Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Plight of the Bumblebee

Recently, a lost Mickey Mouse cartoon appeared from 1951 has been liberated from the literal Disney animation vault (not the fake one used to create artificial supply and demand). I love seeing seeing animation from this era in a non-finished form, the art behind the animation is in full view and we are left wondering why something like this has hidden away for 60 years. What is amazing is that the animation is 99% complete and the alleged reason the animators never finished was because the short was considered too long. Since the directors refused to cut anything out of it the fickle Disney execs just canned the crew and threw the animation into the vault with no intentions of anyone ever seeing it again. But 60 years later someone digitized the prints found in the vault and now Jack Kinney's Plight of the Bumblebee is available for everyone to see:

Update: or not :(
That's the nature of secret animations, they appear and are pulled down faster than you can write about them. But now that the cat is out of the bag, it is bound to re-appear. When it does then it will be properly linked. Until then check out pics from the short here:

Monday, August 30, 2010

Talkers and Doers

Get Rich Slowly posted a fantastic article on the difference between Talkers and Doers that mirrors many of my own ideas. Essentially people, especially those new to productivity ideas, tend to fall into a "talker" group rather than the "doer" group. The Talkers know what they need to do, even tell their friends what they need to do, but never actually do it. Some go as far as giving advice to others on how to do things that they themselves aren't actually doing. The Doers take their own advice and actually accomplish what they set out to do (or learn from the journey and update their end goals)

Derek Sivers dives deeper into the Talker mentality and gives a wonderful, short presentation on why talking about your goals is actually detrimental to completing them:

By telling others about their goals, the Talker receives the satisfaction of "completing" the goal without actually doing it. They tell a friend they have decided to lose 50 lbs and everyone congratulates them on it before they even start losing weight. They then may begin the process of losing weight but after a few weeks give up because (well, one reason) mentally they've already received the kudos from those around them; a satisfaction usually reserved to those who have actually completed their goals. (my recommendation: post to your goals to a blog, receiving comments on a post is a lot different than verbal congratulations, and the persistent and public nature of the blog should inspire you to keep going)

Get Rich Slowly also breaks down the steps to convert yourself from a Talker to a Doer:
  • Make time for the things you want to do. One of the keys to getting things done is setting aside time for the things you want to accomplish. You have to make time to get stuff done. As the Kevin J. Anderson article I mentioned above demonstrates, you don’t just become a best-selling author or an Olympic athlete. Talking doesn’t make it so. You have to carve out time to do this stuff. You have to put your Big Rocks first and fit the small stuff in around them.
  • Have a goal in mind. I truly believe that the biggest reason I used to struggle with getting stuff done is that I didn’t have any sort of plan. I had no goals. Goals give you purpose. It wasn’t until I became committed to digging out of debt that I was able to actually start moving in the right direction. Part of my current problem is that I’ve recently achieved a bunch of big goals, but now have nothing planned for the future.
  • Don’t take on too much. While it’s important to set goals, don’t take on too many tasks at once. I try to set just one or two major goals at a time. Any more and I find I can’t pursue any of them effectively. This year, my one goal is to lose 50 pounds. I’m on pace to do that. Why? Because I don’t have anything else on my schedule competing for time. This is my Big Rock.
  • Don’t let failures deter you. This is huge. One of the reasons I used to talk so much without acting is that I was afraid of failure. I’m not sure where I learned to be afraid of defeat, but that’s the way I was. And when I did try something but failed, I’d give up. This is no way to get stuff done. Talkers let fear of failure keep them on the sideline; Doers overcome fear and move on, and when they fail, they simply try again.
  • Don’t find reasons that something can’t be done; instead, find ways that something can be done. This is a pet peeve of mine. I hate when people come to me for advice, but when I give it, they tell me all of the reasons it won’t work for their circumstances. (This often happens when I suggest people take a second job to boost their income, for example.) One of the biggest difference between successful people and those who aren’t is that the successful don’t make excuses. If something looks difficult or impossible, they find ways to make it happen anyhow.
So the next time you set out to do something, ask yourself if you want to be a Talker or a Doer and then go out and conquer (but possibly keep it to yourself)!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Vaccines rant

One of my major pet peeves (I don't have many) is the use of misinformation or irrational ideas to scare people into doing or avoiding specific actions (This is probably why I don't get along with politicians very well). One of the more recent ideas that infuriates me is notion that vaccines are harmful and should be avoided. This is especially infuriating because the original article that started this movement has not only been proven to be wrong many times but the journal that printed it has retracted the article and distanced itself from the disgraced scientist who wrote it to help "prove" a notion in a lawsuit. Despite all of this, people still refuse to vaccinate due to a misguided conspiracy theory and children die because of this choice. And not only are the children who are not vaccinated at risk but anyone around them is at risk due to them being carriers (vaccines don't protect from viruses 100% of the time but they do prevent the spread of the disease so those who aren't fully protected by the vaccine never come in contact with the virus).

Anyways, Penn and Teller recently did a piece on Vaccines and they put it far more bluntly than I ever could: Even if what was said was true about vaccines (it is not) those risks are far better than the thousands of deaths and disabled children caused by not vaccinating.

You can find the entire show here and here (warning, some harsh language and random nudity at the very end)

Saturday, August 21, 2010


This month I tried a new mobile productivity program called Evernote to keep up with my ideas, ramblings, desires, and tasks. So far I really enjoy it and can see it becoming useful in certain situations (and not as useful in others). The great thing about Evernote is it syncs online automatically so whatever notes I create on my phone are automatically on my home and work computers when I sit down at my respective desks. And using the iPhone I can take photo notes or audio notes for future reference as I explore. These functions are wonderful for noting gift ideas (such as you are at a store and see the perfect gift for someone in 6 months, take a photo of it to remember) or if you hear a song you like but don't have time to figure out what it is (record it and use Pandora later).

