Friday, December 23, 2011

Paper Snowflakes

Paper Snowflakes by cin_kong
Paper Snowflakes, a photo by cin_kong on Flickr.
It took a few hours over a few days to cut the snowflakes. Above all, it's a nice use of scrap paper.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Animated Greetings

So I can make my e-gif in GIMP. I created everything with the brush and pencil tool. In hindsight, I probably should have used a real present box. Freehand is no substitute for geometry.
To my internet friends.
Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Grimm Danse Macabre or The Pied Piper


Nothing much happened last week, except for two episodes of Grimm. This new TV show has a lot of promise. It tells the fairy tales from the original Grimm Brothers stories. I am really impressed by the look and feel of the show. This image is from the episode called Danse Macabre. The teenager in the picture has the power to make the rats do his bidding with his music. All these rats just walked into frame. With all the VFX used on the show, I am thinking this many rats can't all be real. It makes one heck of cool scene.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Harmonica


There is one more thing I want to try this year. Digitally record Christmas songs performed on harmonica. I have a hands free microphone now. There will be no embellishing of anything I post. I guarantee it. Just not sure if it will get some attention or drive away anyone who reads this blog.

Project List: December 2, 2011

I was at a gathering with the other novelists from NaNoWriMo last night celebrating the end of November. It was incredibly inspiring, to hear about all the different experiences so far. It gave me an idea to help my story along, because the writing isn't over until the next cycle begins. If I had known that all I needed was to be with other people to get swept up in creativity, I would have went out more often. Oh well. I have managed to come up with something that kept up most of the night. Hm, I should write that.
After the last party and Christmas stuff is done, I will carry on with more projects.
A photo of the Tie Fighter and Cylon Raider next?
In no particular order...

  • Paper Model: U.S.S. Voyager. I have new ink now, I should be able to print out that model. With this netbook, I cannot check the ink volume anymore.
  • Paper Model: Titanic. I mention that I would that before. Suffice to say there was too much going on for that to happen.
  • Paper Model: Imperial Stormtrooper. I have the head cut out. I am wondering how much to scale that up by to pose next to the Cylon helmet.
  • Writing: The Living Bride (redux).
  • Writing: FanFiction - The misadventures of Peter Bishop in Sam Weiss' Bedrock.
  • Animation: I have to make my annual seasons greeting, so it is the animated GIF. They are different every year.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Muppets

All frogs can talk, they just have nothing to say.

The Muppets are timeless characters on TV. Having grown up with them throughout the 1980s, it makes me happy to see them on screen again and so often. Starting with an appearance to promote The Muppets movie on Dancing With The Stars last Tuesday followed by an appearance on last week's Saturday Night Live.

My favourite was the one I stumbled upon. A CBC Radio interview on Studio Q. If you are a fan of Kermit, this is not to be missed. Check it out at www.cbc.ca/video

He talks about life being a frog, fame, and Jim Henson. A charming dude if I ever saw one.

More images below the break.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Michael: Tuesdays & Thursdays - Ridicule - Recap


I love surprises. When I found out Tuesday that Sandra Oh was going appear on CBC's latest comedy series, Michael: Tuesdays & Thursdays, I jumped at the chance to watch it. I haven't seen many of the episodes since the pilot, but I know it has been getting great reviews. I am glad I did, because it ended up being one enjoyable turn out.

If no one has seen the series, this week's episode summed up well what happened between psychiatrist David Stroper (Bob Martin) and his patient Michael Dyers (Matt Watts).

Episode 109 - Ridicule

David had wrote a book about his patient Michael of 15 years, without his consent. On account of that, Michael, feeling betrayed, has stopped seeing him. When the book is published, Michael's many phobias has resurfaced. David is no better. Days before the book's launching, his face breaks out due to stress.

He agrees to meet with Michael's new therapist, Judy a naturopath (Sandra Oh). She believes it will help Michael get over his fear of his shrink, if he had a session together with David.

In the end, Michael realizes no amount of bugleweed and Oprah quotes will help him, he goes back to David.

