Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thanksgiving Vacation

I took some time off after thanksgiving, but now I gotta get my act back together.

So I'm installing ubuntu on this old laptop I had lying around. I can't decide if it will be worth the hassle yet. On one hand, it's not like I'm paying anything for an open source OS, and the laptops been around forever, but on the other...

It's a Compaq Presario 2500. It has a Pentium 4 processor ( remember when they still used numbers? ), half a gig of ram, and a 60 gb hdd. I'm not worried about space, I got plenty of externals, but it has some issues with the speed and usability. The wireless doesn't work ( firmware missing ? ), the battery needs to be plugged in or it'll die in 5 minutes ( although it hasn't had a lot of time to charge ), and its still feeling generally sluggish. I want to set up a linux system to run a bunch of open source audio recording programs, and I didn't want to mess around with my macbookpro because it's my lifeblood for the internet and computing ability.

Does anyone have experience with linux and recording? Am I going to toss it after a few trials because it won't be fast enough?

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Screen Part 2

So first I made the frames, basically two of these things. 4x5 foot boxes. 

Here you can see the finesse involved, and my quality of woodwork ( or lack thereof? )

A finished section.

After wrapping the fabric, here it is laid out in a hallway. 

And finally, the product before figuring out the projector, the sides, and getting rid of the sombrero in my room. The final word on this project is that for a cheap screen, its not bad, but its also not that much greater then my wall was. There's less distractions because the fabric is clean, so that's a plus. Playing life sized counter strike has been fun, and with a fancier projector I'm sure movies would be up to theatre-quality. Right now, the sound system is awesome, and the movies quality is bearable, so I had fun. It was cheap enough, and it gives me an excuse to invite girls over to see my "movie theatre".

Friday, November 26, 2010

Rock Show

I was digging through my hard drive, I found a couple of photos I took of a show I did the lighting and effects for. We had projections, fog, and pretty colors. Please don't come to one of my shows if you suffer from seizures, I have a soft spot for strobe lights.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everybody is going to have a warm, food filled, weird family-drama inducing day of drinking, eating, and finding out that Grandpa had a sexchange!

All I have to show y'all for today is a Thanksgiving staple, "Alice's Restaurant". If you have like, 20 minutes, and nothing better to do... check it out.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Moon : the movie

The other day I watched "Moon" for the second time, after I saw it first in theaters when it came out. It was a limited, Ritz kind of release, so you had to find one of the cool "indie" theaters to see it. It wasn't really publicized much, but I'm a big fan of Sam Rockwell's, so I decided to check it out.

Visually, it's inspired by the space movies of yesteryear, before we were sure about what routine space travel would really be like and things were based more of science fiction then application. The movie takes place 90% of the time in the lunar base that Sam Bell inhabits, as he mines for Helium3 on the lunar surface. He's at the end of a 3 year contract, with his only companion an AI unit that swings around the base attached to a rail on the ceiling.

I can't give away the whole plot of the movie, but I'll say its very dark and moody. Sam Rockwell, using a mixture of solo acting and technology, gives more then one amazing performance, and Kevin Spacey as the voice of the robot is hauntingly friendly. The soundtrack adds a lot as well, featuring Clint Mansell who did the score for "Requiem for a Dream".

It's one of my favorite recent movies, and I highly recommend checking it out if you like great performance, great scores, great scenery, and a thoughtful scifi thriller.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Photography is dead

The Third & The Seventh from Alex Roman on Vimeo.

This is video by a guy named Alex Roman. That entire thing is CG. Computer generated.

It's not real.

The gap is closing in on what we need to document with photography, using real things and people, and the ability to create whatever we want to see using computers and enough compiling time.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fiscal Rant

So I'm not currently in school right now, although I'm on the books. This is because I'm buried in debt. In order for me to register for classes and get rid of my financial hold, I have to pay my college $11,000.

$11,000! I could buy a car with that, or invest. Or something. Anything really.

Of course, this is all on top of the $90,000 I've already spent. And even with that big old loan building up, I still have at least a YEAR of college left! That's another 30 grand at least.

Now I've tried to use mostly federal loans, like Federal Plus, or whatever so I can bank on my parents co-signing with me, but I've run that dry because banks don't trust me anymore. I've turned to places like Sallie-Mae, and Wells Fargo for private loans, and those are the ones that I'll end up paying 3 or 4 times as much over the course of my life in order to pay off. That $11,000 loan I need to take out will end up costing me $30,000, at least, by the time I finally pay it off.

The only promise I have is the rumor that federal loans can't take all of my property when I can't always afford them. I think they can only take 10% of your income, but I could be wrong. The private loans however, they can go to town on you.

You know that in this country, there is more Student Debt then Credit Card debt? That means more people owe money on their college tuition then the entire population does on their credit card purchases. That blows my mind!

