Saturday, November 25, 2006


It's been a good weekend to give thanks. The weather was absolutely fantastic. Thursday and Friday we hung out around the apartment cooking, burning DVDs, drinking wine, playing with the cats, watching movies, and smoochin'. It was great to have some time where we have nothing planned, to figure out when and what we want to do.

Last weekend, I took Mandy to Glenlaurel Inn in the Hocking Hills of Ohio. This is the south-eastern edge of Ohio, about 2 and a half hours from where we live. The drive was amazingly fun, especially the last 45 minutes. For this short period, the road goes nuts. It's like driving through the Scottish Highlands, or so I'd guess it would be like. The weekend was great. We ate a 7-course dinner in their wonderful inn and enjoyed an evening of fireside talks and hottub bubblings. This area of Ohio is really interesting.

Years and years ago, my mom, Vickie (my friend Ian's mom), and myself marched up the "Shale Trail." A trail that runs up a flat limerock riverbed that runs about 25 miles. We fought hordes of mosquitos, biting flies, and biting snakes, but eventually made it to the delta at it's end. It was one of the more exciting experiences of my young life: Carying my gear on my back as I waded through miles of Ohio river for three days, I learned a lot about what a person can endure - which, in turn, helped me survive my Austin biking trip.

(Shot at Glenlaurel, in the Hocking Hills of Ohio)

Saturday we cleaned up after the cooking adventure the night before, made breakfast, and headed out. The day was beautiful - sunny, in the lower 70s. We headed downtown Cinci to Zoo. The Cincinnati Zoo is usually counted among the top three zoos in the US. While some of the exhibits had been shut down for the winter ("Sorry! Edgar the Lemur is resting!") the crowd was really small and parking was very decent. The zoo runs a Holiday Festival of Lights thing where they decks the cages and plants with Christmas lights. And, seriously, put a baby Jesus in the petting zoo barn. Alas, we headed out before they charged us an extra $10 to see baby Jesus all aglow with blinking lights. As we left, we noticed the crowd to get in was enormous.

(Damn. Makes me want to watch the amazing King Kong again)

We headed from that side of town to Mount Adams to check out the area. Mt. Adams is a kind of cross between college hanging out and yuppie hobnobbin'. There all kinds of restaurants that contain words like "Bistro" and bars with buzzing neon palm trees. We went to a fantastic Thai restaurant called "Teak." We split an order of spicy tuna and spider sushi rolls, then had a plate of "Spicy Thai Chicken" and a small carafe of sake. It was all amazing and really reasonably priced. I can imagine that this area of town would be great fun in the summer, when the daylight is longer, and the nights are warm. The views from this high vista overlooking the Ohio River, Cincinnati Downtown, and parts of Newport on the Levvy are amazing. We're planning on spending more quality time in this area of town.

(The sushi is oddly transparent)

On our way home, down southbound I-75, we passed the exit to the Cincinnati zoo. It was backed up for miles. I guess we got out of there at the right time...

The Wedding DVD is complete. Finally. After playing around with "Roxio Easy CD Creator 9" and having endless problems, I decided to look into Adobe Encore 2 - a pro tool used for authoring. It's quite a bit more complex, but it is so much more deep in terms of functionality that I'm glad I took some time to learn the basics. When I decide to take the plunge into Mac or PC for hardcore editing, I know I'll be sticking with this tool. We are just printing off labels, cutting, and placing. It's down to rote reproduction, which is a nice change from having to learn new programs to accomplish specific task.

The main thing I learned doing this is: DVD authoring is one of the most annoying things I've ever come across in my 10+ year A/V history. From incompatible codecs to menu linking to DVD player incompatibility, it's a ton of work.

The thing I've come to respect most from doing this: Chad. He's done half a dozen of these films. Not only that, but they were for people he didn't necessarily care that much about. It goes to show the depth of his professionalism when he can go through the 100+ hours it takes to produce a DVD and do them so well, even though he wasn't necessarily emotionally invested is astounding to me. I have a little more understanding as to why he politely brushed me off when I would nag him about starting a wedding DVD production company.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Steady Progress

I've been making steady progress towards finishing the wedding video. The DVD printer, ink-jet printable DVD blanks, and jewel cases have all arrived. I have gotten as far as opening the boxes to verify all the items are the ones I've ordered, but I have yet to install the printer and try it out on a few disks and paper. That will come with the wondrous, swiftly approaching four-day holiday weekend. I hope to have the DVDs mastered by Friday and packaged by Sunday. That will allow me to clear the 100GB+ of video files off my computer and onto my Lacie drive, freeing me to work on my reel and the video diary of Sue and Casey's cross-country trip.

