Saturday, April 07, 2018

Testing the AGPtEK light box

It's hardly a box, and it's wonderful because (a) it's cheap, and (b) it's light, and (c) it doesn't heat up and make your hands sweat when you're using it.  And it has three levels of illumination - AND it runs off your powerstrip or through the USB port on your computer.  Here's a quick test of four images into an animated GIF:


And this is just another Photoshop test, using some onionskin sketches from the 1980s... so many boxes of stuff to digitize...
from the "Benny Bugg Workout" (1988)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Random Notes from February 19, 2018 ASIFA Central Phone Meeting

ASIFA Board Agenda February 2018

Welcome - theme for the program - committee creation and use in “moving forward” - let’s call them “parties” as in “party of the first part” - mainly for support, based on needs for the group - “a support group”


  1. Minutes - see January Board Agenda - Jim is putting his notes on his blog, just so it’s kept safe from anyone other than Russian prying eyes...
  2. Updates - Deanna is HERE!  Yay!
  3. Next Meeting

2. Updates

  1. Members Survey Conversation
    1. What does our membership and friends want from ASIFA Central? How do we support local ‘pods’  (ie, small groupings of animators) How do we build community? What opportunities can we provide?  -- if done on FB, we can reach those with the online connection - should place a couple in the development to work with each other - table until we determine items for discussion
    2. Who leads Development? Chris, Jim
  2. Julie: Website development - wordpress technical challenges “screenshot fatal error” - Deanna will check on the site’s expense and what it provides - is there any advantage to starting from scratch?  The biggest challenge is getting the ASIFA.org domain to link to the site, via network solutions or the new wordpress processes.  Are there less “buggy” solutions?  May 2018 is the expiration date with the current agreement.  Regardless of the decision, we need to update the web domain.  ASIFA@asifa.org is forwarded to
    Chuck.  A committee about website content would be GREAT.  (technical discussions ensued) The consensus is that we should scrap and start anew.
    1. Support Committee? Deanna, Bob, Chuck is assisting with this - puzzling out the Domain Name and site hosting. Looking into Dropping Network Soln. and just forwarding the domain name and asifa@asifa.org address.
    2. Requirements for photo, video link, Bio length?
    3. Content areas to consider?
    4. Event Calendar?
    5. Authors of content areas and deadline to get info website?
    6. What does Julie need?
    7. Deanna writes: Finally, the international asifa.net is up, and coordinator Corrie Francis Parks is working to include individual member pages on that site. We sent her the member list, and each member will get an email on how to log in and how to create their member page. Also, although currently, the magazine is only offered to members through their log in, but the board just voted now on changing that, and having the magazine be open to the public.
    8. Be sure to check out Julie’s email with the prototype link
  3. Chuck: Membership numbers - 36 total members, 3 students, 1 comp, 2 honorary, and the rest are paid international!  
    1. Quick update on how many members we have (Intl., Student, Comp/Honorary).
    2. What should we do with Jennifer and Gordon Peterson? Should we ask them to pay for their membership now that they’re not on the board or should we gift them with a Comp’d membership for a year or two given the work they put in during the past? Full disclosure: ttbomk, they took the Comp’d membership option for their dues while they were boardmembers. (Chuck) - the consensus is to continue to comp their membership for 2-3 years in appreciation for their hard work
    3. In the dropbox (Chuck will resend the link to the dropbox), I’ve placed a PDF advertisement that can be printed double-sided and trimmed down to postcard size. Is there any way to get the ASIFA IAD posters without any IAD event text written over the image so we could potentially use the pictures in our advertisement material to be handed out at events?  Deanna: this may be problematic - possibly “dedicated” graphics to the event - perhaps if they indicate IAD?  Alternate: a competition among students or members that we can then use for advertisements… Gretchen: still frames from the bumper films made in 2017?  Brad: resolution may be low, but Mack or Nicki may have higher rez material (300dpi is ideal) - (technological discussion at this point about proper resolution for postcard-sized promotion) - we can add this as part of our “ask up front” in working with ASIFA contributions…
  4. Bi-monthly Animators Open Mike - good turnout in January’s gathering;  25-30 in attendance
    1. Organizational Committee: Brad, Steve, Gretchen (consider - what is the goal of an open mike event?) - building community, mutual support of animators, networking opportunity?  Ask the audience what it wants to support and foster their love of animation (Brad)
    2. What it is:
      1. Inspirational showing
      2. Theater open mike
      3. Collaborative projects
      4. Workshops
      5. Animation Garden - I was hoping you’d ask! (Brad)  A place where you come together and pitch ideas!  A space where you can pitch to a group! Deanna: as in a “makers’ studio” (a place where there are facilities to use, and you can work with an artist or independently - 3D printers, laser cutters… GR Media center is an example, but times should represent available staffing if one were to consider GRMC) … (Brad) to differentiate from a “workshop” - more of a collaboration space where we have the opportunity to foster small group interactions, but it’s really a trip from the grocery store idea (where they have cookies….cookies...cooookies… Jim is hypoglycemic)
    3. Detroit location? Contact Stanchfield? Deanna writes: Or, how about former member Mike Allore who teaches at a high school there and came to several retreats? Alternatively, what resources/ideas does Gary have?
    4. Chicago get together date?
    5. Material to show? These folks can show us stuff and things!
      1. ASIFA East Animated Film Festival
      2. ASIFA South Festival
      3. Asifa Croatian Films
    6. What date is the Open Mike scheduled for March?  

