Tag Archives: Cat.

An Unhelpful Guide to the 2017 Oscars

I know, I know: We’re told we can’t trust the media and we should only trust the White House even as scientific facts are erased from all official documents.  We’re being told that some of the poorest but hardest working people of our Nation are evil and are trying to undermine American Life.  We’re being told that the left-wing is a bunch of violent terrorists who must be stopped to regain order in the universe.

It’s real easy to feel like we’re only being controlled by the whims of mad billionaires, but don’t worry there’s a silver lining: THE OSCARS!  With this singular event, everything will fix itself and Donald Trump will take off a mask and reveal that he’s Bernie Sanders!  He wanted a Best Costuming Oscar, and he won it!  WAY TO GO, BERNIE!

As always, so we can prepare for the new golden age as dictated by Hollywood Elite, I present to you a brief summary of the only three Oscar categories that matter: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Editing.  Like I said, the Oscars will make everything better.

La La Land (Nominated for all three! There’s to the ones that dream!)

Mia and Sebastian are two attractive people who love to dance!  Things turn out to be not all they seem, though, as late one night when Mia goes to Seastian’s club with her anonymous husband and comes to a terrifying realization: THIS IS NOT HER LIFE.  What follows is a musical journey through a war between two universes: The City of Stars and the Days of Sun- as well as a quick trip through a pocket universe of flying telescopes.  In the end, Mia and Sebastian have to decide which universe to save and which to let crumble into the sea of the cosmos.

Arrival (Nominated for all three! I guess this movies truly “Arrived”!)

When Alien Pod lands on Earth, everyone panics.  “Oh No, This is going to be like Alien Movies and the Aliens are going to attack us and eat our skin because they are Aliens and they are different and they are Scary!” Says the Military headed by the Human Scowl Jeremy Renner.  But then Earth’s savior comes in the form of Language Woman!  Language Woman- played with aplomb by Amy Adams- draws pictures and makes language with the aliens. Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker frown at each other from across the Military Table “I don’t know, I think we should shoot guns at it” says Renner. “Well I think we should shoot bombs at it” says Whitaker.  “No! I have the answer!”, Amy Adams breaks through a wall waving her Language around, “We should shoot words at it!”.  Everyone claps, including the Aliens who have four hands to clap with.  Thank you Amy Adams for telling us what to shoot.  Don’t worry, the aliens still rip a giant space hole in the sky and there’s still a massive CGI battle against alien invaders.  I mean, otherwise this wouldn’t be a Science Fiction movie right?

Moonlight (Nominated for all three!  I guess they should have called this movie “The Professional Circuit”!)

Taking place over three different time periods, Moonlight follows Chiron, a black man growing up on the mean streets of Miami.  Chiron grows up being bullied because of his reserved nature and small stature and he only has one friend: Kevin.  Chiron’ Mother gives him little help as he navigates life- she is addicted to crack- and he gets what guidance he can from local drug dealer Juan.  Things take an unexpected turn, however, when it turns out that Kevin is a vampire!  Kevin turns Chiron into a vampire too, and the two of them become Private investigators.  This doesn’t sit well with Juan, who wanted Chiron to grow up and take over the Drug Business.  So Juan sends out his vampire thugs to hunt down Chiron and Kevin and turn them to dust, then collect this dust and put it into gel tablets which Juan can then sell as a party drug (SPOILER ALERT, the drug is called “Moonlight”). Flash forward ten years, Kevin and Chiron have moved to the streets of Los Angeles where the two of them have a run down detective agency called “City Angels”.  Unfortunately things take another bad turn when the Agency’s owner, Maudie Hayes (played by a young Cybill Shepherd) wants to sell the agency.  Instead she joins the Vampire Detectives on the streets and soon Chiron starts to develop romantic feelings for her.  That’s when Juan catches up to the two with a terrifying secret: He’s also a vampire now! A deadly game of cat and mouse follows, and by the end only two people will walk out of that detective agency alive (And the detective agency was renamed “Blue Moon”.  Also, Juan’s still selling Moonlight and Maddie’s younger sister is addicted to it and may be becoming a vampire herself because of it).

Hacksaw Ridge (Nominated for all three! That may just be a ridge too far!)

Desmond T. Doss is a World War II Army Medic in the battle of Okinawa.  He becomes the first person to win the Medal of Honor without firing a single shot, as he thinks that enough people are trying to destroy the world and he wanted to put it back together.  Along the way he bonds with his army corporals and sergeants and teaches them important lessons on nonviolence.  He also finds an attractive army nurse who he falls in love with and marries. The movie is narrated by an older Desmond Doss, and ends with the Elder Doss saying “In the end, I suppose I learnt everything I needed to on Hacksaw Ridge. And I can still see that sunset in my dreams”.

Hell or High Water (Nominated for Best Editing and Best Picture.  They almost made it to all three, but then came Hell or High- well you get it)

Cowboys!  In 1888 the chilly Colorado River was rising, threatening to drown the low-down cattle town of Diablo.  A shady developer rolls into town and tells the folks “Ya know, yer town ain’t gonna see the light fer much longer.  I could build a levee round here, but it’ll cost ya'”.  The Developer- Chris Pine in a career-defining performance as Toby Howard- makes more and more insidious demands on the townsfolk and bleeds them of all their money.  That’s when Diablo decides to take justice into their own hands, and hire a Cowboy! Morally-questionable antihero Cowboy Tanner Howard is hired to ride into town and have a shootout with Toby Howard who (surprise!) is his brother. “Pow! Pow! Pow!” Go the guns.  “Die! Die! Die!” Go the Cowfolk. “Neigh! Neigh! Neigh!” Go the horses.  In the end, someone will die… come Hell or High Water.

