Friday, July 09, 2021

Fishy for Freitag

Haiku! Haiku! Gesundheit! 

When a koi is coy
Secreted stranding seaweed
Conceals cautious koi

Splitting water, running hares

Not icky, but not sticky
Investigate carp

Fish founder, flounder
Worms, flies, baited hooks and lines
Sticks, scales, but no whales

Blurb, bubble, blubble
Kissed in brine, aloof, resigned
Friday night feasted

Four crystalline walls
Inhaling air wet with life
Finely floating fins

babbling (c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary - use with permission so I can tell if anyone other than Russian bots are reading this nonsense!

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Another in the Cereal City Canon of films - Cereal Symphony (1986) - Light Restoration

I truly admire these digital restorations of films of 30-40 years ago.  Mine have had a tough journey but still persevere...2 minutes, 19 seconds

(c) 1986, 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary - may be used with permission

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Wack-a-Doodle Timing - Evolving Sequence - Fall From Gracefulness

(c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

Thirty Years Ago in Battle Creek - One Quick Summer

This 1991 artifact has been posted before, but I had the chance to play with the colors a bit from the ancient transfer from super 8mm film.  Two and one-half minutes you'll never get back!

Filmed 1991, Edit and Restoration 2021 Jim Middleton - feel free to share

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Edit Test - Sequence One with Random Soundtrack

 (c) 2021 Jim Middleton, Animating Apothecary

"War of the Worlds," 1938 Mercury Theatre production - clip from

Saturday, June 26, 2021

He Faw Down Go Boom - Color Balance Tests

 (c) 2021 Jim Middleton, Animating Apothecary

And after having some fun with PD material...
still (c) 2021 Jim Middleton, Animating Apothecary

Friday, June 25, 2021

And Other Extended Giffiness

Bad Westher,

                                           (c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

Sharing Cookies,

                                         (c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

...and Flying Fish.  All in a day's sketching...
                                          (c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Falling for Spirals - More from the Never-ending Work in Progress


(c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

And, after some twiddling...
A bit more bounce.
(c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

Greetings, Fellow Humans!


(c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

Friday, June 18, 2021

Oh NO! I Read a Grown-Up Book! "A Swim in the Pond in the Rain" by George Saunders

Musings on A Swim in the Pond in the Rain by George Saunders.

First of all, this is an author worth following.  He does write the sort of sentence that compels you to read the next one.  That’s something I always liked about Kurt Vonnegut, whether or not he was a “junior” on the dust jacket.

Speaking of dust jackets, the book has the waxiest dust jacket I have ever felt.  Almost a dust magnet.  But then, most of the dust around here is my old skin, so I’d just consider that an act of repurposing.  Maybe the layer of my discarded DNA will someday clone me a new pancreas, or even a replacement for my ruptured ear drum (from a misadventure involving a horse I was feeding, nicknamed for my brother, in a barn remodeled to baby sit this lumpy equine, who thought he’d taste my right ear when I ran out of sugar cubes).

There - a digression already, just like Chekhov.  Or was it Turgenev?  Anyway, the analysis of Turgenev’s The Singers seemed to overlook the fact that the wretched, smelly little mudshack of a pub would aspire to call itself “The Cozy Corner.”  It jumped out at me, since little Edmore, now sporting its second “provisionary” will hold a grand opening for its satellite business on Monday - a neighboring deli to be called.... wait for it... “The Cozy Corner.”  I should stop in next week and ask if they’ve ever read this book.

The Darling seemed almost like a robotic, Heinlein-like character.  The context of the time makes me wonder if this was a completely new spin on a Victorian-era character; certainly, she seemed like the sort of a woman we’d meet in college seeking her “M-R-S degree,” in the unenlightened environment of the early 1970s - but in the waning days of the 19th century?

Gogol’s The Nose was something I read back in high school, and it was a good prep for Kafka, in a “oh, hell, let the guy spin a tale and see where it’ll go” sort of way.  Like Vonnegut, it seemed to give permission to just be flat out weird when the typewriter stared at you too long.  It also reminded me (now) of Terry Gilliam animation, which was still a couple of years in the future the first time I read it.  Saunder’s discussion made a casual mention of someone’s head falling into his soup as a random way to begin a tale, and that certainly grew in my subconscious to a fairly well-rounded dream that night: a Duke, at a royal dinner, looks down at his soup, and his head slides off his shoulders into the bowl.  The servants don’t approach him, because they are beneath his station, the chef wonders if the Duke liked his soup, and a dowager, his aunt sitting to his left, gently guides his hand to his sputtering head in the bowl so he may retrieve it, ultimately returning it to his shoulders, all drippy with soup.  “How nice of her,” remarks another dinner guest, “she has always been fond of the Duke,” and the dinner proceeds as if nothing had happened.  But then Sparrow began barking, and I had to wake for my own morning ritual of animal rodeo around the house.

