Thursday, June 24, 2010

• IF BITCHES DON'T STOP CHECKING OUT TRON AT THE LIBRARY, IT'S JUST GONNA BE DEAD BITCHES ALL UP AND DOWN KANSAS.

• I only have five episodes of Babylon 5 left.  I has a sad.

• If today was indeed the last voyage of the blue van (we'll find out tomorrow what the mechanic found out), then it was highly appropriate that it was to the library.

• This has been a frustrating week - I've had a couple things I wanted to write, but I have a hard (read: impossible) time writing at home, and it's too hot to leave the house.

• All I wanted was to find screencaps of the Arrested Development finale.  The only site with caps I could find has 235 pages of unorganized images, no rhyme or reason, no labels, tags, anything.  It was all, "Oh, you wanted screencaps?  I'm withholding them.  Look at me, getting off."

    Tuesday, June 22, 2010

    I finished my screenplay I started two months ago, when I read that "How to Write a Movie in 21 Days" book.  It obviously took me longer than 21 days, but honestly, a first draft from scratch in two months is pretty damned good for me.  It's a first draft, though, which means it's very rough, the characters are only sort of vaguely there, in dribs and drabs, the story needs work, and the dialogue is almost certainly temporary throughout, but you have to have the first draft before you can go on and do anything else, so there's that.

    I joined a local writer's group, oh, about six weeks ago.  There's only about seven or eight of us, but it's been nice to get out and do some workshopping and talk about writing with other people.  I've missed that atmosphere, even if it isn't quite the same as the kind of workshopping one gets in a class.  Everyone else in the group writes either poetry or short essays which are often at least semi-autobiographical, so it's been kind of interesting to get feedback that isn't always so screenplay-specific.  And, it's also prompted me to try my hand at prose, which aside from a two-page short story I wrote in lieu of a paper for Greek Mythology at USC, I haven't written since high school.

    I thought I'd post a few of the stories I'd written, just for fun.  All are 1000 words or less - there's a flash fiction contest coming up that I'm going to enter, I think.  No need to read if you're busy, or critique if you do read - just wanted to share.

    Saturday, June 19, 2010

    Day 21 - Favorite ship.

    HAHAHA like I can pick just one. Let's face it - shipping is important. Sometimes that brief hand-hold or peck on the cheek is all that saves an otherwise mediocre episode. You need to see characters grow and evolve over the years, and no better way to do that than to see relationships grow and evolve as well. And, you know, shallowly, sometimes you just want to see attractive people make out.

    So I narrowed it down to the top five. I couldn't cut any more than that. In chronological order from when I shipped 'em.











    Yeah that last couple made it on the list! Why else do you think I managed to watch the entirety of seasons three and four in eight days? (Okay, it was like 30% ship, 60% the show was just that good, and 10%...because...I have a crush on Bruce Boxleitner. I mean, come on!)

    Friday, June 18, 2010

    Day 20 - Favorite kiss.

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer - 6x08 - "Tabula Rasa"

    Buffy's been through a lot, including being brought back from the dead when she really didn't want to be. Alienated from her friends, feeling overburdened, she ends up turning to Spike as a kind of comrade-in-arms, confidante, and punching bag. Down in the dumps, he shows up to be there for her, but she wants none of it, and so he leaves. Or so we think...

    Sunday, June 13, 2010

    For Holly, Photoshop resources 1 and Photoshop resources 2. There's gradients, bases, light effects, and a few other assorted things like masks and textures. This represents, like, eight years of saving things from various places, so that's why I had to split it up into two zipped files - it should do you, though, heh.

    I thought I'd do a mini-tutorial on using them, since my early attempts at these kinds of things without actually knowing what to do led me to create monstrosities like this:



    Like, I don't even know WTF I was going for there.