Manchester by the Sea (Nominated for Best Picture and Best Director.  It should have been Manchester by the Supreme Disappointment)

In the sleepy Massachusetts hamlet Manchester-by-the-sea is a lighthouse that the locals have blocked off.  Then, one day a child walks into town and up to the lighthouse.  The child, Young Patrick, knocks on the door and the haggard, forgotten Affleck brother Casey opens the door.  “Hello this isn’t Boston”, says Casey. “I know and I’m also your son” says Young Patrick.  Casey does a spit take, and then walks around in circles saying “Oh my I can’t be a father I’m not the Affleck playing Batman!”.  In the end, Young Patrick learns about Lighthouses and Casey learns that you don’t have to be Oscar-winning writer and director to be an Oscar-winning father (although Ben Affleck is up for the “Best Father” Oscar this year while Casey was snubbed. Poor poor Casey).

Hidden Figures (Only Best Picture?  It’s like this movie wasn’t even trying!)

Taking place from 1991 to 1993 and following an group of publishers, computer scientists, and magicians as they work to create Miru Miru Mega Yokunaru Magic Eye – the very first Magic Eye book to receive widespread popularity.  From there we continue to follow this ragtag team of misfits to their next big milestone in 1993: The release of Magic Eye: A New Way of Looking at the World, the very first Magic Eye book to be published in North America.  Drama happens, some of the computer scientists blame the magicians for forgetting what Magic Eye was really about, and the whole Magic Eye team looks like it will fall apart giving the world no more books of random points that people can lie about seeing a unicorn in.  Then, as if by magic, all conflicts are resolved and the team realizes that the only real magic is the magic of friendship.

Fences (Only Nominated for Best Picture. The other two categories already had plenty of fences)

Based off of the award-winning play by August Wilson, Fences is a tale about race, class, and the barriers between the two.  Since it was first performed at the Eugene O’Neil Theater Center it has, unfortunately, remained chillingly relevant and has caused some controversy because of it.  Most notably (and this is a fault also shared by the film, making it’s nomination for Best Picture surprising) there is only one fence in the entire piece.  It isn’t even there for most of the piece.  Also, adding to this upheaval of title conventions, the characters are not professional fencers (both in terms of people who install fences, but also in terms of not being professional sword fighters).  Had this been changed for the film adaptation, and Fences be about a group of sword fighters traveling around Pittsburgh and building as many fences as they can, Denzel Washington may have also been nominated for Best Director making the 89th Academy Awards Ceremony the first ever to have two black men nominated for Best Director.

Lion (Only Best Picture.  I’d be “Lion”  if I said this was an accomplishment)

One of the big questions surrounding Cartoon Network’s hit animated series Steven Universe is who and what exactly Lion is.  Is Lion pink diamond? Rose Quartz? Was that indeed an early form of Lion that we saw in the episode “Buddy’s Book”?  All of these questions and more are answered in the feature-length film Lion.  Taking place during the time that Steven and the Crystal gems are saving Greg from Blue Diamond and the Human Zoo and Connie and the Crystal Temps are running/ruining the car wash, the film follows the exploits of Lion who uses this time to reflect on his long and storied life.  For the sake of keeping this spoiler free I won’t go on, but let’s just say: Pink Diamond willingly shattered herself as Yellow Diamond had found out that Pink had been funding the Crystal Gem rebellion; Pink trusted Rose to use her healing powers to bring her back once the Diamond Authority thought she was dead, but Rose’s powers could only go so far.  In the end, Rose was able to transfer some of Pink Diamond’s essence into Lion, though to say that Lion is Pink diamond is like saying Steven is Rose Quartz. It may take a few months for the events of this feature length film to be proved canonical, but this is as true as the Uncle Grandpa crossover episode.

100 Things

This makes Post 100 for the renewed Henceblog.  Way to go.  As a way to celebrate, to fulfill one of the requests for 100 lists, and for our first list of the new year I give you a list of 100 things. Here we go:

  1. Porcupines
  2. Pineapples
  3. Quetzalcoatl
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Film Noir
  6. Nor’easter
  7. Ungulates
  8. Ocelots
  9. Origami
  10. Epsom Salts
  11. Gargoyles
  12. Calcium
  13. Iodine
  14. Nickle
  15. Dime
  16. Holograms
  17. Holographs
  18. Orpheus
  19. Pie Chart
  20. Bats
  21. Rhubarb
  22. Sandbox
  23. Moscato
  24. Goats
  25. Moats
  26. Trouts
  27. Loam
  28. Nimbus
  29. Quimby
  30. Hellhound
  31. Faraday cage
  32. Volcano
  33. Vacuum
  34. Vole
  35. Voracity
  36. Vanadium
  37. Vishnu
  38. Vuvuzela
  39. Venture capitalism
  40. Vowel
  41. Valium
  42. Vibe
  43. Verb
  44. Vascular dystrophy
  45. Mind
  46. Herb
  47. Xylem
  48. Phloem
  49. Typhus
  50. Rome
  51. Nome
  52. Gnome
  53. Roam
  54. Woebegotten
  55. Horse-and-buggy
  56. Exsanguination
  57. Unicycle
  58. Divination
  59. Horology
  60. Ailurophobia
  61. Wyvern
  62. Monomania
  63. Dementia
  64. Rodentia
  65. Rhodesian Ridgeback
  66. Alpha-numerals
  67. Beta particles
  68. Sinusoids
  69. Hibiscus
  70. Portal
  71. Yoyos
  72. Mothers
  73. Eateries
  74. Fathers
  75. Paperbacks
  76. Flapjacks
  77. Olive branches
  78. White House Hacks
  79. Quails
  80. Quarrels
  81. Quarries
  82. Quilts
  83. Blast doors
  84. Bunnies
  85. Borax
  86. Belts
  87. Sticks
  88. Stones
  89. Broken Bones
  90. Welts
  91. Wends
  92. Welsh Corgis
  93. Wordsworth
  94. Squirrel Monkeys
  95. Hamsters
  96. Cenobites
  97. Jormungandr
  98. Yak
  99. Opal
  100. Gak

I Don’t Talk About Music: The Musical

Let’s have a conversation!

Okay!

YOU.

No, YOU.

Okay… me.

