Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Before I say anything, let me warn you that this post will contain spoilers! So if you haven't seen "Inception" yet and you plan to, then stop reading now and come back after you've seen it!

Before we get to the obvious part that everyone is talking about (the ending!), let's talk about the visual effects. Crazy special effects are the norm now, and we see them in every movie. But I though the effects in this movie were very smooth. In the scene where the architect was first learning to mold dreams, and she folded the city to a 90 degree angle, it looked almost natural, and it wasn't awkward as she and Cobb stepped up onto the perpendicular walkway. I loved that it didn't look clearly CGI or fake in some way.

I also loved the scenes inside dreams when gravity was being toyed with. As the van was in free fall, and people were floating in midair, whether it be a fight scene, or just moving around, I felt like I was watching The Matrix for the first time again. Just the unreal physics involved, and a totally new way of seeing a movie shot were amazing.

So now let's get to the really fun stuff! So Cobb gets off the plane, heads home, spins his top, and gets distracted. The top continues to spin, we see it wobble just a little bit, then cut to the credits. So anyone can argue their point. He's awake, we just didn't get to see the top fall over. Or he's still in a dream, which means that the entire movie was a dream, which means that we don't even know if anyone else is real or just a projection. I'll be honest, I was a little too wrapped up in the story as a whole to have been studying the little details that might give it away. This is why I can't wait for the DVD to go back and re-watch the movie, knowing that that top was still spinning. Look for clues that he was dreaming all along.

What did you think? Was Cobb still dreaming or in limbo? Was he actually awake?

Adorable Stories of Healing

Ok, so in the news recently I've seen two incredible stories of cats who faced a terrible situation, and were helped to recovery in a couple of different ways. The first is about a cat who was paralyzed, and through hydrotherapy, learned to walk again. Check out the full story here: http://www.tonic.com/article/kittie-paddling-saves-paralyzed-cat/

The second story involves a cat that was in a terrible accident and lost both of its back legs. But someone was able to develop bionic legs, and the cat is walking again! Amazing! Check out the story here: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/06/bionic-cat-walks-on-prosthetic-legs/

And apparently there is now video of Oscar, the bionic cat:

Both of these are great stories, but which do you like better? I think the bionic cat is very fascinating, but I find the hydrotherapy cat to be an incredibly adorable story.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Full List of Cities that Have To Change Their Name

Here I'll keep the list of cities (in alphabetical order) decreed to need to change their name. Why do they have to change their name? Because they're riding the coattails of a more famous city with the same name. See the original post here: http://jhowrites.blogspot.com/2010/07/some-cities-need-to-change-their-name.html

Berkeley, Illinois (Added 7/16/2010)
Dublin, California (Added 7/16/2010)
Las Vegas, New Mexico (Added 7/16/2010)
Manhattan, Kansas (Added 7/16/2010)
Miami, Ohio (Added 7/16/2010)
Paris, Texas (Added 7/16/2010)
Portland, Maine (Added 7/16/2010)

Some Cities Need to Change Their Name

Update 7/16/2010: I've added a full list of all the cities that need to change their name. This is where I'll keep updating the full list of cities that I decree have to change their name: http://jhowrites.blogspot.com/2010/07/full-list-of-cities-that-have-to-change.html

Maybe I'm crabby because it's freaking hot today (Weather Channel says it's 106, but it "feels like" it's only 105!) and I need a nap, but I've decided that some cities need to change their name. Today I saw a label on some equipment that was from Berkeley, Illinois. Now when I hear the name Berkeley, I immediately think of northern California and Cal. This experience also reminded me of a few months ago when a friend of mine was going to Maine. She told me she was off to Portland, and I had to stop and say, "Wait, I thought you were going to Maine?" She clarified that there is a Portland, Maine as well as the one in Oregon.

So my decision is that cities that have the same name as a very famous city need to change their name. Maybe it's because I'm in California that I immediately think of Portland, Oregon or Berkeley, California, but I think both of those cities are famous enough to make Portland, Maine and Berkeley, Illinois change their names.

What else is there? There are no questions about Paris, Texas and Las Vegas, New Mexico. Both of those cities have to change their name. Clearly you can go to 99% of people and say Paris or Las Vegas, and they immediately think of France or Nevada. And how about Manhattan, Kansas? They have to change their name too.

