Sunday, May 31, 2009

La Grange Bible Church

For Emily's birthday, she wanted to go to church! Ever since we moved we've been in search of one to be our home-base. We visited the church closest to us, a block away, and were a little weirded out by it. Best way to described it was a Mafia church. All italian, only 20 people there, and in suits, big wide shouldered ushers, and they were all related somehow! They also cornered us on the way out since we were obvious newcomers. So she asked a friends of her's who has lived in the area if there were any other good churches around. Emily's friend recommended LGBCLa Grange Bible Church. It is about 15 minutes away (which really isn't far) and seem like a nice small church. We decided to go to the 8:15am service since Emily was worried a later service would eat away at the middle of our day. Well, right away I screwed things up a bit by causing us to be late... but luckily we hadn't missed anything. The second we sit down in the sanctuary, the worship leader speaking asks everyone to stand up and hug one another. Emily's eyes went wide and she whispered to me "I'm not comfortable with this!" in her typical silly way. We survived. The church band was good, even had a trumpet player. The pace of the songs seemed a bit slow though and I remember thinking that it was an older crowd. They don't want to overwhelm the older patrons with fast paced songs. Of course Emily says she has seen some pretty hoppin' old people in church before. The guy leading the singing I thought was the pastor: Ross Bacon. Wrong. He was just the worship leader but I liked him. He was very casual and had a kind of back yard footbal and burger grilling dad feel to him. Ross Bacon seemed to fit as a name too. But the real Ross Bacon came out and was nothing like I expected. He was basically Mr. Rogers with a Jesus addiction. He had a very soft and round face and was dressed in a suit. His hair was gray and it felt like he stressed things he talked about by speaking in an airy whisper. Don't get me wrong! He was a good pastor and was very passionate about his message, but the way he delivered it made Emily and I chuckle.

"What do you do or say when you don't know what to do or say?" he said is a very whispery voice. Pastor Bacon told a few local stories of tragedies like a mother being hit by a car a few blocks from the church, a man backing out of his drive way and running over his child, and a child who couldn't sleep and went for a late night bike ride just to be run over by an off-duty cop. When you go to the wake or the funeral, "what do you say or do if you don't know what to say or do?"

His answer came from the book of Job. Nothing. You do nothing. Just go an be with them. Like Job's three friends who ripped their clothes and poured dirt on their heads, they then sat with Job and no one spoke for 7 days. It's a good message. Pastor Bacon continued to talk about that if you are compelled to say anything, just say that, "you feel bad for them, and you love them, and that you're their for them." He repeated this phrase as well as the title phrase "what do you do..." multiple times and in the same whispery voice.

The pastor also talked about what happens if you do talk to those who are suffering and try to provide answers or anything else. He took from Job again as he described how God was made at Job's three friends for saying things that were untrue about God to Job.

It was good. Both Emily and I now are interested in looking more into Job again and we enjoyed ourselves. We didn't stand out too much and no one cornered us as we left. It had a lot of qualities that my old church in Battle Creek had, but we've decided to keep our eye out for other churches. We will probably go to this church until we find something else though, because there was nothing really wrong with this church. We're just looking for something younger. Emily also prefers a church that is more hoppin' like a pentecostal, while I would go for anything as long as I can truly identify with the pastor.

So, we continue the search for a church! But we're going to keep this one on our list!

La Grange Bible Church website

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Okay, so I am really stoked about the new film 9 by Shane Acker. I remember seeing his short film "9" that sparked the feature film. I think I saw it when I attended the 3rd Animation Show in Detroit. Anyways, after seeing two trailers I've become very interested in the film.

Please view them for yourself:

Trailer 1
Trailer 2

The trailers are very good. I love the music in them and the imagery shown is very graphic, showing some of the characters being drained of their life. I love it. It's going to be hard waiting until September to see this movie, but I will definitely be going to see it in the theater.

Check out production drawings, storyboards and an interview with director Shane Acker here: Interview

Also check out Shane Acker's site.

