Sunday, November 7, 2010

Everything else from the last two months

Okay so we all know I've been way behind on this blog, and now that I got those vacation posts out of the way I'm going to catch up to the present with one post that breezes through everything else. Think of it as the lightning round.

We got robbed :( They got in through an unlocked window (downside of being on the first floor) and took 1 hooded sweatshirt, 2 laptops, 3 cameras, my bookbag, all our change, a 2-liter of Sprite and a half-eaten cake. Luckily we both have renter's insurance, and it could have been worse. We got fingerprinted by the police to prove that the prints they got from the windows weren't ours.

Animating like a n00b
My animating camera was stolen so I had to get a new one. After a couple weeks of researching DSLR cameras that range from $1000-$1500, I got a relatively cheap webcam, which has surprisingly good picture quality. I am also working on an article about how to make your first LEGO animation for an upcoming issue of Brickjournal, so I used it as an excuse to make test animations with a few different cameras. I used an app on my iPhone, Bert's point and shoot camera and the new webcam to make these three animations:


Veronica stayed with us for a week while she was in town stage managing a show. She stayed on an air mattress in the LEGO studio. Because Bert and I work 9-5 and she worked 5-10 (or later) we barely saw each other during the week. But we spent some quality time together on the weekend and showed her downtown Chicago. She also recorded a robot song for the next episode of NNN :)

I got paid to be there instead of the reverse
I was able to animate during the show

Lots of new people got exposed to NNN

LEGO had some very cool life-size models

Chicago skyline mosaic

Check out all the pictures I took here.

One old man thought part of the NNN video was inappropriate and threaten to get me banned from exhibiting at any future LEGO event. Nothing really came of it, but I did have to edit out a few seconds of the video for the rest of the show.
Someone stole Harry and Voldemort off my display

The event was very long, basically I worked three 12-hours days.
The pros definitely outweigh the cons though :)

This Monday was Bert and my one year anniversary. Hard to believe that only one year ago we were as good as strangers when we've come to be such integral parts of each other's lives. I'm very happy that we found each other. This past year has just been overflowing with wonderfulness.
My gift to him was ticket to the Lion King musical on Friday night. It was incredible. The puppets and costumes were amazing and the story (which was almost word for word from the movie aside from a few extra songs to pad it out) is as strong as ever. Rafiki stole the show, hse has an incredible voice.
On Monday night we got Ethiopian food in honor of our first date. It was delicious. Then we had a relaxing evening at home.

Entertaining Guests
We've been so busy traveling and getting robbed that we haven't had a lot of time to have people over, but we've managed to fit a couple gatherings in. Most recently Paul and Stephanie and Dana (who moves back to Chicago in a couple months!!) came over for Potato Flag and we somehow ended up playing Truth or Dare (which is why Paul put an ice cube down his pants). And a couple weeks ago we had Dan, Mauricio, Mitch and Elizabeth over. We played a little LEGO Creationary and then switched to Cranium which Mitch and I won handily. Booyah.

New CMIG Website
My office finally has a new website. I spent a chunk of the summer making this happen. A few days after it went up our bossboss told us we need to make it even better, so that's in the works now, but this is still a hundred times better than the previous site.

New Tumi Bag
My work bag had seen better days. However Bert got me a nice new Tumi bag (not pictured) which has lots of pockets and comes with a lifetime guarantee. It was a very nice housewarming present. It's much better than the old bag with the broken zippers and worn material.
Here's a quick animation I made with the bag to test out the iPhone stopmotion app.

Robot Chicken - We have cable and a DVR, so I've been watching through every Robot Chicken ever (not hard since the episode are only 11 minutes long). I love the stop-animation and clever twists on pop-culture, but sometimes the senseless violence just gets to be too much for me.
Community - The funniest thing on television right now. If you aren't watching you're missing out.
Veronica Mars - I am now finished with the whole series (including this trailer for a potential follow-up series). It's sad that there's no more new Veronica Mars to watch. There are not enough high-school noirs featuring sassy female detectives.
Dexter - I'm a few episodes into season 3. I've been cringing at some the writing, especially in the side plots, but Michael C. Hall remains fantastic and Dexter's journey is always interesting, I just wish the other parts of the show were always as gripping.

Lego: A Love Story - I am obviously pre-disposed to like this book, but it's actually a really well-written account of one man's entry into LEGO fandom. It starts as an outsider's perspective on the adult hobby and slowly transforms as he stops being a journalist and starts being just another AFOL. I learned several new things despite the fact that I also have met more than half the people in the book. Let me know if you want to borrow it and learn more about the hobby.
Maurice - The language was olde timey, but it was very surprising to discover a victorian gay romance with a happy ending. Yay!

Howl - This could be 4 different movies. They do not do a good job of integrating the 4. I love the poem and James Franco, and there are some perfect moments, but this movie could be so much better. B-
The Way we Were - Robert Redford and Barbabra Streisand have no chemistry. Kind of important in a romance. The opening credits are the best part. C
Tron - Great campy fun. looking forward to the sequel. B+
The String (Le Fil) - It's still surprising to see a gay story with a happy ending. This one has a lot of interesting characters and ideas, but doesn't really give any of them the time they deserve. The final 10 minutes of this bumped its score way up. B
Rocky Horror Picture Show - Midnight Show at the Music Box Theater - This was quite the experience. The movie is still non-nonsensical, but everybody loves to do the Time Warp and Tim Curry is always fun. A-

Video Games
Metroid: Other M - There has been a lot written about this game, it's a game that takes a lot of chances and a lot of times it fails, but I guess it's good that it tried new things? I see what they were trying to do by making the story a more integral part of the game and such, but the execution is just terrible. There's a reason video games aren't known for their voice acting.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 - As a stark contrast, this is a game that doesn't take any risks and still fails. Mediocre and uninspired
LEGO Harry Potter, on the other hand, is perfect in every way.

And lastly I leave you with a picture of this house in our neighborhood that really gets into the Halloween spirit.

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