Sunday, May 23, 2010

Little Red Riding Hood

I've only just found out that a friend of mine posted a video I did on Youtube. This is great news for me because I have been rather lazy about getting those online. Its title is "Do You Know Little Red Riding Hood?" and it was for a Documentary class I had to take. The project's goal was to get practice cutting dialogue together. It had to have at least three individual subjects and at least 4 shots of something other than heads. To make cutting easier, thus making the project easier, I came up with the idea of asking different friends of mine to tell the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Everyone knows the general story, but the great bit is that everyone's version is a little bit different. Since part of the fun of it was seeing everyone tell the story I really didn't want to put in the 4 shots of something else, but I wanted to get a good grade even more. Because of this I had to collect footage last minute and jam it down my video's throat. They are kind of super awkward, but thems are the breaks...along with the school's crappy microphones.

Anyways here it is. Enjoy.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

People Hate Bicycles

        I've started to ride my bike to work. I wish I could say I was doing it for my health or even for the environment, but really it is just because it is cheaper than riding the bus. That in and of itself is probably quite sad seeing as how the bus is the chariot of the car-less. Yet the less money I spend on the things I need (such as transportation) the more money I have for the little pleasant things in life.
        When you start biking on a regular basis you quickly come to learn a number of things. Many of them you learn quite fast, such as the sudden realization that you are out of shape. By the look of me I appear to be in decent shape and for the life of me I have no idea why that is. If the world was a fair place this surely would not be so. However, as I wheeze my way up inclines and feel the sore muscles in the morning it quickly become apparent that appearances are deceiving.
        Because of this the ride to work is especially daunting as it is full of hills. In a car, or even on foot, a hill isn't anything special. Yet when you're on a bike, hills start to bear the appearance of a battlefield. They are the arena in which you are forced to do battle with gravity herself. For most bikes you can cheat, switch into a low gear and laugh your way up the hill, albeit rather slowly. Unfortunately for me, my bike is in need of a tune-up and I cannot switch gears. A more proactive person would be outside fixing it right now instead of sitting inside, drinking a root beer, and whining about it, but that is just not how I roll. Although to be fair this means that “how I roll” is rather slowly and with much panting. I'm just lucky I live in the Midwest where everything is generally rather flat. To be bicyclist in Portland must require calf muscles like shapely bricks. I suppose this is why the real bicyclists always wear those shape hugging outfits.
        It isn't just hills that take on a new persona while on a bike. Cars, for instance, take on a whole new light: the ominous red light of something that hates you. My route to work doesn't even take me on many busy streets and yet I often meet with their anger. Horns screech at you, people yell at you, it is all rather unpleasant. The thing that angers them most often isn't a bicyclist doing something stupid like not signaling or not wearing proper night-time gear, but instead is merely the fact that they are on the road at all.
        In case you didn't know, bicycles have the same rights and responsibilities as cars. In fact I'm pretty positive they talk about this in the DMV handbook that everyone is supposed to learn before they get a license. Despite this many drivers seem to see bicycles as a nuisance.
        It takes a lot of imagination, but if I try really hard I can see things from an angry motorist's point of view. I mean there you are trying to get to work, your car payments and gas tank along for the ride. After work you should probably go to the gym, but you'll probably be too mentally exhausted to go. Then up ahead you see some cheeky sod on his bike. This punk is out there getting a workout and traveling at the same time. You try to reconcile yourself by thinking of your advantages: you can go on the freeway, you can carry passengers and cargo, you have temperature control, and you can go a lot faster. Well, you could go a lot faster if this bicyclist wasn't in the way. “Get off the fucking road, ASSHOLE!”
        Despite all the disadvantages, I quite enjoy riding my bike. Eventually it won't even be as hard as it is now. I'll get better and in time I'll even get around to fixing my bike. The hills are a pain in the butt, but you know what? I may have to strain and wheeze my way to get to the top. I may have to get off a walk for a bit so I don't get dragged back down the hill. But when I get to the top I can see things sprawled out before me. Then after taking a brief moment to appreciate it all, I can finally give in, embrace gravity, and hop upon her whims. While zipping down the hill I can feel the exhilaration bubbling in my gut, just as I can feel the wind twirling after me like dolphins playing in the wake of a ship. Even if it isn't for very long, I can put my feet up and let the world carry me for awhile.
        Then someone calls me an asshole and I'm given an excuse to think they're a dick. Say what you will, but being given an excuse to dislike someone can be quite nice. So I indulge in that simple pleasure, smile, and then put my feet back on the pedals and do it all over again.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Books (again)

