ins, and all that's left are tweeks. I like tweeks, you don't have to put in a great deal of concentation into them.

And, to carry on with the Christmas Countdown, here's .....

---

Got Ham?

The last few days have been, interestingly enough, surrounding Batman.

See, in working on my visual effects thing for class - which involves adding effects to film as well as writing up about a desired topic, I came up with the idea to write about the art of matte painting; you know, where an artist painstakingly paints a scene that's almost real to the eye, on which live action footage is placed, with appropriate background to fit, to make it look like the action is happening in a place that's more visually impressive than the studio.

With exception of the guy, the trolley and some of the floor, the rest is a painting. Well anyway, I am writing up on the composite images used to create the unique look for Gotham city in a range of Batman movies.

This had led me to watch Batman Begins and the Dark Knight, as well as the special features, which has led to an increased interest in Batman.

I'm now the owner of a cool new Batman poster, mug and Arkham Asylum comic (those last things were actually early Christmas presents).

Well, anyway, because it's getting close to Christmas and bats have been on the mind, I ended up drawing this

A bigger version can be found on deviantart here. Consider this, and the below video, the first of a series of completely unrelated Christmas posts, where I'll be putting on a video, image or story to do with Christmas.

Also, modeling on the witches for the Toil and Trouble short is going well:

Well, creepy eyes notwithstanding. Also, music is coming along nicely. With any luck I'll have a nice piece to go with the animatic.

And now, to start the Christmas Countdown 2010 - Merry Christmas, Gotham City! from the cancelled Batman musical

--

List of films, and ever so slightly more!

Here's my list of top 5 Christmas films (and why): I was a bit bored ----- Home Alone We all love the story of the boy in house by himself who likes to beat up bad guys with his psychotically clever traps. It’s sadistically violent, a bit like if Ichi the Killer had a Christmas special, but it’s a lot of fun to watch, bringing the anvils-on-heads action we love in cartoons into live action. Despite all its ridiculous carnage, Home Alone still manages to get the message of Christmas, and love and family across, although this mostly involves talking to creepy strangers and listening to their wise, wise words of, um, wisdom. How the Grinch Stole Christmas The Jim Carrey one, that is. I don’t think I need to say why this film was in the list. It’s hilarious, it’s touching and guaranteed to make your heart grow three sizes in a day. It expands really well from the original, making the Grinch less of pointless villain and more of a likeable character, detailing his past and why he was in Mt Crumpit in the first place. The people who didn’t like it are just insane. Bad Santa Not many people have seen this one, and I don’t know why. Billy Bob Thornton plays an alcoholic mall Santa who, at night, steals things from the mall he works for with his midget assistant. To escape the cops he hides out at this kid’s house (who thinks he really is Santa) and meets the mum from Gilmore Girls for some reason. Eventually the boy teaches him the meaning of Christmas, more or less, and the ending is surprisingly sweet. There are also great co-starring roles by the late Bernie Mac and John Ritter. If you haven’t seen it, do so this Christmas . Mickey's Christmas Carol Warmer than a glass of mulled wine to the face, this film goes through the entire length of Dickens’ classic in a mere 24 minutes. It also has Goofy in the most ironic role he’s ever been in. Jacob Marley was a horrible man who took money from widows and stuff. Anyway, it’s the typical story of the Christmas Carol with the character of Scrooge being played by, well, Scrooge. It’s really short in its runtime, and probably would have been better if they had extended the play time, but all in all you can’t not love it.

Die Hard A bit like Home Alone in a lot of ways, Die Hard is what Kevin McAllister would have done if he had a couple of submachine guns and some badass catchphrases. Die Hard teaches us that although the weather outside is frightful, the gunfire can certainly delight anyone. It’s definitely one of the best action films around. A lot of people might not agree it’s a Christmas film, but a lot of people seem to think it is. It’s set at Christmas, and at the end everyone’s happy they’re with their families and not at the bottom of a burning building, so they understand the true meaning of Christmas: Yippe Kay Yay Motherfucker

------

Ok anyway. I'm in London now, due to leave for the southwest in a little under two hours now. It's so cold here it's getting harder and harder to not come up with a million Mr Freeze ice jokes. I'm gonna spend a month in Cornwall, or something like that. That's usually the normal amount of time I can spend there before being driven batshit insane. Fun times!

