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3rd December 2010
More speaker stuff...
It would seem that another lucky person has found, and rescued a pair of Qysonic speakers from a garage sale. Here is the story, and my reply... :
> Audio Asylum Email from Tim Gallagher:
> I am a music lover from the late 60's, and a garage sale shopper. Last
> summer, I found a pair of gently used Qysonic Tad IIs on the north side of
> Indianapolis. I had NO IDEA about what I was doing, but I brought them
> home, cleaned 'em up, plugged them into my Denon amplifier and heard some
> of the finest sounding audio I've heard in a long time. The best part of
> the story is that I paid just $10 for the pair. They are in close to
> perfect condition and even the cabinets cleaned up nicely. I now have them
> proudly set up in my basement/family room along with the Denon and an old
> belt drive dual turntable/Shure cartridge set up. I have all of my old
> vinyl from College (which I have cared for meticulously). I call this
> special room my "den of antiquity" and have impressed many a friend with
> the awesome sound that this "garage sale" system puts out. I was thrilled
> to find information about Qysonic while goofing around on google this
> morning. So, you have a fan in central Indiana.
> Tim Gallagher
I tried to find you message on the Asylum site, but I guess there is
no message system. So... this must be a direct e-mail.
I am very happy to hear from fans of my Qysonic systems, particularly
people who happen to discover them (and rescue them). I spent a large
portion of my life working on my HiFi system, focusing on speakers
(because I could never afford the ones I really liked... like Quads or
Maganapans) My chance encounter with the legendary John Iverson
enforced my theory that excellent sounding speakers could be created
from existing components. Sadly, the Qysonic company did not survive a
badly thought out merger, and my attempt to restart production
(Lantana Ltd) only succeeded in proving the designs were still valid
(and we could not come up with the capitol required to exist in the
changing HiFi market). I do remember fondly making some other speaker
manufacturers nervous, and providing Hi End CD producers (like Telarc)
with listening suites for potential costumers at HiFi shows.
The TAD II might have been my "magnum opus", at least for a
non-modular design. The 6 1/2", custom manufactured LF drivers worked
perfectly in the Critical Alignment system. Their smooth, natural
roll-off transitioned to our already optimized, Peerless inspired,
exponential transmission-line tweeter. I didn't need to struggle with
the phase-filler driver of the larger Array model. (the single most
frustrating and fragile driver in any Qysonic system). The cabinet
could be thinner (though they do require stands) to improve refractive
dispersion, and the spinal laminar flow vent was structurally sound.
(the LFV on the Array was a bit too large and difficult to keep
in tolerance) It was about a perfect system. I remember when we had
the systems setup in a closed nightclub at a show, with the RAM Audio
monster power amp, making double-blind tests t incredible SPL. It was
difficult for our own staff to tell the difference between the Array
and the Tad II...
Still, the most memorable experience with the Tad IIs was the
evaluation for a possible review by an international audio journal in
San Francisco. The reviewer had Rogers LS35A monitors, on lead-shot
filled stands, with the a pair of the cubic-yard UK subwoofers,
bi-amplified with high end amps (I can't remember the name now). The
speaker system alone cost over 12,000.00. The reviewer was planning on
a 60 to 90 minute test, comparing the Tad IIs to his reference system.
Of course, he never expected it to e a fair fight...
The evaluation time increased to several hours, with the reviewer
digging though most of his record collection, sometimes going back to
listen to the same cuts again. He was truly perplexed, and eventually
very impressed. Unfortunately, his review was not published before
Qysonic died... and I doubt it would have been, without several other
reviewers having to attempt to repeat his findings. It was fun to
watch the expression on his face when he suddenly could hear things in
his well-known material that he'd missed before.
Of course, I have always had the problem with reviews that would
honestly evaluate our systems, and then, after stating the results,
proceeded to say "but I don't belive it!". Maybe is some very odd
instances, if "it's too good to be true", it actually might be true.
I'm happy you found my "children",a nd gave them a good home. If you
have any problems with them, I may be able to help. I have supplied
parts and advice to some, and even rebuilt a few systems for other
fans. One parson inherited a pair of original Arrays from his
father... which I carefully rebuilt for him. I wonder how many
generations in that family will end up with the speakers. (god, I feel
If you don't mind, could you take some pictures of your Tad IIs and
send them to me? I have very little material on that model, and some
day I'd like to try to build a set for myself.
Thanks, and enjoy!
23rd August 2010
More speaker fans...
As I have3 mentioned here before, I used to design and make HiFi speaker systems. :
Originally that was back in the late 1970's, and after the first company folded (under circumstances beyond my control), I tried again with a friend to produce the speakers
in the early 1990's. I made speakers, I sold them, I made some audiophiles happy.
The interesting thing is that I still get messages from fans of my speakers, from the
audiophile forums like http://www.audioasylum.com
. Here is one I received this month...
> Hello Tad Dad,
> I can't find any posts from you more recently than '08 so I hope you're
> still out there somewhere. I bought a Tad/Laug combo in about '81.
> Absolutely loved them, but the ex got them. When all the fuss about the
> D'appolito MTM alignment got started, I thought 'wait a minute, this has
> been done already and somebody isn't getting the credit they deserve.' I
> tried to replicate them, but only got close.
It's always great to hear from someone who likes the speakers. When I
set out to design them, I had been listening to and dissecting some
1960's European systems that my HiFi friend had, along with some early
Infinity and AR/KLH designs. My home-made speaker systems left a lot
to be desired, until I met John Iverson and learned about his designs
using conventional drivers. My intention from the start was to come up
with a speaker system that performed like one of the best (most
accurate) speakers available (Quad Electrostatics, Maganplaner,
top-end Infinty, etc), using all conventional drivers. The spectral
accuracy of John's Electro-research line proved his hypothesis that
you could easily find conventional drivers that could be made to work
in a HiFi system with minor modifications. I had an idea that I could
use dual smaller drivers to produce the same sound pressure as a
single driver, with better mechanical response. All I have to do was
figure out how to keep the drivers from interfering with each other.
That was the trick, and after a few years of "cut and try", I
succeeded. Even my mentor, John was impressed. All along I was
building the speakers for me (and my friends), with no intention of
trying to get them to market.
My boss at the stereo store I worked at, and eventual business
partner, thought we could market the speakers ourselves, with money
provided by his father and investors. It didn't work. My second try
was even more foolish, since Tim and I have no money behind us at all.
I believe we were both just trying to find a few Hi End dealers and
make the speakers on a semi-custom basis. There weren't enough of
those kind of dealers left by then, and the other speaker lines
that were like us when they started out had all been bought by large
companies. All we were really doing is rubbing some of the industry
the wrong way by producing inexpensive speakers that equaled the
performance of much more costly or better marketed systems. At least
the High End recording companies liked us...
The original company I was involved with DID pay for my patents on the
design. No body seemed to pay them any mind when to came to royalties,
though, and no one licensed them either. 17 years may seem like a long
time, but the patents expired in the middle 1990's. That the theory
was valid is easily proven by the large amount of systems which use
the principle to this day. I'm glad I have the patents to point to,
and people like you who make the connection.
> Did you go ahead with your plan to re-introduce them. I would be very
It was a stroke of luck that I found my cabinet maker still doing
business, and found the drivers I needed to start producing the tads
again. Unfortunately, I was only able to make a few before I
lost contact with the cabinet maker again and have not been able to
recontract them. I can build a couple of pairs of tads with the
remaining supplies. My intention was to develop the micro model again,
and possibly the integrated system... but I really don't have a place
to sell them If I did. I have tried to help people keep their speakers
in working condition, but sadly, I have dropped the ball on a few of
those requests. My real work (what I actually do for money) has a way
of taking up a lot of time, not to mention my other interests.
> I was delighted to see your post because I was intrigued by the design from
> the beginning and was curious about the company, the history, and the
> development process.
I am always delighted to hear that people (after all these years)
still enjoy the speakers I spent so much time working on. I love
music, all kinds, but I do not play any instrument nor make music
myself. I always believed that it is possible to optimize the design
of a system for a particular purpose, with available components. The
purpose was to reproduce any type of music in any kind of environment
so the listener could enjoy the performance and forget about the
technology. I'm happy that I seem to have succeeded, at least with the
speaker part of the HiFi system.
