Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My god, what a weekend.

Anyone who has been following anything that I say for the past 4 days is probably sick of me talking about this, but I'm in the final throes of the most sleep-deprived, energy-starved, ass-busting weekend of my life.

So, now that it's coming to a close, and my brain has some semblance of solidarity, I will recap the hellacious  battle between mac, pc, and Time.

And then I'll shut up about it.

Also, none of the following text is in any way meant to come off as complaining.
I'm going to go into great detail about the work I've put into it, but mostly I just need a place to put it into writing for myself.

I've been working on a project with a Blacksmith. We're making a DVD series.
It's a HUGE deal. It's literally the most important project of my career, thus far.
Because it has presented to me the most opportunity to make creative works,
It is the most promising to continue being a regular thing for a long time,
and it is the highest paying job I've ever done.

It's the perfect springboard for myself as a freelancer, and my client as a Blacksmith.
The success of this project means the success of the both of us.
It has also been incredibly fun and informative in ways I did not expect.

So naturally, I went and screwed it all up.

No, I actually did just about everything right, to the best of my ability.
I adequately planned my shoots, my captures and my edits. I had very few issues with my equipment.
I mean, my microphone died for a bit, and the used tapes started distorting, and I completely lost one fairly important shot.

But that's about 5% of the total work I've done.
We filmed 2 days, and filled a total of 7 tapes (about 15 total hours of filming)
Capturing takes about 3 times the amount of time you have taped (21 hours of capturing. You have to go through the tape, identify the take you want to keep, log the time on the tape it's at, and then import it at real time into the computer[real-time is 1hr. taking 1hr.])
The final video is 1hr. 45min. in length. (That is A LOT of video to make. Feature films hit that kind of length. and for further perspective, my "Dancing with the Athens Stars" video took 2 weeks to make[~40hrs.], and was 1min. 30sec. in length)
This video project also features about 10 animations, which only are about 1min. each, but a handful of them required frame-by-frame animation. (30frames/second, 60seconds/minute = 900frames)
a 1min. animation typically took me 4-5hrs. to complete (so that's 40-50hrs. for 10[we'll call it 45])

That's puts me at 75 hours, without factoring in any editing at all. And honestly, I'm very bad at logging times that I edit, so I cannot in any reasonable certainty make a claim for how long I spent before the apple war.

I lost 8 days of work due to Macs being unfriendly, and Hocking's network randomly exploding.
I gave up trying to make it work Thursday, evening, when I was at the school waiting for the file to transfer to my laptop. It would get to like 80%, then crash for no reason. The file simply forgot where it was going, and a few times, my laptop froze up.

The reason I was doing anything on the macs at all, was because I was about half-way finished with the project, when I took on the responsibility of the Campus Radio Station manager. I get paid for 15 hours/week of work, but I'm putting about 40 into it, because I want to to be awesome.

I have 20hrs./wk. of classes. So, I'm at the school roughly 60hours per week, now. So a fat lot of good it does me to have my PC at home. I wish that my laptop had a firewire port on it, because I likely would have done the entire project on it; I would have been able to avoid the hassle I wound up in.

So I figured, "Hey, if I'm here in the lab, I might as well use final cut to continue working on this! I'll just make the second half right here, then ship it on over!

Well, that consisted of about 3 hours worth of 1080p HD video. So Final Cut exported the video, which came to about 60GB in size. That, alone, took 27 hours. So, I left it overnight. It finished in the morning, and I set it up to transfer over the network, and it failed 4 times at 5hours per attempt. I finally got it on the 6th try. And here's the fun part.

I took it home.
And even though I had recorded in a file format that is SUPPOSED to be cross-platform,
it had an apple-exclusive codec imbedded in it.

Basically, I waited and and waited for Iron Man 3 to come out, bought a ticket, drink, and candy.
I got all cozy in my seat, felt the stickiness of the floor beneath my feet.

Then the opening credits roll!

