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May 2007 Archives

May 1, 2007

edges

A great bit of prose from brilliant friends Bob and Dylan:

"Either by our cultivation or training we arbitrarily decide how to define a shape and where that shape begins or ends. Nature's edges are more like an ice cube in a glass of water. We see a shape but the shape is in a state of flux - the edges are well defined but the form is ever changing."

Only thing I might add is that like the ice cube, we only have a certain amount of time in this life, and as we go along what we give off goes towards the greater whole. So don't poison the drink...sweeten it instead.

pondering langues

For a work project, I've ended up searching for common names and words. Long story that I can't tell you about. But rather fascinating. For instance, the top 25 nouns in English:

Continue reading "pondering langues" »

May 2, 2007

power of the people

On Tuesday, the Digg community rose up, defying the site's Terms of Service and efforts to ban non-compliant users, to post a 32-digit number that a video industry group wanted to remove from the Internet.

The Advanced Access Content System Licensing Administrator, LLC (AACSLA), which licenses the copy control technology that's supposed to secure HD-DVD and Blu-ray discs, recently embarked on what appears to be a quixotic quest: trying to un-publish the number that nullifies its digital lock.

The number in question, a 128-bit integer, is the "processing key" that decrypts HD-DVD and Blu-ray video so it can be viewed. Code breakers published this key back in February, cracking the copy protection on the upcoming generation of video discs before there's even much of a market for them.

more @ Information Week

May 3, 2007

mercy

Stepped back under the lights for the first time in about nine years. SK Field in Culver City and softball. I'm a late entry to the team (didn't know about it early on) which is made up of people at work. As a toddy-come-lately, I only made one practice last weekend, and tonight was the first game. I acquited myself well enough at practice (after a rather weak ground ball the first at bat, the next two were home run and line drive single), so I was in the starting lineup, albeit batting 10th and playing right field.

Continue reading "mercy" »

May 4, 2007

voice and cut

Well, this "free" project is dragging on, and I'm burning out on it. Following feed back from a couple of native speakers, I've changed the original script and character names, got a colleague to do a short translation and read, and tonight was revoicing it. Well, that was the easy part. The hard part is now making the vocal match the rough cut of the visuals that Bob did. Arrgh...iMovie is a great piece of software but it is *miserable* for this type of work. Time to finally learn FinalCutPro properly and start working in that. I can't do a ripple or roll edit without lots of trial and error. And since I have definite hit points, this is a pita. I guess if I didn't care what it looked like it wouldn't be an issue. Yeah, like that's going to happen...

May 5, 2007

packing heavy

Well, kids it's off to Beijing again for work. This time the proper "technical working group" meetings on the OLLI project. And I have to dress "business casual" so no jeans for me, at least during the meetings and site visits. I'll be there for a week, hopping an early morning flight tomorrow from LAX to SFO, then on a 747 direct to Beijing. Luckily I had some grant money available to upgrade from economy to business. That flight is just too long for cramped quarters, and I actually have a TON of work to do on the plane and over there, as once I get back I have yet another project due that currently exists as one graphic and some notes. By the time I get off the plane I need a rough cut of an animated Keynote presentation. One thing that may screw me up is that I need to find a bunch of terrorist-related images, and I'm not sure I want to be doing those google searches from Beijing. I don't want to end up in Jack Bauer's old cell. I don't think President Palmer will make a deal to get me released...

Stay tuned for photos and the usual stuff. Xie xie.

nerves

Never fails. Pre-trip nerves. Hmm, well, maybe it does fail sometimes. I don't remember being too stressed out before the Houston trip. Maybe I'm making up for it on this one. But the last couple trips I've been fine once I hit the airport. Hopefully tomorrow will be the same story. If not...well, that's why god invented medication. And lots of it...

May 6, 2007

ni hao again

Well, after an ausipcious start, I'm back in Beijing. Never quite sure when to post this...Beijing time or LA time? Eh...who know...where I am is when I am. Ohh, deep. Anywho, the festivities at first involved me misreading my flight from LAX to SFO. I swore it was 8:55am departure, but turns out it was 7:55am. Luckily I have a tendency to show up early for flights, so I arrived a bit before 7am. Thankfully the lines were short (no line at security...how did that happen?), so I made my flight to SFO. Then a short layover, and onto the upper deck of a 747-400 (god bless business class). A long sit on the ground due to the SFO baggage system being down (?!?!?), but finally we were in the air. Uneventful flight, and actually got a few hours of sleep, and was able to work a bit and read a bit about warriorship. I need to work on that. A lot.