I have a confession to make. I haven't been getting any work done on the last couple letters. I haven't really gotten much done in general. As my last post may have hinted at, I have been reading a lot this month. Just this month alone I've read 13 books. To be fair 2 of them were graphic novels and one of them was an audio book, but in my world those count. Even if you don't count them I'd still have read about 3,500 pages so far. Which seems like quite a lot.

Like Thor when he tried to empty a horn holding the ocean, I am sure that my seemingly unquenchable thirst for books will meet its match soon enough. Until I hit that tipping point here is a list of everything I've read so far this month.
  1. Small Gods by. Terry Pratchett
  2. Going Postal by. Terry Pratchett
  3. Tommysaurus Rex by. Doug TenNepal
  4. American Born Chinese by. Gene Luen Yang
  5. Too Many Curses by. A. Lee Martinez
  6. Monstrous Regiment by. Terry Pratchett
  7. The Nameless Witch by. A. Lee Martinez
  8. Tokyo Suckerpunch by. Isaac Adamson
  9. Bet Me by. Jennifer Crusie
  10. Charmed Life by. Diana Wynne Jones
  11. The Lives of Christopher Chant by. Dianna Wynne Jones
  12. Me Talk Pretty One Day by. David Sedaris
  13. Fraud by. David Rakoff

If you're curious about any of these let me know and I will tell you what I thought of them.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

5 Favorite Books

Here is a fun activity for those of you with some time to spare. It is very simple:
  • Step 1: Find an interesting person.
  • Step 2: Ask them what their top 5 favorite books are.
  • Step 3: Read those books.

Now it is important to note that the purpose of this is not to get book recommendations. The purpose is to see what books have resonated with them. If they can't give you their top favorites, you'd be better off finding someone else to ask. Usually asking the more ardent readers is your best bet as their lists have been selected from a much larger pool.

The funny thing is that when you ask about someone's favorite books, no one ever expects that you'd actually go and read them. But why not? It is a fascinating look into someone else's mind. And if that wasn't enough you also get to read some titles you wouldn't normally think to. Maybe you'll find a great new author. Maybe you'll develop a greater understanding of someone. Maybe you'll just make a mental note not to read anything this person recommends in the future. No matter what, you'll pick up some interesting information.

It only seems fair that if I'm investigating others through their favorite books I should allow them to return fire. So I'll make it easy on anyone that wants to. My top 5 favorite books are:
  1. Night Watch by. Terry Pratchett
  2. Abarat by. Clive Barker
  3. The Wayside School series by. Louis Sachar
  4. Ender's Game by. Orson Scott Card
  5. Perdido Street Station by. China Mieville

At this moment in time that is my list. Perhaps it is cheating to include an entire series as one spot on it, but they are children's books so they are short with big fonts. Regardless, their stories have all run together in my mind and I'd be unable to pick only one.

No matter who you choose, I suggest you give it a try sometime. Like with shoes, you can learn a lot about someone by spending some time in their books.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Epic Fail

As you might have noticed, I failed my attempt to post-a-day April. I had a couple of really awful I-need-to-go-sit-in-the-dark days, followed by getting sick, followed by me needing to devote some energies to the world of jobs. All in all it kind of wiped out my creative motivations. But if it makes any difference, I haven't been lazing off completely during my time off. I've come up with a new comic series I'm going to be working on, the last of these envelopes will be delivered, plus I'll have the usual assortment of little goodies as well. So be on the lookout. Awesome is coming.

...and it will be awesome.