For those of you who are following the journey of The Tape, the above was Andrew’s summation of what this “conversation” has been.  For those who have followed my analyses of the past entries, you know that for the most part I’ve been seeing them as a way of visualizing the internet itself.  Well, that is until “Missing“.  With Missing we started a new conversation, marked both by the overwhelming honesty of it and how deeply personal the film was to Andrew.  This was also marked because the old tape, the one with “I Got the Poops” to “Powerful Magics” on it that was inscribed with wacky magical runes and everything was destroyed.

This new conversation took me by surprise.  I had planned for a lot of thing in between Powerful Magics and Missing, but I hadn’t planned on that.  I hadn’t planned on something personal.  How would I respond?  Clearly a lot of the more wacky ideas I had come up with wouldn’t work, clearly I couldn’t just mirror and refract like I did before.  So then how?  By making something personal.

Before you watch the video below, I must warn you that it’s deeply personal and explicit.  For those of you who wish to watch my films and be interested in my genre explorations and digital experimentation that’s perfect and wonderful, but this is not a video for you.  This is a video for anyone who wants to truly know more about me as a human. You may continue at your own choosing and your own risk.


I Don’t Talk About Music: The Musical from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

I don’t like talking about myself, and the very idea that you’ve just watched half an hour that’s all about me is something that a part of me finds disgusting.  However to respond any other way but personally would be to disregard Missing, and it would be to disregard Andrew.  That was something I didn’t want.  But IDTAM:TM is more than a simple need to reply to a video that one person will see.  This correspondence, though presumably just between Andrew and I, has always been open and these videos are always available for anyone to see.  So why make a video that I find deeply uncomfortable and whose subject matter deeply bothers me if I know it will be seen?  1) I’m not 100% sure this will be seen; and 2) Because I need to say this.  I needed to make this video.  Now that it’s released I’m not going to lie and say that I’m Okay, but I feel like I can start moving forward.

So now, let’s move into looking at what this film is.  And it’s a bit of a mess.  I have hours and hours of footage related to this project on my computer, enough to probably make an entirely different movie about an entirely different subject matter.  Going into the reply I knew that I’d answer Andrew’s plea for “The Truth”, but for me there’s a reason I don’t like telling the whole truth: It’s painful.  It’s painful because the Truth, so much as it exists (and one of the things I’ve been coming to realize is that truth is something very ill-defined), is that as difficult as these past years have been for Andrew they’ve also been difficult for me.  Going back to CSF, graduating, working several minimum-wage jobs, getting shouted at and demeaned by 12 year-olds — things haven’t been going my way.  I don’t know if this is “true” or “false”, or rather I’m not sure how much of this is out of my control and how much of this is my own attitude towards events that have happened.   So life is messy. Life is complicated. Life is sad,  Life is something I haven’t really ever been prepared for.

So naturally I’ve been thinking about ending life.  This was the truth.  This was what I would look at. This would be my Self-Portrait.

So why the mess?  Part of this is the problem presented in the film itself: I’m tasked with replying to a film, so if I throw out everything about the previous entries and the means of communication that we’ve set up then I wouldn’t be replying to it.  But If I were to just copy the structure of Missing then I wouldn’t be staying true and I would lose the point.  It was a damned if I do, Damned if I don’t scenario, and as always when I come the clearing with two paths I decided to take the road never traveled and make my own.  I decided to do both.  After all, this is a Self-Portrait, and one of the things I can tell you about me, the true me, is that I’m a self-contradictory mess.  There are plenty of nods to “Missing” in this piece, from the very opening mirror (I had a better sync up where my face was exactly half of Andrew’s, but I think it came at the wrong part of the song? Maybe the camera ran out of batteries?), to the shot of Andrew walking around alone with headphones in, to the cinematic montage of exploration, to the very idea of having personal log entries scattered throughout.  This was a reply to Missing.  It’s also a companion piece to Powerful Magics.  Look at it this way: If Powerful Magics is the Great and Powerful Oz, then IDTAM:TM is the Man Behind the Curtain.  Powerful Magics was about, among other things, putting on a show and showing off expertise and- perhaps one of the main things- magic.  IDTAM:TM Mirrors a lot of the segmented nature and jumping around that Powerful Magics did, hell it even has a musical breakdown in the middle of it and an experimental deconstruction.  You can even go all the way back to the first pair of videos in this correspondence for references in IDTAM:TM with the reintroduction of Pokemon and Disney films into the discussion.  There are plenty of cosmetic and structural references to the prior pieces all over IDTAM:TM, to the point where it can very well be argued that I did nothing but remix and regurgitate everything that came before.  Gimmicks abound in this piece.

It’s also one of the most outwardly honest and open pieces I’ve made and probably ever will make.  It’s a half-hour straight of a straightforward discussion of my insecurities as a filmmaker and a person and how those insecurities came to be.  It’s a discussion of the idea of friendship and connection and how it has been a topic of pain for me, especially in these past few years.  This film is where we finally confront the 800 pound gorilla that has always been looming around this discussion (at least for me), which is the closing of CSF and how exactly that effected me, in the short and long term.  The Closing of CSF is something I’m still working through, and it’s not because of the loss of the school.  It’s the loss of friendship I experienced as a side-effect of it.  It’s the painful reality that we all have to face sooner or later: People move on; and for me it seems like people move on a lot more often.  The point of this film is also to explore why this betrayal hit me so hard: because I’ve never felt like I belong in this world, even though by all accounts I should.  To tell the story of my isolation, the school closing, it’s reverberations to this day I had to skip over a few decades worth of explanations as to my actions.  But again, this is meant to be a portrait, not a biography.  But in terms of leading to the climax: my thoughts of suicide and finally going on mood stabilizing medication, the story is very linear and paced out rather well.

But this is also a self-portrait, shaped by individual style and how I see the world.  It’s a world of chaos.  A world where dominoes are carefully set up then stomped on and destroyed, falling in ever more complex patterns.  Mine is a world where I am the video game villain, the mastermind who has little motivation for wanting to ruin everything except for “Thing just didn’t work out”.  Mine is a world where reality can be ripped apart, and throughout the piece the moments of data bending, of sync errors, of dead pixels and duplicating images, they all come together in these moments of stylistic flourish.  They’re also all very deliberate.  True, the sync errors were a constant problem I ran into when exporting this project, but it was something that I could and did fix if needed.  But the dissonance between sound and picture and the removal experienced by the blinks to grey are there to communicate the delicate chaos of our world: One error and we blink to grey.  One blip of code and suddenly what you see as life and what you experience (hear) as life are out of sync, and you do what you can to fix it.  Every moment of pixellation and of bending also serve this point: peeling away layers and exposing these images for the conglomeration of RGB that they are.