Continue reading "ni hao again" »

May 7, 2007

uggh

Well, things never quite go the way they are "supposed to." Could it be....expectations?!?!? I was told that I'd be booked into a room on the executive level floor at the Presidential Plaza Hotel. When I checked in, I they said no, normal room. I went up, and it was on a smoking floor (uggh) and was a small hovel with a double bed. Double uggh. I'm sorry, but I'm too old for this. I went back down to see what I could renegotiate. Found out that a few of the people on this trip are staying in those rooms, but others are in suites up on the executive floors. Uh huh. I get it. Well, at some point money is made to be spent, and knowing that I often don't travel so well, I sorted out an upgrade. My room expense of 750RMB was being covered. A suite was 1500RMB. Too much to come out of pocke. But a "deluxe room" on the executive floor was 1100RMB. Hmm, that's about $50 a night. Screw it...life is short. Much more vicivilized...large king size bed, a work table, sofa, chair, and access to the executive lounge. That is the key...got spoiled by S back in Shanghai. But at least now I know it exists and is pretty much worth the extra cash. Next time I'll get S to work her travel connection magic and find a cheap upgrade, but I was told before the trip I'd be in a decent room. And I assumed I'd be flying biz. So I'll have some arguing/sorting to do with the organizers. At any rate, my stipend will at least cover the hotel expenses but that isn't the point. *sigh* I'm tired.


Going up...7 blew

Continue reading "uggh" »

May 8, 2007

rough night

Rough night, long day ahead, we'll see how it all plays out. Just got off a conference call from LA, and have to wake up at 2am for another one. In addition to the meetings here. Oh, and the previous conference call left me with a proposal due in 2 weeks for a new digital media center and curriculum. This one better pay...

May 9, 2007

insulted?

Ventured out to do some shopping this afternoon after finally getting to feeling somewhat en route to normal. I went down the street to one of the typical multifloor shopping "malls" with tons of little cubicles selling stuff. I was looking for more mala bracelets for Calvin, as he said he wanted some with his friends. I knew exactly where to go in Shanghai (and what to pay thanks to S), but this took some hunting. I finally found some but the language difficulties proved...umm...difficult. The guy did run and get someone who spoke English so we were able to figure out what I wanted (smaller beads). And thankfully, the almight calculator is the universal deal maker. He typed out 80. I sighed loudly and punched in 20. He said each. I said for all for. He said no. The guy who spoke English said just a little more. So I punched in 30. Deal. Paid a bit too much but whatever...they guy was nice enough.


Continue reading "insulted?" »

i miss

i miss the laugh of the boy
i miss his youth that is running away
blink and you miss it
pray that you don't
that you can stay in the moment
and view the world through his eyes

i miss dropping in and ducking
i miss the washing machine
nature having her way
and me letting her
wet quiet in a swirling storm

i miss my strings to pluck
i miss my string to stab
joining in the chorus
chasing the groove
touching what has no form

i miss myself sometimes
i miss who i could be
caught up in sorrows
chasing tomorrows
instead of just being to be

i miss you
i miss me
i miss the look
i miss the eyes
i miss the look

May 10, 2007

like home

A full day of meetings and a school visit, traversing part of Beijing. One thing that's just like home....traffic! At least they've got these cool colored sign thingies. Beats our letter sign thingies. THINGIES!

May 11, 2007

quick one

Just a short dash before heading off to dinner. Another site visit today, took plenty of video and some photos. More of the same story...some things are universal, other things aren't. At this point I'm just tired from travel and hashing through what this thing is going to look like. So many bodies in the room coming from different angles, and in the end, it isn't my call. Another life lesson. Been getting plenty of those lately.


