Thursday, January 31, 2013


Today I did some voice recording at a friend's house (above).  While I was there I couldn't help noticing how nice the living room was. It's so leathery! So manly! I also like the tile floor and circular rug. 

All it needs is a big de Kooning on the wall, which I Photoshopped in (above). What do you think? 

The picture shows what might be a TV on the extreme left. I hope it is because that's a perfect spot for it considering that there appears to be a thin dining table behind the couch on the extreme right. That would allow the owner, who's a bachelor, to eat a meal while watching TV. There's a nice table outside under an arbor for more formal dining. 

Here's a better shot (above, left) of the slim dining table I talked about. Check out the built-in bookshelves and the varnished wooden floor. Very nice! Very manly! 

For contrast here's (above) a girly living room. Yuck! What's wrong with women? Why do they like stuff like this?

A few words about the recording session: it went well for the most part but I felt sorry for [name]. Every time I goofed he patiently acted out the scene again, and each time I proceeded to make the same mistakes I did before. Geez, my voice has a mind of its own, and it's a real jerk!

It's as if my brain was thinking, "I'm going to do a good job for my buddy, and give him exactly what he wants," but my voice was thinking, "Who does he think he is? He's only the director, whereas I...I am the ACKTOOR!" Anyway, it turned out mostly okay by the end.

On another blog is in trouble. My hits have diminished by half since the beginning of December. I can't figure out why. Is it the content? I don't know.  Maybe everybody got iphones for Christmas and my site doesn't load quickly on that device. Maybe Theory Corner just doesn't look good on a small screen. Maybe everybody's bailed to Facebook where readers can post their own pictures. I hope that's not it, because I like Blogger better. Maybe I just suck. Who knows?

Anyway, if the downward trend continues I'll have to reduce the number of posts to two a week, which is still a more frequent rate than you get on most blogs. Whatever happens, I won't do anything right away. I'll see what happens in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


This is about how I make salads these days, but before I begin I'd like to pay tribute to the great pioneers who made this Theory Corner Salad possible. If I saw farther than others, it was because I stood on the shoulders of giants. 

I didn't invent any of the techniques I'm about to reveal to you. No, they were pioneered by legions of nameless obsessive compulsives, yuppies, gays, urban cyclists with their expensive bikes and obscene pants (above), hip housewives, divorcees, and lonely bachelors. 

I'm especially indebted to the obsessive compulsives (above). So much is owed to this under appreciated stratum who succeeded in worrying themselves into culinary greatness.

Okay...the salad...let's get started. For the lettuce leaves: I use a combination of any two types, usually Romaine with either arugula or baby spinach. I cut off only half of the crunchy white spine of the Romaine because I've learned to like it, but maybe you'll feel differently.

I wash the leaves in cold water to clean and freshen them up, then dry them with a salad spinner (cost: as low as 7$). This is a fun gadget to use and it really is useful. You need a way to dry the leaves because vinaigrette won't cling to wet leaves. After drying I put the bowl of leaves in the refrigerator to be be chilled and "woken up." That makes a big difference...who'da thunk? 

The only dressing I use is vinaigrette and for that I mix extra virgin olive oil with balsamic vinegar by whisking them with a fork. I don't bother with emulsifying agents like Dijon. I eat the salad right after making it, so the dressing doesn't have time to separate much.

People have strong opinions about which oil and balsamic to use.  I've used only supermarket versions so far. High end supermarket oils I've tried are usually unfiltered (good) but tasteless (bad). They are smooth, however...maybe too smooth; you hardly know they're there. Maybe I'll grow to like them, but for now I prefer something more oily like the mid-priced Trader Joe's California Estate. That's the closest I've come to truly flavorful olive oil, but there's a lot of names I haven't tried.

Internet recommended supermarket oils include Trader Joe's California Estate, Mc Evoy Ranch (not to be confused with ranch dressing) (both recommended by Consumer Reports), and Kirkland's Toscano (Costco) (above).

For balsamic vinegar I use Trader Joe's brand, the kind that comes in the small square bottle with the gold top. I've never used the pricey reduced /artisan type that gourmets rave about, but users of those seldom use them in vinaigrettes. Internet-recommended supermarket brands include Lucini Gran Riservera, Whole Foods 365, and Monari Federzoni, none of which I've tried yet. 

