Saturday, April 30, 2011

I Just Can't Stop Watching!!!

Awesomeness defined.

Get Your Bellini Fix - Relavent Style

Be sure to check out the latest issue of Relavent magazine and my buddy, Jason Bellini's (aka Sketch the Journalist) article Entitled "Gene 'Malice' Thornton Finds God."

Kudos to Bellini!

Obama Twiddles While Texas Burns

From WOAI:

As dry conditions and gusty winds whip up new wildfires in parched Texas, Gov. Rick Perry Thursday blasted the Obama Administration for failing to issue a disaster declaration for the state, widening the growing rift between the White House and the states rights advocate governor, 1200 WOAI news reports.

  "There is a point in time where you say, hey, what's going on here," Perry said.  "You have to ask why are you taking care of Alabama and other states?  I know our letter didn't get lost in the mail."

  The White House says President Obama will visit Alabama, hard hit by tornadoes Wednesday, later today.

  Perry requested a federal declaration of emergency for Texas on April 16, as wildfires began to rage across the entire state.  So far, the request has not been answered, although several federal agencies, including the National Park Service, are supplying firefighters to the state's effort.

  "They watch TV, they know what's going on here, they can recognize that there is going to be a request for assistance, a request for help," Perry said.

You stay classy, Obama.


I just got back from a week-long photo trip to central and west Texas shooting images of the devistastation caused by the wildfires there. I also got the chance to shoot some hail storm aftermath photos and a lot of great photos of beautiful, beautiful Texas. Even though things weren't as green as they we supposed to be, it was still a successful trip. I can't wait to share some of what I saw.

One thing is for certain. After this trip, I have a whitened respect for fighfighters and the job they do. The stories I heard from people everywhere I went were amazing.

But I'm especially glad to be back with my family again. Thank God for keeping me -and them - safe. Some of the best parts of my trip were Facetimeing with Kristi and the kids. At the end (or beginning) of a long day of shooting, just being able to see and talk to them was great - so much better than just talking on the phone. Thanks for that, Skype and Apple.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Thanks, Environmentalists...

From the UK Telegraph:

Fears have been reignited about the safety of energy saving light bulbs after a group of scientists warned that they contain cancer causing chemicals.

Their report advises that the bulbs should not be left on for extended periods, particularly near someone’s head, as they emit poisonous materials when switched on.

Peter Braun, who carried out the tests at the Berlin's Alab Laboratory, said: “For such carcinogenic substances it is important they are kept as far away as possible from the human environment.”

Great. Just great.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Stupid, Stupid Kids.

Happy San Jacinto Day

175 Years ago today, in a marshy grassland near Lynchburg the course of world history was changed forever when the ragtag remnants of the Texas army took the seasoned Mexican army by surprise. 17 minutes later, Texas was free, the Alamo and Goliad were avenged and Santa Anna was defeated. The Republic of Texas was born.

God Bless Texas.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Eat the Rich

Bill Whittle is simply awesome.

Final Cut Pro X - or - How I'm Going to Spend $300 in June

I can't remember the last time I was this excited about a software release. I have got to have this piece of software. I literally laughed out loud with joy at the color correction tool segment at about 15:36 in the second video.

After watching this video yesterday, editing with the current version of Final Cut this morning was somewhat of a disappointment, especially when I had a couple of sync issues and needed to do some quick trial fades on the fly. And the ability to mix types of video with resolution independence is going to be amazing. I've been doing a mix of 720p and DV for awhile now with disappointing results and looooooong render times. Background rendering is going to be much appreciated.

There may be a learning curve, but whatever it is, I'm sure it will be worth it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I have no words, other than thanks to Rick B. for showing me this.

Who Are You Going to Believe? Lady Gaga or Your Own Lying Eyes?

From Access Hollywood:

Lady Gaga might adhere horns to her arms and face, but she’s never permanently altered her body.

