Oct 8, 2008

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Getting ready for Sketchcrawl

For the past month or so, I have spent my evening/night time dealing with website duties,  so I have hardly dedicated any time to sketching.

A couple of weeks ago I found myself in front of some trees with no materials and an urge to sketch them. I had read a couple of days prior to that day of a technique for drawing/sketching trees, so I decided to give it a try.

I don’t remember the name of the book but it was mentioning that one should first use dots or little lines to define the outline and work our way into the tree, by drawing more and more lines. Not having had the time to take any art courses (last¬†class I took was back in High School days), I was eager to give this a try.

The image below is the result… I also sketched the trunk of a pine tree, at the beginning it appeared to be a difficult task but as I continued it seemed to take shape and now when I look at the sketch It seems I was able to capture what I was looking at (definitely an improvement I think).

Materials: regular ball point pen and the back/inside of a mailing envelope. (I will scan this later, here is a picture in the mean time).

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Oct 4, 2008

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Il Postino – Movie

Greetings  to all of you!

A couple of days ago I finally¬†had the opportunity to watch Il Postino, it had been on my Netflix queue for a while and having recently enabled one movie in my profile, it arrived. All this time I was thinking this movie was more about romance and love… I was pleasantly surprised to discover it was also about the discovery of oneself, our¬†potential and a greater appreciation to that which surrounds us.

I came to appreciate the movie even more as I got to watch the movie again while lisening to the audio commentary with Director Michael Radford, and found out that Massimo Troisi who played Mario Ruoppolo died sometime after the shooting of the movie ended.

What an amazing story, not just the movie itself but the journey that Massimo Troisi choose to have this picture made.  Massimo Troisi came across the Italian version of this story and identified with the postman (Mario Ruoppolo), purchased the rights from writer Antonio Skarmeta, and kept calling Director Michael Radford every couple of months to direct this movie, eventually Director Michael Radford agreed.

During the shooting of the movie, Massimo was notified he needed a heart operation and he postponed it so they could continue to work on the film, unfortunately he died right after the movie was completed. What a brave individual, to accomplish his dream until the very last minute.

There are many sites that go in detail about describing the movie, I suggest that if you are curious you just rent it or purchase it and enjoy it without a preconceived idea.

Here is what in my humble opinion would be the equivalent of trying to explain the movie to you, in the movie the character Mario asks Pablo Neruda if he can explain why “the smell of barber shops makes me sob?” The character Pablo Neruda responds (This is¬†mainly the¬†English subtitle translation and a few words of¬†mine – I am able to understand some Italian words as they are similar sounding to Spanish words).

“You see Mario i cannot tell you in words different from those that¬†I have used, when you explain poetry it becomes banal… better than any explanation is the direct experience of emotions that poetry can reveal to a¬†mind¬†predisposed to understand it.”

Il Postino was loosely based on a book called “Ardiente Paciencia” written by Chilean Antonio Skarmeta.

And it was at that age … Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don’t know, I don’t know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don’t know how or when,
no, they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.

-Pablo Neruda

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Sep 16, 2008

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Totoro Forest Project Auction at PIXAR

In case you are wondering¬†if the Totoro Forest Project Benefit Auction at PIXAR was an evening ¬†to remember, let me tell you… it was!!!!

Both my wife and I had the opportunity to attend the event and it was a great opportunity to¬†view in person all the wonderful art¬†that was donated. I spend a lot of time looking at¬†the 200+ pieces of¬†art that I didn’t have much time to socialize or meet artists that I admire and may have been present there.

Wow, what an amazing experience, as I have mentioned to some people my wife and I are recent Studio Ghibli admirers. I came across the name Hayao Miyazaki while researching / reading artists blogs. Many many artist talk about him being an influence (the donated art is proof of that). The first movie I rented via Netflix was My Neighbor Totoro.

It was such a great innocent story, with a very positive message… I couldn’t help to love the background images as well as the various characters of the film, then I came across this book Master of Japanese Animation which contains quite a lot of information about Hayao Miyazaki. It was then that I realized that Hayao Miyazaki also worked on the cartoon I used to watch when I was a kid (mentioned in a previous post)¬†Heidi girl from the alps.

Does this happen to you? you saw cartoons when you were a kid and now after many years you bump into the movie / clips on a rental store or online and then you decide to watch the whole story again, because you dont remember it or you missed the beginning or never knew how the story ended? lol.

