Archive for July, 2012


Behind the camera, things are perhaps less organized than you might have guessed. I’d like to do Behind the Scenes for my videos more often, but my first priority is making videos of ANY kind more often. Enjoy.

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Defeating the Box

I have a confession: I have a box. Well, HAD a box. I defeated my box today.

You might have a box. In fact, I’d surmise a great portion of the population has multiple boxes, and I’ve actually done myself a favor keeping it down to one (sort of).

Two apartments ago, I started throwing things into this box because I didn’t have anything better to do with them. They were things I didn’t really want to throw away, but didn’t have a place for. Shortly after creating this box, I moved. I nestled the box into a corner of my new apartment and there it sat for a year and a half, moved only for the occasional vaccuum.

I occasionally added to the box; after all, I kept aquiring things that needed putting somewhere, and I knew they’d be safe in that mosuleum of a box.

Then I got married, brought my box into this new shared space, and there it sat for another seven months.

Today, I ended the box.

Full Box

This is what the box looked like full. Nearly three years of “use” were about to be dismantled.

I separated everything into five piles:

  1. Useful or potentially useful things to be kept
  2. Things the box was originally created for: keepsakes. I want to keep them, but haven’t traditionally had a place for them.
  3. Movie props
  4. Trash
  5. Recycling

And all of a sudden, I had an empty box.

Empty Box

There are much better things one can do with a box, after all. For instance:

Cat Box

Just kidding. I broke it down and recycled it, too. I don’t need that box in my home anymore. IT HAD ITS TIME.

Here are some of the keepsakes I couldn’t get rid of, but have no use for.

Blood Pin

I got this pin when I’d officially donated two gallons of blood in my lifetime. Sometimes I need to be reminded of my achievements.

Dead Flash Drives

My four dead flash drives. These exclude the three I have lost and never found and the two I have that still function. Don’t worry, I don’t do this with my other pets.

OM Pins

More pins. These are from Odyssey of the Mind, a creative problem-solving competition. I got most of these when I competed in the world competition, so they’re from teams all around the world.

Band Pins

The granite-looking plaques are for being a senior… twice. Yep, I did the 5-year plan and made band a part of all of those years. The pins (MORE pins?!) are for being a section leader each of those years.

Now to get to the other, much newer boxes that have been lurking in our apartment…

THE FLOOD

It’s a day late, and the behind-the-scenes still isn’t done, but nevertheless, here it is!

It’s called ethics in journalism. Listen to this guy. He’s not making crap up because he hates good ratings.

Lucid Dream!

I had my first lucid dream! It was a really cool experience, but rather than rewrite it, I’m going to copy my dream journal for that day verbatim, then leave some observations afterward.

Lucid dream! I had been driving aimlessly and ended up in Thayer, Missouri. For some reason, after going through a stoplight where two of the lights were out, I was no longer in the car. I was walking down a hill to cross over into Mammoth Springs, Arkansas, but a river separated them. The “normal” bridge had been torn down and replaced with a rock bridge that only went 1/3 of the way into the river. Through the trees, I saw another, much larger bridge and went across that. Once I was across, I came down a cliff with an old cathedral-type church on it. I started to try to take a picture, and at that point, Brett Cox appeared and somehow triggered the lucid dream. He said I should test to see, so I did the only thing that I could think of: try to fly! I closed my eyes and willed myself up, and boom, I was flying. I pulled Brett up by the arm, though I don’t remember holding onto him long, so I assume he flew, too. We flew around the town, and he asked if I’d seen the cool fish in the river. I hadn’t, so we flew to it. I flew straight in and started swimming. He said, “Ha, well that’s one way to do it,” as he’d been intending on just flying over the water. I was able to open my eyes and, after thinking about it, breathe underwater. The water was brown and full of little particles just like a real Missouri river, and the bed was rocky. I  didn’t see any fish, so I flew out and went back over Thayer. I think I intended to fly home. I don’t remember how, but I ended up in a room of a really nice house and was reading the back of a political book. It was talking about some politician and a scandal concerning his wife. I decided to test the dream again by looking away and then looking back at the text to see if it changed. I couldn’t tell, because I couldn’t remember enough words at a time to test whether they’d changed. Shortly after, I woke up.

Observations:

  • From the point I became lucid all the way to the end of the dream, there were several times when I was concerned I was going to wake up. Until now, every time I’ve ever realized I was dreaming, I woke up immediately. In this dream, I was aware of that fact after I became lucid. I’m not sure why I didn’t wake up, because it did “feel” rather precarious, like I may wake any second. It was almost a sixth sense, where I knew I was close to waking up, but didn’t have any external indicators.
  • Though such a thing hasn’t been mentioned in the book I’m using (as far as I’ve read), the character of Brett acting as a “guide” played an essential part in exploiting the lucidity. I’m not sure if this is something that will recur, or if it was just a coincidence that it happened the first time.
  • I didn’t intentionally create or change anything in the dream except for my being able to fly.
  • The layout of the land and water stayed static, and honestly, the only thing that didn’t exactly correspond to reality was the fact that Mammoth Springs and Thayer looked different. Stoplights, roads, water, cameras, architecture, and physics behaved realistically.

The bridge in the dream was almost identical to this bridge in Toledo, Ohio that I photographed about a year ago.

Bridge

Hopefully the next lucid dream happens soon! I’ll keep on trying, and maybe something really cool will happen soon.