    1. March IWD Event and Workshop - Chuck is conducting interviews
    2. Organizational Committee: Gretchen, Chuck, Julie
    3. Date: Saturday, March 31st, 2018
    4. Chuck’s Gameshow - morning
    5. Chuck’s 15 min presentation on Lotte Reiniger + Lotte Reiniger Short Film (Chuck)
    6. Chuck’s Hands-on silhouette animation workshop at the CMC
    7. Other activities?
    8. Other guests?
  1. Summer Retreat
    1. Organizational Committee: Gretchen, Bob, Steve, Jim
    2. Date: July?  POLL HERE
    3. Location
    4. Showing: do we want to show Vladimir Leschiov work?
    5. Can Nina Paley be a guest for the Retreat?
      1. A: potentially yes, however we need to get her here as she does not have a car.
      2. Since Nina is in Chicago i’m guessing we could get some of the Chicago animators to arrange a car pool.  Is it our goal to invite them to the retreat as well?-Steve
  2. Dlectricity - defer discussion for later
    1. September
    2. Ideas on engaging Detroit animators
    3. Opportunities for ASIFA regional animators to help too?
    4. Meet and Greet?

7. FYI, International update from Deanna -
  1. Elections - Late in 2018 there will be a General Assembly somewhere, followed by elections for the next three year terms. Consider whether you might want to take a leadership position. I probably will try to remain active in some way - I find it interesting, and I think I am able to offer some useful perspective and energy to this organization.
  2. Magazine - China has offered to donate costs to print one magazine a year. (The magazines will be mailed in bulk to chapters for distribution, one to each international paid member, plus about 5 for distribution to schools and libraries.) A magazine is in production, now.
  3. Website asifa.net is finally redesigned and working, as mentioned above. The idea is that chapters would upload content, but how and where is not fully clear to me. ALso individual members have been invited to upload personal information, and link to pages. Corrie Francis Parks is the coordinator of this initiative.
  4. We just got another budget proposal for 2018. It will be a balanced budget.
  5. Our Brad Yarhouse volunteered to be interim IAD coordinator for the next 1 - 2 years. Thank you, Brad. The board welcomes his volunteer energy and efforts on behalf of what is referred to as one of our most successful programs. Hooray! The board accepted the offer of donated IAD posters from two chapters: Hellas (formerly called Greece) and Mexico. Also, soon, we just began nominations for the ASIFA Prize. You can see the list of past awardees on asifa.net. Thomas jumped the gun and nominated Georges Sweizgebel, who I would support - he’s an ASIFA member, and a great animator. But if anyone has someone you want to nominate, let me know. Otherwise, I will remain silent.
  6. In terms of what I am doing, other than responding to discussions… I am working on trying to help keep IAD working. I am also trying to figure out how to fix some typos and rewrites in asifa.net. I am trying to figure out some initiatives for chapter to chapter communication. It would be great if the USA chapters, as a start, had more connections with each other. If you have ideas on how to do this, I am interested.
  7. … And, I am trying to speak on behalf of individual member animators, those who are not in a chapter, to lower their dues to match what chapters pay.
  8. I am also doing some work to try to get AWG (ASIFA Workshop Group represented on the asifa website. AWG would like someone to help update their site, but I don’t think I can take this on right now.  Here it is, though, if you are interested: http://www.asifa-awg.com/        ~ Deanna

3. Next Meeting  April full Board. -- March for committee meetings









Sunday, February 18, 2018

ASIFA Central January 2018 Meeting Notes - for retention and later edit

How my mind wanders as secretary for the group...

