Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Response to video - The Bedtime Story

Originally, this video was conceived when I visited my sister a few months ago, and we spent the weekend watching 'Tangled,' 'Brother Bear,' 'How to Train Your Dragon,' and the first trailer for Pixar's upcoming movie 'Brave.' And watching all of those movies made me re-think the possibilities of children's stories. In their simplest form, children's movies deliver the message that all writers strive to achieve. They display that pain is endurable, love is obtainable, and good always triumphs over evil. And even if its not true, those are the values that I hope every child believes in.

Also, it should be noted that my sister and I are in our mid-twenties. Recently, I visited her for thanksgiving, and we watched 'The Muppets.' It's a great movie.

I think it's important to be open-minded. Even today, I hate it when my parents say that I'll understand things better when I'm older because it implies that they know everything about my life and values and experiences. And it's usually not children, but adults who need to be reminded of the simplest of rules: be kind to one another and treat others like you would want to be treated.

I don't think anyone would be interested in the technical aspects of the video, and I wouldn't be able to explain them. The video is made with Anime Studio Pro 6 with twenty four frames per second. I recently bought a new laptop, and now it only takes several hours to render a video instead of several days, which still feels like a long time.

If you can't tell, I'm not very nice to my laptops.

I tried to not make the animation sequences too complicated so they wouldn't distract viewers from the story. There are a lot of animation loops. Surprisingly, I didn't know how to make a loop on my first few videos so that saved time. To be completely honest, I've always wanted to animate a horse and a dragon. And in a lot of ways, I animated the horse and dragon before I knew how to work them into the story. I know it sounds silly, but I'm a boy and horses and dragons are cool.

If you haven't seen my previous blog posts, the story for this video took a few weeks, and it went through several variations (namely 'The Princess and the Stone'). At first I wrote a story that wouldn't be limited to time constraints and it took three pages just to write the beginning portion. Ultimately, I would have preferred to include more details from the original story, but in some ways, the story benefits from being trimmed down.

On a few occasions, I've watched some of my older videos and I'm blown away. And I don't mean that in a narcissistic way, but if anyone made those videos, I would still be impressed with them. Personally, I don't consider any of the previous videos to be 'my videos' because they wouldn't have been possible without the support of their viewers and they're not just my stories, but they're universal stories that their viewers have embraced as their own.

I'm sorry if the videos have changed over time and I honestly hope you've enjoyed the recent videos too, but I really can't thank you guys enough for the views and comments and ratings because your feedback has helped me through a few rough patches in my life.

And in some ways, I hope the videos have helped you too.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Response to video - #Thoughts

video without sound to embed in facebook, tumbr, blogs, ect.

Along with randomly looking through strangers' blogs, this video was heavily influenced by a poem, and since I couldn't find a website that included the poem, I've typed it out.

Another Manner of Touch by Bob Hicok

I took this from him and won't give it back, the idea
that paths in the woods, paths worn or chopped,
that in their coming and going, how they're revealed
by snow and vanished by thaw, that you
can be standing there, feeling old perhaps, feeling removed
from those you love in their countries
of skin and distance, standing in a shroud
of your own breath, and notice for the first time
ever or the first time in three years, whatever,
that you are alone when these paths on the mountain
announce themselves, white lines appear and you can't help
but think of people walking, which makes you feel
that obviously people are alive, which you hadn't
been feeling in your isolation, which comes along with you
everywhere you go, which seems to arrive ahead of you
in these going places, and these paths, which are really
just a record of footfalls, an easy archaeology
of destruction, of how we're abrading the whole kit
and caboodle, which even when we can't see them exist,
isn't that the hope, they're almost words or stars,
nearly hands reaching across the bed at night, just
to remember that you're there and you are, mostly.

I liked the idea of wandering paths and the footprints that others have left behind and how well it applies to the internet. Nowadays, it's a socially acceptable to browse through peoples' photos or recent statues updates, and in a way, it's the most detached way of personally connecting with someone, even with a stranger. Moreover, it's hard to believe that you can identify with someone more on the internet than in real life; we forget that real life can be very impersonal to maintain a certain appearance or avoid talking with strangers. On the internet, we can feel detached but in a good way, and it gives us the ability to openly express our thoughts and concerns, and there will be critics just like in real life, but we can disregard those people because somewhere out there in the vast openness of the interweb there will be someone who feels the same way.

