Posts Tagged ‘design’

Ming Oil & Vinegar set

Ming Oil and Vinegar setI don’t need these. We don’t use oil and vinegar sets now, despite having received some as presents. And yet… I want this Oil & Vinegar set because it’s witty and graceful. How often can you say that about something designed to carry condiments?

Vino, Art, and Battleships

We just returned from the winebar Vino, run by Rob’s old chum Chuck Furuya. May I say, that if you are in Honolulu and want to have a nice range of wines and a pleasant evening, go to Vino. We’re hoping to take Rob’s folks back to the main restaurant, Hiroshi’s on Saturday.

We also went to the Honolulu Academy of the Arts today, which is always gratifying. They had an exhibit on Wearing Propaganda which dealt with the textiles surrounding WWII in Japan, Britain and the US. Very interesting stuff which will doubtless turn up in a story at some point. I mean, I don’t think I’d ever thought about how the textile designs of a region would be affected in a time of war.

It was particularly intersting because we had gone to see the USS Arizona Memorial yesterday. We can see the memorial from Rob’s folks’ window, but I knew embarrasingly little about it. I knew it was a memorial to a battleship that went down during the attack on Pearl Harbor, but I didn’t realize that it was the final resting place for over 1000 people. Learning this during a film right before going out to the ship was, um, a little unsettling. My expectations had been based on my previous experience with touring a battleship in Wilmington. To say the least that visiting a battleship which has been decommisioned is nothing like visiting one that sank under fire with her crew. I was not prepared. Nor was I prepared for the film with footage of the ship exploding. Definitely go when you visit Oahu, but just know that you are visiting a graveyard.

I think that catches you up on the past two days.

Dinner and a movie

I had dinner with Jay Lake tonight, which was fun. It’s nice to catch up with someone, like, in real life, instead of just existing online. I love you guys, but it’s nice to see facial expression beyond an emoticon. That and Jay is funny.

Afterwards, I went to see The Curse of the Golden Flower with Rob. My comment upon the films end was, “Wow. I never expected something so lavishly produced to make Phantom Menace look good.”

I have loved every one of Zhang Yimou’s films so far and this one was unredeemably awful in almost every respect. It’s been a long time since I’ve wanted to leave a film. Also, one of the worst choices for end credit designs ever. Bad from beginning to end? Sadly, yes. We were trying to decide when we turned on the film, and I think it might have been when the prince arrived at the palace a full day before Chan, despite the fact that they left ten minutes apart, both riding horses at full gallops. And yet, Chan’s mother arrives a mere two minutes after she does, despite leaving considerably after her and having to battle what appear to be ninjas–several times–on her way to the palace. Yeah. Ninjas in the T’ang dynasty. I’m not worried about spoilers, because really, you should not see this film.

Have I mentioned how much I enjoyed dinner with Jay?

New York, Monkeys, and then Brooklyn to sleep

I made it in to the city with no problems and met up with the fabulous Emily DeCola, designer of the monkeys I’ll be working on. We caught up on the project, had dinner and then went back to the studio to unload the supplies I brought.

Imagine my surprise to discover that my suitcase was full of sawdust. After I took the photo, I pulled the belt sander out and put it in a plastic bag. The FTA pulled it out of the bag to look at it, and didn’t put it back in the bag. The bag is in the suitcase. The sander is in the suitcase. And sawdust is in the suitcase. Everywhere. Lovely.

Fortunately, my interview clothing is in a separate pocket. Oh…did I mention I have a job interview in the morning? I’ll tell you about it when I’m not quite so jetlagged.


Just to keep you up to date, here’s the website for, Serendib, the show I’ll be building monkeys for.

The Ensemble Studio Theatre

First Light Mainstage Production
Power. Sex. Status.
And that’s just the monkeys
David Zellnik’s SERENDIB is a witty comedy about a group of scientists trying to save the world’s most important monkey study. The scientists invite a team of filmmakers to create a documentary of their work and of the monkeys. But the guests prove to be more unwieldy than their hosts can handle. Combining puppet work and traditional theatre, SERENDIB ponders the line between empathy and anthropomorphism.

March 28 – April 22 , 2007
Tickets will be on sale starting February 1

Emily DeCola is designing the monkeys.

