Life, Art, and Monkeys
26Apr/16Off

Movin!

Well, given how infrequently I update this ol' personal blog, I think it's about time I moved things over to JKRiki.com permanently. It's updated every Monday, after all! Plus I'm going to be upgrading it in the next few months to include links to other spots I hang out online, such as my new digs at Instagram. If you're looking for me in the meantime, check over here!

Zipping over to JKRiki.com!

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24Jun/15Off

Past Archives Begin Here

Caution sign
Please note: Posts here older than June 24th, 2015 should be considered officially archived. I am not removing them, but in the ten years that I have been writing on this blog I have changed a great deal. Things beyond this point should be considered outdated at best, and may contain many errors or opinions I no longer hold. These things tend to happen as you grow and live life. Or at least, they hopefully happen as you try to become a better person as you age! I just want readers to be aware of that, so that if you decide to go poking through history you will know that it doesn't necessarily reflect my current or future views. :)

 

If you'd like current thoughts and posts, please visit JKRiki.com for regular scheduled updates that provide better insights and information. Thanks!

JKRiki.com

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20Jun/11Off

Taylor Swift and Brother Bear

For starters, there's a new post over at Sceb's blog. Three days in and he's already being a jerk.

I had a very long weekend. Saturday was a tennis tournament and Taylor Swift concert with friends, Sunday was a big church party, hanging a microwave (or starting to at least), and finally getting to see Brother Bear. When I type it out like that it doesn't seem so long, I guess you had to be there.

I was matched up with a good opponent for the tournament this year, and managed to come back from 5-1 down in the first set to win 5-7, but after he won the second set I nearly passed out during the third. I'm not used to two and a half hour matches in the sun, so I had to retire at 3-3 deuce 4. It was a lot of fun, though, and I'm glad I entered. Of course, that wore me out pretty heavily for attending the Taylor Swift concert later. I'm not sure I've ever been anywhere as loud as sitting in those stands. 50,000 screaming little girls, and even with my hands covering my ears it was deafening.

It was an experience, that's for sure. I'm not sure I'd do it again, but I'm glad I got to have the experience. One thing that bugged me to no end was how Taylor Swift kept making these expressions that I wish I could fully describe but was like a more evil version of this:


It was this vibe of "I am so much better than everyone here and you SHOULD be worshiping me" and while I don't know if she meant it, as an animator who studies the subtleties of human nature that was absolutely the aura she was giving off. Also some of the performing was SO over the top I couldn't really enjoy it. She flipped her hair around and shook her head so often it was a wonder she didn't have whiplash. The singing was good, so I wish she would have just stuck with that and left the attitude at home.

As for Brother Bear, it's really no wonder that the movie flopped for Disney. It was SUPER dark. I kept having to remind myself it was a Disney animated movie, because it was extremely serious and kind of scary. I enjoyed it alright, but I wouldn't want to make a movie like that. Apart from the moose which were 100% comic relief, there was very little comedy. In terms of animation, it seemed like "Great animation for a normal studio." Which is to say, it did not live up to Disney level animation. Minus the shaman woman of the tribe. She was WONDERFULLY done. Absolutely brilliant work, I want to know who the lead animator was for that character. Terrific.

You know, thinking about my weekend now it seems better suited to a 12 year old female than a guy in his late 20's. Hmm... Well, I was never much for growing up, so whatever! Now I'm off to animate some cartoons. :)

Oh, also today starts the third grand slam tennis event of the year, over at the All England Club. I must say, I'm looking forward to watching those matches on grass. Yep, the slam between the French Open and US Open sure is a cool event.

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10May/11Off

BLAST YOU, LIGHTS! BLAST YOOOOOOOU…

Last night I played tennis for I suppose the official start of the tennis season. We had a nice round of mixed doubles and then I played singles against my non-mixed doubles partner. He's better than me. I've never once beaten him. The closest I ever came was 5 - 2 at which point he stormed right back and won. It was a crushing defeat. Much worse than the usual 6-0 6-1 defeats. But last night... Last night I made it all the way to 6-6. A tie-breaker, first to seven, win by two. After an epic and exhausting battle, the score was 6-5 in my favor. One more point.