And if there's not, post something and someday there will be.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Three Stories, No Endings

Originally, I wrote these stories to be turned into typography/animation videos, but they were either too long or too convoluted to fit into a five minute video. I’ve arranged the videos in the order that I wrote them. The first story, The Storyteller’s Daughter, was more as a warm-up or brainstorming session than an actual story attempt. With the second story, I actually animated roughly a minute and a half of video with backgrounds, character models, and typography before stopping because I realized that it was too long. All of the pictures are hyper-linked to animation videos located at the bottom of the post. Anyway, here are three stories, two princesses, and no endings. Enjoy.

The Storyteller's Daughter

The storyteller used to tell happier tales. Long ago, he told the story of his daughter's first kiss.

In the cool autumn breeze, she sat with a boy along the edge of the forbidden forest. It was dark, but they could still see the flowers' faint hue from the lantern and abundance of fireflies. And although their parents anxiously awaiting their return, they could not resist basking in the moment. More than anything, the boy wanted to kiss the girl, almost as much as she wanted to be kissed, but he was afraid. As a young boy, he was not afraid of many things, but he suddenly became terrified of ruining the moment and wrecking the girl's first kiss.

"It would be my first kiss," the girl confessed as she picked up a small pebble, "but if you want me to put you at ease, I'll kiss this rock. It will be my first kiss, and I'll tell everyone that my first kiss was with a boy in the forest with its cool breeze and romantic fireflies."

The boy felt ashamed as she gently pecked the pebble with her lips.

"But I'll meet you here tomorrow night, and you can be my second kiss," she said as she started to walk away. "And you better hope that the fireflies come back."

The boy was shocked; he never thought that he'd every be so jealous of a pebble. But as he reached for the small stone, a gust of wind carried it across the boundaries and into the forbidden forest. Without a second thought, the boy followed.

Later, the storyteller wrote one of his most infamous tale and nailed it to the marker of the forbidden forest:

'Once upon a time, there was a young boy who walked into the forbidden forest. He was never seen or heard from again. There are spirits in the forest that can mimic your greatest fears, and they will feed off your terrors until you will die a most painful death. If you value your life in anyway, please stay away.'

It was an awful bedtime story, but it was widely told to every child in the village. And no one ever attempted to walk through the forbidden forest until the storyteller became fatally ill, and his daughter attempted to save him.

The Stone and the Princess (~1:20 min at the bottom of post)

From the moment the princess was born, she inherited a deadly curse.

Every fifth generation, a dragon would capture a princess and carry her to an empty tower in the depths of the forbidden forest. Legends say that he used the princess as bait to feast on waves of brave knights who tried to rescue the girl until he would finally eat the princess for dessert.

Regardless of the dragon's intentions, the king and queen were determined to keep their daughter as safe as possible. So throughout her life, the princess was rarely let out of her room and scarcely allowed to socialize with others. To ensure their daughter would live a happy, care-free life, everyone in the kingdom was forbidden to tell the princess her gruesome fate.

So for seventeen years, the princess remained safe. She was alive but hardly living. Until one day, she decided to do something that she should have done years ago. When all the servants were asleep, she snuck out of her room.

She felt a rush of pride invigorated by nervousness and excitement. She roamed the halls and sneaked past associates, and she walked farther than she's ever traveled. Within minutes, the princess decided that she would stay out for hours or maybe days to teach her parents a lesson.

It was the best night of her life, until she realized that she was lost. Her concern grew; she was convinced that her parents would be furious and that she may never find her way back. And she cried, pathetically in a corner of a room that she's never even been.

Suddenly, she heard footsteps. At first they were faint, but they steadily became louder. And a boy appeared; he was one of the many people who she only knew through passing glances.