ASIFA Board Agenda January 2 2018 - teleconference

Welcome - we are beeping in!  

Theme for tonight: Just what is a User Name?  An April 20 film festival (Kinematifest @ Webster University) in the making….with great programming.  

We wait for Gary, and Gary is now here! Metro PCS is a big challenge! and Bob is ill. And then, STEVE.  Deanna cannot pump her own gas.  Dragonframe is being wantonly INSTALLED.  The pdf user manual makes nice, light reading. A page turner.  Lots of intuitive features.  We love adjusting the F-stops.    Jim is still using Autodesk Animator Pro, for DOS 6.  

8:10 and we’re GETTING IT ON THE ROAD!  
(It’s 2018, or MMXVIII)
  1. Minutes - see protracted typing from 5 December
  2. Updates - with the 10K+ festivals, we should vouch for those festivals we are comfortable with (see Deanna’s email of 9 December 2017, a “Board Meeting Festival Notes, a LONG email).  If anyone wants to become involved in judging, Deanna can push the names forward.  Brad and Julie are interested.  Potential for free passes, lots of press, and some travel support.  Local festivals (St. Louis, Chicago’s Children’s Festival) should be explored.  High Falls Film Festival from Rochester NY -- only films by women.      Chris: Listing on the website, with reminders of upcoming festivals - or if folks have questions about festivals, what would we recommend?  It is important to attend a festival and see whether the theme or content match the sort of film you are creating.  This is from a series of queries about festivals… may be a way to increase ASIFA interest (Julie).  Helpful to provide input on the festivals and then answer specific questions.  OR BETTER YET - find some online links that are useful to direct questions on festivals.  There are specific challenges to serving as judge.  Deanna can put together ASIFA sanctioned festival information.
  3. Future Initiatives

2. Updates

  1. Deanna: Festivals (notes above)
  2. Julie: Website development - design questions?  Consider the number of pages and the usability of the interface - keeping the links up to date.  Log In challenge has been met and CONQUERED.  Build a new basic design and then update the pages as we go along (organic approach) - keep the “How to Join” page up and then build from there.  WordPress allows flexibility.  Take the steer by the horns, put the nose to the grindstone, and take the best step forward.  Then give it a shot.  It’s rational. Chuck has a 300dpi GIF for the ASIFA logo.   Brad has a vector, victor.  PNG and TIFF varieties are on hard drives all over the midwest.  ASIFA Int’l logo is available as well - Julie will be inundated with graphic content.  Board of Directors and How To Join have been updated pages, by Chuck.  Brad is working on Open Mike page challenges from 2017.   Deanna - who we are?  Who are the people behind this volunteer organization.  Chuck suggested, and Brad liked a 1 paragraph idea...a photo.. A youtube viral video that we can then integrate with other bits of the pages.  An opportunity to celebrate our diversity and love of animation.  Gary suggests a review of ASIFA East and Hollywood for formatting ideas. WordPress will be stretched to its limits.  ASIFA East. com - do they use WordPress - is there a template there?   Julie will like some contributed graphics.  ASIFA Central was the first chapter to have a website, Deanna reminds us.  Chuck uses Blogger, but doesn’t recommend them - there are several challenges in uploading (ie very low resolution video file uploads; Jim agrees with Chuck on that…)
  3. Chuck: OIAF Best of Fest 17, International Women’s Day (in March 2018, weekend of the 31st) initiative - Chuck has been interviewing women animators for his blog - Nina Paley is in Illinois - could we bring her in - and she is finishing up her latest feature and may like another set of eyes on the work in near-completion - this would coordinate with Chuck’s blog work - a woman animator focused event - could we record her presentation to share with other members  - Not so much a retreat as a “visiting artist” series… consider funding for honorarium (split among universities?) There are many facets of her career that could be relevant for presentation - her production methods, her copyright crusade, her quilting, her methods of fundraising…  Re: other festival material -  academic showings can be coordinated at no cost.  January 17 was considered as an option for the showtimes.  ASIFA SF showcase will be shown instead (material has been provided and approved for showing for that date in GR - Brad). Ottawa material can be shown at a later venue for the sake of scheduling.   
  4. Who’s having a birthday? Happy birthday Sir Charles!  Nina Paley’s birthday is May 3. Who prefers waffles to flapjacks?

