Thursday, March 21, 2013

Top Gun in IMAX 3D #Review

Back in February (I know, I know) I saw Top Gun in 3D IMAX. Originally made in 1986, it instantly became one of my favorite movies of all time. For those of you doing the math, yes, I first saw the movie at a VERY young age - I loved the flying scenes. Perhaps this helps explain one of my 2011 goals. I'm honestly not 100% sure what my parents were thinking, but they did expose me to one of the greatest films of our age.

Given my love of the movie, it should be no surprise that I was PUMPED when I heard it would be in 3D IMAX. When I learned about it, I didn't ask Jessi if I could go, I asked if she wanted to join me. I was going no matter what.

Jessi and I don't subscribe to Netflix, but instead purposely spend money on movies we want to watch (either in theaters or via iTunes). We actually save a tiny bit of money, and more importantly, spend our time on more intentional activities. So don't take what I'm about to share lightly: Not only did I spend $31 on tickets, I drove 45 miles each way to see it, and took Jessi out for dinner as a thank you for putting up with my crazy fascinations. This whole evening cost $50 and took up 5 hours of my life.

Was it worth it? You bet!

And now I'm going to extend the fun by reviewing a 1986 film re-released for 3D IMAX, over one month after I saw it.

Camera filters are magical. When I first took this picture, all I saw was a black picture.

Why do Top Gun in 3D IMAX at all? Because it's sure thing to make money. Top Gun was, and still is, incredibly popular (fun fact: I once tried to buy ... The owner rejected my offer.) So by re-releasing it in a new format, they were sure to make money. See Star Wars as a never ending example.

When doing the touch-ups, they mostly focused on the faces. Many times there were see-the-pours-in-their-skin-clear on the screen while the background looked like it was stretched and fuzzy. It took a little while to get used to it. I kind of want to see The Hobbit in IMAX 3D (40fps of course) to see the difference.

The 3D was interesting during the flight scenes. They did a good job of giving the planes more depth so you could tell which was further away. One strange thing was that a lot of the plane shots were cut off. I suspect it was done originally to make you feel closer to the action. As a result of the original frame, wings that got cut off became painfully obvious. It just looked wrong.

Night scenes, like this one pictured above, looked horrible. That's to be expected because all dark shots are hard to do well. Eventually, I just had to let it go... I know the studios are as going to (or maybe already did) Jurassic Park. I wonder how it would look given all the night shots. Being a new movie probably helps.

The classic awesome scenes were still awesome. One thing I really liked was the volume. It was LOUD. Every time a plane flew by the entire theater quaked. Also, whenever one of it's many excellent songs started blasting in, it made it easy to get pumped.

Here's a picture I took at the end. Would I go see any of the other re-released movies? Probably not. The picture quality is actually a bit distracting. I think it has to do with a miss-alignment of expectations: IMAX 3D should be mind-blowingly life-like. But it's not because of cost. Clearly the studios only want to invest enough to touch-up the main parts of the shot, not the entire scene. Until they start touching up the entire scene, I'll probably keep to iTunes for older movies.

If you have  favorite movie that comes out in IMAX 3D, I think it's worth it to check it out. At the very least you know you'll enjoy the film.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Ode to the 'Stache

Ode to the 'Stache

Originally published on

Oh, glorious hairs, sprouting from face!

With warmth and a style no razor could erase,

 Hairs grow like weeds, sturdy lip prongs,

Which are worshipped and are subjects of songs,

It sits as a comrade, a furry, lippy friend,

That you can twist, style, twirl, whorl, and bend,

You are the captain, and it your first mate,

With it you have a bond to which no other bodily hair—can relate,

You might prefer the Belvedere, or perhaps the Dali,

You may sport yours like Frank Zappa and grow a goatee,

It can be a handlebar, or you can let it droop,

One end can be a basketball, the other end a hoop,

You can look like Einstein and look like Ringo too,

You could grow it very long until you need ‘stache shampoo,

It may be a pencil one, or a Fu Manchu,

A moustache is a moustache, and any one will do,

Some look pretty menacing, some look kind of cute,

Some make you look professional, some just like a brute,

You can wear it with a beard, goatee, or mutton chops,

It looks right on cowboys, Hitler, and even cops,

This is a little ode about a little droop,

A single curve of hair that can sop up all the soup,

Some are rather sparse; some look worth a lot of cash,

But never forget the power and coolness of the ‘stache

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Studio Art 101

Many people don't know that I studied studio art in college. I tend to be a closet artist, displaying only my favorite works and humbly admitting that I created them when asked.

I love all things artistic. Getting messy with paint and glue, creating new beauty from old materials, organizing and layering totally different compounds to make a stunning or interesting piece, telling a story in an unexpected way. There are so many other parts to creating art as well that I love.

I feel like the process of creating is sometimes more enjoyable that the actual outcome. Which is probably why I choose to keep most of my projects in the garage; they weren't meant to be displayed. They were meant to be an expression of thought and feeling, kind of like a journal in some ways.

I have used art in many forms as a creative outlet where I didn't have to worry what anyone else would think. Where I could just relax, think, and process.

Since getting my teaching degree I had not really used any of the artistic components of my studies. Therefore, I was very nervous when I recently interviewed for a teaching position with the Arts Center in Corvallis. I was so pleased that the director loved my work and pretty much offered me the position right there.

It is a part time gig on days when I don't have school and possibly a few weeks this summer. I am just pumped that I get to teach art classes! Getting to teach kids about art, and teach them about other subjects using art as well as using art as a form of expression is awesome! I can't believe they are paying me to use two of my talents and passions.

My first class was a week or so ago and I just wanted to share the project we did and some of the process and finished pieces.

The theme for the day was Pre-columbian Civilizations. There were three different teaching artists throughout the day. A mask maker, a clothing designer and me. I chose to have the students make a relief sculpture with natural elements.

We looked at the work of the mound building tribes of North America and also the Nazca Lines from South America. Students then chose an animal that was meaningful to them and used line drawings and a building up technique (relief) to make their sculptures. They used some natural plant materials as decoration and embellishment on top.

It was a great day and I think the students really liked what they worked on. My next class will be at the beginning of April. The theme is Fantasy Fiction of Spain. I am not totally sure what I will be teaching but I think I may do either a fabric collage or some print making.

Hopefully there will be more stories to come and I will try to post pictures as well.

Thanks for reading!


Step 1: Line Drawing and Building up with Clay
Step 2: Cover with Glue and Paper

Step 3: Add Natural Materials
Step 4: Paint and Collage with Added Materials

This was our studio for the day!

Students building with clay
Students adding natural elements and painting

These were some of the highlights from the day. 

Bald Eagle: representing power, strength and beauty

Left: Coiled Snake: representing wisdom, balance, and healing
Right: Beaver and Snake: representing hard worker, caring and industriousness

My favorite from the day.
Wolf: representing loyalty and compassion

Friday, March 01, 2013

A Very Furry February

It's hard to believe it's been a month since a razor touched my face, but alas, Furry February is over. At the end of the month I started to get a bunch of compliments, which was very uplifting. Very soon, prepare to see a FANTASTIC MUSTACHE for... wait for it... MUSTACHE MARCH!

BTW, if you look closely, you'll see I have a small patch of gray hair. It grows only in that one spot and has always been that way. Weird. Right?