Out of sheer shock, he blurted, "You're not allowed to be here ... your majesty."

They were mutually dumbfounded until the boy noticed that her sleeves were wet and her eyes were red. And he timidly sat next to her.

"I'm not supposed to here either," he said softly. "Don't tell anyone, okay?"

Her nose was clearly stuffed as she scoffed and murmured, "Okay."

The boy walked the princess back to her room. Along the way, she learned that the boy tended the stables and apprenticed as a blacksmith, but he dreamed of becoming a knight, and he reluctantly admitted that he trained during the night time.

When they reached her doorstep, he thought about telling her legend. They sat on the last step, neither of them wanted to leave immediately. And out of nowhere, he told the girl about her destiny.

"It might be hard to believe, but your parents have kept you in the tower for a good reason. Every fifth generation a dragon has come to take away princesses and eventually eat them. It will come for you, and you need to do whatever your parents tell you to do to be safe, even if that means staying alone in your room. You can't tell anyone that I’ve told you about this or I'll be banished from the kingdom, but if I were you, I'd want to know."

She stayed solemn through his speech, and by the end, the boy couldn't read her expression.

Finally, she firmly spoke, "Teach me to fight."


"If a dragon will come to kill me, I don't want to be a defenseless little princess who gets lost in her own kingdom. If it is my destiny, I want to be ready for my fate."

"Okay," he said. "We'll train in the stables tomorrow night."

For the next several weeks, they heavily trained in the darkness. The boy taught here a variety of weapons from swords to bows and arrows, and although the princess was weak and inexperienced, she was eager to improve. For once in her life, she was dealt with a task to prove herself, and she was determined succeed.

For her success, the princess wanted to learn everything about her enemy, and she extensively studied the dragon's lore. At the mere mention of the word dragon, she immediately knew that it would tower above her head with massive claws and razor sharp teeth. And without even reading a single book, she knew that she would be over-matched in every possible way; the dragon essentially had no physical weaknesses. Instead, she wanted to understand how the dragon thinks; she wanted to know about its history, and more importantly, its motives.

Surprisingly, the girl’s research led her to more questions. Past the fairytales and bedtimes stories, the first record of the fierce dragon was as a docile pet. Hundreds of years ago, the fifth kingdom had trained a dragon to protect their daughter, and by all accounts, he was her best friend. Like the current princess, the previous one had a tightly controlled life, and except for the dragon, she was fairly alone. All seemed well until the princesses’ eighteenth birthday. On that fateful night, the dragon appeared hysterical during the banquette. He hastily grabbed the princess and carried her away into the darkness. For decades the royal army has searched for the dragon in the forbidden forest but with little success. The fifth princess was never seen nor heard from again.

The princess was astounded, and her head swarmed with vexing questions. Why had the dragon snapped? Was it his innate dragon instincts? And if so, why did he wait eighteen years? Most importantly, the princess wondered how the dragon could do that to his best friend. It was chilling; the dragon was a heartless monster.

So the princess continued to train, and although she made great progress, her eighteenth birthday steadily loomed. On the night before her birthday, they decided to relax. In the confines of a nearby wheat field, they quietly gazed at the masses of twinkling stars. Everything seemed so finite; soon the night would end, the dragon would come, the princess would be taken, the fields would be tended, and maybe even someday, the stars would cease to exist.

“I’m going to die tomorrow,” her voice was as soft as a lullaby. “But I want you to know that our training wasn’t pointless. Along with the daggers and swords and arrows, you taught me about friendship; you taught me about companionship and loyalty and even love.” She spoke frankly, “I love you, and I can say all of these things because I’m going to die tomorrow. Maybe I should die every night.”

“It’s past midnight,” the boy digressed; he looked at her in the most deep and longing way, “Happy birthday, my princess.”

She provided a cold, stern look that would have drained all of happiness from every cheerful woodland creature in the entire forest.