3. Future Initiatives

  • Animators Open Mike  - brag this up to the students and other animators!  Schools are opening next week.  PSA on GRTV twice a day… can the PSA be shared with the website?  January 17th at 7pm - Deanna - is this more of an “animator salon”?  “Animation Slam”?
    • What are the goals of these?  Create a community (Gary); SKYPE input (Deanna) - St Louis can be brought in… we’ve done this in the little theatre (Gretchen) - it’s a great way to develop a regular programming
    • Student work? College Reels? Instructional discoveries? The fire within Dragonframe?  An opportunity to share the discoveries among other sites in the ASIFA Central region.
    • How often? (Detroit Film Theatre has a regular film gathering on Sundays)
    • Rotating locations? Shared material among locations? (ie, Detroit)
    • Roadtrip - Gary mentioned lists of events - send to Chris for FB update (for example, Jan 19, Friday, Groumann Museum in Milwaukee with J J Sedelmeier presenting)
  • Summer Retreat
    • Rotating host/location? - the group is open to that…. St Louis, even!  This summer, however, the St Louis building is undergoing renovation for 2018 - maybe 2019?  Good will funding?
    • Date - should be more for the memberships vs student-centered - see what the members are up to...peer to peer .. Brad will put together some dates and poll the ASIFA board
  • Ongoing Workshops - Gretchen is looking for a rotating host site for animation slamming (further discussion later- quarterly events?) - moving things around - share ideas with available locations
    • Where?
    • For whom?
    • How often?
  • Planning IAD 2018 (defer) - no new info
    • New format ideas?  It will come sooner than expected - discussions should begin soon for an Exciting Thrilling YEEEE HAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Detroit (Gary’s report)                     
                      How the largest city in Michigan is part of ASIFA Central. Detroit is profoundly different than it was 14 years ago when Gary moved there from LA.  ASIFA should consider Detroit for venues.  Gary will offer his place… Detroit Film Theatre - schools within walking distance, with Windsor just over the Ambassador Bridge … a method to increase membership on … consider an “animator salon” in Detroit and then invite the outstate membership…. Can there be a Meet and Greet hosted by Gary and his connections?  Gary suggested under the banner of ASIFA.   Detroit festival coming up in April 2018 - about ½ mile from DIA.  Dlectricity in 3rd weekend in September (unfortunately, simultaneously with the OIAF) - light installations in blocked-off portions of the city along Woodward avenue in the cultural district.  Timing with an ASIFA Central meeting?  Sounds like a great possibility. Gary wants to put Detroit on the map with ASIFA Central.
  • Promotion
How can we best document and promote our activities?  
  • Screening Event
Ottawa International Animation Festival: Best of the Fest 2017 program is available -- have been contacted by OIAF asking if we’d like to screen.  

We are all getting very, very sleepy.  Except for Deanna.  She’s getting excited about dentistry.
Happy zzzzzzzz year!
Can a living document be created to work on when we’re all off-line - the consensus is that the monthly meetings are a welcome event… February will bring another gathering of the group!
FEB 3 - the 45th ANNIE awards
Sita with The very healthy Nina Paley                              J J Sedelmeier  (2D rendering)

6. To Do List
Chuck is going to contact OIAF about screening their Best of the Fest program in January.
Chuck is going to contact Nina Paley about prices and availability for a talk.

Heroin and Opiate Update for Calhoun County, February 2018

This disturbing news is only softened with the knowledge that our county's Substance Abuse Council has 30 years of tracking with a thorough network of reliable information.  Other counties are just at the start of their programs, so their shocks will come as their connections increase.

These charts are for heroin/opiate overdoses that did not result in death.

The typical demographic is a white male, 20-30, for heroin/opiate overdose.  This year, the January numbers have this demographic nearly equally divided between male and female.  Also note that with the added controls placed on hydrocodone-based analgeics (the "Norco" or "Vicodin" prescriptions), the prescription opiate number is down, but the heroin use is up. 

Overall, the numbers continue to increase. 

The graphs come courtesy of the Calhoun County Substance Abuse Council, a group who generously offers me a seat at the table whenever my time at WMU permits.  It hardly seems like enough time. 

Note that the current reports are for an overdose per day.  In 2017, there were months where the death rate was one every three days.



