Kai Chang
3D/ CAD建模或动画
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SITREP - August, 2010

There are few things that make you look more like a douchebag than having an entry about your phone at the top of your blog page. I really need to write more often.

Used to be that I did actually blog a lot, but then Facebook came along and I sort of got that writing fix from trying to craft short, succinct little statements to express my impression of something or an event, while also trying to capture a sense of the context. It's a nice thing to exercise, but I feel like my long form's gotten sloppy since it feels like status updates are the only recreational writing I've been doing the last four(!!!) years. I'm finding myself straying a lot whenever I write something long.

There's also that need to just sit and rant or vent sometimes that goes unfulfilled if you're trying to keep something brief. If that need goes unfulfilled, I think I tend to seize the opportunity in conversations to go off on long rants with very little (or frankly, NO) prompting.

Let's clear the gunk out of the pipes by just sort of updating a few items I'd mentioned before...

House  Have a rapid-deployment X-mas (set the tree up hours after closing)

The house hunt had been going in fits and starts since 2006, frankly, namely marked by periods of going to open houses and generally coming to the conclusion that nothing about the housing market made sense. 600 sq ft studios were going for about $450k. After clearing out all my debts (except for a bit of student loan), saving up, and spurred by that housing tax credit, I attacked the issue again 2009. After a six month ordeal dealing with a short sale with a bit of an inexperienced buying agent (at least with short sales), kind of a sketchy selling agent, and a seller who was sort of coming unhinged from having four properties on his hands that were now worth barely half of what he paid for them, I finally closed on a house.

The deal closed about a day or two before x-mas, which was a nice touch. It's been great for the year and a half I've been in here, but yes, I have not had a house-warming or any kind of event whatsoever. It always seems like there's one more thing I want to take care of before I do that, but soon, mi amigo. Soon.

Fence under construction last year. The insides are fine, I'm mainly bothered by the outside. There's no lawn, there's some rusty chain link up around most of it (a large section that I just replaced with a wood fence last summer, if you follow me on FB). I've got a bit of a lull in my schedule, so I'm using it to really attack the back yard. The previous owner did some kind of gravel mulch thing that I'm digging up. I'm going to lay down some sod next.

Movin' on up

Pre-emptively drowning my sorrows After nearly FOUR years in the role of Assistant Technical Director (I really need to check if that's some kind of record), I've finally moved up to the role of lighting TD (and hopefully some sims). I've done some semi-shot production tasks in the past so the whole review/feedback process wasn't totally alien to me, but there's definitely a different feeling when you're fully accountable for a major aspect of a shot. I generally feel like I did alright. Had a few things I was really proud of, one I kind of wasn't, etc.

Unfortunately, you'll probably never see my work because I worked on what by now is an avowed flop. With the talent behind it, I think you would've been right to expect more from it. It works on some levels (at least for me), but I think people would be justified in feeling a little disappointed.

It's sort of an uninteresting failure, relative to my previous project. Now that was fascinating. In the case of Cowboys, you had a bunch of really talented people trying to adapt an odd piece of work from a static medium (meaning print, even if it's a comic book) that had a fringe following at best. In the case of Airbender, you had wildly successful source material that had been executed almost perfectly in its animated form. You'd think it would have taken willful, directed effort to screw it up, and I wouldn't blame you. But it certainly wasn't willful. I could go on, and maybe I will in some other post.


Three generations, three continents Up until recently I haven't traveled much, and I've been trying to sort of make up for lost time trying to take care of some things and visit places I've sort of been overdue for. This past winter, I visited relatives on my dad's side of the family in the city of Jinan, in the Shandong province in northeastern China. I hadn't seen them since I was sixteen. Besides, that, my father passed on quite suddenly over ten years ago in China, and his brother/my uncle went through a pretty spectacular ordeal dealing with crooked doctors and hospital administrators to settle his affairs. As bad a problem as corruption is in China, you can imagine how much worse it was before the boom times.

It was definitely one of the more fulfilling trips I've ever been on, on par with my first visit back to Brazil in 2004. I visited with my Mom and my niece Mariana from Brazil. About all I remember from the last visit was being a teenager and downing shots of baijiu with the older cousins (and my parents, actually). It was kind of like that again, except the little kids from back then were now the ones taking me and Mariana out to clubs and for Karaoke.

One of the few good bars in Rippongi. Everything else is for expat douchebags. Also stopped by Tokyo for about a week. Pat referred me to a bunch of great people in Tokyo involved in various aspects of the entertainment industry and I had a good time just experiencing a place that, 'lost decade' or not, still felt light years ahead of us socially and technologically.

Atlantis, minutes before liftoff! From this summer, I'm coming off of a trip to Florida to take in the very last Space Shuttle launch back in early July. I had booked two weeks expecting there would be scrubs, but amazingly enough, Atlantis lifted off for mission STS-135 a mere minute-and-a-half behind schedule. I took a bunch of pics with an SLR that I was frankly still getting used to, and some video of the launch itself. I spent the rest of the time just kind of relaxing on the various beaches in the Cape Canaveral area, getting an impressive sunburn in the process (I've got this big diagonal tan-line from the camera bag strap).

Whedon makes an appearance. Have to admit he was a pretty cool guy. After recuperating from Florida for a day or two I drove down the coast to San Diego to check out Comic-Con with Luke and Brenda. It was a nice way to wind-down from Florida, geeking out over TV shows and movies and going to talks. I gotta admit I still have a bit of that judgmental a-hole in me that kicks in when I sit in the huge studio/publisher talks and hear rapturous audiences cheering at announcements for marginally improved re-releases of books, movies, or trinkets that they probably already have in some form or another. I guess it pays the bills.

Anyway, that's it for now. I've written long enough. Hopefully (at least for me) more soon.

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english, mandarin
San francisco, United States
June 21, 2007