Monday, May 23, 2011

End of Quarter Procrastination

The final quarter to my first year of college is winding down, and I can't get my mind to focus on one thing for too long. So many possibilities and things to do! I blame the excellent weather, except it was cold and borderline-rainy all day. (It was so sunny this weekend). I jump from immediate things like study for tomorrow's math test,watching YouTube videos, snacking (etc.), to working his summer, working on paintings, and packing for fall's quarter. Long gaps in time between those two, I know.

I find it ironic that in order to procrastinate from something as vital as math studying could turn into somewhat "productive" (possibly more extensive work) of wanting to write this blog, or read a book, or find out a percentage of my paychecks to set aside for next year's taxes, or calculate how many "deaths" the new series Mortal Kombat: Legacy has caused (total time watched vs. average lifespan of humans). It also makes me want to do things of less "productive" value, such as take pictures for this summer's blogs, or watch videos about red blood cells, or play some more rounds of Halo: Reach

This evening's path of procrastination as gone thus:
  • Dinner
  • Check all emails
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
    • Watching all new subscription videos (vlogbrothers, sxephil, relmvision, and tobuscus, to name a few)
    • Catching up on Hank Plays Portal 2
  • Looking up random articles on Wikipedia
  • Thinking of reading more web comics, but realizing I've read all the updates to my favorites
  • Watching Charlie McDonnell's video on procrastination (seen below)
  • Studying for math
  • Remembering and doing something for Biology
  • Writing this blog
    • Remembering and watching Hank Green's video on Red Blood Cells (link above)
    • Reflecting on art
    • Watching new  last week's episode of Superjail 
    • Studying
  •  Posting this blog
  •  Sleeping
Here is the Charlie McDonnell video I was telling you about. I guess I have to unplug the internet more and revert to my laptop being a giant iPod, or just take my typewriter and homework upstairs for a little retrocity.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I've been where the sun doesn't shine...

It is on campus, and it is called "Mac Lab" at Haggard Hall. Literally, the sun doesn't shine there because there is no windows, and it is in the middle of the building. You can be in there for hours at a time, and you don't know if it is still day or when dinner was (unless you use the clocks, but still).

With a group of dedicated members, we have edited a 5-minute and 30-second video in roughly 20 hours since Monday evening. This project was due for a film class today (Wednesday), and the reason it took so flippin long was because editing 3.48 GB of HD video files on Adobe Premiere 8 can be...frustrating.

I'm mainly writing this as a warning, rant, and praise at the same time.

Warning: When people tell you that during a film project, editing takes up a majority of the time, listen to them. Our group knew this going in, but a few switch-ups in our filming schedule, as well as people going home for weekends pushed back the days we could actually edit our footage.

Rant: I love what computers and programs and technology can do for us, but sometimes, I just want to back-hand it all back to 1983 and rewrite everything knowing what we know now. At times, all the data, scripts, RAM, disc space, and everything gets too jumbled and complicated and interfering that they actually do the exact opposite of what you want to do. We had to hold our breaths and literally get on our knees and pray for the video to render, save our edits, save as a certain file, and burn to a DVD to be turned in. I even went to the white board, and started conjuring up any amount of luck that I could by drawing lucky things on the whiteboard.

Bottom right, counter-clockwise to center:
Oriental dragon, pig, salt, horseshoe, toad, cricket, ant, crane, turtle, garlic, amulet, four-leaf clover, pentagram, rabbit's foot, praying mantis, and heads-up penny. Also, I drew this while crossing fingers, and our director has a heads-up penny in each shoe. Luck, galore!

Praise: I'd like to praise WWU for having such accessible computer labs all over campus, W7 / Snow Leopard dual-booting Mac desktops, a really awesome student-tech center, and the ability for students to check out equipment. I'd also like to thank my entire group for the project--who knew that randomly meeting strangers in class and relying on them for a grade would work out so well--lots of professional teamwork, productivity, and focus; I loved it!

Video will be "released" to the public later in the future; the director says after Monday.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Typing as therapy from boredom

Last week I had to do three loads of laundry, and I waiting until later in the evening to start so more of the machines would be available. Like I mentioned last week, I began typing out a rough intro to a story, and people seem to like it so far. Hopefully I kick my butt and actually see it through to completion--ink and color and all--for at least this first part. Even though I have up to Part Three typed, we'll see how far I get.

Since last week people seemed to have enjoyed the story I posted, I thought I'd share Part One of this odd story. At the bottom of this blog are scans of the original, typed sheets. You can also see some of my sketches to get better ideas of the story and characters on my Northwestern Artist blog.
 By the way, I'm calling it:

Posthumorously: Ridiculous Stories of the Afterlife

Posthumously: Works published after the creator has passed away.
Humor: See above.