> Music Lover/Audiophile
26th January 2010
Turn the Man On (cross-posted to FA)
I received an e-mail from someone who is a fan of a story I wrote back in the early 1980's, for my partner, Rodney's writer's APAzine. It may be one of the first examples of "Furry Porn" (or is pron the proper spelling now?), since it involved several re-com (genetically created animal/human hybrids) females who worked in an exotic brothel. I may submit the original story to my FA page, since it may be considered a part of Furry history (shudder!). :
The original e-mail and my response is below. The name has been removed to protect the innocent.
> I probably contacted you about this YEARS ago, but I always loved
> the story "Turn the Man On." I do remember asking if there was ever
> a chance of you re-putting the story out, only with the off-camera
> naughty moments between the lead guy and the various staff of the
> hotel that the story cut away from right before they had some fun.
> Just wondering if that might ever happen?
This is a blast from the past, to be sure!
The story was quite popular with some people. I remember that my boss
at the old Subaru Tech Center kept a copy by the bed in he and his
A few other people have told me much the same thing. I believe that
the "cutaway" scenes might have inspired them to "fill in" those
The story was originally a joke, part of a set of stories in different
styles that were written by various writers for an APA (a
do-it-yourself fan magazine). The stories were all of the "dime
novel/pulp" style, with an assassin named Tyler as the main character.
The stories happened all over time and space, and many were parodies
of types of "bad" writing. The first one, by Jeff Swycaffer, was "Gun
the Man Down". After that, all other contributions were titled in the
"_____ the Man ______" format; thus "Turn the Man On"
The story didn't go over well in the original APA issue. People
objected to the sexual content, and the fact that all the "girls" were
animals. Ken Sample did a beautiful "cast picture" for the story, and
I created a fake "hotel bill" as an extra inclusion. I also did a
"plain brown wrapper" cover for that issue of the APA. Though some
members of the club acted prudish (I expect to seem more "cool"), Jeff
and Rodney liked it. :)
As to a more complete version of the story...
In the late 1980's, I started a novelette version of the story, which
included the actual sex scenes. I also changed the cast slightly,
based on comments and requests of fans of the story, including Ken
Sample. I believe I still have the draft somewhere. I did loose some
of my writing due to format changes and lost or damaged floppy discs,
and I only got a little way into then re-write before getting busy
with other things (like ConFurence). Of course, a complete version of
the story, with all the sex instead of the blackouts, will ruin the
original intent of the silly thing. I am also not sure that I'm that
good at writing actual sex scenes...
The story was posted on a Furry writer's archive once, and got
terrible reviews/recommendations by the site editors. From reading
their comments, it was clear that they didn't "get" the joke at all.
Oh well... I'm certainly no Terry Prachett.
Who knows? If I get enough interest from "fans", I might attempt to
finish the "fully extended (and throbbing)" version...
Or, I could do the World some good and let the thing slip silently
into the obscurity it disserves. :)
25th October 2009
My so called Second Life
I knew about Second Life from it's inception, but had no interest beyond mild curiosity. A few years ago, some of the people who attend our monthly Furry gatherings gave me a short tour of SL, using their accounts. It looked interesting, much like some video games I had seen (I'm not really a gamer), but it seemed my computer was not up to handling such a game. Then, at Califur5, I attended a Furries on-line discussion and met someone who was passionately promoting SL. He loved to play around with the construction aspect of the 'game', but he was so incredibly gun-ho about SL and the Furry community there that I decided to give it a try. :
I had a better computer, a better broadband connection, and it was 'free', so why not? I signed-up, and lucked out, finding the last name 'weezles' available. Since I'm a big mustelid (weasel) fan, it was perfect. I just used my fursona name 'Sylys', and picked the generic furry avatar, which happened to be a rather primitive ringtail (which looked like a fursuit). I went through the brief tutorial, along with other newbies (mostly humans); it wasn't difficult at all to use the interface; and then I started to look for something to do. I remembered that Furnation had extensive property on SL, and also had heard that there were anti-furry sentiments common in some regions, so I looked for furry territory. Humans aren't really that interesting to me, particularly humans playing humans in a virtual environment. In a world where you can be anything, it seems silly to be another human. The search feature in the game (which is not that good) didn't show me any Furnation areas, but I also remembered the name 'Luskwood' as being a Furry founder in SL, and I found links (called Landmarks) to their lands.
The area (once it resolved, or 'rezzed') was an open platform in a forest, with huge hallow trees and lots of places to relax. There were a variety of Furries there, some dancing to the music stream, some standing or sitting, or laying around. Within a few minutes, I was chatting with them, and I had made my first SL friends. I got invites to join some 'groups', mostly made up of furs who had a similar interest, or liked to hang out at a particular place.One group was a Furry Pirate/dance group, which I stayed with until the group dissolved a few months later. I attended many of the groups dance, on a dock by a pirate pub, but didn't join their pirate war role play, since I wasn't interested in meta virtual gaming. This experience taught me something important, but often sad about SL... A lot of things os SL don't last long. Special interest groups, clubs, and even entire regions vanish from lack of interest or funds (land on SL costs money. You pay rent to Linden Labs, or someone who is paying them and renting land), though a lot of the 'churn' is caused by the old "short attention span" malady that so many creative types have... and, need I mention politics, AKA "drama".
Another of my first-night contacts was the group for the Furry nightclub/dance club "Furvana". A beautiful "realistic" styled club. Since you can build anything you can imagine on SL, you don't have to have your project conform to any of the restrictions of RL, like gravity, weather or logic! The total fantastic constructs are fine by me, but it takes a certain creative mind set to build a place that could really exist, though often it would require an unrealistic budget if it were made in the real world. The Furvana administrators, staff, and regular patrons become my first SL "family", and in spite of all efforts to the contrary, Furvana exists to this day. The style of the club has changed, and some people have come and gone, but it's still a place I feel welcome.
Later on, I began to meet other SL friends, who turned out to be some of my best RL friends, even a couple of ones I lost contact with several years ago. It seems that one of the attractions of SL is the unbridled creativity it offers. None of these good friends were on SL to make money, though you hear from time to time there is money to be made. Particularly from land speculation and rental, or selling stuff... like avatars, buildings, furniture, clothes, and "accessories". I had retired my old-school ringtail in favor of a red-brown ferret, since no one makes a pine marten avatar (yet). On of my good friends is a builder on SL, and he made me a Sy Sable avatar, for free! Most of my most creative friends are on SL to make stuff and provide environments and entertainment for other furries to enjoy. So, Furry SL is kind of like a virtual version of Furry RL. It's all about fun!
So, what do I do for fun on Second Life? I already mentioned I don't play in the meta games, war games, skill games, RP games, etc. I like to explore. Find beautiful and amazing places. I like to go to dance clubs, and watch all the pretty (and sexy) avatars dance and hang out. As crude as the SL 'engine' is, Furry avatar designers have created some incredibly handsome anthro and non-anthro mammals, birds and mythical creatures. Unlike other forms of Furry art, these can actually move, and you can interact with them (much like fursuits). Unlike fursuits, though, avatars typically cost under $ 8.00. so anyone can have several. Most avatar designers even give away their older designs for free! It's easy to find free clothes and accessories, too.
One effect that Second Life has had on me is putting me back in touch with my interest in avians. Griffins, dragons, and the WB Roadrunner were some of my first strong attractions in my pre-furry youth. I would often spend as much time admiring eagles, hawks and falcons at zoos and wild animal parks as I would at the otter or wolverine habitats. The certainly is avian/dragon furry art, and there is more and more if it every year. (I know, I have a large collection), but for some reason there seems to be a lot of avatar creators in SL who want to make beautiful birdies. I saw a "Rainbow Phoenix" avatar at a store... he was an anthro (biped), light grey bird, with rainbow colored body marking and long, flowing rainbow feathers. I found myself staring at the image on the vending nachine for a very long time... until I realized I could buy it! I found it was not difficult at all to create a personality for this new version of myself, and these days I'm most often known as a phoenix, gryphon, or dragon, though I still wear my traditional Fursona often.
Second Life, to me, is a virtual extension of my Furry lifestyle. I have become much more interested in different types of music, and curious about the RL "club scene". I have even provided a "live" video link from a furry dance at Califur to an SL dance club. Though I don't build on SL, nor make avatars (it requires a lot of 3D design and software skills), I have learned to "tint" skin textures (change the color of avatars), and "mod" avatar designs by re-shaping body parts or "kit bashing", combining parts from more the one avatar to make something unique. And, I take pictures. Lots of pictures. The SL client has a 'camera', which you can move independently from your avatar, and you can take 'snapshots' of various resolutions to store on your computer (for free).
All that story culminates with my music video project...
