Tuesday, December 23, 2014

XO XO XO Merry Christmas!

Merry Space Xmas to all! And to all a good space night! (Night is eternal in the darkness of deep space...)

XO XO XO... it's either hugs and kisses or pronounced "ZO ZO ZO," it's like space talk for "HO HO HO," if that makes any sense. Anyway, I hope you've all been extra good this year so our planet can be visited by the illustrious Space Claus! I don't know where in the Universe he resides and he sure is more impressive than regular Santa. I mean, Santa delivers presents to all the good boys and girls of our world... but Space Santa does that for every planet with life on it! ;) That's like, a Trazillion more deliveries than regular Santa.


Christmas Time!

It's that time of year that consists of eggnog, lights, mad shopping, and various festivities. I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I enjoy the food. I enjoy giving gifts and appreciating one another. Also, I enjoy the Christmas movies and cartoon specials!

A couple of my favourites are Nightmare Before Christmas and the Spongebob Squarepants Christmas special.

La-da-da da-da da-da da
Some other great Christmas movies and shows are Elf, A Christmas Story, Charlie Brown Christmas, Jack Frost, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Jingle All The Way, and Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. They never fail to put a smile on my face.

Christmas trees are always pretty to look at and really bring the holiday spirit indoors. I helped decorate my girlfriend's tree this year - it's Venetian inspired and has lots of masks, mirrors, little shoes, and bows on it. My Mom's tree is covered in cute marshmallow ornaments!

I also helped make some wintery wonderland sugar cookies! They're delicious and look fabulous! The sleds are the hardest ones to make with their thin pieces. I had to use a butter knife, a spatula, and plenty of flour to get them out of the cookie cutter and onto a pan. There's also a Triangle Dude cookie below!

Pokemon Black

I'm super behind in my games - and I don't even want to consider the backlog in my steam account! Xenoblade Chronicles, Wonderful 101, Rayman Origins, Little King's Story, Pokemon Y, and a whole slew of others on steam (including XCom and the Bioshock series). However, I recently beat Pokemon Black! Yes, I'm that far behind - nearly 2 generations - it came out in 2011. Wow. However, it's been lots of fun, but I've still got to finish the post-game content. Here's my team!

A few of them are slow or otherwise very fragile, but I still like them. :) Emboar is pretty good all around. Swanna is decent and I just got to have someone with Fly. Excadrill is pretty powerful and resistant. Scolipede is a giant centipede so that's just awesome. Reuniclus has saved my butt more times than I can count. Lastly, Vanilluxe is ice cream! He's a little slow, but it's nice to have an ice pokemon for when I face those dragon types.

My dream team would be hard to pick because there are so many Pokemon I'd like to have on a team! I started collecting many of them in Pokemon Platinum - it was the first time you could get such a wide variety of them. I plan to trade them up to Pokemon Y at some point. Some of the Pokemon I'd really like to train up are:

Besides all the starters there's Magnezone, Tangrowth, Alakazam, Gyarados, Kabutops, Crobat, Ampharos, Slaking, Metagross, Aggron, Regigigas, Bastiodon, Bronzong, Garchomp, Toxicroak, Dusknoir, Crustle, Archeops, Haxorus, Golurk, Hydreigon, Aegislash, Goodra, Chandelure, and more!

Afterwards, I'll be onto Pokemon Y! I picked Froakie as my starter and I can't wait to get a Greninja. I've also started to use Greninja more in Super Smash Bros. and it only adds to my excitement!

There's some awesome websites out there as well for all things pokemon. Some of my favourites are Bulbapedia for information on just about everything, and Smogon for a list of competitive Pokemon builds. Also, Pokemon Showdown is neat for watching replays of Pokemon fights online, and you can even make your own team and battle as well!

Learning Form in Anatomy

I've spent a good chunk of the last half of the year (though I've been pretty busy the last couple of months!) working on developing my forms. Riven Pheonix introduced me to a new way of thinking and how to build a human body from the imagination. Andrew Loomis has helped me hone my proportions and reinforce the landmarks of the human body. Things were coming together, but it still looked a little flat. Something was missing, and that was my 3 dimensional sense of form on a 2D piece of paper. Enter, Michael Hampton.

This book has helped me immensely and is probably my favourite life drawing book at the moment. I haven't quite gotten through it yet, but I can already feel, and see, the improvement it has made. I feel like I've still got a long way to go, but I'm on the right path. There are areas I still need to visit like facial expressions, body types, setting a scene, clothing and drapery, and colour. All this leads to the ultimate goal of producing a graphic novel, creating concept art, my own stories, and perhaps even one day making paintings. I've covered a lot of ground, but there's more to go!

Mother Mother

Not too long ago I went and saw Mother Mother with my family at the Orpheum in Vancouver! It was an incredible show. They played a great mix of new and old songs. USS (Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker) opened and got the crowd pretty pumped up. Their music is a little different from what I usually listen to, but it was pretty good! They have excellent stage presence and tons of energy. Their music reminded me a bit of Linkin Park, and they did a nice cover of Hey Ya! by Outkast.

Mother Mother finished their tour up in their home town of Vancouver and put on an unforgettable show. They were impeccable as usual - seamlessly transitioning from some songs into others and putting new twists on old songs. I've seen them three times now and they just get better and better. They played so many of their hits, and hearing them live was great. I forgot just how many hit songs they have, and their new album is awesome. Some of the great songs they played included Hayloft, O My Heart, Get Out The Way, Infinitesimal, Ghosting, Wrecking Ball, and Monkey Tree.

Here's a couple of my favourites :)

The Orpheum is also an excellent building. It's ornate in every way, shape, and form. The molding, and sculpture, and everything is amazing. I could stare at the building alone for hours on end - but I made sure to watch the performance as well! :P

Here's a short video someone at the concert recorded of them playing Infinitesimal.

Some Groovy New Music

Not too long ago Modest Mouse stirred up some attention. It's been about six years since their last album, and I've been kicking myself for missing their last tour in 2008 ever since. They recently released a brand new single off their forthcoming album "Strangers to Ourselves". The new song, "Lampshades on Fire," is spectacular. I can't believe how much I missed Isaac Brock's voice.

I love everything about the song. The singing, the lyrics, the funky guitar - everything about it screams Modest Mouse, but with a new edge. I can't wait for their new album, and if they go back on tour again I won't be missing their Vancouver appearance like I did last time!

Also, Emily Haines from Metric did a solo song in collaboration with Goldie Blox. Goldie Blox is a toy company whose mission it is to encourage more young woman to pursue careers in engineering - a valiant goal! The new song, "Lightning Strikes," and it's accompanying cartoon music video inspires you to not give up. If at first you don't succeed - try again. Just like any science experiment or attempt at new learning we can't let defeat deter us from our goal. It's a great motivational song and video.