The original short has become very hard to find and I am hoping that when the feature 9 is released on DVD the short will be included.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


My day started late after my wife and I overslept. After dropping her off at work, I headed to Aldi to get some cheap groceries. We have to cut back on costs due to unforeseen circumstances that caused a necessary and expensive purchase. Well, I made out good, spending only $50 on groceries that normally cost us $100 at our preferred market: Meijer. Proud of my cheap spoils of supermarket war, I headed home. I wasn't inside my apartment very long before I heard a commotion going on outside of my balcony. Two boys were fighting. Maybe I shouldn't say boys, how about teenagers. Two teenage boys were fighting below my balcony right outside the door of the building with a crowd of other teenagers watching them. Some yelled out as if coaching the boys how they should fight. Now I had just come through that door to come upstairs to my apartment, and I need to go back down to get more from the car. But I wasn't going down there while they were causing a scene. So I called Security. Last time I had called, they took they're time before appearing at the scene. It may have been because I called the apartment offices rather that the security's direct line. But this time, they were fast as a bullet. A black Mercury Marauder came peeling down the parking lot and screeched to a stop outside of my apartment. The teenagers standing around the door yelled "Cops!" and took off into the building. This I was surprised of. I was thinking the guards would come walking down on foot and yell for the boys to stop fighting, the boys would disband and that would be that. But these boys ran! Maybe something more was going on that I wasn't aware of, but the security guards pursued the boys into the building. About ten minutes later, the guards returned with no one and I heard them call over their walkies that the boys had run and they lost them in the building. Sad day. I kinda wanted to see those kids disciplined. Especially if they feel the need to run from authority.
Now since no one had been caught, I was still apprehensive about going out to my car, since those boys may have been skulking around still, but after about an hours wait and no sign of them, I headed out to retrieve the rest of my groceries. I bring the last bags inside and decide to go back out and clean off a grease smudge on the inside windshield of the car. Just as I head back outside, those boys come strolling back to the building door. I pass them as I head to my car and hope they don't know that I was the one who called on them. I get in my car, and do a few contradictory things, trying to decide whether to call security again from the car, drive away and call, or go back up to the apartment and call. Well they looked as if they didn't actually have a key to the building, and were probably waiting for someone to let them inside. I didn't want to do that so I drove around the parking lot and gave security a call. I got an answering machine. An answering machine!? How does that help me? I understand they may be out helping someone else, but there should still be someone to always take calls! Well, by the time I returned to the building they were gone. I assume someone else had let them inside and they were probably inside an apartment of someone they knew here.


I definitely didn't want to tells this guys to skiddaddle myself and cause my apartment, vehicle, and wife to become the target of any trouble. I just want to live in peace with out stupid teenage hoods looming over everything.

They day we returned home from visiting family, there were gunshots in the distance. I've lived in the country, and I know what that sound is. I know the difference between a firing engine and a gunshot. I also know that I heard that gun fired a few times that night.

I only wish people were so stupid. Honestly, it is the culture here. People are raised to think all this shit is normal. Call me prejudice/racist/whatever. I know this to be true. I wish something would slap some sense into people here. I wish I could slap them and smack some sense into their think skulls.

The only power I have is to pray. God knows. I leave them to him.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Missed KAFI again...

Another year of KAFI has gone by and I have missed it. It's really aggravating. I've known about KAFI since 2003 and have missed the last 4 times it's been held (2003, 2005, 2007, & 2009). Here I am trying to go into animation and be a 'student to-beat' and I don't even make it to the big animation bash for the central US. Anyways, I have to wait another two years before the next KAFI and I may have graduated by then. I'll just need to dive into my studies and not worry about it.
I guess one of the biggest let downs was that I missed meeting up with Jim Middleton. I was really excited to see one of his programs. I guess that's what I get for living so far away from home. Money is also tight, so I am not even sure how much I would get to see at KAFI if I had made it.

When I was able to do this weekend is make it to Manifest, which really was lame due to the rain. I didn't really seek much out, but a lot of the outdoor events had been canceled. But what was really fun was the animation premiere for the APS films at Columbia. It was exciting to see those student's hard work projected on the big screen and many of the animation students in the audience felt excited for them since they're waiting for there chance to be in APS. It was spectacular. There were two films to be shown from this year's APS and a lieca reel for next semester's class. The two films were 'HEAD IN THE CLOUDS' and 'OFF THE WALL'. The posters for these film had been posted on the animation dept. floor for about a month beforehand and generated some excitement about the films. The one expected to excel was HEAD IN THE CLOUDS. The poster for that film was just excellent with a great sense of longing as a boy looks into the distant sky. At the premiere it was a very different story. Head it the clouds was.... 'alright'. The computer animation lacked a solid definition and it felt like they used it too often and for items that could have been drawn backgrounds with camera pans. The main character was drawn in 2D animation and was not very fluid, like he was drawn on 4's or 6's. But it was cute in the end. The real star of the show was OFF THE WALL. It had very little appeal with a typical computer animated boy in dinosaur pajamas and a 2D animated monster. Visually it was noting new and lacked a definitive style like HEAD IN THE CLOUDS carried. But the film itself was excellent. The computer animation was well defined and the lighting of the film was superb. The editing and shot composition was also very good. The 2D animated shadow monster was also animated well with smooth timing on 1's or 2's. The story was also very entertaining and funny. It may not have been excessively original, but it was entertaining and the best thing to come out of APS so far! It's the new 'ONE TO BEAT'.