The crisp cool air filled my tired lungs as I strangled the grip of my racket. His serve. One point. I just needed one point to claim that victory that's eluded me for two years. The serve came and I vowed that no matter what, I WOULD NOT LET HIM RETURN MY SHOT. With a roar I swung the racket through the air like lightning! TWANG the strings screeched as the ball pounded towards his side of the net! And then over the net! And then over the fence behind the court. And then about 8o yards away onto a soccer field.

Everyone else thought it was QUITE amusing, my total failure. I have to admit, I didn't have enough energy left to be furious with myself so we all sat around laughing for a while. Then it was time to switch sides and continue my quest for gold. Except as I walked to the baseline, all the lights on the court went out and we were left in the dark.

And so ends another attempt to achieve my current tennis goal. It was as close as I've ever been, and I have to figure one day I'll get there. But man did that suck. They couldn't have stayed on for TWO MORE MINUTES?! Blast.

I guess I have a new nemesis now.

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Filed under: Tennis 27 Comments
6Sep/10Off

September 2010 Q&A with JKR

Firstly, a very merry Labor Day to all those who celebrate it. One of these years I should probably learn why we have a holiday called Labor Day. I'm sure I was taught about it in school many moons ago, but I certainly don't remember.

Now on to the Q&A!

"My question, have I been banned from the blog, and why?
Yes, I’m aware that if it was true, you wouldn’t be seeing this."
-DV.S

JKR says: I don't believe you've been banned from the blog, but in the event that it appears that has happened, you can always send an email via the contact page at FtM.com and I'll try to fix the issue.

"Dear JKR, what do you think of Telltale’s new poker game?"
-Papytendo

JKR says: Dear Papytendo, I think it's a brilliant marketing strategy that involves the highest level of selling out, and I'm thoroughly jealous I can't get Fred into something like that! Honestly, I don't expect a lot out of it, but it's a fun idea, and one day it would be cool to do something like that with other artists. I do love me some cross-overs.

"Who is your favorite author? Artist? Composer?"
-Triangle

JKR says: Wait a minute, that's THREE questions! Though I guess I didn't specify 1 per customer or anything, so that's fine. My favorite author is James Rollins. Artist? That's a tougher one because I don't necessarily like one "artist" over another, but more so their works. I have not found an artist that I've loved 100% of the work of. That's the nature of art. I am a very, VERY big fan of Glen Keane. And finally, for composer I would have to say either BDDB or George Gershwin. Gershwin because of Rhapsody in Blue, and BDDB because I need to butter him up so he'll do some music for Fred's upcoming 7th Season.

"Dear JKR,
When’s Homestar Runner– I mean Fred the Monkey coming back?"
-Optimus Prime

JKR says: Alas, I wish I could give you a date for Homestar's return. Sadly, it appears it very well may be in the "never" category. I personally believe if we don't see a new Halloween cartoon from them this year, it is very unlikely they'll ever return to Homestar. Which seems odd, not giving him a proper send off. Still, from one Flash animator to another, I know the pressures of the process, and after taking almost a year off without any word, I don't think they'll return. Which is sad, but at least they had a brilliant run and we have a ton of cartoons to still enjoy that they created.

As for Fred, he shall make his glorious return on a certain "anniversary" of a particular occasion. Catch my drift?

"What is the meaning of life?

…Just kidding. Real question: What is some of your favorite manga/anime? Or even Chloe’s, since she seems to like it so much."
-Lauren

JKR says: The meaning of life, I believe, is something that needs to be discovered for each individual on a personal level. I can't just tell you what it is. I know what it is in my opinion, but it wouldn't mean as much if you didn't discover it yourself. Good luck!