Continue reading "quick one" »

May 12, 2007

last night

Well, last night in Beijing. Today was a long and tough day of work, but we actually hit it out of the park in the afternoon session, with our breakout group (nicknamed "happy group") taking an episode and actually creating the game play. With a user interface even. I was in storyboard mode from last night (another project I can't talk about), so once we picked an episode, I blurted out "space invaders" and I was off to the board and markers to start drawing. And it is good. Everyone in the group was happy (hence our group name), even the edu-types.

After that it was Peking Duck for dinner. Then packing. Now blogging. Next sleep (hopefully). Then the long flight back to LA. Catch you on the other side...of the Pacific that is. Hai, tai gui le!

Continue reading "last night" »

easy come

When I got into town I was pretty stressed. When I got to the hotel, I changed some more money into RMB, leaving about $150 or so in US currency. At some point in the haze of the first day or two, I remember thinking that my wallet was thick and uncomfortable, and that I should take out the US $ and put it somewhere safe. Now if only I could remember where that was...

Continue reading "easy come" »

doh

After tearing apart everything, I was in bed trying to reconstruct my steps. I didn't really remember putting it in the suitcase, but of course looked anyway. I looked through my backpack as well...but still I ran my mind over and over trying to sort it out.

Continue reading "doh" »

May 13, 2007

uneventful

That's what the trip home was...uneventful. Some time slacking in the lounge at the Peking Airport, then a rather smooth flight from PEK to SFO, with about 4 or so hours sleep to be had. Then clearing customs in SF, a short (but completely full) flight down to LAX. Sat next to a United pilot who works out of SFO but lives in Thousand Oaks. Now *that's* a commute. Then a ridiculously long wait for my bag, then a cab home.


Continue reading "uneventful" »

silver rain cloud?

Three defensive perimeters, dozens of cannon, hundreds of rockets and - on standby at a nearby airport - a fleet of five planes laden with thousands of silver-iodine pellets. No, it is not a new frontline in the war on terror. This is the cloudbusting arsenal that is being put at the disposal of Beijing's weathermen as they fight to ensure blue skies for the 2008 Olympics. Chinese metereologists are preparing one of mankind's greatest ever assaults on the heavens next August, which the organisers belatedly acknowledge as the month when the capital gets almost half its annual rainfall.

May 14, 2007

production hell

I hate computers. No, really. Well, ok...not all the time...but often when I'm dealing with digital video. In this case, trying to create a standalone talk, but the godz are not cooperating. Tried a workflow that I've used parts of but never in this order. Lots of ways to try to do this, none of them particularly efficient. Ended up creating graphics in Omnigraffle (great program), taking that into Keynote to sequence and do crude animation, writing a script in Word, recording the narration using Logic, laying in the soundtrack, then going back into Keynote to manually adjust the timings. At this point in the past I've gone into iMovie but for some reason the export/import between Keynote and iMovie was not happening. Tried it a zillion ways. Still working on it. Arrggh...


Continue reading "production hell" »

May 15, 2007

shedding

No, not my cat (or me thankfully). Time to start the long climb back. Put another ad on craigslist (bassist available), and figure that if I'm available I better be able to play. Haven't picked up the bass in ages I'm sorry to say. Some acoustic and electric guitar playing over the last few months, but I need to play some music. With other humans. So back to the woodshed tonight. Uggh. It's gonna take awhile. Oh well, marathon, not sprint, right?

long time down

a california classic, or so i thought
a fanciful breed that couldn't be bought
or sold out my second-hand soul
sorting things that have taken a toll

it's a long time down
come back into town
it's a long time down

sitting pretty, silly little ditty
living on a couch with no pity
losing my edge and slowly settle
remember the feel of the twisting metal

it's a long time down
still won't quite bend
it's a long time down

to be continued...

May 16, 2007

not over

I suppose I could say that about a lot of things (auditions, anyone?). But in particular, production hell simply moves into a new phase, as they "bought the pilot" so now we need to make v2. Oh, and did we mention that the deadline is the end of the month? And here are some notes...

Interesting conversations at the Sky Bar though. Maybe this will have legs. Maybe something new is on the horizon. Take a chance? Go with risk instead of the regular check? Phoenix says I'm at the edge, but of everything, not just a particular discipline. Time to put the edge to the test? Guess I'll have to find out...

