Monday, June 30, 2008

Just to be sure

Thanks to Sephim for filling a gap in my history. Turns out I'm actually learning a thing or two.

Two things in twelve years isn't bad.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

It's the only way

Latest project: build a time machine. Visit Mr. J. Stuart Blackton.

Thanks to Mr.Trombley for giving me a target.

Friday, June 27, 2008

One frame at a time

I couldn't let this go unillustrated. One frame at a time. Seriously. Who thought that would be a good idea? Who?

I'm sure I'm supposed to know that answer, you know, being in the business and all. I just figured it was some time ago, hence the candle and moustaches.

No, it's far too easy to shoot actual people in real time. Nah, let's devote our lives to making things one single solitary lonely little frame at a time. Madness.

This whole industry stems from madness.

That explains a lot actually.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Who really cares?

On some projects it's just difficult to stay motivated. And animation is such a ridiculously long process that keeping up any pretense of motivation is simply impossible. I mean, what gobshite thought it was a good idea to make film a frame at a time?

One frame at a time?!

He'd be laughed out of the Dragon's Den with that one. Craziest idea ever. One frame at a time. It's nuts.

So it takes years to make a television show or movie or whatever. No way anyone is going to keep up enthusiasm for that length of time unless it is your own project that you have dreamt about making for years. And that rarely happens. Mostly, we're just hired to do a job. Get the job done, get paid. You can try to do your absolute best work and that's great but some jobs will inspire you less than others.

And you just can't give 100% the whole time without burning out (and don't get me started on the idiots who use the 'giving 110%' phrase).

So, sometimes, just getting something finished to a satisfactory level is okay.

Really though - one frame at a time? Completely ridiculous. I think I'll do something with puppets. At least then I can shoot in real time.

Anyone know anything about making puppets?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

It's barely a game

There's so little actual game in Metal Gear Solid 4, I'm not sure why gaming sites and magazines actually reviewed it. Is it really in their juristiction? And the little game that is here is clunky, out of date and just poor, except possibly for one section which relies entirely on nostalgia to entertain.

But those cut scenes are pretty, right? Well, as it happens, most of the cut scenes are just people delivering the lines of someone who doesn't know how to edit. There's no need for these scenes of dull people talking to be half an hour long. The story is a total mess, made pointlessly messier in the last 40 minute conversation, but Metal Gear Solid has a good history so getting this final chapter and the end to the story might be enough to make just getting it done worthwhile. That finality could satisfy.

And it's not without its cool moments.

But that doesn't make it a game. I wonder if ET on the Atari was bundled with a copy of the movie, would it be remembered as a great game? That's pretty much what we have with MGS4. Although the movie bit was better in ET.

Back to the Indy Lego game I think.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

We all know Flash is unstable

Yes, Flash has always crashed. It's just the kind of programme it is and everyone who works with it knows it. But I haven't heard of it wiping whole files.

So I can't help but be suspicious is this situation. It just doesn't feel right. A little too convenient. And, if you've worked for Flash for years, you'd be saving multiple versions, wouldn't you?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Like flies to shit

So I went to this company day of fun last week and, well, it wasn't so bad at all. The people here at the moment are a fairly balanced bunch. That is very unusual for animation. Usually, there's a few loons, the 'I'm so wacky and funny' types and someone who I'd put money on being a serial killer.

Yeah, the animation business seems to attract far more than its fair share of crazies. And they, in turn, are attracted to my desk. No idea why.

Actually, there seems to be a huge amount of people with extreme religious views in animation. They branch out in all directions but the one common thing among them is that they are all convinced they are right. Not all religious - some are extremely anti-religious and then others are part of these sort of 'self help' cults that are religions for tax purposes only. I find if a group of people call each other 'wizards', it's best to steer clear.

Then others just come from different cultures I guess, like the guy who told me I'd be killed for my shoes. They weren't even good shoes. We weren't even having a conversation. He just hovered at my desk for a bit, told me I'd be killed and then walked off. I don't even know where 'his' country is.

Friday, June 20, 2008


I had a very hard time with this one decision. I guess I want to do what is right for me. Not just what I want, because that's not always the same thing.

Is it better for me to go, get on with it, plaster on that fake smile, tolerate the thought of that stupidly long journey home because the boss was too selfish to organise this outing somewhere central, when I might actually enjoy it, the human contact is probably good for me and, once it's done it's done?

Or is it better for me to make an excuse, withdraw and spend another night at home falling nicely into my hermit rut, making no contribution to my life but, at the same time, doing what the hell I actually want to do?

I honestly don't know. But, yes, I decided yesterday to go so I won't be needing that excuse.

Forward momentum...