Countdown to Christmas: I don't even think I'm keeping track any more 

Insert Candle/Count Dracula Pun Here (Because I can't think of one)

OK, I have one of three assignments done. I have to hand them in on Thursday. I'm pretty certain' I'll manage. This is what it looks like. Now for a tiny bit of relaxing before I get into finishing this essay on Batman. 

On Friday I'm going all the way back to Cornwall to celebrate Christmas (WOOOO) with my family, but I'll be stopping off at my sister's in Plymouth on the way, and get a lift with her for the rest of the journey. Huzzah, it's almost Christmas. Oh, shit, I need to do some last minute Christmas shopping. Thrills and krill all around.

I want to write an email Christmas card with some sort of story on it, but I don't think I'll have the time. I've been trying to get Scroogical finished for like two years. Bastard thing just won't let itself be finished.

OK, goodnight blog. I'm going to carry on writing by the dim light of my Dracula candle that Wilson bought me the other day, because it was going cheap and its head was almost cut off.

No worry for that anymore, though

Christmas Countdown:  12 motherfuck'n days

Bluh Bluh Black Sheep

Today, I tried to update my blog in Japanese. Then I realised I didn't know much of the vocab or anything and wasn't bothered looking it up. I could have done "今日は, blogが 日本語to try to update が、できません" but that would have looked stupid.

I'm almost done with that wretched animation. I'll post it up here when I'm done. It probably would be if I didn't end up spending all my time watching Whose Line is it Anyway which is still like the best thing on TV, if it was still on TV. 

It's gonna be one of those blog entries where I start it because there's something I wanted to say or something, then I forget and up rambling on. Bluh. I kinda want to write a letter to Future me, like they did in last night's How I Met Your Mother. It would be kurazy. 

Anyway.

I'm going home in a week for Christmas. Woo (but also, shit! because I have no work completed)! I still haven't printed off my ticket. But I have no presents to give to any one and that kind of annoys me. Last year I bought them all in like September, mainly because I happened along a bunch of shit in the shop and thought "well why not. I have money now".  That and the cool tshirt I got my sister was going 2 for £20 and I wanted the Joker one for myself. 

OK I'm going to go to bed, now. Because it's late and last time it was this late I didn't end up sleeping at all, and then I went to bed at 10pm the following night and woke up at half past fucking one. Thrills.

Countdown to Christmas: Oh, I don't know. Figure it out yourself

"Mike Wazowski!"

I forgot how awesome Monsters Inc. is. It's funny as hell. And Hell is totally hilarious, dont' you know.    Today my friend had his birthday party. He was turning 21 and hired out some of the ol' Common Room bar for the frivolities. People dressed up as animated characters. Others did not. Ironically enough those people were the ones who did the animation course. I dressed up as "animated me" which involved painting big cartoon eyes on myself. I looked a total tit. It was soon rubbed off

God, look at all those snow particles interacting with that fur. That must have taken ages to render.    Oh wow. I wasn't wrong: "It normally took 11 to 12 hours to render a single frame of Sulley because of his 2.3 million individually animated hair strands (Total number of hairs: 2,320,413)."    That's right fellow animators, eleven to twelve hours for one fucking frame. I can't even begin to imagine that. Jesus Christ it took half an hour for my thing to render today and I thought it took a long time.

I'm really tempted to stay up all night and write or something, but we all know that would be silly. For those of you who follow my Twitter you'd have seen this, a picture I drew of Amanda Palmer

I also did this.

Eleven to twelve hours. One frame. It still boggles the mind

Christmas countdown: 3 weeks!

Sometimes you just wonder

The rain it raineth on the just, And also on the unjust fella. But chiefly on the just, because. The unjust hath the just's umbrella.

Argh, it's four in the morning again. I need to break this habit by Christmas or Santa won't come around and give me presents. That and I'll piss everyone in my house off with my loud music and Buffy episodes.

I totally blame the fact that I have no more early starts and can therefore change my entire sleep schedule and move it forward 4 or 5 hours without affecting my classes or anything. I probably wouldn't recommend it, though. I've been up writing though, and I'm getting a fair bit into Dial M 2 now, which I thought would never take off. That and I've been planning that Lullabies story I told you about last time. 

Things are looking pretty good.