That's what happened inside my computer.
So, this puts me at Thursday night. I recapture my 3 hours of footage (9hours down), and let it do its thing.
Friday morning, I wake up at 8am. I know that I have to get busting on this, stat, and not let up. Because it will literally take every minute of the next few days to make this right again.

To clarify, I had already planned to be working on it on these days. I had it planned out that I could put in about 6 hours of work per day, about 4 days a week.

Easy peasy.
Well, I ended up putting 4 of them during birthweekend.

It wasn't that big of a deal, because of the easiness in which I had scheduled myself.
So, in the 4 days I worked on the macs, I brought myself up to the point I had planned myself to be.
Then those 8 days worth became useless, and the last 4 days of my plan, needed to have that additional 8 days crammed ontop of it.

I completed 12 days of work in 4.

12 energy drinks, 3 beers, and 2 pizzas.
And a few gallons of water so the energy drink didn't give me heart palpitations; however, my ears started hurting, one night.

I was awake for 115 straight hours; 72 of them, working. also handfuls more, waiting on renders to complete. I did take a few breaks, to eat, and shower, and just NOT be at the computer for an hour or so.

All in all, I'd say this project has taken me between 250-300 hours. not bad for a month and a half.

Currently, it is not finished, in its entirety. The video, itself is! but it's being written. 50% at 3hrs. in.
And that's not even burning it to disk, yet. Product ships on Thursday. 100 copies of this video. They are all going to be sold.

As frustrating as this career can be, the fact that I can pour 300 hours onto something, and not even be mad about it, is wonderful. And I've done that on some video games over the course of about a year, but I did this in 6 weeks. And those 100 copies will be seen by 100 people.

It always bewilders and humbles me when I am able to take a minute to breathe, and think about the fact SO many people are able to see my creative works.

And that, friends, is what keeps me doing this. The fact that I make something that I think is awesome, and have that feeling reciprocated, drives me.

What's even better is the fact that this DVD is the FIRST in the series.
And I get better with everything I do.
I can't wait to see what the last installment looks like!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

around my 40th hour of awake.

I'm overcoming the battle of the mac vs PC.
I'm more or less re-doing all of the work I had done, as well as the work I was originally scheduled to do, as well as the bit of work I had put off during birthweekend.

8 days worth of work in 3?
I got this.
I'm fueled by pizza and monster, at the moment.

I've been working for 30 hours, now, with a few breaks here and there, to go get food, pay my debtors, and such.

I'm rendering an animation, so I have about 20 minutes to kill.
this should sufficiently kill 20 minutes.

I'm well aware that when I finish this rough draft on Monday morning, it is GOING TO BE SO ROUGH, because I'm going to be SO DEAD.

But at least it will put me back on track.
I'm still just so mad that I lost all the work that I did, because everything would have been adequately planned out, and everything would be on time and fall right into place.

Instead I'm a large pizza, and 5 monsters deep.
Propelled by Destiny, Fury, and Taurine, this project will come to an excellent close.

and then I will play borderlands2 for a few weeks, while I bask in my temporary success.

Then it'll be round 2 of Blacksmithing DVDs. Originally I was hoping that my timeframe on my next one would be longer, under the notion that I can better recover when macs explode my week.

But then I remembered that I'm straight up never touching one, again.

I also have been drinking water, so that the energy drinks don't give me heart palpitations.
This causes me to pee every 2 hours.

Pineapple on a pizza is delicious, but not after it gets cold.

I'm just mentally jumping around everywhere, right now.
I need an assistant.

OH GOD. I went to the Athens Goodwill, this morning, before breakfast.
And I FINALLY found a suitjacket that matches my hat/pants, and is in my size!
It's a TWINGE too light, but it at least more properly fits my attire. I also found a pair of dark blue slacks to match my dark blue suitjacket.

Which means I now have 2 suits to wear.
I'm likely going to switch the buttons between the two, because I like the buttons on the blue one, better than the black one, but since my black one makes a more complete ensemble, the blue one is going to be my back-up emergency suit which will be kept in my trunk for all of my unknowingly immediate suit-wearning needs. Which means that it doesn't need fancier buttons than my primary suit.