I am in that situation, I dont fully remember the story of Heidi, nor how it began or ended,¬†just got to see a couple of minutes of the beginning¬†a week or so ago. Another Japanese program I used to watch was Ultraman, which I did have the opportunity to rent via Netflix about a year ago, got the opportunity to watch Ultraman fight Godzilla once more ūüôā¬† yeah back then those were cool spaceships, now they look so silly.

Anyways, getting back on topic, it was an evening / night to remember, absolutely loved the art.. wish I had had more time to talk to the artists about their pieces (will have to do it online). Live auction was great, a lot of money was raised that night (close to $200 K so I hear).

My thanks to Enrico Casarosa and Dice Tsutsumi for the invite to help them with website maintenance and allowing me to be participate and donate my time for this historical event, can’t wait to hear what may be next ūüėČ

Oh, by the way.. the date for the 20th SketchCrawl event has been selected, it will be on October 25th.

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Aug 29, 2008

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Linux Expo – San Francisco

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to do quick visit to the Linux Exposition in San Francisco. I typically ask for the day off and make it an all day event but not this year. I got the opportunity to watch a presentation by the Lucasfilm Director of IT Operations, Kevin Clark. 

It was presentation about the Lucasfilm Data Center, their implementation, challenges, etc. He also showed some special effects clips, it was very interesting.

For those that missed the presentation I found a small clip of his talk. (Edit: Full presentation is available now)

I also got the opportunity to pick this pretty cool poster (for the techie in me). Tux the Linux mascot as Darth Vader ūüôā

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Aug 24, 2008

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Help feed a hungry person… and learn a new word!

You too can help feed a hungry person, and learn something new by playing a word game.

The premise:

One¬†word, four definitions…¬†¬†select the correct one¬†and the site donates 20 grains of rice to someone in need. Is this real? apparently so.

From the site:

WARNING: This game may make you smarter. It may improve your speaking, writing, thinking, grades, job performance…

If you get a chance, you may want to visit the site and give it a try.

Help end world hunger

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Aug 17, 2008

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2008 “Wings Over Wine Country” Air Show

For the last couple of years I have been wanting to attend the Wings Over Wine Country¬†air show, and I must report that I missed it once again. The only reminder I had this year was a very very loud airplane noise a couple of days ago, so I went outside the house and wow¬†a very large plane flying over our city, the same large plane that reminded me about the airshow last year — a C17 Airlifter.

When I was a kid I wanted to be a pilot but I was told that since I wore glasses I couldn’t be a pilot and that was the end of that dream.¬†Back in those days a¬†friend and I would spend hours at the airport (whenever we could) looking at the planes land and take off, and bugged my Dad one too many times to take me to the airport to see the¬†Air France Concorde¬†take off.

Air France Concorde taking off

Air France Concorde taking off

The arrival of the Concorde¬†was also noisy and it would rattle the glass window of my room, I still remember seeing the¬†Concorde fly over the horizon. ¬†I also still have¬†two¬†photos somewhere¬†(found them) of the Concorde¬† taken¬†with a ūüôā 110 Camera and a set¬†of binoculars… that was a feat in itself (used the binoculars as a telefoto lol), amazing that I still have them after so many years. I will scan them later and post them here.

One of these days I may just go to the Pacific Coast Air Museum and perhaps sketch / take photos of some of the planes so I can bring back with me some of those youthful memories. If you live locally and would like to visit the museum one of these weekends for a mini-SketchCrawl let me know.

Video of Pacific Coast Air Museum

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Aug 15, 2008

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Save Totoro Forest !!!

The Totoro Forest Project Benefit auction day is approaching, and everybody involved has been working hard to get everything ready.

I was recently asked to assist and for the past couple of weeks I have been helping Dice Tsutsumi, Enrico Casarosa and Andy Wang with some web maintenance duties, analytics / SEO. I also help them set up the new Totoro Forest Project blog, so I have been busy some of the evenings/weekends as well.

If you have not had a chance to visit the new Totoro Forest Project blog, you are missing quite a lot of cool information, they said they will be posting all kinds of interesting information as the date for benefit auction approaches.

Needless to say the techie side has taken over the artistic side (I have not sketched anything lately) and with Sketchcrawl 20th approaching (date to be determined), I know I need to get into shape. I have however been reading that book I mentioned a couple of posts ago and I can say it looks very good, now I just need to try the exercises.

I also took a few pictures I wanted to share with you,¬†unfortunately my wife’s computer experienced a glitch and I had to deal with that (her computer is hooked up to the scanner, the printer and the digital camera), lucky person uh? ūüôā¬† By the way if you have not had a chance please visit her blog, she is constantly posting all kinds of goodies as well that I am sure you would appreciate and she would also love to hear from you.

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