Except for our lessons on Monday and Tuesday. Our teacher barely seems to have a lesson plan, shows us awful videos then lets us go. Today, after discussing our marks individually (leaving everyone else to do nothing in the process), he talked about this film he wants to make about a ninja assassin girl from Leeds of all places who is the Chosen One  and goes to Malaysia. There's no plot. All he said was that he wanted a ninja girl from Leeds who was the Chosen one and that it would have parallel dimensions and people from the future  And everyone was like "Is this man mad or something?" Then we spent half an hour discussing with him what we felt, only if we really told him he we felt about this ridiculous project he wants us to work on then we'd probably have been thrown off the course of something. I was incredibly close to shouting how absolutely fucking ridiculous the whole thing was.

Oh, and it's not set in our world. Apparently not, anyway.

Countdown to Christmas: 3 weeks, 3 days!

The things you just do

I've been up for a little more than twelve hours, which is a bit bad, considering it's almost three in the morning. It's raining, and it's almost Christmas and everything's jolly and nice. I like this. It puts me in the mood for writing. That and Regina Spektor.

I've started another story. As I always say I'm going to actually finish this one. Probably. Maybe. Hopefully.

It's called Lullabies for the Sleep Deprived which I still can't decide whether or not it sounds good or not. I'm keeping it for now. It's going to be a series of short stories or something about people in this city, who are all sleep deprived and going to this bar and all have issues. It's jolly good fun. 

This segment here's called Things you just do because I can't think of anything else, and it sounds quite Neil Gaiman-y

--------------

The band playing was fairly unknown, but their music was pleasant. Jay looked around him at the people in Woo’s. He could recognise most of them; not that he had ever met or seen them before, but because he knew their faces. The same sort of people went into Woo’s, all the time. He knew that. He sketched them all the time. Kept a small diary, more or less. That girl on his left, the one stirring her tall drink with the little plastic stirer that came with it, looking at the people around her suspiciously, avoiding their direct glances. Her hair was cut short, and given streaks the colour of rust. Her eyeliner wasn’t applied very well and he could see faded scars on her arm, where her long sleeves fell back. He flipped through his small book to the pages he had titled “going back to normal”, and tried to draw her, before she turned her back on him because of whatever it was that was happening elsewhere that she found more interesting. Jay hated it when people did that. At least give him time to finish an outline of the person.    He scribbled it out.    The band changed songs    There was the Man with the Past in front of him. He was alone, as well. Most of the people at Woo’s drank alone. The Man with the Past sat and drank a whiskey or a beer, while glancing around him, as if whatever it was from his Past would come back and bug him while he drank. The Man with the Past’s main characteristic was his inability to trust people and his eventual distancing from society’s norms. It didn’t matter what his Past was. It was his Present that was affected, and that was what he shaped himself as. Jay didn't draw people with Pasts much, mainly becuase he would get too carried away and end up making them look like Nick Nolte with scars over their eyes.   There was the the Couple. They were boring. It was the sort of shallow relationship start where both party members would show their love by making stupid kissy faces to one another, and talk in a way that would get them shunned out of everything else. Relationships made people act like idiots. No. It was love. It’s always the love, or rather, Jay corrected himself, the need for love. He smiled briefly at them and shifted in his seat to see the other people in the room. He couldn’t see anyone else very well, so he reached for his glass of vodka-pepsi.   It was empty.   Fuck it, Jay thought. He stood up, put on his coat, pocketed his sketchbook and pencil, and left the bar.

 ..

There were about twenty-three years’ worth of memories that Jay could have been erasing at Woo’s. There was nothing he particularly wanted to forget, but it seemed that drinking made things a lot easier. It was probably a good thing he couldn’t afford to do it very often; he probably would have become an alcoholic, which wasn't his style at all.     He decided to walk the long way, because the long way had better lights, and the lights helped him think. He wanted to think

-------------- That's it so far. I quite like it. It's going to involve him meeting up with this ltitle girl who's ran away from home or something, and they form this nice older-brother relationship or something. Then I'll move onto the story about the crazy man who yells things in his sleep.

I'm totally in a writing vendetta mood. I'm gonna hunt down all the unfinished stories, and I'm gonna finish them off. This time .... it's personal.

I hope I get the new Terry Pratchett book for Christmas. I've been putting off buying it for myself for just that reason. It looks absolutely awesome, because it's a Discworld book and I haven't read a new Discworld book in about two years. Am very excited.

CHRISTMAS IS SOON WOOOO

Coutdown: 3 weeks, 5 days