Jan 25, 2013

Updated Bucket List

About three years ago I wrote a Life Checklist. After some time to reflect, and instead of a top 100, I'm gonna go for a top 10. The impetus was because I had seen this fax that Michael Crichton sent to Chip Kidd about the Jurassic Park cover done by Kidd, and I thought "I want something like that." And because I decided that I really want to read a certain book before I die, and from what I've heard, it's kind of long.

I'm going to refrain from writing things like "be a good father & husband" or "be a good/happy person," because, while those of extreme importance to me, there's no real event or time you can check off "good father" in the checklist, it's a continual process, and this is just about things I want to do that I can check off. I'm also not going to include other things that are extremely important to me (see my work published, perform for a full house, become a father) but have already happened.

Some are recycled, most are new, in no particular order:

1. Receive a fax like this re: a book cover I designed, from a best-selling author. I'd be ok with an email.

2. Read all of Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust.

3. Kiss the Blarney Stone.

4. Have a secret passageway in or around my home.

5. Hold all my grandchildren at once.

6. Create a masterpiece.

7. Meet Neil Gaiman.

8. Keep a secret.

9. Make peace with God.

10. Save a life.


Jan 18, 2013

Improv with an E

It's the end of my second week of my last semester. On Wednesday, practically on a whim, I attended UVU's Improv group. 

Some of you may know or at least have guessed that I love Improv. I think it's more fun than theater as well as more useful to the performers. However, I'm not sure I want to continue doing it, and I'm hoping in writing about the experience will lead me closer to a decision.

PRO: I had a blast. I thought I'd be rustier at it, but had tons of fun pretty much the whole time, with one brutal exception that will be discussed later.

CON: Most practically and therefore most boringly, it's Wednesday night from about 7-9. With driving time and walking slow due to metal leg in the snow, it's about 2 1/2-3 hours of a commitment. I enjoy it, but I enjoy time with my family too.

PRO: I liked a lot of the people there. It seemed really diverse and the group was really cool for the most part.

CON: The brutal exception to the fun: after every game, they critiqued. I feel like a total Improv Snob (it almost rhymes!) but I think critiquing and Improv should not go together. If one wants to argue "but how do you get better without a critique?" my answer is: do more improv. But critiquing an improvisation is to me to take a lot of the fun, importance and essence out of what makes improv so great. I could argue the case further if you're interested, but it is sufficient to me to say critiquing improv is a big con, especially when to me it's a bigger critique on the critiquer than the performer.

PRO: I think practicing improv can lead to a lot of better skills like teamwork, fast-thinking, problem solving, commitment, etc etc.

CON: While it was UVU and not BYU, I got in trouble for being to "adult," (we were acting as characters in the dating game, and I guess my innuendo was too in their endo) I don't think I was being crude or offensive, and don't like the idea of not being myself. True it's Utah, but it's also NOT Comedy Sportz (which I love, don't get me wrong) and IMHO they should embrace that rather than attempt to mimic it.

PRO & CON: Improv is great. But do I need to do it now, my last semester of college, when I'm already busy with creative writing, poetry, art history, learning flash animation, tech support, design internship, husbanding, fathering, personal projects, advertising for the school literary journal, redesigning my portfolio in attempt to get a job in graphic design, etc. etc. etc.

The bottom line I have to ask myself is "will I regret it if I don't go, or if I do?" Unfortunately it's about 50/50. Not that I'm going to make my decision on what you have to say, but I welcome any thoughts or suggestions. (as always)

Jan 11, 2013

100 Quotes - 1-11

you can also follow my progress on pinterest, you lucky people you: 

Jan 10, 2013

First Week de Schule

Technically my first week of my last semester isn't until tomorrow, but I've gone to all my classes at least once and I think it's time to post about it, don't you? Well, I'm going to do it anyway.

Creative Process & Imaginative Writing (Creative Writing): From my favorite teacher of all time. First assignment was to write my obituary. I was grotesquely optimistic.
Opinion of class/instructor: So far, so awesome.

Intro to Marketing: I went to two classes of this before I decided this would be the class to drop. (Loyal readers and psychics may recall I wanted to/felt like I should drop one of my classes). The teacher does roll (or is it role?) every morning, and it's an hour long class, and there are @ 60 students, so it takes about half the class time just to take roll. Plus it was boring and I didn't anticipate being placed in a good group.
Opinion of class/instructor: Not worth my time.