    So, I did two different things for this icon. First, I took my base and topped it with a bright gradient layer:



    I set the gradient to Pin Light at 80% to get this:



    Then I put the following light base on top, Screen, at 100%, to get the final icon:



    I'm a big fan of combining a texture and a light source, or a gradient and a texture, to get a variety of effects. I generally tend to use light sources on Screen, Overlay or Soft Light, but Pin Light or Hard Light can be interesting sometimes, too.

    Here's another one. The base, and then the two gradients I used:



    I duplicated the first gradient, set the bottom layer on Screen at 20%, the top at Exclusion at 20%; the second gradient I set to Soft Light at 100%. That gave me this, once I added a Selective Color adjustment layer to bring the blacks up a bit:



    So not a huge change, but I find that fixing things like brightness and contrast work better with gradients, gradient maps, and flood fill layers set to different properties and opacities just looks cleaner than using the contrast adjustment layer, for instance. Then I used this texture, set on Linear Dodge 100%, and added a flood fill black layer set to Soft Light on 20% (this is my favorite way to bring up the contrast a little bit, because for me it's easier to adjust the opacity on that layer than to fiddle with the contrast bar).



    Finally, if you use a light source like this one here, any of them from the folder "light effects" from the user awnp, you MUST set it to Hard Light - well, you don't have to, but it won't look right otherwise.



    With this one, I had to put a layer mask on the light effect layer so that it wouldn't cover up their faces - I usually just use a black to transparent gradient to get rid of the part I don't want, but you could brush it out, too, depending on what you were getting rid of. Anyway, hope you get some use out of this, and hope I wasn't too pedantic or anything; I was going to upload my folder of icon tutorials I've saved over the years but it was over 500 mb so yeah.

    Wednesday, June 9, 2010

    Iconnnnns. Seriously though, I post these more for my own benefit and as a reference, and I know that none of you watch the show, so no big; feel free to skip, heh. Although number 11 is probably one of prettiest, if not the prettiest, icons I've ever made.

    1. 2. 3.

    4. 5. 6.

    7. 8. 9.

    10. 11. 12.

    13. 14. 15.

    Tuesday, June 8, 2010

    Day 19 - Best TV show cast.



    Duh.

    Saturday, June 5, 2010

    Day 18 - Favorite title sequence.

    I love opening credits. To me, they're an integral part of the viewing experience; when we're watching TV together off DVD, Laura gets frustrated because she wants to fast-forward through them and I'm always like, "No! Credits! Love!" I don't think it's a huge surprise to say that my favorite title sequence is BSG's - besides the fact that aside from a handful of episodes at the beginning of S2, they were always different, with that little sneak-peak of the episode to come, I also loved that technically, there were two sequences - the credits proper and the Cylon Background Info that came before the previouslies; my favorite of that was S3's, because "They rebelled...they evolved" is in the right order and I love that shot of Six from Downloaded.



    Unfortunately, there isn't a YouTube video of the actual credits, at least that I can find in a normal search - they're all fanmade or set to different songs or whatever, which I don't really get. You know what they are though.

    Some other faves:

    Great music and lovely images:



    My childhood:



    I love these because they're so elegant, so simple and yet there's so much packed into them (hidden clues!), and, again, the music:



    And because I'm obsessed with it right now:

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    Who's got two thumbs and figured out today that you can watch full episodes of Babylon 5 on IMDB?

    THIS GUY.

    ...I've watched eight ten episodes today.

    Wednesday, June 2, 2010

    Day 17 - Favorite mini-series.



    Here's the thing about The Stand mini-series...it's not actually all that good. I know that it was actually really expensive to produce at the time, but it just looks...cheap. And very flat and uninspired. And while some of the casting is very good - Gary Sinise as Stu, Ruby Dee as Mother Abigail, Miguel Ferrer as Lloyd, and Matt Frewer as Trashcan Man - and some serviceable, there's some duds - I like Molly Ringwald, but she's completely wrong as Fran, Jamey Sheridan is so over-the-top as Flagg that he's not scary, again, love Laura San Giacomo, but either she or the director had the wrong approach for Nadine and it just didn't work (Nadine's a tortured idealist who basically goes mad! she's not a vamp!), and ugh forever to Rob Lowe. UGH. And the writing is okay but just doesn't capture some of my favorite parts from the book all that well, and the music is WRETCHED, and so on.