Finally, we come to the Jellyfish.  This was come of the most beautiful footage I ever shot, and there’s always an otherworldly elegance to the Jellyfish.  Elegance, danger, and mystery all combine in the nature of the jellyfish in their movement, their sting, and their biology.  They are an ancient creature which has survived through millennia lacking the one organ that I feel defines life: The brain.  So do the jellyfish here represent stupidity, mystery, timelessness, beauty, reaction, survival, or danger?  It’s all that and more depending on where the footage is used and how it’s used, and yes this openness is very much planned.So with all this conflicting structure and conflicting ideas it’s no wonder that the final piece is a mess, and that’s okay.  It’s okay because I think in the end it accomplished all I wanted it to, mainly showing what these six years or so have been like for me in between Powerful Magics and IDTAM:TM.  Because these past few years have been messy.  But I’m starting to be okay with that, and putting this together was a big part in getting here.


So that’s that.  Look forward to a bit of a write-up on how exactly I went about crafting a package for this piece, and I promise that will be a bit closer to my usual analysis of form and how to incorporate references to prior packages and pieces in a meaningful way.  I may also do one final write-up on the state of The Journey of the Tape up until this point.

If you’re interested in Andrew’s thoughts on this piece, I will link to it HERE when it goes live.

As a closing remark, though, I can’t help but feel Andrew got his summation of our conversation wrong.  He’s been ignoring context and a lot of space around the pieces.  Here’s how it’s felt to me:

Are You Okay? (I Got the Poops)

Yeah, Sure! (In Fridge)

Well, Good. Things looked a bit bleak there. (Happy Birthday, Murderer!)

Of Course I’m Okay.  Maybe you’re not Okay! (Powerful Magics)

You’re right. I don’t think I am. (Missing)

Well neither am I.  Sorry. (I Don’t Talk About Music: The Musical)

 

100 Cat Names

You won’t believe the number of people who ask me for help in coming up with names for cats, plants, and babies.  It’s insane!  I can at least count one.  So here’s a helpful list of 100 Cat Names, because after all a cat is just a screaming baby with more hair and/or a plant that makes noise.

  1. Mr. Whiskers
  2. Po’boy
  3. Vladmir Putin
  4. Faustus
  5. Iactare
  6. Moom: Purveyor of all he sees
  7. The Mayor of Chicago
  8. The 1893 Chicago World’s Fair
  9. ‘Twas Brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
  10. Dr. Fatbutt
  11. A Common Cheesemonger
  12. He Who Must Not be Named
  13. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
  14. The Undertaker
  15. The Greatest American hero
  16. Swedish Pop Sensation ABBA
  17. New York Mining Disaster 1941
  18. Eurypides
  19. When shall we three meet again? In thunder lightning or in raine?
  20. Jorges von Mewmew, Esq.
  21. Langston Hughes
  22. Langston Mews
  23. Beware this Cat for it brings woe.
  24. The Darkest Cloud Upon the Human Soul
  25. Torgo
  26. Shampu
  27. The Killing Field
  28. 1887 Yellow River Flood
  29. Impia tortorum longos hic turba furores
  30. A Summer’s Day
  31. Sir. Mousebreath Kittenton
  32. Apep
  33. Morgoth
  34. Mewgoth
  35. Winston Churchill
  36. The Great Molasses Flood
  37. The President of Nicaragua
  38. The Stock Market
  39. Let us go then, You and I, while the evening is spread out against the sky
  40. Schrodinger
  41. Mephistopheles
  42. Mars, Bringer of War.
  43. Captain Lasercatch
  44. 010000110110000101110100
  45. I Peed on the Carpet
  46. The 1948 Donora Smog
  47. Prince Dom Pedro
  48. Porkbrain Furbelly
  49. The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter. It isn’t just one of your holiday games.
  50. This Darn Cat
  51. The Participation of the Pugs
  52. Frederico Felineni
  53. Cormac McCarthy
  54. Old Gumbie Cat
  55. Porfurry Petrovich
  56. Baron Clawstrike
  57. Barbados San Domingo
  58. Kokorono
  59. Happy Valley Racecourse Fire
  60. Mewphistopheles
  61. Catcat Cat Catcatcat
  62. Help! I Used to be human but this wizard turned me into a CAT!
  63. The Insurmountable Horror
  64. Pudgy Kraken
  65. Moof: Eater of Mice, Destroyer of Worlds
  66. The Voice of the People
  67. Who
  68. The Challenger Explosion
  69. I(a / / le
  70. The Viscount of Falkland
  71. err_url=https%3
  72. The Cranberries
  73. Go ahead. Fall asleep. One day you will wake and find me, sitting on your bed, staring at you with my great big eyes; eyes that dig deep into your soul.  True, this will appear cute at first. Perhaps even the first two/three times.  But I will continue this every day. Every day for so long as either of us have breath, for you I loathe and you I vow to destroy. You: My savoir and my jailer; You: My pet and my master; You: My Victim and my Torturer.  You shall fall, and as you do I shall gaze upon your twisted form and utter one single mew.
  74. All the Cowboys
  75. Buffering…
  76. Meowscar Dela Hoya
  77. Plutonium Reactor Core
  78. The Sinking of the Lucitania
  79. A rock, A River, A Tree Hosts to species long since departed
  80. Maritime Law
  81. The Arctic Tundra
  82. Furrydor Dostmeowvsky
  83. Vice President “Diamond Joe” Biden
  84. The Gathering Forces of Evil
  85. Lady Scratchface
  86. Spaulding Grey
  87. Norwood Gumshoe
  88. Ragnarok
  89. This is what your dying looks like. You believe in the Sun. You believe
  90. Marquis de Sade
  91. 1931 China Floods
  92. Professor X the Overseer
  93. Monstrosity
  94. Sobhuza II
  95. If Found Please Return to [Address]
  96. Pepi II Neferkare
  97. The Power of Christ
  98. Much madness is divining sense To a discerning eye;
  99. Lord Emperor Fursnout Blinktwice
  100. Mittens

