Within the next month or so, I'm going to be Kickstarting a new DVD called DISCORDIA. I'd like your input...
- Step 1: Avoid a repair that looks difficult/expensive.
- Step 2: Decide to sell house.
- Step 3: Force self to address difficult/expensive repair.
- Step 4: Discover repair was simple/cheap.
- Step 5: Feel like a moron.
Long drives. No classes. Home improvement with headphones on. All of these things say "time to catch up on podcasts." Here are my recommendations.
It was a success. That much I can tell you.
I wanted to capture this moment before it passes.
I think I need a break.
Home stretch. Practice. Travel. Rehearsal on Tuesday. More practice. Then on Friday is the show.
Taking a break, sitting in a sunbeam for a few minutes while my Mac Pro mulls over some calculations. All the individual elements of the Glitchscape show are just about done, after a quick pickup shoot on our greenscreen stage yesterday evening
Once the After Effects render chime rings, I'm going to shut down all the animation programs, fire up VDMX, and switch to 100% performance mode, only jumping back to AE and Cinema 4D for adjustments.
Next venture, I hope to make a few tweaks. I've let my swimming regimen drop, and I've fallen into my stress eating habits, so I'm feeling a bit like Jabba the Hutt (carbohydrates being the big problem, though I haven't made any gluten errors) . I haven't meditated. As the big rehearsal approaches, I've let everything fall to secondary status except personal hygiene.
I'm not sure how I could have done it differently. I couldn't have started much earlier, I couldn't devote full time to it this semester given aspects of my job that can't budge. It might be that I just have to refuse to sacrifice. I'd never, say, not brush my teeth because of a project overwhelming me. So why is it so easy to skip exercise or meditation? Ok, I don't have to go anywhere to brush my teeth, and it only takes a few minutes, but you know what I mean.
OK, the "doodly-dee" sound just came out of the machine upstairs, so I'm back to it. More soon, I hope.
Officially pushed myself way too hard, and I've made myself sick. I feel like I'm starting a fever, but I haven't measured yet, so I'm not sure. And maybe that's not so bad. I'm not really a mind-altering-substance guy, so I guess a fever's as good a way as any to change things up a little.
I got a little surprise out of it. A new, unexpected thing. Here's a first look at it:
Doesn't look like much, but it is. It's related obliquely to the contrails you've seen in other preview images. What this doesn't show you is what it looks like moving around with its brothers. Pretty, yeah?
Two weeks until Carnegie Hall.
I've been showing students the piece in progress, unveiling how the sausage is made. Mostly to show them that my unfinished sausage looks just like their unfinished sausage. Their process and struggle is the same as mine.
Our University's PR person has been trying to schedule a time to shoot video of me building and practicing the show. I explain to her that even though I'm performing, it looks an awful lot like typing. Unless I bob my head while I do it.
If you're in New York City on April 5, I hope you can make it to the show. Shout out if you do, I'd love to give you a big hug and thank you.
Less than a month until the Carnegie Hall show. Up to now, I had let everything else take priority—classes, administration, running a job search, an email inbox with an unread count measured in scientific notation. Every problem that someone else has. Every dropped ball that has to be picked up. Every hit I take for the team. It all took time, and that time was all borrowed from this. It's our spring break here this week, and now I'm in total psychotic focus mode. I have grading, I have exams to write, but I'm not doing any of it. I'm cranky as hell. If my son bounces that ball in the house one more time, I'm going to snap.
I posted the event on Facebook, and invited half the known world to come see. And people have started saying they'll be there. I figured people were just clicking the "yes" button as a kind of fist-bump, until a former student of mine sent me a picture of her ticket.
That was when I started getting nervous. People are shelling out a lot of bread to see this show, and now I'm overcome by this feeling that I really want to make everyone feel like it's worth it. Sure, there are several composers unveiling new work, there's an orchestra and all the stuff that goes along with that. But in my head, I want people to watch my part in it and think "that stream of images was worth forty bucks."
Fifty for the really good seats. Anyway, it's coming. And it will be worth it.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports: Students and States Near a 50-50 Split on the Cost of Public Higher Education
Must be nice. As of right now, the large state research University where I work is coming in at around 8.9% funding from it's state benefactor. And we've barely moved the needle on tuition increases. This still doesn't stop people from complaining that tuition is far too high. It ain't easy living in a Tea Party state.
But what's annoying me today is the popular media acceptance that higher education is the next economic bubble that is bound to pop. There are (surprise, surprise) logical inconsistencies coming form those making these claims.
When the rich talk about K-12 schools, they hold two views. One is that public K-12 should be funded minimally, and even then only when tied to nonsensical testing outcomes. The other is that private institutions should be eligible to receive taxpayer money in the form of "vouchers" to allow the rich to divert their tax payments away from schools for all and apply those dollars directly to the schools that cost more already. There is not a claim that the private schools should cost less. That's widely accepted, because if there's one thing the rich understand, it's that you get what you pay for.
So why should that be different in higher education? Why shouldn't it cost money to deliver it properly? If our University system was the envy of the world at one point it was because we recognized it as an investment that needed to be maintained. If you just want vocational training by a minimally adequate professoriate, that's fine, but you have to articulate that. You have to say that you only want the minimum, and that you're willing to accept the outcome of that strategic decision.
But if you want the best of anything, that cost has to come from somewhere, and if it's not going to come from tuition, it has to come from somewhere else. You do get what you pay for. But just because you think something should be free doesn't mean there's a cost bubble. The only bubble that I'm seeing is the trend to accuse any industry that is costly of having a bubble. That bubble needs to pop.
Here is why I'm excited.