Favourite scene: The joint therapy session with Judy.

Favourite line: I invite you to read a book about a man with many fears, who happens to be the bravest man I know.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Last Week in TV: My Top 3 Caps

Best Halloween costume?
Finally, we scared up parity in Canadian and U.S. TV ratings. Except for the most view sports, World Series baseball and NFL football in the States and Hockey Night in Canada over here, the week of October 24 to 30, NCIS, Dancing with the Stars, and NCIS: Los Angeles were among the top ten for both countries in the same order. How often do we get that? The ranking was even one off from each other.


Here are my caps. All this week, the episode I wanted to rewatch most for screencaps was Harry's Law's The Rematch. I already expect to see further insight into Jean Smart's character. I didn't expect to be bowled over by the guest cast. Katherine Helmond and Fyvush Finkel as the elderly couple whose marriage was ending brought out the best of Tommy and Cassie, and even more bad mouth from Ollie. If Paul McCrane's performance on the show, earned him an Emmy, I dare say it could at least get a nomination for them.
Is it so wrong for me to want to know a little of that life before I go? 
Gloria telling Tommy why she preferred a divorce. "For 60 years, I've had to hear those jokes in the privacy of my home, at dinner parties, always at my expense. Now it's all I listen to. How many times do I have to listen to my genitalia being referred to as a black lagoon? I cannot take it anymore. Not for month. Not for a week. Not for a day. I want that man gone."
What am I gonna do?
The jokes are all Abe remembers.
"Well you tell her I get the house. She can keep all the mirrors so she can see what I had to look at all these 
"We were happy for so long... and then we met. When I make love to her, I like to think of something nice, like not making love to her. Oh, I have a recurring nightmare about my wife's funeral, like it would never happen. Ha ha hahaha..."
...we the jury find the defendant Joshua Peyton not guilty.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Harry's Law - Episode 2.06 - The Rematch - Recap

Defendant not guilty
When former prosecutor Josh 'Puck' Peyton is charged with aiding and abetting a child abductor,  it's up to Harry and Adam to defend him and it pits Harry against District Attorney Roseanna Remmick in open court once again. Or as Roseanna put it, "Tree versus troll, a rematch." Meanwhile, Tommy and Cassie counsels an elderly couple in a divorce case.

For a change, Rosie was playing by the book and
was unrelenting in making an example of Puck for turning his back on their life calling: law and order. Because it was personal, her defeat at the end was a blow. We saw a vulnerable person behind the condescending bully. The audience saw it, then Puck and Harry. It was effectively portrayed with no dialogue.

What else do we learn
I like what the divorce case did for Tommy. He really is sentimental, and it showed in how he cared about Abe's plight.
Cassie was also affected by her interactions with Abe. As Harry tells her, having clients can sometimes be rewarding.
Ollie has an opinion on everything, making him quite the devil's advocate.

Worth mentioning
Cassie (Karen Olivo) singing "By the Light of the Silvery Moon" to help reach Abe.
Guest stars Katherine Helmond (Soap, Who's the Boss) and Fyvush Finkel (Picket Fences, Boston Public) delivered some of the most memorable performances. Most impressive was his Abe lapsing from lucidity, jokes, and dementia, sometimes all in one take.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Last Week in TV: My Top 3 Caps


Halloween Programming took over. Most of my regular shows were repeats. At times like these, I thoroughly enjoy a movie break on TV. Sleepy Hollow has to be one of my favourite Johnny Depp movies.


Pan Am - Episode 1.06 - Genuine Article


Maggie's job is on the line. She uses Ginny's love for Dean as leverage to get the VP on her side. We see later that she is already regretting her actions. What will happen to Captain Dean Lowry?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Last Week in TV: My Top 3 Caps

Back in the days, I bought a TV with my very first paycheque. OK. It was a Pocketvision. You carry it around like a transistor radio. Before the death of analog, it used to mean I could always catch stuff on it, whenever cable went out, like during the blackout of 2003 or we were down to one TV. Aside from being a cool gadget, it had great sound and picture quality for 3 inches of screen. Today, it may be obsolete, but I still catch American shows on Canadian networks. Less conflicts that way. With the economy the way it is, I find it hard to give up full cable. But times were so much easier when there were less channels. There are so many shows now, I couldn't tell you what came and went anymore.