“It’s just an expression,” he added, and she laughed. Steadily, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a simple necklace, it had a thin string of leather with a small, smooth stone attached to the braided end, “It’s your birthday present; the rock has been in my family for generations. It’s called a resurrection stone, and it’s said to enable the holder to communicate with the dead. You of all people know that they have never found the bodies of the princesses that the dragon has taken away. I want you to have the stone as a reminder that as long as you’re alive, I will be searching for you; as long as you’re alive, there is hope that I will find you.”

In most ways, he was already talking to the dead, a girl who was destitute by fate, but if she would be locked inside a tower until the dragon felt compelled to eat, the rock would remind her that there’s still hope. And it would remind the princess of the boy who helped her feel alive moments before she died.

Soon the night would fade, the sun would rise, and the princess would be taken away, but on that night, the two of them would quietly sit together until destiny could not wait any longer.

The Princess’ Tale

There were two versions of the same story.

In one version, two concerned parents consulted a fortune teller and asked how their newborn son would die. The mystic looked deep inside her crystal ball, and revealed that he would someday drown. So to avoid his fate, the boy was never allowed near water. When the boy grew older, the parents told him the premonition, and instead of cowering near water, he immediately wanted to learn how to swim. And years later, a flood came and washed away half the town, but the boy survived. He controlled his own fate.

In the other version, the boy died while trying to learn how to swim, it was his first and only attempt. Many said that his death was utterly preventable, but it was a sad reminder that you cannot escape your fate.

As the storyteller's apprentice, I've heard both versions, but usually children were only told one or the other. And although it was a simple tale, it would sometimes have profound effects. Children who heard the first version would face their fears, and the children who heard the second version would avoid them. It was my first insight into the effects of storytelling and its seemingly magical properties.

Once upon a time, there was a lonely princess. Her parents were told that a dragon was destined to capture the princess and take her away to a hidden tower in the forest. Throughout her life, the princess was never told her fate and scarcely allowed out of her room, but when she found out, she decided to escape.

Usually, people run with a purpose. They are either running away from something or toward something. In the case of the princess, it was both. She ran away from one captive to confront, and hopefully kill, another.

When I first met the princess, she was hardly defenseless. It had been years since she escaped the castle, and for the longest time, she had to learn to fend for herself.

The text is for another story idea (big surprise),
but I don't have a video of just the arrow shot

"I'm really glad you missed," I said. I was still a little startled.

"If I missed, we wouldn't be having this conversation." She was an unmistakable legend; as a child locked away in the castle, she was accustomed to solitude, but the years on her own made the princess hard. Still, she was young. Even with her cuts and bruises, she seemed in some ways frail.

"Pretend to be my guard," she offered. "My parents are still looking for me, and there's a reward for my return, but if I had a guard with my kingdom's crest, people would presume that you were escorting me back to the castle."

"Why me?" I asked.

"You're tall," she replied immediately. "And you know that I could kill you if you told anyone. Plus, I heard that you write stories. How could you resist chronicling the adventures of a princess fighting a dragon; I'd like someone to remember my fate."

And I couldn't resist. I made her a promise that night, "People will know your tale. Regardless of whether you live or die, I will make you immortal."

So we traveled through the vast land. Sometimes, we would meet villagers, and I would tell the children fairytales and she would buy the parents bread.

On one late night, she asked me why I thought stories were so important.

“Stories can have more influence than kings or generals. Someday, there won’t be any dragons or warlords. It’ll be a world without monsters and magic, but there will still be pain. There will still be suffering and chaos. In my stories, pain is endurable, love is obtainable, and good always triumphs over evil. It might not be true, but if anyone remembers anything from my tales, I hope it would be to never lose hope.”

“I knew it,” she said as we gazed at the twinkling stars. “I picked the right person to write my obituary.”

“No, I write fairytales,” I scoffed. “And in fairytales, the princess always survives.”

Test Animation:

About a minute and a half of test animation, enjoy?

Fight Scene

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sam Bernacki: May He Rest In Peace

My dog, Sam, recently past away.

