merry christmas!

this place has been a ghost town for way too long! I KNOW! -i've got lots of fun things in the works for right after the new year, but for now i'm going to enjoy the holidays and try to remember what it felt like to be the little dude in this picture!



yikes! i'm just taking a moment to come up for air over here. i'm very happy to say that i have been quite busy lately making all sorts of exciting things both related to puppets, and... not. good stuff!

since my last posting i've completed... 1... 2... 3... 4... THREE armatures of varying degrees of sophistication. from simple open hole jointed guy to a pretty swanky 16 inch tall hinge and swivel dude. see, i can do an armature for every budget! well, maybe.

here's a stupid pic of the simplest one. all open hole construction 01 tool steel with some nice animator friendly grab blocks. i made this for a young animator named brad schaffer, who i met in LA while working at buddy system studios earlier this year. it seems like brad has been extremely busy with various internships, attending calarts, and part time freelance work, so i can't imagine how he's managing to work on a personal film as well. i was happy to contribute to his project, and i wish him luck in its completion!

by the way, i was just double checking some links, and i noticed that the fellas at buddy system just redesigned their website, and i have to say their updated reel looks really awesome. remind me to tell you about the making of the crash test dummy looking guy in some of those clips. good times!

a couple of weeks ago i had a great opportunity to go out in the middle of NOWHERE in the desert and work on a very cool live action shoot. can't say much more about it, but the crew was great, and it was super fun. it seems like a lifetime ago that i used to do live action art dept stuff, but working this job made me kind of nostalgic for the good old days working with my friends back in atlanta.

and since she helped me so much with my pumpkin headed doofus, it is only fair that i brag on my pal paloma. she's going to be featured in the emerging designer showcase during portland fashion week. i'm really looking forward to seeing her new pieces. i made some components for one of her outfits, and i think it is going to be really cool! her show is this thursday! more info here.

friday i'm driving up to seattle to attend the opening of ryan heshka's new show at roq la rue gallery. they posted a preview of the paintings that will be shown, and the show practically sold out immediately. i'm hoping someone bought this one for me!

that's about all news i've got for today. i'm hoping my next post will include some exciting pics from one of the other puppets i've been working on!

p.s. i can't believe that as of this coming sunday it will have been a WHOLE YEAR since i wrapped on coraline. where does the time go?!


maximum armature design

today i noticed a handful news and blog posts referencing the imminent premier of the upcoming [adult swim] series "titan maximum". this new stop motion animated series was produced by shadow machine, who are the people who are responsible for bringing you shows like "robot chicken" and "morel orel". when i was down in LA earlier this year i took a short break from working on the TOP SECRET stuff at buddy system and built a nice ball and socket armature for the mega-mecha-robot character that the show as named after. (think voltron.) it was not really possible for me to work alongside the crew at shadow machine, but i did visit them a couple of times and i have to say that i was very impressed with the work they were doing. if you are expecting another show with a similar visual aesthetic to robot chicken, i think you will be surprised by the quality of the puppets on this show. in order to make sure the armature would be capable of performing all of its necessary duties once it was out of my hands, i worked closely with animation director ethan marak, and rob ronning and dan field in the puppet department. i give those guys full credit for doing all of the heavy lifting with the puppet design way before i got involved with anything. i just basically just executed a pretty well thought out plan. those guys are sharp, and it was a pleasure to work with them.
i never had a chance to see any footage from the show, so i'll be looking forward to the the series premier on september 27th, just like the rest of you.

here are a couple of those links i was talking about at the top.

p.s. the puppets in the picture above look really nice, but unfortunately i can't take credit for any part of their fabrication. to my knowledge, no pics of the titan puppet have been released as of this posting.