I also thought it clever that Saunder’s “universal pronoun” was not he or him, but she or her.  That made me stop and think for a moment, since it was unusual in the context of my understanding of grammar until 15 June, 2021.

Chekov’s men in Gooseberries clean up for each other, but not for the housemaid, for whom they express delight at her beauty.  Nobody appears to flirt, or behave in manners that one would expect of the gentry toward a female worker - perhaps they were too old?  But then, Chekov died at 44, so what would he know of “too old”?   Did his medical background keep him impervious to a beautiful maid’s charms?  Was he projecting a cool professionalism to these older men, one of whom likes to go skinny dipping, in the pond, in the rain?  

Chekov’s one-act comic plays (five of them are in a Dover collection) seem to predict Neil Simon’s humor of frustration emerging from annoying characters - and I suspect that cool professionalism of his found an outlet in having some of his patients appear as characters.  One had a single-minded middle aged lady constantly interrupting a bank official because she was sure he could get her husband’s job back at a military hospital.  It is a ten page exercise in frustration.  

Another digression - my mind is full of them.  The other thing about Gooseberries is how stubborn the parsimonious brother is in eating his bitter gooseberries.  By gosh, he sacrificed everything so he could be a wealthy landowner and have gooseberries, so he was going to eat these nasty things and live a delusion that he made the right decision, even though he has to lie to himself to appreciate it.  

I thought one word at the end of that story - Rosebud.

In the analysis of Alyosha the Pot, there was the statement about Tolstoy’s Resurrection that gave me a double take:   “The aspiration, then, is to never fail in love.”  I was so consumed with the split infinitive that I misread it first as, “The aspiration, then, is to never fall in love.”  And then I was thinking - when I read that Tolstoy novel years back (well, I should say, tried to read it - Russian names give me a headache, and referring to a spreadsheet didn’t help maintain any focus), did I misread a similar statement then as well?  And does that explain my entire life?  Or am I just in need of more coffee?    My takeaway from Alyosha the Pot is something I found typewritten by my great-grandfather’s cousin some 110 years ago.  Rufus Middleton wrote that if a worker is so good and quiet, “he eventually takes on the role of furniture.  And nobody misses a chair until he wants to sit down.”

Or as Saunders would say today, “...until she wants to sit down.”

Or as Washington Irving would say in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow:

“Ichabod had been carried off by the Galloping Hessian.  As he was a bachelor, and in nobody’s debt, nobody troubled his head any more about him; the school was removed to a different quarter of the hollow, and another pedagogue reigned in his stead.”

In any case, it was a fun read, and it succeeded in firing off some too-dormant neurons.

2021 Nearly Summer (ok, mid-June) ASIFA Central Newsletter(ette)


Saturday, June 12, 2021

Checking Backgrounds - Sharp vs Slightly Blurred

Now we're just getting nit-picky....


(c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

Slightly blurred:

                                           (c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary


Sunday, June 06, 2021

The Barber Speech - evolving

 A case study in Esperanto, so to speak -

Rough lip synch test:

(c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

Test with colors and minor edits:

(c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

And this version, ready for some post-production effects.  Frames created in Flash CS5:

(c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

Then he turns INTO a cookie!  And becomes lunch?
                                          (c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

And, finally, some rough linking, no SFX yet or intercutting done:
(c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

So what does this have to do with stampeding unicorns?   It gives one pause.....

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Keaton Clip - San Diego, I Love You (1946)

A sweet moment with a relaxed - and smiling - Buster Keaton as a San Diego bus driver - for those who have family or friends stuck in a rut:

Friday, May 28, 2021

Building a Stampede - One Unicorn at a Time

 In the beginning was Eadweard Muybridge and his little horsey --

But the horsey was missing something --

And the horsey wanted to have other friends and have a dance party -

Then they all wanted to play outside with their other friends -

But there was one friend missing!

And, finally, one of the horseys found her hearing aid!