In the past decade, I came across some interesting short-lived series. Let's see if anyone can remember these without looking them up?
  1. In the near future, a law firm handles difficult cases that reflect the time.
  2. Three New York couples find their lives becoming intertwined with one another, while living in the same apartment building.
  3. A cursed revolver brings violence to a variety of owners in the American west.

Charlie's Angels - Episode 1.05 - Angels in Paradise


Coolest stunt scene ever. The old series featured the Ford Mustangs, so there were a lot more car chases. Firing a weapon from a horseback has to be pretty awesome.
And then something you never expect to hear in the other incarnations... 
"Charles Townsend has an agenda."
We are never going to know what that means.

The Wizard of Oz: Show Night


I took a break from TV Monday night in favour of the theatre, to see our local production of The Wizard of Oz. It was an instant hit. Despite Tin Man's constant wardrobe malfunctions (He lost his metal cod piece during his first dance number.), the whole play came together without a hitch. My friends and I agreed that the best thing of this production was the young girl who performed the role of Glinda the Good Witch of the North.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

When Olivia Start Bringing Walter Pastries

She liked you. She thought that you were kind and brilliant.
In this scene from the Fringe episode Reciprocity (3x11), it pleased Walter to hear the other Olivia`s compliment. What that says to me is that there had to be a moment where this respect was earned. In my imagination, it might have something to do with pastries. We may never know the truth now.

In Kind: Author: loneguppy
Category: Fringe
Language: English, Rated: K
Genres: General
Pairing: Alt-Livia & Walter B.
Chapters: 1, Words: 1,163, Reviews: 0
Published: 10-18-11
Status: Complete

How an act of kindness led Agent Dunham to discover Walter's fondness for fried dough pastries.

The Touch (2002)


This is a movie in the vein of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. It was produced by and even starred Michelle Yeoh.

The scene that interested me most was a part of the love story. It was effectively portrayed with Michelle Yeoh's Yin looking out the window at Ben Chaplin's Eric. I was impressed by how she conveyed her feelings towards his character with no dialogue.

In the chilly night, Yin watched as Eric dug the grave for the old monk. His bandages no longer protected his blistered hands from the elements. She was moved by his determination.



Monday, October 17, 2011

Last Week in TV: My Top 3 Caps

I once listened to the movie Jerry Maguire. I was painting a plaster sculpture at the time and couldn't really lift my head up until I was done. I do that a lot these days when watching TV. Mostly because my eyes tire often. It gives the program I am 'viewing' a new perspective, the second time around. It's no surprise that what I watch sometimes appeal to all five senses. So I say if you don't like it the first time, try watching it with eyes closed or audio off, as I do a second time. You might be surprised to find something you missed before. Today I was referring to the last aired episode of Charlie's Angels and all four episodes of Free Agents.

With even more shows getting canceled, which some say are too early, it's even more important for us to embrace the shows we love along with all its good and bad qualities. Ignore negative opinions and make a stand for your favourites no matter what. Television has become a popularity contest, Whoever is making the decision, as to which stay, should know what we see. I am just one person. I can't promise what I find worth mentioning is right for you, but at least I am trying.


Harry's Law - Episode 2.04 - Queen of Snark
"This is not good bye."





Jenna's emotional goodbye to the law firm was not easy for her friends. It doesn't make it any easier that we know it was coming.
Jenna to Tommy: I was the first... to say that you're are sweet and sentimental.
Jenna to Adam: And maybe most of all you Scarecrow.
Harry to Jenna: You should have a memento of what you built.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Last Week in TV: My Top 3 Caps

Last week, I started to devote more focus to what I was watching. Writing about it takes away from the experience. What's stands out to me could be a single scene, a line of dialogue, or a memorable performance.

