Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chuck's Musical Christmas Greeting

video

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Chuck and myself!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chuck Thinks Small

video

Compared to people, Chuck's feels like a pretty small and insignificant creature, but he's not the smallest one out there. To make himself feel bigger, today Chuck has decided to talk about things that are smaller than he is. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Chuck on Safety

video
After settling into a new apartment, Chuck is becoming acquainted with all of the safety equipment in it and wants you to be familiar with yours as well in case of an emergency. Enjoy!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Photo Album: The End of Summer


With the Fall Semester classes starting up Monday, it looks like summer will soon be officially over. One of the highlights of this past summer was spending a few days with my family at Walt Disney World's Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Downtown Disney, and Port Orleans Resorts. So, before the sun sets on this season, I would like to share this picture I took of Epcot's Spaceship Earth in memory of all the fun we had there. See you in the fall!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Technical Difficulties

There has been a lot going on this summer, but one thing my roommates and I have been dealing with is one annoying technical problem after another. First the house flooded, then we found out the washing machine was broken, the air conditioning broke a couple of times, there have been various major and minor car problems among us, I briefly had technical difficulties turning in assignments for my online class, a tree in our yard is falling apart and damaged the house, and a power-line cable was hanging down loose one morning. Fortunately no one was hurt in any of these and damage on all but a couple of them turned out to be pretty minor in the scheme of things. Still, it's been a little stressful at times for us to have to deal with all of these things in a little over two months after moving in together. Even Chuck's had to deal with some technical difficulties this summer as you can see in the video bellow:

video

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Chuck Returns With A Public Service Announcement

video
It took a little longer than I expected, but my puppet Chuck has finally settled into our new place enough to start working on a new video with me. So here he is with a public service announcement on a subject near and dear to his heart. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Photo Album: Emergency Shut Off in Case of "Pleasure"

Just what goes through everyone's mind at the gas station: "You know what would make my experience dealing with highly flammable fuel sources even more enjoyable: going into the convince store and buying products which are designed to purposely set on fire. At only $3.33 how can I say no?" At least the emergency shut off is well marked. That's pretty thoughtful of them.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wayne Allwine (1947-2009)

A very familiar voice has been silenced. You may not recognize the name Wayne Allwine, but for over 30 years he’s been the voice and heart behind Walt Disney’s most famous creation, Mickey Mouse. On May 18th, he passed away at the age of 62 with his wife, who is coincidentally the current voice of Minnie Mouse, by his side. His voice can be heard in such beloved films as "Mickey's Christmas Carol" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" and has recently reached out to the next generation of Mickey fans through the Disney Channel preschool show "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" and the "Kingdom Hearts" video games, not to mention his presence in the various Disney theme parks and traveling shows. For more information about his life, click here.

My initial reaction to hearing the news was shock. It's hard to imagine the prospect of a new Mickey Mouse cartoon or theme park show without his cheerful, ever-youthful voice. I never got to meet him and really only knew him through his work and the occasional interview. However, as a life-long fan of Mickey Mouse and Disney in general, his voice has been a consistent and welcome present in my life. There is some comfort knowing that Mickey will live on both through the re-watching of the many wonderful projects Allwine and his predecessors took part in over the years and eventually through the selection of their inevitable successor, a process that, according to rumor, has been going on for some time and that Allwine had fortunately been very involved until the time of his passing. But the genial, funny, and modest man behind the familiar falsetto I grew up with has sadly been silenced and he will be missed.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Arrival of Summer

Summer has arrived and, after a fairly full couple of weeks (at least by summer standards), I'm beginning to settle into it. First came moving out of the dorm and turning around and  heading up to the mountains of North Georgia the next morning for Intervarsity Chapter Camp. It was great to be able to spend a week away from it all focusing on how awesome Jesus is as well as hang out with some of my friends in such a beautiful setting (such as the mountain stream pictured above). The day after I got back, the house I just moved into had a slight plumbing problem that flooded the whole house. For all the hassle it caused all of us living here, it could have been a lot worse and I'm thankful for all of my neighbors, friends, and family members who helped us clean up afterwards. Then Yesterday I finally got my own bed, and now it's starting to feels like I'm actually moving in and not just crashing on my friends' couch. So, things are starting to settle down a little, but after such as busy couple of weeks I could use some time to chill.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Photo Album: Moving Right Along


Well, today is the day that my brother and I (and Chuck) will finally be moving off-campus for good. While I'm going to miss the convenience of being so close to all of the facilities here at USF in the upcoming Summer ad Fall semesters, I think it's time to move on. I'm a little nervous about this new experience (as both Chuck and I tend to be about all new experiences), but I know it will be good for me in the long run to take this next step after all these years. Now, if you excuse me, I have some last minute packing to do.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Photo Album: Break at Busch Gardens

