Saturday, January 9, 2010

That week

1) I had an amazing retail experience at the LEGO store on Michigan Avenue on Monday. I’ve been going to that store on a somewhat regular basis for a couple years now and I recognize most of the staff by now, since I usually go in knowing exactly what I want, and am generally a self-guided shopper it’s rare that I talked to any of them though. Since moving up to Lakeview my visits to the store have become more regular, since I’ll often stop there on the way home from work. The store is pretty quiet at these times, and so there are usually as many employees as shoppers and so I have started interacting with the staff more.

In particular, I’ve bonded with this one girl Katy who’s almost always there on weeknights after work. I now get disappointed if she’s not there. She helped me use a function of the store I didn’t even know existed. We’ll always talk about my latest projects and she give me suggestions for what to buy (especially in areas I’m not as familiar with like Bionicle) which have always been helpful. So Monday I went in and I picked up a couple things from the front displays and then ran into her. I pulled out my laptop and showed her what I had finished of the anti-green commercial (everything but the part that says “Green is the worst color ever!”) and I explained that I was stumped as to what exactly I was going to do for that part. “Maybe I’ll have a bunch of really fast vignettes of green monsters/disasters?” She expressed her regret that they didn’t have the Army Soldiers set in stock and then she lit up and said “I think I have something! I’ll be back in a couple minutes.” And then she ran off to the back of the store. I browsed for a little while and then she returned with a veritable bag of delights. She handpicked these awesome green parts from the spare parts they have lying around in the back room. Many of these pieces are rare, everything on the right was new to me. It would have been very expensive to buy these pieces through bricklink or through the sets they come in.

I then got to fill up the rest of bag with the regular Pick-A-Brick pieces and then paid $8 for the whole thing. That’s an amazing deal - best shopping experience of my life. I guess it pays to talk to store employees. And of course, armed with those incredible pieces it became immediately clear what the last bits of the animation would be. Thanks Katy!

2) Jenny and Leo got me this Dark Chocolate Dreams LINK peanut butter for Christmas. I finally got around to tasting it this week. I bought a bag of mini-bagels specifically so I’d have something to spread it on. It’s amazing!! The bag of mini-bagels was gone by the end of the week.

3) This week was the first week our student employees were back in the office since before the move so I got to play tour guide half a dozen times. I quickly honed my spiel and was soon telling the same jokes and gesturing in the same ways each time. It was fun to be the one to show off the swanky new office.
Dana stopped by the office one afternoon so I gave her the tour as well and we sat around and chatted for a while too. It’s a bummer she’s back in LA now, but Bert and I will be seeing her when we’re out there in March so no need to fret.

4) On Tuesday Bert came over for dinner I introduced him to the joys of Potato Flag and 30 Rock. Mmm… Potato Flag.

5) Had a good phone call with my parents in which my mom recounted the crazy trip she took with Jenny to take Isaiah to a pediatric foot doctor in which she was throwing windshield fluid on the windshield using a little plastic water bottle every few minutes. I also need to publish a retraction, in an earlier blog post I said than my mom kept “bringing up Bert’s age like it’s a problem.” I was mistaken. She really had just forgotten, she went on to say how her father was 11 years younger than her mother, so if anything there’s a precedent for that in the family. Also, apparently my Dad’s parents were engaged for 19 years before getting married!? Who knew?

6) Went to Bert’s for dinner on Thursday, he made Shake and Bake Porkchops (and I did indeed help, despite just waking up from a nap on his couch, there’s a terrible photo somewhere to prove it) greenbeans and cornbread muffins. It was all good, but I ate about a dozen of those delicious muffins. Then we watched the Hangover, which was funny than I expected, and only reaffirmed my desire never to go to Vegas. Then I help Bert take out his Christmas tree. And I do mean “take out,” his apartment looked like a murder scene when we were done. There were pine needles all over the floor leading from the dining room to the back door and a Christmas tree shaped impression in the snow below his balcony (the outline was also covered with pine needles). We tried to kick snow to cover the evidence but I’m sure that much like Bart Simpson our crime will be revealed when it melts.

Then I had him help me record Sound Effects fro the Anti-Green commercial. He voiced the kittens, one of the little kids, half the green villains, the Dwarf, the guy getting his face sucked off, half the alien chorus behind Facesuck McGee and the slime bombs (my personal favorite). Just another great thing about him.

