Sunday, February 27, 2011


Yes, this is worthy of a blog post. Because I do laundry so rarely, that it is always a celebrated event.

(I never have enough quarters.)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Today I Slept Til One O'Clock.

I had a lot to fit in, so I was working until almost 4am last night. I woke up at 7:15am. I mustered up the courage to get out of my warm bed. I ironed my outfit. I got dressed. I got ready for the day. And at 8am, I checked my email.

Snow day.

The school was closed. Not only was CIA closed, but so was the school downtown where I teach kindergarten art classes every Friday. My interview with American Greetings, which was supposed to be at CIA, was also canceled (maybe postponed?). No one really anticipated this snowstorm. Except for my friend Amanda's mom, who said we might get 10 inches. But I have to say, it was nice to get up and realize that I could (well, was forced to) take the day off.

So, wearing my freshly-ironed interview outfit, legwarmers, and slippers, I climbed back into bed, and slept until 1pm. It was beautiful.

After regaining energy, I went grocery shopping (because I was home when the grocery store was open!), worked on my demo reel, watched some Hulu, talked to Mia, downloaded videos of 1960s music performances (for a new side project!), and turned some flip books into this:

And now I think I'll clean my room and do some sewing and storyboarding.

(I know I complain about the snow an awful lot, but today, it wasn't so terrible.)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dear Ciara, I happen to love you.

I just took a shower and watch ink run down my arms and stain my wrists. I felt a sudden surge of ideas today and needed to write them down before they were lost. And now they are washed down the drain, leaving behind the ghosts of words written across my veins.

Today was unreal. S.I.E. 65 opened today, and my animations Curiouser (the second ending) and Lost Boys: Peter Pan Complexes in the 21st Century were accepted into the show. Kasumi came to see my work, and we talked about plans for next semester and how much we've all missed her since she's been on sabbatical all year. She's wonderful. So many good people came to the opening. It was a nice break.

The last two weeks, it seemed like I hit a complete streak of bad luck. So many tiny nuisances consumed my days, which can be really exhausting and frustrating and discouraging. I work best with a positive attitude, and that was near impossible lately. But I kept saying that it's ok, because something good was going to happen. Soon. I kept saying soon.

Tonight something good happened.

Curiouser won two awards (complete with grant money!): CIA's Board of Director's Second Prize and the Hal & Cyndy Goodwin Award First Prize. I don't think shock is the most accurate word to express my reaction. Shaking? Yes. Almost ready to cry? Maybe. I was completely stunned. I couldn't believe it. I was just telling Kasumi that I would love a new camera lens to push my animations even further. I can afford a lens now. Maybe even two. It's so weird. Even before I even opened the envelopes and learned the value of the awards, I was utterly overwhelmed. It's an amazing feeling, to have people believe in you that much. And to have people like your work.

After the shock (and the wine) wore off a bit, I ended up talking to my sister Ciara on the phone. She writes beautiful things, including the music for this animation. Somehow, she mentioned a quote from her favorite book. My brain exploded. It made so much sense. It was completely related to everything I've been exploring for my thesis. So we stayed on the phone while I silkscreened handkerchiefs, and talked about storytelling and memory and story truth and happening truth and interconnectedness and God. As it turns out, everything I've been exploring for this thesis is exactly what she's been researching for her writing. It's amazing.

I have ideas. And I have thank you notes to write.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The best feeling in the world...

is wearing my saddle shoes for the first time after a harsh winter. Instead of patches of grass, there are patches of snow. The sun's been making regular appearances, and birds announce their presence. As often as I wish I lived closer to the equator, I'm glad I live somewhere with 4 seasons. Autumn may be my favorite, but there's nothing I appreciate more than that first week of Spring.

Of course, I am told that it's too good to be true, and that another snowstorm will surely come. But I have high hopes for this year, and faith in my groundhog friend. I think this is it. I sure hope so, because I have so many runs in my tights, and I'm constantly restitching legwarmers that are splitting at the seems. And I love being barefoot. That is really the best feeling in the world.

