Thursday, July 31, 2008

Princess and the Frog Teaser

Okay..I know this is something I haven't worked on (at least not yet..always hope!!), but because I have goals of animating on Disney 2D films in the near future, I want this to be huge! Disney has posted the first teaser for it's jump back into traditional animated features, "The Princess and the Frog". Run, don't walk, to view this teaser. It's just a glimpse of the goodness to come! Plus..the more people know about this film the more they will go and see it and prove to the suits at Disney that it's not the format that makes a film a hit, it's a well told story that gets people's butts in the theaters!

Check it out here!

Until laterz!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Whole lotta shaking going on!

By now most of you have heard of the 5.4 earthquake that shook the southern California area. I was driving down I-5 and the 110 freeway when the biggest quake since 1994's big one. I'd love to be able to tell some huge story about cars all over the road and huge cracks and power lines down and flames from the pits of hell blazing...but to be honest, I didn't even realize anything was going on. If it wasn't for the radio saying something about Chino Hills and my housemates saying they felt it big time and all the media coverage, I wouldn't really have known anything had happened. I'm kinda bummed cause I wanted to compare to the earthquakes I experienced in Taiwan. Oh well..another time! :)

Until laterz!

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Drawing Club - July 24

I've posted some sketches from this past Thursday night Drawing Club over on "The DakotaKid Corral". Check the post out here .

Until laterz!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Going Back to school


For those of you that haven't heard, I've decided to further my character animation skills (and ultimately up my job options!!). I recently applied to the Animation Mentor program. I am scheduled to start the Fall '08 term at the end of September. This is an online course that has been gaining more and more recognition and respect in the animation industry. It's an 18 month course that consists of six 12-week sessions. And the BEST part of this program is that each quarter you have a different mentor training you. These mentors are actively working in the industry and truly WANT to further the students passion and career. So, over the next two years, I'll post updates on the classes and the good and the bad (but hopefully more good!). Keep checking back.

Until laterz!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Beach Party

After being in the LA for about two weeks, I finally made it to the REAL reason people move here...THE BEACH! Now, many of you know that I'm not usually a "Let's go to a day at the beach"-kinda guy, especially in this land of perfect bodies (both real and fake). But the Blue House small group went to the beach last week and I went along. We went in the evening and grilled burgers. It was a beautiful area and reminded me that I do LOVE God's creation!! And it wasn't that far, really. I'm gonna have to get out there more often. Even just to chill out and sit. Along with the burgers, we made a HUGE fire, which one of the guys with us kept adding bundle after bundle of wood onto. This created quite the blaze. We hung out and listened to the jam session of guitar and djembe (an african drum). Also met some new people, one that is from south west Minnesota! So awesome to find people that KNOW where I'm from. All in all, it was a great time! Check out the photos.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Drawing Club

I've posted some sketches from this past Thursday night Drawing Club over on "The DakotaKid Corral". Check the post out HERE .

Until laterz!

The Dark Knight RETURNS!!!

It wasn't the opening midnight showing that I normally go too, but it was a first for me. I got up earlier then I have since I've been in LA (5:30AM!!) and drove up to Hollywood, to the CINEDOME!!! The plan was too meet some friends for Waffles at 6am, but the others had a late shoot for work the night before and were really tired. So, I went and got McDonald's and they met up with me just before the show. We had gotten our tickets early and in the Cinedome they assign the seats, so we had our center row FANTASTIC seats already. This theater has been an institution in Hollywood for some time, I guess. Let's just say it was amazing! The sound was sick, making you feel every bass thump and explosion. The screen is huge and projected on the curved wall of the theater. It's not as massive as IMAX, but close!

Now about the film....and let's just say this now. GIVE LEDGER THE OSCAR NOW!! Heath Ledger's Joker is the best version I've seen. It matches the best written/drawn Joker in the comics. It is almost painful to think of what more amazing work this talent would have done if not dying. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Christian Bale's Batman once again...but it truly is Ledger's the Joker that lifts up everyone else's! Chris Nolan just has tapped into this gritty version of the Batman lore once again! I was heartbroken again by my girl, Katie Holmes, when she wasn't allowed to reprise her role by her wacked out husband. But I relly enjoy Maggie G. and was a good replacement for Rachel Dawes. I won't go into too much detail of the plot since I'm sure there are some that at this time still haven't seen the best movie of the year so far! I just hope more DC comic movies can get to this level! Marvel has been doing pretty good with it's latest ventures.

Until laterz...same BAT channel...same BAT time!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cops and Robbers

I understand I'm living in LA..pretty much downtown LA. I realize I'm not living in the IDEAL place for a white boy from the Midwest. But really, the area I live in is not too bad all things considered. I live north of the USC campus...only a few blocks from that schools "Frat Row" (at least that's what we called it at UNL), which I am told use to be Embassies. I'm not sure if that's true..but the houses are really gorgeous old houses. IF money was put into these things, this area could be a real cool place to live. Granted that would make the rent go up and many of the tenants wouldn't have a place to live. Anyways...KNOWING that I'm in an area that tests my faith in GOD daily, I have given into the fact that helicopters with huge spot lights fly by at night (thank goodness for thick curtains). I've given into the fact that cars with kickin' stereos blare music so that the whole neighborhood can join in and sing the latest song about "apple bottom jeans" and "boots with the fur" or whatever. I've also given into ignoring all the extra bleeps and honks that happen outside my front window.