That is so much of a run-on sentence, and I can see that I am losing my mind.

I also re-installed an audio software that works with my music keyboard, and I understand it better than I did 3 years ago. So, now I get to do some serious music-ing on my video projects. I mean, as background tone. I doubt I'll ever get myself to ACTUALLY make REAL music, but it's sufficient.

my render just completed. Now I get to scrutinize it, and make sure everything is perfect, then re-render it after I fix what I inevitably screwed up, and take another 20 minutes to fully finish.

Friday, September 14, 2012

My new bike is awesome!

So my overage check arrived, and I went and bought a few things.

One of them is a new road bike, and I got to ride around, town, today.
It was AWESOME. In case you don't know the difference between a mountain bike, and a road bike; I'll explain it.

A mountain bike is meant to be ridden in the mountains. The tires have deep grooves to grip in muddy and rocky terrain. The suspension, and shape of the bike is built for maximum shock absorption.

That's great for riding in the mountains, or in the woods, or in Kuwait.
But I don't ride anywhere that's not paved, or so worn that it might as well be.
So, that really doesn't fit me, at all. Unfortunately, mountain bikes are also much cheaper, which doesn't make sense, because it's the same amount of the same materials.

But anyway, road bikes have very shallow treads, to maximize speed on paved areas. The seat is set so that the rider can relax, which is great, because traffic is scary.

There are some other differences, like the fact that road bikes don't have brakes like mountain bikes. You slightly pedal backwards to force yourself to a stop, and you don't change gears.

It would seem that those last two differences would be the most noteable; however, that's what I care less about. I care about enjoying my ride, and not shredding my stupid knee.

So I'm back on track to my personal fitness goal of riding to Athens and back ~30mi.

It also has a platform on the back to hold things. I can buy a basket, and use that to hold my backpack, or video camera when I have to take one from school so that I can capture footage at home, because the mac at school can't output to form that my pc will recognize, so that I can edit my video I've been trying to finish for the past forever, and I lose 4 whole days progress because apple is a tremendous pile douchehole that makes me run-on sentence like WHOA.

I HAAATE that capturing footage goes in real-time speeds.

So, I'm waiting a handful of hours while my tape digitizes, only to then spend the next entire weekend, every second plastered to my editing bay, recreating a whole project.

Apple makes me rant, and run-on sentence, and be overall angry.
For no reason.

But I had a nice time riding my bike, today.


Because my bike was not manufactured by apple(they don't even deserve capitalization. Whores.).

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


My new battery FINALLY arrived after about 2 weeks.

Now, while my phone had the sickness, I had noticed that the back panel could not completely close, I figured I had broken a clasp or something.

So, I pull out my old battery, with new one in hand (trying to swap them fast enough that the phone did not shut off [did not achieve this]) I noticed, HOLY GODS, my old battery was slightly OVAL shaped, instead of rectangular. I'm fairly certain that at some point my battery was at a critical explosion-imminent state, that I narrowly avoided experiencing.

So, now my phone works 100%, again, and is ready for another year of abuse.

I've come to notice that my blog postings as of late have been that of a complaining nature.
Well, not really. I'm mostly just talking about things that are going on in my life, of which there are so many.

But I was in my computer graphics class looking for pictures I had taken for a project, and forgot which account I had posted them to. I decided to google image search 'McStene', and fell upon my old wordpress blog, and started reading some of the things I had put on there.

I wrote about things that fascinated me, and things that were happening in a very uniquely humorous manner.
Quite literally writing the way I spoke, and continue to speak. Lately I've just been kind of direct-point vomiting on the screen.

We're making CD/DVD covers in class, and I've been making some pretty solid practice drafts with old pictures I've been able to find otherwise. I took a picture I took of some train tracks, tossed in a picture I took of some clouds, and lastly added a shot of Corey's wedding party, and made a zombie-themed cover, which I will upload, as soon as I'm in class, tomorrow.