Today was wonderful. Normally I have Cinema from 9:30am until 4:30pm, and then Video from 5pm to 10pm. But today both of those were canceled! Normally, I'd prefer to have class. But the weather was so wonderful, and I have a lot of footage I still need to shoot for various projects. So I came home early (4 o'clock!) and sat on my balcony and taped some shots and read some articles and ran to the grocery store (because normally, I leave before it opens and return wayyy after it closes) and watched 2 movies: The Butterfly Effect and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. My major day this semester (have I mentioned this already?) is spent developing a thesis...ideally to use for a BFA project next year. Which is why I have half of the library in my studio. Anyway, I have a growing list of movies related to my topic that I've been trying to watch. I really enjoyed these two, especially the latter. Then again, that is to be expected with anything involving Michel Gondry.

Now to make this night perfect, I just have to go to bed by midnight. Wouldn't that be wonderful. Ha!

Ps. If you're in the Cleveland area, the 65th annual Student Independent Exhibition opens tomorrow (6pm-9pm), and I have two pieces in! I'm really excited about a lot of the work in there, actually. So stop by!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Letter From Edward

March 6, 1942

Thursday 7:30 P.M.
My darling,
This is the last sheet of my paper, and from now until some more arrives, you’ll have to be satisfied with some regular Jefferson Barracks paper.
I managed to get a letter off to Eric and Aunt Tryx last night, and this morning before breakfast I was able to scribble a note to Elsa, thus taking a great load off my mind. Seems as if my letters are getting shorter and shorter--there’s so little for me to say that the folks back home don’t already know.
It was another one of those beautiful days today and though they still tell us that we’re quarantined, I can’t see it. This morning we went out with the rest of the boys for our regular three hour drill period, and this afternoon repeated the same procedure. The one thing in the line of variety was, that instead of drilling in two files as usual, we drilled in three. Oh yes, I have something else to look forward to tonight, and so has Ralph. They’ve been skipping all around our names, and they finally got to ours--now the next thing we know we’ll be doing K.P. tonight from 2:00 A.M. to 4:00 A.M., yours truly is to do guard duty, up and down one of the streets of our squadron area. It’s a nice clear night and the moon is almost full, so it shouldn’t be much of an ordeal--two full hours to dream of you!
Only one letter today, and that was from Aunt Louise--looks as if my mail is dropping off--but it will probably be back to normal tomorrow. Art’s folks were over to the house the other evening, and though Aunt Louise has spoken with them many times by phone, she shad never met them. They’re very jolly people, and made a big hit with the folks. Of course the entire topic of conversation was Art, you, and I.
I picked up my pictures today at last, adn I suppose I’ll just have to be satisfied. You were at least lucky to have as many sittings as you had--and by the way, he couldn’t have been so good, if after eight proofs you have to go back for some more. I’m sending you one of the pictures tonight, and you’ll have to like it in spite of the dizzy grin I’ve got on my face. It took exactly five minutes to take the pictures and we had our choice out of two of them, so see how lucky you are to be able to choose out of so many proofs? I had six made up in all--one for you and Aunt Louise, and four little ones for the rest of the relatives.
Darling, I hope that you don’t have any more of those headaches--they’re miserable, and I don’t like them, so please dear, if you’re troubled, do what Mother thinks best.
Yes, I’ll be with you tonight at 8:00 o’clock New York time as I’ve got all my change all lined up already.
After you get your A on your report, and after it’s returned to you, I’d like to be enlightened as to the “Changing Culture of an American Indian Tribe,” so how are my chances of getting it? I haven’t read anything good for an age.
Some of the boys in our Flight are already beginning to move out of here. I think Bill Mooney was in on that picture you have--well he left today for Pasadena, California. He knew he was going there before the Post was quarantined and left today, right after the ban was officially lifted. Uncle Fred and Aunt Millie are out there, and I told him to look them up when he gets into town, as they’ll be wonderful to him. 
Darling, it’s getting late, and I want to get these pictures over to the Post Office before they close, so there will be a brief intermission until tomorrow morning when the house phone will ring at eight o’clock. (I hope_
So, little princess, I’ll say goodnight, and as I close I’m very happy when I realize that on our second anniversary we’ll both be together. Darling, I love you, and I’ll be thinking of you all night tonight.
All my love--lovely one,

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I've read my favorite book so many times, each time underlining more and more beautiful ideas and eloquent phrases, that nearly the entire book is underlined.

