Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thar She Grows!

(LEFT TO RIGHT: Avacado Tree, Blueberry Bush, Mexican Lime Tree, Banana Tree)

Gardening has become a treasured hobby of mine. It blends my OCD need to constantly guide something and have 100% control over it, constantly fixing it, seeing the progress and changes, and my love to create and play God, not to mention cooking my own veggies in the end. Not all things plant-like are worthy of my time; to some extent, the plant needs to serve a purpose. A purpose to me, of course.

Living in Los Angeles, one of the greatest growing zones in the world, I can pretty much grow anything I choose. And with the internet, I can order crazy exotic seeds and plants and have them shipped to me. In the image above, the plant in the ceramic colored pot is a Blue Java Banana Tree, otherwise known as an Ice Cream Banana Tree, so by the end of next summer, I should have my very own rare, never-tasted bananas! If it's grown, I can grow it here.

And no, this image is not all of ym plants, it's just a snippit. For now, I am growing purple tomatillos, cherry peppers, red & orange & hybrid peppers, pablano chiles, beets, strawberries, Birds of Paradise (American and Hawaiian), lemons, tomatoes, rosemary, basil, eggplant, peppermint, broccoli, artichoke, and a wide variety of vines and plants and such. What does the future hold for me? Only time will tell.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Napkin Dilemma

Napkins are rarely placed in their holders properly. In order for a consumer to grasp a napkin, there needs to be something to grab and pull. Most devices allow a small space within their holding bin for an eager patron to grab napkins. Problem is, more often than not, the employee who stocks the napkins put them in backwards or upside-down. Either the fold or the flap is inaccessible, causing us to tear apart a napkin, rendering it useless. That, or we have to dig our hands in deep and grab a stack of napkins, a number far too many needed for our meal or hand-drying.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Who Shot Mr. Burns - Ongoing Mystery

I have been a Simpsons junky for a very long time. I regret that I can no longer say I have seen every episode, but I can safely say I have episodes from seasons 2-12 memorized forward and backward. I could write a novel or two on The Simpsons and my different theories and thoughts, but let's cut to the chase with this specific detail that has been a brain twister of mine for years.

The end of the 6th season left us with a murder mystery - Who shot Mr. Burns? I noticed an inconsistency with this mystery and although I don't believe it alters the result and means of these joint episodes, it has become a puzzle that I cannot solve.

Let's start at the beginning. In episode 118 (2f12), Homie the Clown, Homer goes to clown college and learns to become a regional Krusty; it's a perfect fit as the two characters look alike (this was an intentional design from the beginning of the series that Homer has kids who don't look up to him yet they adore a clown that is a mere image of their father). So from this episode, Homer gains the knowledge to dress like Krusty the clown. He is almost an exact double, except for his nose and hair. Krusty the clown has a circle nose, while homer's nose is a large "U," and Homer's top tussle of hair is always off center.

In Who Shot Mr. Burns, Mr. Burns is shot and the town gathers around the sun dial in shock looking on at Mr. Burn's body. I am convinced that Homer is dressed up as Krusty and I have proof. There are some inconsistencies, but it still boggles my mind. Here are the facts:
  1. Krusty couldn't have been there for the same reason Smithers was absent from the scene: he was watching Pardon My Zinger (some Comedy Central show we have never seen).
  2. The nose. Krusty's nose is not a circle but a mere red coloring job of Homer's "U" nose.
  3. The hair. Krusty's top tussle of hair is off center.
So the question remains - why? What is the purpose of this? Whatever the answer is, it becomes greyer knowing that a minute before the shooting Homer was dressed in regular attire, making his dress change rather difficult.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

PB Jars of DEATH

I'm a good guy. I am replacing regular light bulbs with energy bulbs, I bought biodegradable kitchen bags, and I recycle. So why do I risk the safety of my hands every time I try to clean out my empty jars of PB? I like to throw my to-be recycled objects in the bin nice and clean - PB jars are tricky, especially with their razor sharp inner rim. Whats with this? Let's say I wasn't even cleaning it, but merely wanting some PB and without a spoon or knife, I'd be forced to slice up my hands to score me some sweet, sweet goodness. SWEET GOODNESS! The peanut butter people need to know this is a danger and threat to all peanut-butter loving people.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Godfather 3: Godfather Begins/Returns/TGK

This has been a lingering thought of mine for quite some time: Godfather 3 should be re-made. It is not a good movie for many reasons, one of which is that the young actors are laced in heavy make-up to appear much older. So why not re-make Godfather 3? It’s the perfect film to re-make. The script can easily be re-written to be interesting and make sense, Sofia can be recast, and Al & Diane can act their age and not pretend to be older than they are. BAMN!