On Friday, April 5, I will be performing a new piece of video at Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra. The visual and the simultaneous music, composed by Dan Visconti, is entitled Glitchscape, which is one of the pieces appearing in the "coLABoratory: Playing It UNsafe" concert.
To quote the press release:
coLABoratory is unusual in that it does away with the expectations often associated with orchestral premieres that can squelch composers’ creative impulses – limited rehearsal time, restrictive instrumental possibilities, pre-conceived programmatic or thematic ideas for concerts – and most importantly, the overwhelming pressure on composers to do something "safe."
The video, however, is just as risky. I will be performing the visuals live on stage, during the concert. For an example of how this works, you can take a look at the trailer for my earlier performative piece, TIA MAK. I'll be writing more about this over the next month as it gets closer. However, I can now how off the first official sample image from the Glitchscape visuals:
There have been some images stuck in my head since I was a little kid. They've been with me for so long that I forget that they're only in my mind. I actually don't know if they're only in my mind.
I finally caught one of them tonight. Just a couple minutes ago, I got a hold of one I've been chasing for about twelve years. It's not done yet, but it will be soon. I'm surprised and pleased that it looks like it's going to end up playing a part in a new piece that'll be coming out in April.
Which leads me to the next thing. There's about to be a whole lot of self-promotion, announcements, dates, times, photos, interviews, and so forth coming. I hope you'll be as excited about it all as I am. If you see fit to pass the news along as it comes out, I'll be very grateful.
Not trying to be cryptic, I just want to save the big stuff for when people are actually reading and forwarding things. But I had to write this now to mark the occasion. The image finally clicked.
This post is to follow up with some of the questions in class on Friday, namely "do I have to buy this stuff?" and "where do I get this stuff, anyway?"
Again, the answer is "no, you don't have to buy a computer or software for this clas or this major." However, since you almost certainly have a computer anyway, the question is more along the lines of "how can you do your work on the machine you have?"
I don't think you should buy this software for this class. You can do it later when once you've decided that this is what you want to do regularly. The Student Edition for the Adobe Creative Cloud, which gives you everything they've got, is about $30/month (with a one year commitment) That link is here.
BUT, as I also talked about in class, older versions of this software are also available. Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere CS2 are here.
Take note, however. First, Adobe CS2 doesn't have Dreamweaver (they bought the company that made it after CS2 came out). So you'll still need a web design application. More about that later.
Second, this whole "giving Adobe CS2 away" thing is not quite 100% the case. Except that it is. But it's not. More info about that here: "Is Abobe Giving Away CS2 or Not?"
Adobe's second Creative Suite (CS2) is now free. Except it isn't, really. Um. Yeah.
Instead of keeping the registration servers running for CS2, anyone with an AdobeID can download all the CS2 software and use the provided serial number that is posted right there to run it. Forever. Boom.
Except Adobe has stated officially here that this not true. You can only use these downloads if you already own a license of CS2. But they're not going to check. Or care. They'll just shake their heads in silent disapproval, apparently.
It's brilliant. I talked to an Adobe guy at a conference this past summer, and was complimenting them on how much I liked Creative Cloud. I said that for students it's actually almost as cheap as just pirating it, which is what I and everybody I know did to learn the basics in school. The guy said "are you kidding me? Everybody working at Adobe pirated it to learn it, that's how we got so good at it!"
Creative Cloud is awesome and worth every dime, but they made it much too difficult to pirate casually. Mission Accomplished, I guess. Except they WANT a certain amount of casual piracy. That's how you get the vast majority of learners. No one wants to work in a lab using the school's copy on the school's machine on the school's hours. They want their own copy on their own machine to work in the middle of the night in their underwear.
Is CS6 really that difficult to pirate? I don't know, since Creative Cloud is cheap enough that I wouldn't even bother. But I know art students. They'll still rationalize that they can't afford the $30/month for every single Adobe application. And they've started using GIMP, Pixelmator, and other apps. Logical? Nope. Dumb? Yup. A huge problem for Adobe? Almost certainly.*
And let's not forget that this is a global product. The price for CS6/Creative Cloud is nominal, but in many corners of many countries, this is completely out of reach. But Adobe needs these tools to be essential even to those users, even the upstart kid in Cairo taking my workshop whose family would never be able to afford that subscription. Because he was really good, and he's going to become something.
See, some Adobe apps you really do need, and they don't have a real alternative. After Effects. And, um. Yeah. Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign... those are best of breed, but they're not the only solutions, not by a long shot. They are essential because everyone believes they are essential.
And as soon as that aura of essentialness evaporates... well, remember when Avid Media Composer was the only serious video editing contender?
So, I read this as a tacit blessing. "Keep us essential. Please."
*If your response is "if you can't afford $30/month, you can't afford to be a digital artist," please move along, after giving Paul Ryan that much needed backrub.
...healthy process is awesome if it not only documents what we care about, but is willing to defend itself. It is required to stand up to scrutiny and when a process fails to do so, it must change.
Insist on understanding because a healthy process that can’t defend itself is a sign that you’ve forgotten what you believe.This whole article is a great read, and it strikes me as a very similar problem and set of approaches that college curricula face.
This whole article is a great read, and it strikes me as a very similar problem and set of approaches that college curricula face. The whole "Old Guard" problem can really get ugly and lead to little pockets of curriculum that are obviously out of place bits of cruft attached to someone's ego. I've always been one of the "New Guard" pains-in-the-ass that ends up making enemies by rebuilding as much curriculum as has been politically possible (what? you didn't know that college curriculum design can highly politicized? Let's have coffee.)
But now I guess I'm part of the Old Guard. Not the Dear-Christ-Will-You-Please-Just-Retire-Already Guard. If I'm now the one running the assessment process as Older Guard for curriculum change I lead as New Guard, how do I know I'm not biased and skewing the results? Interesting.