Although majority of you guys have never met him, I’d like to think you’ve enjoyed parts of his persona over the past few years. With two of my most popular posts, his drawings have generated two hundred and thirteen views, which hopefully captured his adorable confusion and his ability to love fully without judgment or reservations. He made every single person that he met feel like the most special person in the world; from the moment that he saw you, he would bark and wag his tail and smile at you like, ‘Where have you been all my life, you’re my new best friend!’

He was my best friend, and he will be greatly missed.

We met him seven years ago in downtown Fort Worth, Texas. It was a frigid winter’s night, and I drove my car to meet my parents at a movie theatre to watch ‘In Good Company.’ When I met my parents inside, my mom said that a very skinny dog jump on her in the parking lot and, since it was so cold outside, they decided keep him inside the truck while we watched the movie. Man, did Sam jump on the right person. It was an okay movie, but I kept thinking of my mom’s imminent reaction; a stray dog jumped on her … and she put him into her vehicle. Personally, I thought he would be a scrawny little dog who was scared out of his mind to be trapped inside a small compartment, but after the movie, they called my cell phone and said that he was peacefully sleeping in the back seat. So they decided to take him home. At our home waited Luke, our protective house dog that we had for about six years prior. Although Luke made friends with a few stray dogs around our neighborhood, he was best known for periodically attacking a dobberman pinscher down our street… because he could. Luke was an alpha male, who was essentially treated like he was my brother. When they let Sam into the house, Luke immediately growled at him, but Sam was undeterred. He sniffed Luke and pleasantly walked where we were sitting, and he jumped onto the couch, laid down, and started to lick Luke’s muzzle. Eventually, Luke just looked at us with his lip curled as if to say, ‘Shit, we’re keeping him, aren’t we.’

Sam died today of a heat stroke; he was eight years old. I decided to take him on a run this morning, and he couldn’t make it home so I carried him the rest of the way. A long story short, I stayed with him in the house until I knew that he wouldn’t get better on his own and I called my step-father who took him to the vet, and they decided to put him to sleep.

Quoted from the character Albus Dumbledore, "Do not pity the dead... Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love." Above all else, I hope that Sam knew that he was loved, just as much as he loved each and everyone of his family members. Everyday was an adventure, and he made ever moment count from lying beside me while I typed throughout the night to waking up at dawn to watch my parents drink coffee.

He was an amazing dog, and we will never forget him.

Good bye, my big eyes and floppy eared puppy.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Response To Video - The Product of Errors

The Video:

'Asleep' by The Smiths

The Process:

'Clocks' by Coldplay

The video had to change songs three different times throughout its development, and its story adapted to the themes and mood of the different songs. Ultimately, the video could be broken down into three separate parts from the remnants of the previous music, but hopefully, it cohesively flows to form its own identity.

Initially, I was inspired to make a video based on 'Thirteen' by Big Star. And yeah, I first heard the song at the end of 'That 70's Show.' I admit it. In the first part of the video, I wanted to convey the sense of self-aware pretentiousness and idealized belief of maturity. I wanted these two characters to be on the cusp of losing their innocence, a time when dreams seemed so vague and limitless, and when nostalgia appears so limiting on their present potential. Unfortunately, the song was copyright and I wouldn't be able to post the video on youtube.

The next song I tried to use was 'Pink Moon' by Nick Drake. Despite its smooth gentle melody, it's widely believed that a pink moon symbolizes death or an ominous event. Personally, I think its a song about accepting the inevitable. In the video, I wanted to suggest that even something as permanent and everlasting as death has its mysteries, and that there's no question on if it will happen, but when will it happen. Accept it. Ultimately, the song was too short and I would have felt obligated to put a pink moon in the background, which would have covered the text.

Lastly, I chose to use 'Alseep' by The Smiths. Initially, I hesitated using the song because I was afraid that a copious amount of viewers would post comments about 'Perks of Being a Wallflower' by Stephen Chbosky. And I really didn't like that book. Fortunately, no one's really viewing the video so I haven't had that problem. Although I thoroughly loathed the book because the main character was dull, it relied on shock value to gain publicity, and it exploited gay people to gather a following, I earnestly enjoyed the part where Charlie listened to this song with his friends in the pick-up truck. It encapsulated the innocence and finite moment of bliss and clarity in the young boy's life.