Arsea, or on the creation of Language

I’m currently wading into the world of creating an animated series about talking animals in space and as time goes on I’ll be posting more about it.   For this show I wanted to create an alien language to use for background signage and the like, both as a way to explore more of this universe but also as a way of creating a more lived-in universe for my space- crustaceans to live in.  This fictional language is Arsea, and it looks like this:

Now I know the question on all of your minds: Is there some overly-complicated linguistic history to back up this neat little alphabet? Why yes there is, thanks for asking. It all begins with emojis…


 

The Earthen Letterglyphs

Currently language is in the process of being deconstructed, and we’re starting to use pictures, numbers, and standalone letters to represent ideas and to replace whole words.  My first task was to go through and figure out which of these pictures/letters/numerals would be included as a glyph once we inevitably create a unified logographic language.  I ended up with thirty different glyphs that I would end up working with for this, all listed below:

The Emoticonal Letterglyphs
The Emoticonal Letterglyphs

From there I had to do the best I could going through hundreds of years of letter-shaping, much like our own alphabets did, in the span of a few days.  I did this through taking the glyphs and tracing over them (sometimes with my left hand), and re-tracing them, and simplifying the forms so I use less strokes, etc.  Eventually I ended up with a simplified New Earth Alphabet.  Some individual glyphs (my favorites) are below, the befores and after.

The cat-glyph
The cat-glyph, before
The "Cwa" Sonoglyph
The “Cwa” Sonoglyph, after
The "Pizza" logoglyph.
The “Pizza” logoglyph.
The "Eee" Sonoglyph
The “Eee” Sonoglyph
The "Poop" logoglyph.
The “Poop” logoglyph.
The "Guh" Sonoglyph
The “Guh” Sonoglyph

 

 

 

So I had a Nu-Earth Sonoglyphic language from which I could now expand as the Human Race was about to expand.  At this point in the story-world  I’m creating humanity let loose leagues of Arks carrying with them all sort of animals as well as phonograph machines that will teach these animals language (Fun Fact, these phonograph machines are where the name “Arsea” comes from).  We now enter into a new age of this language, the age of the arks.


 

The Space Arks

The Digitized "Puh" sonoglyph.
The Digitized “Puh” sonoglyph.

The first step was a simple one: As shown above I took all of the sonoglyphs (pictures that equate to a sound, or a fancy way of saying letters)and I “digitzed” them by tracing over all lines with tiny black pixel-like squares.  Once everything was digitized, I could set out creating certain words, phrases, etc, which I would then use for the next step of this alphanumeric rabbit hole.  I ended up with about thirty-five words and phrases that I eventually used to created a new round of letters, a few of those are included below to see how the Nu-Earth Sonoglyphs work together.

"Error", an important word in this world.
“Error”, an important word in this world.
"Gagnepain", yes I have a problem.
“Gagnepain”, yes I have a problem.
"Twarogowski", to honor the co-creator of  a lot of this imaginary mythos.
“Twarogowski”, to honor the co-creator of a lot of this imaginary mythos.
"Heisenberg 1", the name of one of the Arks.
“Heisenberg 1”, the name of one of the Arks.
"Quarters", for where creatures would live.
“Quarters”, for where creatures would live.

Well,  as luck/fate/chaos would have it the Human race destroyed themselves and all that was left of them were these giant floating space arks.  These arks floated around for thousands of years in space as new stars and planets were born (time also got a bit wibbly-wobbly here, this is all backstory for the animated universe).  Eventually these Arks crashed on to planets and let loose all of the creatures held inside, and when these creatures gained self-awareness they would see these giant ships and the wreckage from them and begin to craft their new language from these ruins.

So my next step was to mimic thousands of years of wear-and-tear and damage from entrance to the atmosphere and crashing onto planets.  This was done with the aide of data-bending and massive photoshop manipulation.  Unfortunately a lot of the documents I had from this step seem to have disappeared, but I do have what came next: breaking up all of these wrecked and pixellated images and beginning this whole process of of abstraction to logoglyphs to abstraction to sonoglyphs again.


 

Fonos: The Hieroglyphs of the Old Systems

So we’re back at step 1: Creating a hieroglyphic language to be then transposed into a sonoglyphic language.  I used the broken up chunks of the old Ark glitches to create new symbols.  Some of these symbols were near direct translations from the Ark to the Glyph, others used ideas from the Arks but rotated or combined them to create a new glyph, and still yet some glyphs are based around other Fonos glyphs.  I ended up with about 100 of these heiroglyphs.

All 100 or so of the Fonos Logoglyphs.
All 100 or so of the Fonos Logoglyphs.

Aside from directly translating these fractured bits of broken imaginary broken screens and spaceships, I also wanted to try and simplify these glyphs a bit, or at least make them more organic feeling.  So to get each of the cards above I again went through and traced and re-traced each sketch until the glyphs were broken down enough.  Then I brought them back into the computer, which that process in itself then added new wrinkles to each drawing (often times the filters I used would fill in circles with smaller circles, or they’d cause smaller lines that were just wrinkles in the paper to appear).  So to get the digital files that I’d then be working on, which I’ve included some of my favorites below, I would pick and choose which aspects of the new files I liked and which aspects needed to go and finished off with all of these:

The Fonos logoglyph for "Fire".
The Fonos logoglyph for “Fire”.

 

The Fonos Glyph for "Living".
The Fonos Glyph for “Living”.

 

The Fonos Logoglyph for "Sense"
The Fonos Logoglyph for “Sense”.

 

The Fonos Logoglyph for "Government".
The Fonos Logoglyph for “Government”.

 

The Fonos Logoglyph for "Reason"
The Fonos Logoglyph for “Reason”.

 

The Fonos Logoglyph for "Interest"
The Fonos Logoglyph for “Interest”.