7) On Friday we went to Café Baba Reeba, which was new to both of us. It was also incredibly delicious. It’s a Tapas style restaurant so we got 6 different dishes (not counting dessert). The spicy potatoes were my favorite, but everything was delicious. Then we went back to my place and I introduced Bert to The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. I guided him through the first part and he got about a third of the way through the first dungeon. Man that game is awesome. It’s very exciting to watch him discover it for the first time. Hopefully he liked it enough to keep playing.

8) I had to work on Saturday, but it was not too bad thanks to Bert being awesome and lending me his car for the day, the client being awesome and organized and relaxed, the Marriot AV staff being responsive and helpful, the other 3 CMIGers who were helping me out being good independent workers and I got a fancy lunch because I was also participating as an Alumni in the creative arts.
Taking the Next Step is a program for 2nd and 3rd year students where a bunch of successful alumni come and talk about their career path. I had to film the Finance and Consulting panels and was so glad that my current job was nothing like the ones they described. Talking at the lunch table with the students and other creative alums made me realize once again how awesome my job is, even though I worked a 6 day week and stuff like that.

9) Stuff I watched/read this week. A couple cool creative projects by my friends and some other stuff:
  • Lindsay B Champion wrote a short story inspired by the Lovesong of J Alfred prufrock (dare I eat a peach?): Song of Spaghettios I quite like the part about the Upple middle class of attractive and desperate tone of the whole thing.
  • Jonh Schwartrz stars as Eurydice in this stop-animated gender-swapped tale of Orpheus & Eurydice which was completed in 48 hours
  • Tiffany tipped me off to this awesome blog that records the sleep mumblings of an englishman. You should read them all. Some of my favorites are ""Where do you think YOU'RE going, hmmm? I knew it. The cupboard. You and your cupboard." ""So this is what it feels like to be a gummy bear... I can't walk though, I have to rock... I think i'll call myself BerNARD. Not BERnard. BerNARD. And I'll be a golden gummy bear.""
10) Anti-Green commercial!
I launched this on Saturday morning before heading off to Taking the Next Step. I followed the comments on my iPhone in between sessions, but did not see the viewcounts going through the roof until that night. The video got mentioned on The Brothers Brick, which gave it a huge boost in views and got it noticed on some other blogs. By the end of the weekend it had more views than any of my other NNN videos (even though most of those have been up for months. To give you more perspective here is a chart of views per day on my NNN youtube account for the past two months

A lot was the week after I released On the Street with Steve Deepsea. At the time it was the most views per day I'd ever received on this account.

11) Read Men and Cartoons by Jonathan Lethem. I'd previously read a novel by him, Gun, with Occasional Music, which was one of the big inspirations for The Franky Job. This was a collection of short stories and I think better suited to some of his wacky ideas. Here are a few of my favorite parts.
This is a ridiculous poem from a story about two people who don't know each other, but keep meeting at odd places over the years.
"Oh Vivian Relf! Oh eclipse, oh pale penumbra of my yearning!
Pink slip, eviction notice, deleted icon, oh!
Stalked in alleys of my absent noons, there's nobody knows you better than I!
Translucent voracious Relf-self, I vow here
Never again once to murk you
With pallid tropes of familiarity or recognition
You, pure apparition, onion---
Veil of veils only!"
The part where he calls her onion always gets me. This next bit is an excerpt from a story involving a sheep that induces suicide in other animals.
"The Dystopianist suddenly had a vision of the Plath Sheep wandering its way into the backgroud of one of the Dire One's tales. It would go unremarked at first, a bucolic detail. Unwrapping its bleak gift of global animal suicide only after it had been taken entirely for granted, just as the Dire One's own little nuggets of despair were smuggled innocuously into his utopias. The Plath Sheep was a bullet of pure dystopian intention. The Dystopianist wanted to fire it in the Dire Utopianist's direction."
And this last one is when the author interview a giant crab who was the main character of a sitcoms in the 80s.
"Don't worry, Lehman, we'll still need historians of television comedy, or rather we'll need them again in a few dozen centuries, when crabs develop television. Your work won't be in vain."

1 comment:

Lindsay Champion said...

Thanks for the shout-out, David M! I got very sad and outraged when there was a J. Alfred Prufrock question on Jeopardy last night and NO ONE got it! :-D - Lindsay