Posted on February 28th 2009, 10:25 pm
Today I got really motivated with lots of creative ideas floating through my head. I have solid thoughts about the look of this website and transcending productions website. I know what colors I want to use for this one too. Then I loaded up Adobe Illustrator to get started and that's where the motivation started to fail. The reason being...I know what I want in my head, but achieving it in the design programs is another story. I do my best to come up with the look I want, but I frequently find myself frustrated that I can't acheive it. As I work, my motivation disintigrates into nothingness and I end up disappointed. I'm not sure how to fix this problem. I still want to make my sites happen, but it probably won't be today. I'll keep thinking about them though.
Posted on February 24th 2009, 4:03 am
I can now say I have one unified location for all my past blog posts. Tonight I actually went through the database of my old blog on TransLife and brought every post over to this Wordpress database. So my post count went from about 30 some all the way up to well over 300. You can see all the way back to the beginning of my journey now. There will likely be a few problems in the posts because I had posted photos in some of them. Please ignore the code problems. If you see anything truly out of the ordinary, let me know and I'll fix it. Enjoy the history!
Posted on February 23rd 2009, 4:38 am
Yes, it's been a while. Fair warning...this is a long post. I took a break after the last podcast. First things first, I joined twitter. You can follow me using the username janiukjf. I hope you enjoy all my pointless musings during my average day.
In the time since my last post...I got older. I'm now 28! I feel pretty much the same as I did at 27. I have to say, it was a nice birthday. I took an extra day off from work and had a four day weekend for it. It was very relaxing. My family also took me out to dinner. The food was family style Italian, and it was fantastic. I also got a few meaningful gifts. My sisters gave me a shadowbox picture frame that is really nice. My parents gave me to gorillapods (bendy and flexy camera tripods). It was a lot of fun.
I have to be very vague here, but I spent a year and a half working on a project at work, and it's finally...finally...launched. It feels really awesome to know I saw the project through to completion. Though, its easy to say no project is ever complete in my mind. I also am going to start using something I call the JSI, or Job Satisfaction Index to which I will create an arbitrary color scale to represent my feelings. Today's JSI is orange with yellow polkadots.
While I talk about work, let me mention freelance. The flash project I took on seems to be a bit troublesome. I think I bit off more than I can chew. I learn from examples, and I haven't had anything to launch off of here. I just don't know where to start, and since I'm learning actionscript 3 from the beginning, it's tough. I decided to work with someone on the project, and from there, I'll use that code as an example. I think getting past this project will help me move forward with stuff I've been sitting on. I've felt guilty working on other projects while having this on my plate.
Speaking of other freelance, I've had several meetings regarding the puppet video, and it's been almost all non-stop frustration. It's hard to get through to the other video person that we can't work with the footage we have. So, I've written a script and a rundown for a short video showing the differences between analog and digital video and the progression of technology in video. I'll post it on here when I'm done with it. We're having a meeting in a week to discuss the project. If we can't move forward the right way, I'm not sure I want to be involved with it.
Things I do want to be involved in is the arts organization that I've been connected with lately. I've been asked to produce a 30 minute film with them. They're applying for a grant and production would start in June. It's not a lot of money, but it would be a lot of fun for me and everyone involved. I think it'd be a great portfolio piece too. More on that as it develops.
Jumping back in time a week, Valentine's day, or as I like to call it, Singles Awareness Day, was a week ago. I had a party for all my single friends. It was a huge blast. I made hand tossed homemade pizza for my guests. We played Rock Band and Boom Blox until 3:00 am. In fact, we managed to turn Boom Blox into a dirty game. I haven't had fun like that in a long time. I plan on throwing another event in a couple months probably to a made up holiday. Maybe it'll be the blorthog party Chris and I have been thinking about for a long time.
My friend Tracy, who came to the party, had so much fun that she and I decided to plan a weekly gathering. We're going to do something like bowling or Rock Band. Not sure exactly what yet, but no matter what, it'll be a lot of fun.
Random stuff going on, my friend Adam came over a week ago. Instead of doing geeky things like Rock Band, we did geeky things like build a TV antenna from plans we found online. Amazingly...it works! Better than my powered antenna from Radio Shack. We also started to build a PVC frame for a portable green screen. I finished it to the plans, and it looks like it'll work great. I have a few modications I'd like to make. I also need the green fabric yet. Way to be a nerd, me!
Speaking of nerdish things, I've gotten back into the video game "Okami" of late. It's very much like the Legend of Zelda. I've spent a bit too much time with it lately, but I had some somewhat negative things happen recently. So as usual for me, it was escapism.
I've been kinda sad lately that Conan O'Brien has ended his run on Late Night. I'm a big fan. I know he's going to be on the Tonight Show, but its still sad to see him leave the venue we know and love. I just watched the final episode today. It'll be a couple months until we see him again. I'll be interested to see how Jimmy Fallon handles the reins of the show from now on.
Another show that I've been watching a lot lately is Exosquad. If you don't know the show, it was one of the best American animated series ever made and not seen. It aired back in the early 90s, and it was more like an anime. It was episodic and followed a briliant story arc. They now have it on Hulu and recently added season 2. I've been re-watching it, and it's actually still as good as I remember. There was even a moment that brought tears to my eyes. I recommend it.
Of course, tonight I'm engrossed in a once a year TV production known as the Oscars. I really like Hugh Jackman as host. I love seeing the sing and dance routines. Otherwise, the Oscars are pretty dull this year. I know they've tried to make major changes to bring new audiences and change things up. I think they need to do something else though. It seems too much like every other Oscars. The only thing that is different to me is the switched up order of awards. We'll see how viewership is.