For the non-leafy part of a small side salad I usually use a sliced hard boiled egg, minced or crushed garlic, a couple of beet slices and crumpled blue cheese. Spices: salt and pepper and basil and oregano. In a small salad the vinaigrette is so strong that you won't taste more than that. Warm, freshly cooked, buttered biscuits make a nice accompaniment.

For a manly salad that's substantial enough to be a whole meal I add more to the above: walnuts, mushrooms, shallots, chopped celery, chopped carrots and radishes, sliced olives, dried cranberries and cherry tomatoes. For protein I use whatever I'm in the mood for: blue cheese, imitation crab or ham, or pan fried turkey bacon. I might drizzle a tiny amount of white wine or port over everything if I have it. If you use too many ingredients at the same time they'll cancel each other out, so be careful.

Oh, I forgot to mention the garlic rub. Before putting anything in the salad bowl rub down the bowl interior with half a clove of garlic. Whatever obsessive figured this out was a genius. The odor this imparts to the bowl somehow really does improve the taste.

Mixing the vinaigrette: most people mix 2/3 olive oil to 1/3 balsamic. I prefer half and half. Sometimes I substitute lemon juice for half the balsamic. Anyway, start by mixing the balsamic with a little salt and pepper and (optional) a little finely minced garlic. Whisk with a fork in a bowl while very gradually pouring in the oil. Pour the finished concoction over the salad and toss. The bowl you're tossing in should have high sides so nothing will spill on the floor.

Well, that's it. I'm dying to say that all this goes fairly fast, but it doesn't. A full-blown main meal salad usually takes an hour to make, then there's the clean-up later. I listen to old radio shows like "Suspense" while I work.


Hey, Disney's "Paperman" short is on YouTube! It's an historic film which tries out a new technique. See what you think of it!

Monday, January 28, 2013


Haw! Here's something Steve Worth turned me on turns out that English poets of the late Middle Ages used to carry on insult wars with each other. One bard, Dafydd ap Gwilyn, was so good at it that the subject of one of his poems is said to have died when he heard it.

I couldn't find a picture of Gwilyn, but here's (above) the next best thing: a picture of Chaucer reading to Edward III. Geez, if biting satire was a popular entertainment at court I can easily understand how someone on the receiving end might give up the ghost.

Anyway, here's the exact poem (below) that had the power to kill a man. If you don't want to read it then watch it on the YouTube video (also below):

by Dafydd ap Gwilyn

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Here's a few photos from my trunk. Let's's (above) Mike as W. C. Fields. Steve took the picture on Halloween. I cropped it 'cause I'm in there too, and I didn't like the pose I took. Mike looks great, though. The red on his nose perfectly sets off all the other reds in the picture. 

Aaaargh! If only I'd had my camera on a wide angle setting!

Above, a very dignified Fields poses for his fans.

Above, another Halloween photo, this time of me in the uniform of the Exalted Grand Master of the Royal Order of the Muskrat. No, I'm not eating a muskrat...that's chicken. I love this picture, but I don't know who took it. Steve? Auralynn? 

Here's Mike wearing the sacred hat and....taking the Muskrat pledge? 

Here's Auralynn and Sarah. Auralynn designed those pajamas (above) for (I think) American Apparel. Her measurements were used for the petite size of a whole line of clothing.

Imagine that...she could walk into any store that sold that line and buy anything off the rack and get a perfect fit. Me, I don't know what it's like to have an article of clothing that actually fits. 

Here's a photo of me taken by John at his favorite BBQ restaurant. Animal pictures like this are all over the walls there.

Above, me around the time when I got my first animation job.

Above, me now. Gee it's amazing, isn't it!? I've hardly changed! I attribute it to good living.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


EDDIE: "Hi everybody! Where I live is thick with animation people. I thought I'd take you for a drive and show you where some of them live."

EDDIE: "Yikes! There's a lot of pedestrians out today!"

EDDIE: "Okay, here's the first house on my list, John K's. John's in the back working on "Cans Without Labels."  The man you see rummaging through the refrigerator is ace Hollywood cartoonist, Jim Smith."

EDDIE: "It looks like those guys are busy so we'll try the next....." 


EDDIE (VO): "Yeow!"

EDDIE: "Er...sorry!"

EDDIE: "Gee, maybe I should wear my glasses when I drive!"

EDDIE: "Okay, here we are at the next house on the list, Steve Worth's!"

EDDIE: "And there's the man himself! Steve's an animation producer and the mind behind the nifty internet site, 'Animation Resources'."

EDDIE: "Let's listen in to Steve explaining film theory to Auralynn...."

