Thursday, November 30, 2006

Thanksgiving in Seattle

My oldest brother has been living in Nairobi, Kenya with his wife and son. He is an epidemiologist doing AIDS research, she works for PEPFAR. He is associated with the University of Washington in Seattle and comes back to the States to write a paper and teach for a few months out of the year. So this Thanksgiving my family had a Chung Reunion in Seattle. It was the first time all the Chung cousins would be together, my middle brother lives in Las Vegas and they're expecting their second in April.

I like Seattle a lot. Even though it rains a ton. Apparently it's been a record-shattering November in terms of rainfall, but we actually had a few days where the sun came out. It was a very nice Thanksgiving. My parents really lucked out with 3 great daughters-in-law who all get along really well with each other. Everybody helped out with everything and I think everyone had a relaxing time. It was special to see my sons interacting with my brothers' sons.

Next week, my brother returns to Kenya and we will not see him for at least another year.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


There are animation/storyboard artist blogs that I read out there that are very good. Right now there's a trend going on amongst them where they're listing their favorite 20 movies of the PAST 20 YEARS. So from 1986 to 2006 here's my short list that I can come up with
Big Night
The Iron Giant
Sexy Beast
6th Sense
Finding Nemo
Kill Bill

But if I were to get rid of the time limit and say all-time favorite films, here's a quick list (note some movies above may have not made it to this list):
Star Wars (1977)
Breaking Away
The Iron Giant
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
The Three and Four Musketeers (1973, 1974)
Glengarry Glenross
The Hunt for Red October
Resevoir Dogs
You Can Count on Me
Big Night
The Man Who Wasn’t There

Thursday, August 31, 2006

web app reviews + book review

If there is one book every person must read this summer - or, er, fall - it's Freakonomics. If you've already read it, read it again. I'll be quoting from this book in future blogs, there are some really fascinating excerpts to digest. The premise is basically that conventional wisdom doesn't explain reality - human self-interest does, and the numbers prove it. Go. Read. This. Book. Now.

I like Gmail but have not migrated to it as my primary mail client, mainly because Y! Mail is just good enough and I'm too lazy to make the transition. However, some migrations are worthwhile, more on that below.

New Y! Mail Beta
I've tried the new Y! Mail Beta and while I think it's nice that it's following the "Outlook UI" (clean and powerful)... it's just too damn slow. Within a few days I had switched back to the old Y! Mail. Why? Because of performance. The new UI isn't worth the slow performance hit.

Google Calendar
The most impressive user interface I've used in a long, long time. I'm not the most savvy web calendar user, so maybe there are some great internet calendar apps out there that are better or that Google is copping from, but this thing blew me away. Love the color labelling mutliple calendar feature and it's a very straightforward UI. Can't say enough good things. One drawback is my general complaint on Ajax - yes, it's fast but it can be buggy and sometimes I'm not sure if something has been stored or not. Makes for some annoying run arounds. But I was so impressed with this product that I manually transferred all my datebook data from my Palm Desktop app to Google Calendar. And it's already worth it.

Firefox 2.0b2
Two steps foward, no steps back. The new icons are nice, but so were the old ones. At least it wasn't a step down, but not a huge improvement either. (When it comes to icon design my motto is "as long as it doesn't suck." Harder said than done.) Fading out the tabs is brilliant - it differentiates them from the browser chrome. Giving each individual tab a delete "x" button is a no-brainer, allowing for users to delete a tab they're not presently viewing. Also nice is if you click on a link that opens a new tab, then deleting that tab pops you back to the original tab. If you don't know what I mean, too bad, I don't want to try to explain it any better.
I'm a recent convert to Digg. Apparently it's a brand new web design which is also quite nice.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Flying with Four

We have just returned from an 11 day trip across the country.

First we flew to Bald Head Island, North Carolina. Milo was reunited with his Richmond cousins again. We had a bed and breakfast all to ourselves and a couple of babysitters to help out. We got around the island by golf cart. The weather was nice and warm, not too hot.

Milo made more big strides in swimming at the pool and overall he did really well, playing with his cousins and acclimating to the new environment. Ben had trouble getting used to the new location. We had to sleep train him and let him cry it out all over again. Fortunately our room was at the far end of the hall. It was a very nice retreat and turned out to be quite relaxing.

Next we flew to Chicago and spent the night at a hotel. The following day we drove to Michigan City, Indiana where we rented a big house on Lake Michigan with four other families. The occasion was a reunion for Merritt and her Duke friends and their families. Ten adults and 11 children ranging in age from 3 months to 6 years old all under the same roof. The house was nice but it was still quite crowded.

