vendredi, décembre 31, 2010

Happy new year!


Happy and lucky new year to all of you! May all your wishes come true!

jeudi, décembre 30, 2010

Yule Gifts summary

Yesterday, I received a package of dear Sefarina. She sent me some incense and scent goodies. So wonderful - especially since I'm pretty out of incense stuff. Incense burning during the twelve Nights has been saved!
Thank you so very much, Sefarina! This is a truly wonderful present.


The other notable Yule Gift was a new outfit for the JFK Doll made by mom. I especially love the Jacket. It looks noble tough its sort of a home dress. She also made his trousers and the shirt he wears under the Jacket.. Incense and JFK-Doll clothes are Gifts that are never wrong for me. This year again, I won't be of those people who run into the stores after Xmas in order to return their gifts or try to sell them at Ebay ;-)



mercredi, décembre 29, 2010

New Year Wallpapaer

One of my "hobbies" is to create collages using my huge collection of JFK Photos and making computer-wallpapers out of them. Often, they are season related. The newest one is for New Year. Since I think it did come out nice, I'd share it with you. Click on it to see and download it in full size.

lundi, décembre 27, 2010

Mood Swings

I really don't know why I have so much mood swings, these days. I find myself irritable and with a low level of tolerance when it comes to little obstacles or when I have to change my plans. I'm not like this, usually. Pre-Menopause? It doesn't evolve into arguing, fortunately, but only because my ratio can hit the brakes at time when I'm at the edge of saying something stupid or aggressive.  I hope that it will get better, I hate to imagine I may become an old quarrelsome and bitter fart ...Gods, please, let me age with some dignity !

Luckily, I also experience some good things, like a real fine result lately, on a film scene. Looks like the new techniques I'm trying out yield pretty good results. Yay!


dimanche, décembre 26, 2010

Holidays

Despite the fact we do celebrate Yule, meaning the midwinter solstice, we kept the tradition of lighten the tree on December 24 and also letting this be the evening of unwrapping the gifts, eating smoked salmon, home made salad olivier and so on.
Dressing a decorated Tree in a home with two young cats is a risky challenge. Benni has become much more mature and calmer within the last months, but Winzy still is as silly as a new born kitten. He was fascinated by all the twigs, their scent and of course the decorations.
But he didn't dare to go on the tree when the candles were on.

Last night was probably the coldest of the year. We had -16 degrees. When I woke up, all  windows were covered with ice patterns and unable to be opened. 

The rising sun made them shine in a beautiful light. But the cold was really hard to bear.

The advantage of snow, ice and cold is that the asshole neighbors are less hooning. But that doesn't keep them from making noise at all. On December 24, late in the night, they tried to start their cars and failed, because they were stuck in the deep snow. You and I would simply have taken a shovel and free the vehicles, and this without making any further fuzz. Of course, they took it as an opportunity to yell down the whole village and when nobody was found who felt like going out near midnight into the snow to help them jerks free their clunky cars, they tried it themselves - with as much noise and yelling as possible.
Really - I do hope so much that the next year will take me a step nearer to a new home without this bunch of troublemakers.

jeudi, décembre 23, 2010

Twelve Nights

Depending on the way you count, we are now within the Twelve nights, also called Rauhnächte in German.
We are performing a card reading every day that is supposed to represent every month of the year. And of course, dreams are even more carefully observed and written down than usual.
So far, I didn't have very exciting dreams until now. For one it's due to the cats who wake me up several times during the night with some noisy playing or other silly things.
Only notable detail is that I dreamt now for the second time of me planting vegetables into a wooden trunk filled with earth. I did this in reality once; before we moved in here. When spring is there and you don't know if you will stay in your home until harvesting time, you try to raise some pants in big pots, so you may can move them with you.
Perhaps these dreams announce a moving next year. Would be so great.

mardi, décembre 21, 2010

A blessed Yule

To all of you a blessed an quiet Yule. The sun will be born again and and may its warmth be in your heart where ever you are and where ever you go.

vendredi, décembre 17, 2010

Little forest people

Some days ago, I had a strange dream. It was in a forest where several half mummified bodies were found. The bodies were partially buried under earth, leaves and twigs and all grey and strange. Almost all of them were females. 
Then, I held a newspaper in the hands, where an article said that the corpses are the remains of a people living in this forest. In fact, they are not real humans, but just close relatives...They are not taller than 1 meter and give birth to children that would correspond to at least 5 year old human kids in shape and ability to walk. 
Since I remembered the pictures in the dream quite well, I made two sketches showing them. They look a bit like natives of the Amazon Forest. 

jeudi, décembre 16, 2010

Pagan calendar

December is new-calendar time. I failed to make the traditional JFK calendar this year, I really did not found the time. But there's  a great alternative :
Sefarina offers to all her readers a magnificent Pagan calendar . You can download the 13 full resolution images on the linked Blog entry and then either print them out at home or at a copy-shop. A very beautiful work by a talented photographer and artist. The very right stuff for me, for sure!
Since I have no color printer at home, I saved all files on CD and took them with me, last Tuesday, when I went to  Basel. There's a fine Copy Shop in the middle of the town. Unfortunately, The afternoon I could spend in town was so overload with "last chance to buy them before Yul"-things that I missed the copy shop. And yesterday  in the morning, my mom and I drove home. So I will have to print out this calendar next time when I am in Basel, meaning in the beginning of January.

dimanche, décembre 12, 2010

faces of ugliness


Usually, I  prefer drawing beautiful things and people. Most artists do, I guess. But sometimes, I am in the mood of drawing real ugly shit. Or real ugly people.


Good thing is, ugly faces are much more easy to draw than good looking ones. I spend more time on one sketch of JFK than I did on these folks above. 

lundi, décembre 06, 2010

Our relationship doesn't work.

No, it doesn't.
I tried, really.
I made my best to understand him, to try to think like him and I always blamed myself for every failure.
Okay. I admit that I had heavy prejudices when we first met and although I tried to overcome these feelings, I couldn't help but thinking that despite the fact that he's everybody's darling, he's just ugly. Cold, with pale colors, somehow "artificial" -  and ugly. Freaking ugly.
These days, I made a last effort - but it didn't work. So I think, it's time to admit it one for all: We will not get together. Not in this life.
I am talking about 3D animation and me.