UPDATE: new adultswim titan maximum site with sneak peak trailer thing here.


new puppet

finally, i feel like i've got something cool to show you guys. i've had this project limping along beside me for quite some time, but most of the work has been done over the last couple of months.

it started with a book. i was browsing through powell's one day and i found a little halloween book by illustrator ryan heshka. the book is called ABC spook show. if you have not seen this book yet, i recommend it highly. what strikes me most about heshka's work here is that he seems to really nail the "classic halloween" vibe that i love so much, and makes it feel fresh, new, and completely his own.

as a child i really loved the headless horseman and his flaming jack o' lantern, so i kind of flipped when i saw the j is for jack o' lantern illustration in the book. that was the spark. below is a scan of the image, posted with permission from the artist (thanks ryan!). isn't it great?

i loved this image, but i didn't really know what i was going to do about it. so i guess i decided to... borrow from him a bit. i wanted to try and make a quick and dirty puppet and put together a little halloween "card" video to send to all of my friends, possibly as an invitation to a halloween or birthday party (my birthday is in october). i scribbled a little drawing of my version of the character and set to work... but you know, its hard to do stuff like that and keep up with the day job, so the puppet never really progressed much past that point until very recently. here is my chicken scratch.

i'm extremely fortunate to have a circle of friends to call upon when i (frequently) realize my shortcomings, and i gratefully acknowledge that i had a good deal of help realizing this puppet. the first to help was the lovely and talented vera brosgol who did me a gigantic favor by drawing a full turnaround based on the picture above.

i used the turnaround to help figure out the scale of the puppet, and to assist with making some color choices. i went fabric shopping with some vague ideas in mind, and ended up buying enough fabric to make several variations. i scanned some swatches and played around in the computer until i came up with some schemes i liked. i wound up with about 4 options that i thought were pretty strong, and in the end i think any of them would have looked great. whatever. i am super happy with the one i went with.

i'm pretty sure the next step was making the head, which was sculpted in... uh... hmm. either magic sculp or aves apoxie sculpt, i really can't remember. one of the two for sure. at some point while i was out of town earlier this year shea bordo made me a nice 2 part GI 1110 mold and cast me up some heads to play around with. more recently i painted the head with our new airbrush setup at the studio. i used acrylic paints and ink washes followed by a nice protective layer of crystal clear and dulled the finish back down with krylon matte finish 1311. i'm really happy with the way the color turned out.

the armature is really straightforward. nothing fancy. i gave him an extra body joint just in case he ever feels like doing some acrobatics or breakdancing some time down the road. this was always going to be a costumed puppet, so i had never planned to do a sculpt for the body. i built him up as a simple clip foam body glued together with barge. i topped off the arms and legs with some foam athletic wrap to make the surface a bit more uniform. his little shoes and spats are made out of ladies glove leather.

my favorite part of this puppet is the costume, which was made by the lovely and talented (again!) paloma soledad. paloma designed costumes for several of the characters i worked on during coraline, perhaps most notably miss forcible in her beautiful corset. earlier in the design phase she walked me through a lot of the particulars of puppet costuming at a time when i was still planning on sewing the costume myself. yeah right. maybe next time. it became painfully obvious that it would take me 10 times as long to make something 100 times inferior to what she could do, so i did the smart thing and hired a professional.

total win.

i hope the next time you see this little dude he will be moving around, or at very least hanging out in a swamp or something.



you animation types may have already found this on cartoon brew earlier, but i just learned that the trailer for fantastic mr. fox is out today. find it here.

i had a chance to visit the production last year during my trip to england, but this is the first animation i have seen. i'm really looking forward to seeing this in the fall.



coraline is now out on DVD! buy it here, or here.

as far as i know, laika sent all of the coraline crew members a parcel like the one above sometime last week. inside that handsome wrapper is a copy of the 2 disc coraline dvd. thanks fellas! this is the version of the DVD that has the most extras and bonus features. apparently the blu-ray has even more stuff, but i don't own a player. does anyone know if the shorts from the website are on the blu-ray? if anyone knows the scoop on the additional features, fill me in. as for this edition, i really enjoyed watching the bonus features and seeing so many crew buddies get a little bit of screen time. if you pay close attention to the puppet making doc, you just might see someone you know! (ahem)



man, i really hate coding. i'm trying to get my portfolio updated and... its frustrating. i could go on and on, but i won't. the good news is that i should hopefully have fresh new portfolio up in the near future.