Free Agents - 1.04 - Rebranding


Helen: "We used to talk." Alex: "You don't want to talk about the things I want to talk about."
I can't stress enough that I could watch these guys forever.


Monday, October 10, 2011

In Progress But On Hold: Characters With No Story

As I will be writing much more in the coming days, I think it will be of benefit to myself and others if I keep a writing journal as a tool for idea exchange.

After I spent some time to research parts of a story, I had to stop. It was getting way too ambitious for a long hand narrative. I haven't given up the chance to have embodied my greatest impressions of China in one single work of fiction. There is so much details to go on. The artist I saw in Tiantan Park giving us an impromptu performance. Peking opera featuring a female warrior. Every step I took in the Shanghai streets. Xi'an then and now. Sure it has been rebuilt, but I can still see the past 1500 years of history preserved in bronze and ceramics, a tribute to the master craftsman who have handed down their trade.

I have envisioned a cast characters that I might use for other stories.

  • The male dan who was too shy to tell a servant girl how much he loved her.
  • The female lord justice and her first assignment in office.
  • The mistress at a brothel.
  • The blind matriarch pining for her fallen child.
  • The ghost of the child of the matriarch.

A male singing opera in falsetto

A female warrior 'dan'

Direct line of sight to the Bell Tower

A legacy of glorious Chang'an

Inner Light Music: Letter Tabs

Treble Clef 3/4
I haven't put in any notation for sharps and flats and no way to indicate low and high notes.

A G F | D    D | E    A | F
E     B | A    G | F E D | B
A G F | D    D | E    B | A    B
D C B | C    A | F       | E

The notes were an excerpt of Jay Chattaway's Inner Light, from musicnotes.com
It's what I used to create the tabs for penny whistle.

Loneguppy's Showcase: Inner Light on Penny Whistle
Loneguppy's Showcase: Penny Whistle Tabs for Inner Light

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cars

I drew this picture for high school art class. I have long forgotten when. This was a compilation of cars from different calendar pages. It's relevant to share this again because I was inspired by the original Charlie's Angels TV series to use the Ford Mustang. Kris drove a white Mustang Cobra. Kelly always drove the Mustang rag top, while the other Angel had the Ford hatch back. I think a Mustang Cobra could be seen in the pilot of the new Charlie's Angels.

Arts Integra Theatre Presents The Wizard of Oz


The scenery is ready. The cast is rehearsing. Now for a taste of what is to come, a little slide show of the Keynote presentation.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Wizard of Oz - Cyclone Projection

This will be centre of attention once Dorothy is knocked out. A taste of what the scene should look like. I have the Keynote computer for a couple of weeks to edit the elements for the projected backdrop. I am only half finished. This cyclone sequence has always been a pain. but I am finally satisfied with the results. The production provided me a sound effects library which I am learning to incorporate into the presentation. It's really quite exciting. I will work on the last part next weekend. I have a feeling it will be the more challenging of the two. Only a month away from show time.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Charlie's Angels - Episode 1.01 - Angel With a Broken Wing - Recap

The original Charlie's Angels aired 35 years ago. It was 1980 before I was exposed to cable and American shows. By then, the show was in its final season and I was watching reruns. The first episode I watched was with Cheryl Ladd. Kris Munroe, my favourite angel, was the fresh face at the agency. I didn't exactly start from the beginning, did I. But it was enough to keep me tuned in everyday after school. The change in the team didn't end there. Who could forget Tiffany or Julie? In very much the same tradition, we now have new angels.
With Drew Barrymore (Charlie's Angels 2000 and 2003) at the helm, and developed by Al Gough and Miles Millar (Smallville), it's a formula for a surefire hit.
We got a signature opening that's going to change in the next episode.
Abby - A Park Avenue princess turned thief.
Gloria - A marine decorated for valor court-martial for deadly mistake.
Kate - A dedicated police detective turned dirty cop.