I also took a picture of a duck, and set it on fire, and made up a band called "Ducks on Fire", the album being 'We Ride at Dawn'. The reception for it is quite positive, and should nothing else be sufficient, I will end up using it as my assignment. I will also upload that, tomorrow morning, as well.

I guess this weekend I'm helping a friend work on a tutorial video of how to use the school's new online learning tool. And we're likely going to be using Flash for an interactive tutorial portion. I'm using all the new things I'm learning! Also, flash is freaking awesome! I wish I had discovered it when I was 12 and watched things on newgrounds. It has just enough programming to keep it interesting and powerful, but is not so code-heavy that I get angry and wreck everything because the 400 pages I just wrote doesn't work because I used a ")" instead of "}"

See what I did there? with the HTML tag?(but without carrots, because it wouldn't display)

Welcome to the portion of the blog where I DO complain. A LOT.

"Oh, my You've worked on this page all day, following everything right out of the book, and it looks really nice. You'll get an A on it"

It runs as intended! YES!

"Now, let's add this tiny bit at the very bottom"

Okay. *uses a parenthesis, instead of curly bracket, unknowingly*


Holy cow! What did I do wrong?


Oh. I messed up a bracket. FU HTML.

What sucks I used HTML to make that portion, where I converse with hypothetical HTML

But seriously, What kind of programming language screws up the entire project when one component is flawed that is totally separate from the rest of the page?

I guess I understand, now, what it means to have a modular programming engine. I would imagine that something modular, if you screwed up a piece, the whole thing would compile and operate sans screwed up piece.

Or I suck at HTML.

Either way, I was approached about an internship in web design, and my feet immediately grew propellers, started spinning around, then twisted and snapped my spine, because that's not how feet work.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Respecting the music.

This radio station manager position that I picked up is going to quite the handful.

A lot of the music is mis-tagged, so Sarah McLachlan's 'Angel' shows up under the 'Rock' genre.
So I started tearing everything down and building it back up from the beginning.

So I have to go through each of our tracks and correctly tag them, but how to keep the tags useful?
I need to have a degree of specificity, so that if someone wants to play a rock playlist, they have access to purely rock tracks, but if someone wants more maroon 5 than zepplin, then they can do that (light rock versus 70s rock)

But each category still needs to be vague enough that whoever my DJs are don't have to fuss about between 'acid jazz' and  'crossover jazz' Especially because one thing I'm going to need them to do is actively edit the tags to the tracks, since I CANNOT do it all by myself.

Before I realized this whole tagging thing would be so much of an issue, I quadrupled our music library (something like 30,000 tracks, currently).

Another thing I've noticed is the trend of calling something 'oldies' or '20s' or '30s'
30s what? Because I know that there were different kinds of music in the 30s. There was Jazz, Blues, Swing, and Folk music. So I'm making it a point to respect music as an entity by properly tagging things and putting them into playlists based on musical stylings as opposed to age. (Fist bump to mah gurl Ella Fitzgerald)

Then not only do I need to clearly define rules to place which songs, where; I also need to adequately convey this to everyone I'm going to be working with!
So, I'm working on a graphical representation, and simply destroying notebooks from crumple-drafts.
I feel like I'm making a periodic table of music genres. Incidentally, the periodic table is my inspiration for this representation.

The periodic table is so incredibly well-devised. It's majestic. The number of different organizational paradigms filling up that graph is beautiful. (I've picked up an old habit of reading the dictionary before bed.)

Once I get this drafted, though, I am going to draw it up in Illustrator, and send it over to the Manufacturing department to get a 36"x44" printout. I'm using all the new things I'm learning in my new classes to tackle all of my new challenges.

There are SO MANY NEW CHALLENGES. I'm finding out that there are so many things I didn't know that I didn't know. And on top of that is that I have to get these things figured out and quashed in a reasonable time-frame, amidst all the other things calling out for my attention.

I'm also on the hunt for another turntable, and crossfader so that DJs can bring in and use some vinyl.

I'm discovering that documentation of music is as scarce as the genres of music, in that there is no one-stop-shop for music database information. Specifically, information about the genre and usability of a song based on profanity. Because we can't play anything that has profanity in it at all, due to the nature of our license.