Also, Cloe is spelled Cloe, not Chloe. So many people spell her name wrong! I know why, of course, but still. My own favorite manga is Hunter X Hunter. Though the artist of it goes on hiatuses more often than I do! And for longer. Years at a time, he'll stop. I cry. Runner up favorites include Maison Ikkoku, Prince of Tennis, and One Piece. Cloe is a huge Naruto fan, and wants to be a huge Bleach fan but she hates how things drag on and on with no real story sometimes. Just fight fight fight fight fight. She really liked it in the beginning, though.

"how many pizza rolls can fred put in his mouth at one time?"
-Arzenhi

JKR says: Some of life's questions may never be answered... Still, I fear if I ask him he'll feel obligated to find out. (And by "obligated" I mean it will give him the idea to try and he'll probably choke to death in the attempt.) If I had to guess, I'd say about 10. The smaller ones. They have these new "Super Sized" pizza rolls, and then all bets are off. Those things aren't nearly as good, though.

"Would you ever like to see your own characters in a commercially produced video game? And, if so, what Genre?"
-ThatFellowWithTheHat

JKR says: A Poker game! No, I'm just kidding. I would indeed love to see the Fred crew in a "real" video game, however I would probably drive the developer crazy with all the things I'd make them do. If such a game were to exist, I would want it to be of the Adventure (point and click) or low-level RPG variety, because I think the charm of the characters comes from their interaction. Something like a fighting game wouldn't work. They would need to have conversations, so I think an old school Adventure game would be perfect. Also, 2D. None of this 3D nonsense. NONSENSE!

As far as other characters of mine, I think the Kingdom Blue gang would fit perfectly in a side scroller action game, and the Captain was actually DESIGNED to be in a game, so I wouldn't talk more about that right now.

"What’s your favourite CD?"
-PhilipBee

JKR says: Like artists, I don't have one particular favorite CD. I like random assortments of songs when I listen to things. I don't know if I own a CD where I like every single song. Some of my favorites, though, include the Annimaniacs soundtracks, the soundtrack to Charlies Angels 2, and the artists Switchfoot, Relient K, and Bare Naked Ladies.

And there you have it. Another successful Q&A from yours truly. Want to chime in on the answers, or answer some of these questions yourself? Post a comment. I'd certainly enjoy hearing about what other folks' favorite CDs and Manga are, or what y'all think about the fact that I let slip when FtM will return. Finally.

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9Jul/10Off

New tennis racket is got

Well after my sweet old tennis racket went and broke in half (randomly) I resorted to using a Wilson N5 that we normally have for guests to use. Try as I might, I couldn't adapt to its style of play. Nothing worked, and I'd miss normal shots again and again. Finally, I gave up and decided to get a new racket. I play tennis much too often to suffer through using something that is horribly uncomfortable to me. Plus I nearly sprained my wrist using the N5 since it's much heavier than rackets I'm used to.

Today I picked up a shiny new Wilson K-fierce FX from my local tennis shop. I'm excited, because of all the rackets I demoed this one just felt right. I'm anxious to get to the court and try it out, considering for the past week I've been using Q's racket instead, and it is also very unsuited to my style of playing. (It was still better than that blasted N5, though.)

And of course, it is now raining. Sunny all day, picked up my racket, now pouring rain.

Of course.

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Filed under: Tennis 10 Comments
15Jun/10Off

Death of a Racket

My sweet, sweet tennis racket is no more. The poor thing snapped in half while I was playing a match, and though the string tension remained, it's not really usable anymore. I was sad. I had that racket for a while now, and it really suited me well. Sigh.

The replacement for it is at my local tennis shop for $110, but I can't manage that right now, so I'm having our backup racket (that we usually just let guests use if someone doesn't have their own) restrung and re-gripped to be as close to my old one as possible. If you would have asked me a few years ago if there was THAT much of a difference between two rackets, I'd have said no. Now, though, I feel every little difference when I'm actually playing. It doesn't seem like one racket being a few inches shorter would matter, but it totally does.

Of course this happens a few days before a tournament, too. So I have some practicing to get on with. So much for my little vacation...