I like movies like Shrek, Toy Story Ice age and so on, despite the fact that they are in 3D-art - not because of it.
To me, its cold, its tacky and without any personality.
But I admit that including *some* bits if 3D technique in 2D films; i.e in the background, can be a good addition. And since Anime Studio allows you to do this, I sometimes use this feature. Well, in a very limited way, of course.
For a scene in the Bête des Vosges Films I had the idea that the White House could be in 3D. Since it has to "rotate" a bit. Anime Studio can import 3D models as obj files. So I spent several hours trying to edit obj models in free 3D modelling programms. If I would be able to produce something good, I could buy one of those pre-made 3D models of the White House, alter it a bit and then import it into Anime Studio. Well, I was not able to obtain the slightest result.
It's a field that can't be learned within one or two days. I don't have the time, nor the patience -  and most of all -  not the sufficient motivation to go trough this process.
So I started to build the White House making independent 2D elements that I import in Anime-Studio. When rotated in the right way, these elements create a sort of 3D impression. This is a result I can live with and that matches much more my style. Because...did I say it? 3D art is ugly.

Still unfinished but promising:

Update from the "hospital":
Millie is much better. She started eating again and no more blood there is. The vet will see her again next Wednesday. My mom had her denture fixed. She is still in Basel where she has other things to do.I will go there take her home in a week or so.

samedi, décembre 04, 2010

News from the general hospital.

I went home on Wednesday to able to take Millie to the veterinarian the same afternoon. She really was not well, she had blood in her poop and was very ill. Even blood-taking for an analysis was nearly impossible for her pressure was so low that almost no blood could have been withdrawn from her vein. Its not quite clear what she have, it could be a lot f things.
The doctor made remarks about her being a -  well -  pretty overweighted cat. She isn't a big eater. The problem is her slacking nature. But having some reserves helped her trough the days she didn't eat anything.

Now I force her to intake her medics twice a day. (its a torture!) and she is slowly getting better.

Yesterday, another medical emergency occurred: My moms denture broke in two at the breakfirst. We got an emergency date at her dentist - in Basel. I had to drive her to Basel and then drive back to France, so I could be with Millie and assure her medication. 6 hours on the road. At least I am now used to the new car :-)

mercredi, décembre 01, 2010

Millie

Did a lot of shopping these days and I also bought me a new Video-Editing Software. It is very exciting and I am currently learning the program and its features. Now, its time to stop spending my inheritance and go back to the "broke as ever so watch every dime" mode.
Originally, I planned to go home next Friday, but it depends on the weather. They announce heavy snowfall. I hope I can go home though, because Mom told me that our Cat Millie is not well. She vomits constantly and moans. We are afraid that it is her kidneys. I should go home to take her to the veterinarian.
The news about Millie worries me a lot. I have still not recovered from what I've got trough with Gribi and fear it may all start again. Millie is 10 years old now, not as old as Gribi was, but not young anymore.
In the other hand, todays medics are pretty powerful and even Gribi had a couple of additional years after we first had to start the therapy.
The financial burden of an old cat needing a lot of medics is another story...

dimanche, novembre 28, 2010

Update

It's not a surprise. Tough not all cantons have posted their results, the proposal for deportation of criminal foreigners has been accepted by  majority. All German-speaking cantons accepted, a lot of French speaking cantons rejected. Exception: Basel, mainly German speaking canton said no, too.

Speaking of Basel. There, a counter-proposal was accepted, asking to reduce individual motorized transportation (cars, of course) up to 10 percent. Original proposal asked a reduction of 25 percent. Well, I never understood why people use their car to within Basel: This town is best traveled by foot or tramway. During my stay, the car rests in the garage.

Deportees

My car brought me safely to Basel on November 26 and I was able to do all what I have planned. Including shopping for art supplies at the discount evening. This is so cool! I even bought new brushes - I will not be out of material this soon, now!
It has become very, very cold. Snow has fallen and the city is all under a white blanket.

Today is also an interesting day in Switzerland, as there is a Referendum held today for a proposal of  a right party wanting every foreigner that has become criminal to be thrown out of the country. After the Anti-Minaret Referendum, another political more than not correct proposal. A counterproposal brought in by the other parties want the same, but is less strict: Authorities should decide upon deportation from case to case.

Polls suggest that the original proposal will be accepted clearly. Once again, Swiss people prefer the hard way.
In my opinion, just like in the case of the Minaret-ban, the "good side" (the political correct one) fails to explain their point in a way people can understand both, on an emotional and rational way.

All while the authors of the proposal work with their well known posters displaying the ever so well-known crappy but highly effective drawings:


...the Good Guys loose themselves in shit like this:
The word "ausgrenzung" (excluding) - literary  "off-frontiering" -  may be a nice pun in the context, but seriously, where do these fellows live? In Disneyland?:
People do not care when some filthy drug dealers are "excluded". And drug dealers, rapers, aggressors and so on are what the average Swiss has in mind when thinking about  a "criminal" foreigner. Face it.


This poster is a bit better, still it doesn't explain why the proposal should not be accepted:
f
 There is that beautiful song of Joan Baez "Deportees" about Mexican workers who were flew back from the US in 1948  and whose plain crashed, causing their death.
Although, historically, the workers were probably not real deportees, This song certainly can reach the hearts, its not that abstract, intellectual shit from the before mentioned posters.

Anyway, reality in contemporary towns isn't about hard working harversters that try to make some bucks in order to keep the families at home eating.
Its' most often about stinky drug dealers, street prostitution with woman that were "imported" against their will, beaten and treated like shit. The fact that these women will most probably also be seen as "criminals" and therefore will be victims once again, is the kind of subtle detail the pro-proposition camp purposely hides and the anti-proposal camp fails to properly communicate in their effort to show all criminal foreigners in a romantic light.
Anyway, this will gonna be an entertaining day. I will update this Blog this evening, when results are here.

jeudi, novembre 25, 2010

Why always me?

I don't want this to become a "my car blog" and therefore wanted to talk about another subject, but I do have to say a few words about what happened yesterday. It's too crazy.
Short version:
* Noticed that new winter tires were not mounted but been laid in the trunk.
* Called the car-seller, he blamed his Idiot of mechanic (and he is!) and said I shall come to his car shop, he'll mount them.
*Went there, tires were mounted by him (the boss) and not by the idiot. Was happy.
*Boss drove my car out of the shop. Backward. Fast. Very fast.
*Boss crashed my car into another car who has arrived and stationed on the yard.
* Owner of said car looked at the whole scenery with deep and utter disbelief. (Fortunately, he was out of the vehicle, he could have been injured)
* So did I. -  Looking with endless and hopeless disbelief, I mean.
* Boss assured he would repair both cars, here, now and today.
* Boss had to drive to Epinal first, to get the pieces for repairing.
*Waited more than three hours at the shop's office for my car to be fixed. It was cold and I was very unhappy.
*Got the fixed car back. Does well, so far. Still I am afraid that there may be a hidden damage that will cause the car falling apart in pieces when I am at full speed on the motorway tomorrow. But I guess I'm just paranoid.

mardi, novembre 23, 2010

Free Shopping

Today I got the car.
In the Morning Mrs. Whitebeard had to drive me to Epinal for a visit at my Gynecologist. She was happy and surprised when I told her that on the way back she can drive me to the car-seller where I would pick up my Renault Clio.
The medical Visit was ok, and it was decided to keep on with the actual therapy for the next six months. Then I went for my medics in the drugstore and Mrs. Whitebeard drove me to the car-seller.

My first ride had to aim the next service station, for there was just a little gas left. (Never got a full car when buying one, did you? ) After that I went shopping in the mall. Boy, that was a great feeling - shopping in Independence, without the awful sensation of making someone else wait!

They announce snow for the next days. car driving will not be easy; but still more comfortable than the trains, which by the way, are on strike again. I am so much looking forward for he next Trip to Basel where I can spend my whole inheritance buy some working supplies like inks and brushes at the special discount day, they have on November 26.

lundi, novembre 22, 2010

November 22

A long time friend of mine had sent me a little parcel days ago, with the mention "do not open before November 22".
Today I opened it and found 2 very beautiful candles. The right stuff to be lightened under JFK's Photo today. This was so very nice from him.
An all over peaceful, but melancholic atmosphere is in our house. We picked up the last flowers in the garden and made a beautiful bouquet, we also placed next the photo, making a little altar for today. In the evening, around 8 O'clock, (the time that corresponds JFK's dying time in Dallas) I will burn some incense.

Aside of that, I share the feeling of fellow Bloggers like her and him that Winter has come to us right today. We don't have snow yet ( it's announced, tough) but it is very, very cold.


dimanche, novembre 21, 2010

Last Day of the year 47

Eve of November 22.
It is also the last day of the year 47 - My personal, artistic chronology being tied to the event. Today's the last day I sign art with "47" From tomorrow on, it will be "48".
When I look back in the year 47,  first impression is that had a lot of connecting-problems with JFK, him being away for many and long times. But when I read trough my dreambook diary, it becomes obvious that this is not true. On the contrary: This year was particular rich with strong and powerful dreams and inspirations. The problems of my daily life distracted me from the spiritual world; but JFK did his best to be as present as he could and as supportive as I needed.
We are often so ungrateful toward the spiritual world. Seldom really getting aware of what it does.

I wish you all a peaceful and quiet November 22, and a good year 48.

samedi, novembre 20, 2010

Approaching November 22

November 22 is approaching, one of the most important observances in my spiritual year. This time, I had so much things going on in my life, (the inheritance, the car...) that I had less time to spend my thoughts on this event and JFK.
But, in the other hand, my connection seems to be increasing again: I have a lot of dreams with him and communication works quite well. My connection to the spiritual world hat suffered a lot during this year, so I am relieved that things seem to get fixed again.
Monday will probably be the day I'll get the car. I really don't like something this important happen on that day of darkness, but it can't be influenced. I prevented the car-insurance having my new contract starting by date of 22.Nov. I asked them to date it for November 23. The operator didn't ask why and just  followed my wish.
If my inheritance had come faster, I wouldn't have been forced to go trough the car-buying process during this time.
Shortly after I heard about my Grandpas death and the inheritance for the first time, I had a dream in which my Grandpa was angrily telling me "I will do all what I can to prevent you getting any of that inheritance!"
(nice Man, isn't he?)
Well, It really looks like he tried. The delay of the inheritance was during MONTHS and there was one problem after another and we waited and waited and waited. When we finally heard from my uncle that he could now pay me out, the bank transaction took over a week. My bank had a major problem with their computers and all was delayed again. Then, I got a "provisionally" booking, and today only, the definite one. In short: As if someone spent all his efforts into delaying this payment as much as he could, up to the very last possible second.
Now I have to get accustomed with my new car in beginning winter, not easy. - At least there is no snow yet. And I bought a new set of winter tires which shall be mounted when the car is delivered. I'm very careful. I don't know how far dear grandpa is determined to take his efforts.

jeudi, novembre 18, 2010

My new car

After 9 months of being without a car, things went on pretty fast, lately.
My inheritance was finally advised as to be paid out. At the same time, winter is approaching with big steps and it is more and more hard to go into town with the bicycle. Also we really don't want to profit for ever from  the kindness of Mrs. Whitebeard, who played our personal driver all summer long.
So it was time we look out for a  new car. "New" meaning a second-hand one, of course. Our Veterinarian told us that her husband is a car trader and that he would find us something suitable. That was two days ago. Today, he presented us a Renault Clio Phase II. 
I went on a test-drive and it felt - well, wonderful. Its a pretty nice car and it drives smoothly. We made the papers and the payment and I can expect my car being delivered next week.
This means that I will not have to use the train, when I go to Basel on November 26. I am really not against trains. But two changes on the way to Basel, cold and windy stations (with the Station of Belfort being an anteroom of hell) its no fun, really. Let alone the heavy loads I often carry when going to Basel. Same here: Its okay in Summer. But in cold winter...And train is expensive. Much more than the fuel for the car.
The Photo beyond was taken by the car-trader. It looks longer and more massive as it is in reality.


Well, I am really looking forward having it!

dimanche, novembre 14, 2010

Still struggling

Thank you for your supportive comments. Actually, I am still struggling with that scene, but I am trying out a new technique that is promising and which is probably the solution to avoid the problem.
The problem in question is the following: The more a figure moves slowly, the more the irregularities in the single drawings will appear and "flicker". In other words: A horse in a speedy gallop isn't a problem, but a slowly walking horse is. And since a horse has much details, such as mane, muscles and so on, it flickers like hell. That hurts the eyes.
I am now trying to solve the problem by only animating the legs all while keeping the same body and head. To avoid these parts being stiff, I'll animate them with Anime Studio's bone-system. I am not finished yet, but as I said, first results look promising.
The other problem was that the walking motion  itself was totally crappy. It looked like the horse was drunk, wounded by a shotgun or being no living horse at all, but some sort of weird toy.
And there, I thought that I know all of a horse's movements up to the core.
Back the Photos of  Mister Muybridge, Mrs.Kennedy!

vendredi, novembre 12, 2010

No Go.

I worked the whole day on a Film Scene. And guess what ? It came out as a big pile of Shit. I am a poor animator and a crappy filmmaker. So now, I'm gonna watch TV and after that,  have a good sleep. And tomorrow, I'll hopefully wake up as a better animator and a  better filmmaker and put that right so it works. Pff!

mercredi, novembre 10, 2010

Useless Rant

Usually I never criticize personal blogs. Simply, because they're personal and if you don't like them, don't read them. A personal Blog is about authenticity.  I prefer a blog that's ugly and / or badly written but is authentic over a fancy one that is not really authentic. Nevertheless, here what I like less in Blogs:
1. Over sized Fonts and letters. I a not blind. And I am not deaf. Big letters that "yell" at me don't make what you say more meaningful or more important.
2. Extremely tiny fonts. If you are this ashamed of your writing -  up to a level you'd want to hide it,  just don't write it at all.
3. Fake-personal Blogs. Lemme explain. I don't mean fictive Blogs from the point of view of a fictive character - these are interesting. I mean a blog that is labelled as "personal" but is in fact a whole big ad for a certain product. Like "My weight-loss diary" that suggests being the thoughts of an individual, but in fact, sells a special, expensive diet-product or similar.
4. Innuendo-overload. Full of "You know what I mean"..."I'm not saying that...but you know..."
No I don't.
I can read subtext, don't worry, but don't take it too far. Say what you mean or shut up!
5. Links that don't work. Test them before you post them, Idiot!
6. Useless criticism of other blogs. While it may make sense to write about a specific subject an other blog wrote about and on which you feel differently, I can't see any good in ranting about personal things in other blogs. Blogger XY writes too much about the weather and you hate how he or she constantly posts photos of her pet-rat? Well, don't read it then. It's that simple. Ranting about other blogs is stupid.

Hey ! Don't look at me! Just because I did it doesn't make it any better ;-)

In my effort to avoid Innuendos: I hereby solemnly state that I had NO blog of my regular readers / commenters in my mind when writing this. The ones I had are probably unknown to you.

dimanche, novembre 07, 2010

Nothing special

Benni is already a long cat and likes to make himself even longer by sleeping like if someone misused him as an expander.
Weather is cold and rainy, so I spend most of my time working on art and film.

vendredi, novembre 05, 2010

Theo Scribbles

During the last days, I felt a certain need to do some scribbles and drawings with my character Theo, in memory of Ted Sorensen.
I didn't have many occasions to draw him lately. The Film doesn't feature JFK's spouses, it probably even plays in a time before he was married to anyone. And the other last  Antique White House stories I did, didn't hold a big role for Theo.

Theo is not easy to draw. The heavy glasses mostly cover his eyebrows what makes it difficult to show facial expressions. He is the kind of character you wouldn't invent if you have to design a "hero" out from your mind. But the advantage of real people as models is that they make your characters recognizable and not the ever-the-same prototypes.

In fact, I like the way he does not wear "cool" clothing, but rather than that old fashioned suits and shirts, pull-under and all the stuff you wold not associate to a "hero".
But I do also try to design special clothings such as for celebratons, weddings, rituals and so on.

mardi, novembre 02, 2010

Farewell to Ted Sorensen

On October 31, Theodore C. Sorensen died at the age of 82. He was JFK's counselor and one of his closest friends; He was the living model for the "Theo" Character in my Antique White House series.

Despite of the important Role Sorensen played, both in JFK's political as well as in his personal life, he is not really well known by people who have no deeper notion of the Kennedy administration and years. Especially in Europe. This may be partly due to Sorensen himself who always made his best to put and keep Kennedy in the spotlight, all while playing his role behind the stage.
Historians and friends consent that Sorensens influence on JFK's politics was extremely important. It was Sorensen who mostly turn JFK into a liberal, by "educating" him, especially during his Senator-time. Some people even say that Sorensen should have been the one to get the Pulitzer Price for JFK's book "profiles in courage" as said work was mainly conceived by him.

Sorensens Religion was Unitarian Universalism.
"There is no single unifying belief that all Unitarian Universalists (UUs) hold, aside from complete and responsible freedom of speech, thought, belief, faith, and disposition. They believe that each person is free to search for his or her own personal truth on issues, such as the existence, nature, and meaning of life, deities, creation, and afterlife. UUs can come from any religious background, and hold beliefs from a variety of cultures or religions.
Concepts about deity are diverse among UUs. Some have no belief in any gods (atheism); others believe in many gods (polytheism). Some believe that the question of the existence of any god is most likely unascertainable or unknowable (agnosticism). Some believe that God is a metaphor for a transcendent reality. Some believe in a female god (goddess), a passive god (Deism), an Abrahamic god, or a god manifested in nature or the universe (pantheism). Many UUs reject the idea of deities and instead speak of the "spirit of life" that binds all life on earth.
UUs support each person's search for truth and meaning in concepts of spirituality." (source: Wikipedia)

To me, It is very probable that Sorensens influence also worked on JFK's spiritual identity. JFK who never was a happy nor good catholic (all while being attacked by his opponents for  being a catholic...) adopted a lot of above views and convictions described above, what leads us to the spirituality he personally carried, beyond his "official" religion.

Speaking of spiritually: Sorensens departing explains some dreams I had and JFK's behavior toward me during the last two weeks. I had difficulties to connect and he said that, all while nothing would change between us, he had to "embrace a man" and therefore would spend his efforts on this.
Last night I told JFK that it is okay for me, and that he shall take all the time / energy  he needs for Sorensen.

Back here on earth I think that we lost a brilliant man and thinker. And another little living piece of the Kennedy era that slowly fades away into History.

lundi, novembre 01, 2010

Samhain Day

It has been a very beautiful Samhain for us. We talked a lot, read the cards and it was the occasion to get thoughts together about our situation and how to deal with it. It did me so much good to review such important things with my mother in the warm and quiet atmosphere of Samhain evening. I am so happy that I managed to come home.

It has been a pretty hard year for us. The death of Gribi and the extreme increase of the hooning, making it the main subject in our daily life. The challenge for the new cycle to come will be to keep going on, despite of the pressure, to stay healthy; both physically and in mind. And to work hard in order to get us out of here. I am determined to achieve it.

dimanche, octobre 31, 2010

Blessed Samhain


For many pagans, Samhain ist the most important observance in the year. It is certainly for me. The celebration of autumn, pumpkins, the otherworld and our dear departed is the very highlight in my year's circle.
To all my friends and readers a blessed and happy Samhain

samedi, octobre 30, 2010

Home!

Yes, I am at home, in France!
Yesterday, I putted together an itinerary using the infos about alternate transporting available to bypass the strikes. It resulted in a 6 hour journey with Buses, extremely slow local trains and waitings at stations, but hey! I made it.
I will spend Samhain with mom and cats.
During my trip, I was amazed to see how many people were totally lost and in panic over trains that they wanted to take but didn't go. Well, it's not like they strike since yesterday only, everybody talks about it, so it might be a good idea to check out the trains on the internet before actually start travelling...
Anyway. I went home and discovered that Benni and Winzy had grown a lot. Boy, they are almost big cats now.

jeudi, octobre 28, 2010

Approaching Samhain

Samhain is approaching and I have to slowly face the fact that I will probably spend it alone in Basel. Trains are still on strike, at least those I would need. There's one last chance tomorrow.
Not that Samhain in Basel is bad, but I will be alone, not with my mom and not with the cats. I have deeply mixed feelings. For one, I really long to go home to see them all again, but in the other hand, my mom is telling me that there is real heavy hooning at home these days, so that I am also happy about every day I do not have to stay there. I really don't know  how I will deal with the noise, once I am back. Sometimes I panic here in Basel when I hear a sound that's like a motorcycle, even though its only a far away plane in the sky. But my heart beats like a locomotive and I tremble and sweat.

The house-selling project is also pretty stuck. We had one visit from interested people during all those weeks. They liked the house but were shocked when I had to tell them that this village doesn't have any store or something.
I tried to get in contact with some real-estate agencies, but they all refused , without even seeing the house. It's the village itself. A nearly empty flat with almost more houses for sale than residents, with for only "entertainement",  the hooners.
This week, My mom finally had the visit of an agency. First, they were pretty arrogant and said that it would not be possible to sell the object for the price we want - until my mom showed them the barn. Then they understood that it is in fact a little farm and not just a house. They then accepted to try to sell at our price and said that they will email us the contract. Didn't get it yet.
Anyway, I am not optimistic. Real estate prices are constantly falling and experts say that it may getting worse, for the market in France is totally overrated. It will implode soon.  Funny thing is, I can observe how the houses I would potentially buy getting cheaper and cheaper.  So maybe, I will even be able to just save the funds for a new house, without having to sell the old one. Its not a big, but probably the only chance.

samedi, octobre 23, 2010

New paths

Still no End if the strikes in sight.
Meanwhile I am working very hard on my usual projects. And a new one, a commission. This one is interesting, because I have to try out new ways and techniques. It's a lot of brainy work, but the results are interesting. That's the good thing with works for a  third party: You are forced to leave your usual paths and try out new ones.
It gives me ideas for other and other projects, but I have to be careful not to lose myself in the amount of ideas. One step after another.
Unfortunately my Computer-chair here in Basel is all but ergonomic. It gives me a hell of a pain in the neck and the back. The one in France is not really better, but not as awful as this one. Gotta look for a new chair as soon as I can spare a few bucks for it.

mardi, octobre 19, 2010

Waiting...

A cold and dark day, here in Basel. Therefore I reduced my outside time to the things I had to do and spent the rest inside, working.   Mom is giving me news from home via email and she said that all station services in the area are out of fuel. People start to *sell* what they may have left in their jerrycans for the lawn-mower and so on. I call this black market...And the government is still telling us that there's no shortage of any kind and hat the strike has barely any effect on daily life. My ass!
My mom took the bus this morning to go shopping especially for enough cat food. It may have been the last tour of that bus too, so far. Well, at least she now has all she and our animals need at home. I have all I need here too, so I guess we are still  pretty lucky in a difficult situation. At least we don't live in those areas with riots.
Wonder how things will evolve when parliament passes that law next Wednesday. Either the strikes will increase, either the protesters will give up.

dimanche, octobre 17, 2010

Strike!

I wanted to travel back home tomorrow. All was prepared and packed. But...with all the news about the strikes in France, I thought it might be wise to do a search on the net. And there - My train will not be in service. Strike! Did I say how much I HATE it when my plans are cancelled by third party?


Still better than taking the train to Belfort and then get left stuck there like an idiot...
Strike in France is about the governments plans to raise the age of retirement up to 62. Its 60 now. I would also prefer to be 60 when I (hopefully) will get something back from the considerable amount of money I have to pay monthly for my retirement. So I should be grateful for being hindered in my plans.

samedi, octobre 16, 2010

Well meaned Fake

I am usually an admirer of Greenpeace, but their latest action is something I can't agree to.

See this Video:


To say it straight out: This speech is a fake. An existing speech has been altered to create a speech that never was. It's a pretty well done fake - and that's the problem. Some people may take it for real. A lot of people, I'm afraid.
Supporters of this video claim that all while the speech itself may be a fake, it's in JFK's spirit and that he would agree to the given statements. Well yes, very probably.

I would have been perfectly fine with a drawing or other work that is recognizable as art / fiction , portraying JFK taking a stand for renewable Energy. But this is History Falsification.
I don't understand it anyway: There are several authentic Quotes from JFK regarding environmental themes, that can be used to support contemporary activism. Of course, terms like "global climate Change" were not of current use in JFK's time, so these quotes may not match todays issue word by word. But still, they are universal and powerful enough to provide Inspiration and strength even in our days. Really, in my opinion there's no need to falsify history. What do you think?

vendredi, octobre 15, 2010

Blog Action Day 2010 WATER

One of my favorite Quotes from JFK:


"All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea -- whether it is to sail or to watch it -- we are going back from whence we came."


When signing the Water Pollution Control Act Amendments.July 20, 1961


"I think it is very important to all of us in this generation to pass on and perhaps even better the position of all the natural resources that we have, and this is particularly true with water." 



mercredi, octobre 13, 2010

I can't get no satisfaction

My creative readers probably know the phenomenon: Sometimes, all what you produce seem to be not good enough. I restarted 3 times over the SAME animation. JFK running. It's not a task this hard, but for some obscure reason, I wasn't able to do it in a halfway acceptable way. This drives me nuts! But now, I think, the third attempt is okay. At least, I hope...
When you are working too much and too long on a piece of art, it becomes rotten. All what I aspire is to finish this hell of a scene and finally start on the next. Its like running against a wall!

samedi, octobre 09, 2010

Memory Lane

Today I took a long walk trough Basel. Again, I visited sites known from my childhood. My old way to school. I was in a lot of other schools later of course, for I grew up not only in Basel. But this was the first one and therefore will remain something special, for ever. In the past months I had a many dreams that brought me back in this time and space, dreams that always created a sensation of happiness, hard to describe. It was very special for me to walk these roads again, for real. Said sensation of inner happiness emerged and worked like a drug. 



These walks on "Memory lane" are also part my effort to follow an advice JFK gave me. He said that when working with dreams, I should not only recall their content and  messages, for any recall is always a memory from memory, hence only "second hand". But I shall try to remember the feeling they created. For the feeling is the only thing really authentic. I practiced a bit and discover this as a true source of inspiration and motivation.

The above forest probably looks totally normal and boring for everyone. To me, it is the forest which contains most of my deepest secrets and memories. Since decades, this patch of wood keeps reappearing in my dreams, and probably ever will. So this photo could be as well be a photo taken straight in my subconsciousness.

The backyard of my old school. Behind the windows of the basement was the handworking class-room.
The pines in the background left are part a little wood where I played.
The way from school to home is named Galgenhügel Promenade - which means "Gallows Hill Lane"  -  nice name, isn't it? But it was appropriate. The road is both dark and fascinating. It crosses the above described forest of secrets.

After that I went home and worked a bit on the Movie.

vendredi, octobre 08, 2010

Nobel Prize

Okay, that was unexpected. Nobel Prize for Liu Xiaobo, this kicks asses!
After a couple of questionable Winners in the past, especially in the "peace" category, finally a real worthy winner again. Most of the western governments crouch before the Chinese dictatorship these days, because of the economical power of the country. The prize spits them coward appeasement-politicians in the face and places a big pile of shit at the door of the Chinese leaders.

A courageous decision in favor of a courageous man.




The art of Culture

When you grow up as bilingual, people tend to think that this means that you speak two languages just as your mother tongue, meaning equally good. The truth is often less brilliant, for it may  only mean that you speak none of them really accurately. 
Both is true for me. When I was between 15 and 35 I wrote and spoke German and French fluently and was also able to write stories in both languages. 
Since then, my German is declining. Especially since I stopped being active in the German Comic Community.

Not only do I have more and more to dig out  "the right" word, but I am also loosing the sense for the appropriate use of words. Just translating 1:1 definitely doesn't do the job.
Recently, there was an apparently big misunderstanding when I used the word "culture" (in German). To me, there was nothing to be misunderstood, but apparently, the other took it in a completely different way than I intended and therefore obviously didn't understand my whole statement. It was not the first time that this happened to me, especially with the word "culture" . In German,  it's as dangerous to use it as the word "art". Here too, the word is of common use in French and makes no statement whether or not it's "good" art. In German, the using of the word seems to be reserved for what is widely accepted as "good" art. Therefore, I prefer to speak of "work" when I talk about my art, in order to prevent people seeing me as an  Impostor. 

Even if one keeps up with reading and writing in a language, as long as you do not live in the area and interact with people on a daily base, you slowly disconnect with the evolving of the laws of metacommunication within the specific language. Sort of Chinese Room syndrome on a low level. Scary!
Just happy, it's not the other way: French language is literary overloaded with expressions and words that have a double-meaning and subtexts. This may explain why they are a lot more tolerant when you use a word  in a context that doesn't match their understanding of it... It may be a metaphorical use they didn't knew yet and don't want to out themselves as ignorants ;-)
Said tolerance of course only applies if you can speak French at all. If not, then you are screwed. Remember what French comedian Coluche said. "What I hate the most about foreign countries, they just don't speak french. And depending on the countries, they don't even speak the same foreigner!"

jeudi, octobre 07, 2010

Signs

Since Tuesday I am in Basel again and very busy. I was a bit worried whether I can accomplish all the things I had to do or not, due to my weakness from the blood problems. But I am doing quite well, I feel new strength in me and I think that whatever is wrong, it didn't get worse, but better. "The dragon" is also not rampaging anymore, since a whole couple of days!
So I can enjoy the beautiful warm days of golden October in town. Basel is so lovely at this season.

