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August 7, 2007 tues SIGGRAPH
August 7th, 2007

Siggraph 2007, Click to Enlarge
Student Fjorg competition

Three Vikings- Becky Weibel, Ragnar Sito and Pat Beckman

I had a nice time at SIGGRAPH 2007 yesterday. Pat Beckman had organized an Iron Animator competition called Fjorg! ( pronounced Forge!) Sixteen teams of four from around the world are given three days to create a 3D film. They won't sleep much, but they are having a lot of fun. I was brought in to lecture and crit their ideas. Everyone was issued Viking horned helmets and they caused quite a stir among the Digerati. The competiton looks like a success and there was a great energy among the contestants. I hope they do it again next year in LA.

Otherwise, I met a number of old friends including my old Digimax crew from Taipei. Saw Jim Hillin, Dr Stuart Sumida, Prof Richard Weinberg, Fumi Kitahara, Steve Goldberg, Valerie Leitera among many others. Met artists from DNA studio Dalla who did Ant Bully and the San Clemente studio that did Barnyard. Both studios went under when their films flopeed. Too bad about DNA, the owners seemed like nice guys.

I Got to handle the new Microsoft program SURFACE which looks like an i-phone the size of a coffee table, where your touch opened and closed files without a keyboard. Pretty cool, like the computer in the Minority Report. Lots of programs trying to simulate the articulation of fabric, but nothing looked that convincing to me.

I wish I could have stayed longer but duty calls on Car Talk! So back to LA I go...

Birthdays: Roman Emperor Constantius II, Mata Hari, Rassan Rolling Kirk, Nicholas Ray, Dr. Richard Leakie, Grandma Moses, The Amazing Randi, David Duchovny, Billy Burke aka Glenda the Good Witch " Come out, come out. wherever you are..." Garrison Keillor, animation voice actor and radio personality Stan Freeberg, Animator Rudy Ising , Charlize Theron is 32, Animator and WIA president Linda Miller

1674-The Bagel is invented in Vienna. Some say the hole is a tribute to the stirrup of Polish warrior king Jan III Sobieski, more likely the hole was just so a street peddler could stack them on a stick.

1815- Prisoner Napoleon Bonaparte was transferred from the HMS Bellerophon to the HMS Northumberland for the voyage to Saint Helena. After his defeat at Waterloo the British public warmed up to Napoleon as an okay chap now down on his luck. While waiting in Plymouth Harbor curious crowds of English people would row out to wave hello at the fallen emperor. One enterprising citizen learned Napoleon’s schedule and from his rowboat would hold up a large sign "BONEY’S OUT ON DECK" to let the crowd know.

1834 -Death of Joseph Jacquard, French silk weaver who invented the first loom capable of weaving patterns. Some say that the cards used in the looms were the inspiration for the computer punch card, a way of transmitting data, whether pulses of light or lengths of wool

1882- The legendary Hillbilly Feud in Kentucky between the Hatfields and the McCoys began, supposedly over a prize hog. Ellison Hatfield was stabbed 26 times and shot in the back. The Hatfields then rounded up three McCoys and shot them. Over the next forty years over100 men women and children from both families would be killed in the argument.

1914 – The famous poster of Lord Kitchner pointing and saying "Your country needs you," spreads over UK. James Montgomery Flagg later copied the poster for the American version with Uncle Sam in a similar pose. Lord Asquith commented that by now the elderly soldier Kitchener made "a better poster than a leader."

1919- the First Actor’s Equity Strike.

1928- The US Treasury issued a smaller leaner dollar bill. Before this dollars were two times larger and wider than the ones we now use. They were nicknamed shin-plasters.

1931 - Leon Bismarck "Bix" Beiderbecke, jazz trumpeter died at 29 of drink and drugs. Bix along with his idol Louis Armstrong was considered one of the first jazz musicians to popularize the solo-riff, where in the body of a song the soloist would depart from the arrangement and improvise like a cadenza in classical music. His family in Davenport Iowa were horrified that their son dropped out of school to associate with Negroes and become a musician. Even after Bix was famous he returned proudly home only to discover his parents had stacked up every record he sent them in a box under the stairs. They never listened to a single one.

1933-The first "Alley-Oop" comic strip.

1953- President Eisenhower granted Ohio statehood retroactively 150 years later. It seems when Ohio joined the union in 1803 Congress screwed up the enabling legislation, so Ohio was never officially a state. Local historians preparing for an anniversary celebration uncovered the glitch.

1970 - Christine Perfect McVie joins the band Fleetwood Mac.

1970 – The first computer chess tournament.

1974- French daredevil Phillipe Petit strung a tightrope between the two 110 story towers of NY’s World Trade Center and walked across it. As New Yorkers watched in amazement, Petit kept his concentration by carrying on a conversation with the buildings.(?)

1979- THE RUNAWAY WARS.-Hollywood Cartoonist’s Union strike against studios sending animation work overseas. Your kids now know Digimon and Yu-Gi-Oh more than Bugs Bunny so you can guess how successful we were.

1998- Simultaneous car bombs explode in front of the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania . It killed 100 and injured 2,200, many more innocent African bystanders than Americans. The bombs proved to be the work of Osama Ben Laden and the Al Qaeda organization.