Tuesday, 31 March 2009

The Recession...

...of my bountiful moobs, that is.
Actually they haven't so much receded as grown alarmingly pert. But I think that means they're getting smaller. I still feel a bit like Meatloaf in 'Fight Club'.
His name was Robert Paulsen...

After a month of living frugally (which can't be a bad thing in this climate) I've dropped 5kg, from 104kg to 99kg. That's around 11 lbs, which is more than I was going for. I was probably just expunging retained grease and whiskey that first fortnight. See, this is the pisser with weight loss, it starts off fast and then gets slower the more you do it. Which is why it's been such a pain in the arse to go all the way with it.I'm hoping to reach 97kg by the end of April, which should keep me on track to my goal of 95kg by June.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Greece Running

I don't know what it is about them lovely Greek folks, but my teensy-weensy film 'Ground Running' has been chosen for another Grecian festival.
I was a little surprised to hear about this as I had stopped sending the film out a while back with the intention of tweaking it some more. I guess it's an indication of how slow the process is between sending stuff off and hearing back. Generally the festivals don't even get in touch if films aren't considered, which is actually better than getting the polite, template 'no, fuck off' email as you can just put it out of your mind once it's sent off.Anyhoo, it'll be screened as part of the 4th Athens Animfest at the Ilion Cinema. Also included in the same International Panarama screening is my friend Sara's lovely film 'Wherever You Go, There You Are', so I can personally vouch for at least one-eighths of the afternoon's entertainment.
The 'Panarama A' screening starts at 4pm on Saturday April 4th. For more info check out their website or download the schedule here.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Weighing In

I've divided my weekdays up so as to introduce an element of routine. I always get more work done when I allocate time for it - if I just let the days pass by I tend to work more in fits and starts. It gets very tempting to lapse into a habit of working only when the mood takes me. For the last fortnight I've managed to stick to a pretty easy timetable.
•8:30am-9am - Drag my fat ass out of bed, brew some coffee and get the three 'S's out of the way.
•9am-9:15am - Exercise. Usually just something light to wake myself up properly.
•9:15am-9:30am - Breakfast (banana or big handful of grapes) and work prep.
•9:30am-1pm - Work. If I don't have any commissions to work on I use this time to scour listings and postings for any. Once I've bled those dry I work on design and animation exercises to keep me in the swing of things.
•1pm-2pm - Lunch break
•2pm-4pm - More work.
•4pm-5pm - Get out of the apartment, see the sun if it's out, walk a little and try not to spend much money.
•5pm-7:30pm - More work.
•7:30pm-10:30pm - Once I've done a full work day I use this time for personal projects, classes, meeting up with people or working on self-promotion (portfolio/showreel work, festival submissions etc). Generally a light dinner will get factored in somewhere here.
•10:30pm-11pm - Exercise. A little more thorough than in the morning, usually mellows me out some.

If I'm not done with the day at 11pm I make a point of working on my still in-progress Struwwelpeter album. Generally this comes to about a half-hour a day. As this is the most hobby-ish of my personal projects I make a point of not spending too much time on it each day.
It's been working well so far. I'm ticking boxes at a faster rate than before, plus by keeping myself occupied I'm sticking to my weight loss plan and have gone down from 104kg to 102kg. This is around 4lbs, which ordinarily would be a little bit too fast, but whenever I start up the weight loss there's always a bigger drop to begin with.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Guess what band I'm gonna talk about in this post?

I realised something this week, that pop-culture in 2009 has become eerily tailored to my tastes. There's nothing new that really grabs me, but some old franchises are being revived. The Rocky, Rambo, Indiana Jones and Transformers fans of the world were, in the last couple years, treated to new outings for their beloved childhood protagonists. Not having much nostalgic investment in those properties, I felt a little bit left out. Well, actually I didn't really give a crap either way, but let's say I did for the purposes of setting up this entry.
2009 so far promises three triumphant revivals from my own childhood - one being, of course, the completely unexpected return of Faith No More. In June there's the GhostBusters video game, an equally unexpected revival bringing back the original cast, including Bill Murray (who was to GhostBusters as Mike Patton was to Faith No More in their shared insistence on never being part of any reunion).The third franchise being resurrected is another pleasant surprise - Red Dwarf. I would've put money on that ol' chestnut staying dead'n'buried, but in April they're dusting it off and giving it a handful of new episodes that might hopefully resolve the cliffhanger it ended on a decade ago.
Faith No More, GhostBusters and Red Dwarf? Those made up, like, 70% of my pre-adolescence! What's next - is David Lynch gonna whip out a sequel to 'Fire Walk With Me'? Are they gonna do a 'Bill & Ted 3'? Is Raul Julia gonna have the good manners to come back from the dead so we can have a proper new 'Addams Family' movie? Will Clive Barker finally release the fucking 'Scarlet Gospels'?
When I previously used the phrase 'triumphant revivals', I did so whilst knocking on wood. After all, they haven't happened yet, so I don't really know how triumphant they'll be. Y'see, friends, I'm cautious - I've been burned before...
Faith No More's final LP 'Album Of The Year' is notable for being merely great, as opposed to their three albums prior that were incandescently brilliant.
Okay, bad example.
But that same year (1997) there was an attempt to bring GhostBusters back with...ugh...'Extreme GhostBusters', an ill-advised, 'hip' update with youthful character replacements that ticked every ethnic box. It wasn't horrendously awful, and as an animation fan there's some fun in the visuals, but it's painful messages (tolerance, equality and a number of other social issues that, by that time, should've been a given) undermined themselves in their lack of subtlety.
Also in 1997 (kind of a weird coincidence in retrospect) the brilliant 'Red Dwarf VI' was finally given a follow-up - the dreadful 'Red Dwarf VII'. Two years later came 'Red Dwarf VIII', which wasn't as bad but was still no great shakes.
These were all forgivable enough, however it was a completely seperate revival that took my beloved childhood memories and literally screwed them in the arse...

