Thursday, February 22, 2024

Post 654 - Another Good One, Gone - Brandt Rowles, FSC Prof from the 1970s


Brandt was one of the best teachers I never had!  My first meeting with him came on the heels of his departure from Ferris, when he came down the sloped auditorium aisle, hopping up to tap each of the TV monitors on the way.  We had a conversation first about creating educational videos, then to his side-hustle writing for pharmacy-based journals, and he really lit up when I mentioned interest in old photographic methods.  

That led to a visit to an Ohio NSA convention, experiments in free-viewing, and my first Realist.  We swapped cards throughout the 1980s and kept in frequent touch through our shared literary contributions to Stereo World and random discussions on mounting techniques, dangers of Fixative, and whether Cal Stewart will ever be a popular recording artist again.  

Our last conversations were about his health-inposed downsizing, whether being the King of Ebay is all that regal, and volumes of some of the most delicious, egregious puns ever committed to email.  I sensed a tear in space-time when his energies faded, and shed a tear when they completely dissipated after last spring.  I am sure Charon was kept convulsed all along the river Styx.  Rest in Peace?  Make that Stir the Place.  Long live the King of the Funderworld!

Post 653 - The Romans Had a Number for That!

OK, we detest the passage of time, not merely for its relentless, single-direction, but for the implications of age expressed in the randomness of a "year."  21?  30?  50?  Oh the mental gymnastics and the physical contortions we endure to belie the implications of age.  So why not Go Roman?  It's useful for more than expressing copyright dates, right?

For Example:

Up to 10, just do the basics:  I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX

Teenage years, they're just rated X, because there's always more imagination before you experience an X rated film, which is so anticlimactic. So to speak

The 20s?  XX! As in Dos Equis! You can legally drink!

30s?  XXX - Triple X - Whatever you haven't done yet, it still has some allure, but it takes work, and may even teach a lesson or two

40s - XL - as in XL-ent!  The last gasps of youth, the harbinger of moyen age, if you will.  Or if you won't.  It doesn't matter.  You're in your 40s, you should know better by now.

50s - a simple L-series here.  Like the old Saturns - reliable, mileage may vary, enough contours to face the onslaught of 

60s - LX - the Luxury series, the Lincolns, the Cadillacs, the sweet tinge of royal vintage

70s - LXX - you've LXX'd it, you've entered the rarefied air, the ultimate strata of delicious relevance

80s - LXXX - The L of triple Xs!  You've made it the way your wanted it.  If the world doesn't like your song, pull out your hearing aids and you can't hear their whining.  The delight of apathy.

90s - XC - as in "I'm too XC for my pants, too XC for my shirt, too XC to change my socks."  You're too XC for Willard Scott's birthday greetings, too, but accept them with grace and straight shots of whatever you want.

100s - C! As in Si! Or, in French, Oui! (pronounced WHEE!) - the world is your bathroom, and you have likely outlived any-and-everyone who could contradict your recollections of a lifetime of adventure.  Make your reality and just giggle at the nay-sayers. 

All time is the right time.

(c) 1988, Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary


Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Post 652 - Leftovers In A File - ca 1973

How it appeared in 1973, on Super 8mm film, Tri-X B/W film stock

The original sketch, with a blue ball-point pen, before discovering Rapidographs

All due to a teenage obsession with les Freres Marx, culminating with procuring a copy of Night at the Opera to show at a Friday afternoon assembly, on the eve of an ice storm in December, 1972.  (Confession - I later took that print home with me along with a 16mm projector from the high school AV room and ran it five times over the weekend)

Originally part of a ponderous film purporting to be about the US Capitol Building (gee, let THAT subject go, Middleton!) that I tried to make as pretentious as possible, with candles serving as "opening" and "closing" images, wobbly tracking shots through a college library to A Book of Wisdom and Knowledge (ok, it was my freshman chemistry book), and felled trees looking like Richard Nixon.  Yeah, a real knee slapper, that one.

And you know what?  Never got around to using the damned thing.

Here's the inspirational opening title of A Night at the Opera from 1935:

A Night at the opera-opening - YouTube

 And here's the link to Good Garbage, put together between 1973 and 1974:

 Text and original sketches (c) 1974, 2024 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary, etc etc...

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Post 649 - Keeping Things Inside - The Sequel

 Dang - these things can go on forever!  Rather surreal, almost like being inhabited by an alien life form...

(c) 2024 Jim Middleton, The Internalized Animating Apothecary

(c) 2024, Jim Middleton, Stand Still It'll All Be Over in a Minute Animatwing! Apothecary

Monday, February 12, 2024

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Post 647 - A Test for Sparrow's Celebration of "The Amour Mosaic"

The song isn't in the public domain for this one, so it's not included here, and the film inserts have yet to be assembled...but Sparrow is very determined to celebrate Valentine's Day this year!  I suspect this project with an 8 day "budget" will run all of two minutes on completion.  A great way to use some of these bajillion of archival images and really push the Vegas software assembly process.  

Here is the "final product" - ahead of schedule!!! EGAD!!!

Sparrow's 2024 Valentine To All


Tuesday, February 06, 2024

Post 646 - Homer and Its Pioneers - A Reprint from 1888 - Now on Amazon

This was an exercise in process, not profit, and a sincere desire to make otherwise unseen history again visible.  A physician in the small town of Homer, Michigan, with a side hustle as editor of the Homer Index weekly paper, took it upon himself to interview his patients and fellow residents in 1888 and assemble the tales into a book.  I found the unbound signature sheets at a used book store in Battle Creek several years ago and scanned the 139 pages (some were blank by intention), incredibly intact after 136 years.  

I thought they should be preserved, shared, and made available for those in the area, but also as a glimpse at first-person accounts of interactions among early Michigan settlers and the native populations they encountered.  

I have recently found other versions of the book online, with Amazon having an "out of print" status for a $18.95 copy.  

I made this version $8 - not to compete, but to increase its general availability.

Homer and Its Pioneers - Amazon 

Now back to animating!