Oct 26, 2010

Minecart Animation

I'm loving this awesome computer animation and the cool music that goes with it. Sit back and enjoy!

Oct 18, 2010

The Criminalization Of Photography

Malo Periculosam Libertatem Quam Quietum Servitium - "I prefer liberty with danger to peace with slavery"

Government Admits There Is No Law Preventing Photography In Public of Federal Buildings

October 18, 2010 
The government was forced to admit that there is no law prohibiting the taking of pictures of federal buildings such as courthouses, settling a year-long lawsuit brought by Antonio Musumeci, who was arrested on Nov. 9, 2009 after using a hand-held camera to record a protester in a public plaza outside the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Federal Courthouse in Manhattan.

During the arrest, federal officers forced Musumeci to the pavement and confiscated video from his camera. They have yet to return his memory card, although the settlement requires the DHS to hand it over.  Musumeci was detained for about 20 minutes and issued a ticket for violating a federal regulation. That charge was later dismissed. On two subsequent occasions, federal officers threatened Musumeci with arrest after trying to record protests at the courthouse. 

“The courthouse plaza is public property paid for by taxpayers, and the public should not be prohibited from using video cameras there. Now people now can freely express their First Amendment right there without being harassed and arrested by federal officers,” said Musumeci, a resident of Edgewater, N.J.

In the settlement approved today by a federal judge in Manhattan, the federal government acknowledges that there are no federal laws or regulations that prohibit photography outside federal courthouses. It agreed to provide federal officers written instructions emphasizing the public’s right to photograph and record outside federal courthouses.

Even though Musumeci's camera was confiscated, he recorded the encounter using a pinhole camera which was not confiscated. No doubt this video provided powerful evidence against the word of the DHS. 

To see what it's like to be harassed by the police for taking pictures in public, watch the clip below:


UPDATE: As part of the settlement, the Department of Homeland Security released tto the public its bulleti emphasizing "the public's right to photograph the exterior of federal facilities" from "publicly accessible spaces such as streets, sidewalks, parks and plazas." It also states that in a field interview, "officers should not seize the camera or its contents, and must be cautious not to give such 'orders' to a photographer to erase the contents of a camera."

This is a handy bulletin to carry with you, if you take pictures, available in a PDF format to print out. Get it HERE.  

Read the New York Times' recap of this case (with lots of links) HERE.  

The War On Cameras

Reason Magazine has a long but extremely well written article documenting the authorities' willful disregard of established case law to harass, imprison and obstruct the public videotaping of the police. Officials are fighting back against oversight by insisting, ludicrously, that police have a right to privacy in public, but that the public doesn't (when being recorded by dashboard cameras). Moreover, police dashboard cameras have conveniently stopped working in some cases when recording abuse of authority by police officers. The consensus of the article is that there is a lot of ambiguity about recording police officers, and this ambiguity is not good for the public, or the first amendment.

This is a good, albeit frustrating read. Check it out HERE. 

Visit the ACLU; click on the logo to take you there. The rights you have, you have because they were fought for

Oct 14, 2010

How Superman II Should Have Ended

I love this re-cut ending to Superman II. Instead of the cheesy "amnesia kiss" that Superman gave to Lois Lane, making her forget Clark Kent is Superman, the movie would have been better if it ended like THIS:

Oct 9, 2010

Drawing Guides From Days Gone By

This is a nifty guide I found online for use by military personnel who produced newspapers, booklets and guides for the armed forces. It's pretty dated, but a most of the lessons in this book are just as helpful today as they were during Word War II, when this was printed.

To open a super-sized view of each page, do the following:

  1. Right click on the page and open in new tab (or new window)
  2. Click on that image to get the huge size, perfect for printing
  3. Print. Presto! Instant tutorial on facial expressions.



Oct 6, 2010

Rube Goldberg's Incredible Inventions

...and his incredible inventions

Have you ever heard something described as a "Rube Goldberg" machine?

Or, have you ever seen a ridiculously complicated contraption that accomplished a simple task?

Then you have seen Rube Goldberg's influence.

Rube Goldberg was a sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor, but is best known for a series of popular cartoons he created depicting complex devices that perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways – now known as Rube Goldberg machines.

Below are video clips of Rube Goldberg machines:

This one uses only photographic equipment, and is one of the best I've seen:

Goldberg drew cartoons that featured all sorts of wacky ideas for doing the simplest of tasks, and there are now Rube Goldberg machine building events and contests held at high school science fairs and other venues around the country. Building a Rube Goldberg machine is time consuming, complicated and takes a lot of trial and error, but watching one work is enormously fun.

Here's another one, an older video from Sesame Street:

Here's one more fine video:

To read more about Rube Goldberg, click HERE 
The official Rube Goldberg site is located HERE

Dragoncon - More Pictures

My friend Ken was one of the people I hung out with at Dragoncon, and he took even more pictures than I did. On Sunday night we went walking around Atlanta taking pictures in my Snake Plissken costume. Here are a few of the pictures Ken took. (click on each picture for a larger view)  Below are other Dragoncon links as well:

To see a selection of Dragoncon links to artists, pictures and panels, click HERE.
To get more information about my costume, Snake Plissken, click HERE.

This year I was the only Snake Plissken there. Snake Plissken is an iconic character in sci-fi, from the cult movie Escape From New York, directed by the legendary John Carpenter

Below: marching in the Dragoncon parade

Oct 3, 2010

60 Years of Peanuts

Saturday was the 60th anniversary of Peanuts, Charles Schultz's iconic comic strip, a strip he drew for an incredible fifty years, totaling 17,897 strips. 

Arguably the most popular comic strip in history, Peanuts became a cultural icon, published all over the world and leading to a thriving merchandising enterprise. Schultz's characters were used to sell cars, snack foods, even life insurance, and merchandising items included everything from bed sheets to mugs, dolls, calendars, posters...you name it. In fact Bill Watterson, creator of my personal favorite Calvin and Hobbes, was at the other end of the spectrum, refusing to license his characters or let them be used for commercial purposes. In his mind, such usage cheapened the strip and robbed it of its impact, since there would be pressure to tone down controversial viewpoints, lest the sponsors get upset.

Cnet's Daniel Terdiman has an excellent article about the 60th anniversary of Peanuts, along with a lot of great pictures of the Peanuts museum, in Santa Rosa, California. It's definitely worth a read! Click HERE to read the article.

Facial Expressions

Facial expressions in comic books and illustrations don't have to be complicated; in many cases it is a single line that can make all the difference in your character's expression. Don't settle for having a bland, neutral expression on your characters all the time; what fun is that? 

The pages below can be downloaded and printed out on your home computer. To open a super-sized view of each page, do the following:

  1. Right click on the page and open in new tab (or new window)
  2. Click on that image to get the huge size, perfect for printing
  3. Print. Presto! Instant tutorial on facial expressions.


Oct 1, 2010

24 Hour Comics Day

Saturday, October 2nd is 24 Hour Comics Day, an event in which artists will draw for 24 hours straight creating a completed comic book or graphic novel. Find out more about this event HERE!