I’m not going to say much, other than Darren Aronofsky should watch his back.

Sexy And I'm Noah Promo

Bury Your Cell Phone!

I had the most ingenious idea on the way home from work! It’s a business plan: one that caters to a niche with an unmet need.

See, I’ve had my cell phone for five years. That’s apparently a lot like being married for 60 years: few people get there, but everyone respects you for it. In the same way that couples of 60 years are very attached to each other, I have become very attached to my cell phone. It hasn’t given any indication of impending death quite yet, but when it does, I will feel a little sad. It’s like a friend to me. I’ve known it twice as long as I’ve known my wife. I don’t know that I’ll ever feel quite right with another phone. It just won’t be the same.

Which brings me to the aforementioned unmet need: there are probably thousands of people like me with devices and gadgets they are very close to, and those gadgets will eventually cease to function. What do you do with a dead phone, GPS, or flash drive? You bury it!

Tombstone

I’m tearing up already.

People might feel a little embarrassed if house guests saw a tombstone in their back yard comiserating a gadget, but for a fee, they can have their beloved gadgets tucked under a remote patch of Missouri soil! I’m going to be rich!

Ye contrarians have already started forming your rebuttals, so I’ll address them one by one before you can throw ’em (though if I don’t, feel free to waste as much time commenting as I did writing this).

  • I would purchase a plot of land with enough space for at least 100 burial spaces, then expand as business needs dictated.
  • I’d guarantee burial plots for 5, 10, or 15 years, prices increasing with time. More years can be purchased and added onto the original plan.
  • I’d offer up-to-date photos of the tombstone and plot for a fee at any time (emailed to them within two business days), or unlimited photo requests for a monthly fee.
  • Flowers, dolls, or anything else could be set beside the tombstone for a fee.

It’s just perfect! There’s no way this could go wrong! Who wants to invest? Who wants to be my first customer? Come on, anybody?

original image source

While sitting at a stoplight, have you ever thought, “There has to be a better way?” I don’t think I have, but clearly a few traffic engineers have decided the normal intersection design just doesn’t deliver the kick they’re looking for. They wanted something more. Something intense. Something like…

These.

The Diverging Diamond Interchange

I have quite a bit of experience with DDIs because the first two ever constructed were built right here in Springfield, MO.

Diverging Diamond Interchange

This is designed for highway exits onto major roads. You’ve probably gathered from the picture that the lanes of traffic cross over each other with stoplights at the two crossovers. That’s right: you’re driving on the left side of the road. Everyone gets to feel British for a few seconds.

There are several advantages to this over a typical highway exit. For one, people getting onto the highway don’t have to wait whether they’re making a right or left, eliminating left-turn lanes. Additionally, all foot traffic goes to the middle, which means there is only need for one sidewalk. This maximizes the amount of space for lanes in both directions.

My personal opinion is that this helps keep traffic flowing smoothly and removes things that lead to gridlock-causing bottlenecks (like people waiting to take a left onto the highway).

The Michigan Left

Sharing the term for Democrats from Michigan, this oddball method of turning left involves going straight through an intersection, THEN getting into a turn lane, making a U turn into a special lane, and making a right turn. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but a U-turn and a right do make a left. Just like I learned in Sunday school!

Michigan Left

This one is easy enough to get by looking at the picture, though I’d have to see the data to decide whether it actually improves throughput while retaining safety. Unlike the DDI, I don’t have personal experience with this one.

However, there are some designs that you can’t help but look at and think that creative traffic engineer was getting his ideas from an LSD trip. Actually, just one:

The Continuous-flow Intersection

Continuous Flow Interchange

Deep in the bowls of the lifeless mountains in northern Mexico, there arose a cult so evil that Hell itself spat them out. From this boiling cesspool of unrighteousness arose a leader skilled in all things profane, and he vowed it his life’s work to create the Continuous-flow Intersection. Francisco Mier, known as Beelzebub Mier to his friends, possessed several members of the México Departamento de Transporte to build one of these, after which they took off like wildfire, or Hellfire, whichever burns faster in the local climate.

There have been only 37 implimented so far, but don’t be fooled: this is merely part of their plan. 37, after all, is just 666 divided by 18, the number of years until their prophesied doomsday.

3:)

Like what I’ve written? Let me know in the comments below. Also, check out some less extreme alternatives to normal intersections like the Jughandle, the Superstreet, and perhaps least logical of all, the Hook Turn.

edit 7/14/12: I realized just now that somehow the image for the Continous-flow Intersection didn’t get inserted into the post. It’s on now. Definitely helps drive my point home.

More Mario Models

I’ve had an increase in page views since the first post about the Mario short film, especially after posting renders of the models I’d made so far. But I can’t just leave you with those initial models, right? I have to give you…

More.

Agent Smith

No, that isn’t one. Just a reference to Agent Smith’s line in The Matrix Reloaded.

But this is one:

Thwomp

Thwomp now looks like something to be feared. This is a departure from what he looks like in the games, but I am going for a bit of gritty realism when possible.

Earth

My Earth image/animation now has clouds, an atmosphere, and appropriately acting specularity.

Goomba

Much more fleshed out and textured. I need to bring in the cheeks and give him eyebrows so he looks more angry and less bewildered.

Dark Star

Dark Star, an antagonist from the Mario and Luigi series for Game Boy Advance.

I’ll have at least two more posts with more models, but one will contain titles and the other animated things (all the titles are animated, so technically they’ll both be animations).