Since I always have my phone on me I know if I come across something I need to remember, or just have a random good idea to follow up on at later time, I can open the app and note it for later. It also recognizes text in images so if you take a photo of an sign (such as a UPC code of a gift item) you can run a search for it later to easily recall the note. Some of the notes I've created so far:
  • Gift ideas for others and myself (if you see something you want or someone else will enjoy, photograph to use come the holidays)
  • Conversation reminders for the next time I call a person ("oh, I need to talk to them about that")
  • Document the changes in my To-do list dry erase board each week
  • Photo of a restaurant that I should try the next time I am in the city
  • Note a website link that I want to access when I am out (such as a specific computer to buy at Fry's)
  • Photos of artist names in movie credits to look up their blogs
  • Take a photo of an outfit that may look good on me the next time I go clothes shopping
  • Note animation ideas and possible dialog pieces to analyze
  • Photo of my car in a large parking lot to easily find it again
  • Website links for blog topic ideas
  • Photo of my printer so I can remember exactly what type of ink to get next time I am in a store
And others as well, but you get the idea. The one thing that I hoped Evernote could help with but has let me down on is a comprehensive To-Do list. The tagging feature of Evernote is great for grouping common themed notes, but since the notes are all "live" until you delete them there is no easy way to sort your To-Do items into separate groups for "Completed" and "Pending". Instead you have to tag the items as "To-Do" and each time you search for the tag it brings up everything you have done in the past too. You could probably add other tags for "completed" tasks but then it just becomes tedious to track them all. And there is no date sensitive option for reminding you of notes on specific days. You do get the option of adding check boxes to notes but those features are not available on the mobile version, you can only add them on the computer.

As a note taking option Evernote is awesome. If I were still in school it would help immensely for research papers and other project tasks. It is great for documenting ideas that you have on the spot, and a good resource to remind yourself of specific details when you are away from home. But as a day to day task manager it doesn't quite meet my goals, so instead I had to turn to another program which I will post about later after I've tested it more. If you constantly find yourself coming up with ideas and are nowhere near a pen and paper (or computer) to jot them down, I highly recommend adding Evernote to your repertoire of productivity suites!

Friday, August 20, 2010

July Trip 2

After the birthday celebrations we took the girls to my old lifegaurd-stomping grounds. Rae remembered visiting the amusement park from the previous year but this was Mia's first visit. For a tall 2 1/2 year old, she handled the rollercoasters quite well! They both had blast and couldn't wait to come back again. Maybe next year!
At home, Elliot was beginning to stand up and suddenly wanted to be included in everything we were doing. He has become so expressive in the last few months!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

July Trip 1

We began my July trip with the always-dependable MarbleWorks set up. While the 2 year old still isn't able to figure out the physic of building an awesome marble tower, she is able to make a mean tube and pretend to be an elephant. Afterwords we celebrated Rae's 4th birthday by creating an awesome train cake. While the girls loved building the cake, many of the edible decorations disappeared before they could be placed on the cake and the girls weren't very hungry when it was time to indulge in it. Regardless, the journey is part of the fun! Then, like any good animator, I gave Rae her presents which consisted of dolls from Toy Story 3 and the Disney Princess line. We had a blast playing with them outside, although the dolls may say otherwise (especially after being thrown 20 ft in the air).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Secret Powers of Time

I am a huge fan of RSA animate, which is a group that takes informative lectures and animates the subject matter to reinforce the concepts. I really enjoy their presentation on the different perceptions of time and how different culutures' views on the past, present, and future influence the way they function and interact with others. Ironically, this lecture may also suggest why I (or my generation) am attracted to flashy, involving demonstrations instead of a standard audio lecture (see section at 6:00):

The ending statistic of the number of families who eat together for family time is a little depressing though...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

When culture creates its own pop clothes

The internet offers artists a chance to show their work to a much wider audience and skip the traditional "middleman" when it came to creating and selling their art. One industry which exploded in popularity with the internet is the user-created clothes industry. For decades, everyone and their mother had ideas for cool shirts, but unless they knew talented artists, stores with screen-printing machines, or could live with text-only shirts very few of them ever made the shirts. Now, everyone with a shirt idea can create a store and sell the shirt to anyone in the world. Entire sites have appeared whose sole business model is "allowing" artists to upload their art for the chance of being popular enough to appear on a shirt. In some harsher cases, the sites accept the artists work, sell the artwork on shirts, offer nothing to the artist (accept pride), then prevent the artist from selling the same or similar concepts on their own in order to make a living.

Anyways, while I may have an issue with a few sites exploitation of uninformed artists, I definitely do not have an issue with the encouragement for creating art and showing it to the world. Especially creative pop art. Below are a few of my favorite, hilarious art samples from various shirt sites (many of which are also collected here). Many of these contain references to characters and situations from the 80's and 90's (the timeframe today's creative internet users grew up in), so if you don't get the reference just ask a twentysomething.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Graduation uber-weekend! pt 3

After the graduation everyone congregated in the lobby and celebrated! Hundreds of almuni and friends flew in from around the world for this event and with everyone seeing each other in person for the first time the excitement was palpable! Drinks were had, poses were photographed, people were embarrassed. Overall it was a successful Graduation!

Next up... the BBQ!


Graduation uber-weekend! pt 2

We held the graduation at the fabulous Palace of Fine Arts near the Presidio in San Francisco. Many of these photos show the "behind-the-scenes" aspects of the show. All the presenters (professional animators from around the world) would nervously look over their speeches as their moment approached, while everyone else watched the feed of the ceremony from backstage. Then the balloons dropped, the students became alumni, and a party ensued!