I heard the Kaskade and Deadmau5 song "Move for Me"... "Another night, another dance floor..." The lyrics were the story of my SL life. I have 2 years of images I'd collected, mostly of dance clubs and dancers. Changa gave me a copy of Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 9, and showed me how to use it. So, I made a music video, dedicated to my SL friends and the clubs we dance at. Changa made a HD version, which I have embedded here for your enjoyment. There are no actual video clips in the project, just stills, but often had several sequences of images which I put together to simulate motion. The HD shows the brilliant color as well as the sharp detail of the original images, so you can watch my "slide show" while listening to a great song. It's much less boring that way :)
25th November 2008
I can has Screen Credit?!
Some people ask what I do (for a living), and I tell them I', the chief engineer and director of operations for a technology consulting firm. So... what's that mean? :
One thing we do is backstage communication/network support for all kinds of events and media location productions. Our latest gig was YouTube Live! at Fort Mason in San Francisco...
Unlike a lot of the jobs we do, which involve large amounts of preparation, travel, and a lot of hard physical and mental work, This time, we got a screen credit!
In the TV and Film Industry, a screen credit is very difficult to obtain. You really have to "know someone", and there are Unions and such to deal with.
It's cool that the Sunset Lane people and YouTube included us in the credit roll for the first live YouTube concert.
Now I can point to this and say "This is what I do" (or at least a part of what I do).
Here is the link. We show up at 2:31 into the roll...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDZbSadZtAo
10th September 2008
Good bye God, we're going to Bodie!
750,000 years (or so) ago, the Long Valley area of what would become North-Eastern California exploded in a volcanic event that made Mt. St. Helens seem like a fire cracker. The ash cloud from the explosion reached as far as what would be Utah. The entire Eastern Sierra area is the huge caldera created by that event. Yosemite Valley, Mammoth Mountain and the June Lake area are just some of the fantastic places that were created by this extinction-level event. :
My kitty-mate remembered that some of his fondest memories of vacationing with his parents and school friends were their visits to June Lake. Since I enjoy time in the wilderness myself (particularly when I have a nice, clean, fully equipt cabin for a base camp), and I am also somewhat of a Western history buff, we decided to take some time off from work and head up US 395 to stay at June Lake.
Our lodging of choice was the Big Rocks Resort, which has cabins right on the shore of June Lake, and everything a fresh-water fisherman could want, including a small boat marina. Joining us on this wilderness safari was my lion-mate, Changa. We did do some fishing in June Lake, it is between seasons, so a 4-night stay in a 2 bedroom cabin was reasonable, and included use of a 19' boat. Didn't catch anything, but spent some relaxing hours on the quiet lake, watching the chipmunks and squirrels, birds, and after dark, the bats.
The rest of the trip was spent exploring the local towns and various interesting nature and historic sites. June Lake is a small enough resort town that there are no fast-food establishments or chain stores. Every shop and eatery is a unique place, owned by locals. I was surprised to discover that the Tiger Bar, a place I had heard of for many years, mainly due to their logo, a comfortably inebriated version of Sher Kahn (Disney style), was a 70-year old pub in June Lake! (of course, they didn't have that same logo back in the beginning)
The food varied depending on the establishment. The Sierra Lodge was just a typical coffee shop, the food was noting special. The Alpine Deli was a small hole-in-the-wall, with only one table (many tables outside), run by a backwoods version of a surfer dude. The food was typical snack-bar fare, but all very good quality. Later we drove around the loop and had a fantastic dinner at the Carson Peak Inn. Great food, from the deep-fried croutons to the broiled Rainbow trout, and a wonderfully attentive and humorous waitress. Later we lunched at the Eagles Landing Inn and Spa, which reminded me of the beautiful Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World, except the "wilderness" was not created by Imaginers in this case. Bill and I shared a huge mountain of fantastic nachos.
Interesting side trips we took included a visit to oldest living things (so far) found on Earth, the bristlecone pines. We did see many of the ancient (4000 years) trees, but the visitor center was a pile of smoldering rubble, as it had burned down the night before! Only a few of the tress closest to the structure were singed, luckily. We drove through the town of Mammoth Lakes (much larger then June Lake... they had a McDonalds), and went to see the Devils Post Pile, a weird cliff face of hexagonal basalt columns formed when water trickled down cracks in the hot rock as it was pushed up by volcanic activity. Many of the columns had fallen down to a pile at the base of the cliff, the pieces still showing their odd 5-sided shape, like giant broken crystals. Bill and I hiked up the trail to the top, which resembled an uneven tile floor made up of hexagon-shaped tiles, some polished almost shiny from glacial activity.
One day, we decided to trek to Bodie, the famous "Ghost Town" mining camp. Bodie was the ultimate mining camp, founded by a prospector in 1859, and growing eventually to a population of over 10,000, it was the biggest, meanest, richest mining camp in the West. The town grew up around the mines, and the mines were way out in the middle of miles of bleak, rolling hills where only sage brush grew. Everyone and everything had to be brought into the area on horseback or mule drawn wagons, including the heavy machinery used in the mines. Entire forests were felled to shore-up the mines and burn in wood-fired boilers to run the steam powered mills. Eventually a short railroad was built to ship wood from the Mono lake area, and the first long-distance high-voltage electrical transmission lines were installed from a small hydro-electric plant to Bodie in 1910. The town was so large that, even after 2 devastating fires, there are still over 100 structures and ruins standing. The trip was well worth the drive, even the last 3 miles or unpaved road. Though Bodie is called a "Ghost Town", there have been people living there continuously since it was founded, a few caretakers in the 1950's, and the State Park rangers and employees today. In the museum, I purchased a couple of books about mining camps, and the ranger asked me "what part of Garden Grove are you from?". She lives in Garden Grove, too, when she isn't living in Bodie during the tourist season. Small world.
Changa and I took a LOT of photos, some of which will be available to view on our Flickr galleries... once we get them uploaded.http://www.flickr.com/people/sysable/http://www.flickr.com/photos/changa_lion/
30th August 2008
Anaheim Furry House Party
I don't update this much... and when I do, I end up writing long articles. :
OK... maybe I can just do short bits, and more of them.
I'm at the Anaheim Fur House, the other "furry" house (that still exists) in The OC. Vinson and I showed up around 8:30 PM, and it was pretty crowded (over 80). The place is about as big as the Prancing Skiltaire, but a lot less cluttered (25 years of "pack rat" room mates can generate a LOT of "stuff"), since it has been a furry places for only about 5 years. There is room for DDR, the original garage is a very nice theater (projection TV and surround sound), and a nice patio in the back.
About 30 minutes ago, 6 pizzas arrived, and were gone in less then 10 minutes... I wish I could have done a time-lapse video, it would have looked like a shark feeding frenzy. Rainhopper Roo (one of the hosts) said he was amazed at the turnout. Well, the Prancing Skiltaire parties have been happening for years now, and we are seeing over 100 furs show up each month. The Anaheim Fur House is less the 6 miles from the PS... and we are always asked to have more parties... I think I can see why the turnout was large at this party, and likely will be at any other Furry gathering in this area. The Fur-B-Que has over 200 show up each year.
Th OC seems to have one of the largest active Furry communities, which makes sense, since it is where Furry fandom began, and it IS California, after all. :)
20th March 2008
Hugo and Rita Primer
Jungledyret Hugo is back, in his third animated feature! Many of you are probably asking yourselves “Jungledy-who?’ Hugo is a very popular animal character in his country of origin, Denmark. (The word “Jungledyret” means “Jungle Animal”). Storybooks starring the “rarest animal in the world”, as well as two (2D) animated features, a 13 episode TV series, and now a 3D feature, released in December of 2007 have received high acclaim and many awards since 1989. :
Hugo is the brainchild of Fleming Quist Moller, a writer, actor, voice actor, translator and jazz/world beat musician who created the small furry critter with the BIG attitude in stories he told to his young son, Carl, in 1964. In 1989 they published Hugo’s story in a children’s book, with illustrations by Carl, who is a professional illustrator and artist.
