Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The perfect way to cut an orange...

Like almost all foods, there is in fact a perfect way to cut an orange. Why is it perfect? Because it allows for the most access to the meaty goodness of the orange (or grapefruit) with the least amount of loss.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Dirty Martin's Place

Today I met my friend and fellow food enthusiast Chelsea out for dinner. We decided to try Dirty Martin's Place on Guadalupe. We chose to eat on the front porch and enjoy what might be one of our last days of mild weather here in ATX. They had fresh squeezed lemonade and limeade! I went for the lemonade not realizing they had both. It was enjoyable non the less.

We started with the fried pickle chips and ranch. I feel like there was more grease than pickle or breading. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, pickle spears are the way to go. Chips just don't have enough of the actual pickle to get that full flavor. I didn't really feel like the batter they used for these was terribly amazing either.

The burger was average, but again incredibly greasy. The fries were meh at best, and I was really glad I'd asked to add cheese to them, because I don't think I'd have eaten them otherwise. I mean, really, cheese makes everything better. Unless it's fake nacho cheese, which was what they offered when I asked for cheese fries. I was really happy my waitress specified so I could opt for shredded cheddar instead. I didn't finish the fries or the burger, they were just too greasy. The prices were reasonable and the burger and sides are ordered as separate items.

For a place with "dirty" in the name and clearly a dive bar, I did appreciate that the bathroom was decently clean. All in all, I don't think I'll be going back. There are just too many places to get a great burger in Austin to ever settle for less.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Nyk's 2014 Demo Reel

This year I finally took the time edit and release my updated demo reel. The last reels I did (3D reel and 2D reel) were for my graduation from Ai Houston in 2010. This demo reel gives a taste of some of the really fantastic jobs I was able to be a part of while working for Powerhouse Animation Studios in Austin, Texas. Below I've included a detailed shot list. Enjoy.

1. Grammaropolis: In this shot I did the animation and lip sync for the blue noun and the orange adjective characters using Adobe Flash. I also did the post production for the entire project using Adobe After Effects. The effects showcased in this clip are fire elements added to the building, smoke, and an 8mm film grain and grunge.

2. Sex Eddie: This piece was a freelance job I did via my own company, Truncheon M Productions for the Center for Sex Education. Dr. Karen Rayne designed Sex Eddie and asked me to polish and digitize him for the center. This birthday cake animation was a present for the center's CEO Bill Taverner. You can see the progress of Sex Eddie in my post here, and another ad I did for the CSE about Bill here. I also created the 2014 CSE conference program. So thanks to Karen Rayne, Bill Taverner and the CSE.

3. Danny Bonaduce: Every animator knows that one of the hardest things to do well is a scrolling background. Especially one done at this perspective. I was given the artwork for this scene and asked to "make it work". I used Adobe Flash to piece together buildings and animate the scrolling background which I then took into Adobe After Effects and added in Danny, his car, the cop car in the background which I added squad car lights to, and lamp posts. I really enjoyed doing the lighting effects on this and the next shot.

4. Danny Bonduce continued: This scene includes some simple head light animation done in AE, blinking porch light, and a nice little animation of the cars stop.

5. Fuck a Therapist: Can we take a moment to just appreciate that stick figures are just fun! Stick figures that curse, act insane, and violent are just a step above in the enjoyment level of an animator. I really enjoyed working on these jobs. In this scene I did the animation, character setup and lip sync.

6. Fuck a Therapist continued: Lasers make things better! In this shot I used Adobe After Effects to animate the heart, laser, fire, and smoke effects. Another animator is responsible for the character animation. If you'd like to see more of my special effects and character animation work on these you can see them on this blog. I also enjoyed doing all of the sound effect work on this particular project.

7. Brain Chase: Here I used Adobe After Effects to create the film grain treatment as well as the Sepia tone. I also play the voice for the character Max in this series. It was a super fun project to be a part of.

8. 21 Years: Richard Linklater: To achieve this popup story book form I used motion scripts and a 3D camera in Adobe After Effects. It really brought to life artwork provided to me by the rest of the team in Kevin Smith's part of this documentary animated by Powerhouse Animation.