Ok, so when I hear someone in northern California mention Dublin, I don't bat an eye, but that's only because I always see the signs along the freeway when I head up to the Bay Area. But I think on a national and global scale, Dublin, Ireland wins. Sorry, Dublin, CA.

I am willing to let less famous cities keep their names though. I live in Clovis, California, and I happen to know there is also a Clovis, New Mexico. Neither city is particularly famous on a national scale though, so they can both keep their name until one becomes big enough to knock the other off.

Who will decide which cities have to change their name? I'm thinking I should, since I came up with the idea. What other cities have I missed? I know there are lots out there. Leave your other nominations for cities that have to change their name in the comments, and I'll give my decree.

"Kitties Are Creatures of Habit" or "My Cats Are Ridiculously Cute"

So yesterday Erin sent me this picture that she took while she was getting ready.

cute gizmo cat

After I saw it, I was reminded of this video I took back in January of this year, when Gizmo was apparently a lot smaller!

Then I remembered a couple of pictures I took of Dublin when she was younger. The first one was taken in May of 2008, and the second one was taken in August of 2008. Guess our cats have their spots and poses they like to use frequently (even if Dublin did decide to turn the other way!).

cute dublin kitten

cute dublin cat

Monday, July 12, 2010

Raising Money for a Good Cause

A friend of mine, Karen, is raising funds to help battle childhood cancer. I have decided that I'll give whatever earnings I get from sales made through the link below to her fundraising efforts. This will apply to any items added to your cart and purchased during the session, as long as it's an order in the United States or Canada.

Unfortunately, I can't mention what her group is (due to restrictions in the affiliate agreement with Amazon), but I can give you her main fundraising page if you want to make a donation directly to her, or just to read more about her story and why she is raising money for childhood cancer. Her site is here: http://bit.ly/befiEd. You can also learn more about hers and her son's journey here: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/isaachatfield

I'll keep doing this until the end of her fundraising efforts, so feel free to stop in until then!

If you'd like to support her through your regular purchases, just start by using the banner below, and any new items added to your cart and purchased during the session will count toward the donation made to her cause:

Or use this link: Amazon.com shopping link

Friday, July 9, 2010

Biohazard Zombie Apocalypse Trailer

In my last post, I mentioned that I was recently a zombie extra in a film that was being made locally (http://jhowrites.blogspot.com/2010/07/last-night-i-rose-from-dead.html). Well, it seems the director, Clay Von Thomas, has made a rough teaser trailer for the film. It takes a little bit to get to any actual shots from the movie, but it looks pretty good still. It's neat to see the video, and recognize that "Hey, I was there!" So anyway, enjoy the video below, and I'll definitely keep posting more information about this as movie as I hear it!

BIOHAZARD TEASER TRAILER Directed by Clay Von Thomas from Clay Von Thomas on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Last Night I Rose From the Dead

Yesterday a friend of mine sent me some info about a movie that was being filmed locally that needed extras for a scene. Basically the call was for "100 zombies." She said she immediately thought of me, and lucky for me, I was free to do it!

**Edit, Ok, it looks like I might have gotten some of the bio info a little wrong. Clay Von Thomas might not be from Fresno, but I do know a lot of the actors were**

The working title is "Biohazard," and it was directed by Clay Von Thomas. I looked up a little and found out that he's from the Fresno area, and most of the actors were from the area as well, so it was definitely a locally filmed indie movie. Here is a little page I found with some information (although not much) about the movie: http://www.zombiehub.com/biohazard-zombie-apocalypse.html.

I got to the location around 6, they started applying latex makeup pretty quickly, and then there was lots of waiting. They told us we'd start doing the big scene with all the zombies around 9. But as these things tend to go, it was a little late. I'm guessing it was around 11 when we started doing the scene, and it took a couple of hours. Actually, the time went flying by once the filming started. But it was a pretty mellow night in Fresno, so it wasn't unbearably hot or anything, which was great.

Below are a few pictures I took. I had a lot more, but something went funky, and they're not on my camera anymore. The first one is me with the first layer of makeup, and the second one is me at the end of the night. The last two pictures are just big shots of lots of the other extras getting their makeup done.