I guess I really just hope the financial world collapses before I have to pay it off. I wouldn't mind a road warrior life, would you?

If you had to be a road warrior, what would you use?

Me: A reinforced jeep with a hatch on top, with chains, and hooks to grab onto the people I'm fighting.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Live at Pompeii

Busy couple of days.

From a concert I set up. Blatant rip off from a Pink Floyd poster, but it's still cool. I have a lot of great memories from that green van, tearing down I-95 with the back completely overpacked air tight with heavy equipment, wearing out the shocks doing 90mph, towing that trailer.

Notice the wooden cross in the middle, that got tossed into a fire finally. It was fun to drag around.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

This blog supported by viewers like you !

I'm slacking on posting anything today because I got caught up in reading the comic version of "The Walking Dead".

I grabbed it off a torrent site, and I've been glued to it ever since. It's similar to the new TV show, but the characters and events have been slightly different so far, which is exciting. Although I hope some of the characters they introduce here will make an appearance in the show.
It's a new take on the zombie apocalypse, while Romero started us off with the sheer campy horror of it, we've seen super stylistic realism ( 28 days later ), campy fun ( Zombieland ), and a mix of the two. The Walking Dead focuses less on the zombie aspect, and talks more about the survivors. How would we react if our world was turned to shit suddenly, and we had to band together with what could be the only other humans out there? 

A side effect has been me staking out my neighborhood to figure out where I'd hole up when the zombies rise. I've got my plan, I hope you start thinking about yours.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Screen, Part 1

So there's the design of the screen for my room. It's in pieces right now, I'm going to put it together a little later today, and get some real pictures, but here's the low down of how it's going down.

I used 8 foot long 1x3 furring strips, to keep it cheap, and made the frame pictured above. It's 120 inches wide, so the cut list was four 60'' pieces, and four 50'' inch pieces. I cut the braces afterwards for the inner square.

I'm going to lay out some bedsheets and roll the screen fabric out facedown, and then lay the frame on top. Pull it tight, and staple it around the edges. I'm using blackout fabric, which I think is supposed to be used to keep sunlight out of a room, but I hear it makes a decent DIY front projected screen. My next project will be a rear-projection, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

The mounting system will be beveled pieces of scrap 1x3, cut so the only thing on my wall are a few blocks screwed into the wall studs, and then corresponding bevels on pieces attached the frame itself so it's not fastened permanently. This makes moving the screen easy and tool-free.

All in all, it should cover most of my wall. I should have measured this before I decided on the size, but I got lucky with about 6'' to spare on either side. I'll get some real pictures of the frame, the screen, and the finished product soon.

The fabric was about $20, the wood was $12, and I had the rest of the hardware needed lying around. It'll probably add up to take about a day's worth of my lazy time to put together and install, and then the rest of my free time to enjoy.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Asbury Park

a photograph on the beach at asbury park
i set up the large format camera on a tripod, opened the shutter, and then laid down to look at the stars.
when i woke back up, i closed the shutter, and drove home. 

 the real print is about 6 feet long.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

To be included..

Today is a work day for me, because it's Saturday, I don't have a real job anyway, and I've got things to do.

We gotta hit up the hardware store to make a frame for the projection screen for my room. I'll be sure to document it's construction and post results. It's going to be a 4' x 10' screen, using blackout fabric. DIY on the cheap.

I gotta get some treats for my turtle Yoshi. He's a common snapping turtle I caught in Maine, and raised from about the size of a quarter to the size of a blackberry now. He's been kinda sluggish lately, but I think it's the winter setting in. The heat was just turned on, so he should perk back up.

I also have to experiment with some of my guitars, I want to run my amp direct into a mixing board and see how it effects the tone. The speaker out's fuse cap is missing, so its difficult to use with a speaker cabinet, but I think Direct Out should allow me to use it live.

I have an epiphone Flying V I want to refurb as well, that will be a long process however.

I also plan to catalog my vast array of useless Pink Floyd shit. I have a bunch, boarding on obsession, although nothing too glorious for internet standards, but I'd like to go through it and nostalg out for a while. Expect in depth vinyl reviews.

Maybe later on I'll hook my real stereo back up, before I head out for the night to a show downtown.

Well, that's how my saturday looks ready to flesh out.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Isn't this where we came in?

Somewhere a voice says "... we came in?"

The audience just got played.

I heard about them Pink Floyd shows.. they start off with heart beats, or calming synths... easing up on the lights.. as we all feel calm and relaxe-..


This is not Pink Floyd. There's fire, and yelling, and a giant banner of hammers... That's.. not even them playing, they're wearing masks! We're just the audience in a show, we can't even recognize our idols from up here. A man comes to the microphone, and jeers at us.. IS THIS NOT WHAT YOU EXPECTED TO SEE?

He explains the whole show is a farce, wool covered over our eyes, and ignited with explosions. This is the world he has come to know as our rock idol.

