Monday, July 28, 2008

Next Adventure? Japan, it is.

This weekend was great, pretty chill and I took some much needed time to relax and think about my South Africa trip and wind down from an incredibly busy week at work. So that was great and pretty necessary, and I spent the usual few hours at the Ferry Building on Saturday just chillin', eating some nice food, watching the people, catching up on phone calls, and thinking about a bunch of stuff. Then some Blue Bottle coffee followed by some Pizza with Matt and his SCAD friends, then some drinks, some pool, some Dave Matthews Band on a jukebox, some gelato, and finally some Margaritas and discussion about Tron 2, graphics, and work. Good times.

I spent all day today sorting out stuff. First off I went out for coffee with Jacob and Kat, which was awesome, and chatted about camping sometime soon. I FINALLY got my beautiful Cars Wrap Party limited art print on the wall, this was a gift to us ages ago and I recently got it framed, but took forever to get it up on the wall. Anyhow, finally got it sorted and it looks good.

This evening just a lot of sorting out... laundry, dishes, emails, unpacking from South Africa, etc. Tons of stuff to take care of, and I did most of it which is great.

The real excitement is now that I'm back from my big adventure to South Africa... it's time to plan the next big adventure!! I am going to have to save up a lot for this one, but it is going to be soooooooo amazing and so worth it. Destination: Japan!!!!!!!!!!!! I was thinking about how awesome it would be to visit Asia, and Japan is one of the highest on my list. Most recently my friend Kurt visited there and has some ammmaaazing photos from the trip, which got me really excited and interested in going. I have no idea where I would travel to yet, or what to do there, or even what is interesting to see... but from Kurt's photos it looks like there is a TON of cool stuff, and so much different food and different cultural experiences, it sounds absolutely amazing.

I took a few pics from Kurt's Facebook, these pretty much sealed the deal for me on the whole Japan travel idea. :) As you can see from these few photos, this would probably be the best trip ever!!!!!!

The most awesome looking gardens ever

An umbrella vending machine?!??!?!?!?

Haha, Kurt in some sort of hat

This is Osaka at night, amaaaaaaaazing

Saturday, July 26, 2008

My blog on PixarPlanet

Haha, this is funny. My blog has been blogged?

Every year, since 2000, Pixar host their own auto show called the "Pixar Motorama". Studio employees, and others, are invited to bring along their cool cars to show off to everyone else. Mike Jutan has posted on his blog some photographs and a commentary to follow of the event.
Check it out here!

"Where the hell is Matt?" video

This is super amazing.

14 months in the making, 42 countries, and a cast of thousands. Thanks to everyone who danced with me. Make sure to click "watch in high quality" right underneath the video.

The Daily Show: "Baruch Obama"

This is hilarious, witty, and just so well done.

Wyatt Cenac travels to South Florida to find out if Barack Obama can win the elderly Jewish vote.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Movie Review: The Dark Knight

Tonight I saw the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight. This is Christopher Nolan's 2nd Batman film and it was just unbelievable. This is probably one of the only superhero films that you could call a cinematic masterpiece... it had so much depth and themes and indirect discussions of today's issues... it was outstanding.

The acting is all brilliant, the direction is spot on, the sound, effects, sets, makeup, costumes are all fantastic.

A wise story, a powerful message, and a heck of a great action film as well. This is going to win a whole lot of Oscars. :)

I just found this review, and I think this is a great explanation of the film and brings up some really interesting ideas and connections to the political race that is playing out in the real world.

Batman and the audacity of hope.

By Steve Schneider, Orlando Weekly

For a guy whose business card could read “Guardian of Gotham City,” Batman sure spends lot of time hanging around Camelot. Twice in the last four decades, an outpouring of Batmania has reflected the public’s desire for political renewal; the first time, as that dream collapsed, and now as its latter-day incarnation teeters on the precipice between victory and disillusionment.

The 1966 Batman TV series, like most artifacts of its era, is commonly construed as a reaction to the JFK assassination. Depicting the Caped Crusader as a hopeless square, cultural historians believe, was a way to chastise ourselves for having ever believed in the indomitability of all-American fair play. It was self-punishment for our own naiveté. That thumbnail remembrance, though, ignores one seemingly obvious but crucial detail: Batman always won. Week after week, he triumphed over his enemies in ways that made them look both craven and stupid, despite their patently superior hipness. Factor in the higher ratings that were always afforded the show’s concluding Thursday-night segment, and it’s clear that more Americans saw interventionism ascendant than stuck in cliffhanger peril. Idealism landed a haymaker on cynicism’s jaw, without fail.