Again, Milo did exceptionally well, playing with new friends, enjoying the pool and the beach and sleeping well in a new bed. Ben continued to struggle with his sleep and both he and Milo had a cold. Milo complained about his ear hurting and we took him to the urgent care clinic where they said he had an ear infection.

Although at times chaotic, we all had a great time at Lake Michigan too and we were grateful to be able to see old friends again. The last night of our stay, there was a major hail/thunderstorm, complete with a tornado siren going off and loss of electricity for twelve hours. When we drove out the next morning we saw many full-size trees that had blown down, trunks cracked like matchsticks.

The trip home from Chicago O'Hare airport was miserable. First we drove at 7:15am through heavy highway traffic to get to O'Hare for our 12pm flight. This flight was delayed until 2pm, so we hung around the airport for several hours. The previously mentioned storm had delayed many flights in and out of Chicago. Finally we got on our plane and waited to take off. And waited. And waited. Eventually they announced that the flight was cancelled. The flight crew were on the ground for too long and legally they couldn't fly the plane. So we all had to get off the plane and scramble to get on another flight to San Francisco.

Milo was unhappy but soldiered on. Ben was a mess. Merritt was quite upset. I did my best to keep it cool.

I managed to get us on a 8:30pm flight to Oakland airport in First Class. The bad news was we had 4 hours to kill. So we went to the adjacent Hilton Hotel and splurged on a day-rate hotel room where we ordered room service, watched TV and calmed our nerves until 7pm. When we got to the airport we saw that our flight was delayed until 9:30pm. Then it was delayed until 10:30pm. It was well past Milo's bed time and he was barely holding it together (thank god for the dvd player.) Ben was trying to sleep in the baby bjorn on Merritt and Merritt was on the verge of packing it all in and heading back to the hotel. But they did finally board us on the plane and the plane did take off at 11:30pm.

We arrived in Oakland at 1:30am Pacific Time which was 3:30am for us on Chicago time. We arrived at our house at 2:00am and promptly fell into bed.

Needless to say, the entire family is glad to be back home again. Ben is back to sleeping almost normally now. Milo is doing great. Merritt and I are breathing a sigh of relief that the return flight is finally over.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

TV is good for the gums

As I've blogged before, I'm a big geeky fan of Battlestar Galactica. I bought my brother in Vegas the first season dvd set. Then I sent my brother in Nairobi, Kenya my dvd set so he could get hooked on the show too. It worked.

As adults, my brothers and I rarely communicate with each other because we don't have as much in common. Having our own families changed that some but now that we're all hooked on Battlestar we email each other more often about the show. I even bought us all BSG logo t-shirts. Yes, I did.

I'm pretty amazed at the quality of writing these days on television. In the 70's there was some pretty groundbreaking stuff which are re-imagined into films because Hollywood can't find any original ideas elsewhere. In the 80's it was pretty darn shite. The 90's was mediocre at best. But at the turn of the century all of a sudden we have serious shit on TV. Writers have the freedom to take chances with their characters and stories. Maybe it's because of cable and HBO, maybe it's because studios are more willing to loosen up because they're losing eyeballs to the internet. Whatever.

I don't have time to watch all of the acclaimed dramas on TV. I catch the syndicated "Law and Order" and it's "SVU" counterpart every now and then because it's essentially on 24/7. "House" is on reruns until the fall. One new show called "Rescue Me" is pretty darn funny. My wife likes to watch "The Closer."

The point is, I like TV.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Comfortable Gig Question

Since I left Yahoo! in 2001 there have been waves of people who have left and then there were single exits. I loved it while I was at Yahoo! It was an exciting time, like the wild west, where we were launching stuff out the door left and right. Much of it was crap (designed by yours truly). Some of it was ok, a few were gold. But I learned a ton and worked with lots of completely different product groups. As Yahoo! grew and grew I felt like it was becoming more of a traditional media company in one respect - it's become a comfortable gig.

There's nothing wrong with being comfortable. If a company is paying you well and you got lots of options and you're vesting, and/or you can work from home once or twice a week, still have the great bennies, vest, etc etc. - it pays to stay (golden handcuffs and all.) Again, nothing wrong with that. It's a good gig, a comfortable one.

Everybody has a risk vs. reward meter especially when it comes to making professional career choices. How highly does an employee value the comfort of consistency?

