Sunday, August 28, 2005

Week of 22 Aug to 28 Aug

Weeks roll along - heaps of work accomplished, not much doing outside of work. I should tally hours at work, hours at the gym, (the few) hours of sleep, and see what remaining time I actually have. Breaking news this week, not related to me - but Bob Moog died on Sunday in Asheville NC at the age of 71!! Most of you know, but Moog basically created the first synthesizer keyboards, after learning the foundations of electronic music by building theremins. (I played a dirge on my theremin after hearing the news.) The world will miss him... Many radio stations that I've been listening to had tribute shows to him (lot o' Wendy Carlos, Keith Emerson, Jan Hammer, Chick Corea, Zappa)

Saturday was the 'Tri-Nations' rugby, New Zealand-Australia-South Africa rivalry, caught the game downtown. Next Saturday is the final game in the series, and it may be the last time for me to catch the All-Blacks! (They tour the UK in November, round about the time I'll be leaving.)

Oh, the Kong Is King production diary (16 weeks to go), they feature the roto/paint department! As a former roto artist, I know how often they get the stiffed on recognition... the Rodney Dangerfield of VFX in a way. So it's great to see them get props. PJ himself even apologizes for some of the tough work he's subjecting them to. Those of you not familiar with the VFX pipeline, (and if you have broadband)I strongly encourage you to check out this movie. An interesting glimpse into the real work people do in this biz.

Upcoming : Not much this week again, but the following week my sister will be in town, I'm taking a few days off to show her around, looking forward to it.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Week of 15 Aug to 21 Aug

Week of 15 Aug to 21 Aug :

Not much new this week either. Lots of work, did about 70 hours the last couple. Hopefully keep that up for the duration, for $$ sake. Movies this week - The Ladykilers (like most Coen Bros movies I only appreciate it afterwards, but phenomenal performances. Didn't get to check out the extras, though), Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (great), Garage Days (Aussie indie comedy about a rock band and young adults' love triangle. Very Hollywood though), Catch 22 (classic, weird, awesome cast), and a shlock horror, Midnight Highway, which butts up a Stephen King short story with a Clive Barker one. Actually, didn't watch that last one, ran out of time for the week. Movie rentals are 7 days, it's $5 for 1, $7 for 2, but only $10 for 5. Even if I don't watch all the movies, it's a better deal to get 5 DVDs. But I missed one night cause Bringing Out the Dead was on. Incredible, woefully overlooked Scorsese film. As many of Scorsese's work is in general - as much as a filmmaking legend can be underrated... Gotta cut back on the TV watching though.

Weekend more work, but caught "The Wedding Crashers" which was very funny. Strolled through, ran across some names from high school and MSU that I'd like to hear from, so if you folks are reading my blog, welcome!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Post-Bonnie 2 weeks - thru Aug 14

Well, the couple weeks since Bonnie left. Not much happened, did 2 70 hour-weeks. Caught 'The Island' at Cinelounge ('Sin City' opened this week, but didn't know of anyone goin to see it). Last Sunday, caught the Nevine String Quartet, with Raine's cello teacher, pretty awesome. The movies of the week - so-called 'festival films' - City of God (lived up to the hype, like Pulp Fiction meets Kids meets Boyz in the Hood with some gangster classic thrown in), Swimming Pool, Flesh Gordon (actually had some good stop-mo), and 9 Lives of Fritz the Cat. Also saw a couple disturbing flicks - "The Machinist" at the theatre, and "Baby of Macon", a Peter Greenaway film I hadn't watched yet. Had a massage session to hit my sciatica, think it helped, at least taught me more about what problems I'm having.

So, guess that's about it for now. Oh, another Tippett Studio associate is coming out in the next few weeks for comp - David Schnee. I'm on LinkedIn now, seems like a good networking connection for VFX industry folks.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Bonnie Visit, Part 2 - Wellington

Bonnie visit, part 2 : 27 July to 30 July

Documenting Bonnie's brief and awesome visit to New Zealand. First few days (Saturday-Tuesday) were touring around the country, then we're staying in Wellington for a few more. Here's what we did :

Wednesday 27th - flew from Christchurch [largest city on S. Island] to Wellington [the capital city], 7 AM. Cabb'ed back to my place in Seatoun, hung around the house for a bit then made our way into the city (went by Weta building and through the 'burbs). Parked in a central spot, and walked along Lambton Quay [business district]. Made our way all the way down to Parliament, the iconic beehive building. We decided to go inside, just as they were getting back from lunch. Interesting situation - lots of shouting, and name-calling. Then we hopped a cab back downtown, grabbed lunch at the satay house then headed down Cuba Street [the sorta bohemian stretch], to Real Groovy records and back. Walked along Courtenay Place [main nightlife strip], saw Madagascar at Cinelounge and hit New World for groceries. Came back and had great wine-and-cheese-and-fruit spread while watching some NZ tv.

Thursday 28th - This was museum day. Got a late start, but headed down to cable car and botanical gardens, then through the Museum of City and Sea and afterward to Te Papa (open late on Thursdays). Ya sure pay for parking at the free museums... Met up with Aidan who had just gotten in, staying at the Duxton. We went over to Maria Pia's Trattoria , had a group in there for dinner - us three, KatieH, Raine & Ben, Briana & Glen, Guerdon. Great time, Maria herself was overseeing the meal...