May 17, 2007

old and slow

Now I know how my dad felt about 35 or so years ago. When I was 10 and he was in his mid 40's. For those who don't follow at home, my dad was an amazing softball player (baseball too, but that was before I was born). I grew up on the softball diamond, watching him pitch fast pitch. I got pretty good too, playing 5 years of little league, then switching to softball. I played intramural and city league during college and grad school, either pitching (both slow and fast pitch) or playing shortstop. I won a lot, lost a lot, but in general was a very good player. But like many, when the family came, something had to give. My last gasp of organized softball was a city league in Claremont back in late 1997 when Calvin was less than a year old. Haven't picked up the glove since.

Continue reading "old and slow" »

May 18, 2007

spook then swat

Interesting day today, hanging with police and fire talking about incident command for when bad things happen. Got to see a brand new mobile command center with some cool capabilities. And watched (from a distance) as a SWAT team stormed a bus that had hostages. All training of course. Did get to talk guns with the cops though. They don't let them use 40sw or 357sig rounds. They carry .45acp Glocks (most of them), although one used a Sig p220 for 14 years when he was in SWAT.

Never boring for me these days...

May 19, 2007

not dfl

Another track day, and my second "proper" race in the orange group. The tire issues were sorted and the car felt pretty good. First session of the morning I was not really fired up so I just took it easy trying to relearn the course (CA Speedway Roval which includes the front straight and turn 1 and 2 of the banked oval, then into the infield course). There are a couple of tricky sections, especially turn 3 (coming off the banked oval flat in 5th gear down to 2nd gear) and the buttonhook (turn 9).

Continue reading "not dfl" »

May 20, 2007

bang

Well, it had to happen some time. I guess you just have to take the luck involved and see the bright side. This morning Calvin and I packed up the car for another day at CA Speedway. My first session wasn't until 9am so we headed to Peets for sustinence. Coming out of the Peets parking lot, I eased into traffic and there was a "bang." Uh oh...that doesn't sound good. The engine was running, but the car was no go and was making a bad noise from the bad. Pulled over and looked underneath. Something wrong with the halfshaft. Either broke or the bolts backed out. Hmm...I think that is brand new (one or both halfshafts were replaced a month or so ago). Well, can't fix it in the street, and can't drive it home, and can't take it to the shop. So a call to AAA to tow it 6 blocks home. *sigh*. No race today. On the bright side, if that had happened in turn 2 doing 130mph, it would have been *very* bad. So I'm lucky. We're all lucky. It's a good day...

May 21, 2007

whimper

Well, the season of 24 came to and end, and not with a bang, but with a wimper. A few inane plot complications and moments, but to their credit they did leave the season on a rather quiet/introspective/psychological note. Now the question is can the writers dream up something novel for season 6. Time will tell...as for now, Sopranos is the next set of loose ends to tie up.

May 22, 2007

mini horror

Pondering switching back to a stick (control issues...I hate automatic transmissions). Wanted to drive a Mini Cooper S so the boy and I made the trek to the dealer. Fun car to drive in anger. But the worst ergonomics ever. Seriously...the interior is a bad joke. I'm not sure what kind of drugs the designers were on, but I don't want any of them.

May 23, 2007

more disasters

Spent the day in Anaheim in planning meeting for a large disaster training drill. Not sure what I can and can't say, but it'll be a festive event. And we'll try to complicate it. Mmm, complications...

May 24, 2007

open house

Unbeknownst to me, today was open house at the boy's school. I was running late to pick him up (game testing today), and parking was impossible. Hmm, must be something up. And that something was open house. There was pizza and soda for sale beforehand, but by the time I got to the front of the line they had run out of food. So we toughed it out...he played while I watched and froze (didn't have a jacket). Finally the rooms opened up and we went up to see his stuff. He showed off his science experiment (how much weight can clay pillars hold), but had some work conspicuously absent from certain projects. Hmm. We'll have to have a talk about that...I feel even more screen time going away.

May 25, 2007

check engine

That stupid little icon lit up tonight. It knew I was looking at new cars, so it had to fight back the only way it could. Bastard car.