9. Grantland: Doing the character animation for this project was fantastic. How could you not enjoy animating Dave Chappel and Prince? In this scene I used Adobe Flash to do the character animation and lip sync for the three characters shown, as well as some of the art work for their character set ups. Specifically arms, hands, mouths, and pancake art.

10. Coca-Cola: My few seconds of fame became real when I was able to do character animation and lip sync for the coca-cola polar bear in this commercial using Adobe After Effects.

11. Grantland: Using Adobe Flash I animated both characters in this scene, did their lip sync, and drew quite a few of their arm, hand, and mouth shapes. Working under Shane Minshew I really learned to embrace the smear technique.

12. Ted Ed: Ted Talks are amazing! Ted Ed is yet another great concept teaching people really awesome things. I was so honored to work on three pieces for Ted Ed while with Powerhouse Animation. This one explained the Higgs Field. In this scene I used Adobe After Effects to create a sparkle effects around the nobel prize, a 3D camera for the motion, and a shine effect to really bring out the prize glow!

13. Ted Ed continued: In this Ted Ed the subject was ice. Here we see an Adobe After Effects scene using a 3D camera a wiggle script and a lot of patience! I really enjoyed the way this scene turned out. It was so much fun working with my team members artwork to create these simple yet exciting effects.

14-15. Ted Ed continued: This piece was about understanding geological time. In this scene I drew the artwork for the earth and animated it (him?) in Adobe Flash, and did the compositing in Adobe After Effects. I also did the swirl transition, lighting effects, and page turn transition in AE.

16. Grantland: Using Adobe After Effects I created the amazing club lighting, 3D camera motion, depth of field, blur, and layering in this shot.

17. Grantland: Here I used AE to make the rocket flare/stream and animate the lift off.

18. Grantland: Character Animation and lip sync using Adobe Flash.

19. Grantland: I used Adobe After Effects for the lighting, camera movement, scene layering, fog effect, and camera flashes. To do the artwork, character set up, and animaton for the crowd I used Adobe Flash. Someone else animated the walleyed guy doing the robot, but how hilarious is that dude?

20. Ted Ed continued: More Ted Ed After Effects. These were just so much fun and so cool looking I couldn't help but include them a few times.

21. Epic Mickey 2: On this video game project I worked on a few scenes as a clean up artist. It was my job to refine the animators work and get it ready for the compositing team. I had the privalege of working on a Mad Doctor scene as well as a few with Mickey, Oswald, and the cows.

22. Grammaropolis: In this shot I did the After Effects sepia to color treatment, the camera motion, and the text animation, as well as the sparkle effect.

23. Grantland: Using Adobe After Effects I did the lighting effects and animation, the smoke effects, and the camera movement for this scene.

24. Fuck a Therapist: In this scene I did the character animation (another great smear) and lip sync on the right half of the screen in Adobe Flash and the compositing for the whole scene in After Effects.

25. Pains of being pure of heart: I used Adobe After Effects and the script editor to create a sound meter effect timed to the volume of this really cool music video.

26. Grammaropolis: This scene was actually the first time I did the same effect as the previous scene for the Grammaropolis project.

27. Joan Mayo: I did the TV static effect for this scene in Adobe After Effects as well as the compositing for the overall project.

28. Ted Ed continued: Here I was responsible for the character animation as well as some character and background artwork. I drew several arms, hands, and finger nails for this shot. I also did the overall compositing, and text animation.

29. Grammaropolis: Those anime eyes - all me baby! Adobe After Effects flare and a little wiggle expression.

30. Grantland: Using Adobe Flash I animated both characters in this scene, did their lip sync, and drew quite a few of their arm, hand, and mouth shapes. I also drew and animated that little tear effect - subtle but humorous.

31. Fuck a Therapist: And we finish off the reel with another clip from FAT. I drew that fedora, and that bitchin' yellow coffee mug (an ode to PHA), aniamated both characters and all of the blood.

