Bionic Wrist

2011 August 28
by Xray

X-rays of my new bionic wrist!

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Canine Paraphimosis

2010 December 1
by Xray

Warning: This is a graphic description of a veterinary medical issue which I am posting in the hope that someone who reads this might learn from the incident and be able to quickly deal with it.

Last night our little dog Stewie, a chihuahua mix, got into a humping rut with the comforter on our bed. By the time he was done he’d come down with a case of Canine Paraphimosis. Somehow the skin on his preputial cavity had folded back during the humping session preventing his penis from retracting and his penis swelled up until it sort of looked like a fifth leg. Never seen anything like it, all purple and glistening. Should have taken a picture but my first instinct was to help him rather than document it. I figured a cold shower might help so I ran downstairs and got an icepack from the freezer. I wrapped the icepack in a wet towel. After icing his penis for a bit the swelling went down and his penis began to retract. It took a bit of digital (ie, using my finger digits) manipulation to actually get the skin on the preputial cavity to unfold to it’s normal position.

He’s all good now.

Spirit of ’75

2010 July 9
by Xray

The Spirit of ’75 was in the house on July 4th, 2010, 1975 that is. The specific Spirit of ’75  in question was a bottle of The Glenrothes 1975. We also had a keg of “Kiltlifter Ale” from the local micro-brew pub, so Scotland was well represented. My friends and I toasted the British Empire, without whom there would be nobody to declare independence from. We toasted each others company and we offered a toast to the kindred spirits who for one reason or another could not join us on a beautiful July evening.

The Spriti of '75

The Spriti of '75

The Spirit of 1975 was in the house on July 4th, 2010. The specific spirit in question was a bottle of The Glenrothes 1975. We also had a keg of “Kiltlifter Ale” from the local micro-brew pub, so Scotland was well represented. My friends and I toasted the British Empire, without whom there would be nobody to declare independence from. We toasted each others company and we offered a toast to the kindred spirits who for one reason or another could not join us on a beautiful July evening.

Xi’an Day 6

2010 May 22
by Xray

May 22nd

Mr. Hu picked us up personally and drove us to the airport. We made our farewells, promising to work together in the future. I cleared security and got on the plane from Xi’an to Beijing. Had an hour layover in Beijing where I reflected on the fact that I was never served steamed rice with any of the Chinese food we’d eaten.  Is the whole steamed rice with Chinese food thing an Americanization? I have to research that. I boarded the 747 for the long haul back to SFO. I finished dinner, popped open the laptop and began writing this account of my trip to Xi’an china from May 16th-22nd 2010.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6

Xi’an Day 5 – Good Good Study, Day Day Up!

2010 May 21
by Xray

Day 4: May 21st

“Good Good Study, Day Day Up!” – Mao Zedong

Took the morning to visit the site of the Terra Cotta Warriors. Really amazing. I was somewhat familiar with them but seeing them in person was awesome. Daniel, Ms. Li Li and I arrived just as the museum was opening for the day. We entered Pit #1 and had the whole place to ourselves for about 45 minutes before the throngs of tourists arrived. Being there by ourselves in the silence with the Terra Cotta Warriors was a zen like experience. I think there’s some kind of ionization in the air from all the iron in the soil of the excavation because it was somehow very calming.

We ate a simple dim-sum lunch and made it back to the Maya Group for an afternoon session with the staff at the Maya Group. Mr. Ree presented me with a calligraphic scroll drawn by his father that says “Imagination makes your dreams come true” in Chinese. Mr. Wong also presented me with a scroll that his father had painted by hand featuring a portrait of Emperor Qin who unified the three kingdoms, built the Great Wall and commissioned the Terra Cotta Warriors. During the first half I talked to them about best practices in production management. After that several of the staff members presented their personal works to me for critique.

The same group from the previous evening went to a very upscale and modern dining establishment for some alfresco riverfront dinner. I was a little sad knowing this was my last dinner on the trip but plans were laid out for my return and I learned some more Chinese drinking games as well as some quotes from Chairman Mao.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6

Xi’an Day 4

2010 May 20
by Xray

May 20th

The suit was ready at the front desk first thing in the morning. We started the day early and made our way to an art school in Xi’An to give a presentation for both the art school students and the students and staff from the Maya Group studio and school (no relation to Autodesk). The folks at SideFX gave me some T-shirts and mouse pads and I used these to great effect to energize the crowd by tossing a few of them out at the start. It was a similar presentation to the one I’d made the other day. During the Q&A, there were only a couple of questions but as soon as I made it clear that those who asked questions got a T-shirt we were flooded.

We moved the afternoon seminar a few blocks away to an auditorium at the Maya Group School. I presented an introduction to crowd animation and some Q&A as well as passing out some Houdini instructional DVDs. After this presentation Mr. Hu arranged some photo ops with the staff and students of The Maya Group and they made me an honorary dean of the Maya School.