 

The Fonos Logoglyph for "Beauty"
The Fonos Logoglyph for “Beauty”.

 

THe Fonos Logoglyph for "Ground"
The Fonos Logoglyph for “Ground”.

 

The Fonos Logoglyph for "Science".
The Fonos Logoglyph for “Science”.

 

The Fonos Logoglyph for "Feast"
The Fonos Logoglyph for “Feast”.

 


 

The Final Frontier

Okay, we’re near the end.  Once I had all 100 or so glyphs finished and digitally uploaded I split them all apart into different categories based on what their main features were.  From there I combined the glyphs, simplified them, anything to see what sorts of forms or recurring shapes could be seen among all of them.  I then took 44 of these combined glyphs (though some were direct translations) to match up with the 44 phonetic sounds.  These 44 starters can be seen below:

The Antiquity version of Arsean script.
The Antiquity version of Arsean script.

As you can see, though my goal was simplification, it didn’t really work out.  But that was no matter, because it was time for another round of tracing and re-tracing these pictures in an effort to compress hundreds of years of letter-mutating in the span of only a few weeks.  On top of tracing and re-tracing I also wanted to be sure that (almost) every letter for this new language could be accomplished with only three strokes of a pen/pencil/claw, and so through eventually amongst all of this change I came to the final 44 letters of Arsea, shown in two plates below along with their phonetic alphabet words to let you know the sound they make.

 

The Modern Arsean Letters
The Modern Arsean Letters
Organ
“Or” making that sound, or the beginning sound of “Organ”.

And a few closer looks at some of my favorite letters:

"Wee", making the "Wuh" sound.
“Wee”, making the “Wuh” sound.
"Tho" making the beginning "Th" sound in "The".
“Tho” making the beginning “Th” sound in “The”.
"Oure", making the O-U-R sound in "Tour".
“Oure”, making the O-U-R sound in “Tour”.
"Go", or the "Guh" sound like in "Goat".  Also, it looks like a goat.
“Go”, or the “Guh” sound like in “Goat”. Also, it looks like a goat.
"Io", the letter that makes the sound "I" or "Eye" or "Aye".
“Io”, the letter that makes the sound “I” or “Eye” or “Aye”.
"Eer", making an "Ear" sound.
“Eer”, making an “Ear” sound.
"Choo", making the "Sh" sound like "Charlie".
“Choo”, making the “Sh” sound like “Charlie”.
"Al", making the hard "A" sound which begins "Alpha".
“Al”, making the hard “A” sound which begins “Alpha”.
"Oop", making the middle double-o sound in "book".
“Oop”, making the middle double-o sound in “book”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So that’s it.  Arsea is a direct phonetic cipher, so any word you want to write you just break apart into its sounds and pick out the correct letters for it.  Was this an extremely complicated way to get at something extremely simple? Yes. Did I waste my time?  That, I open up for your discussion.

Top 100 Movies

People  walk up to me in the street and scream in my face “What’s your favorite movie” at least once,  and so to be prepared for this again here is a current list of top 100 movies. Perhaps come next year this list will change, but here’s something hastily scrambled together for now.

Top 10 Science Fiction Films

  1. The Day the Earth Stood Still (Wise, 1951)
  2. Brother From Another Planet (Sayles, 1984)
  3. Stalker (Tarkovsky, 1979)
  4. Alphaville (Godard, 1965)
  5. Gojira (Honda, 1954)
  6. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Spielberg, 1977)
  7. Fiend Without a Face (Crabtree, 1958)
  8. Blade Runner (Scott, 1982)
  9. Brazil (Gilliam, 1985)
  10. City of Lost Children (Jeunet, 1995)

Top 10 Animated Films

  1. My Neighbor Totoro (Miyazaki, 1988)
  2. The Triplets of Belleville (Chomet, 2003)
  3. Spirited Away (Miyazaki, 2001)
  4. Grave of the Fireflies (Takahata, 1988)
  5. Finding Nemo (Stanton, 2003)
  6. The Brave Little Toaster (Rees, 1987)
  7. Dimensions of Dialogue (Svankmajer, 1983)
  8. It’s Such a Beautiful Day (Hertzfeldt, 2012)
  9. Aladdin (Clements, 1992)
  10. Castle in the Sky (Miyazaki, 1986)

Top 10 Films Noir

  1. Sunset Boulevard (Wilder, 1950)
  2. Chinatown (Polanski, 1974)
  3. Shock Corridor (Fuller, 1963)
  4. The Man Who Wasn’t There (Coen, 2001)
  5. Double Indemnity (Wilder, 1944)
  6. Scarlet Street (Lang, 1945)
  7. Kiss Me Deadly (Aldrich, 1955)
  8. The Lady From Shanghai (Welles, 1947)
  9. The Long Goodbye (Altman, 1973)
  10. Red Rock West (Dahl, 1993)

Top 10 Comedies

  1. Fargo (Coen, 1996)
  2. The Lost Skeleton of Cadavera (Blamire, 2001)
  3. Being John Malkovich (Jonze, 1999)
  4. Daisies (Chytilová, 1966)
  5. It’s a Disaster (Berger, 2012)
  6. The Brothers Bloom (Johnson, 2008)
  7. In Bruges (McDonagh, 2008)
  8. Survive Style 5+ (Sekiguchi, 2004)
  9. Raising Arizona (Coen, 1987)
  10. Sherlock Jr. (Keaton, 1924)

Top 10 Dramas

  1. Blood Simple (Coen, 1984)
  2. Melancholia (Von Trier, 2011)
  3. Oldboy (Park, 2003)
  4. 12 Angry Men (Lumet, 1957)
  5. L’Eclisse (Antonioni, 1962)
  6. The Phantom Carriage (Sjöström, 1921)
  7. Casablanca (Curtiz, 1942)
  8. What Time is it There? (Tsai, 2001)
  9. Oasis (Lee, 2002)
  10. Network (Lumet, 1976)