May 26, 2007

style or substance

Well, a few test drives today. The Mazdaspeed 3 has gotten rave reviews, so I figured I should give it a shot. Did not like it. 260hp is great, but not with front wheel drive. Handling was very odd. There's no hiding from physics. Next it was a quick tip in a Subie WRX wagon. Soooo much nicer. Almost like being home.

Continue reading "style or substance" »

May 27, 2007

karting

With less-than-ideal beach weather, it was off to GoKartWorld for Calvin and I. Since he is on a screen-time ban, he tends to get a little restless. Good life lesson I suppose. At any rate, he is about an inch too short for the Turbo Track (which I've never done) and the line for the Euro tracks was too long. We we went to the slick track oval for some fun. They have a new feature...timing! Oh boy, I can compete now. Just what I need. We only did a couple of runs, but on the last one I was down to a 12.09 lap (couldn't get into the 11s). Calvin ended up 3rd fastest at 12.24. And I was trying hard, and I don't think he was. Hmm...I better get used to him catching me. Then passing me. As long as he waves as he goes past.

May 28, 2007

not much

A Memorial Day holiday, but not much to report. I have a production project hanging over my head but the animator isn't done. I really am not into it, but have to suck it up and deliver. Just want to sleep. Then sleep some more. Oh yeah, and after that I'd like to sleep.

May 29, 2007

balls in the air

Am I done yet? Conference call after conference call. Fire after fire. Depreciation blows. Indecision. Unsurification (new word). Hmm, I keep wanting a break but it never seems to come. Maybe this is it. It's all very confusing. Maybe that's the point. I wish this script was done. I have to voice it. At least I can take tonight off. If I do it tomorrow. Damn. That just pushes everything else back. Back. Flack. Taking it.

cry a little

fall or falter, doesn't matter
which you say it still feels like
i need to cry a little because
each day i die a little but not
how you'd really expect

a character, a sweeping arc
crossed lines and radicals
flexing feet to drain the twist
and fighting the red mist
of what i couldn't get past

i wished, i tried, i sighed
and settled down into a lull
slung chair moving pillows
it isn't soft, just in the way
used to be thrilling, but now
just tiring, sad, and running

but you can't run
i follow you
you can't split
unless you're ready
for four pieces
six in the room
and two alone

chasing

looking down
and hoping
to see it
to feel it
chasing
but it's
never
the same
or sane
chasing
it passed
the past
is gone
i see it
languid
bittersweet
chasing

May 30, 2007

what day

ok, what day is it? i've lost track...work is blurring me...i feel fuzzy

a few good rounds

I'm trying to voice this damn thing, but evidently everyone wants to drive up and down outside my apartment while reving their engine. If I squeezed off a few rounds at each car, you think they'd stop? I wonder if they'd let me bring a small recording setup into the west LA holding cell. Probably quieter there anyway...

I'm about ready to snap...

hubris

ok, i hate to brag (or not...i'll entertain opinions on that), but i just finished the voiceover. After the first aborted take (due to traffic), i hit record and viola, did the whole thing in one shot. A 3:30 piece with nary a cough or slurred word. Thanks, xanax!

Of course I might listen to it in the morning and think, "geez, what is that crap?!?" But for now, it is sent off to the editor for him to play with. I even figured out some of the music bed bits and did a rough mix to send t him for intro/outro timing. More work to be done, but better than an hour ago. Thanks, xanax!

Oh wait, I already said that...

cornering

A pic from Fontana weekend before last during the orange group race. Must have been early while I was holding some people off (ie pre spin)

May 31, 2007

nightmare time

I've had plenty of dreams, but for right now, it is conscious nightmare time. Finally finished voicing the production piece, and of course the animation sequences do not jibe well at all. My editor said, "um, I have no idea what to do." Great. So now I'm playing editor doing a rough assemble in iMovie to try and give him some guidance on how to attack the edit. I guess this is what I'm getting paid for. No wait, I thought it was for the original concept. And fleshing that out over a couple of months. Then totally reconceiving it based on days of discussions. And the first version of the multimedia piece including script, voiceover, graphics, and assembly. And the subsequent rewrites of the script. And revoicing. Twice due to late changes.

I don't think I'm getting paid enough...

About May 2007

This page contains all entries posted to nostatic at all... in May 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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