Mr. Hu hosted Daniel and I to a 72 course vegetarian dinner in a private dining room the size of a Westside condo. The chef is a Buddhist monk who manages to make tofu really taste like chicken. We had a private serving staff of 10 beautiful women as well as a private en suite bathroom. The restaurant actually had about a dozen such rooms. Between courses 46 and 47 we attended a private concert by musicologists playing 1500 year old instruments uncovered in archeological digs in 1978. The toasts were nonstop and we knocked back 7 bottles of baijiu. I got to meet some really great folks: Mr. Nu, Mr. Ree, Mr. White and Ms. Li Li. Mr. Nu and Mr. White introduced me to a few Chinese drinking games. Mr.Ree decided I would be his Shifu and he my disciple. Once this relationship was consecrated by a secret ceremony Mr. Ree was required by the dictates of ancient Chinese customs to drink three times for every drink I took.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6

Xi’an Day 3

2010 May 19
by Xray

May 19th

Special Agent Shaw picked us up and took us back to the Shaanxi Animation Industry Platform building. I participated in a town hall with the Platform’s key managers to talk about their specific animation questions. They introduced me to an architectural visualization of an animation campus called Town Star that Xi’an is planning to build in the next few years. The Town Star complex has twin forty story towers dedicated to hosting vertically integrated animation and post production facilities. The campus also plans to feature restaurants as well as museums with exhibits on the history of animation. They are also planning a school on the campus to teach the next generation of animators. After showing me their impressive plans they asked me to provide some specific advice on what else to include and I gave them my ideas.

We toured the studios at the Shaanxi Animation Industry Platform building then headed for another family style lazy susan Chinese meal featuring apple-wood smoked Peking duck. Best damn duck I ever ate.

After lunch we headed over to Mr. Oong’s studio located in an old pharmaceutical factory. They brought me into their audio studio where I busted out some raps on the mic. They gave us a Kung-Fu demonstration using their Motion Analysis performance capture system. Next up they demonstrated their Minolta laser scanner and Zprint 3d printer. On our way out we stopped back in the audio suite where they’d added a beat and mixed down the rap I’d recorded earlier.

We travelled to the edge of town to visit Mr. Oong’s museum. Apparently his father was visiting an area about 100 miles from Xi’an where the locals were tearing down ancient houses that ran along a river for building materials, paving stones and latrine liners. He organized a project to move the buildings brick by brick to a new museum location and reconstructed the entire neighborhood. I joined a traditional Chinese folk band on the stage in the courtyard of one of the reconstructed domiciles for a rendition of Public Enemy’s “You’re Gonna ger Yours”. I also advised them on techniques for digitizing antiquites.

It was a long day. We got back to the hotel . This was the last we saw of Special Agent Shaw but I think he was following us the rest of time to secretly ensure our safety and document our whereabouts. Ms. Fu brought the suit to my room for a final fitting and took a few more measurements. I selected a couple of matching ties, sent Ms. Fu home and fell asleep.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6

Xi’an Day 2

2010 May 18
by Xray

May 18th

I ran into Daniel and Tim at the breakfast buffet. Discussed the day’s strategy. Special Agent Shaw picked us up. Thanks to his excellent driving skills aggressively navigating the Xi’an traffic we arrived at the Shaanxi Animation Industry Platform building. After a brief introduction to the Platform Directors Mr. Lu and Ms. Soon I was lead into a press conference where several journalists asked me to compare and contrast the American and Chinese animation industry as well as advise them on how the Central Chinese Government could support the animation industry in China. Following the press conference I addressed a crowd of 350 journalists, government officials, industry professionals and students giving them an introduction to SIGGRAPH and SIGGRAPH Asia as well as a personal history of my work in visual effects and animation.

We took a break for lunch in a private room within the building. There was a contingent of Japanese executives working on animation in China as well as the heads of various animation companies working in the Animation Industry Platform building. The Xi’An Director of Propaganda and the Director of the Xi’an Department of culture joined us as well.
After lunch I gave a one-on-one interview with China Central Television (CCTV) where I talked about my favorite projects and informed the journalist that stereoscopic 3D was the new hotness in animated feature film production in America.

For the afternoon session I presented information about the history of computer graphics in film. I think I lost the audience a bit during this part of the presentation. This was followed by 45 minutes of questions and answers.

We had a family style dinner on a lazy susan in a private room in a Chinese restaurant that had the largest lobsters I’d ever seen sitting in the tanks in the lobby awaiting their sizzling fate. Mr. Lu’s wife, the Shaanxi Provincial Director of Propaganda, joined us and we engaged in the Chinese tradition of toasting each other with shots of Baijiu. Mr. Yan from Yelloon Animation and Mr. Oong who runs another animation studio as well as the museum of Shaanxi Folk Art joined us as well. The restaurant staff wheeled a television into the room and turned on the Central China Evening News. About half way into the broadcast they ran the interview from earlier in the day. Things got a little hazy after that but Special Agent Shaw’s professional driving ensured our safety on the way back to the hotel. Ms. Fu arrived at the hotel, suit in hand, for a first fitting and I let her do her thing over a glass of Macallans before crashing out for the evening.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6

Xi’an Day 1

2010 May 17
by Xray

May 16th/17th

Made the 17 hour trip from SFO to Xi’An in the Shaanxi province of China without incident.

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Crossed the date line. Picked up at the airport by Daniel, Jack, Tim and our Government driver, Special Agent Shaw. Daniel provided the local cell phone and laser pointer I had requested. Made it to the Embark Hotel near central Xi’an in no time and checked into room 1606. Informed that the Chinese Central Government was picking up the tab for anything I signed for, I promptly ordered a bottle of Dom Perignon, a bottle of Macallan’s,  a bowl a caviar, an order of Singapore fried noodles and a bowl of spicy dumplings for dinner.  I asked the front desk to send a tailor to take my suit measurements so I could look my best in a bespoke double breasted suit and fitted monogrammed shirt. The door bell rang and Ms. Fu, the tailor, arrived with some samples.

After selecting some fabric and styles, Ms. Fu took my measurements.  I told her to charge it to the room and bid her a good evening. The next day would be quite busy and I needed to ensure my mental fortitude.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6

Good Locke / Bad Locke

2010 March 3

How do you tell Good Locke from Bad Locke?

Locke’s Beard, of course!