i'm also on the verge of finishing up a project that i've been just very slightly working on for a long long time. its almost ready to show.

i've decided to post a little bit of personal memorabilia from the coraline production in honor of the dvd release this tuesday. neil gaiman came to visit the studio a couple of times and signed stuff for us on both occasions. i got him to sign my copy of the coraline book on his first time through, so when he came back i had to scrounge for something for him to sign. so i improvised. i think it worked out well. i got him to sign my sketchbook and a test casting of miss forcible. that's what i had to look at all day for several months, by the way.

also, this may be of interest to any of you who are planning to attend san diego comic-con this week:

Friday, July 24
10:30-11:30 Coraline— Visionary director and screenwriter Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas) and Newbery Medal-winning author Neil Gaiman discuss the making of the LAIKA/Focus Features 2009 breakout animated hit film Coraline. In celebration of Universal Studio's Blu-ray Hi-Def and DVD release of the critically acclaimed stop-motion film, Selick and Gaiman will be joined by lead animator and LAIKA CEO/president Travis Knight, producer Bill Mechanic (CEO of Pandemonium and producer of Dark Water and The New World), character fabrication supervisor Georgina Hayns (Corpse Bride), and voice talent Keith David (Crash). Panelists will offer an in-depth, behind-the-scenes glimpse at how this astonishing and suspenseful adventure—the first stop-motion animated feature originally produced in stereoscopic 3D—was painstakingly brought to life. The panel is moderated by IGN movies/DVD editor-in-chief Eric Moro. Room 6A

maybe you can corner george and try to get her to explain how they made those crazy head mechanics on corpse bride. if you do, tell her i sent you!



well, i feel a little awkward mentioning this here, as it feels a little too much like tooting my own horn... but some of you may be interested. marc spess of animateclay.com recently included an interview with me in the 3rd edition of his "secrets revealed" e-book on stop motion. hopefully i don't come across like TOO much of a jackass. the publication is a great overall resource. marc covers pretty much every aspect of making a stop motion film and includes insight you can use both in your garage and on a big budget feature. the new edition also includes interviews with anthony scott, kathi zung, justin rasch, and brad schiff.

you can buy it here

while on the topic of telling you how you should spend your money, i highly recommend you go see the new film moon.



somewhere i think i said i was going to be doing a post a week... anybody remember that?

thing is, you get busy. and i got BUSY!

as i write this, i'm happy to say that i am back home in beautiful portland, oregon for the rest of what i hope will be a mild-weathered, relaxing summer. well, lets not get ahead of ourselves.

i feel like there is a lot to catch up on. a quick look at my calendar tells me that i left for atlanta on march 9th and returned home to portland on the 23rd, only to leave again on the 28th for LA, where i remained until the 9th of may. for one heavenly week i enjoyed the comforts of home before heading back down to LA on the 17th, for another month, this time driving back in a rented SUV packed to the brim with tools and containers of toxic chemicals and explosives. i feel like just yesterday i was making dinner for valentine's with my sweetheart, and here it is... over FOUR months later? jeez.

i guess i covered the atlanta trip already. totally cool.

first leg of the LA trip was probably more eventful than the second. i was very lucky to get a chance to see my bloody valentine perform an unannounced show at the el ray theater in a sort of warm up for their appearance at coachella the next weekend. thanks to my pal david for the assist! i never ever thought i would get to see that band perform, and it lived up to my hopes. it was a bit of adventure actually getting to the venue, but it was well worth the trouble. big thanks go to jon for lending me his trusty yellow truck, which allowed me to get out and eat a nice lunch from time to time. other than that, i pretty much worked 75-85 hour a week. somehow i still managed to spend way too much on LPs at amoeba records. can't talk about the work though. not specifically, anyway. i'd like to acknowledge the huge contribution my pal and studio mate shea bordo has made to our collective puppet making efforts as of late. we've become quite the unstoppable force. seriously.