Last night around 11:30ish, I'm reading and hear some bleeps and such, people yelling, but I keep reading and don't think much about it. The night before, I looked out to see a large circle of people in the parking lot next to us. They were throwing what looked to be water balloons at one guy. It looked almost like hazing...or a major game of kill the carrier! In the morning, a large orange stain was where the guy had been losing the dodge balloon game!

Anyways..back to last night. So one of my housemates knocks on my door and asks me if I've seen the police bust going on outside. I jumped up and ran to the window and saw this time a circle of cops around a guy and his bike. I didn't want to gawk, but I went to my other window and tried to watch without being seen. My housemate said something about it being an attempted burglary. I grabbed my camera and tried to get some pictures without being seen through my front window blinds. Here are the pics.

I know it's kinda blurry...okay, way blurry, but you can see the circle of people (those are the cops) and then the one or maybe two guys in the middle (with a bike).

And here's the cop SUV that was making the bleeping sound we were hearing. This was taken after the cops finished talking to the man and he took his bike and walked off. I'm not sure at all what it was all about, but what's cooler then seeing a possible cop bust just yards away from your front door!!! I haven't had this much fun since I watched cops bust kids for drugs in the dorms!

Until laterz!

The Drawing Club

I've posted some sketches from this past Thursday night Drawing Club over on "The DakotaKid Corral". Check the post out HERE .

Until laterz!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Blue House

The Tuesday night we got into LA, a buddy of mine, Caleb, from Sioux Falls calls me and says he's stuck overnight in LA. He was on his way to Hawaii, but the flight was cancelled. The airlines put him up, but we went over and picked him up to go to dinner with us and the Taguchi's. We went to a Japanese restaurant and had some really good food. After dinner, I took Caleb back to his hotel so he could get some sleep.

Some of you may know that I was moving out to LA without a job and without a permanent place to live. Before I left South Dakota, a possible temp place to rent came up. It was a house of about seven guys, many in the Entertainment industry. After I dropped off Caleb at the hotel, I headed over to the USC campus to check out the place nicknamed "The Blue House" .

I finally found the street that the house was on and walked up to the house. There was a bible study going on that I knew would be finishing soon, so I sat on the outside porch...waiting for either the bible study to break up or for someone else to come home. Soon, a truck came driving in the driveway. The driver came up to the front and introduced himself as Kevin. He brought me in and gave me a tour of the house and room that was for sublet. After the tour, I met a few more of the house guys, along with some of the other people that were at the bible study. It ends up that all the guys in the house go to Mosaic for church. Mosaic was one of the churches I had been referred to by an LA friend (thanks Linda!!). After some more chatting with people from the house, I said my goodbye and headed back to the Taguchi's.

After some figuring out and some wonderful blessings by my family, I decided that this sublet was the best thing for me at this time. The room I'd be renting is a big furnished room. It makes not having a ton of my household goods with me easier. It has a twin bed (a drop from my queen sized bed back in SD). It has a computer desk, a futon, and a love seat. The guy who's room this is had to leave the country for a few months and left most of his stuff here. So, that means I don't have great storage, but I can make the most of it. Friday morning, the FOURTH OF JULY (and my buddy Josh's 21'st birthday!!), I got the keys to the house and moved in my luggage and life!

Friday night I drive Heather and Emilia to the airport. We get her suitcases brought in and weighed in. After a few minutes waiting in line for the checkin to start, we quickly get up to the counter. After some smooth talking from Heather, we were on our way to taking the luggage to the x-ray. Once that was through, we headed up for some food and last few minutes with my sister and niece. Soon the time came for Heather and Emilia to go through the security. It was hard to see them leave, but I knew they needed to get back to Jeff and their mission in Taiwan. I headed from the airport back to the Taguchi's. Saturday morning, we went to breakfast and then I headed over to my new place. Here's a photo tour of my new dig's:

My room is on the second floor, corner with the fireplace. I got one window, which looks onto the street, and one that is on the side of the house (and actually a third one on the side of the house..but that's a closet window.

This is the driveway side of the house. Parking is in the back.

Here's the front door of the BIG Blue House!

Once through the front door, you enter the foyer area of the house. The stairs go up to five of the bedrooms.

The door in the corner leads to the kitchen and back of the house. Theres a doorway to the left of this picture that leads to the front room, also the main common area of the house.

The front room, aka TV room/meeting room/game room/fireplace room/general get to know people room (with a projector, sound system and huge screen).

The stairs that lead to upstairs..and my room.

Here's bathroom #1, and actually two bedrooms. One door is to the right just before the bathroom. The other room is to the left and THROUGH the bathroom.