“I have never had plastic surgery, and there are many pop singers who have. I think that promoting insecurity in the form of plastic surgery is infinitely more harmful than an artistic expression related to body modification,” the singer told Harper’s Bazaar for its May issue.

“And how many models and actresses do you see on magazine covers who have brand-new faces and have had plastic surgery, while I myself have never had any plastic surgery? I am an artist, and I have the ability and the free will to choose the way the world will envision me,” she continued.

Uh huh. Sure. Just check out these two photos - one from 2005 before Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, aka "Lady Gaga" made it big and one from a magazine cover a couple of months ago:

As Mr. Plinkett might say, "what the hell happened to your faaaaaaace?"

Here - Just Eat This Pile of Crap Now and I PROMISE You'll Get Steak Next Year...

from the Washington Examiner:

A House vote on the 2012 budget resolution is slated for Friday, but the GOP must first push through the 2011 spending bill despite growing opposition from some Republican lawmakers who say it cuts far too little.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who was largely deemed the victor in last week's budget standoff between Republicans and Democrats, must sell this plan to the most fiscally conservative in his party. He made the case Monday in a USA Today opinion piece that it is time for the House to pass the 2011 budget and move onto the 2012 spending plan, which he said advances the Republican cost-cutting effort "from saving billions of dollars to saving trillions of dollars."

Same old crap, different congress.

This is What Compromise Gets You

From ABC News:

The historic $38 billion in budget cuts resulting from at-times hostile bargaining between Congress and the Obama White House were accomplished in large part by pruning money left over from previous years, using accounting sleight of hand and going after programs President Barack Obama had targeted anyway.


The details of the agreement reached late Friday night just ahead of a deadline for a partial government shutdown reveal a lot of one-time savings and cuts that officially "score" as cuts to pay for spending elsewhere, but often have little to no actual impact on the deficit.


As a result of that sleight of hand, Obama was able to reverse many of the cuts passed by House Republicans in February when the chamber approved a bill slashing this year's budget by more than $60 billion.

Same old crap, different congress. When are the Republicans going to learn?

Monday, April 11, 2011

My Blackberry is Broken.

I love British humor.

Thanks to Rick B. for sending this.

Adobe Greedivity Suite 5.5

From Download Squad:

Rejoice! No longer will you have to fork over $700 for a Photoshop CS5 license! Adobe has unveiled a new subscription scheme where you can rent the entire Creative Suite, or individual packages, by the month, or for an entire year.

Adobe Photoshop can be yours for $35 per month if you agree to rent it for 12 months, or $49 per month if you require its services for a shorter period. Dreamweaver can be had for even cheaper, at just $19 per month. The entire Master Collection is still rather expensive, though, at $125 per month.

The three products I use most often are Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. If I were to rent them on a subscription basis yearly instead of buying them, it would cost me over $1100 a year. The upgrade price is only $550.

How stupid does Adobe think we are? We may be artists, but we can do some math.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Time Stand Still

I'm not looking back
But I want to look around me now
(Time stand still)
See more of the people and the places that surround me now
Freeze this moment a little bit longer
Make each impression a little bit stronger
Freeze this motion a little bit longer
The innocence slips away
The innocence slips away...

Summer's going fast, nights growing colder
Children growing up, old friends growing older
Freeze this moment a little bit longer
Make each impression a little bit stronger
Experience slips away
Experience slips away...
The innocence slips away

I've been thinking a lot lately about growing older. My 36th birthday a few weeks ago hasn't helped that. I'm not in any sort of crisis or anything - I've just been feeling my body getting older lately. And I don't really care for it. I get tired more easily than I used to, I don't always have the kind of energy that I need to do the things that I want to, I'm losing my hair and I'm going gray. But I don't feel as old as I am or as I look. I'm still a 19-year old trapped in my aging body. I feel like I have a youthful spirit, but I get fewer and fewer opportunities to let it loose.