I have so many ideas. Ideas from that book. Ideas from The Daily Practice of Painting, which I'm currently reading as well. Ideas from beautiful videos on Vimeo. Ideas from conversations with friends. Ideas from classy films. Ideas from photos of complete strangers who are probably long gone. Ideas from beautiful songs with rhythmic lyrics. Ideas from everywhere. And when I do cartwheels in my studio because I need a break, I feel them rushing to my brain, ready to burst.

I just did an interview for my department, talking about animation. The kind of interview where they ask you about what you love and what are some challenges and what do you want to do after school. And I felt all of my ideas surging through my veins. I love what I do. And when I graduate, I want to do more of it.

I want to see constellations. I want to visit libraries across the country. I want to become fluent in French. I want to grow my own vegetables. I want to start a garden of peonies. I want to paint my floorboards white. I want to wake up to sunshine and beautiful shadows. I want to embroider stories into the lining of my coat. I want to collect millions of photographs and letters and personal memories of complete strangers. I want to tell stories. I want to write stories. I want to buy a cursive typewriter. I want to have a pug or two, and a pet rabbit. I want to trace shadows. I want to tangle string into knots. I want to paint on film. I want to learn sign language. I want to communicate with tin can telephones. I want to make snowstorms of paper snowflakes. I want to give Mia the biggest hug she's ever had every single time I see her. I want to make people happy. I want to let all my ideas escape before they strangle me. Because I'm pretty sure that's how I'm going to die. Maybe it's the same thing as old age. To some people, maybe. But to me, my veins would only be able to hold so many secrets, and my heart would only be able to pump so many thoughts, and my brain would become too full of memories of people I don't even know. And just like that, my body would become tired, too full of ideas, and I'd sleep.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Things I Have Done Lately

Saw this movie:

Listened them on vinyl quite a bit:

Read parts of my favorite book (again, as always), and found out it's going to be made into a movie, which at this point, I'm a little upset about.

Silkscreened some bears and my grandpa.

Helped a friend edit this animation (if you don't laugh, I might be concerned).

Lived in the library (well, not quite, but not far from it).

And dreamed that I was taking a nap. Those are the best kinds of dreams (at least for those of us who can't seem to ever nap).

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Seven Henrietta Street

I'm not gonna lie: I'm really critical when there's a new video/animation/short film on Youtube or Vimeo that everybody seems to be talking about. Not just any video, but those that are very similar to my style and aesthetic. Why? Because I either realize that I have competition out there, and, especially as a student, I have to work hard to make sure my ideas are completely original and my execution that much stronger. Or I know that I could have done a better job, if only they knew to call me. Haha. Especially when these videos involve stop motion. Especially when that stop motion is pixilation (animating a real person like a puppet, frame by frame).

I have a running list of Good Stop Motion Music Videos And Related Shorts, featuring just that. Videos that implement my favorite method put to music or telling a great story. I also have another list: Bad Stop Motion Videos That Everyone Mistakenly Thinks Are Somehow Good. I won't share this list. It's more of a personal note to myself to not sell out, to always do my best, and to always be original. Granted, most of these have some admirable quality to them, be it the story, the lighting, the concept, the set, the budget I wish I had... So they're bookmarked, favorited, and often liked. Even though I don't really like them as a whole.

For the most part, the biggest problem is the animation. The actors (because pixilation is suddenly becoming more popular, something that I have mixed feelings about) often don't know how to move incrementally. It's a hard thing, I won't lie. But that doesn't mean it should look like they're having a seizure. There's really no excuse for that. Besides the actors, the frame rate is another factor that easily drives me crazy. Sometimes they're slow enough that they should be presented as a slideshow, a series of photographs, rather than an animation. Sometimes they're a little faster than that, but just enough to create the actor-seizure-phenomenon I am so fond of.