A new jaw

The jaw is creating two problems; it’s contributing to the ventilation issue, because it’s solid fiberglass, so is providing a shelf that the actor’s breath bounces against, shooting it up against the eyes. It’s also not fitting one of the actors well. This bear needs to be able to fit multiple people which provides challenges, since masks are usually built to fit one person. Particularly with a mouth that’s activated by the performer’s jaw, the mask needs to fit extremely snugly. The fiberglass, while providing clean movement if well-fitted, is too big for one of the actors.

So. To start with, I created a copy of the jaw in reticulated foam. I use a brand called drifast which is designed to wick moisture away in outdoor furniture. Hopefully, this will help with the venting issues. To get really specific and uber-jargony on you, I used 1-inch DriFast with 35 ppi (pores per inch). Copy of jaw in foam
Next, I stitched elastic to the exterior of it, in the same place I had elastic on the original fiberglass jaw. I also added a piece across the interior, which serves to two functions. It helps the jaw retain its shape and it also acts to cup the actor’s chin. Added elastic to jaw
I lined the jaw with black fabric, and covered the exterior with fur. One of the things that I love about reticulated foam is that you can stitch to it very easily and it’s tear-resistant. Lined interior with black
Once it was all covered, I installed it in the original location. To my surprise, this has better movement than the original fiberglass. Usually you think of going rigid for mechanism, but, I’m guessing, because of this is a really snug fit it responds more quickly to the jaw’s movement. Think of it like wearing a ski mask. Covered exterior with fur

Sadly, the thing still fogs, but it’s slower and not as hot so that’s movement in the right direction. I’ve been reading about defoggers for scuba divers. Most websites recommend spit. Somehow, I can’t see myself recommending spitting into a mask that’s supposed to be worn around sick children. There are actual products, so I’ll see if I can find any here.

Before anyone recommends it–there is no place to put a fan in the bear’s head and even if there were, it would not solve the humidity issue. I think we have oxygen flowing in the mask now, but the humidity is the next hurdle to deal with.

If the defogger doesn’t work, then I’ll try putting a vapor barrier between the eyes and the nose, but this will likely make it uncomfortable, so I’m trying to avoid that.

(For the puppet geeks reading this, I buy my foam here. They ship.)

3d printers reshape world of copying

3d-printers I just saw this article about 3-d printers, which is like SF happening right now. I’ve seen a few things printed out by a 3-d printer, but I had no idea that the technology was becoming as accessible as it is. This is amazing stuff.

One of the applications that they are talking about is a thing where kids can design their own toys online and print them out for around twenty-five dollars. How cool is that?


YouTube – Robbie Rotten spot (Season 2) (correct spot posted now)

Ooo! Someone posted the Nick Jr. Lazytown spots on youtube, and I’m actually in one. In the middle of this one Robbie’s periscope pops up and that’s me. I mean, it’s only a pair of eyes on a stick, but it’s still fun.

They also have a song from the original stage show. It is interesting to see what design elements remain in the television show and which ones changed.

And finally this one
Most of the drumming by Ziggy are my hands, except the closeups. One of the grips on set was an actual drummer so, with Þor’s permission, I asked Riki to sub for me. He did a great job.


This kind of day is the hardest of all. Thor and I came in at 9:00 today because his character was in a scene at the beginning of the day. The other puppeteers were on standby and arrived at 11:00, but we still hadn’t shot a puppet scene yet. In fact, none of us were used until 6:30 and the end of the work day is 7:00 pm. So although I got some good work done on a website I’m designing for a friend, my day was otherwise totally dull.

After work a group of us went out for a girl’s night out. We saw the new movie version of The Producers and then went to Enrico’s for soup and a glass of wine.

A little bit of everything

Let’s see. I finished up the last of the front elevations for Arabian Nights set today. Worked on the boat and did a tiny bit of gardening.

It also looks like I’ve picked up two gigs for 2007. Nothing like planning ahead, eh? One is a directing gig in Canada and the other is a design gig in Portland. Ah, lovely.

Popup Books

I’ve been playing with pop-ups today for my little design gig. It’s been fun.

Lessons Learned

I got a call from the woman I interviewed with last week to come in and talk about a specific project. Woo-hoo! It went very well and I’ve got a small design project for her company, Lessons Learned, due on Monday.

I also went to WRW’s Writers’ Workshop and that was a lot of fun. I’ve got some good ideas for what’s happening with my script and the places where things are confusing. There are even things that seemed to work.