Top 10 Horror Films

  1. Videodrome (Cronenberg, 1983)
  2. Evil Dead II (Raimi, 1987)
  3. Woman in the Dunes (Teshigahara, 1964)
  4. Gremlins (Dante, 1984)
  5. Alien (Scott, 1979)
  6. The Exorcist (Friedkin, 1973)
  7. House (Ôbayashi, 1977)
  8. Shaun of the Dead (Wright, 2004)
  9. The Thing (Carpenter, 1982)
  10. Re-Animator (Gordon, 1985)

Top 10 Action/Adventure Films

  1. The Princess Bride (Reiner, 1987)
  2. Face/Off (Woo, 1997)
  3. Kung Fu Hustle (Chow, 2004)
  4. Once Upon a Time in the West (Leone, 1968)
  5. The Sword of Doom (Okamoto, 1966)
  6. The Fifth Element (Besson, 1997)
  7. Seven Psychopaths (McDonagh, 2012)
  8. Looper (Johnson, 2012)
  9. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Spielberg, 1989)
  10. Reservoir Dogs (Tarantino, 1992)

Top 10 Documentaries

  1. Stop Making Sense (Demme, 1984)
  2. Lost in La Mancha (Fulton/Pepe, 2002)
  3. Harlan County U.S.A (Kopple, 1976)
  4. Exit Through the Gift Shop (Banksy, 2010)
  5. Waltz with Bashir (Folman, 2008)
  6. A Brief History of Time (Morris, 1991)
  7. F for Fake (Welles, 1973)
  8. Best Worst Movie (Stephenson, 2009)
  9. Bowling for Columbine (Moore, 2002)
  10. The Thin Blue Line (Morris, 1988)

Top 10 History/Biography Films

  1. All The President’s Men (Pakula, 1976)
  2. Matewan (Sayles, 1987)
  3. The Informant! (Soderbergh, 2009)
  4. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1928)
  5. The Thin Red Line (Malick, 1998)
  6. Catch Me If You Can (Spielberg, 2002)
  7. Rome, Open City (Rosselini, 1945)
  8. Milk (Van Sant, 2008)
  9. The Scarlet Empress (Sternberg, 1934)
  10. Ashes and Diamonds (Wajda, 1958)

Top 10 Miscellaneous/Uncategorizable/Experimental Films

  1. Eraserhead (Lynch, 1977)
  2. Southland Tales (Kelly, 2006)
  3. 8 1/2 (Fellini, 1963)
  4. Man with a Movie Camera (Vertov, 1929)
  5. Naked Lunch (Cronenberg, 1991)
  6. Dancer in the Dark (Von Trier, 2000)
  7. A Movie (Conner, 1958)
  8. La Jetée (Marker, 1962)
  9. Ballet Mécanique (Léger, 1924)
  10. Wavelength (Snow, 1967)

Honorable Mentions:

 

So there they are.  You may now commence telling me why all of these lists are wrong.  You have one year: GO.

 

 

Cat Eats Noodles

Some may say I have an obsession with noodles. Others may say I have an obsession with cats.  I say it’s only a problem if it gets in my way.  This piece comes from my Sophomore year of College, before all hell broke loose, where the task was to take the feeling of a piece of stock music given to us and assemble together something using stock footage.  Besides the noodles I shot, I was able to mostly communicate everything through editing and color.  Well, maybe. Let’s take a look:

Cat Eats Noodles from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

Yes. Yes I was able to capture the feeling of the stock music.  What strikes me most now looking back at this piece some five years after making it is how well this acts as a trailer for a movie that will never exist, nor should it as we already know exactly how the movie will go thanks to the music choice, editing, typography, color, in short thanks to everything.  We know there is a cat. The cat is suspicious. And somehow the cat stumbles into a world of murder and intrigue involving noodles.  Cat Eats Noodles: Coming to theaters July 2016.

Without the T’s: Escape from Tomorrow

The story of Escape from Tomorrow and how it was made precedes the film itself, to the point where many people may not actually recognize the itle: It’s the film tha was shot over a period of about three years inside of Disneyland without Disney’s permission.  Besides the accomplishment of the feat of actually shooting most of the film inside of the park without anyone noticing, there’s also the impressive fact hat Escape from Tomorrow is currently showing in theaers and Disney isn’t doing much to stop it.  As such, this film has garnered quite a lot of focus among guerrilla and independent filmmakers and my greates fear going into the film was hat the story of the making of this film would be beter than the film itself.

I’m happy to say tha fear is unfounded, and in acuality Escape from Tomorrow presents a surprisingly accurate depiction of a family vacation to Disneyland (and I am including the nightmarish ride through “I’s a Small World After All” and being kidnapped by Epcot scientiss).  The story largely follows a father, Jim, and his family as they spend one last day at Disneyland.  Jim’s son, Elliot, desperately wants to go on the Buzz Lighyear ride (and when the ride closes down the son gets into a fit of depression); Jim follows two young French girls through the park and fantasizes about them; He tries unsuccessfully to connec sexually with his wife, Emily; and he experiences a nightmarish fever dream where the park itself seems to be teeming with devil-beasts and mad scienists.  This last part, though, is mostly relegated to he second act and even then only in small doses.  Instead, the focus is on the absolute irritaion hat any family experiences not only at Disneyland, bu on any family trip.

Not every scene was shot on location in Disneyland, as I’m pretty sure a scene in a nurse’s office and a scene in the basement of Epco were both shot off site.  However much of the film was shot during regular Disney business hours, which makes the cinemaography highly impressive.  Mostly the film seems to rely on natural light (which I’m told Florida has lots of), however when non-natural light is used (and I’m not exactly sure how hey were able to bring lights into Disneyland and not raise suspicion) it’s for ableaus that bring everything back to it’s classical Disney roots as everything seems highly saturaed and staged in the most incredible of ways.  There are also plenty of great instances of framing and plenty of fun visual gags, the most memorable one being making an out-of-focus Mickey Balloon look like some sort of demonic monster looking over Jim’s shoulder.