In 1993, A.Film, one of the most prolific animation studios in Europe, produced Jungledyret Hugo (sometimes called Go, Hugo, Go!), written and co-directed by FQM (who also provided some character voices). The film was a big hit, and in 1996 the same studio produced a second animated feature, “Hugo the Movie Star”, which was also a big hit. In 2003-4 the story in the films was continued in a 13 episode animated television series. The Jungledyret films and television series are unique in the story is continuous from the first film through the sequel, the 13- 22 minute television episodes and the latest 3D animated feature, “Jungledyret Hugo: Freak, Flabet og Fri” (Translated as “Brash, Cheeky and Free”, or “Frank, Flippant and Free”)
Hugo and his animal (and human) friends and foes have many wild adventures, but possibly the best (and furriest) thing about the Jungledyret series is the relationship of Hugo and his very best friend, the young vixen, Rita. Hugo, the rarest animal in the world, lives in the Amazon jungle where he survives mainly by his wits. He is small and looks a bit like a Kola with yellow fur, but has the ego and attitude of a creature 10 times his size. Hugo is a great storyteller. He tells tall tales that entertain his friends and frighten dangerous predators. In his jungle home, Hugo is the undisputed King of B.S.
Unfortunately for Hugo, his reputation for being the world’s most rare animal attracts a lot of the wrong kind of attention. His clever stories don’t work on humans (who, everyone knows, can’t understand animals), so he eventually gets captured and taken to the Big City (Copenhagen, of course), to be displayed and exploited in various nefarious ways. Lucky for him (and us), Hugo is found and befriended by the adolescent vixen, Rita. This foxy lady was born in a den by the railroad tracks and raised in the city. She is street-wise and rough enough to be able to survive the urban environment, and a perfect foil for the brash but befuddled Hugo. In spite of the clash of egos and some heated arguments, it becomes obvious that Hugo and Rita are made for each other!
Their animated adventures are considered children’s fare, but Hugo and Rita have many teen and adult fans. Some of these fans create original artwork, collect images and screen captures, and even make romantic music videos. If you search around FA or any other furry art sites you will likely come across images of Hugo and Rita, usually very cute and affectionate… sometimes a bit more… provocative. FMQ, Hugo and Rita’s “dad”, once answered a young fans inquiry wondering if Hugo and Rita were going to have a child, and if so, who would it look most like? He answered that Hugo and Rita were still to young to think about that sort of thing, and we’d just have to wait and see. When early concept art for the new feature was released, it showed Hugo and Rita with a small, yellow pup that looked like it might be a hybrid of them. The fans went crazy with speculation, but it was finally revealed that the pup was a lost bush dog that Hugo and Rita take care of for a while. Even though fans were disappointed that their favorite couple were not actually parents, at least we get to see that Hugo and Rita do have parental potential. Like FMQ said, we just have to wait and see…
I hope this little primer has answered some questions and perhaps peaked some interest in Hugo and Rita. If you search for “jungledyret” on YouTube, you can find a wealth of material. Recently, both animated features (in 8 minute sections), in original Danish and the English (Miramax Kids version, both films available on one DVD… not a bad translation, considering, but edited, unfortunately, for us “sensitive” Americans), all 13 episodes of the television series (in Danish), several songs from the films, the teaser, trailer, and a couple of interviews about the new 3D feature (Danish), and some home-made music videos starring Hugo and Rita and some other animated characters. There is an interactive web site for the new feature: jungledyret.dk, and a very nice fan site: jungledyret.com, populated with some great people who answered my annoying questions and provided information for this article.
If you look around, I’m sure your find out why they say “everyone’s furry for Rita!”
11th February 2008
Auto Eroticism (Inspired by FoxMagic's Post about his new car...)
If your vehicle doesn’t make you feel good, even after a year or more, you really should get something else. :
My first car was a 1963 Studebaker Lark Cruiser. I got it when I was in JC and it needed a lot of work. I joined the Studebaker Driver's Club and fixed it up to show, though I drove it all the time. When it was fixed up, people would notice it all the time. They'd say: “What kind of car is that?” “ Who makes it?” “I didn't know Studebaker still made cars?” The interior was really great, once I got it refurbished. The seats folded back flat, so you could sleep in the car. I used to cover it with a car cover and sleep in it like a tent. It was great fun.
I still have it, but it needs a lot of fixing up...
When I worked for Subaru, I got to drive one of the "test fleet" cars. I had a Brat 4WD pickup for a year, with the seats in the bed and a camper shell. It was fun to drive, and could climb like a mountain goat. I used to drive it up into the Santa Ana Mountains to do service on remote radio repeaters. (part-time work for my previous employer).
Then I drove a cute yellow hatchback, which I decorated with accessories, black “Subaru” rocker-panel graphics, black wheels with chrome trim, black "shadow" louvers on the hatch window, and fender-mounted Japanese remote rear-view mirrors. It was really cute, even the Executives from New Jersey liked it.
The first new car I purchased myself was a Nissan 200SX hatch back. It really wasn't a sports car, but it was fun to drive. I liked the tilt-up headlights and the sound system. I had one of the first cell phones available, which was a huge box of electronics that mounted in the back, with a control head up front that looked like a home telephone. I used to get some great looks from others when I was talking on the phone. The dealer service center took extremely good care of the car, and people were amazed at how new it looked (even under the hood) after 7 years.
After that, I had a Ford Aerostar, my first mini-van. I found the upright seat was much better on my back, and I loved the space... for cargo and people. I drove it to Chicago and back 3 times for the CES show (and to Las Vegas for the other CES show). I used it for work, when my company did network cable installs all over the country for Coldwell Banker. In 10 years, I put 375,000 miles on the Aerostar. The engine only required regular maintenance (though I replaced the transmission 7 times...)
My company leased a Ford Windstar then, which I used for work and fun. It was more powerful, more comfortable and a little quieter than the Aerostar, though it also had transmission problems. It was my rolling office, shop, crew bus and sometimes even a private "love nest" for 8 years. I knew I would always want a mini van for my main vehicle, but I decided to not invest in a Ford again.
Last year the company bought me a certified 2004 Nisaan Quest. They bought it with cash, which was an experience! Half of the money was in my credit union account, and I took the rest ($ 10,000.00) into the dealer. Really got the red carpet treatment. I recommend buying a car this way, it if you can.
The styling of the Quest after 2003 is really radical, I can’t say it's "pretty", but it is certainly interesting. Inside and out, it looks like a "car of the future" you might see at a car show (the designs that never seem to make it into production). It is quieter than the Windstar, has as much power, and the interior looks like a spaceship. It reminds me of the Star Trek shuttles, or the Star Gate Atlantis "puddle jumper". The sound system is very good, and it even has a DVD player and a fold-down screen (for the passengers).
The important thing about the Quest is that, to me, it's my "ultimate" vehicle. When picking it up from the valet at the Wynn this January (we were networking the press shows for CES, which we do every year), I felt as proud when it drove up as I would have if I had one of the Beemers, Caddy's or even a Rolls'. Unlike my Studebaker, the Quest is not likely to turn many heads... but it turns Mine, and that's important, because I'm the one that will be driving it daily for the next 8 or more years...
Like the dumb Mercedes commercials say: “Out here, you have to love what you drive!”
13th December 2007
My mate, the published photographer!
Changa is a photographer. He's not a professional, he does not make a living taking pictures, but like some people are musicians, or graphic artists, he has (in my opinion) a natural talent for taking really good pictures of places, people and things that are just better because of the way he sees them, or he comes up with things to take pictures of that are unusual, strange, silly, weird or just clever. He has a flickr site, which I recommend you check out( : http://www.flickr.com/photos/changa_lion/
), but now he has published a very nice book featuring some of his best (and strangest) photography. The book was made on the Blurb self-publishing site, and is available here: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/148238
Check it out!
22nd November 2007
A review of El Arca (The Arc) (some spiolers)
Note: This review contains some spoilers. :
El Arca (The Arc) is an animated film by Estreno Julio produced by the Pantagonic Animation studio in Argentina. The film is a comedy version of Noah’s Arc, mixed with The Lion King, via The Love Boat. There are two ½ concurrent stories being told here, one is the well-known tale of Noah, a good man given an impossible task, with little help from anyone, including his bickering family. The other story involves the (mostly anthro) animals that are the “low berth” passengers of the arc, a pair of every species, which have to coexist in cramped accommodations without killing/eating each other.
Since the animals are forbidden (by some universal fantasy law) of talking to humans, the two plots are kept separate through most of the film, with Farfan and Esther, a pair of shiftless stowaway villains providing a (low) comic relief bridge. The other minor plot involves God (portrayed as an obese, multi-ethnic boss) and his loyal (scrawny Poindexter) scribe-angel/stage hand (he handles the “special effects”, as well as being the (Holy?) ghost writer for God’s new book, which portends to be the biggest “best seller” of all)
The animal protagonist is a spoiled pretty-boy lion prince, Xiro, who is supposed to be the inspired leader of the animals, but would rather party-hardy on what he thinks (due to an accident with torn message from Noah) is a luxury cruise. Bombay, his advisor/valet/masseuse, a rather “flamboyant” orangutan manages to come up with a female partner (obviously not his preference) so he can accompany his handsome prince. Kairel, the old lion king’s smart, organized “press secretary” daughter ends up being the sole lioness on the voyage, after an unfortunate accident befalls the bimbo that was the prince’s choice for a mate.