Right off the bat, angels have to cope with the loss of one of their own. The emotions played out is not unlike "Let Our Angel Live", the last episode of the original series. The rest of the episode has the girls take down the person responsible, with the next angel in the wings. In one episode, we got to see their strengths and vulnerability. And just like their predecessors before them, they will have to grow as a team.

The movies nearly a decade ago proved the audience was already receptive to a fresh take on the classic 1970s series. I for once was really pleased by this reboot. I hope the angels are here to stay. Give it a chance.

Cast:
Annie Ilonzeh as Kate Prince
Minka Kelly as Eve French
Rachael Taylor as Abby Sampson
Ramon Rodriguez as Bosley
Victor Garber as the voice of Charlie

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Body of Proof - Episode 2.01 - Love Thy Neighbor - Recap


Something toxic was in the air.

What I always like about Body of Proof is the light banter that goes along with the seriousness of solving a crime. This show lacks in nothing with all its characters. To make life easy, I want to give the fresh crop of shows the attention they deserve, I would not be making comments on a regular basis. I had to make an exception in this case though because of the heavy Desperate Housewives references.

The case, a car rolled out of control over an embankment, killing the man inside. Nothing is ever as it seems. Every sign points to the fact that the man was unconscious when the car impacted the tree. The investigation moves to the man's home, in an uninhibited cul-du-sac, that has its neighbors swapping wives. It wasn't really about jealousy or greed, but the act of a desperate husband.

Personally, Megan is still a bit bothered by her ex-husband Todd and her boss Kate's new situation. She feels insecure that her place in daughter Lacey's eyes is being usurped. Nothing was remotely close to the true.

Worth mentioning is the effect the case had on Bud and Peter. Bud was inspired to add a little spice in his relationship with his wife. Peter found himself flirting with one of the street's denizens. Megan's reaction to the latter was amusing to no end. At lease Peter found it funny, the sultry voice Megan used to tease him with. "Oh, your badge, so big, so powerful." The other funny moment was when Megan thumped Bud in the chest for his making a crack about women being emotional.

Memorable Quotes
Ethan: I'm a doctor, not an engineer.
Curtis: How do you like that Darth Vader? Who's your daddy?
Ethan: Saved my butt, you did. Mm.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Free Agents - Episode 1.01 - Pilot - Recap


Newly divorced Alex breaks down during one night of passion with co-worker Helen. Things don't get much better at work when his colleagues encourage him to get back into the swing of things. If he were ready, Alex has his sight set on Helen, but she's also trying to get over her fiancĂ© who's been dead for a year. Having the opening scene in bed is the real ice breaker here. Even after rejecting him, Helen helps Alex pick out a new shirt for a date. They are barely friends, but somehow they have this close believable bond.

The strength: the chemistry between Hank Azaria and Kathry Hahn's characters. Just one look is what it takes for one of them to say potato. The likable leads are what makes this show worth watching. It's also good to see Hank Azaria head up a show of his own.

The weakness: Dan the bachelor and Gregg the married guy. Cardboard and then some, if they keep wearing the same expression and say the same thing all the time. Walter the security guard had more depth.

Overall rating 7/10
I will definitely be watching this again.
Free Agents appears on CTV Two and Comedy Network in Canada.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fan Expo 2011 (Extended)


It is the same video I posted on Spoiler TV with the rest of the photos taken over the four days threw into it. Enjoy.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Alphas - Filming Location

I've been meaning to take a picture of the store since I seen it on TV, but I never seem to have my camera with me. This is just one of the filming locations for the Alphas pilot. To be honest it was such a short scene, I had only recognized the store from the inside out. They also used the parking lot. Except they cleverly obscured the red sign for Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. As you can see, they put some effort into turning this Toronto suburb into somewhere USA. Alphas airs here on Space.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Set Design: Animating the Static Image

Well, I've been putting off working on the project for a few weeks. Now after a break, I am back at it. I thought I discuss how to take a perfectly static image and turn it into animation. Surprisingly no two scenes are made using the same method.