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Filed under: Tennis 3 Comments
25May/10Off

Woo Andy Roddick

It was a pretty tense five set match, but Andy Roddick is into the next round of the French Open. I don't fully expect him to win it, because clay isn't really his game, but you never know, and every extra match means one step closer! He's one of my favorite players now that he improved so much, and I really would like to see him win a slam again. Just one more, now that he's so much better. We'll see...

I started playing tennis with a new friend of mine from church, and he used to play in high school. So he's much better than I am, but it's amazingly fun because it pushes me to play a lot better. And it's rather amusing, because a lot of his style of play is exactly like mine but just improved. So now I can pretty much experience exactly what it's like for my other friends to play against me. At first it was maddening; so many slices and drop shots! But after a while I started to really enjoy getting those shots thrown at me, because it puts the ball in an awesome place to hit topspin. I just have to GO for the topspin, which is a bit unnerving since I'm not great at it. Time to get better!

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Filed under: Tennis 3 Comments
15Sep/09Off

Tennis Rankings Are Wrong

This week I joined a winter tennis league, and inquired about what ranking I should enter. Here is a link to the ratings, if you want to know.

I assumed I'd likely be a solid 3.5, and on my good days I bet I make it to 4.0. Instead I was placed in the 3.0 category, according to an anonymous person who "knew my tennis game". Now this is slightly odd for several reasons. First, I absolutely don't fit into the category of "not comfortable with all strokes and lack execution when trying for directional control, depth, or power." In fact, my entire game is BUILT around my execution of directional control. Corner to corner shots, and that sort of thing. But even more than that, I have no idea who this person could have been that knows my game. Four, maybe five people know my game, and they are the people I play constantly. None of them have any connection with the league. The only people who might are folks who I played several years ago in tournaments or competitions. And yeah, back then I was a 3.0. TWO YEARS AGO. Did they think I was just sitting around since then, not practicing at all?

Anyway, I'm going to print out the email saying I should be in the 3.0 bunch and keep it in my tennis bag. Then whenever I need a boost of energy, I'll read it and look very similar to this:

We'll see who's only a 3.0...

Of course the other alternative is that the descriptions on the website are nonsense and I really am a 3.0, as it is described at 3.5. If that's the case I look forward to playing other 3.0 players in my new tennis league when it starts this winter. I figure my ankle will be 100% by then, but I'm going to have to keep exercising it so it heals all the way.

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Filed under: Tennis 6 Comments
9Sep/09Off

It sure feels like Monday…

After the holiday weekend visiting family, I return to my desk today feeling that it isn't Wednesday, but still Monday. Which is a very, very bad thing, because I have a tremendous amount to do in two days before Friday's deadline. I don't have time to be feeling like it's still Monday.

My ankle is in the process of healing, and I can hobble-walk without crutches now. Except in the mornings, because after sleeping for however many hours the blood moves a lot slower, so when I get out of bed it all rushes back and hurts like CRAZY. Today that pain only lasted an hour or two though, and now the ankle feels just fine while I'm sitting here typing. What doesn't feel fine is my calf muscle. Apparently not using it for an entire week has made it come to the conclusion that it no longer has to work ever again and can get lazy and fat. So it screams at me in the form of pain when I try to walk and get it back in shape. I can only imagine what it would be like if I had a cast on it or something for longer than just a week.

I hobbled along the beach this weekend while on my visit to family, and learned two things: First, the beaches of New Jersey are not nearly as nice as the beaches of everywhere else I've been to (but I already knew that, really). Second, crutches work very poorly on loose packed sand. Very poorly indeed.

I also found a tennis court on the bay literally ten feet from the water. Wow that must be awesome to play, staring past your opponent to the deep blue sea. I stood at the fence staring at the people playing with big sad eyes that I couldn't be there hitting the ball alongside them. They kept glancing nervously at me and then left. What did they think I could do, chase them down on crutches and steal their rackets?

Alright, I've used the blog as an excuse not to get to work by typing many paragraphs long enough. Time to fire up Flash and get cracking on this week's cartoon. (At least some of it is already done.)

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