Could be fun!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


I've been pretty down lately. Losing my dog hit hard. The dog people among you will know what I mean. Those of you who aren't dog people, well, take my word for it that it's hard. 17 years is a long time. And I had to just get on with it at work and be professional and all that, and in everyday life too, so I was just burying how hard this is inside and it has been kind of eating away at me.

And I've had tough weeks and tough weekends around all that. Things, generally, have been pretty crappy. Then there's the thought of this godawful company outing.

Well yesterday I had managed to track down some of that Indy Lego I was looking for. I went out to get it at lunchtime and got absolutely soaked on the way back - how did everyone else know they'd need coats and umbrellas? And on the way back I was thinking about this company outing. I've been dreading it from the moment it was brought up. I can think of about a thousand different things I'd rather be doing and most of those involve sitting on my couch not being out with people I work with.

But then I thought, okay, I'm going. Accept it. Who knows, it might not even be awful. Maybe, just maybe, I'll find something to enjoy. Maybe not.

Suddenly, one little weight was lifted. It's still a crappy company outing and it's just one little part of my life but I think what it did was signify a willingness to just get on with things. Some forward momentum. I've still got some life to live and I'm going to just go do it.

A small change but a change nonetheless.

It helped.

Then I was rained on again on the way home and I realised I was just being delusional.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Do I have to?

I'm just not a people person. I know that. Call it a fault if you will but forcing me together with a bunch of people isn't going to change that. It's not a 'face your fears' sort of thing. Well maybe it is but if I was afraid of spiders and you threw me into a pit of the things it would only serve to make me more afraid of them. Substitute contempt for fear and people for spiders and it's the same idea.

We've been working on Mr.Hat for ages now. If I didn't get on with the people here by now, I never would. But, as it happens, the people here are a rather good bunch. All the more reason to not get any ideas about forcing us to have 'fun' together - something that could tear apart the good work that all those months of distant polite civility has done.

Oh, and here's the icing on the cake - the place we'll end up is right where the boss lives. And miles away from anyone, or anywhere, else. So I'm just going to be thinking of the godawful hour and a half journey home. That's assuming it's not some Hills Have Eyes thing in the ass end of nowhere.

That's all the fun I can stand.

On a totally unrelated topic, Toonhound (one of my favourite sites as it deals with UK classics, loads of which you USers have totally missed out on and, while your cartoons were going down the toilet in the 70s, some absolute golden crazily creative classics were being made in the UK) reports that Bob the Builder is going CG. Read their article here.

Now I'm not a huge fan of Bob the Builder, it's mostly because I think the theme song is pure evil and I'm pretty sure it plays a message from Satan if played backwards. But the stop motion is lovely. It's tangible. Real. It just draws you into it. Will they get that in CG? Seeing as I reckon the number one reason to switch would be that they are trying to be cheap, I would guess not.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I've got the shakes here

You'd think with the new film out that the shops would be well stocked with Indiana Jones Lego. Well, at the weekend, I couldn't find any anywhere. Plenty of rubbish Speed Racer Lego but no Indy stuff. It can't be that it's been pulled because the film wasn't all that good because that Speed Racer stuff would have gone first.

So is it selling out? Is everyone buying up the Indy Lego? Or did some kid somewhere choke on a piece and ruin it for the rest of us, like those brush pens I used to use?

I think I only have three sets left to collect. I was half tempted to move to Star Wars Lego but that's like moving from the odd joint to full-on heroin addiction. It's something I don't think I'm prepared to do.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

My 'me' time

It is usual to get through the week by looking forward to the weekend. Okay, so that's wishing your life away but it's a proven strategy that works. But when weekends become as tough as the weekdays, what is there to look forward to? My mind tells me that it should still be the weekend but, bloody hell, the weekends are tough going.

So I look forward to the old twosies. It's my alone time. My me time.

I'm finding it tough at the moment. I think I'm going a bit crazy. This is where I think I need a dog. Even if your dog is the cause of stress (like wanting to go for a pee at 4 in the morning), you can tell him that without it coming back to haunt you later. And, when things are crap, you can give him a hug and you can talk or not talk to him if you like. And he won't then answer back with the blindingly obvious. This is why dogs are great and why I miss my old friend. I need a puppy.

I guess I can look forward to retirement. If I live that long.

I think I hate... stuff. Just generally.

Oh, happy Father's Day to all you fathers out there. Hope your day isn't tantrum-filled.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


And, due to a design flaw, the jackhammer sometimes punctures the bags in the vacuum cleaners and the console dies and you get the Red Ring of Death. So my console died, I called Microsoft and they sent it back to me alive and well.

Is there a number I can call to do the same with my dog?