second trip to LA... nothing but work. only work. work. again, i would be a total jerk if i didn't openly state my vast appreciation for our amazing interns, and especially the secret weapons who go by the names of john sumner, and dexter caseres.

what now? we're still getting settled in over at the "new" studio. heading over there now to install some more shelving and do boring stuff like that. maybe by the end of the week i'll have a puppet build up to show off. i DO have my own projects, you know!


Back to the Grind(er)

the trip back to georgia was a good choice. i think i needed to rekindle the drawl just a little bit. hell, i shot a gun. it was a great change, being able to spend time with the family without having a holiday in the way to dictate the terms of my visit. outside of the family, i got to see almost everybody i wanted to see. two weeks seems like a lot of time, but it gets by quicker than you think it will. it was really great to see all of my friends from back home. i know its cliché to say it, but when i get back together with some of those guys it feels like i was never gone. it makes me really happy to know i've got such great friends in my life, even if i don't get to see some of them very often anymore.

i also got to see a few of my favorite things which are not people...

back home i tried to get the new studio up and running. okay, i knew that would not really happen AT ALL, but i wanted to get the ball rolling, at least. did i previously mention getting studio space? okay, yeah i have. jeez, it has been a long time since that last post, sorry guys! so yeah, i got in there and tried to get some work spaces put together. rachel and i spent most of every day that week building stuff and trying to figure out what was going to where. i think we got most of it figured out, but its always going to be a work in progress. for now, i'm just looking forward to getting back in there and getting some work done. here's what my little area looked like about 2 weeks ago.

after being in atlanta for two weeks, followed by about 5 days back home in portland, i have now moved on to the north hollywood for an extended work trip. i've been here for two weeks so far, and the end has yet to be determined. i am making some puppets for some buddies of mine, and after this particular job is finished it looks like i might be doing something for a more shadowy group. i can't really say much more than that, but it has been really great so far. for the most part. i have been pretty outspoken in the past about how much i think LA sucks, but i have been having a really nice time, so i guess i'm starting to change my mine a little bit. (how about that rocky IV monologue at the end where he says "if i can change, you can change! we can all change!". yeah!) since i've been here i've been able to meet a LOT of great new people and i've been able to see some people IRL who i've previously only "met" online. good stuff all around. i guess right now the main thing i'm feeling is "lucky". it is such a gift to be able to do stuff like this for awesome people and in the process be able to meet and work with even more awesome people...
but on a slightly less inspirational note, i spent a lot of last week just drilling holes...

i'll keep you guys posted. maybe one day i'll make it back to portland!

p.s. the last time i checked, coraline was about $100,000 short of matching NMBC's domestic box office numbers. that's crazy!


Georgia on my mind

hi ladies and gents... well, okay... hi gents. i send you greetings from my ancestral homeland. i'm here for a couple of weeks visiting family and friends. it is nice to be back for a bit. i wasn't able to come home for the holidays, so this is my first trip home since the production break last july. it has been refreshing.

it is also shaping up to be a busy month after my fun and games vacation. shortly before leaving for this trip i secured a studio space with a couple of friends from coraline. i'm really looking forward to getting back home to get the studio set up and functional. we are going to have dedicated space for all of my metal working tools, a soldering station, moldmaking, casting, (with ventilation!) personal, and shared work space for everyone, and an entire corner blocked off for a shooting stage. it is going to be a fair amount of work to get everything just right, but it should be well worth the trouble. the problem is, i'm booked on a job in LA less than a week after i arrive back in portand (not really a problem, of course) so i'll probably get just close enough to having the space set up that it is frustrating to leave it unfinished for three weeks. i really can't wait to get in there and get down to business. i'm also really pleased to get all of my shop equipment out of the kitchen!