I've known for awhile now that my relatively sedentary lifestyle is responsible for all this. Ten years ago when I was still mascotting I had no trouble keeping my weight down and myself in shape. I was constantly moving, whether that was jumping around in a mascot suit or cycling or drumming or spending hours at the gym. And I was always full-out at everything I did. I would usually come back from whatever I was doing completely exhausted - and happy. But sitting at a desk all day these days has taken its toll on my energy and my body and - I fear - my spirit. I find myself choosing to sit on the sideline and watch the kids run around rather than running around with them.

My job is to blame, sure. But I blame my friends, also. As we've all gotten older, we've all (okay, most of us...) gotten so involved in our jobs and our families that we don't take the time to revel in our youth anymore. And yes, we are still young. I was reminded of that this week when in the course of videotaping an event I was jumping on and off a stage and bounding over a wall. A little old lady came up to me and said, "I sure wish I was still young enough to bounce around like you do." In that moment it hit me how young I still really am. And as long as I can still do the bounding and the bouncing and the jumping, I'm going to do it. I'm especially thankful or the ability after being sidelined a few years ago with some back problems. But I digress. I was talking about my lazy old fuddy duddy friends, wasn't I?

Ten(ish) years ago my friends and I still got together every now and then for a game of football or to play some sand volleyball. Those days seem legendary now looking back on them. But as we got further and further away from college and more and more busy, it became tougher and tougher to find enough people willing to put down their burdens for a couple of hours to take the time to play football or volleyball. It became a burden and pretty soon it stopped altogether. Not only was it a great way to let loose, have some fun and get some exercise, it also helped us stay together as a group. I don't think it's any coincidence that as we got busier and stopped playing together, that we all started to drift apart.

Over the weekend, Kayci and I were at Zilker Park in Austin. She has been wanting to climb around on the rocks in the middle of the park, so we went. For awhile she was fascinated by a fossilized shell that the found on one of the rocks and set forth trying to dig it out of the rock. While she worked, I sat back and watched the people playing on the field below. I saw people playing soccer and ultimate frisbee and sand volleyball. As I watched I was reminded of all the fun times - and how great it felt - to be outside on a beautiful day playing.

As I sat there I realized that there were all age ranges of people down there, not just teenagers or college kids. And most of them were in pretty decent shape. Then I thought of myself. My weight has hit a plateau - I can't seem to lose any more weight no matter how hard I try. But I think the key is to just move more - to just get out and play.

So I made a promise to myself. I am going to not only get out and move more, but I'm going to try to get my friends to do it , too. There's no reason why it has to be a guys' night thing or a girls' night thing, either. I can envision playing volleyball at the park with several people taking turns watching the kids while the adults play." There are some pretty decent sand volleyball courts in Brenham at Hohlt Park, and it's getting to the time of year when playing volleyball is perfect. I think the hard thing to do is to get people to get out of the mindset of "I have too much to do to play..." or that "it's too hot outside" or "it's too humid outside..." Think back to when you were a kid. Did any of those things ever stop you from playing before? Of course not. Those are excuses adults come up with to justify their actions (on inaction, as the case may be.)

And most importantly, taking time to play will teach our kids how to play. We're growing up in an age where video games and TV are the norm and where kids don't really play outside much anymore, at least not the way we used to. I firmly believe that the family that plays together, stays together. We're always so life-and-death all the time and that takes a serious toll on our marriages and relationships. Who ever said that being an adult means that you have to be all about work and paying bills? A stodgy old lonely codger, that's who.

But I'm hopeful. We've got a group of really good friends between my friends at work and Kristi's friends at MOPS that we might be able to get something started. Even if it was just one standing weekend a month, that would be something. So who's in? Who up for a couple of hours of playtime a month? Come on - it won't kill you. In fact, it may do just the opposite.

"We don't stop playing because we get older. We get older because we stop playing."

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Story of My 18th Birthday

Last night I posted on Facebook that I couldn't remember my 18th birthday.