So many things in life need an idiot button. But I'm glad that I'm taking the time and accepting the burden do things right. I want 'doing things right' to be synonymous with my name. Up until this point it's been more closely related to 'Knows what he's doing, but is disorganized and won't give things >70%'

My time to get known for being awesome is now. I have the perfect things in line to allow to springboard into grandeur. Now I just need to start paying the tab.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

I thought I was cool for a second.

I checked my stats, today, and Google told me that I had 50 hits, today!

Then I realized 24 of them were when I was trying to find a specific one on Fangs' phone.

Also, at some point in this blogs life, 17 people found it by googling "Math Puns".
I want that to happen again.

I started working on a new comic. Adobe Illustrator is weird, and new, and it might take a while to produce anything. I shamelessly grabbed a picture off of google to use as a model for a lady. This is part of what I'm working on.

On a side-note, I showed Doug the Blacksmith what I had done so far as editing goes, and it made my day to see his light up watching it.

That's my favorite reaction in a client.
It feels weird referring to people as clients.
It feels weird actually making money doing this.
It feels weird eating too much burrito.

Sorry, I was starting to drift off into a sort of wistfulness.
I need to keep myself spouting off ridiculousnesses if I want to continue being myself.

So, I went to Athens, today for lunch, and got a Big Mama's burrito, and a Bubble tea from The Dragon's Cup. then as I was leaving the parking garage, I almost got hit by my friend Fangs. I stopped in the middle of the lane-ish thing, and made him think he was gonna get beat up until he saw me

Then we ate Chinese, and I saved my burrito for later.
That ended up being a mistake, because I was still not empty enough for the burrito.

I wore a friends pair of aviators that he left behind when he visited.
I occasionally felt like I might look like a badass

But then I kept noticing my face is crooked, and I just looked silly, instead.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

So, I spent all of today continuing working on the Blacksmithing series.

Doug says he wants any filler music to be Bluegrass. I think Bluegrass is the style of music I have the least amount of experience with, aside from like really specific and obscure genres. Oh, and screamo.

I despise screamo. I am an advocate for "Don't tear down on styles of music just because it doesn't fit your tastes" But I will absolutely discredit screamo on the daily. There was this post on a Borderlands 2 trailer, titled "Only hardcore Borderlands fans will get this song!" I clicked it and it was screamo, and now it's stuck in my head because I have yet to find what a hardcore Borderlands fan is supposed to relate in it.

It mentions an angel, and some other pretty stupidly vague and overused literary components. (did I mention 'literary components' and screamo in the same breath? Even that angers me, because my being bothered by it validates it.) Anyway, most of the song was talking about "The Beast" and "Man, that's some evil piss!"






And those are the words you can understand.

So, anyway. Bluegrass. I actually kind of like it. Which is weird, because I don't really care for country all that much, and I associate rednecks with country.

There is an ilk of person that transcends redneckdom, and I can only call them hilljacks.
I.E. former neighbors.

Bluegrass originates from Appalachia, which is the hills where the hilljacks are from.
So, by a logical standard, I should vomit the minute Bluegrass enters my ears.

And you SHOULD call poison control anytime you ingest blue grass.

But I like it. So long as it doesn't contain vocals.
So I've spent most of the day locating royalty free, vocal less Bluegrass music to use as filler in parts of the series.

While I was developing my musical pallet, my chair broke. this is what happens when you dumpster dive.
My chair does not stop if you lean back. So, now it's super uncomfortable, and makes me angry.

Life is sooooo harrrd.

One of my projects for my Computer Graphics class is to make a CD and DVD cover.
I've been thinking about what I'm going to do for them. Here's an idea of what I think I'm gonna go for on the CD cover.

I'm going for a sort of 'Aphex Twin' feel, because super weird is super fun. It's going to be a photgraph, not a drawing, and the faces are going to be like a group picture with some samefacing, or faceswapping going on.

I really don't actually know what I'm doing. but it's an idea.