(from June, 2008)

Everyone wants something for nothing. At least that is the way in Hollywood. It's unbelievable the crap people expect of others, especially strangers. In some cases it makes sense. You are making a short film that is costing you $3,000 that you don't have. You are stretching every possible resource you can possibly think of. If you paid for additional help, it would cost for more money, of which, you still don't have; so it makes sense to ask for people to help you out for free. Of course, people who work for free are not the most qualified, but they are eager for experience. They get the on set working education they are seeking and if they are lucky, some food and a credit on IMDB.

But this goes beyond indy film productions. It escalates to labor, creative problem solving, and professional work. Just check out Craigslist (especially in LA) and click FILM/TV jobs or just anywhere in the GIGS section. People want so much for nothing, it's ridiculous.

None of this is really surprising to me by now. I squandered for 6 months working random jobs before landing my current position, which still pays me below my cost of living so I am still forced to find random gigs (oh, I am no longer working at TeleFund, FYI), so I am well aware of the jobs out there to work and lose money on at the same time.

One post I responded to was very promising. At least, it was at first:

We area reality/competition show for the high-end interior decorators, currently going into our second season. Last season we averaged over one million viewers per episode. This season we are going to offer our designers access to a collection of artwork from a variety of local artists to use in the rooms they decorate. Most artwork will be returned at the end of the season (May). Please email us your work.

I replied giving a link to my paintings. Surprisingly, I received an email back. This rarely happens on craigslist; any somewhat interesting post will generate hundreds of emails, there is a minute chance yours will ever be opened. Landing a response is amazing and an interview is a rarity. "I'm writing to let you know we are interested in featuring your art on our show, Top Design. Please read the attached letter for all the details, and feel free to call me with any questions."

The letter was interesting, but bared little or no terms of me lending (or selling) my artwork. It was for the most part a short informative letter describing the show. I'll sum up the basics:
  1. Season 2 of a Bravo show called Top Design - a reality show for professional interior decorators.
  2. Submitted art will be in a collection the professional decorators choose from for their decorating (no guarantee your art will be chosen or featured on the show).
  3. The majority of artwork will be returned at the completion of filming. A few pieces, however, will not be returned at all.
  4. We believe this is an exciting opportunity for local artists.
  5. Please feel free to call me with any questions.
Wow. This was interesting. No information on pay, let alone insurance or the handling of artwork, or even what it meant by "a few pieces will not be returned at all." What was this? I called Jenn, the producer, 4 times throughout the next day. She was not in and I decided to leave her a voice mail knowing how Hollywood communication works. I asked what the terms where for using my artwork on the show. She called me back a few hours later and luckily, I was away from my phone. She left me a voice mail and let me know that there was no payments for artwork and everything on the show is donated. And, should my work be selected, it would be prominently featured on the show and acknowledged in the credits. The lucky paintings that make it all the way through to the end would not be returned.

Well that's just fine and dandy. It makes sense that a million dollar corporation donates their $30 drapes for a show. They have thousands of them, they can afford it and it's certainly cheaper and more effective than advertising; but a local artist? Each of my paintings have over $100 worth of paint on them alone - not to mention the cost of the canvas and the time I spent putting it all together - plus all the time I would be spending to donate them on this show. Are they serious? Artists actively pursuing their profession have enough problems trying to afford food - at what point would giving away hundreds of dollars and hours of work be an interest let alone an option? Especially to a media giant such as NBC Universal? (Yes, every media outlet is owned by only a few companies).

And you know whomever will be keeping the lucky few paintings that won't be returned will be a few well-off white people. It will hang high in a professionally decorated beautiful room, filled with a bunch of other free shit. And let's not forget to congratulate Bravo for eliminating production costs by not having to hire union writers, union actors, or pay for items on the show. Maybe if they let me donate my artwork they will let me be a PA on their show for free. I can only hope

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's BIG

(from 03/08)
I've always had my troubles finding the perfect computer wallpaper. Most wallpaper images online are poorly saved, leaving you with a screen of digital artifacts and the empty thought of "how can I just do this myself?" I recently made a great stride in my life-long aspiration to have the coolest computer wallpaper ever. It's a bit of a process, but it's worth it:

  1. Download a HD movie trailer
  2. Find the frame you like, freeze it, and blow up the movie as large as it goes (even if it goes beyond your screen)
  3. Frame grab the screen with GRAB application (in utilities). Take two pictures if the movie is too big to fit on your screen.
  4. If two pictures, merge them together in PHOTOSHOP.
  5. In PHOTOSHOP - edit the picture to fit the same resolution as your screen.
  6. BAMN! You have it. 
My Simpsons creation from this morning has perfect screen ratio and a very high-resolution image, leaving me with a fantastic view of Springfield everytime I close a window on my computer. The frame itself was super-widescreen, so I added a few inches of blue on the top and a few clouds in there for fun. Problem is, I am stuck with only recent movie trailers to choose from. I will master the wallpaper grabs from DVDs. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday.