Friday, October 31, 2008
Happy Halloween, people! This is one of my favorite holidays! Above is a costume I made many years ago. I was Dr. Zaius from Planet of the Apes. I tore the fur off a werewolf mask, and sculpted a muzzle out of an oil-based clay, and then painted over it with layers of acrylic paint until the paint was thick enough to peel off the clay and hold its shape. I'm telling you all this lest you think I'm some sort of lazy person who just went out and bought a Halloween costume. Below is a look at the "tunic" and fingernails and stuff. Are you doing anything for Halloween tonight?
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Hey people. Strad molted again, and this time something fascinating happened. When these crabs molt, they basically chew through their front and crawl out of their shell. Then they hide for a while until their new shell hardens. They always end up bigger than they were before. You'll know your crab has molted when he hides more often than normal and there is an extra crab in your tank with no one inside. Look:
Strad made that. It's a crab artifact. I wish I'd saved the one from his first molt. It would be like a timeline. Anyway, the fascinating thing: ever since I have known him, Strad has had seven legs. Even after he molted last time he had seven legs. But this time he came out of his seven-legged shell with eight legs! How is that possible? Where did he grow that eighth leg? Was it crammed in with his body? It sure wasn't growing out of the stump where his eighth leg should have been the whole time. I don't get it. Imagine you are wearing very comfortable gloves, and then you take one off and find out you have six fingers. That's the trick Strad just pulled. Amazing. Maybe now Claudia won't so uppity about her leg count.
Get yourself some crabs. They are low-maintenance fascinating pets. Not the cuddliest things in the world, but when was the last time you had a puppy or a parakeet who suddenly upped their leg count overnight?
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Hey everybody! Here's a brand new feature on the blog of really old stuff! Rashworks Classic exhibits work from long long ago. Today I'll show you a poem from my first book The Robots Are Coming circa 2000! Halloween is on its way (one of my top favorite holidays) and this weekend Jena and I will be hosting a pumpkin carving party, as we have for the last several years. On that theme, here is my poem "Dim."
You may need to click on the image to read it. The Robots Are Coming was translated into Portuguese and sold in Brazil. Here is a translation in case you are Brazilian.
Sou uma abóbora meio apagada
e me chamam de Abó Brim,
nas noites mal-assombradas da festa do Halloween.
As outras têm velas grandes e fortes
que ardem com uma chama de dar medo,
mas ter luz fraca pra mim é sorte,
porque o fogo esquenta a tampa mais cedo,
elas cozinham, afundam e aí é o fim.
Então vão em frente: riam do Abó Brim!
Como dizia meu pai, o velho Abó Brão:
sabendo economizar, sobra
And here is a translation of that translation, as well as I could do with web translators.
I am a half-extinguished pumpkin and they call me "Burlap Gourd"
in the badly-haunted nights of the Halloween season.
The others have great and strong candles that burn with a fearful flame,
but to have weak light for me is luck,
because the fire warms up the lid sooner,
they cook, sink and there it is the end.
Then they go in front: they laugh at the Burlap Gourd!
As my father said, the old brave gourd:
"Knowing to save, surplus more ghost."
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Zombie movies, at least modern zombie movies (since Night of the Living Dead), are allegories for the heart-wrenching task of saying a final goodbye to a loved one. Every zombie movie has that scene when the hero confronts the zombie version of their friend, lover, or family member and must quickly burn through the five stages of grief before they are attacked. Acceptance is symbolized with a shotgun blast to a zombie head. I love zombie movies. They are generally cheap to make (pancake makeup, a couple fake arms, squibs), and that has two results I'd like to mention. One, filmmakers with limited budgets are often forced to be very creative with their storytelling. And two, and this is the point I'm really getting at, everything you are looking at is actually a thing. Actual actors in makeup. Actual sets and locations. Puppetry.
I know this is a generational thing. My nieces and nephews never talk about how "special effects" are done, like I did when I was a kid. They talk about how the "animation" is done. As a kid, I loved finding out about the little clay Indiana Jones in the mine car sequence, the paint dumped into a pool to make Close Encounters clouds, the horrible arduous process to make a Tie Fighter fly (you kids wouldn't believe it). But now special effects are mostly created in computers with mo-cap and wireframes and skins and stuff and nothing is real and no objects are actually bouncing real light into a camera lens. It often looks great, but it still doesn't look real!
Think about Godzilla. Those movies are so much fun. You know that those are actors in bad costumes, and that they are stomping on HO scale Tokyo buildings. It's obvious. But you can't help wanting to be the guy in the Godzilla suit stomping on those buildings. It's crappy, but you know that it's real stuff.
So now we come to I am Legend. Terrible. Here's why. Our hero Will Smith doesn't know any of the zombies in this movie personally. In fact, all the zombies are computer generated. Allow me to repeat that. Zombies, which are scary because they are so similar to us, and because we can become them so easily, are not even played by actors in this movie.
What's the point? This movie is creepy here and there, but it just isn't any fun. For a better time, see any other zombie movie ever made.
That's all for now. Until next time, I'll see you Down In Front™!