The Irish booted out the European treaty thingy, which was nice. Good to see they have at least a pretence of a democracy, even if it usually amounts to voting for who will get hauled up in a tribunal in 10 years. Well I thank the Irish for standing up for the rest of Europe, who weren't given the chance. Though you know it will get pushed through anyway, right? Whether you like it or not. They'll slap a different name on it or whatever and, sooner or later, your country will just be a state ruled by some guy you didn't vote for and can't understand. Unless you live in the UK, as they'll probably reject the whole thing and join up as the 51st state of the US. Yeah, fun times ahead. Fun times indeed.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

And yet more adventures in advertising

At a loss for a post, as yesterday's one shows, I knew I could fill the gap with yet another little advertising rant. I'm never short of ad rants. It was that or write a post expressing my disgust at just what has happened to Battlestar Galactica, a once-proud show that has now crapped its pants and everyone can see.

So I went with ads.

I'm sure everyone who makes ads sees this happen on a regular basis. I can't count the amount of times I have been asked to rip something off, the more direct the better. I have contributed to some godawful shameless rip-offs for people without a shred of creativity, and yet have 'creative' written on their business card.

I've also known several production companies to get hauled up on these rip-offs and, for some bizarre reason, they don't instantly point the finger to the ad agency. Why not? Those of us in the business know how it happens.

There's a good website on rip-offs here - You Thought We Wouldn't Notice

I'm lucky to have escaped being featured but I know some people who have made it on to that site, and with good reason. Having dumped ad work, I'm hoping to leave the rip-offs behind me.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Everything's going self-service these days

I've kind of stalled a bit here with everything going on. And yet there's nothing worse than checking a blog and just seeing the same old post, even for me.

So, as I'm too tired to post anything and my brain is currently fried, you can make your own post. Sounds like fun, eh?

Friday, June 6, 2008

My old friend 1991-2008

It's done

Thanks for the words of support, guys. Yes, I had to be there for him, Big Radio Guy. You had 18 years with your buddy! It's a long time to have a friend, isn't it?

It was all very peaceful, but it was a tough night. Probably a testament to really how easy my life has been that I don't know if I've ever felt this sad. I already miss him so much. Such a good dog. I kept thinking I heard him last night and my first thought this morning was that I should put him out for a pee. It's going to take a long time to take in that he's not here any more.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

His last day

It was weird going home last night to my dog, my best friend for 17 years, knowing this would be his last night at home. Last night alive. And that I was the one who made the decision to kill him.

He's old. Like, really old. He's falling to bits. The vet has been talking about this for a while (though he likes to call it 'putting him to sleep', sidestepping the whole killing/death issue). It's been a long time coming. He's totally deaf. Pretty blind. Senile. Has joint trouble. Kidney failure. And a whole rake of other really gross things.

But every time he wags his tail, it makes me think that this is not the right thing to do. And I've seen dogs on the street who seem older than he does.

If he's sitting there wagging his tail tonight, when the deed is to be done (not a neck-snapping, by the way - I hope), can I go through with it? I feel like a judge sentencing him to death. But his only crime was crapping on the carpet the odd time. And he's my best buddy. I was still a teenager living at home when I got him.

I don't want to be there. And yet I can't stand the thought of him not having me there at the time.

This sucks.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Design flaws

I'm working on a Dell computer that's probably about three years old. They may have changed since then but this one is just so utterly shit. It's like it was designed by someone who never intends to use a computer in their entire life. The front has two USB ports under a flap at the front, at an angle, facing down. Oh, and they're backwards.

Makes no sense.

Thing is, it sounds small, but when you're working with this design flaw every day it just has a way of getting under the skin. What a piece of crap. Mr.Dell, you may go and shite.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

It's easy if you try

Ever get sales calls at home? I get sales calls. Usually from India. I think the entire continent of India (is India a continent?) must be made up of call centres. Anyway, those calls piss me off no end. They bother me at home to sell me their shit. That's all they want - to get in my face to push crap on me.

That is all advertising.

Billboards everywhere. Getting in my face to push crap on me. Ad breaks every few minutes on television. Getting in my face to push crap on me. Banner ads all over the goddam internet. Getting in my face to push crap on me. In fact, I think there are very few places in this country I could go and not have ads getting in my face to push crap on me.

I don't get why most people tolerate it. I mean, does that Indian guy who calls you up and asks you how much you paid on your last bill not make you want to throttle him? Why is it any different for other forms of salesmen? And that's all people in advertising are - salesmen. It's rather hilarious that some see themselves as creators. Some even think they are filmmakers. The egos in the ad business are huge. And for what?

They're no different to those guys calling my house. They're salesmen. Trying to hawk shit. That's all they are. That's all they deserve to be.

I wonder if that guy sitting on the phone in India has a huge ego?

Monday, June 2, 2008


Yes, Lego is my new addiction. Or rather, the return of a very old addiction. I picked up an Indiana Jones Lego set. Put it together. It was fun.

And now I must own them all. Every single one of them.

I must have them. I need more bricks.