We're taken along the bumpy life of a young boy, born into an overbearing protective household, as his father is shipped off to war. These things are shown to us, bit by bit, as we start to lose ourselves to the show. We chant along, us students and teachers and well adjusted members of society.. WE DON'T NEED NO EDUCATION.. our system is broken, and we are the product. And we cheer.

Our religion, our mannerisms, our society, capitalism and greed, selling us overpriced beer and tshirts. These things fuel the corruption that's tearing our brave new world apart. All of the promises we were told when we were young, are falling from the sky and crashing upon us. Our innocence slowly detaches,

Our hero Pink, our rock god, he slowly falls into his own shelter. He builds up the wall of being his true self with drugs, and money, and possessions, all of these things we crave, as he becomes something he can't even recognize he whores himself out to the public, eager for applause and admiration at the hands of the sea of faces in the arena.. He drowns himself with the flesh of women, being eaten alive by the prospect of vagina. Our lives lead to experimentation, detachment from love and pleasuring ourselves with the cheap thrills of meaningless orgy sex. And we cheer.

Pink becomes even more a monster, turning inside out on himself, unable to contain his outbursts and reactions, and he destroys everything around him. He doesn't need anything to make him feel better, no people, no drugs, no things. He doesn't need the world as we know it anymore, as he crawls into the depth of his mind, his isolation wall complete. The last brick is put in place between him and us, and we cheer.

We stare at a giant brick wall. Spanning the arena. It wasn't there before, but we watched him build it, brick by brick. He calls out from behind it, Hey You! , and asks if there's anybody out there like him..

and we cheer. And he rejects our response, searching for something meaningful. He reaches out for the hope he once had, but finds an empty dial tone on the other side of a phone call for help. He feels hopeless, dejected, and lied to. From all sides. He remembers Vera Lynn, a girl who sang of soldiers returning home victorious, but he realizes now that life doesn't work out that way, and many times the boys are sent there to die. Alone. Like him. ... and we cheer.

He falls into a coma, comfortably numb to these outside influences, oblivious to the remnants of his once human life, remember his dreams and lofty expectations of what life could be like as he was a child, sick with the flu, feeling something so intangible.. the only way he can achieve that now is to pump himself full of drugs. And he does, to chase that feeling, so fleeting... he awakes to realize that there really is a concert going on, and he asks us "Must the show go on?" , as he cries for his lost soul. But the show must go on, and he decides to test the limit of our blind sheep movement for him.

Our original host returns, with marching hammers, and informs us that this is no ordinary concert. We're to be tested, how far are you willing to go for your idol? We're just sheep, minions, to be ordered at his concert! Throw the queers, the jews, the coons.. against the wall. They don't deserve to be here, not like you. Are you willing to do that for him? To kill for Pink? He shoots into the crowd, riddling his audience with bullets, and if they get hit, they explode with a mix of blood and happiness. We're sent out to do his evil bidding, a mad rock star full of hate and disgust at everything and us all, to chase down those he deems unworthy in a mad run.

When he finally comes to, he's trapped in a cell. Aware of his misdeeds, and is dragged through his conscience to a trial, where his sins are thrown up for all to judge. His mother, his girlfriend, his teacher, they come out to prove that he was an emotionless monster, who shut them out instead of accepting their malice. The judge decides that his actions deserve the fullest penalty, that his encompassing wall, his comfort, his safety from judgment, is torn down violently and his true self, a limp ragdoll- is exposed to the crowd. Lying there naked, defenseless, motionless... and we cheer, for every brick.

At the end, they take the stage, and they sing a song declaring how hard it really is to live our lives with our walls up. We let nobody in, and become comfortable, but the day will come when they're torn down, and we'll find ourselves musing with those we love, and the artists, roving amongst the rubble of our defense mechanisms that keep people out.. Because iife is hard when you spend it banging your head against some mad body's wall.

And we cheer. And somewhere a voice says "Isn't this where..."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Outroduction

I'm keeping this one anonymous, because everywhere else in our lives we're bombarded with liability.

Some things are meant to be said to everyone, but no one. Not always important things, or evil things, but we all deserve a point of view that we're not accountable for.

I'm twenty two years old. I live near Philadelphia.

I used to go to college, but I'm in a lot of debt, so I'm currently out of school looking to repay some dangerous loans. I don't have a real job, but I make money.

I like music, guitar, and fish. I'm handy with projects, and I'm a great driver.

I drive an SUV, and I like to put things in it. I live at home, and I'm writing this against a projection on the wall. I like overkill.

I've had my heart broken twice. I used to be a hopeless romantic, but now I'm mostly just cynical.

I don't promise to have a legible point of view on things, nor do I pretend to know what I'm talking about. I'm just that guy, on the east coast, musing and ranting about things that float past his life.

Enjoy what you get to know.