Here's a picture I took last week during a quick visit to Busch Gardens that I used as a break between writing papers. I decided to pass on the rides this time and just focus on wandering around a couple  the animal exhibits and taking a few pictures. It turned out to be a good call since some of my favorite animals (including several fairly young ones like the baby zebra on the right side of the above picture) were pretty active and hanging out close to the viewing areas. Since I wasn't trying to do any rides I could really slow down and observe the various animals and what they were up to (which is one of my favorite things to do at the park anyway). It also made for some pretty nice pictures as well (which is another favorite activity of mine as well). All and all, it was very enjoyable yet all too brief way to break up a day of paper writing and research. 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chuck Tells a Joke

video
Chuck has returned to share a knock-knock joke and learns that comedy is all about the delivery in the process. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!


In honor of Easter, here's a little video from the VeggieTales video "An Easter Carol". I have to admit I haven't seen the full movie (or most 
of what VeggieTales has done for the past decade or so), but I just 
found this clip on Youtube and thought it did a really great job at 
conveying the true meaning of Easter and the hope it brings in a way 
that is both understandable and profound for all ages. Enjoy!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Art, Art, and More Art!


As an art student, I’m pretty much around art all the time, but the last two weekends have been especially art-filled. A lot of this has to do with the end of the semester being just around the corner. For example, last weekend was the USF Art department’s annual Arthouse open-house event in which the general public is welcome to check out our studios and the art that we students have been working on this past year. This year I had a couple of photographs and a couple of videos on display. One of my videos, a short film I made for a class last semester that featured Chuck attempting to interacts with a few of my friends, was also accepted into Arthouse’s Juried Film and Video Festival. Though the festival was admittedly a pretty modest affair, it was a big honor to have a work selected to appear in any type of juried exhibition (a first for me) not to mention that it was cool to see a film I had made projected on a big outdoor screen. It was also a lot of fun to have some friends along so I could share a bit of what my fellow art students and I actually do with them. ("Hey!" to any of you who may be reading this.)

This past weekend was also art-intensive as my brother and I made a trip to The Ringling Museum down in Sarasota for a class of mine. One perk of an art history class is that sometimes museums will give you a free admission into museums for the purpose of research if you have a relevant assignment. The only downside is that you actually have to write the paper you research for, but since this particular one’s only two pages that won’t be due until the last week of class the benefit far outweighs the cost. I had been to Ringling once at least a decade ago, but it was even cooler now having gone through so many art history courses to get a good look at works created by some of the artists or students of artists who I’ve since learned about over the years. However, there’s so much art in the museum that by about halfway through I know I started to get overwhelmed and even artistically fatigued to the point actually had to force myself to finish going through the galleries (which I’m glad I did because I would have missed some great stuff). I still don’t know how Ringling could have made so much money off the circus to afford all that art or his opulent mansion that is also located on the museum’s ground, but apparently he did. There was also a Circus museum there too. I only went to the circus once as a young kid and over the years had forgotten how creepy I though the circus was. However, the museum served as a pretty good reminder of that. If it’s any indication, I spent much more time in the art museum than the circus one. 

Overall, both Arthouse and my field trip to the Ringling Museum were a a lot of fun, but I think after the experience of seeing all that art coupled all my art-related finals I could use a little break from the art scene. At least for a weekend or two.

 

Monday, March 30, 2009

Photo Album: Beak to Beak


With March coming to a close, Spring is in the air, especially in the animal kingdom. Here's a picture of a couple of brightly colored Lorikeets at Busch Gardens enjoying each other's company.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

With St. Patrick's Day being celebrated this week and all, I thought I might celebrate the Irish side of my heritage by posting a favorite Irish tune performed as only the Muppets can. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Artwork: Tree Frog


Lately I've been working on a couple for projects for my Advanced Photography class the have to do with photographing toys (mostly frogs like the one above) in natural environments. The combination of nature and these artificial objects made to mimic nature as seen from their point-of-view has interested me in a number of ways. One, of course, is the fact that I get to play with toys as part of a class. Here's a photo that I liked but for various reasons didn't make it into either of the frog-related series I've turned in this semester. 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Chuck Busts a Move!

video

My puppet Chuck can be a bit on the shy side around people, but that doesn't mean he doesn't know how to bust a move. Enjoy this brief sampling of his dancing skills!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Listening to Jesus

This past week or so has been a busy one especially in terms of my involvement in Intervasity Christian Fellowship at USF. Last weekend we had our Spring Leadership Conference, and it was an enjoyably laid back experience. It was good to once again get away from campus, hang out with friends, and spend time really seeking God together. I have to say that I didn’t feel the type of “mountaintop experience” that I experience from time to time at such conferences but I do feel like I received a word from God. I feel he was trying to tell me that while I've been going through the motions of Christianity lately I’ve started neglecting the most important part of being a Christian: my personal relationship with Jesus. Like Martha, I’ve been running around (planning Bible studies and attending various meeting) but haven’t taken the time to just be with Jesus for myself.