in other news, i was pleasantly surprised to see that coraline is returning to 3D screens this weekend. wait, what day is it? i guess that technically happened yesterday... what do you want from me, i'm on vacation? at any rate, jonas brothers = epic fail.


more developments at LAIKA

LAIKA made some big announcements earlier today. travis knight is stepping up to the position of CEO of the company, and claire jennings is taking a position as "president of entertainment". you can read the press release for all the gory details.

i think this is great news. i have a lot of confidence in both of these individuals. claire jennings is very well-respected throughout the animation industry, and she's already made a positive impact at LAIKA since she came aboard midway through coraline. i consider myself fortunate to have been able to work closely with travis knight over the past couple of years on coraline. he's an amazing animator, and was one of the most hardworking individuals on the project. i'm sure he'll be even more devoted to his new position as CEO.

who knows if any of this will speed up the timeline for another stop motion feature at LAIKA, but i have to assume so. good people are at the reigns, so i have hope.


special delivery

i got a call from harbor freight right round the time i finished that last post. my mill/drill came in!

initial thoughts:
bigger than i thought
much heavier than i thought
covered in nasty red grease
i think it'll work

i needed a good mini drill press, and i can't really afford the one i want right now. i hit the web to research what my other options might be, and i came up with this chinese made mini mill that is equipped with a levered handle for drilling. the seig company makes this tool, as well as several other models of varying sizes. several american companies rebrand these and sell in them in the US. this one is the smallest, the "X1" model. they get decent reviews. i'm not really counting on much from the milling side of things, but if i can do precise drilling i will be happy. right now i have to try to get all this slop off of it...


hello again. i've been keeping to myself for a bit, and i guess i owe you an apology. i've been sick with a cold or worse twice in the past month, and last weekend i caught the flu to end all flus. i thought it was the big one. i swear i have been sick every other week since november. jeremy is ready to be healthy, okay?

there's a different feeling in the air now that coraline is out in the world. it has been very satisfying to take in the public response to the film. people are talking about stop motion again. the press around coraline has been interesting. people are wondering what comes next for laika. people are starting to obsess over the technology behind 3D printing and RP machines. is it good for stop motion? is it bad? is just another product of mankind's relentless pursuit of technology for technology's sake? 3D projection is the other big topic right now. the consensus seems to be that there are not enough 3D screens to support the current slate of upcoming 3D films. like the highlander, there can only be one. even though the jonas bros movie was an epic fail last weekend, they still took most of the screens away from coraline, probably costing us several million dollars at the box office. next up in 3D land, moviegoers get yet another shiny new dreamworks cartoon packed full of hot celebrity voices. yay. perhaps the 3D run for coraline has come to an end? weird.

i guess i didn't have a whole lot to say today other than i have not fallen off the face of the earth. it looks like there might be some fun stuff right around the corner for me, so i'll keep you posted when i know more. i still plan on posting some pics from the premier, and then finally i'm going to get around to posting some work samples from coraline.



strong opening

i'd say congratulations are in order for all the crew who worked on coraline. blood, sweat and tears were literally shed to make this movie happen. many people made huge sacrifices in their personal lives so this film could be what it is. i was very fortunate to play a small role in the creation of this film, but there were about 300 other amazing individuals who worked just as hard and if you know any of them, smack 'em on the back and say thanks!