STEVE: "Well, you see Auralynn, the kinetic twist is what gives pizazz to what I call the person-to-person dynamic. It's a plus if you already have in place the film "nugget," but a minus if you failed to establish the "fulcrum."

EDDIE: "Wow! Words of wisdom! Thanks, Steve!"

EDDIE "Okay, next on the list is Mike! He's at the end of this....."


MIKE: "Eddie! Is that you up there!? What was that noise???"


BTW: Steve's dialogue was fake.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I believe a lot of what cosmology serves up, even when it's bizarre and counter intuitive, but I might have reached my limit with the latest theories.

The new idea is that our reality is just a holographic projection of the true reality, and that true reality is located on the flat, two-dimensional, inner wall of a black hole somewhere. According to this theory I'm not really typing this blog on a planet called Earth, I'm just a holographic projection of something something that's happening very far away under the Event Horizon of a black hole.

Does that sound plausible to you? Not to me; I just don't believe it. Being a science fiction fan I almost hope it's true, but....naaaaaaw.... it's just too weird. Really, will anyone will believe this thirty years from now?

That's not the only idea I have trouble with. How about "M" theory, also fast becoming a mainstream idea, which says that the universe is layed out on an undulating flat sheet called a membrane? According to M theory our brane is separated from the flat brane of another universe by a thin fourth dimensional space. Some time around fourteen billion years ago our brain somehow touched the brane next to ours and The Big Bang resulted.

Nope, I don't believe that either. I'll follow the idea with interest, and I sort of want the theory to be true, but...once's just too weird. If the universe is flat, how come it doesn't appear that way? Shouldn't theory conform to observation?

BTW: Roberto said that YouTube has just taken this video (above) down. Here's a more technical video on the same subject that might be of interest:

Apparently all these strange ideas spin off from the attempt to apply String Theory to cosmology. String Theory requires the existence of eleven dimensions and the existence of infinite numbers of universes. It's not regarded as proven but it's the operating assumption of a whole generation of cosmologists. But what if they're wrong?

The infinite universes concept is not without challenge. Skeptics like Michio Kaku claim that any equation that delivers an absurd answer like "an infinity of infinities" must be wrong. Count me with the skeptics. We don't even know the nature of dark matter and dark energy, which are held to account for most of what exists....maybe a theory of everything is premature.

I should mention another theory that's being bandied about lately...the theory that we're a simulation, a sort of video game on someone else's computer. This, I'm happy to say, isn't embraced by mainstream physicists, but it is being researched by a team in Germany. They figure that any simulation must occur on a grid of some sort, and that grid should be detectable. As a science fiction fan I love the idea, but....really.

All this reminds me of a book I just found out about called "How the Hippies Saved Physics." I could see a book about how they tried to wreck physics (computers excluded), but save it???? Did I really read "SAVE?" Astral projecting, pyramids-that-sharpen-razor-blades, California's going to physically detach from the continent in our time, gurus that levitate, past lives in Atlantis, the only good technology is the batteries in electric wheelchairs, anti-business hippies...THEY saved physics????  This I've gotta see! I'll see if the library has it.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


I thought you guys might like to see how John's film, "Cans Without Labels" is coming along. Weeeeeeelll...It's a John cartoon, need I say more? It is...of course...indubitably (whatever that means)...terrific! John let me take a few frame grabs but I had to do it while he and Jim were patiently waiting to go somewhere, so what you see was taken on the fly, from scenes that are still in the works. I hope you can make sense of it.

 In case anyone's forgotten the story, here's a reminder:  George Liquor tries to save a buck at the supermarket by buying cans without labels. He springs this on his nephews Slab and Ernie who have to eat whatever's in the cans. 

The kids panic and George tries to put them at ease by telling them he's carefully picked out the cans with the best foods inside. Like this can (above), for example.....

He sloshes it around, weighs it, and counts the rings....(great finger action and expressions in the animation).... 

...then it dawns on him what's inside (inbetween pose).

It's gotta be beef stew! Imagine that...a whole can of beef stew for just five cents! Wow! Slab and Ernie can't wait! [BTW, I can't believe how well this is drawn. The cartoon is full of drawings at this level.] 

Only.... it's not beef stew. It's....well, you'll just have to see the cartoon.
The kids refuse and George reacts. The whole cheap meal thing doesn't work unless somebody actually eats what's in the can!

He tries persuasion....

....and when that doesn't work......................