At the top of the stairs and to the left are the other three bedrooms and the other bathroom. My room is the one at the end of the hall, to the right.

The room was really clean and felt really warm and welcoming...

...and just ignore the clutter of my stuff! But what do you expect from a gypsy??!!

Here's the main bathroom in the house. This is the only shower for the upstairs. There is so much room in here..totally could remodel this thing and put in a hot tub!

Through the foyer and doorway, brings you to the kitchen.

The door to the right leads to a basment....have yet to go down there. The door was locked one day..and then next it was open. I checked it out, but didn't get further then looking into the dark.

Here's the first of two fridges and the third bathroom, as well as the last two bedrooms of the house.

The second fridge and then the backdoor.

Here's the final bathroom, which happens to be the "guest" bathroom. There actually is another shower in there too, but it's not used.

The back of the house. Notice the swing up on the roof. That's Kevin's "porch swing". His is the room that you have to go through the bathroom to get too. I haven't gotten a chance to check out the view from up there...but I'll try to get some pictures from up there.

Currently we have nine cars that are parked back here...I'm amazed we can all do it! Luckily, not all of us have SUV's! Well..there's my tour of my new home for the next couple months...THE BLUE HOUSE!!

Until laterz!

Discovering LA

After the four day cross-country drive, Heather and I did a little exploring of LA, along with getting Heather and Emilia ready to get back to Jeff in Taipei. One day we drove up to Hollywood. Heather realized she hadn't really ever done the tourist thing around the home of the Oscars. We walked along the "walk of fame".

Then we stopped by the Disney Soda Fountain and had a "pre-lunch" sundae. But first Emilia HAD to have her first picture taken with Mickey Mouse.

Now notice the cute yellow outfit Emilia's got on. Even at the tender age of 17 months, Emilia knows how to get new clothes. By the time we finished our sundaes, we had to purchase a new outfit for her. Luckily they had an pink Minnie outfit in the back. It was 9 months, yet our little peanut was STILL swimming in the thing!

Well, after exploring the hand prints around Mann's Chinese Theater, we headed outta the tourist trap that is Hollywood and went to meet friends of Heather and Jeff's in Pasasena. And then back to the Taguchi's to get more packing done.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

California Dreamin'

It was a week ago today that I finally reached the start of my California Dream. My sister, Heather, and I (along with my niece, Emilia) left our folks and nephew at the Hy-Vee on East 10th Street in Sioux Falls on Saturday morning. With my trading in my fuel efficient VW Jetta for a wonderfully spacious, yet gas guzzling, Ford Explorer XLT, we packed in as much of my life as I could.

Topped off by a car seat and two pieces of Heather's luggage, our troop headed off to our first destination point, Casper, WY. Emilia was asleep before we even hit the interstate and pretty much slept the whole way to Casper. We drove across the wonderful state of South Dakota towards Rapid City. We documented our road trip on video, which we hope to get posted soon.

After finally getting through Rapid City (AAA had us going to visit Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse), we made our way to Casper. We pulled into town in early evening and found our hotel. After going to dinner, we rested in the hotel and then got some sleep...well, some of us. Emilia decided she wasn't as tired as us. Finally we all got some sleep and got an early start in the morning. Next stop Las Vegas!

Sunday, the second day, was the longest of the trip. So far the new car was keeping up really well, and I was getting used to driving a larger car WITH luggage on the top. Emilia decided she wasn't going to be as tired and wanted a little more attention then the day before. We drove from Casper down to Salt Lake City. We played a game as we went through SLC. Call it, "Morman Steeple Search". It started out as kind of a joke, but by the time we through the city we had seen over 20 cross-less churches. That's just along the interstate. All the way into Arizona, the game continued. By evening, we'd crossed into the Pacific time-zone and hit Las Vegas. We pulled into Heather's Vegas house and unloaded the baby and our stuff. This was a really nice place to rest after the trip so far. Heather went and got food for us at Chili's and I watched the little girl. We decided to stay one day more, Monday, in Vegas so Heather could do a few things before she and Emilia flew back to Taiwan. Also, I wanted to hit a Disney Outlet Store that is in the area. I used the free day to also get some freelance work done.

Tuesday morning we got packed back into the car. Emilia still didn't enjoy having to ride in the car seat. It was always a joy to put her in that thing! The drive from Vegas to Los Angeles was the shortest drive, but feels the longest sometimes. We got into California and passed the produce check point, barely! This was the first time either Heather and I had ever gone through the check point when it was open. The guy at the check point looked at our South Dakota plates and asked us to roll the back window down. I looked back at all my stuff and we told the guy it might be a little hard. We told him it's jammed packed with my stuff since I was moving to LA. Not that we had anything to hide, but I guess he believed us enough to just wave us through. After that, it was free sailing to the big city. We found our way into Torrance without much problem and pulled into the Taguchi's driveway in early afternoon. Grandpa and Grandma Taguchi were excited to see Emilia again.

Finally I'd arrived to LA. It was still all surreal, but now that the cross country drive was over...I could start living the dream for real!