    Why is it my favorite then? A lot of it's nostalgia - this is among the first "grown-up" TV I watched, although I'd already read the book at that point which is kinda wrong. I remember getting the big Stand preview issue of TV Guide and being super-excited about it. Honestly, though, a lot of my affection is less for the mini-series as it stands and more about the book upon which it's based - The Stand is my favorite King novel, and so much of it does come across, even if it's not the best.

    That's not to say that I don't laugh at some of the really bad parts, though. I didn't feel like getting the DVD out and making caps, so I just Googled, and found someone's online review that was really quite scathing and mostly spot-on. The thing about King is that yeah, he sometimes paints himself into a corner ending-wise, and while the ending to The Stand in the book really works, I think, because it reads more archetypal and epic, in the mini it's, well, I'll let the online reviewer explain it:

    Then ... okay, pay attention, this is where it gets good. You know the cloud of electricity or whatever that’s covering Bernard and Bitchface? Well, said cloud raises off of their dead bodies, floats over the crowd, then MORPHS INTO A GIANT CGI HAND. Suddenly, Mother Abigail’s voice says, “The promise has been kept, as God has willed it. Amen.” Ralph asks, “do you see it?” And Larry exclaims, “the hand of God!” THERE IS CURRENTLY A CGI HAND OF GOD ON THE SCREEN. THE DEUS EX MACHINA IN THIS MOVIE IS ACTUALLY GOD. Lloyd wins the entire fucking movie by pathetically screaming, “get away!!” at THE HAND OF GOD. Trash says with finality, “the fire for you,” then spreads his arms and looks to the sky. As the GIANT CGI HAND OF GOD embraces the bomb Mother Abigail’s voice says, “you done good, boys. Come on home.” Larry triumphantly sighs, “take us home,” and a pudding-faced Flagg morphs into a crow and flies away about two seconds before everything goes kablooey. No more Vegas.

    Tuesday, June 1, 2010

    May New Media.

    Books
    22. Nazi Germany and the Jews: Volume 1: The Years of Persecution 1933-1939, Saul Friedländer. 5-7.
    23. How to Write a Movie in 21 Days, Viki King. 5-9.
    24. First Year Latin, Charles Jenney. 5-12.
    25. These Three Remain, Pamela Aiden. 5-20.
    26. From Dead to Worse, Charlaine Harris. 5-22.
    27. The Evil That Men Do, Stephen G. Michaud and Roy Hazelwood. 5-29.
    28. Nazi Germany and the Jews: Volume 2: The Years of Extermination 1939-1945, Saul Friedländer. 5-31.

    Movies
    18. Julie and Julia (2009). 5-2.
    19. An Education (2009). 5-7.
    20. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). 5-14.
    21. [Rec] (2007). 5-14.
    22. The Vikings (1958). 5-15.
    23. Shrek Forever After (2010). 5-25.
    24. The Young Victoria (2009). 5-27.
    25. Paranormal Activity (2007). 5-28.
    26. Where the Wild Things Are (2009). 5-30.