I realize there are several errors throughout the video, but my five year old laptop has had a tough few days loading this video. Not only did I have to change the pace of the text whenever I switched songs, but three fourths of the original video was accidentally deleted and I had to redo majority of it in about a week. Furthermore, it took six days for my computer to process the video, and since I noticed a few mistakes on the first draft, it took another six days to reload the video. There are several noticeable problems with the final video, but its nothing that would justify maxing out my computer's CPU usage for the next six days straight... again. Also, I'm not an animator, nor do I ever plan to be.

As for the typography, keep in mind that I've used Windows Movie Maker for the past three years, and before this video, I've never made a line move across my computer screen except with powerpoint and old saving screens. It's been a pretty big learning curve, and I wanted to maintain the sense of intentional simplicity that majority of my videos carry... because I don't know a lot about typography. Essentially, a text layer is hidden beneath another text layer by a blank panel. When the time comes, it moves out from underneath the blank panel and appears on screen. And repeat. I'm sure there are easier ways to accomplish the same effect, but I've learned everything I know about Anime Studio Pro by trial and error.

In summery, I'm sorry for the mistakes, but I hope you enjoy the video(s).

Friday, June 10, 2011

How I Spent My Summer Vacation (Part I)

I've avoided writing this post; I want this entry to be written without concerns that it may offend people close to me, but at the same time, I owe it to myself to be honest. Three weeks ago, I had a family vacation with my mom and sister in Orlando, Florida. And although the trip had its mishaps, it was in most regards amazing. It easily surpassed my greatest expectations, and I had extremely low expectations.
Throughout the years, I’ve developed a sense of apathy toward family vacations. I’m not saying that they haven’t been fun or enjoyable, but they tend to have parties involved that have lofty, unattainable expectations that are ultimately disappointed; usually, it’s my mom. In summery, my mom attempts to overcompensate missing our childhood by treating her mid-twenty year old children like… children. We tolerate it. Although my mom claimed the vacation was to celebrate my sister’s twenty-sixth birthday, my sister and I thought it was a form of regression to convince our mom that she didn’t miss the prime of our childhood without forming some innocent, everlasting memories, even if she did. And since we knew our mom had good intentions, we played along and went to the happiest place on earth, at least in its vicinity: Orlando, Florida.
There were very few teenagers on the flight to Orlando because high schools and some colleges were still in session. Still, a third of the plane’s passengers were young children because Disneyworld has tightly procured a selected age group and they weren't going to let them go. Although I haven’t been on a plane in a few years, I was familiar with one constant rule; there will always be a crying child on your flight. Count on it. And since I was sitting within arms length of several children, I was expecting the worst; I thought there would be a couple kids throwing tantrums, screaming at their parents, and crying in harmony like a deaf-toned choir. Fortunately, I was wrong; only one of children cried because she urinated on the seat across the isle from me and her mom attempted to take off the girl’s dress in public while I attempted not to notice because staring at a half naked girl probably wouldn’t have calmed her down. Also, I unintentionally groped a chubby woman, who attempted to step over me to go to the restroom. On a plane, it's not just polite to stand in the isle to let someone out of the row, but it's a necessity. Learn from my mistakes or you’ll feel pretty awkward for the rest of the flight.
We arrived a little early in Orlando, and after we picked-up the rental car, drove around until we thought we were lost, and then realized we weren’t lost, we decided to walk around a nearby outlet mall because it was too early to check into our resort. I’m a window shopper because I am a guy. After walking around for a few hours and observing the apathetic men sitting on benches and random children playing near display models, you realize the sprawling prime outlet mall is a pretty hopping vacation spot for moms. Around that time, I realized that every store should have a play center for guys, maybe an arcade or a socially acceptable playground for adults (because one of the outlet centers had a playground, but kids kept wanting to play on it; there needs to be a sign or something). On the second day of shopping, my mom found a shoe store, and she loved their shoes. She loved them enough to spend the next two to three hours trying on several different pairs, and it was at that point that I hoped the sales lady made more than minimal wage. Eventually, I sat on a bench outside, and as time past, I walked across the street to a book store where I purchased ‘An Abundance of Kathines’ by John Green. When my mom came out of the store, I finished roughly twenty pages; she didn’t buy anything, but she decided to go back later. I read about forty pages by the end of the day.