(i got bored an ripped off shepard fairey last night)

and while it may not be immediately apparent, we performed really well last weekend. why? here's why. the final tally for the weekend B.O has been reported to be $16.8 million. most trackers had us coming in closer to half that. we opened on about 2,300 screens, which is about 1,000 less than most "wide releases", and still managed to come in 3rd for the weekend. interestingly, about 60% of the gross from opening weekend came from 3D theaters. (if you haven't yet, go see it in 3D before the jonas brothers run it out of the 3D theaters in 2 weeks) we beat out pink panther 2, which everyone predicted would bury us. the film "taken" came in second, but our per screen average was higher, so you could make an argument that we came in 2nd. maybe not technically, but... as for the number one spot, you can't really put coraline up against a movie like "she's just not that into you" and expect reason to prevail. funny thing is, a lot of people seem to be pretty "meh" about that one after having seen it, and the word of mouth of coraline has been terrific, so hopefully in the long weekend coming up (valentine's day too!) we will continue to see good things for coraline.

i was heartened by this picture my mom sent me a couple of days ago. she still lives in the town where i grew up, newnan, georgia, which is a suburb of atlanta, about 40 miles southwest of the city. not exactly ground central for film promotion, but someone lovingly painted this mural in the window for opening weekend!

in a couple of days i will post some pics from the premier and a DIY crew screening from opening night.


almost there

coraline is just about to make her grand arrival to the masses! so far the reviews have been very good! rotten tomatoes has it at 88% at the time of this posting. that's quite good! it is weird thinking that very soon all of the hard work that we've done will be unleashed onto the world. whether it is loved, hated, praised or ignored it will be out there. this may be the most important weekend of my life? a bunch of us crew folk practically bought out a theater locally to see the film tomorrow night, and i've made some special preparations!

custom rosewood and mohaghany 3D glasses!

also, this is pretty funny.


what the?

i saw this in the backyard a few weeks ago. any ideas?



i can not seem to get rid of all this congestion in my head. it will not go away.

i'm not going to ramble on here today, i just wanted to re-post the new coraline trailer. in all honesty, it is totally badass. the last trailer was kind of... i dunno. i felt like it showed too much of the film's content (in sequence!) and the film comes across looking like it is meant for very young kids. at least that was my opinion. even neil gaiman is saying this is his favorite trailer thus far. it is a work of art in its own right. i think the pacing is great, and the music, especially toward the beginning, really makes you feel... cautious. i like it a lot. thanks again, W+K! now if only they had released this trailer first!

for now all i have is a youtube link. if i can find a high quality download i'll post that later.

a couple of new boxes have shown up too. check out the matrix to the right.


Pretty Good Week

it feels better already, doesn't it? yay for us! the 20th was also my two year anniversary with a very special young lady, so that made the day even that much sweeter. the down side is that i've had a crazy cold for about a week now, and while i feel somewhat better, i am super congested. i'll get over it.

one of the projects that i took on a few weeks ago was to build a book for the "art of coraline" show at the cartoon art museum in san francisco. i kept process journals for all of my armature designs and doodles throughout the production, and someone thought it might be a good idea to put some of that work in the show. of course, instead of just scanning some pages and saying "here you go", i volunteered to make a replica of the whole dang book. the problem was, there were 2+ moleskine journals worth of crap to go through, so i wound up including only(?) 48 pages in the recreation. i'm not sure if they are having a fancy opening or closing reception, or if henry is going to make an appearance or anything, but regardless of fanfare the show is definitely worth a look. i've seen the selection of art and puppets that are going to be on display, and i think it will be a worthwhile trip for anyone who is interested in that sort of thing. there was so much beautiful artwork done for this film. really great work. seriously. and as an added bonus, if you visit the gallery before the 8th of february you can still see the current totoro forest project show, which is amazing. a few coraline artists have work in that exhibit as well. any of you fine folks who manage to check the show out should let me know if my book has been tagged or vandalized as of the date you see it! except for the stress of trying to get the thing finished on time it was a lot of fun to make the book. it has been a long time since i have done any book binding, and this little project reminded me how rewarding it can be to make your own journals. perhaps i shall make more.

how about a sneak preview?


ghost town


i'm tired.

out of the blue i got called back to work for a few weeks to get puppets ready for some publicity appearances. there is an exhibit at the cartoon art museum in san francisco that we are preparing stuff for, and there is a whole bunch of other crap that needs to be done for the premiere. its a madhouse. i hadn't really expected to be back at work any time soon, so i guess i'm going to be a little light on free time at least up until around the time the movie comes out. it is nice, but kind of weird to be back in that giant building which is now a ghost town. i think we had somewhere up around 60 people working in character fabrication at the height of production, and now there are about 5 of us working. needless to say it feels a little different. its good to spend a little time with coraline though. i kinda missed her.

