journal page 20

december 20, 2001

homemade ornaments by lola

it's that time of year, time to pack up the car and evacuate the unheated apartment with the ivy out front that smells of stale dog and the dinners that come in little frozen boxes. mom's house for a week or so. i've been running around all week doing interviews, wrapping presents, helping prepare press releases, churning the holiday elf nog and watching two giant monoliths of overflowing DVD boxes rise threateningly in the middle of the humble studio. tim took pictures, it's impressive. lots to do. bringing a lot of animation work along to where i'm going and i'll probably get more work done there than i would here because there's many distractions here and it's well, quite slow and boring there. also going to make a feeble attempt at updating bits of the website from there but, well, no guarantees on whether i'll be able to figure that out. i'm a bit worried that all my plants are going to die. one of them is a giant smelling orchid thingy that 20th century fox gave me 2 years ago and has proven itself quite indestructable to my care so far. i watched pinocchio last night for the first time.
contrary to the evidence i do actually have a lot to write about this time but it's all sort of secretive news and i'm not really allowed yet. but i think i'll at least be ready to share a little bit more of the new film with you next month, and hopefully more on the other stuff depending on how current events go.

december 11, 2001
one of these things
is not like the other:
ugh, very close to total disaster today at the DVD place, but after sweating some bullets i think we are back on track. 2:14am largely in the animation saddle again for what is known as "the new film", pushing 6:30am each night/morn, amped on caffeine and sugar and anything else i can shove into my mouth. very little changes. the past couple of nights have been really flowing well, back in the familiar groove. lately i can smell the coffee brewing in the other apartments as i go to sleep which is somehow kind of nice though i'm not sure why. at this point in the production i've solved most of the technical issues and now it's just a matter of getting through more of this very droning busywork of point A to point B. other than that, the big challenge left is just a lot of choreography; many characters to juggle and get into the right places on the right beats. i guess it sounds like a big dance cartoon or something and that's not far off except for the dancing part. there is a lot of balancing to get right, directing the viewer's eye from spot to spot, that sorta thing. and hopefully without giving too many people motion sickness. did a long interview the other day and have more lined up this week. wish i had more to report but things are just kinda drudging right now.

november 29, 2001
our little italian place is gone, replaced by a dental clinic
the DVD is 99 percent finished, i promise. true to form, we couldn't possibly have a production finish on time and under budget, could we? error testing takes place in the next couple of days, and then it's finally off to the races and these will be in your hands very soon after. and then i will go collapse in a ditch. this on top of the new production has created strange new manifestations of being run down and exhausted and i think i've made myself all sick again because i've been coughing today. i don't have a clue of how to set the little digital clock in my car, which was just reset due to a new engine battery, so i've been driving around with zero concept of time. shuttling back and forth to the DVD lab every night at 5am with a clock that's telling me it's 12 noon just really makes for a confusing depressed brain. i think my eyes are getting worse too and i've been wearing my glasses a lot lately because i've been squinting a lot without them, which leads people to think i am glaring at them. enough complaining. so the DVD is just about there i reckon and although we can't officially guarantee it, you should all be easily able to receive them in time for the holidays if you pre-order. such was the reason we ran ourselves into the ground getting it finished. do you see how much we love? DO YOU SEE? i played rob's audio commentary for my mom and her first question was, "is he drunk?" now, if that's not a telltale sign of a great DVD i don't know what is. it is pouring rain outside, very stormy. thanks to all the folks who have been sending in gifts lately, sorry about the delay in getting back to you, just very busy here. thank you also to the two people who've recently sent me homemade cookies even though they were all quite swiftly yanked away and swatted out of my clawing hands before i could stuff them all into my mouth because people here think you could be trying to poison me. i was advised instead to feed the cookies to ducks first and test them to see if their stomachs exploded and it was just a horrible tease because they all smelled really good. e..