Friday 29th - Our 'free day', we started by taking the bay tour, all around from the Miramar Cutting through bays - Shelley, Karaka, Breaker, Lyall, Island, and Owhiro, then up through Newtown into Mt Vic lookout. Then back through Newtown into Zoo (ran past Raine and Ben lunching at The Beijing. Through the Zoo, then over to Embassy [the historic moviehaus that PJ owns] for film fest - "Broken Flowers" by Jim Jarmusch starring Bill Murray. Interesting storytelling, very indie but also very male. Needed to get Bonnie some Maylasian food! Kopi was too busy but we went over to Roti Chenai, very pleasant meal. Then made our way down Cuba street to Indigo for Acoustic Alchemy. Then back home.

Saturday 30th - Last day, heavy mood. Morning was all about getting ready, then heading to the airport and hanging with Bonnie till boarding - shopping, had a coconut slice, sitting. Said our goodbyes and she was away.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Bonnie Visit, Part 1 - Touring

Bonnie visit, part 1 : 23 July to 26 July

A spectacular week - Bonnie was in New Zealand, we got to see a lot of the country, and each other! Nonstop goings on, I'll split it into 2 posts : touring the country, and hanging in Wellington. Pics now up!

Flew myself Wellington to Auckland on Friday night. Got a great last-minute deal at City Life , ($350 suite for $130), then went to the airport at 5 AM Saturday ($25 cab ride better than $60 the night before). Waited by the gate til 6ish, then - Bonnie! Glorious reunion. Picked up the car, drove into town, hanging at the room for a bit. Went to Vulcan Street for breakfast, walked around Queen Street to the wharf, showing Bonnie around some of the NZ shops and pop culture. Went around town - Auckland Museum, Ponsonby neighborhood, Sky Tower (too expensive). Decided to hit a pub to show Bonnie the Rugby game. (odd scene - hardly anyone out on the streets in Auckland), went back to the hotel after a few drinks and a burrito.

Sunday - Left early, (stopped for non-McD's coffee), drove S to Waitomo Glowworm Caves (about 4 hours through the complications of Hamilton) Bonnie got to drive! cave walking tour, bout an hour there, then drove back N up thru Hamilton, E over to Rotorua (4 hours). Passed through Timaru with its corrugated steel artwork. Got into Rotorua, afternoon, drove past freaky steam columns all around town and got hit with that sulfur smell. Checked into YHA KiwiPaka , then had time to drive around town (Rotovegas!) and see bubbling hot springs & clouded-over lake in the park. Saw the historic Blue Baths and Polynesian Spa in the Government gardens (reminded Bonnie of a very colonial estate, like that plantation scene in updated Apocalypse Now), and Maori wharenui/Protestant church. Evening was Maori village . Good experience - not cheezy, but culturally relevant, and tasty hangi! Back to the room 11-ish.

Monday - Decided to go to Polynesian Spa in the morning. We were worried it would be expensive and touristy, but it ended up being one of the most enjoyable and biggest values of any place we found. Lush hot pools, overlooking Lake Rotorua. Bizzarre views, seeing steam and bubbling mud all over, very primeival. Rest of day was travel - flew Rotorua to Christchurch ('ChCh') to Hokitika (that's the sickest plane trip I've ever had), picked up car, tension-filled drive 4 hours to Franz Joseph village (tinier than I thought, just one stretch of a handful of shops and restaurants, and a slew of tours and equip rental). Nice pizza & beer at Blue Ice lounge.

Tuesday - More rain. Checked in @ 8am for 1/2-day glacier tour. Just 5 folks on the tour + guide (I was the only dude). Miserable wet & cold tramp across the valley, up a loose-rock mountainside. Resting at the top, our guide Beth checked in on the radio - walk across the ice was no go, path was too slick and rock-strewn. She had to explain this to the 2 Chinese guests for about 10 minutes, while the rest of us waited, then we walked back down the hillside, went over to the base of the ice, then walked back through the valley. Truthfully, I was so glad the hike was cut short - took about 4 hours, and since we got 80% of our money back, was worth it. Then back to the YHA for a hot shower and clean clothes (totally needed to survive the rest of the day). Big drive along west coast, and through the Alps to ChCh, I was in a rush - wanted to get to town as soon as possible cos we'd only be there one night. (Bonnie drove a lot, kept my driving through slick roads in check). Then rolled into town about 6ish. Lots o' burbs before city centre, but we drove around looking for a place to stay, finally settled down and chose Stonehenge near Cathedral Square. Then walked around town - clean, quiet, pleasant - passed on DuxDeLuxe (across the street from where I stayed last time in ChCh), but ate at Viaduct (I had Monteith's Wild Food Challenge - alligator), stopped at the pub where I spent Halloween in 2002, then back to room. The next day was an early morning flight to Wellington, so that starts another entry!

For those in San Fran - don't miss the Toi Maori art & culture show at Yerba Buena Gardens this weekend!