    Television Episodes
    161. Fringe - 2x12 - “Johari Window.” 5-1.
    162. Fringe - 2x12 - “What Lies Below.” 5-1.
    163. Babylon 5 - 2x06 - “A Spider in the Web.” 5-2.
    164. Babylon 5 - 2x07 - “Soul Mates.” 5-2.
    165. Babylon 5 - 2x08 - “A Race Through Dark Places.” 5-3.
    166. Fringe - 2x13 - “The Bishop Revival.” 5-3.
    167. Glee - 1x17 - “Bad Reputation.” 5-4.
    168. Fringe - 2x14 - “Jacksonville.” 5-4.
    169. Fringe - 2x15 - “Peter.” 5-4.
    170. Modern Family - 1x22- “Airport 2010.” 5-5.
    171. Fringe - 2x16 - “Olivia. In the Lab. With the Revolver.” 5-5.
    172. The Office - 6x22 - “The Cover-Up.” 5-6.
    173. 30 Rock - 4x20 - “The Moms.” 5-6.
    174. Fringe - 2x17 - “White Tulip.” 5-6.
    175. Fringe - 2x18 - “The Man From the Other Side.” 5-7.
    176. Fringe - 2x19 - “Brown Betty.” 5-7.
    177. Supernatural - 2x03 - “Bloodlust.” 5-8.
    178. Babylon 5 - 2x09 - “The Coming of Shadows.” 5-8.
    179. Babylon 5 - 2x10 - “GROPOS.” 5-9.
    180. Babylon 5 - 2x11 - “All Alone in the Night.” 5-9.
    181. How I Met Your Mother - 5x01 - “Definitions.” 5-9.
    182. Babylon 5 - 2x12 - “Acts of Sacrifice.” 5-10.
    183. Fringe - 2x20 - “Northwest Passage.” 5-10.
    184. Glee - 1x18 - “Laryngitis.” 5-11.
    185. Deadwood - 3x01 - “Tell Your God to Ready for Blood.” 5-11.
    186. Modern Family - 1x23 - “Hawaii.” 5-12.
    187. How I Met Your Mother - 5x02 - “Double Date.” 5-12.
    188. The Office - 6x23 - “The Chump.” 5-13.
    189. 30 Rock - 4x21 - “Emmanuelle Goes to Dinosaur Land.” 5-13.
    190. Babylon 5 - 2x13 - “Hunter, Prey.” 5-15.
    191. Babylon 5 - 2x14 - “There All the Honor Lies.” 5-15.
    192. Fringe - 2x21 - “Over There Part 1.” 5-16.
    193. How I Met Your Mother - 5x03 - “Robin 101.” 5-16.
    194. How I Met Your Mother - 5x04 - “The Sexless Innkeeper.” 5-17.
    195. How I Met Your Mother - 5x05 - “Bagpipes.” 5-17.
    196. Glee - 1x19 - “Dream On.” 5-18.
    197. How I Met Your Mother - 5x06 - “The Rough Patch.” 5-18.
    198. Modern Family - 1x24 - “Family Portrait.” 5-19.
    199. How I Met Your Mother - 5x07 - “The Playbook.” 5-19.
    200. The Office - 6x24 - “Whistleblower.” 5-20.
    201. 30 Rock - 4x22 - “I Do Do.” 5-20.
    202. How I Met Your Mother - 5x08 - “Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the Slap.” 5-21.
    203. How I Met Your Mother - 5x09 - “The Window.” 5-21.
    204. Fringe - 2x22 - “Over There Part 2.” 5-22.
    205. How I Met Your Mother - 5x10 - “Last Cigarette Ever.” 5-22.
    206. Star Trek: The Next Generation - 5x24 - “The Next Phase.” 5-23.
    207. Babylon 5 - 2x15 - “And Now For a Word.” 5-24.
    208. Babylon 5 - 2x16 - “In the Shadow of Z’Ha’Dum.” 5-24.
    209. Glee - 1x20 - “Theatricality.” 5-25.
    210. How I Met Your Mother - 5x12 - “Girls Versus Suits.” 5-26.

    So, I was reading a Fringe thread at TWOP, and someone posted a Babylon 5 spoiler right in the middle of a comment. Which, yeah, it's been off the air for ten years, okay. Still, that kind of thing usually has me bitching for days. In this case, however...see, I've kinda had a ship interest on B5. You know how mine usually go; something weird and unlikely to ever happen and if I'm lucky they're in the same scene together and maybe I'll get some dream/hallucination/spell thing at some point and that'll be it. I mean, hell, one of the characters is an alien. Turns out that my ship ends up being the main relationship of the whole show! Hot damn, you guys! I may have spent some time on YouTube watching shippy fanvids with this look on my face.