I'm gonna beat it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Wrap-up & KAFI Let Down

Okay, I am basically finished with school, save for a class this Thursday, but I am already overjoyed about my free time! I am also stoked about KAFI this upcoming weekend. It is so nice to have a home right next door to Kazoo. Before this weekend, I plan to set up a tentative working schedule for this summer. I still have to get Emily's work schedule so I can tailor mine around hers. I am excited! I am really optimistic that I will get something done this summer! Even if it is a worthless failure of a film, I will have finished something and hopefully learned a lot while making it.

First on the itinerary is to finish building my website, . This way I can do some commissions for side money over the summer as well. The website will be both a place I can offer my services as an artist and a place to view my portfolio.

Well, I am a bit bummed since my time at KAFI is looking skim. My step-brother's wedding is this Saturday, same as KAFI, and is almost 2 hours away from the festival. I may not be able to come to the Friday events at all since my wife does not get out from work until 11 pm that night, and then we have the 3 hours drive to MI. We also need to leave for Illinois early on Sunday to get my wife back to work at 3 pm. I really hope that I will at least get to see a panel by Jim Middleton, my KCC animation instructor and friendly local pharmacist! I saw he was doing 2 panels related to Winsor McCay. I would love to see them, but one is on Friday and the other is on Saturday while I will be at the wedding. I am hoping to catch his 3rd event, Animated Beastiary, on Sunday before we have to leave. I already know I won't be able to catch Columbia's animation director Barry Young's panel.

::sigh:: At least I will have fun at the wedding! I hope Bobby and Jan like the gifts Emily and I bought.

So far my grade outlook for the Spring 2009 semester is as follows:

ANIMATION HISTORY: Unknown, predicting a B

The B grade in Animation history comes from a lack of physical assignments in class. We had 2 papers to write and a single pop quiz/paper. The Midterm Exam I passed with colors and I feel I did well on the Final as well, but my first paper was a B grade and my final I am afraid will follow suit. I am not even sure what I received on my popquiz/paper.

Otherwise, I am pleasantly content with my grades. Brandon Doherty, the instructor for Animation History, has a me a little on edge after saying that I had a huge load for next semester with 3 animation production classes. "Budget your time," he said and I am going to take it to heart!

It is strange to realize I am not a retail clerk anymore and that I AM an artist beginning his career. It's kind of a "WOW, I am actually doing this now!" moment.

Well... Here's to change. Cheers.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Jobless = Motivation?

Well the deed is done. I am no longer employed. As of today I am a bum. I have to concentrate on my last few weeks of college and then summer will arrive. I will have more time than I have ever had before to work on my artwork and animations. I will also be more available to my wife!

Procrastination you say?

Well this summer is like a beta test. I need to prove to myself I can make this work by budgeting my time and keeping myself motivated. I have improved my organization and time management a lot since my last semester at Kellogg Community College. So now is my time to makes this summer work for me and study, practice drawing, spend time with my wife, and complete some artwork. My goal is to be able to post something onto my Deviant Art everyday throughout the summer. Whether it goes into my scraps folder or is a nice polished piece in my deviations, I want something to be uploaded everyday.

If I take any commissions for charcoal portraits or other, my goal is to finish them in 1 week. I also want to venture around town and do some drawing studies at least twice a week.

A lot of what I'll be able to do and get done, depends on Emily's work schedule. I want to be available for her and take more responsibilities away from her during this summer. When she's at work, I'll be at work... but still at home. I'd like for her and I to venture downtown more together. There is so much that I still haven't seen and I want to experience it all with her there.

Alright, time to split. I need to finish an animation project and write a research paper... ::unenthusiastic 'yay'::

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