Almost. A lone note of ambivalence was struck in the feature film that was released between the show’s first and second seasons. In this outlandish opus, four of Batman’s archest enemies were shown kidnapping a United Nations–like assemblage of international dignitaries – by draining their bodies of moisture and depositing the dustlike remains in glass vials. In the film’s melodramatic climax, the particles become catastrophically jumbled, and Batman the master scientist is the only one who can set things right. An encouraging phone call even comes in from a Lyndon Johnson sound-alike who wishes our hero luck on behalf of “the whole free world.” History’s humble stand-in thus cedes agency to the only Kennedy we still have.

Yet when Batman “succeeds” in resuscitating the ambassadors, the latter’s brains have clearly ended up in each other’s bodies. The crime fighter and his sidekick, Robin, beat a sheepish retreat out the window of the mammoth United World building, not knowing if they’ve unintentionally furthered international understanding or made a fine mess of it. The question lingers as the end credits roll, the real world’s Bat-fad begins its precipitous decline, and an unsettled nation shifts both eyes toward Vietnam.

Not just cynicism but nihilism is the charge that’s being leveled at the current big-screen Bat-affair, The Dark Knight, and once again, the assessment is substantially off the mark. A product of these troubled times, the Christopher Nolan–directed sequel to 2005’s Batman Begins includes nods to terrorism, domestic surveillance and even sanctioned torture. But one of its greatest feats is to capture our collective anxiety over the resurgent politics of hope. Shot largely on location in Chicago – the home, remember, of the “new” Democratic party – the movie apportions progressive activism between two mirror-image protagonists, Batman (Christian Bale) and crusading District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). The two of them, semiotically speaking, add up to one Obama: Batman is the (literally) black half, respected but feared by a citizenry that worries about his true allegiances and motivations. Meanwhile, Dent is lauded as the “white knight” of Gotham, his bid to clean up organized crime a campaign swathed in respectability and charm.

Readers of the comics will find it no spoiler that Dent’s zeal earns him a world of hurt. What’s particularly pertinent is how the film roots his eventual undoing in naked ambition. In the midst of a murder spree perpetrated by the sociopathic Joker (Heath Ledger), an angry Dent trains a gun on a potential informant, causing Batman to admonish the DA for his recklessness. What, our title hero asks, will become of the public trust if it’s known that Dent, too, can cave in to the basest of emotions? You can hear echoes of the daily game of “gotcha” the media plays with self-styled reformers, and with their supporters’ fears that “moving to the center” will expose them as politicians after all.

Like the already drawn-out presidential campaign, the 152-minute Dark Knight is an exercise in watching and waiting for hope to die. It doesn’t, though the point has eluded even some of the most complimentary reviewers. The timely rub is that none of our protagonists – not Batman, not Dent and not virtuous policeman Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) – can leverage his public image into the utopia they all seek. Each one suffers more than a little for his dreams. Instead, the film movingly illustrates that only Gotham can save Gotham – that, as Patti Smith once observed, “People Have the Power.” (Or as somebody else has averred, “Yes, we can.”) When it comes to mass-market messages, that’s real audacity – and something to remember as we get ready to cast our votes, both at the box office and elsewhere.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Obama Reviews Wall-E!

This is awesome. Pretty amazing that the man who is likely going to be America's next president took time out of his very busy campaign schedule to take his daughter to a movie for her birthday... and which one was it?!? Yep, you guessed it... Wall-E!!!!!!!!!!!!


SAN DIEGO — Add one more name to the list of famous Chicago movie critics.

Barack Obama took his place aside Roger Ebert, Richard Roeper and the late Gene Siskel this weekend when he offered his review of the new Disney animated movie, "WALL-E."

The Democratic presidential contender and Illinois senator, who watched the film Saturday in Chicago with his daughters, gave it a verbal equivalent of four stars. The outing was part of a belated 10th birthday celebration for his older daughter, Malia.

"'WALL-E' was great," he told reporters aboard his campaign plane as he flew to California. "Thumbs up."

The movie features a love-starved, trash-compacting robot, WALL-E, and his quest for an electronic love interest.

"It's terrific. I really enjoyed it. And the girls had a great time," Obama said.

Other movie-goers appeared to agree: "WALL-E" rolled over the competition on its debut weekend at the end of June, taking first place with $63.1 million in box office receipts.

Hilarious and awesome. Pretty sweet that Obama saw all of our work on the big screen!!

Motorama 2008 article


AWESOME Quicktime VR of Wall-E's truck

This is quite possibly the coolest thing evvvveeeeeeeer.