How does that affect the culture of a company?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

the Switch

I am changing my focus in school from Animator to Storyboard Artist/ PreVis. The process of making a film in a very rough nutshell:

1. First there is a Writer who writes a Script.
2. Then there is a Storyboard Artist (or Story Artist) who takes the script and stages it into visual sequences.
3. Then it gets passed on to the Actors or Animators who put the performance into the scene

In between 2 and 3 is a rising discipline called PreVis which is someone who creates 3D animatics. Animatics are animated storyboards. It provides not only camera angle and staging but also timing as well.

Also in animation, the Story Artists work in the Story Dept and are essentially the Writers. Storyboard Artists can go on to direct their own feature or short feature.

I felt pretty torn about this decision since I really enjoy animation. But I think Story is where I really want to be.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" Review:

I loved it.

While Superman was an fairly good movie that was too long, POTC:DMC was a great movie that was also too long. Yes, it was too long at 2 and half hours. But, boy was it fun! Some of the great action special FX sequences were actually too much, too draining. And yes, the plot was convoluted, twisting and turning as much as the stuntmen did. But boy, was it entertaining.

The next movie I'm looking forward to seeing that has been getting a lot of very good buzz is Monster House. This summer may turn out to be a great movie season after all.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

"Superman Returns"
I was very excited to see this movie. It was the one of two big movies of the summer I was psyched about. Initially the buzz was excellent. But after last Wednesday I was reading a few bad reviews. Then I started talking to people who'd seen it and they were underwhelmed. Both mentioned the length of the movie at 2 hrs 34 minutes. That's long.

Superman was a very long pretty good movie. not a long bad movie and not a long great movie. Shave off 20 minutes and it would've been a really good movie. The major action scenes were AMAZING. Brandon Routh did a fine job, Kate Bosworth was so-so, Spacey was good, Parker Posey was surprisingly excellent. Some people I know had issues with a big surprise in the middle, but not only was I not surprised by it (kind of expected it actually) it didn't bother me that they didn't resolve it completely.

This was the other big summer movie I was excited about. And it was good. Not great, but good. The second act had too many equally weighted subplots and it was hard to believe the change in character of the protagonist, Lightning McQueen.

But the racing scenes were great and the ending still pulled at my heartstrings. The look of the film was absolutely incredible.

Tonight we've rented "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl" since my wife hasn't seen it and we're planning on seeing "Dead Man's Chest" this Thursday.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I want to be able to log into anyone's Firefox browser and bring up my own bookmark buttons for tabbed browsing.

The Google homepage ONLY has the searchbox on it. Simple. They're notorious for not putting anything else on that page, neither advertisement nor other Google product. Smart.

If they were to link to Google Maps, for example, from their homepage, then they'd immediately invite all of the problems Yahoo! has right now - "We want to be everything to everybody, so let's flood the page with links to everywhere."

Right now, they're about one thing - search. Search leads to all things anyways. They are so right to bury all their products on the Labs page. Let's see how long they maintain that wisdom.

What is annoying to me is all these themes. I know users LOVE it and it's essential to provide it, but I find it, well, annoying.

What I've read this summer so far is Bel Canto and Everything Is Illuminated. Both good, recommended. By far the best book I've read in the past year is Kite Runner. About to read Interpreter of Maladies.

Monday, June 19, 2006

I'm back from a week in southern california. It was a good trip in that we had a great time but the boys didn't sleep very well and Milo was particularly testy. We went to 3 theme parks which I'll rate below...

1. Legoland - the best of them all, the best ease of use experience, very much designed with families in mind. I'd go here again and again.

2. San Diego Zoo - also very good, more low key, recommend going on the bus tour first.

3. Sea World - it was ok but also frustrating in that there was very little shade in the entire park. The shows were nice but not sure I'd come back here until Milo's a little older.

I recommend getting your tickets online so you can skip the ticket lines and getting there earlier the better. Again, Legoland was the bomb.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Every morning, my son Milo likes to watch the Sprout channel on TV with a sippy cup of apple juice and a bowl of Puffins. He will wake up anywhere between 5:50am and 7:00am. My wife just got a clock from the Discovery Channel (pic above) that is also a nightlight that glows a different color for every hour. Milo can't tell time yet, but we'll tell him that he can't get up out of his bed until the clock turns (whatever the color for 7am is). Very cool item. We just got it tonight, can't wait to see if it works.

Meanwhile we're off to southern California for a while. Four days in Irvine with my folks, then a week in San Diego for a little family vacation. Going to hit the San Diego Zoo, Legoland and Sea World. We're renting a little house in La Jolla which is a block from the beach as well as close to stuff we can walk to. Looking forward to it.