november 19, 2001
245am brrr the apartment is getting very cold again. there's no heating so it's the time of year to wear sweaters inside and close windows. they have been loudly tarring the neighbor's roof for weeks now and i am just about ready to start knocking over their ladders. animating again has been fun for a change. i was down in the dumps for weeks when i was unable to pencil-test and do any work, but now that i'm back on track it's pouring out and i am humming along. meanwhile still working miserably around the clock polishing off the final touches on next month's "rejected" DVD release and the shop will be ready for taking pre-orders really soon. this is probably a good idea if any of you want to be darn sure to get one in december, as we will honestly have a limited supply available at first for that entire month. the disc is finally just about finished now, i guess we just need to error test the whole thing. and make sure all of the hidden viruses are intact. zeb has been camping out overnight in the DVD place, desperately trying to author this thing in time for us and i hope it can get wrapped up soon so he can go take a shower. speaking of which, last night's meteor shower was one of the best i've seen. we had to drive north to get away from the fog, stopped to watch them for awhile until the fog caught up, drove further north, stopped, fog found us again, drove north, etc. some of them were blue and a few were green. a friend was actually hit in the head with one and had to get stitches but she is doing fine now. somehow i have been watching a lot of things with muppets in them lately. we watched cannibal man tonight and it was kinda disappointing.

november 8, 2001
the airport security looked under my hat
1 or 2am ish
haven't been able to stop eating fried sugar and salted fat lately, which apparently means i am developing my annual winter coat.

austin was a great time and it was good seeing bill again. also spent time with mike judge, who shared stories and showed us around town and i only wish all people could be as friendly. or could do beavis and butthead voices as well. the screenings for the don/bill thing sold out in advance, the lines wrapped the block, and the fire marshall came to harass the people sitting in the aisles and everything. overwhelming but i did not crawl and hide under a table. bill is better at this than me though. he even has things to talk about when onstage, imagine that. i'd never been to austin before so i'm not sure how the films got so popular out there, but each night it seemed over 3/4 of the audience knew every line to each one and had no qualms at chanting them out. i've never heard a chorus of "i'm feeling fat and sassy" to "rejected" before or seen headbanging to the beethoven, fists pumping in air to the intertitles, or actually seen people jump out of their chairs on cue for "dance! everybody dance!" meanwhile "lily and jim" continues to age really well for me but i still can't bear to watch most of "genre."

nothing but good news to report today. finally received that new video camera with which i can attempt to kickstart pencil tests again and i am happy to say that it does the job i needed it to do, or at least close enough. i am pleased enough with it to give it a plug: it's an RCA CC6151, a really dinky little 8mm thing barely larger than your fist really, but it has a decent enough adjustable intervelometer to make crude frame by frame action when you watch in fast forward (not unlike my old, old camera).

meanwhile, work continues on the dvd and i am getting more and more excited for it with each round. we have put together some nice menus and surprises and i don't think anyone will be disappointed. except of course old man applecrotch but he hates everything. the audio commentary is all done, the deleted scene work is all done, all the menu content is there, so now it's just a matter of fixing up the interface with magic toys i guess.

october 25, 2001
high tech low tech
my new camera hasn't arrived yet and running out of stuff to animate around and getting really impatient. i don't want to spend too many days off of the project because it will get more and more difficult to dive into again. my time isn't going to total waste however, as we are in the thick of this DVD production now and it's keeping me awful busy. menus to design, stuff to write, things to figure out all before the deadline that everyone wants of having this thing available for the holiday. the most interesting thing is being able to go in and digitally enhance and clean up our telecine, which was never perfect. going in and removing scratches and gobs that were on our neg, removing some ugly shadows that i'd accidentally cast on a few frames of the art, balancing out of some the lousy scene to scene color tones the telecine guys did, slightly re-framing a few shots, etc. fancy things. with luck i will also be able to convince tim to mix a special surround sound optional track of the film for those of you with cooler home systems than me. so the disc is going to be super deluxe, it's just a matter of getting it all done in time. last weekend i bought new shoes and thought i had arm cancer but it went away. most of this week has been overreactive moody crisis week for everybody for some reason and everyone just needs to chill out damn it.

october 14, 2001
spent a few hours today and much of last weekend with rob and tim working on these DVD audio commentaries, which had evolved from laughably bad to humiliating back to laughably bad. we are now going at it from a completely different angle with what is easily the funniest commentary track i've ever heard. in other news, we just discovered that the one deleted scene from "rejected" has apparently been misplaced somehow and lost. but i was able to find a video copy of an old rough cut with it so i guess we can use that for the dvd instead. i should get better at keeping track of these things.

last weekend at the beach we saw starfish and little shells in clusters that looked like venusian toenails and colorful ameneonomes in tidepools and there were dolphins and we waded around and it was very difficult to believe that across the world people were getting bombed on and exploded. there was also a big field of llamas and an airplane circling around overhead flying in loops. then we went to go eat. amy is taking care of someone's newborn kitten and it is about the size of a video cassette.