In addition to things like praying and reading His Word with greater regularity, one of the ways that I felt Jesus was leading me to strengthen that relationship was to be more open with my faith. It was good timing too since the next week Intervarsity was doing our Proxie Station displays (God always has such good timing, doesn’t he?). Through these stations, I got to talk about the Gospel of Jesus and how it intersects the injustice and brokenness of the world one-on-one with over half a dozen people. While nothing miraculous happened in those conversations, it felt right to share the hope of Jesus with others in an open, honest, and loving way. This wasn't the first time I had done these stations, but I'm still pretty new to doing one-on-one witnessing so I was definitely still outside my comfort zone. One of the aspects of the stations that stuck out for me was the first board where the person going through it puts a dot of paint next to injustices they or someone they know have experienced. Just recognizing the degree of injustice and brokenness that goes on among the people or in the friends or families of people we see everyday is a major reminder of why we all need Jesus. It’s funny how we all feel at times that God is so distant (at least I know I have), but sometimes when we take the time to slow down and listen He shows up in all sorts of places whether it’s at someplace like Spring Leadership Conference, or in a quiet moment of prayer by yourself, or in a chance conversation with a complete stranger.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Congratulations Wall-e!

OK, so I just got back today from Intervarsity Spring Leadership Conference, and I plan on blogging about that sometime soon. But tonight I just want to make a quick note about the Oscars. I don't see a lot of new movies each year and see even fewer that get nominated for awards, but the Best Animated Feature award tends to be an exception. In that spirit I want to congratulate to director Andrew Stanton and the rest of the crew at Pixar for winning the Oscar for Best Animated Feature for my personal favorite film from last year, Wall-e. In honor of the occasion, here are a few short gag clips staring Wall-e. Enjoy!







Monday, February 16, 2009

The Muppets Take Orlando


Well, this past Valentines Day turned out to be one of the best I’ve had in recent memory. It wasn’t what I would imagine a typical Valentines to be as I had no date, no candy, and nothing else remotely romantic happen to me (maybe some other year). However, it did have something that made it really special: the Muppets! Specifically “Jim Henson’s Fantastic World,” a recently opened traveling exhibit of rare artwork and sketches by Jim Henson accompanied by movie props, rarely seen video, and (of course) about a dozen puppets including my favorite Muppet, Kermit the Frog! Now, I am of course a big fan of Henson and the Muppets so ever since I heard this Smithsonian exhibit was coming to Orlando I’ve wanted to see it, but I never expected the kind of good fortune that would smile on me. You see, it turned out that the museum the exhibit is visiting in Orlando was having a special promotion that allowed visitors to get in free on a handful of dates this month including February 14th  to promote art and culture in the Orlando area or something like that. My brother and I were afraid there would be some sort of catch but amazingly there wasn’t. In what has to be the best deal in Orlando history, we got to see actual Muppets and artwork created by Jim Henson (plus a tiny but interesting exhibit about Abraham Lincoln including a couple of handwritten letters by the 16th President himself!) for no charge at all! They even validated my parking! Can’t beat that! The only thing that would have made it better was if the allowed photography inside the exhibit but, alas, you can’t win ‘em all.

As for the Jim Henson exhibit itself, it was really neat to see the puppets up close and personal (albeit behind glass). As someone who has built a puppet or two in his time, it was really cool to see firsthand how the people who essentially created that particular style of puppetry put their puppets together. It was also interesting to see the evolution of Henson's artistic ideas from the creation of initial design sketches to storyboards to the puppets themselves to a finished film all on display in one place. However, it would be more than a little dishonest for me to say that my interest in the Muppets on display was purely from a technical or artistic perspective. After all, it’s hard not to be a little star struck when you turn a corner and there is Kermit, or Bert and Ernie, or Rowlf the Dog right in front of you after years of watching them on TV. However, after the initial shock, the experience felt (no pun intended) more like revisiting a piece of my own childhood in a whole new way than standing in the presence of a movie star. As corny as that sounds, I think that ability (in terms of puppet design, writing,  and performance) to create characters that elicits such warm, silly, and unpretentious responses was part of what set Jim Henson's creations apart in the world of pop culture in the first place. Finally, the art on display, which made up the majority of the exhibit, was really fascinating to see as well. Most of it was in the form of fairly rough sketches and doodles, but as a fellow art student who grew up doodling it was cool and even a little inspirational to see someone whose work I admire going through some of the stages that I have artistically (including, apparently, the packrat stage).