So that's it! Hope you enjoyed my work. Thanks to all of the other animators, compositors, background artists, and friends who worked on these projects with me. What I did looked so much cooler as a result of your work.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Jersey Mike's Subs

I love the Turkey and Provalone sandwich with classic potatoe chips and a root beer. It's simple, tastey, and never disappoints.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Lucy's Fried Chicken

It feels very much like Lucy's Fried Chicken is one of those trendy places that native Austinites love to hate. The impression is that the want to be dive is trying hard to feel like something other than what it is - overpriced and a bit pretentious.

It's funny how even a large menu can sometimes feel limiting. For example, the smallest order of fried chicken was a four piece basket for $9.50. This seemed a bit odd to me. What if I only want one or two pieces and a side? Since I was there with a small group, we each ordered something different and shared.

There are four things I must order if they are available. These are in order of importance; fresh squeezed limeade or lemonade, fried okra, queso flameado, and macaroni and cheese. Much to my delectation, Lucy's had three of these things! 

The "fresh" squeezed lemonade was only a step above straight from the box minute maid. I'm assuming that it was not from a soda fountain only because I was told as much and want to give them the benefit of the doubt.

The fried chicken was mostly dark meat and incredibly greasy. Now granted, fried chicken should be greasy, otherwise it's just baked chicken and that's a whole other beast (well, same beast, different dish). This, however, made church's chicken look healthy. The pieces were small and didn't have much meat. I will say this though, the breading was pretty fantastic! I enjoyed the skin more than the actual meat, the very opposite of my usual take on this dish.

The mac n cheese was what made the meal. It was a good size portion of rich cheese and noodles topped with breadcrumbs. It easily made my top ten list for good macaroni, which it well should for $8.50.

We also shared an order of the corn bread muffins for $4.95. Call me crazy, but I like a traditional corn bread. It makes me happy. The inclusion of jalepanoes wouldn't have bothered me if it had been listed on the menu. I would also have enjoyed trying the tequila butter (just for kicks) but they forgot to bring it out with the basket, so we didn't bother to ask for it.

All in all Lucy's fried chicken felt over priced and underwhelming. Our server didn't have much of a sense of humor (something of a must to survive waiting tables) and the food wasn't exciting enough for the cost. I might be willing to give it another chance, if someone else is willing to paying.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The End

Every single cell in my body hurts today.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Hillside Farmacy

Finding new restaurants can be such an enjoyable thing. Good company and conversation, excellent food never before tried, and a change in scenery.

This week I had the pleasure of trying Hillside Farmacy with a dear friend. The restaurant was charming inside - I have a thing for pretty bottles. We chose to appreciate the fresh air on their herb lined patio.

The drinks were creative and delicious. I had the hibiscus lemonade, and my friend had the rosewood hand crafted soda. I'm planning on trying the pickpocket next visit.

After some time with the menu we settled on splitting the "thank you" sandwich and the mac & cheese with a broccoli addition. Both proved to be excellent choices. The mac & cheese was creamy with large broccoli florets. The sandwich was a fantastic combination of rosted chicken, mozzarella, sprouts, and strawberry jam. Each bite was better than the last. 

All in all in looking to returning to test out more of their menu soon.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Breast Surgery

Needles and blood cause an intense physical and psychological reactions that include crying, vomiting, and losing consciousness for me. This past Thursday I had surgery to remove a 2.6 cm lump from my left breast. The hardest part of the actual day of was having the IV placed in my right hand. The nurse was gentle and quick, and I had someone there who knew how to comfort and distract me in such a way as to minimize the chaos of the ordeal. I will never be able to thank this person enough.

Coming out of surgery I looked pretty rough. Apparently I thought I was ready to go home at this point. We left a few hours later, once I could hold down crackers and water.

This is what my breast looked like after the water proof bandage was removed several days after the surgery. Today was my follow up exam. The strips will be removed this coming Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What is Intelligence?

According to "the Googles" it is  the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. This seems pretty simple and straight forward. At the same time it isn't necessarily how people tend to evaluate someone's intelligence. I know I question my intelligence on a regular basis, but why? For one thing, I can't spell correctly without great effort. Do I not have the ability to acquire and apply the knowledge of how to spell words in the English language? Perhaps it is that I rely on the use of autocorrect, which could be considered a modern skill. It could also be considered lazy.