The day after we get back to SF I start my summer semester which I'm also looking forward to actually.

Friday, June 02, 2006

I love our cleaning lady. Her name is Shirley and her husband's name is Gilmar and they rock. They are from Brazil. A few years ago they went back to Brazil saying they would return in a month. In the interim they had a replacement cleaner sub for them. They were not very good. Nothing could compare to Shirley and Gilmar. Then we received a note saying that Shirley and Gilmar were staying in Brazil indefinitely due to unforseen circumstances. We let the replacement cleaners go and hired a new woman named Maria. Maria was better but still she was no Shirley and Gilmar. Then about 6 months ago we heard that Shirley and Gilmar were back in the States. We fired Maria and immediately re-hired Shirley. That made me happy. If you or anyone you know needs a great cleaning person in SF let me know and I'll ping you their contact information

I'm falling in love... with! Every Thursday, my wife and I go out on a date. It's hard to come up with new and interesting places to eat or see that we've never been to before. I used to use which was okay but I recently started to use Yelp and I've been hooked ever since. Excellent UI. Looks like Yahoo! Local (also great ui redesign job btw) but it's better cause it's completely user-driven. And users are more motivated to review since Yelp has a clever reward system in place. So it's more reliable reviews and not just spam. I've made some nice discoveries and love to browse not just for restaurants but other services too. Go Yelp!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

At the Academy of Art's 3D department you're in one of three majors of interest: character animation, visual effects, modelling or games.

* Character animation: responsible for anything that has a personality, moves, talks, lives.
* Visual Effects: responsible for things like realistic fire, water, explosions etc
* Modelling: building everything in an environment from the paper clip to the 18 wheeler to the people to the animals.
* Games: all of the above but at a lower resolution, substitute character animation with game design.

Places like Industrial Light and Magic, Rhythm and Hues are special fx houses. Pixar, Blue Sky and Dreamworks make movies (character animation) both types of places hire modellers. Then there are many game studios all around. I'm learning more about who does what and who hires whom as I get more semesters under my belt.

My take on the school continues to evolve as well. I think it's a good school if you know where to look. I was lucky to get the good Maya I teacher this past semester. The way it works at any school is the more you put into it the more you get out of it. Still it amazes me how much the faculty let students get away with. If the teacher were an employer and the student an employee, more than half of all my classes would be fired within a month. I sound like a crotchety old man.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A review of Yahoo!'s new frontpage design by a former Yahoo! Gooey...

First, I really like the new visual design that Yahoo! is standardizing, first with 360 and now with the frontpage. It's clean, simple, elegant and minimal. It lets the content pop off the page and doesn't call attention to itself. I like it very much.

As far as layout goes, I like the left column listing the major properties and I guess I like the rest of it as well, all except for the masthead.

I think it's a fairly bad decision to offset the Yahoo! logo with the search box to its side. By offsetting the logo, it minimizes its prominence, importance and brand. By putting it alongside the searchbox it seems like a weak attempt to bring more prominence to Yahoo!'s search. But now you have two elements that are weaker by being side by side. Plus it throws the balance of the page as a whole out of whack.

If you want more people to use your search engine, build a better search engine.

Monday, May 15, 2006

I was driving on the highway in San Francisco and I saw a billboard in the distance. It was a guy holding up a sign with handwriting on it that said,

"Some day I'll RFID my 70 kittens."

Wow, I thought, that's interesting. When I got closer I realized I misread the sign and it was really saying,

"Some day, I'll redo my 70's kitchen."

Oh, not so interesting. It was a Wells Fargo ad about saving accounts or something.

Personally, I think it would be a far wiser investment to RFID the kittens. Especially if you had 70 of them. How else would you keep track of them all? Which would you rather have, a 70's kitchen or 70 kittens? What the hell would you do with 70 kittens? RFID them, that's what. And if you dont' know what RFID is then this post is not funny. Nope, not one bit, so go back to your 70's kitchen. How would they RFID the kittens? I'd use a staple gun. Who the hell picked that illegible handwriting font anyway. Giving commuters a baaad trip.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

This post by Kelly inspired me to write about my own age issues. It's a little bit of a sore spot for me that I look like I'm 18. On a good day, 24. After people get to know me then they guess 28, tops. I'll be 34 this October goddammit!

Now that I'm a student again, I feel way older than my peers because, well, I am way older. But they don't know that. Just the other day, during a break in my Maya I class, I got into a conversation with one of my classmates. I asked him whether he lived in campus housing and he said lived in Belmont and that he takes CalTrain to class every day. Then he asked where I lived and I said the Inner Sunset. He wasn't sure where that was and I explained that it's a neighborhood in the city.