However, the day wasn’t over yet when we left the museum. It was time for a late lunch so on the way home my brother and I stopped at one of our favorite places to visit: Disney World! Downtown Disney to be exact, where we enjoyed more free parking, had  some hot sandwiches, and soaked up that Disney atmosphere (a process which included lots of photography). All in all, it was a great (if perhaps unconventional) way to spend Valentines Day. 

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Photo Album: Mickey and Minnie


Well, Valentines Day is just around the corner. While I can't say I've been all that lucky in the love department this year, here's a picture of one of the greatest couples of the silver screen, Mickey and Minnie Mouse.  Seen here performing together in front of Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, these two have been together for over 80 years and are still going strong. 

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Advice for the Sick and Tired

So I've been dealing with a pretty annoying cold for most of the week, and I'm glad to say I'm pretty much over it now. However, if there's anyone out there who's still not feeling well and could use a little bit of advice on the subject,  here's a short list that I hope helps. As for everyone else, file this information away too. It could come in handy some day.

  • Never trust that if you take non-drowsy medicine that you won't get tired. If you are sick, you'll feel tired all the time anyway.

  • Know that school will make things inconvenient when your sick, especially when it schedules tests and projects while your sick so instead of just taking a day off to get better you have to run around in abnormally cold weather and study which only makes you feel worse.

  • You'll yearn for a time when food doesn't have an aftertaste of mucus and cold medicine. Accept it.

  • You would think that if you have a fever and chills that one would cancel out  the other but this is unfortunatly not the case.

  • Tissues feel much better than paper towels or paper napkins but any of these can work in a pinch.

  • Two words: Chicken Soup. I don't understand why it helps so much, but it does.

  • Nap whenever you have some spare time. Your body needs plenty of sleep and has no problem telling you that when your sick. Take advantage of it.

  • If you're starting to feel better, avoid catching another cold and starting the whole cycle over again.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Groundhog Day 2009 with Chuck

So, today is Groundhog Day and apparently Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow which means six more weeks of winter (although judging by the pictures I see of the event every years I think he really just wants six more weeks of sleep). However, my puppet Chuck felt the need to speak out about this holiday and has created a new video on the subject for the blog. (By the way, don't look for multiple self-produced puppet videos appearing on this blog within one week's time to become anywhere near a normal occurrence, but Groundhog Day was too good of a topic for me to ignore).  Enjoy!


video

Friday, January 30, 2009

Introducing Chuck


If you're the observant type, you may have noticed this photo as my current profile picture here on blogger. This is Chuck, my puppet. I've been a huge fan of Jim Henson and the Muppets for as long as I can remember, but I had never really tried puppeteering until about a year or so ago. I designed and built Chuck myself and have been really enjoying the experience of playing this character. Hopefully this blog will be one way that I can showcase some of the things I'm learning as well as make you laugh or smile or whatever your reaction may be. 

But instead of me just telling you about him, why don't I let him speak for himself. Now, Chuck can be a little shy around people he doesn't know, but he's agreed to make a video introduction for this blog so you can get to know him a little better. So, without further ado, here's Chuck.. Enjoy!
video

Monday, January 26, 2009

Photo Album: Meerkats


I can't believe I've been blogging for over a week and am just now posting my first picture. Here is a shot of a couple of Timon's cousins in their home at Busch Gardens Tampa. Animals are one of my favorite subjects of photography so expect to see a lot more of them here as time goes on.

Monday, January 19, 2009

President Obama

This week will see the truly historic inauguration of President Barack Obama. As someone who supported Mr. Obama over the course of this past presidential campaign I am pleased to see him finish up his transition to power and become our 44th president. I can only imagine what it must feel like for so many to finally see someone who looks like them in the highest office in the land, but as for myself I can say that I am proud to see my country taking yet another step toward living out the principle that "all men are created equal" (even if there is still quite a ways to go). If what we as a nation and as a world in general are going through right now is any indication, President Obama will have to face many difficult challenges over the next four years, so I wish him and the team that he has assembled all the best and hope that all of us, no matter who we voted for, will do the same.

In honor of the occasion, here is a look back at the historic election that brought us to this moment through the eyes of one of the most trusted names in fake news:

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Welcome!

Hey blog-reading people! Welcome to my brand new blog! As you may have notices, it's called "Life, Laughter, and Lots More" and is called that because all the other names I came up with were already taken. Anyway, on this blog I'll be sharing some of the random and not so random thoughts, images, news, links, ramblings, and other things that come to my mind whenever I feel like posting. I'm currently studying photography so expect pictures to be a big part of what I do here. Also, I'm a big fan of animation (particularly but not limited to Disney and Pixar), puppetry (especially the Muppets), and comedy in general so don't be surprised if they get mentioned every one in a while either. Last but not least, I am continually trying to live out my faith in Jesus in my life, and I'm sure that that will find its way into my postings here as well. So, with introductions behind us, I hope that you will enjoy whatever it is I feel like writing.