Monthly Archives: July 2003

Veen and cycling

I often subscribe to a weblog because I trust that person’s opinion on a certain subject. I know that they worked at a company I have respect for, or wrote software that I like, or created some art or film that is interesting.

But many go further than that. They open up another part of their life that in many ways is much more interesting. A great example of that is Jeffrey Veen. Forget web design, his posts on cycling have been great. He also blogs in a pattern that I have come to appreciate: infrequent posts but each one actually says something. Too many bloggers now post 10 times a day, and it’s all useless stuff. You have to read a week’s worth of garbage to get something insightful.

Here’s Veen on Pain and Cycling:

“I crawled back to the city, wobbling across the Golden Gate into 30mph winds. My vision blurred and a cramp in my hamstring knotted and released with each pedal stroke. When I finally got home, I was unable to lift my bike up the stairs. I rolled it around to the garage and stumbled into the house. Leslie looked at me and said, ‘Oh no.’ I took a 30 second shower and fell into bed with a bowl of pasta.”

The Animation Show premiere

Friday night’s premiere of The Animation Show here in Austin was a lot of fun. An excellent collection of shorts. Many of them I had never heard of, and most I had never seen.

Afterwards Don Hertzfeldt and Mike Judge took some questions. Here are two quotes from Don:

“Really the point of this is to give back to the artists.”
“We’ve done this before — we hope we can help them get through the door.”

Basically, he made two points on the purpose of the show:

  • To get good animation to audiences. Not just a few cities but into the midwest and all over the country. Apparently they are booking more shows than is usual for Spike and Mike.
  • To help artists get their work out there, help them make money. Don feels that short films should be a viable pursuit in themselves, not just as a way to land a feature job at a big studio.

Other points:

  • It’s not a competition. Spike and Mike and The Animation Show can co-exist. Mike Judge pointed out that in the 80s there were several shows (International Tournee, etc). Don remarked that it doesn’t have to be like the big features, where there can only be one player for a given movie weekend.
  • Every year there will be a new show, with both brand new shorts and also older classics. New submissions will be considered for the 2004 show.

The big surprise in the program was the inclusion of Ward Kimball’s 1957 film, “Mars and Beyond.” Kimball, one of Disney’s Nine Old Men, passed away earlier this year.

Some more highlights (incomplete list):

  • “Strange Invaders”, from the National Film Board of Canada
  • “Mt.Head”, a great piece from Japan
  • “Cathedral”, CGI with great backgrounds, really well done
  • “Parking”, Bill Plympton
  • “Vincent”, Tim Burton
  • “Das Rad”, neat idea and well executed
  • “Huh?” and “Office Space” by Mike Judge
  • “Billy’s Balloon” and “Rejected”, plus the 3 new shorts for this show by Don Hertzfeldt

The Animation Show web site now has a complete program list, and a schedule for cities the tour will hit over the next year.

What would Dumbledore do?

I finished the fifth Harry Potter book last weekend. It was easily the best so far, and as usual a lot of fun to read.

Snitch tattoo Here are two pictures from the bookstore party last month. I picked up my copy at midnight with hundreds of other fans. I half expected a lot of crazies to show up, but it was all normal folks. Just people of all ages exciting about reading. A few dressed up. One woman let me take a picture of her Golden Snitch tattoo.

I guess I should go back to reading adult books now. Yawn.

Bookstore party


I meant to blog every day from WWDC, but the network was just too flaky, and all my free time was spent coding. I wrote up a few things and will post them over the next week.

Starry Night I hoped to feel rested, but I was drained after the conference was over. Slept on the plane back, and a big nap the next day trying to adjust. The church that owns the land behind our house put on an incredible fireworks show Sunday night. It lasted a good 30 minutes, and rivaled any city-sponsored fireworks I’ve seen. It was even bigger than the same event two years ago. We had just moved into our new house the previous day, and we sat on the back deck with a drink, staring at the sky above our house. It was a great welcome to the neighborhood.