Kid: "In an apartment?"
Me: "No. A house."
Kid: "Really?"
Me: "Yeah, with my family."
Kid: "Oh, that's great. That you have family in the city to stay with and everything."
Me: "No, no - my family. You know, with my wife and two kids. That's what I mean."
Kid: "Oh, uh-huh. [Pause] Oh! Ohhhhhh. Huh."

He didn't say anything after that.

When I was 25 I was travelling with my parents somewhere. The airline attendant was moving our seats around and he was going to put me in the emergency row on the plane. Of course you have to be over 18 to sit in there, so he asked me for ID. The dude carded me to sit in the emergency exit row. My parents got a big kick out of that. Laughed the whole rest of the plane trip. Goddamn airline attendants.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

semester sum-up

History of Character Animation
Basically we watch a ton of animation from 1918 to the present tracing the history of animated characters in film and television. It's a great class and I' ve learned a lot from it. The teacher is the Director of my 3D Graduate program and he's been around, worked for a while at ILM and has met many of the animation greats. Really digging this class.

This is more like a story theory class and less of a storyboarding class. Meaning that we're learning a lot about story structure and plot points than how draw and visually solve problems. Still a very important thing to learn and definitely a good tool for putting together my senior thesis which will be a 1 to 2 minute animation.

Maya 1
The teacher is good but sometimes he gets bogged down in tangential details which is easy to do because Maya is such a complicated honkin piece of software. The modelling bores me but the animation is fun.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

I have to rant a little about this new product Yahoo! is promoting the heck out of on their frontpage... Yahoo! Answers. Why would I ever use this? If I want to know about something, I SEARCH for it. SEARCHing for it is pretty simple: you type in a keyword you get results. With Y! Answers there are at least two more steps to complete to get an answer! And then it's from a human being...!?? This probably sounds ironic but I trust a search engine more than a human because the human could be an idiot while I know the engine is just an engine. With the engine I have more control to decipher the results, with the human I'm taking my chances.

Before I left in 2001 there was Y! Experts and this looks like a revision of that same product. Dude, Y! Experts sucked. You know why? You had to trust that the human on the other side knew what they were talking about. Why not browse search results and decide for yourself whether the links are trustworthy or not - a much quicker proces.

I would LOVE to see the stats on this product and get a sense of how it's doing. I'm really at a loss as to why Yahoo! would be promoting it so heavily. If anybody has had a good experience with this product please let me know.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I read the Economist. I don't understand everything I read, but I can feel my cranial capacity expanding every time I finish an issue. If nothing else, it's very well written. I find the New Yorker to be hit and miss while the Economist is so dense there is bound to be something pretty interesting.

On my DVR list are shows which I ingest and delete almost immediately: PTI, House.
Then there are shows that have rotted in the queue for months now: Chappelle, Charlie Rose, Office, My Name is Earl.
Then there are shows that I just recently started to record: Robot Chicken.

I eat a few regular podcasts: Slate's Political Gabfest is consistently entertaining, Ebert and Roeper is always satisfying, CNet is hit or miss and nowadays I ignore most of NPR's Story of the Day. I used to regularly listen to This Week in Tech but now I find those guys to be fairly out of touch, catering to the grumpy geek mostly. I really appreciate the synopsis text blurb which I can browse before deciding whether an individual podcast is worth listening to.

There are two great animation podcasts: The Animation Podcast and Spline Doctors. Podcasting is a great medium for animators to share information, interviews and experiences. For some reason animation knowledge is not well-documented and this technology is beginning to correct that.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Ooo. Me likey Google Video.

I've been wanting to show the work I've been doing in (animation) school but the files are so big I can't email them or post them on my website... until Google Video. I would've posted it on YouTube because that site kicks butt (especially for catching SouthPark episodes that no longer air Tom Cruise trapped in a closet) - but they have a 100MB limit. Google has no such limitations because they plan on storing the entire multiverse's personal information so they can do evil one day. Lots of evil.

Here is a pencil test (rough animation) called Man vs. Frog.

Here is an animatic (animated storyboards) called Heart.


Sunday, April 23, 2006

Merritt and Milo bought ladybugs to put in the garden. Usually Merritt places the ladybugs on the plants but this time Milo wanted to. He ended up with ladybugs all over his hands and sleeves so Merritt had to brush him off.

Later that afternoon I come home and we're all sitting in the basement. Milo's on the piano bench when he says, "Mommy, I head wind in my ear."

