Tuesday, September 30, 2014

October is (Hopefully) Studio Ghibli Month!

I say "hopefully" because of the following things:

1) It has been an incredibly busy year for me.  I'm trying to get back in the regular blogging saddle and I secretly hope that getting behind the wheel of a movie marathon will get me back in the habit.

2) It looks like every other Studio Ghibli fan has the same idea.  I'm acquiring the films I do not own via Netflix and they almost across the board have long waits.  The order of reviews may be based on when they arrive more than chronological order.

So with that in mind, let's make a list/tentative schedule!

* - "Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind" - 1984 (Technically from Topcraft, but I'd be remiss if I didn't revisit it here.)

* - "Laputa, Castle in the Sky" - 1986

* - "Grave of the Fireflies" and "My Neighbor Totoro" - 1988 (I plan on doing these as a double-feature. Oh boy...)

* - "Kiki's Delivery Service" - 1989

* - "Only Yesterday" - 1991 (Does not appear to be available but I have seen it and could do a short summary from memory if it comes to that.)

* - "Porco Rosso" - 1992

* - "Ocean Waves" - 1993 (Does not appear to be available in America.)

* - "Pom Poko!" - 1994

* - "Whisper of the Heart" - 1995

* - "Princess Mononoke" - 1997

* - "My Neighbors the Yamadas" - 1999

* - "Spirited Away" - 2001

* - "The Cat Returns" - 2002

* - "Howl's Moving Castle" - 2004

* - "Tales from Earthsea" - 2006

* - "Ponyo On a Cliff By The Sea" - 2008

* - "The Borrower Arrietty" - 2010

* - "From Up on Poppy Hill" - 2011

* -  "The Wind Rises" - 2013 (I confidently expect this to be released on DVD in America any decade now.)

* - "The Tale of Princess Kaguya" - 2013

* - "When Marnie Was There" - 2014

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More Animation Marathons

* - The Chronological Disney Animated Canon

* - Don Bluth Month

* - Dreamworks' "Tradigitals"

* - The Short Animation Blogathon

* - My Summer of Sequels

* - Random 90's Animation

* - The Princess Project

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My Moderately-Sized Year

It was New Year's Day when it occurred to me, looking at my friend's bird feeder and the birds visiting it, that I'd never maintained a list of all the birds I've seen in one year.

And that, simply enough, is how I started what I came to half-jokingly refer to as my Moderately-Sized (as opposed to Big) Year.  I happened to have an App on my phone that allowed me to make a checklist of birds and I just started right there, over breakfast.  First bird of the year was a Song Sparrow.  I just recently hit bird number 151, an Eastern Wood-Peewee, so I feel like I ought to write something about all this.

First, here are my rules:

1) The bird must be listed in the Peterson Birds Pocket Edition iPhone App.

2) The bird must be alive. 

Corollary to Rule 2: If I check off the name of a stuffed specimen, it best be an extinct/nearly extinct species (some of which are listed in the PBPE because why not?  If you're wondering, this hasn't come up yet.)

3) I must either see the bird or hear it. 

Corollary to Rule 3:  The "Red-Eyed Vireo Corollary".  I am allowed to check an unseen-but-heard bird off my list as long as I or a companion can I.D. the call with reasonable accuracy.

I picked a heck of a year to start doing this.  I've been traveling quite a lot, mostly for family events.  This has, as you may have noticed, kept me off the Internet but has kept me in nature.  The world is more alive when you pay especial attention to the birds.

Now, a few thoughts on the Peterson Birds Pocket Edition App: It's... okay.  At this point I'm using it as a checklist mostly.  It's convenient more than anything else, and is not at all a replacement for a good dead tree edition field guide, especially if you're a beginner.  Being able to listen to recordings of the birds is kind of nice, but the Audubon Nature Guide apps are far better, as they have a wider variety of sounds.

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Sketch of the Unspecific Length of Time! I'm going to go ahead and say that this Bald Eagle was a highlight.

6.17.14 - Eagle!!!

6.17.14 - Eagle!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Maine Wildlife Park Sketches

Took another trip to my favorite-ever place to sketch live animals.  This time, I seem to have focused on owls...


8.21.14 - Maine Wildlife Park Sketches

8.21.14 - Maine Wildlife Park Sketches

8.21.14 - Maine Wildlife Park Sketches

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Introducing the Total Media Bridge Podcast!

Great Scott, it's alarming how easy it is to get out of the blogging habit isn't it?  Let's not dwell on that (as much as my guilty conscience would like to) and instead focus on one of the most awesome things I got to do over this busy summer:

The Total Media Bridge Podcast's Awkward First Episode!

In which Kevin Johnson of the excellent Total Media Bridge and I battle audio problems while discussing the roots of the Disney Afternoon, the Nostalgia Filter is strong with this one "The Wuzzles" and the better than it has any right to be "The Gummi Bears".  We talk about what went right, what went wrong, the adorable reality subtext of "Little Bears Lost", the issue of Hoppopotamus fat-shaming, and I do my (awful) Michael Eisner impression!  Click the link above to enjoy, and head over to TMB for the show notes.

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Sketch of the Unspecific Length of Time!

1.23.14 - Dinosaur Wuzzles!?!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pemaquid Point and Eastern Egg Rock Studies

We spent a few days on the Maine Midcoast recently, and I carved out some time to do these landscapes and sketches. All of these are watercolor on recycled watercolor Sketchbook paper. Head over to Flickr to see the bigger versions.

6.25.14 Pemaquid Point

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

6.25.14 Pemaquid Point

I feel like, with it's lighthouse overlooking a sea as angry as an old man trying to send back soup in a diner, it's "locals only" art gallery and quirky-as-all-get-out gift shop, Pemaquid Point is Maine as imagined by people who do not live in it.

6.25.14 New Harbor

Still, I'm also a sucker for an iconic rocky coast dotted with little islands, like this one in nearby New Harbor.

6.25.14 New Harbor

I was also taken by the surreal world just underneath the piers.

But seabirds are what we came to see. So here are the residents of Eastern Egg Rock including the iconic Puffins and a swimming Bald Eagle:

6.25.14 Eastern Egg Rock

6.25.14 Eastern Egg Rock

I'd highly recommend Hardy Boat Cruises' Puffin Safari.  The sea is rough, but the journey to and from the island is quick and the field biologist hosts, many of whom were directly involved in the ongoing Puffin and Arctic Tern conservation project, are informative and entertaining.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Glen Keane's "Duet"

I've probably mentioned before that Glen Keane is one of my art-heroes.  A few weeks ago, seemingly out of nowhere, he dropped this beautiful short on the animation community.  It's called "Duet" and good lordy is it ever gorgeous.



It's so... beautiful... photo sobeautiful.png

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Sketch of the Day!

This is why Book-Stuart Little is a way, way better character than Movie-Stuart Little.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sketches from the National Zoo

To keep things succinct, let me just say that the National Zoo is more awesome than I ever expected.

5.8.14 - National Zoo Sketches

5.8.14 - National Zoo Sketches

5.8.14 - National Zoo Sketches

5.8.14 - National Zoo Sketches

5.8.14 - National Zoo Sketches

5.8.14 - National Zoo Sketches

5.8.14 - National Zoo Sketches

5.8.14 - National Zoo Sketches