Laziness, now that is something I tend to suffer from. It seems to be brought on, mostly, by depression. Something I inwardly struggle with, and have for most of my life. I find that the less lazy I am the less depressed I am, which I think is true for most people. So is that the issue, intellectual laziness? I think that has a great deal to do with it. I find that when I'm depressed it is easier to immerse myself in the physical rather than intellectual pursuits. Forcing my body into physical labor pushes me to keep going even when my emotional state is less than fully healthy.

This is not to say that I do not still think heavily on things while I am doing physical things like planting a garden, or installing hardware into a custom door, or building a chalk board from scratch. I ponder things at great length. I think about art, societal norms and why they have come to be, parenting, food and cultures of others, religious practices and forms of prayer and meditation, the meaning of life for different groups of people and how that effects their sense of being, and many other topics.

I can spend hours thinking about these things and listening to other people discuss them. More recently than not I have been thinking about why it is that I don't join into these discussions, even when I have valid points to contribute. Some of this is a lack of validity. I do not have multiple degrees and I am not well read (though I am working on the later). I fear misspeaking and looking juvenile in the face of wiser, kinder people. There is also another element that came to me in an epiphany in the shower. One of the best places to ponder things, I think. I was raised with the mentality that you should gather, but never volunteer information. This idea that everything is military and tactical. If you know more from a conversation, but the person you've just conversed with has no further information about you or your stance, then you've gained a leg up. This does not work in intellectual conversations, if you truly yearn to gain more from the experience.

The work I have to do to become a better person, conversationalist, participant in the richness of life, is never ending. This step, however, makes me feel like I've moved forward on this path, even if ever so slightly, and it pleases me greatly. I ache to be a part of  intellectual conversations that force me to question everything I know.

About S.E.X.

The Valentine's Day Stage

I edited the below video a few days ago, and it released to the public today. I had a lot of fun being a part of this show, and I hope I helped it grow along the way. Karen Rayne and Sam Killermann are both amazing people doing invaluable work in their field of human sexuality and beyond. The need for less shame and more information in this world is so great, thank you both for your efforts in that.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Yahoo Un-Answers Part 1

I finished editing this small clip today as a promo teaser of the show I was helping with these past few months. It was a blast to be a part of, and I hope I can continue to help in some way down the road. This was one of my favorite parts of the Valentine's day shows. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Pizza Master

As of late, I've become quite the pizza maker. Below is the recipe I've acquired from a good friend. Enjoy!

Step 1: Mix the following ingredients into a bowl, dry goods first.

1.5 cups of all purpose flour

2 tsp quick rising yeast

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup very warm water

1 Tbsp olive oil

Step 2: mix for 5 or so minutes until your ingredients form a dough ball. 
Step 3: Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of cornmeal onto  a pizza stone.

Step 4: Preheat your oven to 400°

Step 5: Place your dough ball in the center of the stone and roll your dough out into a circle (or desired shape) using a rolling pin.

Step 6: Add tomato sauce, minced garlic, cheese, and any additional toppings desired.

Step 7: bake for 15-18 minutes. Done!

Friday, March 27, 2015


Marriage is something I've been thinking a lot about lately. I have always though that I wanted to get married some day, but expected that I never would. I came out as a lesbian when I was 15 years old. I've lived almost my entire life in Texas, and I thought I would die before same sex marriage was ever a legally recognized practice.

When I was 17 I met a wonderful woman who I fell in love with. We agreed that we would marry (a ceremony minus the legalities that were not an option to us) if we made it to our fifth year anniversary. We dated for twelve and a half years, wore matching rings, but never had a ceramony. I never called her my wife, we never shared last names, and we never had children together. When we broke up I realized that we could have gone through the motions, but something kept me from ever doing that. Was it the money we lacked in order to have a large beautiful wedding? Was it the family support we lacked to have a small gathering with those we loved witnessing our vows to one another? Perhaps it was just not meant to be.