This morning I went past a street sign and discovered a strange inscription in the dust that's covering it:

"Kenedy" and "Pinokio"
Aside from the fact that the author of this inscription obviously has heavy Dyslexia, it's quite odd, isn't it?
What does this message mean?  How did the author get up there to write it, anyway? The sign is pretty high up in the air, I had to lift my hand up strongly in order to take the photo with the cell phone.
But things are even stranger: A couple of days ago, I dreamt that I wanted to see the Disney Movie "Pinnochio" in order to get inspired for my Kennedy Film, when it comes for the houses and backgrounds.

In my dream, I suddenly was within the Film itself and saw an overview of Venice in the dawn. It was so beautiful, that I started to cry.
Now, within my family tradition, crying in dreams is always a good sign. Seeing dawn, too. Therefore I was pretty pleased about that dream.
The above road-sign was like a reminder of this dream to me.

lundi, octobre 04, 2010

Gulp!

How a single scene works, is usually only revealed to you when loaded together with the other scenes. If the whole film flows nicely, visually as well as for the sound, then it is good. Until now, I was pretty happy with the final outcome on how the movie does when the scenes are connected and palyed in their right order. But now... Urgh! I face my first true mismatch!

End of Scene 106:

...hurts beginning of Scene 107:


JFK's pose is too similar - well of course, he is keeping doing the same thing he did on 106, but the changing of the camera's position hurts. Real bad. Arrg! Both scenes are good when seen individually, but when played together, the transition is just killing the viewers eyes. I will now try to add a very short scene for the in-between: the beast under water. I hope that the transition will work after that. 

samedi, octobre 02, 2010

Domain scammers

Received my Blood analysis results prescribed by the gynecologist today: they're pretty shit.
A lot of values are way beyond what they should be and most of all, an extremly low level of leukocytes.  So I was appalled the whole day. I did mostly what I like and what I was in the mood for. Sort of breaking out of the daily discipline. It did me good. I may should do more often such a day without fixed duties. Guess what? I'm gonna slacking around like this until my departing to Basel. Ha! I take this crap as an excuse to just spoil myself  a bit and to hell with all commitments.
The letter from the lab, telling me that I should be long dead normally, was not the only peculiar letter I received today: A Domain renewal group sent me an invoice for my domain www.cartes-de-visite.org, in order to "renew it for another year". Well, I was kind of surprised because:

* I know that my last annual payment wasn't that long ago.
* Said domain is hosted at another company.
* Price for a year was around 15 Euro - not 29 Euro.
* Normally, I receive my new invoices via email - from the company who hosts my site and domain.

Google is your friend. One single search yielded the information, that apparently, they send out thousands of those "invoices" to domain-owners all over France (and other countries) hoping that people are dumb enough to pay. When you pay, your domain will be moved to them and they will host it for much more money your former hosting company did.
I guessed a thing like that, but, yeah, good to know. Invoice made fine fire-lighting paper.
What surprises me, is that they *are* people who fall into that trap. Are there really? Probably. Or they wouldn't try it. Since a couple of years, according reports on the net.

Well, it was an interesting experience: Like most of us I am used to daily scam-attempts trough e-mail, but this was the first one I got via regular post.


vendredi, octobre 01, 2010

Dreambook 2011

As you may remember, I am doing a personal JFK-Dreambook, every year. Now, it is again time to prepare the one for next year. I have finished the cover and I am working on the inside pages right now.

As always, the cover has to be a collage of JFK, the moon and some dreamy background. As for the inside, added a few new features, such as 12 boxes into which I can write down the cards I had each night of the wild hunt.
It's quite a work, but it's worth the effort, since this book has become my closest personal item all over the year. It's much more than just a book to write down dreams with JFK or dreams in general. Wouldn't want yo miss it anymore.

mardi, septembre 28, 2010

I don't need SEX!

Today I was at the Gynecologist, because the medics didn't stop the dragon out of control. She was worried of me having anemia because of all the loss of blood over the past weeks and because I looked pale. Guess I shouldn't have told her that I often feel dizzy - because then she wanted to send me to the hospital for a surgery the same day. I begged her not do so, because I want to go to Basel on October 5, with lots of plans for some projects and that I have already spent money for prints for that purpose. I finally could talk her into giving another medical therapy a chance to work. She also added medics against anemia - iron and so on. If this don't do the job until End of October, I will go for the surgery in order to scratch the shit that makes me bleed outta me.

Sometimes, really:


On the way home, Mrs. Whitebeard who drove me to Epinal and back, tried to convince me that a surgery would be the best way to end all the problems quickly. She kept repeating that it's painless and that one can leave the hospital within 3 days. (She had the same thing, years ago) My mom also thinks it would be far better to go for the surgery, because she thinks that I'm swallowing more medics than food by now.
What others seem to not understand is that I'm not afraid of the surgery itself. (Okay, I'm not looking forward for it, of course) but  it's the loss of time and the fact that I made plans for THAT time. And I hate it, when shit like this goes between me and my plans.

samedi, septembre 25, 2010

Daily little highlights

Since I have a more organized life, I experience what was ever normal for non-nerds around the world: Daily routine according to a steady time schedule. It isn't always pleasant, but the routine also includes some little highlights all over the day, which do me good just due to the fact tht they are repetive. Call them little rituals. First highlight is the breakfirst. Over years, I used to skip this meal, since I was not hungry so early in the morning. ("early in the morning" could have meant 4:00 PM...) Nowadays I learned how to apreciate a good breakfirst and that it is the best way to keep you thin when your biggest energy-intake is in the morning, before doing your physical efforts.
Then comes the house cleaning. It always starts in the kitchen -  dishes and so on. Pico has quickly learned when it's dishwashing time and gets on the kitchen sink to wait for the magic water pouring out :




After household, seccond little highlight: Sitting down with a tea, lightening a candle and an incense, and writing down last night's dream in my Dreambook.
After tis, drawing time, Computer Time, scanning, coloring and all.
Next highlight is at 3:00 PM, time for a little coffee. Then 8:00 PM, time to work a bit on the Weltenbibliothek. And then, on 20:00 TV-Time.