The first example I want to illustrate is the crows where Dorothy meet Scarecrow. For this scene, I needed to have crows flying in the distance. I chose an image that had a number of birds in flight. For some of them, it looked to me like flight paths.


I cut out silhouettes of some of the birds and created four animating frames in GIMP to make the bird layers. Open the image in a new Window to see what I mean. The final animation includes the cornfield background.


Every production tries to be different. We are adding Canada geese to our cyclone sequence. There was enough variety in the birds in this image to make it look like one bird was flying. I was able to cycle the frame for each position.

Because the background is also animating, I want to scale the birds into place and add one to blow off screen. Open the image below to see the animation. I can't wait to see how it will look in Keynote.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Set Design: Using Keynote Textbox

I thought I would be posting the Quicktime video the textbox scenes in The Wizard of Oz, but the file size ended up being 3.4 megabytes. So I am posting screen captures instead.
The Wizard of Oz Intro
The same effects is available to a textbox as it is for any picture object. For the intro, the text you see is moves into place and then fades out.

What I found out was that with Keynote individual words and even letters can be manipulated too. This was really handy for the skywriting sequence. I incorporated three passes of the witch silhouette during the spelling of "SURRENDER DOROTHY OR DIE W.W.W." This feature is not available in PowerPoint.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Set Design: Wizard of Oz Scenes Made in GIMP

What is GIMP? It stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. In many ways, it is similar to Adobe Photoshop and in other ways it's more like Adobe Image Ready. I wouldn't know if I could have worked on this project without it. At first, I didn't know how much I would be using this application. I only had it to have an alternative means to make my a gif from my netbook. I knew it was something Linux users had at my previous job. Before using it for this project, I was just learning how to use it to make banners with it. Since then, I have found it much more intuitive for animating and have been making elements for the slides used in some of the scenes. For those who know GIMP, this will be nothing new. I just wanted to share my progress on this project.
Starting with the flames for this chandelier, I began to understand that any layers in GIMP can be used animated. Cool! To make the candle flicker, I cut the image of a flame and applied the Animation Rippling filter. It saved me the trouble of animating it myself. I did have to ask my colleagues how to make it move. That's gave me the idea how it should look like.
4 frames, delayed on each candle for variation
How am I going to make flying monkeys with nothing but a two-dimensional image of a chimp and pasted on wings? Nothing seemed right. I couldn't push it across the Keynote slide like I did for the witch silhouette. That would be hard to do for more than one monkey. I had the idea to make a group of monkeys, but still had trouble with timing the movement. I made three layers of monkeys to use with this background. They were going to be small so you couldn't see the details too closely. I started with what ended up being the middle layer, 6 in the distant, 6 more a little closer to frame, and 4 more in front. For the second frame I scaled down and placed them where they would be in the previous frame. The third frame was the opposite. The first frame became the second frame and I had monkeys that seem to fly from the castle here.
3 frames with monkey variation
Something else I noticed with the monkeys as with the chandelier. To reduce the file size, there is an optimize filter for gif. What this does is to combined the textures. Once this is done, you can't really edit the images again. The colours are indexed. To other applications the images still appear to be full frames.

I did a test already with transparent layers so I knew making a flaming mask was possible. I just didn't know what the mask would look like at the time. This was a render. As you can see, there is very little definition, I wasn't sure how the Colour to Alpha would work for it. It looked solid, so I knew that changing the brightness and contrast would make it a little bit more transparent. I wanted to deformed the eyes, but I didn't know which tools in GIMP to make that happen. It will also have reduced opacity in Keynote so the video flames will be seen past it as well. I still need this gif to be approved for production. Looking forward, I will be exploring the drawing tools for my needs.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Paper River Boat: New Orleans



It's a good thing I know my limitations. There were really good models out there, including Disneyland's Mark Twain. That would have been destroyed before I finished cutting. It's not like this was easy to build either. Without instructions I had no idea which to stick together first. I had trouble aligning the upper deck railing. Boats are officially not my favourite models, but I still have another river boat and the Titanic in the works.