One rather upsetting thing about the film (as it is with any proper Noah story) is that a lot of really cool characters (including Sabu, the old lion king and his queen, Oriana) “miss the boat” as it were. While Noah’s daughters and their husbands argue and fight over control (with Noah and his wife remaining oblivious) Dagnino, a scheming tiger hatches a plan to turn the arc into a feast for the carnivores by discrediting the erstwhile prince and his comrades and replacing them with himself and his gang as leaders. To help soften the playboy prince for his downfall, and spread some dissention among the good guys (Kairel in particular), the tiger relays on the sexy black panthress, Panty, to seduce and abandon Xiro. Panty’s sultry nightclub style torch-song, “I will Survive” (with gleefully cannibalistic new lyrics) it the Furry high point of the production.
With the reluctant help of Farfan, the stowaway money-lender, the tiger springs his trap and it looks like curtains for the clueless Xiro and his friends, as well as all the herbivores on board. Luckily the clever, loyal orangutan uncovers the plot and the good guys challenge the bad guys to a fight (which turns into… a soccer game?), and the tiger’s gang are defeated, and imprisoned. All is not well yet, however, as Noah has been injured in an accident (caused by the stowaways, of course) and his bickering sons have managed to run the arc off-course and ground it on a giant ice flow.
It’s up to Xiro, who has finally managed to get a clue, and become the leader he was born to be, along with the rest of the animals to save the day and re-float the arc. Noah’s sons and daughters have learned their lesson, too, and after nursing their patriarch back to health, Noah gets the arc back on course to the start of the New World.
Some of El Arca’s adult themes would be too much for American family audiences, but it should be fine for South American and European family fare. There is enough slapstick silliness for the kids and a lot of visual and dialog humor for teens/parents. The UPA-Jay Ward Prod. style character designs over standard painted and CG backgrounds is unique and pleasing. The music is fun and does not interrupt the action. The dialog is very clever, with lots of jokes and puns (which amazingly translate well in the English subtitles) and the voice acting top notch. My only complaint is that there are almost too many plots and important characters. Some scenes (like the climax fight becoming a soccer match, complete with a weird fan “dancing” sketch and the rather forced, misdirected scene when the animals disembark on the ice flow) just don’t flow as well as the majority of the film.
We were lucky to catch a screening at the Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles as part of The American Cinematheque’s Argentinean Film Festival. Sadly, this may be one of the only US screenings of El Arca. If you hear of a screening in your area, I recommend you see it. It’s refreshing to see a well done animated feature from somewhere besides the US, Japan or Europe that doesn’t look or feel like clone of some previous work. If you can’t make a screening, hopefully a DVD will be available eventually (or you might find it on-line, or course).
10th November 2007
My speaker patents, how and why.
Unfortunately both of the patents I have on speaker design, from when I worked at Qysonic Research, have expired. A design patent, which is the one that is for an “original design”, that is, a unique invention, lasts for 17 ½ years. I’m not sure how they decided on that odd amount of time… :
My patent, Critical Alignment Speaker System, involved the mounting locations of the separate speakers (drivers) on the front baffle of the cabinet, and thus the overall shape of the cabinet, to achieve a contiguous sound field. This sound field, shaped by dispersion around the small cabinet, would realistically simulate the spatial acoustic effects of the original recoding, We did challenge one company that made a similar speaker, and they responded quickly, sending a sample of their speaker for us to inspect. We decided that the critical dimensions were not close enough to our design, and so we told them it was not an infringement. I suppose we could have licensed the patent, but we were more interested in trying to make the product then getting involved in legal stuff.
There are hundreds of designs that use a similar driver placement, because it is just a good, “sound”, logical design. The dual small main driver pair with the center mounted tweeter just works well… however, if you use the formula to determine the mounting parameters, performance increases noticeably. That’s why I named the design “critical alignment”. There is a similar, well known design for multi-driver speakers, called D’Appolito (named after it’s inventor), which uses a similar driver compliment and provides cabinet dimensions. In my experience, the D’Appolito design places the drivers too close together for the optimal sound field effect. I’m pretty sure some companies and hobbyists have read my patent and found out just how good the concept works.
The second patent, Laminar Flow Vent (which is also past it’s time) is for the controlled flow vent cabinet. For a speaker to work, you need to absorb the back wave, or the air movement is canceled out. This means you get no low-frequency response (bass). You can make a sealed cabinet large enough to absorb the back pressure (infinite baffle), or you can make a path for the air to escape “in phase” with the front wave, though this only works at certain frequencies (tuned port). This method gives a “boost” to the bass, though this boost ads artificial properties to the sound. You can make an extended path for the air flow, until it comes out “in phase” with the front pressure (transmission line). This is more accurate, but it requires a complex and larger cabinet (though not as large as the infinite baffle).
The great innovation that changed speaker design was when they made drivers that could push more air by having a longer range of motion, like a piston. These drivers had a drawback, which was that they could easily travel too much when played at loud volumes, and destroy their delicate motor mechanisms. The solution was to put them in a sealed box, so the air in the box would act as a break. The compression and vacuum would keep the driver from wrecking itself (acoustic suspension). Of course, every time you add some mechanical or electrical effect to the transducers, you are adding “distortion”, changing the quality of the sound from what it’s supposed to be. This is what you are trying to avoid at all costs, if you are after Hi Fidelity performance.
The innovation that my mentor John Iverson came up with was making the sealed cabinet “leak” air in a predictable way. His tiny vents allowed air in easier then it could get out, which had the effect of making the volume of the cabinet seem larger as the drivers moved more (acoustic diode). With some help from my then business partner (who wanted to be a speaker designer, like me…), we developed a type of vent that would allow as much air to move into and out of the cabinet, no matter how small the cabinet was, or how much pressure the drivers in it would produce. If we could make the cabinet any size and shape we wanted, we could then make the cabinet small enough to not become a problem with dispersion.
Dispersion is the effect of the sound waves produced by the drivers being diffracted across and around the cabinet, causing the sound field produced to be distorted from that “encoded” in the original recording. The sound field produced by a pair of stereo speakers, when the recoding is properly mastered, will recreate the spatial “image” of the original placement of the sources of the recoding (instruments, vocalists, locations of sections of the orchestra, even the acoustic properties of the room in which the recoding was made.). This “image” is the most striking effect of stereo listening. Not only can sound sources be detected as right, center left, but far to either side, above, below and even behind the listener; all this experience, with only two speakers. That is whole idea behind stereo.
The larger controlled pressure vent allowed for a cabinet size and shape to be optimized for dispersion characteristics. The only problem is that the large vent made noise when it was working hard (at loud levels), whistling, hooting and huffing, etc. The solution was to make a muffler for the vent to keep it quiet, much like the muffler in a car or truck. The muffler was a series of small, thin tubes that quieted the air as it flowed through them (laminar flow). This is similar to the noise reduction system used in clean rooms modern jet engines. The muffler can be either a series of thin tubes (we used corrugated polypropylene sheets on larger speaker systems), or a thin gap provided by the terminal plate on smaller designs. The combination of the large controlled pressure vent and the muffler is called the Laminar Flow Vent.
9th November 2007
The return of the tads
Some of you might know that several years ago I made high fidelity speakers. I developed them when I was in high school and junior college, when I was working part-time for John Iverson. John was sort of an audiophile legend. He made some of the most accurate speakers using conventional components, but he was most famous for his pure class A power amplifiers, and a custom phono preamp for the Stax strain-gauge phono cartridge. He also experimented with a panel speaker, which used a field of ionized air, sometimes called “cold plasma”. He called it the “linear accelerator-bombardment density modulator”, but it had the rather sarcastic nickname of the “death ray” speaker. It was extremely inefficient and not very safe (it used high powered AM radio transmitter to create the ionic field, which could give you a nasty burn if you got too close) but it did actually work. I was one of the few people who actually got to listen to then when they were working. It was amazing to sit close to the grids and hear the music come out of “thin air”. I was pretty reckless getting that close to them when they were operating…. :
For conventional speakers, I learned a lot about driver selection, cabinet design (particularly driver placement on the front baffle) and crossover network design from John, and I combined this knowledge with my experience with various high quality speaker designs from around the world.