my pencil test camera, the poor miserable thing, has finally shuddered and died. this leaves me in a very bad place and i've had to find other things to work on with the animation that don't require tests at the moment. i was able to find another very rare video camera online that claims to be able to do the frame by frame stuff i need for testing these shots. i still have to finish two interviews tonight and i really don't want to do either of them : (

i be back soon.,

september 30, 2001
now i have a gurgly chest cold and i swear something's wrong here because it seems like i've been sick for the entire past two months, doesn't it? i took first stabs at recording audio commentaries for this DVD over the weekend and wow i can't think of too many other ways to fully expose what uninteresting miserable bastards with nothing to say we truly are. i think i will try and edit and patch these horrors up this week but wow maybe commentaries are not a good idea. animation has slowed but i am still chugging away the best i can. amy told me that salvador dali used to eat cheese before he went to sleep because it gave him surreal dreams so i tried that twice in a row and sure enough both times i had really horrible nightmares that seemed to last forever and woke up exhausted. meanwhile i wrote some poems for amy but she was not impressed

her name is little amy
and if she was on fire
she would be rather flame-y.
her name is little amy
and if we had to eat her
due to arctic, starving fea-r
she'd prolly be stringy and gamey.
amy is not like most friends
for beside her right mole
there's a miniature hole
and that is where she hides your pens
i think i messed up the syllable count in that second one.
my neighbor is laughing at something really loud and i want to swat his little bald head with something rolled-up and snappy.

in memphis, rob tried to exit a four-door car by crawling through the space behind the front passenger seat, thinking it was a two-door car. and i got out and tried to help him by attempting to force the seat forward.
this is a bouncy little pig and he is just for you


september 21, 2001
not going to write about new york today because everyone is exhausted, sad, and desensitized.. this is a good site though.. revolutionary association of the women of afghanistan

my lungs have been hurting all day for some reason. i feel like this has been a very productive week, everything seems to be moving along and there are a few less things hovering. been in the animation trenches as usual and have been pushing things later and getting up earlier, getting through quite a bit of stuff. incidentally i'm not sure if i would have been able to animate some of this just a year ago, i've been learning so much as i go here. i have a little nub on the very top and center of my head. it is almost exactly the size of a metal pellet. it has been there for as long as i can remember and i don't have a clue what it is. it's very much like just a little leftover stem from when my head was plucked from the branch of a tree.

something interesting, "the spanky the bear show" has been found. some may remember this is a very short odd cartoon i shelved in early 1998 because it was, well, terrible, and i went on to do "billy's balloon" instead. in the years since, i ended up losing track of the only 16mm print of it in existence as well as the original negative and soundtrack (which are still lost). but i was just digging through the closet looking for odds and ends to include with this rejected DVD and found little reel with a mysterious unlabeled film wrapped around it. according to the writing on this plastic reel, it looks like it was owned by gregg araki at one point, then swallowed up by UCSB, and then liberated from campus to be tossed into my closet with spanky on it and forgotten. so anyway tim and i lugged out the old 16mm projector and had a look at regrettable movie history. the 2 minute piece is still terrible but there are a couple of nice bits of animation in it i guess. i can't think of any other fate for this other than offering it up as an extra on one of our DVDs someday

take care,

september 11, 2001
have been glued to the tv news all day watching horrible footage of planes exploding into buildings and people falling out of them. i hope everyone you know is okay and that the world will not have ended by tomorrow morning. need to take a walk

september 2 and 4, 2001 the postal service sort of has this amazing racket going. they rake in all this extra money by selling optional insurance, certification, delivery confirmation and tracking services, all by simply ensuring that their delivery remains incredibly unreliable. if they always just performed their basic job properly, there wouldn't be any need for any of these optional extra services whatsoever. it's like getting paid to do something, and then getting paid a little extra to make sure that i actually really do it.

i am eating a melon. stuck with a head cold today and everything is sort of swimming in slow motion. do you ever have old forgotten memories suddenly triggered by the smell and taste of a cold, because you'd been sick with something similar way back then in the past? anyway, this has left me with zero energy to animate at all last weekend or even ink, so instead i have been putting in writing time and buying too many dvds. and i broke a guitar string which means i can't play so i am a little more pent up.

i hear the laemmle screenings are going really well and they are extending our run there to a few more weekends. talked to bill today and he was as pleased as i am with the turnout; plus, we are both used to never receiving a penny for any theatrical shows so it's nice to actually have our own platform and not support somebody else for a change.

bzaaa i am drawing a blank here, i continue later...


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