Digital Chum - Virtual fish guts and other nonsense

June, 2010:

The Button

Megan and my latest video project. We fight over control of a button with surprising results.

(h/t to Thundy for the rotoscoping tips)

Alien Rescue!

Megan and I did some LEGO stop action work yesterday. And when I say “work” I really mean “play.” It was a good project for the first day of summer.

Tilley T4 versus Montecristi Panama

Montecristi Panama Hat I’m at my brother-in-law’s house in Florida winding down from a Disney vacation and was musing about my choice of headwear for the trip. Those who know me know that I’m almost never without a hat… not a cap, but a hat. Generally, I wear a fedora of some sort, but always a hat with a brim that goes all the way around.

Since it’s summer, all my felt hats have been put away in storage and (almost) all my straw hats are out for the wearing. Montecristi Panama hats are my preferred headwear in the summer since they provide sun protection, are lightweight, and look good whether the situation calls for casual or dressy.

They are, however, not good in the rain. Since the weather forecast in Florida at this time generally includes an afternoon rainshower, I decided to take my Tilley T4 hat instead of one of my Montecristi Panamas because it can get soaking wet with no ill effects.

Tilley T4Other than its water indifference, the Tilley also provides better back-of-the-neck sun protection than most of my Montecristis, so overall, it was probably a pretty good choice. What I did notice, however, is that the Montecristis are signficantly cooler (from a temperature standpoint) than the Tilley. Cotton duck versus toquilla straw evidently makes a big difference.

Not that the Tilley didn’t serve me well, but as it turns out, we didn’t get caught in a single rainstorm the entire trip, so my concern about ruining a hat ended up being a moot point. So I sweated a bit more, but got better sun protection on my neck.

Generally speaking, I’ll pick a Montecristi over any other hat in the summer unless I’m doing something that will potentially beat the crap out of it. The Tilley is perfect for just such cases.

It’s all about the tradeoffs.

BP Spills Coffee

UCB Comedy has a great sketch mocking BP for their oil spill and impotent and feeble attempts to stop the leak.

On the Rail Trail

Megan and I on the rail trail in York County Megan and I went for a bike ride on the rail trail today. Last time we went, we only went about two miles (if that) and she was all tired out. This time, the situation was reversed… majorly.

Megan has been riding around the neighborhood a lot lately, up and down our hills… for hours with her friends. I, on the other hand, have not. We went about nine miles and she would have gone farther, but after we hit the 4.5 mile marker on our way out and she said, “Should we go to the next one?” I declined, so we turned around and headed back to our starting point to complete our nine-mile “out and back” ride.

For those who know me, nine miles of bike riding is practically unthinkable for me… at least for the past decade or so. For Megan, it seems that it’s no longer a big deal.

I think that’ll be good for me.

The Greatest Show on Earth

circus01 This past Sunday, May 31st, Lori, Megan, and I went to the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey circus. For Megan and me, it was the first time ever. Lori had been to one before, but it was so long ago (and so far gone from memory) that it didn’t really count, so for all practical purposes, it was the first circus for all of us.

It was Barnum’s “Funundrum” show and it was spectacular. At one point, I looked over at Megan and she was sitting there with her mouth hanging open in amazement. It was awesome.

One thing that was really surprising to me was that their clowns were not creepy… not even close. We’re talking less creepiness than even Ronald McDonald, and he pretty much sets the standard for non-creepy clowns.

There was so much going on all the time that it was tough to actually take pictures and watch at the same time. It was also hard to take pictures at all because nothing ever stops moving and the lighting is usually a bit low. I managed to do okay, though, and got some decent shots.

That said, here’s a link to my full album of shots.

Splice… What’s the worst that could happen?

Splice - Dren and Elsa Ever since I saw the trailer for the movie Splice, I’ve been looking forward to its arrival. It’s been on my calendar with the appropriate emailed reminders.

Well, I just got back from seeing it and, in my opinion, it was well worth the wait. Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley were believable and each played the necessary emotional range with skill and clarity… which is probably what made the movie so engaging.

Brody and Polley play Clive and Elsa, two genetic scientists specializing in gene splicing. They’ve created a couple unique creatures that produce a protein used to treat diseases in livestock and have earned an almost rock-star reputation within their company. When the company threatens to shut down their operation (for reasons left out of this review so as not to spoil anything), they decide to wade into the land of questionable ethics and use human DNA in their next (secret) splicing project… just to see if they can.

Splice - Dren and Elsa As expected, things get out of hand and the ensuing interactions between Clive, Elsa, and Dren (the "creature," played brilliantly by Delphine Chaneac) get more and more complex, dangerous, and dramatic.

It’s tough to say much more without adding a few spoilers, but suffice it to say that Clive and Elsa learn the meaning of the phrase "What’s the worst that could happen?" …and each stage of "worst" grows out of the previous stage as both Clive and Elsa rationalize their way past each successive breach of ethics.

Splice is all at once endearing, creepy, suspenseful, shocking, touching, and terrifying… with a touch of "gross" thrown in to top it all off. The story has elements of Frankenstein, Jurassic Park, and Species, but keeps its own identity with its tight acting, clean writing, and great directing.

And for the record… rabbits aren’t a vegetable. *

* go see the movie

Sand Cat Kitten

I just came across this image while catching up on my blog reading via Google Reader and thought I’d share. The cute is almost too much to handle.

Sand Cat Kitten – Felis margarita


Iron Baby

Somebody knows how to do their special effects with style. This is really well done.