So where does that leave me now? Now I am with someone new, and we have been dating for a year and seven months. A drop in the bucket compared to almost 13 years, and at the same time it is that point where you begin to question the chance of a future with someone. In all reality I know plenty of couples who marry sooner than two years in, but I digress. Why do we get married at all now a days?

Is it what we feel like the next step should be?

Is it a sign of commitment and/or love?

Is it a legal agreement to make a partnership easier in certain terms?

Is it the true start to a life and family together?

It can be, for some people, any or all of these things. What I have come to realize, though, is that I do not need a ceremony. I do not need a wedding at all. I just need to love and be loved in return, and know that it is going to make us happy to live our lives with one another on a day by day basis. I would still love to share a last name some day, especially if we add another child to her family together. I would also love to share a home (with spaces for us each to have our own time and thoughts to ourselves). Most of all, I would love to be able to continue to share my thoughts and feelings as they grow and evolve. I am a happier person for having realized these things about myself.

And then there is this show...
Love at first site is a reality show that boasts a scientific process that helps singles find their perfect match. In return they marry the person, just as they show says, on first site. It seems like a cross between a dating website algorithm and being betrothed. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Food - Specifically fried pickles

Ya know, if I had a bit of a more adventurous pallet, I would enjoy being a food critic. I love eating. It makes me happy when I'm depressed, comforted when I'm ill, and loved when someone prepares a meal just for me.

More and more I've come to understand just how important food is in my life. I've been trying new things, and reevaluating old favorites. One thing I can say with certainty, fried pickles are amazing in spear form. Fried pickle slices, on the other hand, leave a lot to be desired.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Light Home Repairs

About a year ago I helped pick up and install a dishwasher in my girlfriend's home. I finally got around to figuring out how to install (rig) the bottom. All hail zip ties!

Dishwasher installed.
Base plate installed.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Adventures of Dr.Blah-kman & Mr. Meow: Dr. B's Living Room

The Adventures of Dr.Blah-kman & Mr. Meow: Dr. B's Living Room: Today I've been working hard on the character set up and living room BG's for the reanimated pilot episode of The Adventures of Dr. ...

2008 vs 2015

Monday, February 16, 2015

Installing a door handle from scratch

I used this link as a starting point to research the process- hammerzone

Then I went to Home Depot and bought this kit- Ryobi-Wood-Metal-Door-Lock-Installation-Kit

The studio door before.

Door knob and latch holes drilled.
Metal plate space chiseled.
(Toe also chiseled a bit, picture not included.)

Latch mechanism installed.

Door handle installed!
Baldwin door handle installed... I'm so rugged and useful! Next weekend I will install the padlock.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

S.E.X. Letters

I've been helping out with a show called S.E.X. that my friends Dr. Karen Rayne and Sam Killermann host here in Austin, TX. The show is part comedy, part lively Q & A, and I love being a part of the behind the scenes. Today I'm repainting and touching up the back drop of the show, the SEX letters! These things are as tall as I am and look amazing lite up like Chicago style Broadway awesomeness! Check out some before and after pictures of the sign.

The letters on stage show 1.

The letters being re-painted.
Some nailing back together.

The letters on stage show 2.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

It's almost over

It is hard to know what the future holds. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith, not be a chicken, and strive for your dream. My kickstarter ends in a few days and it has a long way to go to fund. The funny part is, I'm okay with this. It has been a learning experience and helped me focus my ideas and goals. I know what I want more clearly than ever. I want to create cartoons and videos. I want to produce entertainment both online and in person. I want to become a better artist. I want people to support the projects and ideas I am passionate about. So, I'm pledging to myself today, not Kickstarter. I am going to raise the money to make Mr. Meow plush toys. From there I am going to go to conventions and sell the crap out of these little guys. I am going to work at least 16 hours a week drawing the pilot episode for The Adventures of Dr. Blah-kman & Mr. Meow until I have 22 minutes of awesomeness to show the world. I am going to devote all of my time, energy, and passion to this. Thanks to the people who have stood by me since the beginning. Thanks to those who have joined along the way. Most of all, thanks to those who help me to believe in myself and my dreams. I'm going to be happy either way, with or without a successful Kickstarter.