(i just realized this is going to be a pretty coraline-centric post... sorry about that. i DO have a life.)

in other related news, boxes 21, and 28 have surfaced. there have also been several button boxes showing up at different places. i can't really tell if all of these (admittedly cool) word of mouth marketing schemes are resulting in much mainstream awareness. i don't have TV so i don't really know how much presence there is on air right now, but i know they are cranking things up starting this week. i also don't live in a huge metropolitan market, so we don't have massive billboards or plastered storefronts. at least not yet. i've had a couple of relatives send me emails saying they've seen TV promos and stuff. pretty cool.

it seems like people who are into sneakers are liking these coraline dunks. i've actually seen these in person and they are pretty nice. the sole glows in the dark. (just let your soul glow!) you guys probably already know about the contest for winning these.

speaking of coraline swag, there are some strange goings on over at ebay lately. most notably, there have been a ton of black coraline keys popping up and selling for up to 70 bucks a pop. that's a lot! i think those keys are pretty badass, but i don't think they're worth 70 dollars, especially when you know they are just being picked up off the ground by the people who are selling them. whatever. one guy has a listing that states that the keys were given to VIPs and people on the crew. RIGHT. and what's this scavenger hunt business all of the auctions are claiming. i think it is obvious that the scavenger hunt is to find the frigging keys. anyway, i think they're cool, even if people are getting ripped off. if you have one of these keys and want to part ways with it, send it to me and i'll make it worth your while.



besides being snowed in for a couple of weeks just before christmas, i would say i had a fairly unremarkable holiday season. i guess that's not entirely true, but it kind of seems that way. i stayed in portland for christmas this year, marking the first time i've spent the holidays away from family. i'd have gone home if i'd been able to afford it, but i'm grateful that i didn't buy a ticket because due to the snow in portland i probably wouldn't have been able to make it out of town anyway. instead i had a couple of great dinners with other fellow holiday orphans from various parts of the world that could not make it home for similar reasons. i definitely ate some of the best home cooked meals i've ever had. thanks to george, vera, graham, and melena (and family) for your excellent holiday cooking and hospitality! i wasn't completely without the loving attentions of family though. it is always nice to get care packages, and it was especially nice to get some holiday cheer from the family. cards, books, batteries, candy, seasonal underwear, home baked cookies, and six pack of the world's greatest ginger ale all found their way to me before christmas morning, even though there was no one there to share hugs and thank-yous with. i think my favorite gift was a print of a scott campbell painting that vera gave me. the great thing about this painting is that it perfectly encompasses everything loved and hated when i was about 7 years old. even as a little squirt i loved all of the old classic universal monsters, but i was completely terrified of E.T.

not much has changed.

on new year's eve my buddy huy hosted an amazing party at his new place. he talked me into bringing over the poker gear for anyone who wanted to start up a game, and we wound up playing for a couple of hours. i don't know if it was meant to be an exclamation point at the end of a good year, or a sign of even better things to come, but i made a royal flush just after midnight!

apparently the probability of a hitting a royal flush is 1 in 649,740.

back in the real world, the snow kind of wreaked havoc on my whiteboard plans. i was literally housebound for about 2 weeks, so my gym routine is pretty much busted. i've basically broken rules 1-3 daily for the past 2-3 weeks. so sue me. i did finish one of my projects that has been looming over my head for several months, and i have made considerable progress on a couple of others. a couple of new things have come up to, so even though i've kind of been a chump about certain things, i've managed to keep myself moving forward, more or less. more show and tell in a couple of days.

things might be picking up soon?