Immediately Merritt suspects, "Uh-oh, maybe a ladybug got in your ear." I'm doubtful but I quickly check and looking into his left ear I see the bug's face looking back at me. Then turn around and crawl in.

Milo was pretty freaked out.

It wouldn't come out so we went to the hospital ER at UCSF which was less than a mile away. Fortunately we had already booked our nanny to come that night and she was looking after Ben. At the ER, the nurses took his vitals and then we had to wait for the Pediatrician to arrive. While waiting, Merritt noticed that the ladybug was trying to crawl out and held Milo's hands so that he couldn't scratch his ear (which was probably what was keeping it in there for so long in the first place) and it came crawling out on its own.

Monday, April 10, 2006

As someone who hopes to work at Pixar some day, people have been asking me what I think of Disney buying Pixar. Something like this was inevitable and it makes sense that the buyer would be Disney. Pixar needs the powerful marketing and distribution experience Disney has for children's media, only Nickelodeon can come close and still Disney is the best. Disney needed Pixar's content which was making them money when they took 50% of the profits.

I hated Disney. But that was then and this is now and the difference is Michael Eisner ain't the big cheese no more, it's Robert Iger. Iger is not Eisner. He made the bold move of distributing ABC television shows on iTunes. Then he bought Pixar giving Jobs, Catmull and Lasseter big positions in the stake of the company. Now he's offering the TV shows for free in iTunes in May.

The man has balls of brass.

Now the question whether he and Jobs will continue to get along. And the whole animation world is waiting to see what becomes of Catmull and Lasseter's new positions and how it affects (or doesn't) the new content to be released by both studios.

Personally, I'm optimistic.

Monday, March 20, 2006

There's a story about soap operas and talk shows being bad for the brain, or that bad brains like soaps and talk shows. The last line is the best, "If an elderly woman says she enjoys watching talk shows or soap operas, Fogel said, that might be a sign that she's having cognitive problems and should undergo special screening."

Spirals are our friend.

Bad UI is the source of all our problems.

I'm the Green Lantern, who are you?

Marvel Comics is trying to trademark the word, "super-hero."

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Because of this.

I give you this.

(All the internet is good for anyway.)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

When the FIFA World Cup was being played in Korea in 2002 I was living in an apartment that had cable. We had just bought a house and moved all our belongings to our new home. But the house did not have cable.

Korea had made it to the semifinals to play against the Germans. I had asked a friend to tape it for me and was going to avoid any media mention of the game result until I could pick up the tape and see the game for myself. That night I couldn't fall asleep, thinking of the game.

It was something like 2am and the game started around 3am. Our apartment was bare but we still had the lease until the end of the month. So I went downstairs to our basement, unplugged the TV, put it in my car, drove to the apartment, plugged it in, watched the game, saw Korea play great but lose, put the TV back in my car, and drove back to the house and finally fall asleep.

Hines Ward, MVP of the SuperBowl, is half-Korean and Korea just beat the USA in the World Baseball Classic tonight.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Earlier i wrote about the decision to circumsize  my first newborn son.

Today there is an article  regarding a legal battle surrounding the issue of circumcision for a couple's son.

This past Monday, my second son, Benjamin, was born.  And yes, he was circumsized as well.  But I have to admit, I'm not 100% sold on the whole cut-the-penis-for-your-health thing.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Learning Maya 7.0 is like learning how to sail a boat, drive a car and fly an airplane at the same time. All those activities are fun, once you figure out what all the controls are for. I find the UI very interesting. Very clean and consistent but they layered on the complexity which allows for power. Ease of use is solved by teachers teaching you how to use it. That's practically the only way to really figure out how to use it well.

Our second baby refuses to come out. We have a C-section scheduled for this Monday avoiding Valentine's Day by one day. I'm guessing it's a girl.

I've been working out at the gym regularly and am finally feeling the difference in the weights and cardio. But I still have a little pain in the throat - considering seeing the doctor once again. It feels like my tonsils but I can't be sure. It hurts when I move my tongue.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Pimp machine for sale...
My Mom sent me a package months ago. Inside it was her mink coat, complete with shawl thingy and a hat. She and my Dad recently retired to Irvine, CA; so she asked me to sell it for her online. My wife tried it on and she looked like a pimp. Our babysitter tried it on and she looked like a pimp. I refuse to put it on. But if there's anyone out there interested in looking like a pimp, let me know. I have a pimp machine for sale.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

I have a long list of shows that I've tivo-ed (technically dvr-ed) but haven't watched. I don't have the nerve to erase them but I dont' watch them either. I will end up erasing a show here and there if I'm running low on hard drive space.