David: At first, I thought it was all a big mistake...
David: Boy, was I wrong.
    Hello! Is anybody out there!?
    Help! Can anybody hear me? I’ve been trapped here against my will.
((Above, slow pan of skeleton, from either feet up, or from the fingers with a Wedding Band, then up the ribcage to the skull. Words are coming out of the skull)).
Hand enters the frame, taps on the skull, and begins to draw out David from within. Forming him from a small, clay-like thing into more of a resemblance of who he was, but not quite right yet. Still nude.
David: W-Who are you?
Figure: Not quite sure yet? Just look around.
David can’t see anything in the darkness.
David: Do you know where I am? I’ve been trapped--
Figure: --against your will, I get it. Now come on, this way.
Figure leads David into the darkness, which fades into a red room. In another frame it looks like an elevator, with the mount of buttons, a level readout, and doors--except it is Really long, like a hallway.
Figure ushers in David.
Figure: Watch where you step (chuckles)
Figure locks the elevator grill, and pushes a blank button. The level-readout begins changing.
David: You still haven’t answered me, who are you, and what am I doing here? (Just noticing) And why do my hands look so weird?
Figure: Because, you don’t Remember yet.
David: What does that mean? I am David Co--
Figure:  Cozanowski. Born June 3, 1982. Happily married to a beautiful wife and are a proud father. As to Where we are, I’m afraid only You can answer that.
David: Why me? You happen to know your way around here, you shuttled me here and knew what button to push.
Figure: (chuckles), it actually doesn’t matter which button I push.
Panel is revealed to have all blank buttons. Also, this whole time the level-readout has been changing between only two levels in the scenes. Attention is drawn to this when David notices. Maybe something like ‘Dead’ and ‘Alive’, or black and white?
David: Why isn’t it going anywhere?
Figure: Flicker effect. Apparent motion. Beta-waves (use correct terminology).
Dictionary style of words, like the title.
David: You’re not making any sense! Who are you?!
Figure: I am but a messanger, summoned forth by you to help you on your quest. I may seem all-knowing, but let me assure you, I only know as much as you know, even if you haven’t quite realized it yet.
David: I’m not buying any of it. I demand to be released. I demand you bring me back to my---
Figure: --house.
The elevator dings and both of them are now out front of David house (NY-style apartment?). The scene is now blue, framed by the elevator, which is now just the doorway, panel, and grill. David rushes out to go to his house, but as he rushes out he stumbles and falls down into sand.
He looks up, and now his house is just a cardboard panel on a sandy beach, with an ocean or other body of water stretching into the distance. Crows circle overhead.
View of crows circling, reveal that the scene that David sees is the only thing revealed--all else is covered in darkness, as if out of the spotlight.
David is now kneeling on the sand, watching sand sift through his fingers. They look more realistic and Human-like.
David: (through tears, looking up at Figure) You know what is going on--
Figure: --tell me.
They are now in a restaurant, looking at David sitting down at a table. Both Davids are exactly the same--meaning David has refigured himself to fit his true image (starting to remember). Little details in the restaurant are off: clocks don’t have hands, people don’t have faces, etc.
Sitting-David gets up and leaves the restaurant, walking down the street by himself. David and Figure follow behind. David continues down the street and comes across a dark alley. He gets frightened, and then runs down the street, where he falls and collapses.
Figure: Never were the most courageous. And so begins your humorous afterlife (grinning).
David now looks at Figure, which now has the appearance of David. Cut to David’s confused eyes; they shut.
They open, he’s fully waking up. He is in the dark again. There is a tiny crack of light just in front of him. When he pushes towards it, the casket he’s in falls open and stumbles out, blinded by the intense light.
Caretaker: Welcome back.
Caretaker is sitting at a desk with a typewriter and a hookah on the desk. Everything is natural colors, for the moment.
David: Where am I? Was that all just a dream?
Caretaker: Nope. You’re dead as disco right now. How you feeling?
David: Umm. I’m not sure what to feel right now, actually.
Caretaker: Have a seat. I’m the Caretaker. Everyone comes through here before they Acclimate. Now, let’s look at your Record.
Caretaker is an all-black character with a skull and skeleton of white over his face and body. He’s a real slow talking, relaxed and take it easy kind of guy. The Record is on the typewriter, which is fed by a huge spool of paper.
Caretaker: David M. Cozanowski. Male, obviously. Aged thirty-one. Born June 3, 1982, died March 15, 2013. Passed away after falling on concrete face-first. Paramedics called in DOA. (Smiling) Well, just be glad that I’ve seen worse, and funnier. You okay, son?
David: I really am dead...
Caretaker: Hey kid, you get used to it. Look around, explore a bit. You’ll find that being dead isn’t half as bad as everyone claims it is. You never know what somethings like until it happens to you.
David: What do I do now, exactly?
Caretaker: Whatever you want, really. As long as you’re ready to leave this room, you can leave. But only if you’re ready to face being dead. Hell, you can stay and talk all day if that’s what you need. I have plenty of Time.
David looks around the room, noticing details about it. Very bare room, only a few pieces of furniture: a window, a shelf of books, a lamp, a casket, the desk, typewriter, hookah (ghosts), and hourglass.
Caretaker: I know, it looks a little droll, but its a nice place. Care for a hit? (Offers hose to David).
David: I think I’m fine for the moment. What are those books?
Caretaker: All different books of worship. It helps for some people to sit down and read them, or just skim their favorite parts. Makes them feel comfortable. But just like everybody else, they have to Move On, eventually, that is. If you’re still not ready, you up for a game of chess?
David: I’m actually feeling a bit better. Will I be able to come back again and play another time, or am I passing up the only opportunity?
Caretaker: Oh, don’t worry Mr. Cozanowski, you can come back whenever you need to. Here, take my card before I forget. All you have to do is read the directions when you need me. I may be a busy man, but I have all the time i the world.
Gestures to the hourglass, which is flowing upwards. Also, detail shows that the grains are all clocks.
David looks at the card, which is all white, except for a small red symbol.
Caretaker: It will guve you directions when you need them. Well, if you’re all set, then you can move on to Acclimation. (He opens the door) Of course, you have to Sign-In first.
He closes the door, which has slightly fogged glass with his “name” on it. Very detective-noir-esque.
David looks at the card, it now reads: Don’t forget to smile.
He looks up, and sees a hallway ahead of him completely FULL of people.