What are your daily little highlights?

mercredi, septembre 22, 2010

Visit

Today, I had the visit of a friend who is also the one who voiced Kennedy in the movie (the french voice). We passed some very nice hours talking. He had made up the opportunity for an exhibition in town with my work in spring and will now make some efforts in order to promote the film, when it is finished. It did me good to talk about all those projects. I'm now even more motivated to finish this Film in beauty. It's good to be not totally alone - for once - when it comes to care whether or not people will be interested in your art.

lundi, septembre 20, 2010

Water fight

Today I finished Scene 103. The water took me hours, but at least it came out  halfway presentable. Not perfect, not as I would have liked it, but okay.
Next Scene will be a difficult scene, too: JFK punching the beast in the face. I'm not good at drawing punching scenes in general, let alone if they have to be animated. I am working with a lot of keyframes and try to fill the in-between with hopefully not too crapy drawings. Brr! I wonder myself how THAT will come out.
Once Jack gets out of that fountain, he will try to hide in the houses and that will be fun, so I am looking forward for it. Not that it will be easy, but it will be fun. Lots of material damage then.
*sigh* I guess I can't help but being the ever childish person who enjoys scenes of breaking dishes, destroyed furniture and all that stupid cake-in-the-face humor. I grew up with Laurel and Hardy shows on TV and that kind of influenced me. I even dream of making a tribute film one day, all in black and white with one narrating voice and a piano as background music. Oooooh, I should stop even thinking about new projects!

vendredi, septembre 17, 2010

Water

I really don't know why water is so hard to draw and even harder to animate. I am now  working at the scene where JFK is thrown into a fountain by the beast and this involves a lot if water splashing and moving. I do most of the water effects in Anime-Studio, because it allows me to do cool vector layers with transparency that can be moved and animated by manipulating the vector-points. Still, my splashing water always looks more like toothpaste  being squeezed out of its tube.

I know that with a lot of practice I'd probably would be able to obtain better results, but I just don't have the time. I really need to finish this Film quickly now. So just take the odd water as an "artistic brandsign".

mercredi, septembre 15, 2010

Customer service in the Internet-Era

...is not existent, if you ask me.
These days, I had an issue with a paypal payment that did go to a wrong adress. I wasn't able to pick up my money and the buyer wasn't willing to be of any help, so I first called paypals phone help hotline. A paying hotline, as you can imagine.
The first minutes were wasted by pretty stupid "menus" I had to go trough -  you know, the sort of  "If you have blond hair, dial 2,  if you have your hair cut, dial 3", and so on.
Then I finally joined a breathing person. She gave me instructions that of course, didn't work. Since I wasn't willing to call this expensive hotline a second time, I tried out paypals E-mail help service. Same hard way until I finally was able to get a contact-form. I then wrote down my problem, gave ALL informations and tried to be as complete and clear as possible. The response was the following: "Your current balance is ... Euros and we can confirm that the payment of September 4 arrived correctly. Well, Neither am I unable to acknowledge my current balance by looking into my account, nor was the payment of September 4 ever an issue. Not a word about my REAL inquiry!!
I wrote back saying that they obviously didn't read what I wrote and asked them to do so.
They got back to me by repeating the same useless advice I had on the phone. Me: Just AS I SAID, this advice does not work: They: Sorry, we don't have enough information to help you out. You must tell us the transaction number and so on. (all the infos I, of course, gave them already)

Now, I filled up another contact form "complaining against paypal" this time. Today, paypal called me and we solved the issue on the phone. Okay. But WHY all this useless stress? If a person could have taken so much as a few minutes of time at the very beginning, all that fuzz would have been avoided.
Its always the same: These Internet based companies, be it Ebay, paypal or providers - all of them think that they can just make money by offering a totally automated service. Yes, they have tons of FAQ pages and help-subjects to browse trough, but sometimes you just NEED a living person to get your issue solved. Is it too much asked to hire some halfway competent people for that?

samedi, septembre 11, 2010

JFK in town

Pretty good day - The Neighbor Lady, Mrs. Whitebeard, drove me to Epinal in the early morning where I visited the Gynecologist. She gave me medics that should help. This done, we went shopping and I bought me new drawing paper.
It was a bright and warm September day and I enjoyed the colors of nature, the trees that get more colored now, day after day. The autumnal Equinox, Alban Elued, approaches and with it, one of my most favorite periods of the year.
the Film is in its last stage of work: The scenes that play in the town. It sure changes a bit from the eternal dark-blue forests.
These part of the film will reveal that we deal with the JFK in another universe. Until now, the story could have played in the real sixties or fifties. JFK travelling in France on horseback fiction of course, but why not, it  could have been. But now, when we see the streets of the town, with the horse carriages and the clothings of the people, it will be obvious that this world isn't ours.

mercredi, septembre 08, 2010

Internet in Basel



Today, I finnally got the Cable package for Internet-connection in Basel. From now on, travelling to Basel no longer means going offline.
I spent the whole day installing all the stuff. Now its halfway working and I am reading trough a huge backlog of mails...

I'm a bit annoyed that I have to return to France Friday - and I will probably not be able to return to Basel until October. But then, I hope I can stay a bit longer. I really didn't had the time to achieve much things during these few days.

I did long walks trough the town, tough. Making a lot of photos.

Looks like some cyclist suffers from heavy diarrhea...
My old Kindergarten...Boy, that's over 40 years, now...

Quick selfportrait...


Other than that, I was able to finish two scenes of the Film. Tomorrow, My mom will arrive here and it will be her turn to stay here a few days, in order to make several visits at the doctor.


At least I will see the cats again. I miss them.