History of Contemporary Art: I like this class and teacher a lot. I've had her once before and am looking forward to taking another class from her. 
Opinion of class/instructor: See above.
Intermediate Poetry writing: I signed up for this class mostly just to take a class from this instructor. Though I love poetry and think much of it has more in common with design than practically anything else, I'm not sure how "useful" it will be, but at least I should have a good time if nothing else. It also has the largest number of outside projects, from attending 5 poetry readings to giving "literary service" like tutoring, teaching, or what I'll be doing, working on the school literary journal.
Opinion of class/instructor: I think I made the right choice.

Flash Animation for Illustration: I believe Flash is dying but for animation it may still be viable. Not that I want to be an illustrator, but it's something else to put on my resume.
Opinion of class/instructor: Seems knowledgeable and talented both at Flash and teaching, but we'll see.

And that is it. If anyone is interested, or curious, let me know what you'd like me to blog about in the future, as I'm personally a little sick of blogging about school 90% of the time. And if I'm sick of it, I'm guessing so are you.

Jan 3, 2013

New Year, A New Goal and Les Miserables

I love blogging. I love writing. Most of all, I love hearing myself talk.
So many others I know and love and some others I just know are making a goal to write in their respective blogs at least once a week and I didn't want to feel left out.

New semester and last semester starts in 4 days, so I can't do my default of writing about school, so I'll write about last week! (And NEXT week I can write about school).

Last Friday Tracie's parents graciously offered to watch Moby for us, so we graciously took them up on the offer and went to go see Les Miserables with friends.

Here's what I knew about Les Miserables: Jean ValJean is wrongly accused or something and in prison for a really long time. He runs away and is chased by a really sadistic policeman. People sing, people die, and a little girl sings "Castle on a Cloud," a song I've come to loathe as so many of my mom's voice students would sing it. (not poorly, just frequently.) However, it also had "I dreamed a dream" and "On my own" two of the most beautiful songs ever. But that was it. I didn't know anything else about it, and also that what I thought I did know was wrong.

I wanted to see The Hobbit, but was outvoted. For those who haven't seen the movie (go see it) I'll refrain from spoilers besides it's really good and I loved it.

Most of the movie I thought was well done, the production was great, the songs varied between average and above average, but the performances by just about everyone were fantastic. Even though I felt it dragged on at times and I kept wondering "WHEN IS IT GOING TO END?" I was giving it a B most of the movie. However, I loved the ending so much it got bumped up to an A.

Individual performers both as actors and singers:

Hugh Jackman: Everybody loves Hugh Jackman, and with good reason. As stated, I know nothing about the musical or Victor Hugo's story, so I can't compare him to the Jean Valjean of fiction or other performances. But I thought he did well, probably the strongest male performer and singer in the cast.

Russell Crowe: His vocal range is limited the way a flute with one hole is limited. However, his acting was top notch as always, and in a movie I think I'd rather have a good actor than a good singer. Which is fortunate, because that's what I got.

Anne Hathaway: Again, I don't know what Fantine is supposed to act or sing like, but I think she did very well at both. Her singing was often broken but it was so full of emotion you forgave her. I would say she deserves a best actress or supporting actress nomination, except it's the first movie I've seen in theaters all year, so I don't have any performances to compare it to. Still, probably the best performance in the movie, or tied with the next one.

Samantha Barks: Played Eponine, I didn't like her character at first because her parents are the most awful French people ever (of course both played by English actors) but probably the best performer/performance of all and the best singer by far. I think the only one who has done Les Miserables before.

Eddie Redmayne: I love that there's a ginger named "Red Mane." I thought he was somewhat bland, he looked like a Mormon (not that there's anything wrong with that,) but overall unimpressive. Speaking of unimpressive...

Amanda Seyfried: I'm not the first to say nor will I be the last to say her singing was reminiscent of Snow White in the Disney classic, tinny and too much vibrato. Plus, no matter what she does all I can see is her saying "My boobs can tell when it's raining." Her character seemed more like an object or plot device than a person, though from what I've been told, that's more to do with the part of Cosette than the actress portraying her.

Sacha Baron Cohen: Borat can sing, (ish) and makes me slightly less terrified if he actually ever does play Freddie Mercury in a future biopic. Slightly.

Helena Bonham Carter: I forget that she's actually a very good actress when she's not being directed by Tim Burton (which she practically always is.) I don't think she did much singing, nor was she required to, like the rest of the cast (mostly) a stellar performance.

Overall, a great movie, brought me to near-tears several times, great songs and superb cinematography, direction and acting. A.