So let me clear something up for you right now.
And for all you photographers out there, if you feel the need to move things incrementally, please shoot for a minimum of 10 frames per second. Otherwise, please stick with your strength and create beautiful photographs for me to favorite on Flickr. Oh, and a montage of scenes with pretty girls with typewriters and teacups and other kitschy items does not automatically qualify as brilliant. It can work, and I happen to be fond of my Smith Coronas and strawberry print cup-and-saucers. But please include a [unique] narrative.

Alright, now that I'm done ranting, you should be able to see why it's so exciting to me to find a respectable video. One that presents some competition for me. One that pushes me to exceed my own expectations. One that encourages me to be a better artist. One like Seven Henrietta Street, made for Kate Spade. Look at the stop motion details (my favorite thing to add to a piece). Look at that frame rate. Thank you Kinga Burza for proving to me that decent frame rates do still exist.

Of course, when I come across videos like this, my brain explodes a little bit (in the good way) and I end up with oodles of ideas scrawled across sketchbook pages and Moleskine calendars and Post-Its and hands and any other patches of exposed skin. And I need to make something. Now. Maybe I can fit in some animation sketches over the weekend. I've been dying to start doing little experiments in After Effects. But nothing satisfies me like moving something one frame at a time.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Let me tell you about my day.

I woke up at 7am and stayed in bed trying to remember what it was like to be warm while listening to Esteban meow because he was bored.

I got out of bed, made my bed, folded laundry, and cleaned my room. I played some ukulele, read some of my favorite book, and talked with my roommate about animation, rap, and Katie Perry.

I got dressed, did something with my hair, threw on makeup, found a cardigan and legwarmers, packed my backpack, and left to catch the bus before 10am.

I walked toward the bus stop, crossed the street, and discovered that the snow was up to my ribcage. So I walked down the busy road to the other stop, all while having cars drive by and kick slush up onto me. Awesome.

I waited at that bus stop until 20 minutes after the bus was supposed to be there. I finally gave up and decided to walk to my studio.

I walked down the sidewalk, came up to the first bus stop, and continued through the unshoveled, waist deep (well, almost...and I am on the short side) snow, all the while carrying my very heavy yellow backpack. I remembered that I still needed to waterproof my boots, but in order to do that, they need to be dry. So I prayed that my boots would somehow magically resist water, just for today.

My feet seemed to be dry as I went on, though my knees were not to happy and my tendonitis was less than pleased. I ended up behind an old man with a snow blower. Which meant that I was stuck behind him, as he took 5 steps a minute, with snow being thrown in my face. Unless I wanted to continue in the deep snow in front of him. Cool.

I finally made it to my studio, only to discover that the air conditioning was on. Oh, and that my boots were soaked. My feet were just numb, so I didn't know.

Realizing that my face was also numb (and having fun with that) and that my hands were frozen in place, I found some change and went to get coffee. The vending machine ate my money and didn't give me coffee. So my hands remained cold. I was irritated.

AND IN THE MEANTIME, 27 OF MY FACEBOOK FRIENDS DECIDED TO ATTEND THE SNOWPOCALYPSE. No thank you. I will not willingly attend this Snowpocalyse unless I look like THIS GUY:

No, thank you. I would much rather stay inside, wearing my glow-in-the-dark footie pajamas, wrapped in my animal print Snuggie (ok, I don't really own a Snuggie...), wearing slippers, inside a sleeping bag, tucked inside a cozy fort, while sipping hot chocolate, with marshmallows (because I have gone back to eating gelatin), watching a beautiful movie (like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or The Fountain).

I really can't wait until I can be barefoot all the time without risking frostbite, and my windows are open.

A lot of classes were canceled, or at least delayed, today. Mine was canceled tonight. The school might be closed tomorrow. Which means more time for me to get work done.

However, after being cranky and cold all day, I have to admit a Snowpocalypse could be a pretty epic start of a stop motion animation. Just look at Bumble, here!