Special thanks to Mr. Chad for helping me choose a printer and such. The model is Epson Stylus Photo R340 Inkjet Printer. It's a 6-tone printer designed for printing photos and discs. I'm sure I'll be bugging him for suggestions and help on many other video and printing related questions. Expect many shout-outs in the coming months.

I'm still debating on whether or not to start investing in a Mac and legit software to run on it. The advantages to building a PC are numerous: I can make a computer that is much faster than a Mac for 1/4 the price. They're much easier to upgrade, they run all types of software, and can play games. The downside is I can't run Final Cut Pro, Soundtrack, Pro Tools, Motion, or Adobe products that don't have half of their features stripped out just so they can work on a Windows platform. The other problem is I so fucking hate Microsoft that I'm willing to spend more money just to avoid having to install Vista on any computer I own. Granted, Apple isn't exactly championing consumer rights, but at least they aren't trying to cram the trusted computer architecture down people's throats... yet. The Direct X 10 stuff I've seen does look awful purdy, but if it comes at the expense of owning my computer vs. leasing it Microsoft, I'll have to look elsewhere for my gaming fun.

The thing that sucks most about having to pick one is the same problem with the current state of politics in America: I'm stuck between one of two options that are so close they might as well be the same. Sure, I could go with the Green Party or Ubuntu and be really proud of myself, but neither will help me get a decent editing suite up and running.

That's it from this side. Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 13, 2006


Been back for a while now. We've been making lots of fantastic food recently. A friend of Mandy's made us some authentic Indian ghee (clarified butter) and we've been making crazy-good food with it.

This past weekend we basically hung out, cleaned the apartment, cooked, and bummed around. This past Saturday we made shrimp and chicken tendori and watched Serenity again, damn good movie that it is. Mandy just completed My Sister's Keeper and claims it's a fantastic book. I'm still plowing through The World Is Flat and catching up with the last two editions of Discover Magazine.

I finally decided to put a bit of initiative behind some film ideas and start on a couple outlines. I bought a DVD printer, 100 count inkjet printable DVDs, and 100 jewel cases. I will have the wedding video completed by the end of Thanksgiving and my demo reel designed and storyboarded by Christmas. My goal is to have the 100% of the footage shot by mid-January and the site and demo material publicly available by February 1st. I think with some sound planning and Mandy's watchful gaze keeping me in check, I will be able make this deadline. I can't wait. When that's all said and done, I can start applying for all of these wondrous post-production jobs I keep seeing.

There is a Christmas letter being sent out to people with limited access to the blog dealing directly with our stance on gift-giving this holiday season (hint: It's the same as last year). There is a permanent link to the Christmas letter on the left navigation of the blog. It's imaginatively labeled "Christmas Letter." I've also added a long-overdue link to Seeking With Jon, a great blog maintained by a good friend who writes about laboriously plowing through Seminary at the prestigious Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I know he'd appreciate you checking it out and laying down some sweet-ass comments.

That's pretty much it from this side. As nice as it may have been to be in GR these past few weekends, it's been awesome to hang out around here, just the two of us, for a weekend and do nothing.

"The universe loves a drama, you know; and ladies and gentlemen... this is the show."
-Paul Simon

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I don't feel like dancin...

No sir, no dancin' for me.

A quick call out to everyone who attended Mandy's party this past Saturday. It was great to see everyone and spend some time hanging out. I know Mandy had a great time and was happy so many people came out to celebrate.

After traveling for three weekends straight, we're going be sticking around here until around Christmas. We will be back for Christmas for about a week and a half when we do come up. We're still trying to determine the holiday schedule, but there's plenty of time before we head back up.

Been listening to lots of really good music recently. Angie and Mark mentioned a CD by a band called the Scissor Sisters called "Ta-Da!". It's insanely catchy, disco-pop sounding music. It's really odd and cool. I've also been listening to a CD I keep hearing on a local radio station called "TV On The Radio." It's also amazing, but in a more subtle and less, uh, flamboyant way. Good stuff all around.

P.S. The subject is wrong. I actually do feel like dancing, both Rummy and DeVos are out.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Cory Doctorow is the Man

This was working when I tried a test post. I hope the actual post shows a video and not a bunch of useless code.

I love this guy. Point of fact, I would totally consider having his children, if he were so willing. His writings (both fiction and non) have been inspiring me to interpret the world through a completely different lens. Mayhaps this internal change will translate to a film, internet, or writing project of some sort. I love it.