Eventually, after taking apart my main tower speakers countless times, including making several different cabinets (because you can only cut so many holes in a wood box before it becomes a pile of sawdust), I came up with something interesting. Using 2 small low frequency drivers (woofers) mounted a very specific distance apart, and placing the other drivers (tweeters and midrange “filler”) very carefully, the performance of the entire system greatly exceeded the sum of it’s separate parts. Even John was impressed.
When my good friend/math major Loring asked me to make him some speakers for his dorm at Harvey Mudd, I suggested we would cut all the dimensions of my towers in half and make some mini-tower speakers (about the size of 1 ½ shoe boxes). They sounded incredible! When Loring’s mom saw the little speakers (having seen my original towers) she said “Oh! Little speaker tads!” (tads, as in tadpoles, a Southern term for kids). I took a pair around to show the manager of a local stereo store, and he was blown away. A year later, Qysonic Research was born, and we started making the tower (called the Array), and the mini-tower, which, when the manager of the first high-end stereo shop I auditioned them at asked me “ what do you call these?”, I said “They’re tads.”
And so they were, from then on. We struggled to make a name for ourselves in the high-end audio market (because we could not get enough money together to make enough to sell to the mass market), and the speakers amazed all most everyone who heard them. Potential dealers, audio fans and reviewers were impressed. We started to sell product in small, exclusive stores all over the US and Canada (and one store in South Africa). We still needed venture capitol to grow, so when we were approached by Motown to develop a mid-fi line of speakers, in exchange for them providing the capitol we needed to grow, we accepted the deal. Sadly, it took only a year to fid out that the entire deal was just an elaborate tax dodge. Motown Sound went bankrupt (as planned all along)… we were only involved to lend credibility to the scam. Qysonic Research was no more.
The tads, however, were not to die. My business partner and I started making tads for various video-editing studios in California, and took our line of speakers to the CES, and found a few dealers. Unfortunately, the market of a budget-priced high-end speaker was not very big, particularly when each speaker was hand assembled by me. We could not find the capitol to grow, but I was able to make speakers for many of my friends (Furry and otherwise). The tads and their kin still equal or outperform larger and more expensive speakers. I have been searching the web for any mention of Qysonic, and recently I have found some fans. One person contacted me asking if I could audition and evaluate his original Array speakers, which had been in his family since 1979. When I visited him, he explained that the speakers had been bought by his father and they had been shipped all over the US as the family moved. They were in near-perfect condition, with a few of the drivers and the original foam grills lovingly replaced. They sounded fantastic, too. I was not aware that I had been creating family heirlooms…
Since this revelation, I have been searching around for the required components to build tads, and found my excellent cabinet-maker still in business (possibly the last speaker cabinet maker left in the US) and I have pre-sold the first 3 tads to my friend with the heirloom Arrays. I will be making more, maybe even a pair for you…
The tads live again!
2nd July 2007
Gee... maybe I should say something. Got a new Ride! (new for me, at least)
I haven't posted in... a few years. I just can't seem to come up with anything to say that I feel might be of interest to anyone. Oh well. :
After 7 years and 260,000 miles, I have a different vehicle. It's not "new", it's a 2004 Nissan Quest minivan. I like minivans. The seating is much better for long trips, much easier on my back then the low seats in a car. They have lots of room, ride comfortably, and get much better mileage then SUVs and full-size vans. Since I often have to have ladders (strapped on the roof) for my work, I can still fit in parking garages (I HATE parking garages!), which I often have to deal with on jobs. My Windstar is about dead, and I have an unfortunate accident in June on the freeway when a SUV attempted to occupy the same space I was trying to occupy in the car-pool lane of the 91 freeway. So my door was smashed and it barley closes, and is certainly no longer water-tight.
The company decided to pay cash for the Quest, and that was an interesting experience. I put half of the money in the credit union, then Tim gave me the other half in cash. That was the most cash I have even had in my possession. It was a bit scary, but they sure treated me nice at the dealership! When I gave the cash to the accountant at the dealership, she fanned the wad out and rubbed it against her cheek. Silly. I really recommend this method if you are buying a car. Arrange your financing before you go shopping and pay in cash. It give you a great edge in negotiation!
The Quest is really nice, metallic gold, with a good sound system, CD and DVD player (with a fold-down screen that faces the passenger compartment). I didn't need these things, but I did want the roof rack (for the ladders), and AC and a cruise control. I just told them I wouldn't pay for the extras, and they gave them to me free. The ride is very nice, much less wind noise then the Ford, and the interior looks like some kind of spacecraft (or maybe a puddle-jumper from Star Gate Atlantis). About the only shortcoming I found so far is the 18 gallon gas tank. The Ford had a 25 gallon one, which gave me a much longer range between fill-ups (when it still had a 4th gear...). Oh well, if that's the only thing wrong with the Quest, I should be happy for several years. As much time as I spend on the road, I like having a nice environment to spend it in.
16th February 2005
Supporting the throne...
I got a pleasent surprize last weekend... My mate, Aronel's parents have been very nice to me and my mates. They have a great family gathering every winter holiday, and this year they gave me a Gift Card for Home Depot. I was so busy after the end of 2004, I had no time to go shopping, so I didn't bother to check out the card. This Sunday, Changa and I went to Home Depot so I could look for a new portable drill set. I gave the card to the clerk, and she told me it was worth $ 200.00! I almost fell over! :
Right then end there I told Changa it was time to fix up the front bathroom. The front bathroom is one of the 2 original bathrooms in our house, which was built in 1949. A few yeas ago, we did some repair to a water-damaged wall and tried to replace the vinyl floor. After painting, the room was better, but the floor deteriorated quickly, the tiolet leaked, and the room was almost as bad as before. Now that I had this sudden finacial windfall, I set about to do it rigt this time. Ray had fixed the leaky toilet, so it would be kept. Changa and I removed it and tore up the old floor. It was a good thing we decided to do the work now, because the underfloor was rotted away, right to the support beams! I tore out the old wood, cut it all back to good, dry wood, and replaced the beams and the floor with new plywood. We stripped all the old plywood offm trimming around the sink cabinet, and replaced the plywood, sealing it with oil-based primer. When we had our kitchen-utility room floor replaced, I watched the installers carefully. The trick to installing sheet vinyl floor on a wood floor is to use a thin, flexible base to level the floor. The best material for the job is water-resistant luan plywood. It's less the 1/8" thick, and conforms to all the uneven surfaces of the sub-floor. I then cut a single piece of vinyl floor (in a white tile pattern, with black diamond inserts) and glued it to the luan. Now we have a good, dry, solid floor in the front bathroom. We prepared the wall for priming and painting, and the project should be done by this weekend. (or at least far enough along for the room to be usable).
So, once again, the front "throne room" of the Prancing Skiltaire will be fit for a King (or Queen)!
5th February 2005
Better late then never... :
Sunday, January 30th was the 32nd annual Annie Awards ceremony at the Alex theater in Glendale. These are the Oscars (TM) of the animation industry, awarded by the International Animation Society, ASIA Hollywood, each year. Way back in my college days I was a student member of ASIFA, and I helped out with the first few Annie Award banquets. June Foray/Donovan (the voice behind many of the most famous cartoon characters, including Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Natasha Fatale as well as being one of the original cast of Stan Freeberg's troop) was Madam President, and we worked together on the Cell-A-Bration, an animation art sale and variety show fund-raiser for animation student scholarships. I remember back then that June and I were some of the first in ASIFA to suggest that the Annie award be open to other artists in the field besides animators; designers, background & storyboard artists, voice actors, etc.; and that international creators also be eligible. Back then, the Annies were all but unknown to anyone but the animation industry.
When my mate Rodney arranged for me to attend the Annies 2 years ago (thanks to the generosity of Fred Patten, the SF/Anime-Manga critic/historian/author) I was amazed at how high profile the event had become. The entire entertainment industry had finally recognized AISFA's efforts, and the Annies were being taken seriously. Hayao Miazaki, the famous animator/director of some of the best-loved Japanese animated features of all time, was nominated for several awards, and his masterpiece "Spirited Away" won for best picture. I was also amazed that I was recognized as a celebrity, too! Many of the ASIFA members greeted me and thanked me for my involvement in the Cartoon/Fantasy Organization's efforts to bring Japanese animation to the US. I have been attending the awards every year since.