This morning I woke up and remembered. I spent most of the day in bed with the worst case of food poisoning I have ever had. It turns out I hadn't forgotten it - I had blocked it out.

I was in New Orleans on a DeMolay trip. The day before we had gone to a neighborhood cafe and I had ordered a chicken salad sandwich. Well, later that day I started feeling completely horrible. I went to bed early and stayed there most of my birthday. We were competing that day and somehow they managed to get me up and dressed so I could compete in the Initiatory and DeMolay degrees, and then I went back to bed.

At dinner time, I still wasn't feeling well, so I asked one of the guys to get me a banana at the convenience store next door to our hotel. I managed to get the banana down, hoping that just having something in my stomach would make me feel better. The guys didn't want to leave me at the hotel by myself, so I reluctantly agreed to go out to dinner with the group to Hooters. I *think* it was Hooters. Actually, I'm pretty sure it was. At that point in my life - and when I went out with the guys - there was rarely a time when we didn't eat at Hooters if one was available.

I ordered a Philly cheesesteak sandwich and waited. As I waited, I started feeling violently ill. The suddenly, panic. I jumped up and ran to the restroom, flung open the door and almost made it to the toilet before I started vomiting banana everywhere. I looked around at the mess I had just made, but didn't really care. After more then 24 hours, I felt suddenly as if I were Superman retreating from Kryptonite - my powers suddenly rushed back into my body and I felt strong again. I washed my face and headed out of the restroom just as a man cam in. I motioned to the toilet stall and said "don't go in there."

By the time I got back to the table, my appetite had returned - a powerful appetite. My sandwich was waiting for me and I dug in. I don't remember much after that, but that was probably for other reasons. We were in New Orleans, after all. ;)

Scenes from a Dinner

Last night we went to dinner with GoGo, Angus, Adam, Katie and Johnny to celebrate Adam's 18th birthday. While we were there, I took the opportunity to play a little bit with shooting some video with my new work camera, a Canon 60D.

I apologize for the audio on this - it's kinda tough to shoot video in a crowded restaurant and not get a lot of ambient noise. But I think I got some good shots of the kids playing and a couple of interesting shots of me playing with the focus.

The thing that I like about shooting with the 60D is that you get all the benefits of a DSLR camera - warmth, clarity and the use of the full aperture range, which allowed for some rack focus shots, one of which I threw in here. Zooming isn't smooth with a DSLR and there's no stability control, so the footage is shakier than with a video camera. I don't think that I'd want to shoot a feature-length film on one of these things, but for quick clips - especially at a fixed focal length - it's not bad.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Keep Food Legal

From an organization called Keep Food Legal:

KFL is the first nationwide membership organization devoted to culinary freedom—the right of every American to grow, raise, produce, buy, sell, cook, and eat the foods of their own choosing.

• What are some of the issue KFL take on? The list is too long to print here, but these are some of our most important targets:
KFL will advocate in favor of abolishing all food-related subsidies. Government subsidies distort prices and demand, cause environmental problems, and have played a large role in creating America’s obesity problem.

• KFL will work to defeat food regulations and bans which limit our freedom to produce, cook, buy, and sell the foods we want. The government has no right to tell people what we can and can’t eat.

• KFL will advocate at the federal, state, and local levels in favor of more food choices. It is not enough to oppose bad new laws. We will work—in legislatures and in the courts—to roll back bad ones already on the books.

I can't say it any better than Matt did: "It's pretty sad that an organization like this has to exist at all." I agree completely.

Asian Cajones

This dude is the only guy that Chuck Norris will shake hands with.

If you're seeing this on Facebook, click the post title to watch this video on YouTube, thank Google and Facebook for being idiots and not playing well together, and then prepare to be amazed.

Ginormous thanks to Matt for sending this.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Wait For The Unicorn

If you're seeing this on Facebook, click on the link to view this video on YouTube.