Biking to work

This is a cool site that was sent around at work, Trek is running a competition for biking to work, and has a bunch of tips and ideas on here about riding to work and other places. Pretty sweet/I love biking to work. :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bastille Day Party and Waterloo peeps

We needed an excuse to finally cook Julien's Lucasfilm turkey and I was in South Africa during Canada Day and Independence Day, so we had a Bastille Day party to celebrate Julien being French and the final freeing up of his freezer space to be used for any non-turkey-storing related needs.

We shopped all morning, and cooked and peeled potatoes and apples and carrots alllllll afternoon, and the food was fantastic and awesome.

It was such a fun time, and so nice to spend some quality time with some good people who are far from being just work friends now. :) Yeeeah!! I just loved it, the food was good, and the company was even better. Plus I love Rachel's cats and I want them.

Sunday I went downtown with some of my Waterloo Crew. Yaron called and Craig was in town, visiting from Google in London, England! So that was super nice to catch up with them and Elise and Dmitry and his brother. We got some House of Nan King and chilled out downtown, awesome times as always.

Julien taste-testing the food

Justin getting ready for dinner

A Votre Sante!!!!!!!

Alex and Anne!!

The food was sooooooooooooooooooo good!!!!!!!!!

Julien and one of the cats

Me and Yaron downtown

Craig, Elise and Yaron just being awesome

Pixar Motorama 2008

It must be about a year now since I moved back to San Francisco, as last Friday was time for another installment of Pixar's Motorama event!! Awesome!!!!!!!!!

I took a long lunch with some friends from work to head over to the East Bay for Motorama 2008, it was great as usual. I chilled with my buddies there and ate some good food, and bought a ton of stuff in the new Pixar Studio Store. Good times. :)

Lots of great cars as usual, and nice excursion for lunch!!

R.Rose and Gattabet eating lunch

Me and Jamie!!!!!!

Haha good one of Rachel

Me and Lauren eating ice cream

Austin Powers car

Awesommmmme Ferrari

Haha, the new HUGE Luxo lamp outside

Oh, J.Lass. You are awesome.

Wall-E art

More Wall-E art, I love it

Amazing Wall-E merchandise display

This rocked

Super awesome!!!!!!!!!! This is Wall-E's truck and inside of this toy there are renders from the shelves in the actual movie. This is where 90% of my work was when I was TD'ing for Wall-E, and so there is TONS of my work in this toy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is probably the coolest thing I've seen all YEAR, so I ought to try to buy this. :)

Super coooooooooool!! I modeled and shaded a lot of these items in the movie!!


The new Pixar Studio Store, yes I spent like $100 :)

New real life Luigi

New real life Guido

A bunch of cool stuff I got, stickers, shirt, new Wall-E Hawaiian shirt, The Art of A Bug's Life, and the characters from Boundin'.

Haha Wall-E garbage cube!!!!!!! I UV mapped that!!!!!!!!!!! It is absolutely INSANE to see my work in toys and sticker form... probably the craziest thing ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

More South Africa stuff

Just realized that I took some more pics when I got home of some of the sculptures and stuff I got in South Africa, and I should probably post these. :)

Craaaaaaaazy awesome shirt I got at Gold Reef City!!

South Africa cricket shirt!!

A bunch of local music I got

Rugby scarf for Frank, and some beaded artwork

Bracelets and necklaces

Keychains I got for presents

Amazing soap stone sculpture I bought of a mother and child

Cool African man and woman carvings

Ebony wood carvings for presents



Movie Review: The King Of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Last night I saw a Documentary film called "The King Of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters" - about 2 men in battle for the highest score on the Donkey Kong video game.

It was absolutely fascinating. I didn't think I was going to enjoy this and it was just amazingly well filmed, brilliantly edited and a great "story" - amazing!! Very enjoyable and well crafted for a documentary. Clearly still suffers from similar "one-sidedness" issues that exist in Michael Moore's films, but if you go in knowing that it's not necessarily a 100% true story and some things are pushed and some things are overlooked, it's amazing. Brilliant work, and you gotta love Steve and you just cheer for him all the way through. Nicely done.

Here's a review I found on RottenTomatoes, where it has a 97% rating.
There's more drama in this small documentary than in most serious Oscar contenders. A marriage is on the line, integrity is tested, and friendships falter--all in the name of a video game called DONKEY KONG. THE KING OF KONG may inspire both tears and frustrated sighs, but it's most remarkable for its humor. In the same vein as WORDPLAY and SPELLBOUND, this is a hilarious documentary that enlightens as it entertains. Billy Mitchell is a towering figure in the world of classic video games such as DONKEY KONG and PAC-MAN. He has held records in several games, and his high score in DONKEY KONG (considered the toughest of the old titans) has been unbeaten for decades. But newcomer Steve Wiebe finds purpose in the game after losing his job, and discovers his natural aptitude at the game. The amiable Steve is just as likely to win the "nice guy of the year" award as he is to best Billy's record, and this film casts him as a classic hero that viewers love to root for. While Steve is an audience favorite, Billy is a Machiavellian mastermind that rivals any villain from a narrative film. Even though some might argue that the Super Bowl or NCAA tournament is more important, the competition in THE KING OF KONG rivals the most exciting in sports. Thanks to the film's wonderful characters, it's easy to get involved in the drama. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and the people who populate THE KING OF KONG are as fascinating as any screenwriter's creation.