I'll just let the numbers sink in.  There are many things to say, but if you live in Calhoun County, these are your neighbors, your co-workers, your children, your parents.  In 2018, there are several requirements being put in place to clamp down on physician prescribing patterns, which should slow the prescription opioids.  However, judging from these numbers, the users seem to make their downhill slide to heroin...and, as I say in my public presentations, there isn't a Walter White in any of those labs.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

My 2018 Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement from Disney Has ARRIVED!!!

I own a few shares of Disney stock.  These days, it’s about as close as I can get to being part of a Star Wars experience. 

As a consequence of stock ownership, annual reports with a strutting Mickey arrive at the doorstep with their “year in review” and a list of who will be running for their board of directors.  Glossing past the payments for being “on” the board (300K+), Iger’s $2.5M salary, his $12M “performance based bonus,” and “$17.3M “equity awards,” the board of director candidates include operating executives of the Carlyle group (whose management included the Saudi Bin Laden corporation), General Motors, BlackBerry, Sears, WE Family Offices (whose focus on ultra high-net-worth international families belies the implication of traditional “family”), the biotech company Illumina, Oracle, NIKE, and Estee Lauder.

Wow.  General Motors, BlackBerry and Sears really kept ahead of the curve in the past decade.  Illumina and Oracle may help Disney actually build a Stepford Wife for the investors at WE.  NIKE can help them run from the consequences, and Estee Lauder can make it all smell pretty.

But wait! There’s MORE!

The board recommends a “yes” for executive compensation but a “no” for transparency with its lobbying practice!  Here is a nice passage from page 65 of their statement: (quote) Disney spent $2,524,624 on lobbying in California from 2010-2016, and Disney’s lobbying in California has attracted media attention (“Family Friendly? Disney Funds Lobbyists Fighting to Deny Americans Parental Leave,” Republic report, May 29, 2012). (end quote) Apparently this is the third year the lobbying proposal has been put forth, and it has been unable to obtain more than 33% support in prior submissions.

AND MORE!

There is no mention here of the Fox acquisition being planned, but among the broadcast ownership of Disney comes the expected ABC and ESPN, are investments in A&E, History, Lifetime, LMN, FYI channels... and VICE!
VICE is described as an afterthought, an 18% interest via A&E and a 10% direct ownership, with the line, “a channel offering programming of lifestyle-oriented documentaries and reality series aimed towards millennials,” and 70 million estimated subscribers (I see it comes buried and bundled with my current Comcast).

VICELAND programming includes - and I confess these sounded like Onion posts or rejected National Lampoon Radio Hour episodes:

Abandoned - skateboarding in abandoned areas with the lights out
Ball’s Deep - “to find out what humanity’s deal is”
Beerland - to go across the country to drink .... beer
Bong Appetit - going to cannabis parties
F*ck, That’s Delicious - eating, probably to be shown after Bong Appetit
Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia - to seek out exotic ... drugs
Huang’s World - with “the world's only Human Panda, Eddie Huang, takes us on a hilarious journey exploring race, identity, multiculturalism, and his irritable bowel syndrome through food”
It’s Suppertime! - again, about .... food
People Just Do Nothing ... ok
Party Legends - ok, this one at least uses “emerging artists and animators” (read, “unpaid interns”) to describe legendary ... parties
Slutever - for “female sexuality, gender, and love” - one episode has the hostess seeking an anonymously delivered “happy ending” for a woman’s massage - a bit unsettling in light of the recent Larry Nassar trial and sentencing
Weediquette - in its third season - exploring “heady times”
...and there are many, many more...

I looked for “Ow, My Balls!” but I guess that’s for 2019...

And speaking of 2019, this mailbox eagerly awaits the next Disney Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Where Profit Can Be Made - A Drug Concern Will Be Presented!

Drug take-back days are intended not just to rid quick, inappropriate access to prescription medications, but to have them destroyed in a manner that won't have the drugs appear in our drinking water (if it seeps, it creeps).  However, even taking acetaminophen properly creates left-overs in our body that it excretes every time we visit our favorite Facebook lounge.

This is the first commercial reference I've seen approaching this challenge, with a $39.95 price tag (and an offer for a subscription for automatic shipping on a regular basis), for those with a refrigerator-based water spigot.

At least it also gives a shout-out to our departing Michigan governor with its "lead and other contaminants," something he didn't mention in his final State of the State this past week.