Unrelated, but very interesting...my 10 year high school reunion is supposed to be this year. Since there's been no official communication about it, someone started a facebook event surrounding it. So, it should happen at some point this year. I think it'll be very interesting.
In that same vein, I got an e-mail today from a friend I haven't talked to since High School. He decided to look into old friends and looked me up. He saw everything out there on the web about what I've done in regards to gender and found this blog too. His message was very complimentary towards all my work and what I've done. It was wonderful to hear that, and I found myself inspired. I really need to move forward with personal projects to get myself out there more as a gender activist.
This sparked a conversation with my mother about making a career out of this. She actually thinks its what I should be doing! I have always thought my mom wanted me to do what makes money. She's always said things that suggest that. I think after seeing me speak once back when I was in college, she saw what I can truly do. It makes me happy to know I have the support of my mother.
That means its time. TransLife is going to be my non-profit. Let's get this thing started!
OK...that's it for this novel. Wordpress tells me this is 1336 words long. I don't think writing books is going to be a problem. Until next time...
Posted on February 13th 2009, 5:59 am
This was a long time coming. Since the arrival of the new camera, it's been a little easier, though the new camera doesn't key as well. I look forward to hearing your comments.
Posted on February 6th 2009, 4:19 am
I have had a busy week...but I'd say a productive one. Just about every night was filled. Monday night was freelance. Tuesday was touring the local cable access channel. Wednesday was electrolysis and Thursday...today...was a drama filled night. Let me 'splain....no....there is too much. Let me sum up.
We'll start with Tuesday. Tuesday was a 12 hour work day. I got to work at 9:30 and I got home at 9:30. Work was work, but after work was interesting. The artists co-op non-profit that I'm now working with is interested in producing a children's television program. They also want to do a bit more video which involves finding equipment. We have nothing right now. So we went looking for places to get gear from. The cable access station was a good option because they charge one flat fee for a year. With that fee, we can take out the gear as much as we'd like. Unfortunately they have restrictions too. So we're working on that.
The tour reminded me of working at TV10. For those of you reading that don't know what TV10 is, it's the campus cable station at UW Eau Claire...my alma mater. I ran that station for a year and was involved with it for over three. Anyway, the capacity of this cable access station was similar. The biggest difference was that TV10 had slightly newer broadcast gear. The cameras were XL series and GL series from Canon. Good cameras. We'll have no trouble with those.
Unfortunately they require people to go to training sessions, and that includes three nights of equipment training. They will not waive the training session for me despite me knowing more about video than the person running Channel 14. That was recognized by David and Mark, the two artists. Mark even pointed out that Mary, the person running Channel 14, seemed to be aware of it too. I could teach the training course, and I have to go to it. Very patronizing... I'll do what I have to though.
I think there's a lot of potential with the children's program, especially if we find funding. I think I can help with that too. I know of educational organizations that might fund a program like that. Here's hoping.
My electro appointment went well, and I brought my camera. So I'm all set for my next podcast. I just need some supplemental shots to wrap around my "remote shoot" footage. I'll probably shoot that Saturday. So watch for the new podcast soon.
The only other thing that happened Wednesday was related to another Children's project I'm working on. It's an educational set of videos to help supplement education. It's a great idea and has potential to go a long way. The problem, as I mentioned in a previous post, was that the shoot was conducted with cameras that were...sub par at best. The image quality was terrible. Wednesday I took a look at the footage and my worst fears were realized. The footage is completely useless.
One of the cameras has backfocusing issues. So that means the characters are in and out of focus. The colors are badly muted, which removes all the vibrance and character of the puppets. There's no lighting control. The nat lighting was a wall of windows and direct afternoon sunlight. So, areas of the shot were totally blown out, while others were in shadow. The optics of the cameras were so bad that the image looked totally flat. Not to mention the cameras themselves are old Hi-8 cameras with an effective resolution of smaller than standard def. The guy had the cameras set up at three angles, all of which were two shots. So there's no way to creatively cut them. They were shot too high, so you can see behind the stage. To top it all off...he had them all set to full auto. So any time the colors changed on screen, the iris auto adjusted. To put it simply...the footage is total crap. I cannot use it at all.
So...I had to do something. I couldn't just leave it at that. I didn't know how to tell John, the creator of the project, how things looked. I decided on sending him an e-mail and just being straight forward about it. I told him flat out that I didn't want to offend or step on toes. I just wanted to make the project the best it could be. It was hard, but I spelled it all out, and I hoped for the best.
Today I got a response, and thankfully, he took it well. It gave me a huge sigh of relief. Then later, I got home and saw that my office phone had a voice mail. I checked, and it was the camera guy saying he wanted to move forward anyway. He wanted to take what we had and put it on youtube. I didn't know what to do because...I didn't mention earlier...this guy has no concept of how to communicate visually. None of the footage that was handed to me was coherent or communicated any sort of message. Even John told me he was confused by it.
I got really tense and at first attempted to e-mail the guy back. I stopped mid composition and called Chris for advice. He told me to call John and talk it over. I did, and John and I had a good long talk. Turns out John and I are on the same page. So we're going to work it out. I'm glad, because I would like to see this project happen and really make a difference for kids. I didn't want to have to back out due to quality issues. I truly am starting to feel like a video tech advisor and a producer.
Funny thing is...I'm enjoying the reading. Who'da thunk I'd be reading text books for fun after college? I must really be a nerd! Either that or I just miss learning...or I suppose the writing is good too. Crazy though.
So yeah...it's been a dramatic week. I'm glad tomorrow is Friday. Tonight...I'm going to bed early. I'm Tired!!! I went to sleep at 2:15 last night. I don't know if that's when I fell asleep, but I didn't sleep well. So, hopefully tonight will be a better rest. Sweet dreams all!