The King of Kong movie trailer

Saturday, July 19, 2008

YouTube video for mjray Raytracer project for CS 488

I had this video posted from my CS 488 Raytracer project from a while back, but I don't think I ever added it to YouTube, so here it is!

"The Red Ball", rendered video using mjray Raytracer, software raytracer written for University of Waterloo CS488 class. Animated and modeled in Maya, exported to my own Raytracer and rendered.

mjray Animation for CS 488 class at the University of Waterloo

Friday, July 18, 2008

Stephen Hawking considering move to Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Pretty cool stuff. I hear this was just a rumor, but wouldn't this be awesome?!?!?!

WATERLOO–Could the world's most famous physicist be headed for Waterloo?

A report out of Britain suggests Stephen Hawking is considering an invitation to come work at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.

The theoretical physicist already plans a visit to the city next year, following his public criticism of the British government's cuts to research funding.

But he's also being encouraged to move to Ontario by his University of Cambridge colleague Neil Turok, the mathematical physicist who will take over as Perimeter's executive director on Oct. 1. Perimeter confirmed last night that it has made a standing offer to Hawking.

"The door is certainly wide open," said John Matlock, Perimeter's director of external relations and outreach. "It would be absolutely wonderful to have him."

Turok is leaving Cambridge after failing to persuade university authorities, research councils and sponsors to spend $40 million to expand its Centre for Theoretical Cosmology, which he heads, into a Hawking Institute.

By comparison, Waterloo's Perimeter Institute has about $600 million in funding.

Turok wants Hawking to stick around after he comes to Waterloo as a visitor in 2009.

"He plans to visit me in Ontario next year for a month or so, and we would certainly welcome him coming for longer," Turok told Britain's Telegraph newspaper.

Sam Blackburn, Hawking's graduate assistant, told the paper: "I think Prof. Hawking is mulling it over but a move isn't imminent. He would not make plans to permanently move to a place he hasn't visited yet, but he is open to it."

Blackburn warned that Hawking was "obviously a man of few words, so the first we would probably know of it is when he packs his bags."

The addition of Hawking to Perimeter's staff of top physicists would be a major coup for the research institute, founded in 1999 by Mike Lazaridis, founder and co-CEO of Research In Motion, which makes the BlackBerry.

Hawking's name is widely known outside the world of physics and he has often spoken about the importance of letting average people access and understand his research.

Hawking, who has Lou Gehrig's disease, has appeared on television shows from Star Trek to The Simpsons. He's written many books, including the popular science bestseller A Brief History of Time.

"Like Einstein, he has crossed over into popular culture," Matlock said. "He's a celebrity."

Waterloo Rap Video

Yes. A Waterloo Rap Video. Seriously.


Masi Oka from Heroes talking about ILM

Masi Oka from Heroes talking about his previous job... at ILM. :)

Interview with Masi Oka

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Back to New York City, chillin with Joel

We headed back to the airport on Sunday afternoon, had a nice tea and chat with everyone, and then headed on our way back to New York City. This time things went much more smoothly, we were on the correct flights on the way back, and 17 hrs later we got to NYC. :) We dropped off our bags and then met up with my buddy Joel Zimmer at his apartment in Brooklyn! We chilled out there, and then Joel went to work and let us hang out in his apartment to relax and unwind after the long flight. In the evening Norm went to have dinner and stay with our "Uncle" Philip (actually my Mom's step-cousin), and I headed back to the airport for another 5 1/2 hour long flight to San Francisco. So after 23 hrs of flight time, and 9 hrs of jet lag, I was pretty tired. :) But home safely and everything is all good and all my luggage is here and arrived safely. Good times.

It was great to see Joel and where he is living and how well he's set up his apartment, it is great.

Haha, the cabs in NYC have a GPS and Google Maps in them!

Joel and Norm at Joel's apartment!!

Word up

Norm and Joel at a nice coffee spot near Joel's house

Norm and her coffee

Lots of nice trees and sidewalks in Brooklyn

Haha, hilarious vending machine at JFK, it's potato knishes and other Kosher food in a machine called "Hot Nosh 24/7" :)