The one show I regularly record and actually watch is PTI: Pardon the Interruption with Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon. Basically it's two idiots who argue about sports for a minute and a half before moving onto another sports topic. They berate and they fight and they mock one another's intelligence and manhood when it comes to their opinion on trivial sports trivia.

It's just like hanging out with my friends.

The wife can't stand the show when it's on. Even if she's not watching the show the constant yapping gets on her nerves. "How can they even understand what each other's saying with all the yelling," she asked.

It's exactly like hanging out with my friends

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Character actors. They can have the most fun because they are more able to play a variety of roles rather than be pegged as a particular type like many celebrity actors. Though the character actor can be as pigeon-holed as any, the good ones, like Kevin Spacey and Philip Seymour Hoffman have gone on to do a wide variety of roles and even made the leap from supporting actor to main protagonist.

There are some character actors who have done so many television and film roles that they always look a little bit familiar but you just can't quite remember where you saw them last. One of my favorites is Bruce McGill .

I first saw this guy in a Miami Vice episode, the one where Phil Collin's "In the Air Tonight" is playing as a soundtrack as his character takes a sledghammer to a wall, revealing a skeleton hidden inside. Great epsiode, just before the series jumped the shark. He had a memorable scene in the movie "The Insider" as the lawyer who rips the cigarette laywers a new one with the line, "Wipe that smile off your face!!!" And on and on... He's awesome.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

There are such things called Food Movies. Obvious examples are:

Eat Drink Man Woman,

Like Water for Chocolate  and

the Oscar Award-winning (Best Foreign Film) Babette's Feast .

These movies aren't necessarily about food, but tend to revolve around food and the cooking of food and all the nice metaphor and ethnic symbolism that spills forth in a cheesy "oh that's so meaningful" way.  They make good date movies.

I kind of like food movies.  The past few years as I've played househusband here in chez Chung I've found that I have a knack for cooking.  Nothing too fancy.  I keep it simple a la Naked Chef . I have a gas grill, it makes things quick and easy.  This is a long way of getting around to recommending my favorite food movie called...

Big Night

Written and directed by Stanley Tucci and starring one of my favorite character actors, Tony Shalhoub , now famous for playing Adrien Monk  on TNT, not a half bad network.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Sometimes I read "spoilers" in media websites where a movie script or tv show plotpoint is leaked out before it airs. There are plenty of warnings for spoilers for those who don't want the fresh experience ruined for themselves. While I don't seek out the spoilers I don't avoid them either. For example I pretty much know what happens in XMen 3 and I'm seriously debating whether to go watch it in the theatres because it sounds pretty crappy. But I don't know any juicy tidbits on the new Superman movie other than the general synopsis and I'll likely keep myself 'fresh' for that film which I'm looking forward to very much.

But every once in a while I like to go into a movie "blind". This is easier to do with DVD rentals, especially with older black and white movies. One such movie that I rented without any idea of what it was about (this was many years ago) was the 1962 original "The Manchurian Candidate". That experienced rocked. If you haven't seen or heard of the Denzel Washington remake then I highly recommend you rent the 1962 original with Angela Lansbury and Frank Sinatra and plopt it in. Don't read the boxcover or anything. It's a trip. And yes, Frank can act.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I reviewed James Frey's book, A Million Little Pieces, and commented on the brouhaha surrounding the falsifications in his book. I thought it wasn't a big deal since he seemed to be fibbing on areas I thought were fairly minor.

I did jibe that at least he wasn't fibbing on the root canal with no painkillers ...

Uh, well, perhaps he was, as he now is fessing up on a recent appearance on Oprah.

Dude, Oprah is seriously pissed off at you.
Saw Syriana on Tuesday night. There were tons of people at the Metreon theatre in SF and it surprised me. Then we ran into our friends, Seth and Mia, at the same movie and they told us that the New York Times was giving out $5 tix for their subscribers for this theatre only.

Syriana was very good. Stephen Gaghan the writer and director also wrote the script for Traffic which Stephen Soderbergh directed and I really liked that film, so I had high expectations.

I had heard that you really have to pay attention to what is going on because it's difficult to discern relationships and backgrounds. This was true but I liked it that way because it kept me very focused and tuned to what was happening. For what was mostly a talking heads movie it was shot quite beautifully.

Syriana - ***1/2 out of possible *****

(Giving it the stars reminds me that the Netflix stars system sucks. You cannot grade a movie by the half-star. There are SO many films I'd give a 2 1/2 or 3 1/2 stars.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Disney buys Pixar for a buttload of money and Steve Jobs is sitting pretty.