This year at the Annies, Brad Bird and Pixar/Disney's "The Incredibles" received the most nominations, AND the most awards. My benefactor, Fred Patten could not attend, due to his recovering from a recent illness, (Get well soon, Fred!), but I was assured a great seat in the ASIFA board members section, as always. Tom Kenny, the voice of Sponge Bob Square Pants was the MC, and he kept the crowd in stitches with his quick wit, including a few comments about the recent flack from the NeoCon "Focus on the Family" group condemning the "gayness" of Sponge Bob! He even kissed his co-star Patrick Star(fish), Bill FagerBakke and dropped his pants when Bill came on stage to present and award. Some of the other winners were "The Lion King 1 1/2" for best home entertainment feature, Patrick Mate' for best character design in a television show, "Father of the Pride", and one of the Winsor McCay Lifetime Achievement awards went to Virginia Davis, the original child actress who played in "The Alice Comedies", Disney's first silent films. Before the ceremony at the reception and afterward at the dinner, Rodney and I rubbed elbows with the elite in the industry, and even posed for a picture with multi-Annie winner, Brad Bird!
If you love animation like my mates and I do, you should check out ASIFA on the web at www.asifa-hollywood.org, and find out all about the Annie Awards at www.annieawards.org.
27th January 2005
Are you ready to Progressive Rock?!
My mate (of 25 years), Vinson Mink, took me to CalProg concert night at Steamers Cafe ( : http://www.steamerscafe.com/
), the live jazz venue in Fullerton last night. The owner of Steamers, Terence Love, is as big a fan of ProgRock as he is of Jazz, so they now have a ProgRock night once a month at his establishment. Performing were Nema & Merge, a fusion jazz/prog rock/world music group that often plays at Downtown Disney. Nema leds the trio, playing on his Chapman Stick (http://stick.com/
), a combination electric bass/guitar that you play by tapping the strings. It also makes a great midi controller, which allows the musician to almost be a one-man-band. Their set included some contemporary jazz and world music, all with a middle Eastern flavor.
The other group performing was Eric Norlander and Friends (http://www.thetank.com/
), Eric somehow managing to get his 7'X6' rack of vintage Moog synth & accessories, alonw with 4 keyboards, on the tiny stage with all the other performers. It was a miracle they didn't collide with each other while playing, but the sound was fine! They played a variety of progressive numbers, including the theme from Space 1999, and Led Zeppelin's "Cashmere" (complete with electric chello). Except for a overblown mid-bass boom, likely causd by the room and poorly set parametric EQ, the show was fantastic! (even the food was good)
Vinson does volunteer roady work for the CalProg organization, and he suggested the artists for this concert. My minky knows his progressive! Check out CalProg at http://www.calprog.com/
if you like progressive rock, or are just curious.
And check out Steamers if you like live jazz!
30th March 2004
Things are happening, all at once, it seems... :
The Prancing Skiltaire property (our house) is now worth more then a half-million dollars! ($ 515,000.00 on a recent appraisal). I hope to re-finance and finally get out of debt. A house is the one investment that everyone should have. If you can't handle it alone, get some room mates. Four of us rented the house in 1983. In 1986, I was able to buy it with some inheritance money for the down payment, for $ 174,000.00. Today I share the place with my mates (Vinson, Aronel & Changa), and my friends (Raymond, Wolfwings and Sherwood).
Now available at better comic stores, Shanda Fantasy Art's "Four Footed Furries" anthology. It has Barnard Doove's Chakats, drawn by Kacey Maltzman, and three First Light Pride stories, written by me and Changa (and our 'pride' on TLK-Muck). The last story, "The Elephants at the Waterhole" is brand new, illustrated by S. Pleger. I hope she can draw some more stories, If I ever get time to write them!
Kitties like fish, and I like Kitties!
I have decided to try and celebrate my anniversaries with each of my mates, starting this year. Aronel and I met in March, 2000. He loves seafood, so I took him to dinner at Red Lobster. The food was great, as was the service. Before desert, I gave him a card and a dozen roses. He was a bit embarrassed, and very cute! The waiters seemed to notice and we got extra good service the rest of the night, with many "is everything alright, gentlemen?" and "Have a good evening, gentleman!" from most of the staff. It was great! Hard to believe this happened in Orange County.
Next year will be special for us, because it will be the 25th, 10th and 5th anniversary for each of my mates. I am a very lucky marten...
7th March 2004
An interesting weekend... :
Saturday, after my kitty-mate finished reading "On a Pale Horse" to me (a great book, I recommend it!), Changa, the resident IT Lion and I went to the LA Computer Fair in Pomona. It's a great show, which has a lot of dealers, and good fair-type food. They even have free seminars on computers and the IT business. They have been improving the facilities, too (even the restrooms). It's a class act!
We bought additional memory for my old (company owned) Dell Latitude CPI, and some other parts for the computer we are building for Jazmyn Concolor. When we got home, we put it together, and it works! We're getting pretty good at the at the Stone-Soup Computer Company. The rest of the night was quite pleasant, too (rrrrowl!.
Sunday, after a late breakfast and some more software installation, we decided to go on a field trip to try out the Southern California public transportation system. You heard me right, there IS such a thing. Changa's new job is in the jewelery district of downtown LA. He's the IT technician for one of the established jewelery wholesalers. Of course, it's quite a commute from behind the Orange Curtain to downtown; and after you finally get there, you have to park. That becomes quite a financial burden, particularly with the gas prices well over $ 2.00/gallon! It seems that many of his co-workers use the Metro, so we decided to give it a try.
We drove to the Willow Blue-Line station, where there is a multi-level park & ride, located in a new shopping mall. We bought day passes ($3.00) and took the light-rail train to the last station, at 7th & Figueroa. It was a short walk to his building from there, and we explored the area.
Though we were clueless of the date, it happens that today was the LA Marathon! We were walking around the finish line, where runners (and walkers) were still trickling in, as the media were taking down their equipment from earlier broadcasts. The runners were a very mixed group, with obvious athletic types as well as many "regular" folk. Family and friends were all around, cheering them on, along with street vendors selling food and trinkets. This race caters to just about every type and income bracket. It was a great example of equality... the rich and the not-so-rich, all tired and sore, but obviously proud at meeting the challenge.
The trip on the train was comfortable, very smooth and quiet,and pretty much uneventful. On the way to LA, a college student with a guitar boarded and serenaded us in Spanish, rather competently. On the way back, a rather loud young lady complained on her cell phone about someone threatening her boyfriend... over and over again. Oh well, it is Public transportation...
We also paid a short visit to the LA Public Library. I had not been there for over 20 years, and Changa had never been. It really impressed us! The building itself, and the interior design are worth a visit alone! Of course, Changa and I are Library fans from way back; though the Internet has filled in the information gap quite well; I believe we will be visiting the library more in the future.
We both felt a little strange riding the train in So Cal, but perhaps it's about time there is an alternative way of getting form here to there without having to drive a car. In Changa's case, he'll save as much as a half-hour of drive time each way, AND over $100.00 a month in gas and parking! Why not try the Metro out for yourself. You may be surprised!
5th December 2003
Oklahoma is OK!
To continue with the con reports... :
This was the first year of the new Southwest Furry convention, Oklacon. They called this first event "Festival of the Feral" (FERAL didn't like this much...). It happened on the Halloween weekend this year at the beautiful Roman Nose State Park. This places was originally the winter hunting grounds of Chief Roman Nose's tribe, and it was easy to see why. Native Americans have good taste in property, when they aren't being forced to relocate by The Great White Father.
The park is a resort, with 2 small lakes, 3 natural springs, a golf course, and some nice hiking trails. There were two different types of accommodations; the "A-frame" cabins (sleeping up to 15 in bunks, no 2 floors... with no other "luxuries") and cabins, which could sleep about 8 and had just about everything (full kitchens, phone, full bathroom, satellite TV, etc.). We found out about the con form one of the staff, Dakota Wolf, who is a friend of Dennis (the FENEC secretary). Dakota was interested in the satellite internet terminal my company provides for Internet connections in remote locations. When the equipment is not scheduled, I can set it up for "testing" anywhere I want.
PLUG: if anyone needs this type of service, check out locationconnect.com. We do charge for this service, unless it's one of my "tests".
Wonder of wonders! We all managed to get time off from work, so I was able to go with my mates Vinson, Aronel & Changa. We drove out in my Windstar, past all the devastation from the terrible California fires (some of which were not yet under control) Earlier that week I was stationed at the Grand Prix Fire camp at Glen Helen Park (where RenFaire is), babysitting the OASIS, the State Office of Emergency Services satellite terminal. A nice unit, but 20 year old technology. (It dosen't fit in my van like the Tachyon unit does...)