The effects work is also very well done.  Again: this is a surprisingly accurae film, and so the effects work to bring in a feeling of having a nighmarish fever dream.  So we can see some of the strings and where mating and digital face replacement was used, but it’s not a bad thing.  Even in the case of simple distorion that happens on some sort of ride through Dia de los Muertos (I really have no idea what atracions there are in Disneyland), the sound and the simple visual of a large fisheyed screaming face was wonderfully disconcering.

This isn’ a film for acting or for writing, as the actors (while cerainly not being bad) seem to have been more concerned with geting their performances done in a small number of takes instead of giving an ineresting performance.  Much of this also has to do with the material, as a father having marital problems in Disneyland isn’ necessarily new and the screenwriter certainly didn’t approach it differently. But this is a guerrilla film hat proves not only can these ypes of movies be made, they can be made well, they can look fantasic, and they can actually get wide disribution, even if you’re going up against the legal monsers of Disney.  For these reasons, and the reasons above, my arbirary grade for Escape from Omorrow is B+: It’s certainly worth seeing, a well done experiment, and a film where the most nighmarish thing isn’t a demon-possessed touris or a witch-seducress, but rather the ambiance of being surrounded by people in cartoon suits and children screaming with glee.

A "B+" Grade.

Cat Video

I suppose you all thought it was joke when I said I’d be sharing cat videos. It wasn’t.

Cat Video from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

There was a six month period where I was living with two very confusing cats, named Wembley and Esther.  During this same time I wanted to experiment with generating my own static, as well as further exploring and getting used to After Effects.  So I made this: A short piece that forms a good diad with last year’s “No!”, and although I feel like “No!” explored non-linear narratives a bit better and also had a more defined visual style, I still think the Cat Video works fine and I am interested that it ended up as a type of window into the mind of a sleeping cat (although my original idea was to have the video be about how cat’s only keep us around to eat us, and that the wide array of cat videos on the internet is only a way to keep us sedentary and fatten us. IT’S ALL A CAT PLAN. [and, no, this won’t be the last you hear about the cat-spiracy theory]).

100 Bad Housepets

  1. Fully grown alligators

  2. Giant snapping turtles

  3. Headless crabs

  4. Humans

  5. Monkeys (I get it, they’re cute, but THEY’LL RIP YOUR FACE OFF)

  6. Radioactive marmosets

  7. Sun bears

  8. Crocodile Dundee (See Number Four)

  9. Rabid wolves

  10. Rocks (They’re not alive, it was all a scam)

  11. A pack of starving Hyenas

  12. A piranha with legs

  13. GEESE!

  14. Supermassive caterpillars

  15. Bears (I get it, you can say you have a pet bear, but THEY’LL RIP YOUR FACE OFF)

  16. Les Stroud, the Survivorman (See Number Eight)

  17. Flaming whales

  18. Sneezing whales

  19. Whales in a box

  20. Moist whales

  21. Dusty whales

  22. Whales with chicken pox

  23. Xanthan gum (It’s not an animal, it’s bacteria poop)

  24. Supersonic parakeets

  25. Chainsaw newts

  26. Hamsters on PCP

  27. One Hundred Thousand Moths

  28. Africanized killer bees

  29. A basilisk

  30. Trilobites (They’re usually dead inside the box anyways)

  31. The H1N1 virus

  32. Bruce Willis (See Number Sixteen)

  33. Poisonous warthogs

  34. A creature of living plasma wrought in the nuclear inferno of a dying star.

  35. Monitor lizards (I get it, they’re like scaly cats, but THEY’LL RIP YOUR FACE OFF)

  36. Screaming chickens

  37. Hungry, Hungry Hippos

  38. Octopus with a hammer

  39. Cancerous moles

  40. Geraniums (You take them out of the pot for a walk and suddenly they’re dead)

  41. Gargantuan bull moose

  42. A pig tapped into the Universal Metaconsciousness

  43. The Squid Monster

  44. Pterodons

  45. Moon beetles

  46. Terrified walruses

  47. Pachycephalosaurs

  48. A parrot who only tells lies

  49. The burrowing panther

  50. The disconnected hand (Sure it waves, but does it understand “Hello”?)

  51. The Invasive Pony

  52. The Headless Mule

  53. The Snickering Horse

  54. The Tortured Donkey

  55. Caffeinated sloths

  56. Schrodinger’s Cat

  57. A smart bison

  58. A bird carrying an elephant that ate a crocodile that was in love with an ox who thought it was bee.

  59. The hummingbird paradox

  60. Tamagochi (IT WAS A COMPUTER)

  61. The thunderbird

  62. A glob of living chewing gum

  63. A dog that barks the Future

  64. A smug time traveler (See Number 32)

  65. Unstoppable guinea pigs

  66. Giggling goldfish

  67. PUMAS!

  68. Punk crickets

  69. Hypochondriac spaniels

  70. Furbies (They watch you while you sleep)

  71. Sugary tortoise

  72. Bitter tortoise

  73. Tortoise on a boat

  74. Pickled tortoise

  75. Aggressive tortoise

  76. Tortoise who’s a goat.

  77. Beautiful scorpions

  78. Ghastly ducklings

  79. Forensic gorillas

  80. Taxidermied moose heads (They’ll laugh at you and tell you’ll be dead by dawn)

  81. A steel tiger

  82. A rainbow serpent with control over gender

  83. The living, laughing Melon

  84. Bearded myna

  85. Winged bull

  86. Bugbears

  87. Water bears

  88. Nervous echidnas

  89. Kapow-Chow: The Karate Dog

  90. Cats (They scream at all hours of the night, they can’t understand language, they’ll leave your home smelling awful, their hair is left EVERYWHERE, they’ll tear apart your furniture, they’ll eat your plants, they sleep most of the day, and at any given moment they may decide to bite you. WHY DO WE KEEP CATS AS PETS?).

  91. Utahraptors

  92. Ibong Adarna: The Bird Princess

  93. BADGERS!

  94. Bombastic racoons

  95. Ambivalent yaks

  96. Invisible dachshunds

  97. Self-Replicating ducks

  98. The Timeless Capybara

  99. The Thousand Foot Hedgehog

  100. Nicholas Cage (He’ll rip your FACE. OFF) (See Number 64).