While I’m definitely not a fan of Disney over the years, one has to remember that the Eisner era is over and the Iger one has begun and so far Iger has made some bold moves with ABC content on Itunes and now buying Pixar. Buena Vista is a powerfully dominant distributor. I have to say it makes sense for both companies here.

What will be interesting to see is how the Pixar culture remains intact. The fact that Catmull and Lasseter have top jobs at Disney creative now bodes well that things will not only stay the same in Emeryville but also progress in socal as well…?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Story I Made Up For Milo...

Poopoo the Choochoo and the Broken Down Train

One day, Poopoo the Choochoo was chugging down the track when he saw a broken down train on the next track. He stopped and asked, "Hello, is there anything wrong?"

The broken down train said, "Yes, my wheels won't turn and I have to be mended at the works."

"No problem," Poopoo said, "I can hitch you to my train and take you to the works."

"But what about my passengers?" said the broken down train, "they have to be taken to the next station."

"I can call my friend, Boogaga the Car," replied Poopoo, "and he can take your passengers to the next station."

"That would be great, thanks," said the broken down train.

"My name is Poopoo the Choochoo," said Poopoo the Choochoo, "what's your name?"

The broken down train replied, "My name is Bop. Nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you."

Poopoo the Choochoo then called his friend Boogaga the Car on his radio and Boogaga came and picked up Bop's passengers and took them to the next station. Then Bop was hitched to Poopoo the Choochoo's train and Poopoo took him to the works to be mended.

And they lived happily ever after.

The End

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Fall Semester Summary
My first semester in the MFA for 3D Animation program at the Academy of Art program was OK

- I found it more fulfilling than I thought I would
- I'm pretty good at it
- I'm enjoying it

- the curriculum politics of grad school is to be expected but still sucks
- classmates on the whole are oddly not very serious about the work
- quality of the faculty is decidedly mixed

Classes I took:
Aesthetics in the Renaissance
It's both an Art History and Philosophy class. The first hour the philosophy professor teaches you about the thinking of the time. The second hour the art history professor teaches you the art of the time. You can see the relationships and influences back and forth. I was pretty resistant to taking this class since it wouldn't do anything for my portfolio but it was definitely worthwhile.

Principles and Pipelines
This was basically Animation 101 and we were working in 2D for the whole semester to get the basics down which was fine with me. The teacher had a lot of good experience (used to work for Pixar for a while) and gave excellent feedback on whatever you brought to show. But he was terrible at managing the class and for lectures he just showed us DVD extras which I found kind of lame. The final project was a 15 second rough pencil test animation. We started by pitching an idea, presenting it in storyboards then doing the animation scene by scene, all the while getting feedback. I was pretty happy with my final project which turned out to be 63 seconds and far too big to post on a website.

Figure Studio
Your basic figure drawing class in charcoal pencil. I have had a lot of experience in figure drawing but I really got a lot out of this class. The professor was excellent and pushed everyone very hard. During class I progressed a lot and did well. But I really floundered on the homework assignments which he expected us to spend a lot of time on.

Spring Semester Courses (starting Jan 30):
- Maya 1
- Preproduction
- History and Techniques of Animation
A Million Little Smoking Guns

I actually finished a book. Read it from start to finish. All by myself. It was A Million Little Pieces by James Frey and it had a sticker on it. The sticker read "Oprah's Book Club". This means the author made bank.

It was a good book. I recommend it to anyone who has ever gotten drunk, smoked pot, smoked crack, heroin or crystal meth. Interestingly just as I finished this book there was an expose on the author from The Smoking Gun about how he may have fabricated some parts of this autobiographically inspired book. I flipped through the article briefly and wasn't very disturbed with the allegations. Even if the parts of the book that The Smoking Gun has said are untrue really are untrue, it doesn't change my overall impression of the book or of the author. The sections in question are relatively minor to the story as a whole. Now, if the author really DIDN'T have a double cavity/cap and root canal with absolutely no anesthesia (because he's in rehab) and if the author never attended a rehab clinic at all then yeah, I could see the big deal.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Movies I want to see:
Match Point

Books I've Started but never finished (not b/c they sucked but b/c i suck):
From Beirut to Jerusalem
A Brief History of Time
The Known World

New book I'm about to start:
A Million Little Pieces

Latest Fiasco:
dealing with my fucked up epson scanner not working goddamn hightechnology

Upcoming Schedule Convergence:
spring semester begins january 30
2nd child due february 8