Later that evening, we went to Downtown Disney. When you drive around Orlando, Florida, you’ll find a lot of shady (if not extravagant) gift shops, and I’ve always thought it was weird to have a gift shop without having an attraction. Museums have gift shops for their educational exhibits and theme parks have shops for their thrill rides, but discount gift shops without any real purpose always seems a little awkward. You could debate that Downtown Disney is a large (and extremely extravagant) gift shop without any real attractions because it’s located outside of Disneyworld and it doesn’t contain any rides, besides a train ride the size of a kids’ pen. Personally, I would disagree; Downtown Disney is more than several gift shops that they couldn’t cram inside the theme park, but it’s the Mecca of all Disney stores. Almost every mall across the country has a Disney store that’s adored by hundreds of kids, who’ve walked through the shelves and wished it never ended. And according to those children, every shop in Downtown Disney would be considered the best store in any shopping mall. It’s an attraction within itself with figures and statues on the walls and moving throughout the ceilings. And it’s really the only store where people pose and take pictures like it’s a special event just to be there. It was so amazing and magical within itself that it took me a couple days to find a few faults. If you’ve read a few of my posts, you’d notice that I love talking dog movies (it’s a thing, I don’t know) so I was sorely disappointed that they had a room the size of an average Disney store devoted to princesses, but I couldn’t find one ‘Fox and the Hound’ memorabilia. Also, I felt like there should have been more Pixar merchandise besides ‘Toy Story’ and a few character stuffed animals. I know its Downtown Disney, but still...
On the next day, we visited the Kennedy Space Center. Since we arrived about an hour before the visiting center opened, we were the first ones at the ticket counters. It was eerie being alone at a world renowned landmark for the most advanced scientific endeavors into space. I’m sure there were hundreds of people in line for Sea World and there were probably more visitors waiting at Disneyworld, but NASA was deserted. We sat around as more people arrived, mostly older folks, some with distant accents from Germany or Austria. As we waited, we noticed a few insects that were clung to each other, and my mom was concerned that the two bugs were stuck together; later we’d refer to these critters as love bugs. Eventually, the ticket counters opened and we walked around until our bus tour started a few hours later. First, we went to the rocket garden, and I have to admit, I thought they would be bigger. Maybe everything just looks bigger on TV, but it’s probably because certain things seem incomprehensible. It’s hard to imagine that one person was strapped to those metal cylinders the size of buildings filled with tons of fuel exploding beneath them or that those tight metal capsules breached past the sky and touched the emptiness of space. I guess I’m jaded.
In any case, we rode on a very informative bus tour where we saw the byproducts of what the greatest minds of America created. We past through the crawler, which resembled a transformer with its massive exhaust pipes and exposed gears; we circled two launch pads; and we distantly viewed the space shuttle Atlantis before it was covered in a hanger. On the tour, there was a little brat, who was obnoxious and mean to his grandmother, and swarms of ‘love bugs’ that clung to people’s clothes, skin, and long hair, so if you plan to take the tour, look out for those two things. When we arrived at the second visiting center, there was an extensive presentation on launching a rocket and another one about landing on the moon, and they displayed a Saturn V Rocket on its side, which was far bigger and more impressive than anything I’ve seen on TV.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, I felt a little jaded. After you’ve seen all of the historic clips of scientists and engineers with their white collared shirts, black ties, and broad rimmed glasses, you expect them to be smart, the smartest minds of a generation building rockets and going to the moon. Despite all of the artifacts and moon rocks, the most valuable thing I learned was that those ingenious innovators were just people. They were guys that came together, applied their knowledge, and dared to attempt the greatest challenge that they could possibly imagine. The Kennedy Space Center didn’t just display machines and objects from space, but they displayed a story, and it wasn’t about Americans’ supremacy of space or engineers’ victory over the moon, but it was about human’s triumph on the impossible (lame).
On a side note, we decided to eat outside for lunch, and the Kennedy Space Center had the most aggressive grackles I’ve ever encounter. While I was about to eat a fry, a grackle, followed by several other birds, dived at my fry, scratched my finger, and continued flying; I hope it choked and died (just kidding’ish). Also, we rode the Shuttle Launch Experience, which simulated riding on a shuttle’s takeoff. Although the simulator lasted about five minutes, more time was spent waiting; there’s a line, an educational presentation, and another line to wait for the simulator. And after the ride, we exited into a gift shop. Oh Florida…
For the next two days, we played in Universal Studios Orlando, one day for each theme park: Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. I was excited. From the day we arrived in Orlando, Florida, I had trouble sleeping because I was so pumped to visit Hogsmeade, try butterbeer, and bask in the glory of Hogwarts castle. When we arrived at the theme park on the first day, it was surreal seeing hundreds of tourist filing through the corridors of Universal Studio’s parking garage at 10:00 am. It was a good ten minutes walk from the Jaws parking section to the ticketing counter with people of all shapes and sizes brimming and smiling with anticipation.
We visited the Island of Adventure on the first day, namely, Hogwarts castle. Normally, I’m a huge supporter of an organized system. Whether it’s at a mall or a theme park, it’s better to go in a clockwise or counterclockwise fashion to see and experience everything available. Unfortunately, Hogsmeade was on the opposite end of the theme park, and organized systems be damned. Like most of Orlando’s attractions, Islands of Adventure had an excess of spectacles. Although we had planned to sprint to Hogsmeade, we ended up in Seussville. We were overwhelmed by the charming signs, colorful statues, and balancing Hortan overseeing the land. It was almost enchanting, but we pressed onward. After we snaked through the empty lanes Seussville and the alleys of Sinbad, we were met with a wall of muggles and the impressive ambiance of Hogwarts in the distance. We arrived, and I could cross it off my bucket list.