And so, finally, the little horseys had their dance, put on their feed bags, and went to sleep!

Horsey images and film (c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Testing Colors - Works in Progress through May 19

 (c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

Getting ready for render to video:
(c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

And with some backgrounds:
(c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

And a video version to check out some random recording from 1918:

(c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

Other bits pending video render:
(c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

(c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

(c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

(c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Addition Exercise

Question:  28 + 47  (show your process)

I pour a cup of coffee, drink half, add 50 to 28 and get 78. 

Then I have another third of a cup of coffee, subtract 3 from 78, because 47 is 3 less than 50, and get 75, then I finish the coffee, wondering how much I had of a third of a half, but feel satisfied that I completed a whole cup of coffee, which leaves me with zero coffee. 

Then I get more coffee. And then my cup is 100% coffee and that makes me smile. 

Otherwise, I'd add 7 to the 8, get 15, carry the one and make the two a three, add it to the four and get seven. 

Then I think I should have written it all down because now I have a 7 and a 15 and I'm carrying a 3 that is really a 2, 

Then I think I'm 9 years to 75, and doggone it, where the heck did I put that cup of coffee!?!?!?

(c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

Friday, April 30, 2021

Progress Report - Ongoing Animation Tests

 Almost halfway there - some progress GIFs....

(c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary
(c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

And, taxing the limitations of the old FLASH CS6 software - note to self: don't render the layer filter effects "live" - render out as jpgs and then reimport to Flash once the effect is in place...

(c) 2021 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

Open Mike Night - Outline for a Lip Synch Project

 Open Mike Night - for eventual lip synch animation project

Onstage - Reading from a phone book...finger moves down page -


“Oh, it’s left to right... got it...







“Oh, I get it - it’s alphabetical.” 

(back to reading from phone book)

“Phone repair - phone repair... F,O, N...”

(hears someone in audience)


“P repair?”

“P ...  P ...  P”

(Hears someone else)


“OK, Yer .... Y....”

(gets corrected again)

“U?  You?  No?  Me? Me-ology?”

(Frustrated and confused now)

“But it’s my phone... see?”

(produces a Pop Tart from his back pocket)

“Wait,  this is a pop tart.”  

(business while he examines the floppy plasticized foil.)

“You know, I remember when you had a choice - frosted or unfrosted. We were poor.  Imagine, being too poor for frosted pop tars.  We’d get the unfrosted, and then just smear some library paste on our tongue.”


“Ah memories - kindergarten in retention, in the corner, with my jar of library paste, dreaming of peanut butter...”

(Audience input)

“What?  Oh, yeah, I was kicked in the head.  Wait a minute... I was kicked in the head by a horse, horses have hooves, hooves make library paste... I was having my revenge on horses in kindergarten.  Glad I worked that subconscious pressure out of my system early.”

(looks at his pop tart)

“And now I have a broken pop tart.”  (Plays with floppy plastic foil pack again)

(An idea! Back to phone book)

“Broken pop tarts... B ...B ... B ...” 


“You know, there’s only one thing to do with a broken pop tart...”  (eats half of it and hands out the other broken half to an audience member)

“Thank you and good night!  I have to go find my phone now.”

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

From the Hermetic Sensora of John Gage - PANAMAMA


Panamama, you’re my girl

Panamama, I been around this world

You’re the only girl I see

Panamama, you got my heart

Had it thumpin’ n’ bumpin right from the start

You’re the only girl for me

 Lord help me Panamama

There’s nothing I can do

As much as I love my Panamama

To the sea I must be true

If you drown me, Panamama, 

My voice will ring from port to port

‘Neath the waves that hold my breath.

Panamama, my sea bound shanty

Panamama, my whirl’d spun world

You’re the sea that I can see.


My sea bound shanty town

(c) 2021 John Gage Compositions

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

FOX on the Death of Bernie Madoff

Bernie Madoff, second most notorious con man and Ponzi schemer, is dead at 82. FOX blames immigration at the southern US border. "I bet he died from the CoVid vaccine, because everyone knows a prison automatically grants you herd immunity," said Tucker Carlson.

Sean Hannity openly wept at the news. "Now I'll never find out who shot J.R.! Bernie promised to tell me when I invested that 50 grand last week," he told his listeners.

Steve Doocy had no comment, but did remark that his "Happy Cookbook" is still on sale at Amazon.

I know it's true.
I read it on Facebook.