To be continued...

Friday, 6 March 2009

Shininess! Lovely, lovely shininess!

I put in a mini order of 'House Guest' graphic novels when I published it last week, and they arrived today. I have to say the end result is way better than I had anticipated. Given the nature of Lulu, and that it's essentially a vanity-publishing company, I kind of expected some issues - washed-out colours, drab paper, loose binding, accidental cropping and so forth. As far as I can tell it came out perfect.The cover is lovely and shiny, the text on the spine is perfectly aligned, the writing is legible - it really makes for a top quality product. But inside is even better - the colours are more vibrant and the paper more smooth than, in all honesty, most actual graphic novels I own.As far as the actual content...well, whether that's any good or not depends on the reader. I quite like it, obviously, but I'm a self-aggrandising shithead. If you go onto the Lulu order page there is an option to look inside and preview the book, so people can try before they buy. I picked the Prospective Lay scene, which is a pretty fair representation of the book's style and sense of humour on the whole.

As I've mentioned before, the book not only has the entire adaptation of the film but also a bunch of extras, including layouts, concept art and piccies. It's a nice little package all round, if I say so myself. For those of you who want to be more eco-friendly and don't necessarily share my geeky enthusiasm for paper quality, remember it can also be purchased as a digital download for half the price. If you're into the universe of graphic novels or know people who are, please spread the word.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Weighty Matters

So, the officialness of Faith No More's official return was even more officially officiated today when it was announced that they will be headlining this year's Download Festival. It's a safe bet to assume I'll be there. In my ignited enthusiasm I've been digging out collected rarities and merchandise from the band that I picked up at record fairs, market stalls and, of course, eBay. One such item is an old shirt I had when I was twelve, but my love for oversized Dairy Milk bars won out against my love for the band, and by the time I was thirteen it didn't fit anymore. Along with my various other projects, I'm determined to kickstart an ongoing personal endeavour that had plateaued for a while - shifting some of my bulk.
In 2005 I resolved to lose weight, for several reasons - mainly as a check-up revealed some potential liver problems.Around the same time, 'My Name Is Earl' debuted and I was astonished to see how much weight Ethan Suplee had lost since 'American History X' (a brilliant, underrated flick that he is both amazing and terrifying in). The clincher came that same month, when I made the geekiest trek in my life to date - meeting Pinhead. At the same convention was Ashley Lawrence, and the blurry photo of her and I looked alarmingly like a publicity still of Kirsty Cotton and Butterball, the hyper-obese cenobite.
(Left) Ashley Lawrence with some kind of blubbery monster. (Right) Ashley Lawrence in 'Hellraiser'...

From this trilogy of events I subsequently stuck to my guns for two years and lost over 100lbs. By the beginning of 2008 I'd hit my target weight and all my health concerns were no longer an issue, so for all of last year the loss slowed to a crawl, and I dropped a comparatively meager 15lbs overall. Still, my BA and MA graduation photos look like a before-and-after Subway diet commercial.
Now I think I'm ready to kick things into gear again, as I'm still well above my BMI. While I've lost over 130lbs all told, I wasn't just fat to begin with. I was fucking gigantic - we're talking that-guy-from-'Lost' proportions. Right now I weigh in at about 104kg, which is about 230lbs. If I set a new weight-loss target for 95kg (about 210lbs) by the time Faith No More play at Download, I may even fit into the shirt I haven't been able to wear for thirteen years.
It's still depressingly snug at the moment...

If you're wondering what the connection is between the reformation of my childhood idols and weight loss - well, there isn't one. Except that there have been few certainties in life, one being that Faith No More would never get back together. Every time Mike Patton was asked about the possibility since their split, he insisted that 'there was no music left', that it would be a 'chicken shit' move and that he wouldn't be the singer if it happened. Whether he now legitimately believes that enough time has passed for those reasons to be rendered moot, or just that the credit crunch has forced them to ride the reunion train, Faith No More are touring again and Patton's name is included in the line-up.
My long-winded point is this - if Faith No More can get back together, anything can happen. If Faith No More can get back together, I could be a director one day. If Faith No More can get back together, I could be published one day. If Faith No More can get back together, I could be thin...well, thin-ish.
It's March 1st, and I have three and a half months to go. I can do this thing...