In case your children are too young to experience drugs, there's always Seussville

We strolled through Hogsmeade past Zonko’s, Honeydukes, and the Owl Post to the gates of Hogwarts and its impressive towers; Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey would be our first ride. Initially, I read bloggers who’ve waited two to four hours in line, and I anticipated trudging a few hours through the guided lanes. For better or worse, I was wrong, and it only took about an hour. [To Be Continued Mid-Paragraph]

I took more pictures of Hogwarts than my family members

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Video Response - Into a Bigger Box

For the past six months, I've been meaning to write an appropriate post on this video. Looking back on it, there are a lot of faults; there are timing issues, layering problems, and not enough moving parts on the objects. Originally, it was meant to sprawl different rooms and use multiple camera angles; I even spent a few hours making dishes and a sink for a kitchen scene. And like most of my videos, there were compromises.

It was my first time using Anime Studio Pro 6, and it's vastly different from Windows Movie Maker. Mainly, Anime Studio Pro 6 wasn't free. Other differences include legitimate animation capabilities, several frames per second, and multiple background and foreground layers. I can't even describe the software's full repertoire because I barely know how to use it.

In comparison, Windows Movie Maker is safe. When I use Windows Movie Maker, I realize that I'm in a box. I know the extent of the ceilings and the widths of its shortcomings, and I'd like to think that I thrived within its limitations. Its familiar. With Anime Studio Pro, I'm in a new box, it may even be a room or an entire house.

So it's comforting to know that I still have to compromise a few of my ideas on this video, even with the new software. It reminds me that the software is just a tool to convey my thoughts, and it doesn't create the video itself.

The video isn't meant to be taken too seriously. Ever since my first video, I've tried to create a youtube channel with a deeper sense of purpose, something pretentious and insightful. That being said, the channel also includes videos with origami frogs and an animated dog changing clothes. It's been a while since I made a made a dumb little video, and it was a nice change of pace that provides a more rounded perspective of my thoughts and ideas.

Don't take me too seriously or I'll disappoint you.