The convention had 65 furs attending, with Nexus (of FurNation), Bucky Boy (the artist), and "Sub-level 3" the (furry)techno band as guests of honor. There was not much programming, but it was fun! There were 6 dealers-artists, a pancake breakfast (slightly over-booked), and even a miniature golf tourney (Vinson won, as usual). The concert by Sub-level 3 was great! They sold a lot of there new CD, "Music for Dogs".
In addition to the 65 2-legged furs attending, there were around 1 dozen dogs, Great Danes, Malamutes, German Shepperds, Siberian Huskies and even a Pug. It seems a lot of the Southwest and Southern furs have 4-legged companions. A variation on Furry "culture" I was not aware of :)
Besides hanging around the main cabin (they even fed us some great food, cooked by the con staff, and we all watched a down-loaded copy of CSI-Fur and Loathing in Las Vegas... crazy!) my mates and I managed to get some hiking in, and we found 2 of the 3 natural springs (Big Spring put out over 100 gallons a minute!), and some of the ruins of the original cabins and service buildings that were build by the WPA in the 1930's.
It was small, but a lot of fun! They had an auction of various furry and other stuff, raising over $1,000.00 for the 2004 event, which they said would be at Roman Nose Resort again. The Tachyon satellite terminal worked perfectly, allowing them to use their on-line membership and payment systems (good thing we showed up!)
All of us had a great time, and as a bonus, we found stores that carried caffeine-free Dr Pepper. (not Diet, just caffeine-free). I LOVE DP, but can't have caffeine since my congestive heart failure... We got 8 24 packs. Hope I can make it last:)
It was great to meet a few old friends and make a bunch more!
Furries are cool!
Chirp! (just wish I wasn't feeling so ill... flu bug :( )
1st December 2003
On the Convention Trail...
After a few years of only attending a few Furry cons, I have decided that I am missing too much and should get back on the road. My brush last year with severe illness has altered my opinions of what is important... I believe I am happiest traveling and exploring, with my friends and mates whenever possible. I have decided to invest in a time-share type plan which will allow us to travel all over the world, and always have a nice place to stay. A home away from home. One of my favorite fantasies is to have multiple homes around the world. Several bases of operations to explore from. Changa and I stayed in our Las Vegas apartment during Comdex. It wasn't really a vacation, since we were providing network services for the big press events (Digital Focus-Mobile Focus & Show Stoppers), as we have the last 3 years. The very long hours were made bearable by having someplace really nice to come back to. Our own "home", instead of a cheap hotel room. We checked out the new location, right on The Strip, before we left. It was even nicer then our place near the Hilton. We'll be heading back for CES this January, and hopefully Aronel and Vinson, my other mates, can join us for the weekend. Could be fun! :
Back In Time:
I decided to attend Conifur North West this year, having made arrangements to share a room with my Scotts Wolf friend, Lochiel. I knew that Trapa, my favorite Canadian-African Civet have a dealer's table there. He is trying out his new Furry enterprise, "Fuzzy Impressions" (fuzzyimpressions.com), a service for producing art prints and posters on-site for various artists. His new HP printer is amazing, able to print poster-size color prints on all types of media, including canvas! The convention made the printer a Special Guest (it had a badge and everything). After having been involved with the original ConFurence cons for 11 years, it was a pleasure attend such an event as part of Trapa's "posse" instead of being the leader. I don't do well at cons by myself, and the camaraderie made it all well worth the trip. The venue was the Sheraton Tacoma hotel and convention center. It was a perfect location, with a very nice general meeting area in the convention center lobby. Furry cons always seem to work better when there is a large gathering area for just "hanging out". We used to call that place the "Furum" at CF, and we will have such a place at the conventions we will be having in the future. The area around the hotel has improved greatly in the last few years (I'm told by the locals), and attendance was larger then expected. They will be using the same venue in 2004, and If I can get the time off from work, I'll be there!
Opps... this got a bit long. I'll continue the late con reports in another post.
4th July 2003
Trying this again...
I tried to update my journal after the Fur-B-Q, but it didn't work. This post is an experiment to see if it does work... :
Today is the 4th of July party at Rick & Tess'. I will be meeting with the group that is planning "Fennec", the SoCalFurs weekend camp-out/con. I expect it will be something like "Feral!", the Canadian furry camp-out. I hope to help with some events programming, and I will be supplying the satellite internet terminal, so we can have an internet tent, and a webcam.
The first event I tested my "furrycam" at was the Fur-B-Q, on the 21st of June. The park rangers had turned off the power outlets near our site, so I have to get a generator to power my equipment. Got it working around 3pm. Many furs acted weird for the camera (no surprise), and a few tuned-in (according to the log). My lion mate, Changa, is making a camera server form a machine donated by Sherwood (the cute-style furry artist, one of our room mates), so I will able to continue testing the camera, as long as I have the satellite terminal working. I had been testing it at my shop, with the camera pointed out the window at Trask Ave. One fur at the picnic said he really enjoyed watching the traffic go by! He said it was so interesting, he had it on his desktop at work... Hummm... have I discovered an untapped entertainment service? I wonder what folks would pay to watch traffic on a street? I should get the furrycam up again this weekend, for more testing (furrystuff.com/furrycam). I will have to take it down when I go to NY, though, but I may broadcast from their for a short time, from the site of the "Gathering of the Vibes" concert , in Mariaville. I won't be broadcasting the concert itself, but they might be.
I should head over to the Cafe' Terrestrian for the party...
18th May 2003
Matrix, Revisited (no spoilers)
The gang at the Prancing Skiltaire watched Matrix, on DVD friday night, so we would be refreshed and ready to be 'reloaded'. Saw the new film Saturday, and we liked it. About the only problem I had with the second one was that some scenes (several) were just too long. Good ideas, necessary to the plot, but just too many minutes burned-up of the same thing... In my opinion, the film could have been 15 minutes shorter, without loosing any of the content. We were impressed that the writers were faithful to their own mythos, even if it was frustrating to the characters (and the viewers). Kudos on the writing and directing. Of course the effects were great! The 3rd film of the trilogy will be released around November of this year. Clever, they get a film in BOTH of the major release periods! One suggestion: stay through the (long) credits, there is a preview trailer at the end... :
I was surfing around looking for articles on 'Terminal', the Speilberg film in production that my company is providing location communications for. It seems there is a lot of positive buzz about it, even predictions about Oscars. Hmmmm...
Been helping Changa, my lion mate, with a project to make a controller for arcade-style video games. This controller will have the horizontal, weighted 'spinner' knob, like on 'Tempest'. He's using parts from a dead hard-drive, and it looks like it will work. Hopefully we will find what we need to complete the project tomorrow.
That's it for now... Chirp!
14th May 2003
Thanks Evil_Dwagon and Crassus for the well-wishes. I'm still waiting on my XM-PCR. They told my mates that it was 'backordered'... which they didn't bother to mention when the order was placed... Gee, what use was the overnight shipping? :
Tomorrow Wolfwings and I head up to Palmdale to do a few jobs. I will meet the AV Radionet installer on the first job site, where he will install a wireless (local microwave) broadband internet connection. This type of connection sems to get good reviews on-line, so if you are having trouble getting DSL or Cable-Modem in your area, give the local wireless ISP/s a try. You can find them easily at dslreports.com.
We will also be installing a voice mail system for the Panasonic phone system our client, Terminal Productions, is renting from us during their on-location project. After that, we're off to Rosamond to install a Panasonic wireless phone/voice-mail system. This is a great system for a small business. Check it out if you are in the market for such a thing. (KX-TG4000B)
Busy day, lot of travel. Wish I could visit the Exotic Feline Breeding Compound/Feline Conservation Center, but we won't have the time:(
12th May 2003
Don't feel a day over 30!
Today is my birthday. I'm 51 years young, and after my ordeal last year and my thankfully brief hospital visit, I'm feeling great! :
Most of my Furry family arranged a great meal at Olive Garden, and I got some cool presents. An XM-PCR radio, so I can listen to XM radio on my computers (it'll be arriving tomorrow... had to be ordered on-line), from Changa and Aronel; an annual pass to The Aquarium of the Pacific, from Rod; and the Girls of James Bond (Hot!), from Sherwood. Also a bunch of German chocolate... yum!
I think it's time for cake, so I'll end this. Some people hate birthdays, but I like them. With my friends around, I'm not afraid of getting older.